Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Calan Breckon, founder of Discovering Your Truth, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is for all of those near and queer to my heart, aka the gays. I do work with everyone in the LGBTQ+ family (and their allies), but as I'm a gay man myself, I can understand their lived experience more personally when working with gay men.
Currently, I do 1-on-1 life coaching under my company name, Discovering Your Truth, which I've been doing since 2018, but I'm slowly making the transition into business coaching. I found through my second company that I REALLY enjoy the backend stuff most people don't enjoy, like setting up systems, spreadsheets, email campaigns, building memberships, setting up a legal business, etc., so I'm moving my 1-on-1 coaching in that direction to better support my clients and align better to what lights me up and gives me joy.
I also co-run a gay men's peer support group and business with two other coaches called "Gay Men Going Deeper." We have a podcast that's been running for almost two years now as well as our gay men's coaching membership that just passed its 1-year mark. We also have a free resource on Facebook called the "Gay Men's Brotherhood," which has over 5k members that offers support to guys embarking on this personal development journey and looking for a little supportive guidance. Everyone is welcome who self-identifies as a gay man (trans-inclusive).
Tell us about yourself
I always knew that one day I wanted to start my own business in order to change the world in my own little way. I wanted to be able to help people learn the lessons I had to learn the hard way and provide them with the tools and knowledge to improve their lives. I came from a very working, poor, and divorced family that made my youth pretty unpredictable and miserable. Then when I grew up, I went out into the "real world" and found out it wasn't much better when it came to employers. I knew there had to be a better way.
Eventually, I got two life coaching certificates under my belt and began coaching, but it was a very "side gig" while I still had a full-time job. My plan was to build up my client list and reputation as a coach and then eventually move into it full-time when it was sustainable. Well, the universe had different plans because the pandemic came along and changed everything (for almost everyone). I found myself moving into coaching full-time. During this time, I also connected with my two business partners, and we created the Gay Men Going Deeper podcast, coaching membership, and our peer support Facebook group. Everything in business got fast-tracked, and I found through building my businesses and doing the work that I actually got MORE joy out of setting up all the systems and supporting my two business partners.
I love the journey I went through to get here because I never would have come to this realization had I not gone through it and done the work. There is no shortcut when it comes to building a small but mighty business. Now that I know where my strongest abilities lay, I'm better able to support my clients on their journies of building their own businesses because I've gone through it all myself.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I consider my biggest accomplishment as a business owner to be the fact that I actually did it. Going from knowing nothing about business, having no mentors, no family to depend on, parents who didn't even graduate, to having my own business and then creating a second one blows my mind.
It wasn't easy at any point, and it continues to not be easy, but nothing in life that was worth anything ever comes easy; it's the struggle to "get there" that makes "getting there" exciting and worth it.
The biggest thing that got me to where I am today is that I focused on taking the next logical step forward, and then I took the step, and then I kept doing it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I know that for everyone, this answer is going to be different because there are so many different types of businesses out there, and each person has their own strong points and things that they struggle with. For me, the hardest part has been navigating business with partners. I was originally going solo, and then once I decided to build a business with two others, everything changed. All of a sudden, there were trust things that came up, micromanaging, letting go of complete control, how to compromise, where to dig your heels in, and where to let up. It taught me a lot about myself as well as a lot about business, and I'm glad about it. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong, and all of it made me not only a better business owner but a better person as well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a mentor or mentors in your industry who are willing to meet weekly/monthly in order to guide you. Trust me; it will make your life SO much easier.
- Figure out what systems you need in order to build and grow your business and then automate as many of them as possible. If you don't know how to, find someone who does and learn from them or hire someone to do it. This will save you cost later on, but most importantly, it will save you TIME, and time is something we can never get back.
- Get yourself into a support group with other entrepreneurs or a business group of people doing similar things. This can be a hard and lonely journey if you do it alone, and it makes it much more enjoyable when you can do it with others along the way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you aren't able to hire someone to do the things you don't know how to do, invest and learn how to do it yourself. Even if you don't "love" doing it, because, at the start, you're going to have to be ALL things. Eventually, you will move away from doing everything, but until then, you need to know how it all works. This will also make you a better business person later on because you'll know how long it should take to do something so that way no one can scam you out of cash because you'll know roughly the work involved.
You can also take online courses to teach you practically everything you need to know. Whatever it is, google and find the best one and then do it.
I wanted to set up an online course and membership program, so I found Amy Porterfield and Stu McLaren and took their programs to learn all about these things in order to do it. It costs money, but these are investments in yourself and your business. If you're not willing to put in the time, money, or effort, you probably shouldn't be starting a business.
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.
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.