Inspirations and Tips From The Fall For Local Speaker Series.
Written by Mara Falstein
I had the pleasure of spending last Thursday with the Social City Networking girls Sara and Krista at the first annual Fall for Local Speaker Series. For her third year of Fall For Local in Vancouver, director and founder Kelly Turner decided to expand the event to include a daytime speaker series in addition to the event’s traditional evening Pop Up Soiree, featuring a wide variety of small Vancouver businesses setting up shop and dishing out information and samples to Vancouverites curious to discover some new gems in their city’s flourishing small business marketplace. The speaker series included a wide variety of panels, a few of which are recapped in this summary below for those who couldn’t make the talks. I’ve given a brief summary of the topic of conversation and a few of the main themes and takeaways from three of the talks and would highly recommend attending future events if you want to learn more about how to succeed as an entrepreneur in Vancouver or how to make that transition from day job grind to passion project hustle.
For more information about the event, make sure to check out the Fall For Local website http://www.fallinlovewithlocal.com/ and to hear about upcoming events, follow them on Instagram @fallforlocal
Started in Vancouver by a pair of sisters (Tegan and Lindsay), Treasures and Travels began as a passion project and quickly evolved into so much more. They recently quit their day jobs and made the leap into the full time world of entrepreneurialism. With an Instagram of beautifully curated lifestyle photographs and almost 40k followers, it’s easy to see why; however, the most compelling part of Tegan and Lindsay’s talk was their honesty and vulnerability in acknowledging the hindrances and setbacks along their path to success.
- The 3C’s and the White Wall. These were what T+L described as their guideposts to success. The three C’s are: consistency (creating a regular, consistent posting schedule for their blog and their Instagram account), content (keeping all of their content high quality, on brand and authentic/raw), and connections (forming collaborations with others is essential to success, be it with other lifestyle blogs, small local businesses, or even with your loyal followers). The white wall became their shining beacon when times got tough: as long as we have a white wall, we will be okay. The white wall, or their blank canvas for creating photographs and content for their website, became their symbol of consistency, something that even when times got tough and they lost their studio space, they could at least shove the furniture in Tegan’s living room aside and they had a space to work.
- The Power of Being Open and Authentic. As a pair of sisters running a lifestyle blog, their separation between work and life became tenuous. This meant that when they went through hardships, such as losing their third business partner, then their studio, and finally their mother to cancer (and all within the period of a few tumultuous months), they made the conscious decision to hit the pause button on their blog to spend time with family as they reassessed their plan. Everything had been going so well and they were suddenly in the midst of such a huge setback. They had to start working their day jobs again and work out of their living rooms again. It was refreshing to hear two successful entrepreneurs with such an obvious success story share the reality of a journey that was definitely not always smooth sailing. Hearing what they learned in the process of the setback—which ultimately showed them the strength of their safety net(work) of friends, family and businesses—was inspiring.
“Let’s Talk Money” with Paulina Cameron of Futurepreneur
Futurepreneur, a killer non-profit dedicated to providing seed money and/or mentorship for new entrepreneurs, had representative Paulina come to give a presentation about funding your entrepreneurial adventures. She brought the co-founders of Goliath Coffee, one of the businesses providing the refreshments for the day and a business funded by Futurepreneur, to the stage to share their story from idea to full-fledged business. Here were a few of my main takeaways.
- Start by creating a business plan. The most imporatnt step after coming up with the initial idea is to create a business plan. This means narrowing your focus and doing lots of market research. Andy and Kyle said that when researching Goliath, they made it a point to visit their competition and ask as many questions as they could. They found that many business owners were very forthcoming and helpful in answering their questions.
- Research how much money you need (and how you intend to spend it). Paulina said that one of the most important (and often overlooked steps) is to do your research and understand what you need before you ask for help. Find out what you will need your funding for and how much each component will cost so that when you approach a bank or organization such as futurepreneur, you show that you are serious about your business plan and have thought about how you will be spending the money.
- Create a Plan B. One of the things Futurepreneur looks for as a crucial component of the business plan is an answer to this question “if it doesn’t go according to plan, how are you planning to handle the setback?” A common answer Paulina gets is “I will cry” and—while that may be true—it’s important to know that you have an answer for how to recover from setback. It might mean moving back in with your parents. It might mean researching how much you’d be able to get back if you sold some of your more expensive equipment, or that your parents have a nest egg that they are willing to step in with if necessary.
Confessions of an Entrepreneur
A panel of entrepreneurs in a Q&A style discussion of the ups and downs of the entrepreneur lifestyle. Panelists included: Marissa Cristina of Design Love Co., Pippa Henrichsen of PetitePuf, Conner G of Junction, and Jason Sarai of Style By Sarai, moderated by Randa Salloum of The-Unprecedented
- Long hours are inescapable when you’re your own boss. The life of the entrepreneur dictates that you live and breathe what you do. You do it because you love it and while you often work long hours and don’t enjoy the traditional separation between work life and home life, that’s a conscious choice and a sacrifice you’re more than willing to make.
- Use high profile influences to grow your business. Target people in your physical or online circles who have a large social following. Enroll them in your business/product/services. Offer them your services/product at a discount (or even for free) in exchange for capitalizing on their network. In the process, you’ll begin to forge a friendship and collaboration with businesses which you can grow with.
- Just do it. You’re never going to be 100% prepared and ready. If you see other people out there doing something poorly and gaining profit or recognition, don’t sit back and fume. Those people are seeing success not because they’re good or talented, but because they went out there and started doing it. Don’t sit back and wait for timing. Get out there as soon as possible and start making and trying things.
Find out more about Mara and what she’s up to here:
twitter : @marasfn