This is what they should have said to us today. What did I do today? Today was my very first class of my entrepreneurship gov't program with SAJE Montreal. In today's class, we talked about our business idea, and a bit about ourselves. I was asked to bring in some of my plush, because I guess people need to see them. :) I should have volunteered to talk first, but I didn't and then I had to wait through 20 people before it was finally my time. I was last, and of course I was nervous, and add insult to injury, but when I'm nervous I have great difficulty spitting out my french! Hahaha. Thankfully my classmates and my instructor were very kind, and let me talk in English for part of it. One of the assignments we had was to write a postcard to our agent as if we were living in 2016, 5 years from now. We were to talk about ourselves and our business. I didn't have a clue what to write, but by the time I was done, I was saying that my business had grown to a little boutique somewhere in Montreal, I had 5 employees, and we always have fun on Fridays doing a crazy brainstorming session. I also mentioned I was profitable, successful and able to finally see the world! I think that's a great start. Honestly? I didn't even know if I wanted to open a boutique, but I think it might be a good idea. Who knows?
For those of you in other countries or provinces, this is a year long program to help the unemployed, or those on employment insurance write a business plan and learn how to be an entrepreneur. To top it off, they provide financial assistance to pay for rent and bills, and they give free business courses. That's a total of $18,000 that I never have to pay back. :)
Today's class was titled "Entrepreneurship: What's that?" (but in french). Since I live in a french province, the program is entirely in french! Yeah, it'll be a little difficult (mostly vocabulary for me), but it'll be good. There are courses on studying your market, promotions, selling, marketing. All of this will help us write our business plan, which will help us with our goals and being successful in our new life.
Yes, I say life, because starting a new business isn't like working for someone else. It's crazy! I mean the hours are longer, nothing feels structured or regular anymore, time management is more of an issue, being isolated and working alone can be trying if you've always worked in a big corporation surrounded by hundreds of other drones. The hours one can put into their business can climb up to 60 or 80 hours a week! I've had a few weeks where I worked from 11 am until about 1 am, with a 45 min lunch, and a 2-3 hour dinner break. That's about 10 hours of work. That's a lot! Additionally, I'd sometimes work through the weekend, which means I would work 6 even 7 days straight without a day off. Let's just say that by the time the craft fair I was working hard on arrived, I was stressed, exhausted and glad for the 2 day break of just sitting around and talking to people. Oh, but don't think that craft fairs are easy! No sir! At the end of a craft day, I'm pretty tired.
But this is now my life. The biggest stress I have to date will be "Can I make enough money to qualify as a viable business in the eyes of SAJE?" They have a sort of 'evaluation day' where they ask for the dollar amount we've made up to that date. If the amount is lower than what they have set out for us, then we are immediately cut off of the program and sent on our way. I'd say that's pretty harsh. Oh well. Not much I can do right now, but to work hard during the program, implement all of the things they teach us in the real business world, and hope that it does exactly what it's supposed to! :)
All I can ask for now is that I build a viable and successful business, and some well wishes in my direction, support, and great advice.
Let's do this!
For those of you who would like more information... http://sajeenaffaires.org/english/index.php