Your first question might be: why? Well the answer is quite simple. Even with a BA, close to 10 years working in various child and youth care (CYC) contexts, and an extensive resume, my annual net income working in the local school district was $30,000. Now thirty grand is not a small amount of money. But to live in Vancouver, it’s really cutting it close or next to impossible. My options were to go get my masters (which is another large sum of money) or find new work. I chose the latter.
I am very blessed to have landed a position as the new Community Manager at the premiere startup incubator and accelerator here in Vancouver: Launch Academy. The story of how I found this position will be saved for another time.
While I am new to the startup, business, and tech industry, I have always had an affinity to following cutting edge technology and gaming through following outlets like IGN, The Verge, MKBHD, and Polygon. I bring to this industry a background in counselling and relationship building, and a love for helping others achieve their goals. As I continue writing new entries into this blog, I hope to provide a fresh perspective on how relationships influence the journeys of each entrepreneur and business. From classrooms to hot-desks, here are 3 interesting observations I made in my first three months at Launch Academy.
One mantra I carried through life was that “money is the root of all evil”. Personally, I disliked chasing money around, and I hated how money restricted other towards resources, experiences, and opportunities. There’s never enough for everyone, and it’s a struggle to get. Most of all, it’s expensive to be poor. Part of this mentality is why I went into social services. Recently, I heard the phrase “money isn’t the root of all evil, greed is”. This statement sat funny with me, because I knew it was true.
So how does this relate to Launch? As I met more founders and entrepreneurs, I found that money was often an afterthought to their business plans. The pattern was that the product was innovative, helpful, and impressive, but the money-making plan was… lacking. While revenue streams and funding were part of their pitch decks, the “business” part of the plan is not always most optimal. Truth be told, I find this sort of honourable.
Something I need to remind myself: While it is easy to say to “just get in the mud” and to help those in need side-by-side, people’s skillsets are different. We all need to play by our strengths. Many of these founders see a problem and want to fix it using their strengths in tech, business, and entrepreneurship. While money isn’t everything, everybody and every business needs it to survive.
In the professional world, it’s known as “networking”, but I see it as building relationships. Many quotes come to mind: “it takes a village”, “bringing two worlds together”, and “I am here, I belong, I am loved.” Relationship is key, and founders excited to make them.
When I worked with children and youth care, they usually came from a place of mistrust, and fear. One of my famous skills working in CYC was my ability to build rapport and relationship fast and effectively. Then I was able to navigate and use these relationships to best serve and help the young individuals.
I found that the first step of having to overcome the fear of networking is almost gone in the startup world, everybody loves to share, tell their story, and pitch their business. I love hearing about these cool ideas, as everyone is always so passionate.
Perhaps it is just human nature, but I found it interesting that relationships are still one of the best tools for a successful business, amongst the sea of data and numbers that get celebrated in the news. Quality and quantity both matter, and it just encourages everyone to be good to one another.
Finally, one observation that I noticed of the business world is how people don’t celebrate the “human” side of business compared to the celebration of say, a revolution in product or a highly profitable exit. The reason I notice this is because of my background of always “praising, never punish”, AKA encouraging desired behaviours, and discouraging undesired ones. Of course, I’m looking at this from a lens of children who are still learning to control and self-regulate their emotions.
I would love to see more focus, discussion, and praise on the relationships, dynamics, and culture of employers and employees of successful companies, beyond just having good benefits, or recreation activities on campus. More specifically, I want to know how people talked, what kind of lifestyle they had, and how they worked as a team.
I can already hear a voice in the back of my head going “We’re trying to make money, not run a clubhouse…”
Thank you for reading this far, I actually really enjoyed this! This has been the first time I’m writing for personal reasons since… forever. I hope my thoughts and words were clear; if not, I would love to elaborate. As always, I would love any feedback, and expand on my thoughts. I have many more projects in the works!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great week. ✌️