Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melanie Little, president and CEO of vLife by Quantum Link, located in Halifax, NS, Canada.

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

vLife is the world's first social enterprise platform exclusively featuring and promoting small indie businesses to socially conscious shoppers determined to buy local more.

The general online space is dominated by large corporates. We've leveled the playing field for small business owners by creating vLife so that you can more easily find and connect with them.

Tell us about yourself

Creating vLife was a labour of love and social consciousness.
Buying from small local businesses gives huge returns to the community, local economy, and the hardworking families that offer such amazing local goods and services. And it reduces our carbon footprint.

With technology at everyone's fingertips, we shouldn't have to rely on word of mouth for cool local finds anymore. So, our team created vLife, to both celebrate our small local businesses and make them more easily accessible for buy-local shoppers.

I do love my job. Why? Because we have dedicated, hardworking small business clients and we help lighten their online marketing load. As a small business owner myself - I totally get how important that is. And I'm super excited to connect all of our vLife buy-local followers with them on our platform!

What motivates me to keep going is that our whole business model is based on a win-win-win scenario - for people, the planet, and economic growth! As our vLife community continues to grow, we collectively retain more dollars in the local economy - a scenario where everybody wins! I still love this explainer video we put together when we launched vLife in Dec 2019. It perfectly illustrates what keeps me motivated in continuing to grow our vLife impact:

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I've been so well supported in the Start-up ecosystem here in Halifax and am forever grateful for all of the kind supporter organizations, peers, advisors, and mentors who have, and continue to, support me as a first-time female tech founder. In addition to our growth as a triple bottom line tech start-up in a predominantly profit-driven space, I'm very proud to have been able to launch our incentive pricing for Black and Indigenous Business Owners on our service.

We've always made a conscious effort to reflect the diversity and under-represented groups on vLife, so being in a place to be able to incentivize more of these amazing small business owners with a discount to join our vLife provider community is a big win for me.

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

Many rewarding and hard things come with being a small business owner. But one of the hardest for me has been balancing growing a business, nurturing a family, and ensuring I'm getting enough to fill my cup so that I can keep giving without burning myself out. I've definitely learned to pick up on those "gonna hit the wall soon" signals. I'm much better at it now, especially with our small and mighty team to support me.

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

  1. Try to connect with an experienced mentor or advisor to help avoid some of the more common newbie business owner mistakes. You'll still make some (we all do!), but they'll help you avoid making ALL of them. And help you figure out solutions when to make a whoopsie.
  2. Really listen to your customers to deeply understand their needs and the problem you're trying to solve for them. Make customer discovery an ongoing priority in your business. I've been following Katelyn Burgoin's work in this space for a long time. I can personally attest to how much her approach has helped us shape and improve our vLife offerings.
  3. See Problems as opportunities.
    I was part of a panel discussion to support new business owners here in Nova Scotia recently, and one of my fellow panelists said, "There will always be problems in your business." Very true. When confronted with them, it's normal to feel worried. But reframing the problem as an opportunity to help me craft better solutions for my clients or better processes for our team has consistently led to increased business growth. Every. Time. And working collaboratively with peers, advisors, and my team to help crowdsource a solution has led to some of our most successful solutions yet!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my experiences. I'm always happy to connect with other small business owners (and buy local shoppers, too), so please do DM me on any of our socials if you'd like to chat. And thank all of you who prioritize buying local when you can. Every time you do, you're making a positive difference in the world!

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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