Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amber Rohal, Owner and Publisher of Active Parents, located in Burlington, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Active Parents helps families in Halton, Hamilton and Niagara find the best things to do with their kids. We make finding fun easy with our events calendar, our list of weekend activities, and our website, which is brimming with ideas, destinations, and day trips families love. We also parent with the best local businesses to help them reach a wide audience of engaged parents who are on the hunt to find great businesses to support.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a mom to two brilliant young ladies, and they are the reason I do what I do. When I decided to stay home with my daughters, who were 2 and 4 years old, I needed things to do with them! There was so much noise to wade through, and the gems often required some serious internet digging. If I was finding it time-consuming to plan a simple outing, I knew other parents were too. So with a few keystrokes, we created a public Facebook page where we shared everything and anything kid-friendly. Whenever a new person liked the page or shared our ideas, I knew we were on to something. I had some great marketing brains in my circle who would share ideas and suggestions. They propelled me forward with their ideas and confidence. Now, anytime someone says, "Wow, this looks awesome!" I do a happy dance because I know we've helped families make core memories. My family loves my job, too! And by sharing our first-hand accounts of play centres, farms, and major attractions, we help moms and dads plan awesome things to do with confidence. I cannot even begin to count the number of new and unique experiences we have helped local families enjoy. This is why we do it!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Just doing it! Owning your own business (especially one as fun as Active Parents) sounds like a dream, but there are hard days, too. I run the day-to-day operations and work to improve the user experience while balancing the books and planning for the future! And I'm proud of the way this business has steadily grown through authentic word of mouth and hard work. I have become a trusted resource in my community and region, and I take that honour seriously. 2022 was the year we hired our first employees. I feel so proud to know I can support moms in our community to provide for their families while still being completely accessible to their kids.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Disconnecting. Because my job has so many opportunities for fun, I can be found with my laptop balanced on the couch after dinner, or I'm dictating a new article while waiting in the car for my kids. My mind is always on and always looking for the next fantastic to share! Thankfully my kids get it, and they are more than happy to come along and check out a new spot.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Grow slowly, happily. We all want to be overnight sensations, but that often comes with major uphill battles we didn't expect. Appreciate the journey because as long as you are moving forward, you're moving in the right direction. Secondly, have a plan. Winging it for a month or two might be fine, but real growth (and profit) only come with a plan. You need to know what to do next. A business plan will always be a reliable guide to keep you focused on tasks that bring results instead of wasting your valuable time. Lastly, you need a strong support system. You need people in your corner to cheer you on, kick your butt, and lick envelopes (metaphorically, of course!) Everyone in your wide circle can help in some way, and if you're a solo business owner, you will need them! I am thankful to the Active Parents team I have built and my strong business owner friends who guide, advise and high-five me.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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