Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Claudia Harvey, President & Co-Founder of BG Wealth Group and CEO and Founder of Dig It Apparel Inc., located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started Dig It® Inc in 2008 with a pair of gloves over a family BBQ. There was a need for quality, stylish products for women who enjoy the outdoors lifestyle. And I invented Dig It® Handwear for women who liked to take care of themselves while still being very active outdoors. Nothing like it existed in the world. It is a unique utility glove with an industrial design patent Pillow-top Protector® embedded in each fingertip to protect nails and hands from debris, to allow anyone wearing them the "Freedom to Dig Deep."
Dig It® Handwear was introduced to worldwide exposure when Dig It® struck a deal with Kevin O'Leary on CBC's Dragons' Den, also of NBC's Shark Tank fame. Dig It Handwear is sold worldwide, and Dig It has since launched other products.
Fast forward to late 2020, as we expanded our product line to meet the needs of women AND their families… Dig It purchased Suncayr™, and its unique product, SPOTMYUV®, revolutionizing the sun care industry. A Canadian invention made in the United States, SPOTMYUV® tells anyone when they need to reapply their sunscreen in real-time. SPOT is a sticker you apply to clean, dry skin, and it takes the guesswork out of reapplying to ensure you can be sun-safe and enjoy the outdoors! As you run, swim, sweat, and play, SPOTMYUV's patented Dermatrue® skin mimicking technology interacts with sunscreen like your skin, giving you a personalized reminder of when it's time to reapply your sunscreen. Clear when safe, purple when it's time to reapply.
A proudly Canadian company, Dig Its head office is located in Toronto, Canada, and has expanded to Buffalo, USA, and Brisbane, Australia. The company strongly believes in integrating products, lifestyle, and a solid corporate social responsibility. Growing Dig It enabled me the freedom and flexibility to raise my three children and be present in their lives. I also have a burning desire to help other women and their families grow, learn, develop and thrive. In 2018 I co-created The Beyond Growth Scholarship Fund to support one deserving youth to go to University each year in an underprivileged community.
As Dig It grew, I also Co-Founded BG Wealth Group and its subsidiary companies. BG Wealth Group is a conglomerate of companies in the financial, restaurant, and hospitality space and growing yearly. Using the formula of "Learn what works, do it again… rinse and repeat", I create companies, employ people internationally and grow teams along the way to ensure success.
Tell us about yourself
The concepts of financial success and a strong work ethic were instilled in me at a very young age. My family believed in the value of success that making money was a good thing, and success was measured by the money you made. Money was a tool for daily survival and celebrating life's comforts and luxuries.
My family instilled qualities such as confidence, a desire to excel, the love of travel, and fierce independence throughout my life. I'm a firm believer in George Bernard Shaw's famous quote, "You don't find yourself, you create yourself." Therefore, every interaction is a precious stone on the path to your unstoppable life.
After a successful corporate career, I chose to start my first company, not for financial reasons, but for the flexibility that enabled me to raise my three children. They were 10,6 and 4 when I started Dig It, and as they grew, the company grew. As a result of Dig It's success, I became an international keynote speaker and best-selling author. I am honoured to be awarded the 2019 Top Female Business Leader Award from The International Association of Top Professionals. In 2019, I joined powerhouse women such as Oprah Winfrey and other outstanding influencers as a contributing author of America's Leading Ladies.
I always strive to have three things in my life: strength, balance, and harmony. Strength from within, and I surround myself with people that will support me, are like-minded, are optimistic. Balance means that I can manage my personal and business objectives with the wheels staying on the cart… which can certainly take some maneuvering at times! Harmony occurs when the events and people that matter in my life are all moving together in harmony. And each of the three needs to be in congruence with our personal goals. And if those three things are not in my life, then I'm out of sync. It affects how I move through life.
In retrospect, I realize that as I added family and other commitments outside a career to my life, I inherently gravitated towards these words until I carved out an individual path that worked for me. And I think many entrepreneurs and business people strive for similar things, but they might not even know it or have yet to identify it in themselves.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating and expanding unique products that positively impact and affect lives is very rewarding. I began to Dig It and pitched on Dragons' Den. Fast forward ten years, the "pitcher" became a venture capitalist and bought companies to expand in multiple areas. I can't create these opportunities and carry out the vision without hiring and developing outstanding individuals who, in turn, form teams to reflect our company's mission and values to grow and generate further opportunities. It's an upward spiral of positive growth that I'm proud to say positively impacts others.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
At times, keeping the faith and staying true to the long game can be challenging on the days that come out of the blue. We all have those days, don’t we? Have a vision. Stay true to it. And being the leader in the company, we need to motivate the team to weather storms and also celebrate wins!
Some of the choices and decisions we must make:
What direction is the best one to take?
How do we leave a situation that no longer serves us?
How do we overcome the fear of the unknown?
Most importantly, how do we create the momentum to live our best and most fulfilling lives?
The first step in moving forward and becoming unstoppable is to become an opportunity taker, knowing you have a network of people behind you for support and a gamut of experience to draw upon.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I believe in what I call The Three Pillars of Possibility™ that supports us as we grow. These Pillars are:
Pillar One: Emotional Support
I define this as the emotional structure surrounding you. This includes the people close to you, your business partners, your family, your friends, etc., that enable you to thrive and positively help you with goals, direction, advice, and more. I keep naysayers at bay and cultivate a network of people I can rely on and that, in turn, can depend on me!
Pillar Two: Business support: Know Your Market
The second pillar is understanding the world around you. Are you an entrepreneur? Do you own your own business? Do you have a job? Do you want to leave your job? It doesn't really matter if you run your own business or if you have a job. Whether owner, investor, chief cook, or bottle washer, to thrive, you need to have a good handle on the nuances, the politics, the corporate culture, the competition, and the economy. This is even more important if you are an entrepreneur. You also have to figure out your niche and identify what makes you stand out from the crowd.
For example, Dig It® was launched in 2008. What happened in 2008? The recession. Did I have any idea that the recession would be as long or as hard as it was? No, but we kept a pulse on the economy and its impact on our business. Dig It was started with the plan to be in the United States within five years, but the U.S. was still in a recession five years later. What did we do? We ensured our cash flow was stable and watched and waited for improvements south of the border. Then grew into the U.S. and beyond with a strong understanding of the markets.
Pillar Three: Financial Support
Understanding and supporting yourself financially is the key to growth. You already know I eventually left my corporate life to become an entrepreneur. What you may not know is how long it took me to make the move. I did not quit the next day, the next week, or even the next month, although some days I wanted to. (I think we've all been there). I first created a little nest egg for myself. Then, I created a plan to make sure that I did not fall before I took the next step forward.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
As an entrepreneur, key elements define your business. They are mindset, focus, the network you surround yourself with, being true to yourself, and last but not least, choice. You have a choice to turn off Netflix and turn on your life. You have a choice to go to the networking function and meet influencers and like-minded people. You have a choice to wake up at 5:30 in the morning because you just need to get things done without excuses!
The choice is yours depending on your focus, your definition of success, and how hungry you are to reach your goals. The choice was mine to leave my corporate job, be around my family, do what I love doing, and do so within strength, balance, and harmony, things that are so incredibly crucial to me now.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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