As an entrepreneur, you never know when an opportunity will come about that can benefit you. Robert and Carl stumbled upon such an opportunity ten years ago, when they kept running into each other at networking events around Edmonton. They decided to meet over coffee after one of our events and have been meeting ever since.
Back to the Beginning
They both started their own business for different reasons, but nevertheless have made a lifelong connection and friendship. Carl’s business Man on the Moon Technologies has been creating custom software for a variety of purposes for the past 16 years. As a lifelong programmer, he became interested in starting his own business when he got laid off and grew tired of being an employee. He received great value from attending Anderson Career Training Institute‘s self-employment program and was introduced to our team as an additional resource.
Robert’s decade-old business, Powerful Play Experiences, focuses on fun at work and team building experiences. While he didn’t intend on becoming an entrepreneur, he was drawn to it because of the positive energy of entrepreneurs. He saw that they were always striving to take themselves to the next level. Robert then started exploring entrepreneurship as a career path and attended local events.
As I chatted with Robert and Carl, it became clear that they have very different personalities and businesses, but have a lot of respect for each other. When they met, Robert was very impressed with Carl’s extroverted personality. Carl, on the other hand, loved that Robert approached business from unique angles.
Over the years they have used each other as business mentors, which has been invaluable for them both. They know they can bounce ideas off of each other, and they keep each other accountable for what they need to do.
How to Survive in Business
“You cannot be out there on your own and expect to sustain your emotions and your business momentum without having the support of others around you.”
Robert and Carl both stressed the importance of making long-standing connections with others. For them, it is a requirement to sustain those connections through friendship, and the sharing of business ideas. Ten years into their relationship, they still meet at least every two months.
During their decade long relationship, they have seen their share of setbacks, business-wise and personally, but were quick to concentrate on the successes. In Robert’s opinion, his greatest success is that he is still in business ten years later. He’s right that this is a great success, as only 50% of businesses make it to the five year mark. For Carl, his success comes from the technical achievements he’s had over the years, even if no one knows about them.
Advice from Seasoned Entrepreneurs
As experienced entrepreneurs, Robert and Carl have some great advice for anyone looking at entrepreneurship.
- Surround yourself formally and informally with opportunity for conversation. Conversations create connections and long-term relationships.
- There is value in finding a mentor who doesn’t think like you, and you have to learn to be okay with that.
- Keep playing with something new and don’t get stagnant. Society is always going to change, businesses have to be adaptive.
- Entrepreneurs should never use the words “I have a plan,” they should say “I have an intention.” It opens things up for creativity.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Robert and Carl, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll do over the next ten years.