Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Kerr, Owner of Humor at Work, located in Canmore, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm an international Hall of Fame business speaker, trainer, coach, and author who speaks to audiences of all stripes around the world about how to create a workplace culture that drives results, how employees can step up as front-line leaders, and how businesses can leverage their humor resources to help them laugh all the way to the bank!
Tell us about yourself
I started my speaking career 25 years ago after leaving my job as a senior communications manager in, what can only be described, as a soul-sucking, fun--sucking workplace. Seeing the toll, a dysfunctional workplace was having on so many people was the spark for not only my departure. Still, it inspired me to start my business and spread the word that work should NOT be sucking the life out of us! I decided then and there to make it my mission to speak and write about inspiring workplaces, and the enormous role work plays in our lives.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Sustaining a speaking career is challenging, so one of my proudest accomplishments was being inducted into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame on 2008. To be recognized for excellence in your field by your speaking peers was an amazing highlight. I feel so fortunate to continue to be able to do what I do and impact the lives in a positive way of so many people around the world.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There's the usual: Struggling with moments of self-doubt and impost syndrome, being impacted by huge external forces beyond your control (hello Covid!), and balancing personal life with your business goals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Ask for help. A lot! Don't be shy. Don't be embarrassed. Embrace what you don't know and have no ego when it comes to getting the help you need and being willing to ask really stupid questions!
- Do your homework. Become an expert in whatever it is you do. Being seen as an expert can help position you as a true partner with your clients and customers and can help you open so many doors. Have fun!
- Don't forget to enjoy the journey. It can be grueling opening up a new business at the beginning, so don't take your eyes off your goal; work hard, yes, but don't forget to appreciate the small moments, take time out for fun, and pack your sense of humor wherever you go - it really can be a lifesaver!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I speak and write a lot about the importance of feeling connected to a sense of purpose in our work - so never lose sight of the downstream impact your work can have on your customers. If you focus on improving their lives and on improving your small piece of the world, it will undoubtedly help you succeed!
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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