This week I spoke to Andrea Lown of SmartBride about her entrepreneurial journey. It was Andrea Lown's own experience planning her wedding which led her to start a business helping brides lessen the burden. Andrea's enterprising idea caught on, and now SmartBride successfully matches up buyers and sellers every day to help their big day make good financial sense.
Karen Geier is the Co-Founder of Shyndyg.com. Previously she was a digital marketing executive, most recently with Ogilvy. Karen previously headed up Social Media strategy for Canadian start up Kobo, and has consulted for start ups, and fortune 500 companies.
This week I spoke with a group of seemingly unlikely entrepreneurs who have struck it big in the world of plush monsters. Adam Dunn and Rhya Tamasauskas of Monster Factory spoke to me recently about making a profitable company out of fabric, fibre fill, and a sewing machine. Yet, Adam and Rhya did not set out originally to build monsters.
12/03/2012 05:15 EST
This week, I spoke with Tara Hunt of Buyosphere about her experiences nurturing her company to life. Tara has been a fixture in the start-up world and it only seemed natural that at some point, she would go out on her own and start her own business. She had the experience, and the connections, but she still had a rocky road to travel to get funded and beyond.
11/22/2012 05:28 EST
This week, I talked to serial entrepreneur, Angel investor, and founder of CareGuide, John Philip Green. CareGuide is an online "matchmaking" service for people in need of care professionals, and need tailored, vetted recommendations. Here's my Q&A with him.
11/15/2012 05:28 EST
We've all heard the apocryphal tales of companies who put their pet projects on crowd-funding websites and made millions. A group out of Vancouver asked the question: "How can we leverage this zeal and social funding for good?" In July, Weeve was born, and they have helped dozens of not-for-profits achieve crowd funding success. Alex Chuang explains how they've had early success.
11/01/2012 05:08 EDT
"If you have your own business, you're going to hit a lot of fences. You have to be the kind of person who won't accept having a fence put in front of you. Society gives out a lot of messages, like 'you're not ladylike. You can't do that. You'll never get into Oxford.' We jut start to accept this. It's all bullshit."
10/19/2012 07:57 EDT
When you're in the earliest days of your start-up, you are completely head down, focused on your product and you don't have much time for reaching out, and you're certainly not relying upon others to help you. And then you hit your first time where you need to solicit advice, hire contractors, or to network, you encounter your first Great Wait. So, what do you do when you're forced into a Great Wait?
10/12/2012 12:08 EDT
Talking to Phil Libin about his third (and most famous) company, Evernote, on the surface seems like a lesson in how not to make something. But therein lies the genius of why Evernote has had rousing success since its inception in 2007. Phil and his co-founders bootstrapped Evernote themselves for a year. No small feat. During that year, they focused on one goal: making a product they really, really wanted to use.
10/02/2012 08:10 EDT
This week, I talked with Heather Payne, Co-Founder of Ladies Learning Code, a Toronto-based organization with the goal to empower women to learn how to program, and understand tech better. It all started when Heather Payne, fresh off learning how to build her first personal website, wanted to learn a backend language. She couldn't find great resources, and found it hard to get started.
09/14/2012 12:10 EDT
When you're with a start-up and you run into a problem you can't solve, what do you do? The obvious answer is you turn to someone who has built a business before. What if you don't have someone like this in your sphere of influence? Well, that's where cold calling (or emailing) comes in. But people have an irrational fear of cold calling. Here's how to get the most out of a cold call.
09/10/2012 12:09 EDT
I recently spoke to Amin Todai, serial start-up entrepreneur, founder of onemethod digital+ design about how he applies the principles of The Lean Start-Up to his various ventures. Amin is also one of the men behind Toronto taqueria La Carnita, which had taken the city by storm. What does he think about being an entrepreneur?
09/07/2012 07:49 EDT
You most likely won't make $41 million off your first business presentation, but you DO need a deck which clearly lays out a few key things which all venture capitalists (and potential partners) look for. It seems easy, but one of the hardest exercises you will go through in this process is distilling everything you think, want, and believe in your company into a measly 10 pages. Here are some tips.
08/28/2012 07:56 EDT
Earwolf Media produces the most highly rated comedy podcasts online, and has recently expanded to television (with IFC's Comedy Bang Bang) and comedy album production. He's had many ups and downs in the process -- like pitching a website without knowing how to build one, engineer turnover and self doubt. But on hindsight, Jeff says, "I've never looked back on something we did and said, 'I'm glad I listened to that other person who told me it was a bad idea.'"
08/21/2012 12:04 EDT
In the earliest stages of our start-up, we decided to pull in the opinions and advice of experts. We were eager to hear different perspectives from our own. It became clear early on, however, that we would need to navigate through the advice using our best judgement. Remember: One of the things only you and your team can bring to this business is your unique perspective.
08/09/2012 05:20 EDT
It's easy to see the appeal of having your own business: you can set your own hours, you get to collect all of the money, and you can do things your way. But having your own start-up is the exact opposite of the movies. While it's true that most people have a few great ideas in them, not everyone enjoys the humility-building exercise which is getting your startup off the ground. It takes a lot of planning. So, what's the actual first step once you've had your big idea?
08/01/2012 05:13 EDT
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