Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jeffrey Jamieson, owner of Donna Mac Restaurant/Proof Cocktail Bar/Vine Arts Wine and Spirits, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

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

We have three businesses in Calgary. Proof, Donna Mac and Vine Arts Wine and Spirits. We create spaces that inspire and focus our customers' attention on the small but important details of their experience in the space. We are always striving to put our best foot forward and deliver a memorable customer service experience.

Tell us about yourself

I like to be busy, and I like to solve problems. What I do not like is having a boss, so entrepreneurial endeavors were very attractive to me. I knew from a young age that if I was to find joy in my work, it would have to be through creating and growing something that I created. In 2012 my business partner and I started our journey with our first business, Vine Arts in Victoria Park. And we have grown since then to four businesses, Proof, Donna Mac, and the second location of Vine Arts on 17th Avenue.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The thing I am most proud of is the team we have built. I get to work with the industry's best and brightest every day. They care about the businesses and care about our customers. It is an extremely difficult thing to have a team full of people that you can trust and have them trust you. Jesse and I put a lot of our effort into it, and we pride ourselves on the team we have built.

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

It is different for every business owner. For me, it is ensuring that my loved ones receive the attention that they deserve. My wife is my biggest supporter, but when I am in the thick of it, I can be distant. Balance doesn't occur naturally to the type of people who start their own businesses, so it needs to be a conscious focus.

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

  1. Seriously consider your own strengths and weaknesses and how they are going to help you and hurt you throughout the process.
  2. Develop and use a network of mentors whom you admire and can trust to give you valuable advice.
  3. Be prepared to give everything you have and more to get your business from infancy to a place where it is healthy and growing.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Owning your own business can be one of the greatest things you can experience, but it's not for everyone, so be sure if there is room for it in your life before making 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 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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