Brenda Chalifoux started EVE PAY+ in 2020, combining both her passion for helping others and working with numbers. EVE PAY+ provides payroll services to small-medium-sized businesses and offers tax preparation for taxpayers and sole-proprietors as well as bookkeeping services. Although demand has fluctuated throughout the pandemic, things are moving quickly and in an exciting direction. After seeing some contracts come to an end, business has started to flourish again as many new businesses have been created throughout the past year that are now in need of her services. As business continues to grow, Brenda has already hired her first employee to help her keep up.

I was so scared to start my own business that I waited a long time before taking the first step. I really wish I would have started this journey at least 10 years ago. Now that I am on the path, I know now that I was ready. In fact, I now have two businesses! Here’s a secret between you and I: I think I am becoming a serial entrepreneur.

We connected with Brenda earlier this month to ask her a few questions about her business, her journey in entrepreneurship, and her experience as an Indigenous entrepreneur in Alberta.

This feature is shared in acknowledgment and celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. To learn more about our Indigenous Services team and some of our other Indigenous clients, explore the page below.

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day
EVE PAY+

Client: Brenda Chalifoux, PCP

Business: EVE PAY+

Website: www.evepayplus.ca

Launched in: 2020

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Brenda Chalifoux on LinkedIn

Tell us more about your business and what it is/does:

I provide payroll services to small-medium businesses, tax preparation for taxpayers, sole proprietors (self-employed), and will be adding in Corporation tax returns. I have pivoted to add bookkeeping services as well. My business is 100% Metis-owned and operated.

How did you come up with your business idea?

My passion for helping others, as well as working with numbers, has driven me to form my own business. I am proud to be working with other Indigenous entrepreneurs as we grow together.

What motivated you to take the first steps and start your own business?

Being able to assist my own clients while keeping in touch is more valuable to me as a business owner than working for another’s company.

Brenda Chalifoux

What was the first step? Where did you start?

The first step for me was realizing that I could be happier as a business owner than an employee. I started researching the difference between a sole proprietor (self-employed) and a corporation. I also looked into a training program or course that I could take for new business owners.

I am the sole proprietor of my business and I have to say that I have learned a lot in the past year about starting out, as well as realizing that I still have so much to learn. My proudest strength is that I don’t have a big fear of communicating, which I know can be a huge hurdle for some. I’ve faced immeasurable little challenges, most of which, was me questioning myself if I can do this or not. I still do, in fact. This has been my biggest challenge in so many ways but I have been encouraged by many in my circle, which is ever-growing.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success?

I’m most proud of taking the steps to get started. The support that I have received has helped, of course! And I’m always proud of being able to help others in their journeys – nothing is as rewarding as knowing you made someone’s life better.

Was your business impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. My first couple of clients had downfalls in their companies and our contracts had to come to an end, but my business has also flourished because of the pandemic. There are many new companies getting started that require my services.

Brenda Chalifoux

When did you come to Business Link and why?

I was introduced to Business Link from a presentation done while I was in a self-employment program before I got started. Business Link has been one of my biggest mentors through my journey thus far and will continue to be and it all started with Market Research. I’ve attended so many webinars run by Business Link that I would be considered a “regular.” I’ve been connected to clients, peers, mentors, and so many resources and knowledge through my relationship with Business Link.

I was a part of a Peerpreneur session when they first came out, and then I joined the Indigenous Peerpreneur sessions. I’ve had quality time with a great majority of the staff and will always value the connections I made.

Have any other organizations been helpful along the way?

Yes! Microbusiness Training Centre is the place to go if someone needs to build a Business Plan. Startup Edmonton is the place to go for the lean canvas startup approach, customer discovery, and all-around support. I’m not sure if they still are, but ATB was offering a free business account for a year to new businesses. If you’re attending Business Link webinars and workshops, you will find other organizations and mentors along the way.

If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?

Start earlier and believe in myself as others have believed in me. Also, I would push myself to read more. I have a hard time reading books but I’m finding that books are great resources for many successful business owners.

Was there one thing or moment that was defining for you and your business?

I had arranged for an accountant colleague to prepare my sole proprietor taxes because I was nervous to do it myself. Then I was connected with a client that needed a sole proprietor tax return completed. I gave myself no choice but to do it (after getting permission from the client to consult with a mentor while completing it). I bugged another accountant friend as he assisted me on the side and am very thankful for him. It had to be one of the most complicated tax returns I have completed at that time, but I did it. I learned SO much and gained confidence that I ended up preparing my own tax return. I went from promoting myself as a personal tax preparer to providing sole proprietor and up-and-coming corporation tax preparation.

What advice would you share with others who want to start or grow their own business?

Do it. There are so many people that have had multiple businesses. Businesses that have failed. Businesses that have succeeded. Even if you fail, you will have grown so much and you will be that much more prepared for the next journey. When you attend networking events or webinars, comment and be active in the chat so people start recognizing your name as someone who is engaged in the communities.

What’s coming up next for you? Any big business goals?

I have just hired my first employee, who happens to be one of my daughters. She has previous administration experience, is very smart, and is a great fit to help my business operate. She is in training right now and is looking forward to process bookkeeping.

Brenda Chalifoux

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I was so scared to start my own business that I waited a long time before taking the first step. I really wish I would have started this journey at least 10 years ago when I was 35. I’ve looked into it before but just walked away from my dreams. I didn’t think I was ready or smart enough. Now that I am on the path, I know now that I was ready. In fact, I now have two businesses! Here’s a secret between you and me: I think I am becoming a serial entrepreneur.