Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Robyn Mulligan, owner of Balance Explore, located in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a local artist based in Canmore, Alberta, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. My Balance Explore brand is inspired by a love of the outdoors and blends art and function.

My colourful designs merge classic natural elements with vibrant colours, creating a fresh take on the familiar. Exploring the mountains, lakes, and river valleys inspired me to create images that reflect my passion for the outdoors. My functional art engages each individual with their OWN sense of adventure, colour, vibrancy, and connection with nature. Proud to be Canadian, products are sourced as close to home as possible, often partnering with local suppliers.

Tell us about yourself

On any given day, you can find me hiking a mountain pass, climbing up a rock wall, practicing yoga beside the river, or cross-country skiing with friends. And you might just run into me biking around town or at a local café sipping tea. A love of the outdoors and nature is what inspires me most! We only get this one world to live in... lets each make the most of it!

I am inspired to create affordable art and can have a function. It could be putting a sticker of my art on your water bottle, bike, car, or phone or using a Buff to keep your neck warm. Or coming soon, it could be using my new deck of cards on your next camping trip with family or friends. I am inspired and so stoked by the idea that my art brings people joy in their day-to-day lives!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I feel like my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is winning and getting my art installed around downtown Canmore as the local street banners.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the most challenging things for me that comes with being a business owner is uncertainty. The uncertainty of income, the uncertainty of what will sell, and the uncertainty of what the next project/design will be. The flexibility that comes with the uncertainty is an asset as well as it is a challenge though I have the ability to go for a hike, rock climb, or walk with a friend because I have such flexibility in my schedule. Sooo... I have a love, hate relationship with uncertainty when it comes to my business. It is what I like the most and the least!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

If I had to choose three things to share with someone starting out or wanting to run and grow a business today, I would have to say that:

  1. Do something that you love - not because if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life... but because living your best life starts with joy and passion so that when times are challenging, you have the anchor of your passion for keeping you steady.
  2. Diversify - put your proverbial eggs in more than one basket because there are so many things that are out of your control, so you may as well give yourself some safety nets.
  3. Just jump - taking that first leap was one of the most challenging things of my life, but it taught me how to keep on jumping every day in small ways.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

One of the best pieces of advice I read recently was, “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.” – Brené Brown.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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