Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erika Dowell, CEO of Signal Operations Inc., located in Halifax, NS, Canada.

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

Signal Operations is a cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting company. I started back in March 2018 after having a few conversations with entrepreneurs. I could see the struggle that many were having understanding the finances. So, after helping a few companies, I decided to jump into 'freelance' bookkeeping and grew from there. I'm now fully incorporated with 45 clients and two employees. Together, we're all helping Canadian Entrepreneurs understand the signals that their finances are sending.

Tell us about yourself

When I started my business, I was still working full time. I wanted a change in what I was doing. I found that I was efficient and that I still had some time in my day, so I figured why not. As time went on, I learned a lot of lessons in growing a business - some the easy way and some the hard way! Now, nearly three years into this, my favourite part of my job is interacting with my clients. Much like how a teacher probably feels proud when a student figures out a concept and has the 'ah-ha!' moment, I have that with my clients. I have clients that come to me fully organized, but they don't know what to do with the information - so we build a plan; I show them how much they spend, how they could save, and sometimes areas of revenue to focus on. I also have clients that come to me with absolutely no organization, and together we get things organized and paperless - the relief they feel is amazing!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Hiring two employees! It is absolutely stressful to hire an employee.
I want to do right in the process, get things going in the right ways, and be a great leader and mentor. So the fact that I've hired two employees and gotten over the first mindful hurdle of doing that is pretty impressive to me.

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

Prioritizing myself. I think most entrepreneurs and business owners will agree that it feels like we always have to be working. Sometimes that's through actual need or just a feeling. In the fall of 2021, I had the worst burnout I've experienced yet. I realized that I needed to book a weekend off for myself each month - on that weekend, I do what I want to do, I don't work, and social events are optional for me.

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

  1. Take time to set up your accounting software and get paperless.
  2. Set up processes and efficiencies early on
    but don't overbuy software that promises to make your life easier.
  3. Take time off to manage your mental health and relationships!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Feeling like you can't do something or you're not capable is natural. I made a promise to myself in early 2021 that I would stop thinking like that and doubting myself. It's a process, some days are harder than others, but over time you'll doubt yourself a lot less.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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