This is going to be a long In depth post!
I wrote this on a 6 hour plane ride, it is going to be long. You have been warned
It has been a relatively quiet two weeks except in one aspect, I have started working for the company “College Pro Painters”. I am going door to door seeing if people are interested in getting any paint work done in the near future. I applied for this job because both Jacob and I felt that it would be extremely beneficial for me to be in a workplace setting, especially where I am now. As I am actually getting a taste of selling things and being put in an entrepreneurial setting. Another skill that I am picking up at this job is my ability to take rejection. As counterproductive as it may seem, having doors slammed in my face is something in the world of business is going to happen and that is just a fact that I should be able to deal with.
The second thing that in have done this week is that I have reflected. One of the things I have noticed is how hard my in-depth is going to be to present. I have gathered so much information, so quickly! I find that I am barley even scratching the surface of what goes on in my meetings with Jacob, so because this blog post is supposed to consist of recording a conversation with my mentor and I have done something different I decided to talk more about, exactly what went on in our session this week between me and Jacob. The biggest thing that I have realised is that I am really not just doing my in-depth project on the world of business and entrepreneurship, but I am also working on self-improvement.
As my “why” refers to making myself the best person I can be for the people in my future, Jacob has tailored the mentoring sessions to focus equally, maybe even more towards improving my social skills and overall bettering me as a person. So back to our meeting Sunday, it focused on a four step process focused around taking advice from people. In a prior meeting we briefly covered the fact that it is best to only take advice from those who have had the advice work for them firsthand and are in a position you want to be. Sunday he followed that up with a flow chart of self-improvement. Step one is your “why”, that I have already covered. Step 2 is input. Input are the things that you observe, books, magazines, the conversations that you have with the people that you surround yourself with. You want your replicate the input of someone who has what you want. Step three is substitution, steps 2 and 3 are similar but both equally important. You need to look at it like a diet, you need to modify your input to get the specific result that you are looking for. An example of steps 2 and 3 would be, say for example you want Hugh Jackman’s arms. You will need to replicate Hugh Jackman’s “input”. His eating habits, his exercise regimen, everything! You need to realise that if you are going to modify this you cannot expect to get the same result. Be very careful when taking other people’s advice and turning it into actions. This can be a bad idea especially if that person does not have what you are looking for.
Now I will move into the transcribed interview part, because I have already talked about my chat with Jacob I wanted to share some of the actual business aspect of my project. I try to conduct 1-2 interviews with successful entrepreneurs every week. In mid-February I attended a career fair for in-depth and one of the Keynote speakers really grabbed my attention, her name was Toni Desrosiers. Toni runs a business called Abeego, you can read more about the company on their website, but it is a green company, there main product is an ecofriendly beeswax food wrap. To give some background, I was first introduced to Toni through the Green conference that I attended. She was one of the two keynote speakers and I talked to her and arranged an interview. She had discussed many of the things that I am looking at with Jacob, such as the ted talk “start with why” by Simon Sinnek that I have mentioned in many previous blog posts and even my essay.
Another reason that I wanted to include this interview is because I think that Toni has a lot of things that I am looking for and I would be looking to try to replicate her “input”, though I am not as interested in the green aspect of her work it was interesting to get a new perspective. Because it is a 20 minute phone conversation I am not going to transcribe it all but here are the first 5ish minutes, I have in italics Toni’s part of the conversation and in normal text is mine. I have also included the link to an uploaded version of the interview below.
In terms of the hats that I wore in this conversation, I think it was mostly the white hat, mostly me gathering information, but internally I think I was using other hats. The black hat and yellow hat interrupted the information, though it was not expressed to her I was analysing the effectiveness and applicability of the information to my situation. I think Toni was mostly using the red hat, as she was mostly talking about her personal experience and thoughts.
Me = regular text
Also please feel free to look into Toni’s website and company at abeego.com
I asked to interview you because I was really interested in the point you brought up with the “why thing
Yeah good I am glad to hear that
Yeah, so I revisited the ted talk by Simon Sinnek… actually let me rewind a little bit and give you some backstory into what got me into the conference in the first place
So I am at Gleneagle secondary school in Coquitlam, and we are doing this project called the “in-depth” project where we go in-depth on one specific area of interest. My specific area of interest is entrepreneurship. So I took that and I evaluated what I would want a company to look like. I am working with a mentor named Jacob and he was the one who introduced me to the ted talk in the first place. One of my biggest focuses so far in this project has been creating a “why” and working around the process of creating business plans and what have you.
So the why that I have is to become the best man that I possibly can in the future, this protains to being a father, son, brother that I can be and I think that one of the most important aspects of that is being able to provide for them financially, I think the best way to do that is starting a business.
Okay, it’s good to have a personal why. That’s great! So you have already been introduced to the concept so that’s good.
Okay so do you have a particular business that you were thinking of starting or do you have particular questions for me?
Yea of course, I just wanted to share my “why” with you and to see if you had any thoughts on that, but was also curious as to what you’re “why” looks like?
Hmm. Okay well my “why” is that I am very much a believer in nature and I believe that nature provides an abundance of food so it would be intelligent enough to be able to find a way to preserve that food, so that’s the process for me. Or the reason “why” I make the product Abeego is because it is nature taking care of nature. I think that can be applied in many concepts but that is what is behind Abeego.
Okay cool, so something I am still a little confused about, because I was introduced to the concept fairly recently is the difference between the “how” and the “what”
The “how” and the “what”?
Well the how for you would be to start a business but the “what” would be simply what kind of business? What does your business do? What does it look like? What are you offering? And then if you apply that to your personal life that is one thing but then you have to apply it to the business that you start. It is going to be easy to identify what you do, because what you do is tangible, but you have to work in “why” you do it. The what, I mean for us is that we make beeswax food wrap, the how is the materials that we use and the why is because we have a strong belief in nature.
Okay awesome! So I guess my next question here touches on how did you get this business started? How did you get the funding and where did that come from?
Okay so I funded it myself. I funded Abeego when the recession started and there was no funding. There was certainly no funding for a business like mine, that was completely unproven and I didn’t even know what it was. I suppose that it is the difference of, maybe because I invented Abeego, I invented the concept, that means I have to understand exactly what it was before it had any real value of what it did how it was going to solve people’s problems and more than that, if it was going to solve people’s problems because I really didn’t know that it would. I didn’t know, I mean it was more than just a gut feeling, there was tonnes of research of natural preservatives that really helped me come up with the concept. For me in terms of funding there was a very low start-up cost because, I made everything and I also had made prototype equipment to make Abeego. This has helped us take an approach where, instead of putting up a huge capital investment on equipment that while may be available, costs $100,000, we have done it in a saleable fashion where we can introduce new pieces of equipment as we need it and continue to grow.