Announcing Ignite The Maritimes!

Announcing Ignite The Maritimes!

I’m proud to share “Ignite The Maritimes”, a mini-documentary series telling the stories of successful startup founders in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The idea for this project came to me in the summer of 2015, but I procrastinated in getting started on it. I remember going for a drive with my good friend Mich and telling him about my vision for the project. As I explained it, Mich said he could feel my passion and energy, but I felt the timing wasn’t right. So, I waited and waited for that gut feeling you get before you begin something amazing. And then, 2016 came, which I dubbed with the theme of Relationships. The one thing I felt I was missing in my life in terms of relationships was mentors – entrepreneurs, who had built successful startups, whom I could model. With that on my mind, the project I talked to Mich about 6 months ago started making a lot more sense. What if I could sit down and interview some of the top startup founders in my region and ask them any question I wanted? How much inspiration and insight would that provide to other would-be founders? Would it remove some of the doubt about building startups in the Maritimes? Was it a “hell yeah!” decision? I thought so, and today, I’m excited to launch the first three episodes. Mich later joined me as my co-producer and Julie, an independent freelancer, who worked with me on ToothbrushSubscriptions.com, came onboard as our videographer. Our mission is simple – to show what’s possible for startup founders in the...
Is the Reason you Joined Toastmasters the Same Reason you Stayed?

Is the Reason you Joined Toastmasters the Same Reason you Stayed?

*For those who don’t know, Toastmasters is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. I joined the “Schooner Toastmasters” club in Larry Uteck, Nova Scotia in April of 2015. I originally gave this topic as a speech, and was asked to turn it into an article, but I decided to share it on my person blog as well. Anytime I want to improve a skill, I devour every book possible on the subject. As I completed the 4th or 5th sales book, there was one common piece of advice they all recommended – become a great communicator. And the best possible way of doing that? By joining a local Toastmasters club. So, I joined in 2015. I joined to improve my communication skills, which in turn, would improve my ability to sell. The funny thing is, while I joined for this reason, it wasn’t the reason I kept coming back. Growing up and through university, I played competitive basketball. I was always on a team. And I liked being part of a team. As I grew older, I began to miss this part of basketball. Sure, shooting hoops was still fun, but a big part was still missing. Soon after university, I started working remotely, and before I knew it, I was spending a lot of time working alone in coffee shops or my apartment. When I joined Toastmasters, I became a part of a team again. The sense of community simply blew me away. Everyone is there for a common goal: to improve their own communication skills and...
I Stopped Drinking for 365 Days. Here’s What Happened

I Stopped Drinking for 365 Days. Here’s What Happened

On December 31st, 2014, I made the decision not to drink alcohol for the next 365 days. Why? Simple — because I gave 2015 a theme: “The Year of Fundamentals”. Once I made my choice, the rest was easy. Drinking was not a fundamental. In fact, it made it hard for other fundamentals like health and personal finances. Full Credit: the yearly theme idea was from Ramit Sethi, a successful author and entrepreneur in New York, who is big into coaching personal finance and behaviour change, among other things. I’m a big believer in something I like to call “little wins” and “little losses”. The theory behind this is that over a long period of time, lots of “little wins” will add up to a BIG win. The same goes for little losses. Little loses could be anything from pressing the “snooze” button in the morning to skipping a workout you scheduled, or not taking a risk that could have opened up a new opportunity for you. In the moment, it might seem like there’s almost no consequence. A lot of people choose to watch Netflix instead of reading a book, right? But if these things happen too often, they begin to add up. Before you know it, these little losses start to define you. Drinking, to me, was a “little loss”. I hated the “ups and downs” that came as a result of one too many beers. A hangover might take me out for a day, but it could take weeks for me to recover mentally. It made my mind fuzzy, halted any momentum I had, and threw...
How Losing a Wager for $2000 to Dan Martell Took Me from Fall River, Nova Scotia to The Heart of Silicon Valley

How Losing a Wager for $2000 to Dan Martell Took Me from Fall River, Nova Scotia to The Heart of Silicon Valley

In early 2014, Dan Martell, founder of Clarity, tweeted that he was in Halifax for an event and was looking for entrepreneurs to have lunch with. Knowing Dan’s background, I jumped on the opportunity and tweeted back, asking to join. We ended up meeting for lunch later that day with two others. During lunch, Dan was dropping entrepreneurial knowledge bombs left and right, like “Only internalize advice from people who are as successful as you want to be” “Invest in entrepreneurs first, then the company”. Using Gagan Biyani, the founder of Sprig, as an example, he said he would invest in whatever Gagan did because he is Gagan; he’s proven himself. “As an entrepreneur, being accountable to someone is important”. Our conversation led to Dan making a “Martell Bet” with me. Over lunch, I told Dan about my startup — ToothbrushSubscriptions.com. He asked how I was measuring growth, and I told him we were aiming to grow our customer base at the rate Paul Graham recommended — 10% weekly. I talked about our team, our goals, and where I saw the business going in the future. He came back to me with a “Martell Bet”. Seeing my position and my need for a larger team (a full-time designer and developer), he threw out a goal of reaching $15,000 net profit in 6 months time. If achieved, this would give me $5000 in personal expenses and $5000 to the developer and the designer each to come on board short term. I took the bet without much thought. The wager was that Dan would give me $1000 cash on the day...