Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in software and applications but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christopher Carnduff, co-founder of CoffeePals, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
CoffeePals helps companies build relationships within their remote workforce. We currently offer an app in Microsoft Teams. We help facilitate connections by creating virtual, spontaneous coffee chats where employees can share a coffee and get to know one another. We believe that remote work is the future. Though there are many benefits of remote work, there are some drawbacks that need to be addressed. The number one issue with remote work that is reported amongst employees is loneliness. This leads to many employees feeling disengaged and unhappy in their work-life. Our vision is to bridge the gap between in-office and remote work so that we can all enjoy the benefits without the drawbacks.
Tell us about yourself
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I had just graduated from university. I didn't want to start a job where I couldn't meet my colleagues in person. This is a crucial and most fulfilling part of product management - the role I had interned in. Kacper (my co-founder), on the other hand, was forced into remote work in his software engineering job by the pandemic. He fell in love with the time saving and flexibility, but after a while, the isolation got to him. He started feeling disengaged from his work as a result.
The two of us had met online and wanted to create a business that alleviated some of these pains. We decided that this idea was a non-intrusive way of facilitating these much-needed connections. Each week, we enable tens of thousands of people from all around the world to meet for the first time and share a moment. This small improvement in their life keeps me motivated to continue finding new ways to bridge the remote work gap. My strong belief that the world is a better place with remote work and that we just need better tools to make this work keeps me in pursuit of our vision.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment is that we've built this business from the ground up with no external funding. It just goes to show what can be accomplished if you put your mind to it and spend the time to make it happen. In a little over a year, we've been able to grow quickly to support tens of thousands of users across almost every continent to make a considerable improvement in their lives.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Time management. Some of the best advice that I've gotten is that your success comes from what you choose not to do rather than what you choose to do. I apply this to my day-to-day work to ensure that I'm not engaging in things that don't have a significant impact on the business.
Wearing a lot of hats is also something that is hard. You're constantly context switching. One moment I'm a software engineer, the next, I'm a sales lead. It's difficult but also keeps you on your toes and constantly learning, which is something that I really enjoy.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take risks - if you can afford it. There is nothing more rewarding than starting a business and watching it grow. If you're in a position to afford to take a risk on creating a business, do it. The worst that can happen is you learn a lot from your failed business. Your first business is never your last.
- Be resilient. Tough times are always around the corner. It's not if they will happen, but when and whether you're ready to get back up when you're knocked down.
- Be Kind. People want to work with people who are kind. Building rapport with customers and partners will go a long way in creating a successful business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Building a business is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Though it's hard, it will also be the most rewarding. If you believe you're someone who needs to start a business, take the leap.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.