Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Crystal Mackay, Founder and CEO of Loft32, located in Guelph, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Loft32 helps elevate people, businesses, and the conversations on food and farming. We are a unique talent stable that specializes in training, presentations, and strategic project support. Our customers are primarily the people and the businesses in food and agriculture, but our insights and coaching will help anyone who eats. We offer our speaking and training workshops in person or on demand through www.utensil.ca.
Tell us about yourself
I am a hard-wired collaborator and communicator who loves to help other people reach new levels with their personal and professional communications skills. A farm girl myself, I'm passionate about bridging gaps from farms to forks with shared values and real connections. I'm also passionate about helping businesses and individuals elevate their storytelling with increased transparency and authenticity.
When I was contemplating starting our company, I made a list of my experience and was quite surprised to add up that I had delivered over 1000 presentations and 500 media interviews about food and farming around the globe. That experience, combined with my love for coaching and helping others, naturally led to the creation of Loft32 in 2019 and still inspires me today.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am most proud of the network of incredible people I get to call friends and colleagues in Loft32. We created a unique model with a 'talent stable' of experienced people who believe in the vision of elevating others with good content and coaching. It's dynamic and exciting, and it's working - with great feedback from our clients, which means the world to me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a business owner, I find prioritizing my time to be difficult, both in the big picture and on a daily basis. As CEO of a small firm, my time is split between management, delivering services to clients, and proactively seeking new business. Some weeks are better than others for balance, as one never knows what the next request will be. It's often a tough decision to prioritize the 'to-do' list by category, but it's necessary, so I don't spend too much time in one area and neglect others that may be less urgent but important.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be self-aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Hire and build your business plan around that, with a strategic intent to bring in thinking and skills different than your own.
- If it's appropriate, side hustle your new business to get started. I offered free and paid presentations for years as a keynote speaker while I was working at other jobs before I started Loft32 full-time.
- I know it's cliché - but doing what you love and you'll never working a day in your life is a true story for me. Figure out your passion areas of work and see if you can create an income stream from something related to it.
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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