Meet the Newest Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den: Serial Entrepreneur Michele Romanow
Michele is a serial entrepreneur who had four successful businesses under her belt before her 29th birthday, including Buytopia and Snapsaves. The latter was renamed Snap by Groupon when it was acquired by the couponing giant in 2014, and she’s currently serving as their head of marketing. You can see her in action as one of the newest (and youngest) Dragons on CBC’s hit show, Dragons’ Den.
My first job ever was….a secretary. I learned to type fast and fix a photocopier!
I decided to be an entrepreneur because…I wanted to build something from nothing.
I learned very quickly that…it’s harder than it looks.
My boldest move to date was…buying a $15,000 ad when there was only $30,000 left in the bank. Thank goodness it worked.
When I started my first company I… quickly learned that it was more important to make decisions and act quickly than over-analyze every situation.
I try to…get a run in most mornings—but sometimes I end up just having enough time to run to work!
I finish my day by…reading and thinking.
My dream job when I was a child was…CEO.
What is your proudest accomplishment? There is something indescribable about watching your ideas become tactile – I can now hold something that was a thing of imagination. Most major CPG’s use Snap by Groupon today – and it was just an idea 2 years ago.
If I could describe myself in three words they would be…courageous, driven and kind.
My best advice from a mentor was…dream bigger, plan bigger, do bigger.
What advice do you have for young female entrepreneurs? It’s the same advice I would give any entrepreneur, start now, work hard and stop believing you need a job or a career path before taking the plunge to do something on your own. This mindset that you need a certain educational or career path before you get started is so limiting. You just have to believe in yourself and then have to do it.
Millennials are…tired of being called millennials!
My biggest setback was…almost losing all my money…more than once.
I overcame it by…showing up every morning to fight.
How do you balance work and life? Don’t kid yourself. For the first few years, there was no such thing as work-life balance. I think the most important thing was building a team I loved. Who wants to go home when your best friends are at work? But eventually, I built it in. I run marathons and make sure there is always good food found at the table.
I stay grounded by…Remembering my grandfather. He was a veterinary medicine professor in Czechoslovakia and left the country to come to Canada with three teenagers, four suitcases and $400 when he was 48 years old. From there he built a new career in Canada—at 48! I look at that and remember someone worked really hard to give me the opportunities I have in Canada.
My favourite extra-curricular activities were…debate club, piano, and cross-country running. Learning how to defend arguments at such a young age is a skill I use everyday. Piano taught me a ton of discipline; there are no shortcuts when you’re building the muscle memory to play something great. And running showed me that your body is not just a way to get to meetings; the mind is useless if the body can’t function, so build the body and you’ll build the brain.
What’s your source of inspiration? I have been inspired by different people, places, and stories. The key to staying inspired is being open to it—do not close yourself off to the world around you by focusing solely on the work in front of you. You do not always know where your next inspiring moment may come from.
The future excites me because…there are too many things in this world that need to be re-imagined.
My biggest passion is…building stuff! (I always did like lego!).