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.