Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Colleen Chapman, CEO of CanScribe Career College, located in Kelowna, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
CanScribe Career College is a private online post-secondary career college that started in 2002. We cater to individuals 18+ looking to upgrade their skill sets in a variety of different course offerings (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Medical Terminology, Typing, Personal Financial Planning, ESL, etc.) and to train for a new career in a growing number of different programs (Healthcare Documentation, Virtual Assistant, Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialist, Virtual Scribe, etc.).
As all of our programs are online, we accept students from around the globe. Our programs prepare graduates for both onsite and at-home career opportunities. CanScribe is designated by the Ministry of Advanced Education in BC through the Private Training Institutions Branch.
Tell us about yourself
People have classified me as a serial entrepreneur, and I can confirm that I started working at a very young age! From selling programs at a local hockey arena when I was five years old to packing and selling cow manure at age 10, chambermaiding at 12, giving horseback riding lessons, and working at restaurants in my teens, I was always for ways to earn money and get ahead. I initially worked in finance after graduation and then moved into marketing, both of which gave me a great foundation for understanding business. I also gained a lot of fantastic experience while working in the ad agency business in Vancouver, BC, Canada. There, I started up a new boutique agency for the owners - which became a hugely successful business. I was working full-time, had two young kids at home, and was also consulting for six other businesses.
The time came for a change, and I decided to branch out on my own. I expanded my consulting business and came across the opportunity to offer Medical Transcription training in Canada - and thus, CanScribe was created! Education was never on my radar, but being able to provide training to individuals has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. When a graduate phones and explains how you have helped positively affect their life for the better, well, nothing compares.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been the opportunity to help others succeed. I am a very competitive person, so I always set the bar high. I only wanted to offer the best products, supported by the best customer service. In doing so, CanScribe has gained a great reputation and has helped thousands of people succeed. In 2021 and 2022, we received back-to-back School of Excellence Awards from AHDI. We have an amazing team at CanScribe, some of whom have been with me for over 15 years, and many who are former graduates! That, along with our graduate and employer testimonials, referrals, and success stories, let us know we are on the right track.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Delegating. It's been one of the hardest things for me to learn how to do. I am a great multi-tasker and can handle a lot thrown at me, but there comes a time when you can't do it all and have to learn to spread the work to others. If not, you'll drown. I laugh when people tell me I'm so lucky to have my own business because I get to pick my hours... hah! When you own your own business, you are on call 24/7, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have also learned how to say 'no.' That sounds simple, but for me, it wasn't. I never wanted to let anyone down. But again, there comes a time when you have to understand that it's okay to say no.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Offer great products and back them up with amazing customer service.
- Hire great people. Skills can be taught... attitude cannot.
- Don't try and do it all. Delegate what you don't know to those who do.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I mentioned being a serial entrepreneur earlier, so I couldn't have just one company! I am a co-founder of Weave Enterprises - a start-up tech company, Just Jord Holdings - real estate, Docnito - education; and also President of Focus College! I also love spending time with my family, playing pickleball, hiking, and traveling. My retirement plans include starting and running our charity called HELPUS.care which will involve Heath, Education, Learning, and Protection for people across the globe.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.