The skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur in Nova Scotia are no different than elsewhere. Opportunities may be different outside Nova Scotia, but opportunities alone don’t build your business.
Based on my experiences, I believe a positive attitude, passion, and learning from failure are important qualities for anyone looking to start a business.
People I’ve met through entrepreneurial courses have taught me that attitude is everything. You have to believe in the opportunities from starting a business in Nova Scotia. Negativity will only hold you back from reaching your potential.
There will always be pessimists; I’ve been guilty of this before. Once, while hearing a fellow entrepreneur explain his business, I thought “this guy is crazy; his idea will never work, no way.” Sure enough, one month later, I had my foot in my mouth. The idea was a success in the market he and his partners created. It goes to show you that vision and passion trump the doubters.
As an entrepreneur you also have to be willing to accept criticism, feedback, and sometimes failure. Don’t let this get you down. Instead, use it to your advantage. Ask yourself two questions: “What did I learn?” and “what is next?” Reflecting on the experience will make you and your business better. While I’ve learnt from failure, courses, conferences, books and mentors have also been valuable resources. Never stop learning. If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.
Halifax’s supportive community and business resources make it a great city for startups. CEED, CYBF, Entrepreneurs Forum, Innovacorp, Start up Weekend, Enactus programs at universities, Volta and First Angel Network all provide services to help local talent and business. Also, established and successful entrepreneurs are often willing to grab coffee, mentor young up-and-comers, or give well-needed feedback others may not have the guts to say.
The combination of these programs and people make Halifax a prime place to start a business. While it is challenging and can be stressful, it’s up to you to make it happen. With a positive attitude, vision and openness to feedback, you’ll be on your way to success. Remember, if it was easy then everyone would do it.
If you want to start a business, take the leap. There will never be the perfect time or opportunity. Trump the doubters, embrace failure and reach out to the community. Even if you don’t succeed at first, the valuable experience will serve you well in the future.
Moses Robicheau graduated from STFX in 2010. After returning from backpacking in2011 and hunting for a job, he decided to create his own. Working with with CEED and CYBF (futurpreneur), he started Laugh It Up Photo Booth Services. Currently he is the Director of Entrepreneurship with Fusion Halifax, working to develop the local startup community through networking events, among other initiatives.
Moses also works with Zed Events and with Andrew Button of Mash Up Labs to boost entrepreneurship in rural Nova Scotia. Although he still manages Laugh It Up from a distance, he is currently working on a new business - but it's a secret, for now.