Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Fraser, Founder of Firefly Creative Writing, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

My team at Firefly Creative Writing helps people find joy and power through writing. People come to us when they feel a deep-down urge to write but feel disconnected from their voices, stories, and courage. They want to get back to it, but they can't do it alone. That's where we come in.

Tell us about yourself

It started around a campfire. I was taking a break from university to participate in a filmmaking program in an old logging camp. We were a rag-tag group of strangers who had to come together to make a film in 5 days. By day three, we were creating things we could never have imagined, finding parts of ourselves and our ways of being that were new, fresh, scary, and wonderful. We were cooperating and creating intense bonds, all of us wanting each other to succeed.

On the last night, we sat around a campfire, sharing stories we'd never told anyone, and I thought: This. This is where I want to spend the rest of my life. I spent the next few years turning my academic focus to community-based creativity and how to create environments that make people want to open up and make things that matter. Finally, I started to put up flyers, and Firefly was born.

I am motivated every day by the amazing people who show up to do this work. They arrive uncertain ("I'm not a writer!" "I don't even know why I'm here!"), and slowly but surely, they let their voices grow bigger than their doubt. It's the best thing to bear witness to.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm most proud of the community I've been part of in the building. It happens first within my smart and soul-filled team and then out in the writers who find us. I love seeing people find themselves (and their voices) through each other.

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

Oh, capitalism. It hurts my heart. I wish so badly that I could forget about the numbers and just do this for the love of it. Creativity and community shouldn't live behind the wall of a price tag.

But capitalism is the container business people are given to work out of, and we can't ignore it. Our bigger programs are all sliding scale. We have a community-led bursary committee, and we run free programs regularly. Finding prices and policies that are clear, kind, and consistent and let us be in deep reciprocity with our community is never easy, but it's worth the work.

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

  1. Business is about contribution. If you're in it for the money, prestige, or the idea that you'll suddenly have an easier life, you're probably in the wrong place. Instead, think about what you love to do, what the world needs, and what you're uniquely good at. You'll do your most powerful work where those things meet. When you lose your way (we all do), ask which of them is missing.
  2. Business plans are overrated. Plans are overrated. Firefly has grown in ways I never could have imagined. In each moment, watch for what's working, what's making you feel alive, and what your community wants more of, and let that be your lighthouse.
  3. Find a way to disconnect from your business regularly. Call it a sabbath, or a sabbatical, or weekends, whatever works, just find your right amount of time and regularity and claim it. Never feel guilty for doing this. You'll not only come back better-resourced, but you'll also get some of your best ideas when you're away.

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.

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