Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in brand management but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Grail Noble, owner and founder of YellowHouse Agency, located in Toronto, Canada.

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

We are in the business of creating live experiences for businesses. Both virtual and live events that offer thought leadership, retreats, employee and customer rewards, meetings, experiential and sponsorship activations.  We work with big and small brands who want to create sharable moments that matter. Brands like LinkedIn, Skip the Dishes, EY, Amazon, Instagram, Google and also smaller companies looking to build their brands and stand out.

Tell us about yourself

I remember the day that I knew I had to start my own agency like it was yesterday. I was 33, pregnant, sporting a sassy pair of comfy denim overalls and painting the walls of the first house my husband and I had ever owned. I could paint those walls any colour I wanted and whenever I wanted. It hit me that the sense of freedom and ownership of my time, who I spent it with, and how I used it, was what I needed in my work life. I turned to him and said I am going to start my own agency and choose who I work with and when. I am going to own, not rent, in my work-life too.

It was not exactly an ideal time to start a business, but it was the best thing I ever did! I had built my professional experience and network while working for big companies like Molson, the NBA, and YTV.  I had learned corporate life, traveled, met celebrities, and honed event marketing skills from some of the best. That was the foundation I built my "house" on. Today, 20 years later, Yellow House Events is a premier event company working with global brands all over the world. I wanted to press "reset" on corporate culture and build a place I wanted to work every day, and that others would thrive in as well. I love what I do and I love the people I do it with.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Building a corporate culture that people come back to. I have had several employees spread their wings to go to other companies and then come back  to work at Yellow House again. This is a high compliment to me and our culture and speaks to the great people we have here. It also amazes me that as a small business we continue to secure such big-name companies as clients. They trust us with their brands. I think these things are related. Good culture = good client service = good clients.

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

Not taking things personally. Being a founder, owner and operator means it can be hard to separate yourself personally from the business. But it is a business and to have a healthy relationship with it, you can't let it get too personal. People will leave, clients will change over, business challenges will come up and you will make mistakes. There is no manual on how to run the perfect business, perfectly. Change is constant when you own a business. So to maintain an equilibrium and manage changes with grace I always try to remember, it's business. Not personal.

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

You need 3 things to be successful.

1) A good product that people need and want.

2) An ability to convert that need and want to a sale.

3) The ability to seamlessly provide that product the minute a customer says "yes". i.e. a good product that you can sell and then deliver on the sales promise. Think of it as a 3 legged stool. As the business owner you must nurture all three of these things equally. Because if any one falls short, the stool will topple and fall. I see many businesses fail because the owner spends too much time on only one or two of these three things.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

One mantra I say often is "Don't let the fear in". A little fear is a good thing. It keeps us alert, smart, motivated and allows us to see impending danger. But if you let it in, let it get too close to you and get inside your head or heart, it will take over, swallow you and paralyze you. Fear is good. Greet it at the door. But don't let it get inside!

Where can people find you and your business? house events

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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