Today I am sharing something that is a little different than my usual article. While in the past I have focused my blogging energy on sharing trends, and best practices for businesses to consider, today I am going to share why I decided to leave an amazing role at Giants & Gentlemen in order to re-start my own business, as well as what my plans are for 2020.
Why I Am Re-starting My Own Business
When I speak to people about my role at G&G, my colleagues, and the clients I work with, many don’t understand why I would leave. I think the best way to explain my decision is by explaining how I joined G&G, and what lead me to become a “Gent”.
After I completed my degree in software development it was clear to me that I didn’t want the traditional developer job. My interest in development stemmed from finding problems businesses faced and coming up with solutions that could help owners overcome them. It quickly occured to me that one of the most creative ways to do this was by helping businesses come up with their digital transformation plans. After exploring different ways to do this I decided the most rewarding career path for me would be in advertising.
Having little experience, and not having a network to rely on, I started an “agency” called YouTalkMedia. I began posting on Kijiji, Craigslist, and other classified websites trying to find businesses that were looking for help. Business was slow at first, but within a few months I had my first clients and began working with them. A few months went by, and through word of mouth I had a steady flow of businesses reaching out to have their websites developed, or to have consultations on how to best use social media, or where to put their media dollars.
I had been running YouTalkMedia for around two years when I was approached by someone I worked with on one of my larger clients. He was working for an established agency in Toronto who were looking to expand their digital department. They had just taken on some larger web projects and needed help with the workload to complete them. I agreed to help out, and began working as a freelancer helping G&G to develop their clients’ websites. Three months into working with G&G their in house developer moved out of the country, and left an opening. I was asked to step into the role, and I accepted.
Over the next three years I transitioned into the role of “Director of Digital Services” at G&G; building out G&G’s digital offerings, and becoming the “go to” guy for anything digital.
While the time I spent at G&G has been nothing short of amazing, I found the longer I stayed in the role, the more I missed the hustle of working with small businesses. There are things that make working with small businesses difficult, but the satisfaction of seeing the direct impact and results of launching a new website, or a new campaign for a small business is something that was immeasurable for me.
My Plans For 2020
As you can likely infer from the above, I am re-starting my own agency. What you may not know is that I am also re-locating out of Toronto. While Toronto will always hold a special place in my heart, with living expenses going up, and Toronto becoming one of the most expensive cities to live in, it just didn’t make sense for me to start my new business in a place where all the cards would be stacked against its success.
Instead of entering a highly competitive market, where I would have a ton of overhead costs, I have decided to follow the trend that many Toronto millennials are beginning to take part in. I am moving to one of the many small Ontario towns where the cost of living is much lower, and more opportunities exist to start a business.
I decided on Midland/Penetanguishene as my new home base. For the people who have never heard of the two “twin towns”, they are located around 2 hours north of Toronto. Midland has around 18,000 permanent residents, but is also a tourism hot-spot, with around 100,000 tourists visiting during the summer months. Penetang is smaller with around 8,000 permanent residents, and is a short 5 minute drive from Midland.
With start up costs low, I was able to secure an office space downtown Penetang right across from the town’s post office. It is here that I will continue serving my existing clients, but will also begin helping local businesses.
In March 2020 I will officially be open for business. (Although my office space may still be under renovation.) I’m looking forward to hosting a grand opening party, as well as hosting regular community workshops to help small businesses understand what they can do online to boost their success.
As I’m sure many people will be interested in seeing how I progress with opening my own business, I decided I would blog about the process, as well as start up a YouTube channel (no videos yet) to share my successes and failures along the way.
Stay tuned, wish me luck, and if you have any advice or general comments please let me know below!
Last modified: February 21, 2020