Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jessica Penner, Owner of Market House, Ltd., located in Leduc, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Market House Ltd. is a marketing company unlike anything out there. We work with an incredibly talented and dedicated professional team working alongside businesses in almost every industry.
We have worked alongside numerous companies since 2008 as they have newly begun their journey or were ready to hit the reboot button and get a fresh start. Our clients range from psychologists to construction companies, designers to accountants, and makers to farmers... As long as you want to improve the world through what you do, we are here for you!
We offer commercial photography and videography services to graphic design, marketing strategy, branding, website design, and social media services. We have always aimed to be that one-stop-shop for businesses with our services and make them feel like part of our Market House family through the way we partner with them and still keep them in the driver's seat.
Tell us about yourself
As a 17-year-old in southern Manitoba, I had a dream to create a marketing company about integrity, honesty, transparency, and breathing room for business owners. I wanted to be a safe place to land and let your voice be heard with a company that felt your mission and helped you accomplish it. I wanted business owners to know we felt their passion and aligned ourselves with their vision in the journey as if it was our own.
I worked as a wedding photographer to make ends meet while trying to get this marketing company off the ground. I had the opportunity to shadow some incredible people in the industry. In 2008, I was incredibly humbled and honoured to be named one of the top 10 Canadian Wedding Photographers by Weddingbells Magazine. To this day, I am thankful for all I learned during those formidable years from those around me.
That young version of me then grew up but never lost sight of what I truly wanted in business. At the same time, I plugged in as a young entrepreneur, later relocating ‘J. Penner - Media, Design and Marketing’ to Leduc in 2012, bringing this heartfelt way of doing business with me. Since then, I regrew my business here, changed our name to Market House, incorporated, added my best friend as my business partner - and we GREW.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is. This season. This family we've built. This is it. This has been my most significant business accomplishment by far. We’ve built a team - but the mission has stayed the same - to align ourselves with and support businesses and organizations that want to improve the world. And to do this all now alongside my best friend is priceless. The moment Amber agreed to join forces with me was the moment I felt like there was a second wind in my sails after flying solo for so many years.
Accolades mean nothing unless the atmosphere and culture they are awarded within resonate with the mission and vision you set out to acquire them for. I recently won the Young Business Leader Of The Year award for 2021 from the Leduc Chamber, and that honestly came at the most beautiful of times - because I’m finally feeling like that part of business culture that mattered most to me when I started this whole thing back in 2008 is finally here and being seen in the business community. That means the world to my heart.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Loneliness and exhaustion. In 2020 I hit a crossroads. I was done.
Not because Market House wasn't successful but because I was tired.
I was tired of almost 12 years of pushing this business I was passionate about. Tired of being my cheerleader, tired of being hurtfully undercut and pushed aside, tired of trying to prove my value, tired of answering emails, chasing unpaid invoices... tired of being alone.
I sat, feeling defeated, in a hotel room in February of 2021 with Amber while on a snowboarding and hiking trip together. I looked at my best friend I had grown to love and confide in over almost ten years of friendship, adventures, and business camaraderie...and I had a moment of honesty.
It's not that I couldn't dream anymore - I was full of them still for my business. It's not that I didn't love what I did and felt called to it - I still did. I couldn't do it alone anymore. So, I was at a crossroads. And I'm not a fan of quitting.
However, I AM a fan of making necessary changes so you can keep going - sometimes that means leaving something behind, and sometimes that means adding something to the mix.
At this point, it meant adding Amber as a business partner and officially incorporating and growing Market House into a team in March of last year. This allowed me room to breathe again over time. It allowed me to be a better mom and wife when I spent time with my family. It allowed me to grow and let go of unhealthy mindsets that years of solopreneurs had me believing. And it allowed me to let people in.
If I had quit - I wouldn't have seen the beautiful things happening now. I wouldn't have gotten to work alongside our incredible Market House team (family) that has evolved. I would have needed more time to work on projects with clients that fulfilled my heart. Market House was a dream too heavy for one person to carry, and I'm so glad I recognized that and knew it wasn't the end of the line for me. It was just time to make a change.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your 'why' more significant than your business and cling to it.
When you feel like the world is crashing down and you go into panic fight or flight mode, this will save you - when your purpose overrides the season and anchors you. That 'why' HAS to be bigger than the job itself. The most influential business owners aren’t the ones that won the luck lottery and effortlessly rose in fame and fortune. The most influential ones are the ones who had a painful beginning and a hard middle and stuck it out to the very end, creating an epic movement through their vision that their community noticed and rallied around.
- Surround yourself with good people. Business is not for the faint of heart. When you build those relationships, no matter what happens, you'll have a community to catch you.
- Keep yourself open. The learning is never done. Keep your soft heart, open mind, the power to listen, and your willingness to grow.
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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