Three Signs That You Should be an Entrepreneur

joanna track

Wondering if it’s time to start your own business? If you are at that crossroad in your career, Joanna Track is here to help you get over to the other side. As a serial entrepreneur — she’s the founder of sweetspot.ca, eLuxe.ca, Good Eggs & Co., and The Bullet — Joanna has figured out how to judge if you’re ready for your next (or first) venture.

By Joanna Track


I love starting businesses. While some people find that less palatable than a root canal, for me, the inception is my sweet spot. And the recent launch of my latest brain child, a daily email news digest called The Bullet, makes it my fourth time at this particular rodeo.
But it’s not without angst. While I relish in the adrenaline rush I get from developing the idea, bringing my team together, and breathing life into the concept, I can admit that there are moments when the words “What was I thinking?” are raging through my head (usually at 3am).
Like you, I have a voice inside of me that rolls all of my fears and insecurities into one giant ball of anxiety. It sounds exactly like the voice of the skeptics and naysayers. And it asks why I want to put myself on the line again, take a chance, dance with potential failure, make more work for myself, and so on.
How do I get past it? By reminding myself of what I was thinking and feeling when I decided to give it another shot. And if these resonate with you, it might be your time for a new venture, too.

 

1. You need to play in the game.

While I’ve met some great people and done interesting work over the last three years at my consultancy firm, Good Eggs & Co., at times I felt like the overqualified water girl – very supportive, but not part of the action. If your current role has you feeling like a cog in the wheel rather than the captain of your ship, you might have just the personality needed for running your own business.

 

2. You want to practice what you preach.

I’ve spent over a decade building content platforms and strategies both for my own brands and for clients. I know it requires dedication, commitment and passion for a subject. The Bullet checks all those boxes for me. What ignites your passion?

 

3. You like to be uncomfortable.

My latest venture has me writing about the news. Why is this uncomfortable? Because I spent the early part of my life limiting my need to string a sentence together (that may seem like an odd reason to major in mathematics, but it’s true). Why do I love it? Because it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. If you love expanding your knowledge and expertise, there’s no school quite like entrepreneurship.

So, here I am. I get up at 5:45am to watch and read the news, edit copy, update HTML, and send the Daily Bullet into the world. Could it be a colossal failure? Possibly. Could your idea for a business be a big flop? Maybe. But we both have a chance for great success, and we get to do it on our terms.

 

 

22 lessons from successful female entrepreneurs

These 22 women were selected from over 4,000 nominees to become finalists for the 2014 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. From construction to retail, communications to industrial services, they manage more than 2,300 employees and over $190 million in gross profit. Here they are with their biggest lessons learned.

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How to Get on Boards

Develop your career and your community by serving on a board of directors.

BY GILLIAN HEWITT-SMITH


Investing the time to make a positive difference in your community is one of the best career moves you can make. A great way to contribute is to serve on a voluntary committee
or board of directors. The personal dividends you earn can be reinvested into your career through renewed energy, leadership and problem solving experience, as well as a growing and expanded network of valuable contacts.

BOARD MEMBER ATTRIBUTES

A board of directors is a group of elected or appointed members who jointly govern the policies and activities of the organization. The best boards are comprised of members who share a passion and commitment for what their organization does. Board members should have a good understanding of fundraising or be very comfortable approaching those in their network about donations and fundraising. Overall, networking is key. Board members must be able to build rapport, make friends and expand the community of their organization. Most boards need and value diversity — members who bring different backgrounds, expertise and ways of thinking to the board. This can help facilitate balanced decision-making and checks and balances within the board. Finally, a good board of directors is comprised of doers and implementers. That is, taking a can-do attitude and getting things done. If this sounds like you, you will be in great demand.

PICK YOUR PASSION

Depending on where you are in your own personal and professional development, you have some combination of five things to offer: time, energy, ideas (drawn from your professional experience and elsewhere), influence and financial support. You can think of the process as a job search: you want to make sure you can make a valuable contribution, build a long-term relationship with the organization and stand proudly as its ambassador. Pick your passion by starting with what interests you. No matter what
gets your juices flowing — the arts, city-building initiatives, social justice or healthcare concerns — there will be an organization to match. Start your research with some due diligence. Read the organization’s annual report and financial statements. Attend a community meeting or special event. Talk to those within the organization. Get a sense of the organization’s role in your community and in the work being done. When you’re ready, ask for a meeting with the organization’s volunteer co-ordinator or executive director.
The right ‘fit’ is vital to both parties.

CONTRIBUTION AND COMMITMENT

Before you agree to volunteer, understand the terms of the relationship. Do they want you to attend monthly board or committee meetings? Pitch in with hands-on help? Is there an
expected financial contribution? Every single opportunity will be different, so be clear on what you both need and can offer. Serving on a board or committee is a fulfilling way to build your career, contribute to your community and have a wonderful personal experience along the way. Get involved and enjoy!

GETTING STARTED: RESEARCH AND RESOURCES
Finding the right volunteer organization and opportunity will take time and effort. Talk to friends and colleagues about where (and why) they volunteer.

TIP: Online and retail bookstores will have an abundance of books to help your research and learning. Enter key words into search engines, browse the selections and further customize your search. You can also formalize your training and preparation. For example, the Institute of Corporate Directors offers an excellent course called Governance Essentials Program for Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations.

THESE ONLINE RESOURCES CAN HELP YOU LEARN MORE AND GET INVOLVED:
Volunteer.ca – www.getinvolved.ca
CHARITY VILLAGE – www.charityvillage.ca
BUSINESS FOR THE ARTS BOARDLINK – businessforthearts.org/boardlink/boardlink


As someone who has mastered the value of networking, being involved and making a difference, Gillian Hewitt Smith is president of the board of directors for The Stop Community Food Centre and co-chairs the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Next program, in addition to sitting on 15 other boards in the community and in addition to her full-time job as a CEO. Currently, she is executive director and CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. Formerly she was the senior advisor of Corporate Affairs and head of communications of Capital Markets Canada at RBC, and former manager of Corporate Reputation at Aeroplan. She is active with each venture she participates in and is stellar at time management. To understand the importance of sitting on a board, we asked Gillian to share her expertise with our readers to help realize the how and why of this important career move.

Great Impression – Mia Pearson, High Road Communications

It takes about six seconds for someone to develop an opinion about you the first time you are introduced, so how can you ensure you make the best impression? Mia Pearson, CEO and Co-Founder of one of Canada’s leading public relations agencies, will provide you with tips on just that. In this presentation she will discuss the crucial role strong communication skills play in both your personal and business interactions, and how you can harness the power of communications to achieve your goals.

With more than two decades in the business, Mia is the Co-Founder and CEO of High Road Communications and the President of the Canadian region of Fleishman-Hillard. She also writes a weekly column in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business.

Inspired By…Confident Women who know how to interview

Women of Influence just conducted a search for a new Event Director and Coordinator.  It is absolutely great to see young women confident in their talent, skills, and character, confident enough to know what they know and what they don’t, and confident enough to let their light shine through for interviewers to see it.

I am happy to welcome two bright young women to the team; Anna Bartula, Event Director, and Amanda Roberts as Event Coordinator.

Want to give a great interview?  Cut the to chase.  When an interview comes to an end, ask how you did and where you stand.  It is most likely that your interviewer has a good idea of your ability to do the job and your potential fit within the organization, so why not prevent the waiting game; once you’re out of that room it’s hard to get the feedback.  If you said something that was a “red flag” for them, or if you’re simply not the right candidate, you’ll open yourself up to learning from an honest conversation from the source.  This is the best way to learn and hone your skills to be great in an interview.

And once you’ve done that, and you’re in the mix, follow these tips from The Globe and Mail >