Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maurice Chang, co-founder of Digital Shift, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

Digital^Shift is a Canadian professional collective with expertise in consulting, buy-sell, and access to proprietary AI/ML/NLP products. We serve clients in the public, financial services, and regulatory sectors.

Tell us about yourself

I am an engineer by training and love solving challenging problems. I got my start at IBM Canada when IBM was still manufacturing computers. After my stint in engineering, I earned an MBA and spent the next 17 years in management consulting, working for Ernst & Young, Capgemini, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The consulting profession enriched my career by exposing me to strategy, operations, and transformation. I worked with virtually all major verticals and travelled around the world on my engagements. I learned a lot. I made a pivot to AI and machine learning in 2017 when I started my own consulting business. These days I find myself developing AI applications for large enterprises, thus rounding my career loop back to engineering.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Simply believing that AI will change the world is my greatest accomplishment. Back in 2017, when I made the pivot to AI, there was tremendous hype and misunderstanding of what AI is all about. There was a lot of promise, but amongst clients, there was a lot of 'what and see' attitudes. Simply getting started, building the practice, and finally helping clients develop production AI applications have been immensely rewarding.

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

Back in the day, when I was with the firms, I only needed to sell and deliver. As a business owner, I have to do 'everything,' including my own payroll, taxes, marketing, advertising, and a whole lot more. I have to learn a lot of new things and get way outside my comfort zone.

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

I would suggest to anyone wanting to start a business to ask the 'why?' question at least five times before you get to a satisfactory answer for yourself. Ask 'why am I doing this?" and then ask why to the answer to that first question, and so on and so forth, until you get to the bottom of what is motivating you to do what you want to do. I find mental exercise extremely helpful in crystallizing my motivations. After all, you want to make sure you are driving by a good force.

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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