There’s something you should know about our generation, Gen-Y, a.k.a. millennials. Our cohort is known for taking more risks in their careers; wanting more control over the nature of their work—where it is done, when it is done, how it is done. When we aren’t content with the way something is being achieved, we take matters into our own hands. We know that access to information and the resources to be successful are available to us at the click of a button.
The world of work is rapidly changing. Many of those who initially resisted these changes in technology, the approach millennials take to work, and the employees’ desire to be provided with more access to information have started to embrace them, while others have not. Many people have endured the risks of entrepreneurship in the past, but there are many more taking this risk today. Millennials are willing to leave secure jobs, to take risks, and to control their own destinies. An article in Canadian Business (“Canadians increasingly becoming entreprenuers and small business owners”) explains that in the past five years, Canadians in their twenties have increased their startup ownership by nearly 10 per cent. In the same article, Becky Reuber, a professor at the Rotman School of Management, said, “It’s the entrepreneur that’s the hero for these times and for this generation.” At Redstone, we believe this is the wave of the millennial generation—the future of the workforce and the meeting industry.
We would like to welcome all of our colleagues in the industry to our new column. Our names are Bailey Roth and Carly Silberstein and we are the co-founders of Redstone Agency, Canada’s newest event and association management company. We are thrilled to share our industry knowledge and start-up experience with you. We are millennials and everything we described above is why we took on the challenge of starting our own company. We identified a gap in the market and we soared into action. This is becoming common for many young people in our industry. We also knew that we’d be more successful in both our professional and personal lives if we started the Redstone journey together. Our strengths complement each other perfectly, and we have trust and respect for each other. These were key considerations before we got started. We knew the journey was going to be challenging, but also incredibly exciting, and we wanted to share the challenges and successes with one another. Once we determined that we wanted to start the company together, we decided we had to build a roadmap that would lead us to success.
We want to be different. It’s true that there is a lot of capacity in Canada for more event planners. Events are used to incentivize teams, promote products, and create experiences in almost every industry, but we still wanted to offer something different. We looked at our direct and indirect competitors, and we made sure that what we were offering was unique and new to the market. We are passionate about the work that we do. We do not see this as a job but as a way of life. We find our work tremendously rewarding, which fuels our passion and keeps us engaged and extremely client-focused.
We made a commitment. After discussing a timeline for success, we determined we would commit a certain length of time to make our dream a reality. It may be true that many new businesses do not succeed, but we believe that this is in large part because people give up too soon. Setting a realistic timeline for success, and ensuring our budget accounted for this timeline, is another way we believed we would be set for success.
We always remain positive. Planners stereotypically have Type-A personalities; they are ambitious, like to be in control, and approach everything with a sense of urgency. We are no different. However, before taking the entrepreneurial plunge, we made a pact to each other and to ourselves to “roll with the punches,” even if the “punches” steered us off course temporarily. Outlook, perspective and mindset are so powerful and definitely play a role in making your dreams a reality.
We want to spend our money wisely. Deciding to start your own business requires planning: business planning, marketing planning and yes, financial planning. Arguably one of the biggest challenges people have is where to get the capital to start their own business. How will they pay themselves? There are many funding sources available to Canadian entrepreneurs (government grants, investors, crowdsourcing, etc.), but regardless of your source of funding, you have to have a sound and realistic financial plan.
We want to make a difference. Not only in our own lives, but in the lives of our colleagues, peers, clients and partners. We want to give back to an industry that has given us so much, and we want to strategically contribute to our clients’ organizations and the communities that they serve.
If you are thinking of going out on your own, or are simply interested in learning more about this shift in the world of work from a millennial perspective, this column will address all of that. We’re going to talk about everything, from how we decided to start our own company to the steps we took to launch; we’re going to explore the challenges and the successes as we experience them; and we’re going to be at this year’s IncentiveWorks to interact with all of you to discuss our start-up experience in person.
We are so excited to be taking this journey and sharing it with you, every step of the way…see you next issue.
Bailey Roth and Carly Silberstein are the co-founders of Redstone Agency, an event and association management company that opened shop in Toronto, Canada but operates internationally. www.redstoneagency.ca.