Jason Victor

Who is the best client for you? How do they benefit from your business?

The best client is a homeowner who is looking to complete a small project around the house or a Professional/Company who is looking to take on more work to fill in their gaps

Did you do a lot of networking when you got started? How did you grow your network and make it work for you?

Yes I did a lot of networking, I tried to attend a networking event on a weekly basis, anything from BNI, to creative mornings, and several others. No professionals nor homeowners came onboard from these networking events however it definitely helped to get the word out

What do you like about being a member of Collab Space?

Other great entrepreneurs working hard day in and day out. This is motivating and encourages others to work hard too

How do you get the majority of your leads or clients now? Any tips you can share?

Facebook groups and reaching out to other peoples suggestions for professionals, referrals are the best!

Do you have any unique interview or vetting questions or processes you use when you’re looking to hire an employee or contractor?

Would you rather $100k salary and 20k in stock options of Uber or Facebook or $20k salary and 100k in stock options, very telling of a new hire and what motivates them

Jason Victor

Jiffy Inc

[email protected]

 

Neelam Kaur

What were you doing before you started your business and what inspired you to try entrepreneurship?

Sales, Marketing, Deli Clerk, Reception, Dispatch, Recruiting, Labour… you name it! Before entrepreneurship I couldn’t hold down a job, get into any office for 9AM, let alone do paperwork. Working for myself, I have no problem hoping out of bed at 2AM for a bridal makeup, lashing till 9PM or spending hours on admin & marketing… I love it!

What are the networking tips you would share with new entrepreneurs who are starting out in Ottawa?

I’ve been in Ottawa now for less than two years and the ONLY way I was able to start & grow my business was through networking! Everytime one comes up I get super anxious and nervous, but it calms down after being there for a little bit. Mom groups, business groups, any groups really… it was really nice! I wasn’t even doing it to grow my business at the time… it was just to get out and meet other humans!

Are there any productivity hacks you’ve experimented with? How did they work for you?

I tend to get overwhelmed, excited by ideas (shiny object syndrome), create these major to-do lists and then do nothing cause I can’t wrap my head around where to start or what to focus on. The absolute best concept I’ve ever been introduced to is The Eisenhower Matrix. It is GAME CHANGING, if you don’t know what it is – go look it up now. Seriously, go.

How did you get your first client?

Majority of my clients now come in through online marketing, referrals or a combination of the both. I really would not have been able to grow my business if it wasn’t from the friends I’ve made at networking events and them tagging me anytime a recommendation was asked for. I can’t explain how happy my heart feels and how honored I am see that little notification anyone tags Red Carpet Glamour in a post. It really feels like a little badge every time which is why I work so hard at delivering a great client experience. I don’t want to let down a client but I don’t want to let down those who refer either!

What is your favorite business-related quote and what does it mean to you?

Progress not Perfection. This is the hardest thing to follow because I’m a perfectionist but I have to keep remembering myself, the sooner I release something or implement something the sooner it can start to become better. Rather than focusing on every little detail, just throw it out there and you’ll find out what really matters. Much less wasted effort.

Neelam Kaur

Red Carpet Glamour

[email protected]

Wendy Mason

What’s the elevator pitch for your company and why did you get into this business?

Navigating the mortgage market on your own can be daunting. In a challenging financial market, allow me to do the heaving lifting for you to find the best, most suitable mortgage for your unique situation.

What are the networking tips you would share with new entrepreneurs who are starting out in Ottawa?

My advice would be to select a couple of networking groups and really spend the time to get to know people in your groups. It takes time to establish relationships – stick with it!

Are there any productivity hacks you’ve experimented with? How did they work for you?

My business partner and I have migrated our business process to an online platform. This allows us to work as a team without needing to be in the same physical space. It has also streamlined our process to be more productive as we are able to see the status of all of our files in one location.

How do you get the majority of your leads or clients now? Any tips you can share?

The majority of my business comes by word of mouth. It is important for everyone that you know, to know what you do! Don’t be shy about promoting yourself within your personal network.

Which book, website, magazine, podcast, or other piece of media has the most influence on your business? What did you learn from it?

Honestly speaking, the most valuable book I have read in a long time has been “5 AM Club by Robin Sharma”. Although it has nothing to do with mortgages, it has everything to do with productivity and really digging deep in to what you are made of!

Wendy Mason

Muscle and Mortgages

[email protected]

Renata Brum

What’s the elevator pitch for your company and why did you get into this business?

Brum Immigration is an immigration and citizenship practice offering services to individuals and businesses who want to come to work, play or stay in Canada. After my term as the Senior Citizenship Judge of Canada ended, I decided to convert my knowledge, skills and over a decade of experience in government into a venture that fuels Canada’s future by bringing innovative and highly skilled immigrants to Canada and re-uniting families. It’s meaningful work that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

Who was the biggest influence or help in kicking off your business? What did they do to help?

My beau, who is now my husband, suggested I start the practice. He offered the sort of support that a budding entrepreneur most needs: belief in the value of my skills, confidence in my abilities as an entrepreneur, faith in my integrity as a person. His marketing expertise was a bonus.

How many hours do you currently put in as an entrepreneur and how do you feel about that?

I put in 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. But it doesn’t feel like work. The greatest thing about being an entrepreneur is that I’ve gained flexibility in my schedule that I never had when I worked for government, where I also worked 25 hours a day, 8 days a week…

How do you get the majority of your leads or clients now? Any tips you can share?

Leads are mostly coming from referrals at the moment. But I’m learning that I have a knack for converting advertising-generated leads into clients by building a personal connection. Showing an interest in their problem, offering empathy, and providing helpful information at the first point of contact goes a long way.

 

What was the first thing you outsourced or hired for and are there any lessons you can share from that?

I outsourced a great web developer. Because we live in a digital age, it’s the first thing the public sees, and it needed to capture the essence of who I am, and how my services could, quite literally, change their lives. It was the best investment I’ve made in the business to date.

Renata Brum

Brum Immigration

[email protected]

 

Lesley Moll

What’s the elevator pitch for your company and why did you get into this business?

I have spent 30 years helping entrepreneurs to grow their business. With Peninsula, I can provide support with the areas of Human Resources that all businesses know are important, but many don’t have time to properly address. I can take that hat away, so that employers can focus on growing the business while their most important resource is managed properly.

 

Did you do a lot of networking when you got started? How did you grow your network and make it work for you?

Growing your business is about meeting people and giving back. People work with, and refer people they know, to people they know and trust. It can take time to grow that trust, but if you invest and concentrate on helping others, it will come back to you ten-fold.

 

How many hours do you currently put in as an entrepreneur and how do you feel about that?

I am always seeking opportunities, even when out with my family. However, I do ensure to block out some time when the phone is off and the computer is put away so that there is some balance. When you are growing your business you need to put a lot into it. Just like maternity leave when you have a baby. New businesses are demanding and you need to ensure that everyone around you is on board.

 

How did you get your first client?

My first client was from a cold drop in. Sometimes that is what it takes and you can’t be afraid to talk to strangers, even if that is what our mothers told us.
 
 
 

Which book, website, magazine, podcast, or other piece of media has the most influence on your business? What did you learn from it?

 
I have been reading books, listening to audio tapes and learning since I left school. Right now, my inspiration is Phil M Jones, his audio book on audible “Exactly What to Say”, has some key phrases and questions that I wish I had learned years ago.
 

Lesley Moll

Peninsula Canada

[email protected]

 

Heather Desjardins

What is your “ask” right now? What would most help your business grow at this moment?

The LDAO-C is a non-profit who helps the learning disabilities community through programs, education, resources, and raising awareness. We are completely self-funded with no government grants, so our biggest ask always pertains to funding. We hold various fundraisers and seek grants to keep our doors open, but funding opportunities are sparse.

 

What events do you make a point of attending on a regular basis? What value do you get out of these events?

We network with our LD community as much as possible. We hold events such as our free monthly Info Nights, where we have a speaker come in and present on various topics related to LDs. This is well attended by parents and professionals. We also attend other events in the city that are connected to LDs and LD services.

 

Tell us about your team. Do you have any rock stars you’d like to acknowledge?

Our executive director, Marianne Long, is completely amazing! We wouldn’t be here anymore if it weren’t for her and her over-and-above efforts!

 

How do you measure your client’s satisfaction and what have you learned from this process?

We love hearing back from families who we’ve helped. When taking on a newer program, we will often ask for feedback via survey so we can see what people liked and where we could have done better.
 
 
 

What is your favorite business-related quote and what does it mean to you?

 

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it!” – Jonathan Winters

Of course we can often feel like we are swimming around the marina looking for that ship on the horizon! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Desjardins

The Open Door Ottawa

[email protected]

 

Bradley Pinch

What is your one main piece of advice for anyone looking at entrepreneurship for the first time?

Do not ever underprice your product or service. You can always decrease your price if needed, but increasing the price is far too hard. If you are a “Service” you are worth what you charge. Remember you get what you pay for and your clients will not necessarily see a low price as a positive statement about your service offering.

What are the networking tips you would share with new entrepreneurs who are starting out in Ottawa?

Have a 30-second story, not a pitch when someone asked what you do. If you say I sell insurance you will sound like everyone else and like the sale is more important than your clients. Start off with something like, “When someone is worried about X, they call me…. (more that but you get the idea). Start at the center of the room and work your way to the outside in a circle. 🙂

What do you think about the concept of work/life balance as an entrepreneur?

Yes, you need to focus and execute as an entrepreneur but without balance you or your business will fall down. The original owner of Purina William Danforth used the checkers for a reason. His philosophy was to be good at anything you do you need 4 squares; “Each person has not one, but four lives to live: Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual. The ingredients for life are a body, a brain, a heart and a soul”, Danforth would say. All four must grow in balance with each other. Business success requires balance.

Are there any meeting rituals, habits, preferences, or supersitions you have?

Yes, I always need to be early, I ensure my shirt and pants are pressed and my shoes have a shine and lastly I always put on my wedding ring and my school ring for good luck.
 
 
 

What is your favorite business-related quote and what does it mean to you?

 
“Experience comes from what we have done. Wisdom comes from what we have done badly!” (Theodor Levitt) this quote was long before “Fail early and fail often” and I feel is a better message. I have learned far more from my failures than my successes so I wear my failures with pride.

Bradley Pinch

BCPinch Business Growth and Transformation

[email protected]

 

Kyle Hewitt

What is something you wish you knew when you were starting out?

When starting out and we struggled to get jobs and keep busy, we found it hard to say “no” to customers and would take on jobs that did not suit or interest us, or work that was not our specialty. I wish that I would have known how to say “no” to jobs that were not good for us.

Did you do a lot of networking when you got started? How did you grow your network and make it work for you?

When starting out we did not do a lot of networking. When we did not have work to do we would go out in the community and hand out flyers advertising our business. We provided a good service and were able to find jobs through existing customers mostly from referrals.

What do you like about being a member of Collab Space?

So far I like having a space where I can be productive that does not interfere with my home life. Collab Space gives me and team members the opportunity to work together on things and communicate more efficiently. Look forward to getting more familiar with the space and the opportunities for networking.

How do you measure your client’s satisfaction and what have you learned from this process?

We are committed to providing a high quality service. Each one of our customers is asked to give us a review on google once their job is completed. We typically get glowing reviews, but for the odd client that is not completely satisfied this gives us an opportunity to work with them on any issues with the job. This process helps us to constantly improve our service & customers experiences.
 
 

Kyle Hewitt

Croft Tree Experts Inc.

[email protected]

 

Paul Arnold

What is your one main piece of advice for anyone looking at entrepreneurship for the first time?

Really think about the “why” of your product or service and reason for wanting to become an entrepreneur. Just because you find something you love to do or teach others, doesn’t necessarily mean it is something that can be marketed or generate a sustainable revenue. Also make sure you have a clear long term goal that is going motivate and sustain you through the first 1-5 years of business. This is important when you go through the difficult periods when you have no sales for a month and your mortgage/rent payment is due. Those that do not have a solid “why” for their business will not survive. Look at the facts: 50% do not survive 1 year and 80% do not survive 5 years.

What are the networking tips you would share with new entrepreneurs who are starting out in Ottawa?

Join a weekly networking referral organization such as Business Club so that you can be meeting with like minded individuals that will help you grow your business. 85% of business is generated from word-of-mouth referrals so this is a way to super-charge your business and get you up and running for success.

What do you think about the concept of work/life balance as an entrepreneur?

Work/life balance is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur. Most successful business owners are putting in 10-12 hours per day, 7 days per week to get their business off to a successful start. If you have a family, your significant other will either support your dream or be leaving you after they don’t see you for 6 months.

How did you get your first client?

My first big client came from door knocking, which I did for the first year of my business. I was fortunate to knock on the door of an engineer who’s employer was just bought out by a larger publicly traded corporation. I was grateful to create a customized retirement plan to help his family achieve their long term goals.

Do you have any unique interview or vetting questions or processes you use when you’re looking to hire an employee or contractor?

Ask a question that will test the compliance or ethics of your employee. For example, create a scenario that would generate a large profit for your company but would violate a compliance or ethical rule and go against your companies code of conduct.


Paul Arnold

Doug McCaffrey

What’s the elevator pitch for your company and why did you get into this business?

Google offers many world-class tools people can access for free, such as Google Analytics and Google Ads. However, accessing the full power of these tools, so they deliver real business value, requires a combination of deep technical know-how plus contemporary marketing acumen. A further challenge is Google continuously changes the interfaces, features, and functionalities of their tools which requires one to keep on top of changes so the full potential of the tools can continue to be harnessed. I understand not every organization can handle this internally. That’s where I come in. My mission is to make Google work to my client’s advantage. I entered this arena 20 years ago and have since become a certified Google Partner. I enjoy helping organizations go from “we know we should be doing that” to “wow – this is exactly what we needed!”

What are the networking tips you would share with new entrepreneurs who are starting out in Ottawa?

Although it’s absolutely beneficial to have business cards to share and an elevator pitch at the ready, I personally believe networking is about listening to others, seeing from their perspective, and having real conversations about the challenges they face. You may be able to point them towards a resource that would solve their problem, or perhaps you can introduce them to someone who’ll help them really get things off the ground. Maybe someone you’ll meet will do this for you. To me, this is the true power of networking.

Do you listen to music while you work? What are the top songs on your playlist?

Not all the time, but yes, I often like listening to music while I work. I subscribe to a Google music service and I find listening to music without lyrics helps me maintain focus. I also subscribe to a service called “[email protected]”. Their concept is strange, but it actually works. They’ve surgically removed distracting elements of music, and what remains, somehow, is music that’s perfect to work to without sounding strange or altered.

How do you get the majority of your leads or clients now? Any tips you can share?

I’ve continually made small improvements to my website over the course of its lifetime based on how people use it. I’ve also revised my messaging over time to match my evolving understanding of how my ideal clients seek help. Though this process, my website has become my most important source of new clients. My advice for others is to avoid considering their website complete at launch. Rather, it needs to evolve over time to properly reflect your evolving business, and it needs to speak to your ideal customer’s needs so they have an opportunity to discover you.

What was the first thing you outsourced or hired for and are there any lessons you can share from that?

My best advice for new entrepreneurs is to engage the services of an accountant at the earliest point possible. They’ll help you understand your responsibilities, and will assist you through the process of meeting those responsibilities. Putting this off till later may result in avoidable hardships, and could potentially lead to your entrepreneurial career getting derailed. The same can be said about engaging a lawyer. I know what you’re thinking – I’ll do this once I have some money coming in. Don’t wait. You’ll be too busy at that point and you’ll put it off again. Look into Invest Ottawa to see if you’re eligible for free consultations with accountants and lawyers.

Doug McCaffrey

Doug McCaffrey – Google Partner

Email: [email protected]