Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elke Waterhouse, Founder and CEO of "The Proverbial...Lump O' Coal"™, located in Stony Plain, AB, Canada.

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

We are "The Proverbial...Lump O' Coal"™. We are a work opportunity business. We create a Novelty Stocking Stuffer, "The Proverbial...Lump O' Coal"™, through training of adults with developmental disabilities in our community.

Tell us about yourself

We first got the idea of making a Lump O' Coal in 1999. Trying to purchase a novelty Lump O' Coal for some nephews for Christmas, and none were to be found. Having a sibling with a Developmental Disability prompted us to include this group of individuals to be part of something bigger. The reward of including these adults in paid training of basic life and job skills and witnessing the growth of each person through the skills gained motivates us to continue to bring awareness of our mission to improve the lives of all who take part.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Inclusion of disabled persons in our production and creating a great product that is sold in major retailers.

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

Dealing with supply issues and transportation costs for DSD.

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

  1. Do a test market.
  2. Do it with a plan, and try hard not to invest your own money. If it fails, your money is gone. Always borrow.
  3. If you don't do it, you'll never know if it will work.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When you have an idea or a dream, follow it, feed it, nurture it, and let it grow. If you are still around in 5 years, it was a good dream. Dream big!

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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