Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Richard Lee-Thai, founder of Excuses to Connect, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

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

Have you ever wanted to connect with someone, but you stopped yourself? My business is called Excuses to Connect, and it aims to make meaningful connections easier! Excuses to Connect offers "Connection Coaching" to shy individuals who want to become confident connectors. There are also workshops like "Connecting after COVID" for organizations and communities wanting to have strategies to re-establish connections and meet new people. Lastly, we host online and in-person events for people to connect with one another!

There are many examples of human connection, storytelling, or community-building initiatives, but what they all have in common is creating an excuse to connect. The term "excuse to connect" can become part of our common vocabulary. By finding and creating excuses to connect, you are a Connector. My ultimate vision is to empower and connect Connectors, and together, we can transform our lives and the lives of others, one connection at a time.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a TEDx Speaker and delivered a talk on "How to Find Excuses to Connect" which led to the creation of my Excuses to Connect the business. I believe in normalizing conversations around loneliness because it's something that everyone experiences, and there's nothing shameful about it.

The story behind the business is that when I moved to a different city for school, I didn't know anyone there, and I needed to start from scratch. Even though I was surrounded by people, I felt lonely, and I was longing for deeper connections. One of the most heartbreaking things to me is knowing that there are people who have no one they can reach out to. There's no shoulder to cry on when things are going bad and no friends to celebrate with when things are going well.

We're wired for connection, and it's foundational for our well-being. However, there can still be many barriers in place to making these meaningful connections. For me, it was primarily my internal fears. I was afraid I would be rejected, that I would be awkward, or that I would be bothering someone if I were to approach them. I believe in empowering people to realize that they can build meaningful connections in their life, even if they're starting from scratch.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being able to create a life where I'm aligned with my ikigai. This is a Japanese term meaning "reason for being" and refers to the intersection of what you're good at, what you love to do, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

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

When I started my entrepreneurial journey, many of my insecurities came to light, such as questioning my own value. This creates a lot of self-doubts, but through this process, it has allowed me to grow tremendously. Investing in yourself to develop more self-awareness and confidence will allow you to be more successful as a business owner.

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

  1. Just start. Don't aim for perfection; aim for progress. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You will learn a lot through doing, rather than just having a "good idea" in your head but never taking action.
  2. Seek mentorship. People have walked through this path before, and you don't need to struggle alone. Keep an open mind and surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs.
  3. Focus on the 1% improvement each day rather than expecting to become an overnight success. Remind yourself of your "why" and celebrate small wins along the way instead of just trying to get to the destination.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet. It's a combination of intentional effort and luck for the lives of any two people to intersect. I'm honored that you've made it here. Why not make this an excuse to connect with me? Shoot me a message or email me - I'd love to connect!

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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