Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Caterina Perry, Founder and CEO of Your Success Unlimited Inc., located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

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

My business is Your Success Unlimited. We use a combination of coaching, mentoring, training, and consulting to advance executives, senior leaders, and those aspiring to be so. Our services are grounded in a scientifically supported, holistic brain-based approach to facilitate performance, learning, and professional development.

We offer self-referred and employer-sponsored private coaching. We are thought partners who provide real-time support for leaders to maximize potential through laser-focused goal-setting, support, and accountability. We design signature, self-paced group learning programs where participants can join a community, expand their professional network, and engage with others on a similar personal or professional development journey.

We create live and virtual custom training to address specific challenges, needs, and organizational requirements. Our team of learning experts tailors training that provides the best return on time and investment. We also provide specialized career transition coaching and support services.

Tell us about yourself

I have spent most of my life scared that someone would figure out that I wasn’t as smart as I pretended to be, wasn’t as confident as I appeared, or always felt like an imposter. English was not my first language, so I struggled in school. My report cards always read the same: “Nice kid, isn’t going to amount to much.” One day, out of desperation, my mother sent me to school with candy to help me make friends. It worked like a charm - until the candy was gone, that is. That is when the “friends” disappeared. That’s also when I realized that I was on my own. My fate was in my hands.

What began as a journal to help me process challenging experiences in my life and career evolved into a reflective memoir and how-to guide to empower others. The book is entitled “Now That the Candy’s Gone, Mastering the Art of Self Confidence” and is due for release this fall. You can check out the trailer here.

After a long successful career as a senior leader supporting the military and Veteran community, I am now a Leadership Coach and Career Strategist. I've studied with the likes of Bob Proctor (featured in the movie “The Secret”) and renowned leadership expert Robin Sharma and secured qualifications in the areas of emotional intelligence, personality theories, neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and the neurology of our brains in the context of leading and managing teams.

I believe that everyone should love what they do. Life is too short to spend copious amounts of time doing things you don’t enjoy. Seeing the impact of what I do motivates and keeps me dedicated to my mission of guiding my clients from the edge of potential to the path of infinite possibilities. I get the biggest rush when I achieve something that others believe is not possible.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

A business owner is a leader, and even though people often surround leaders, it can be a very lonely role. There are few people around leaders who can truly appreciate the challenges that they have to deal with. I think my biggest accomplishment is establishing a professional network of fellow business owners who can support each other. We spend our time doing what we do best and referring to each other when what’s required is what they do best. Together we develop new products and services and support each other. It’s a win-win.

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

One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is managing the company’s personnel chart. When you first start out, you are the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Chief Operations Manager (COO), Chief Product Officer (CPO), Chief Communications Officer (COO), and everyone underneath each of these positions. It’s overwhelming.

Many people start a business because they love what they do, which is great. There is an incredible freedom that comes from working for yourself rather than for something else, but that’s only half the equation. The other half is running a business, and running a business requires a lot of time and effort and different skill sets than those needed to deliver your product/service. You don’t need to love it, but you need to at least like and want to be a business owner.

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

  1. Have enough savings or cash flow before you start out so that you are not worrying about how you are going to cover your personal and business expenses. It can take a while sometimes for the money to start flowing. When I quit my job, I had enough personal savings to cover me for three months, plus a business line of credit.
  2. Keep it simple. One trap I fell into at the beginning was thinking that things needed to be big or complicated to succeed. They don’t. Keep it simple, especially when starting out.
  3. Listen to your customers and go where the business takes you. Don’t get so attached to your products and/or processes that you are not willing to change, grow or explore alternative possibilities. You may know what your customers need, but if you are not selling what they want, it won’t matter how great your product or service is. They won’t buy it. Stay flexible. Where my business is today is not where it started.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Starting a business will mean facing fears and doubts and taking some risks. Your ability to identify, understand and leverage your emotions are keys to business success. A friend of mine once said, "the barriers you face in life are not there to stop you; they are there to show you how much you want something.” If you are thinking of starting a business, you better really, really, really want it, otherwise, your inner voice will convince you that the barriers are too big, too difficult, or just not worth it.

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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