Welcome to the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs!
Live on 91.3FM CJTR Regina Community Radio
We are live with a new guest each week including local business owners and entrepreneurs who are making a difference in YQR for the ‘Secret Life of Entrepreneurs.’
Regina entrepreneurs are being audacious and we are excited to be a part of the movement!
Join us to meet a new local business owner and hear their story of what makes them tick, what drives them to succeed and their entrepreneurial secrets .
If you are a local business owner, or entrepreneur, and would like to be a guest, please Contact us.
Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel, The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa.
Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford, Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want
Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen, Conexus Business Incubator
Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista, Health Coach Cheryl
Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick, Prairie Centre for Mindfulness
Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce
Episode 2 with Christina Carlson, Queen City Collective
Episode 1 with Sherry Knight, Dimension 11
Ep.8 Candyce Fiessel, The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa
In Episode 7, we chat with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and the What Women Want events. Starting with a photography business in the early days to an annual women’s event that draws 10’s of thousands of attendees, Michelle’s journey as an entrepreneur is pretty interesting!
Ep.7 Michelle Strawford, Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want
In Episode 6, we caught up with Jordan McFarlen from the Conexus Business Incubator! With the clock quickly ticking down on the project, the first cohort will apply next month. The on-site, cohort style learning will accelerate participants growth and help move companies to market more quickly.
Ep.6 Jordan McFarlen, Conexus Business Incubator
In Episode #4 we had the great pleasure to hear from Joanne Frederick, a Registered Psychologist and teacher of mindfulness. Joanne owns Prairie Centre for Mindfulness in Regina and works with both private individuals as well as corporations to assist in their mindfulness learnings.
Ep.4 Joanne Frederick, Prairie Centre for Mindfulness
In Episode #3 we had the great pleasure of meeting John Hopkins, Executive Director and Amanda Baker, Membership Coordinator from the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce to discuss the challenges facing local businesses and the Chamber’s role in supporting economic growth in our community.
*Due to technical difficulties, only the podcast is available.
Ep.3 John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce
In Episode #2 we talk with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective about her vision to create a productive space for small business owners where entrepreneurs can thrive, collaborate and succeed.
Ep.2 Christina Carlson, Queen City Collective
The Secret Life of Entrepreneurs with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective
Welcome to Knight Views, the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJTR, Regina community radio. We are live with a local business owner who’s making a difference in YQR. Tune in to learn their secrets about what makes them tick, what helps them become successful and their role as a leader in our business community.
You are listening to your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and marketing expert who helps businesses get to the top of Google with websites and social media to build an audacious business community.
Our guest today is Christina Carlson, owner and innovator at Queen City Collective and Carlson Consulting. She’ll talk with us today about co-working and the entrepreneurial collaboration happening in our community.
CC: Thanks for having me Barb.
Host: So let’s start off, tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
CC: I am a business entrepreneur’s consultancy. I’ve been doing project management and management consulting for about 9 or so years and I’ve always travelled throughout my career and spent a lot of time all over Canada, North America. That’s been wonderful but the last 3 years as my sons got older I really wanted to stay local and do more projects in Regina and in doing that I was really looking for a place to work. I got a little bit tired of fighting over the one charger spot at coffee shop and having client meetings in really amazing spaces but I really didn’t always love sitting at home and having my cats and dog always running across my computer either so it was fate I guess that I came in and together with one of my clients who had some space and I just went in there for a little bit and ended up turning that into a co-working space.
Host: Very cool, so in preparing for our show today it looks like there is about 6 co-working spaces in Regina. I did a quick Google search and I was surprised to find 6 co-working spaces so explain co-working to us. What is co-working?
Christina: Co-working is a place for business owners to have their own business so you’re working autonomously by yourself but you are not by yourself, you still have experts around you that you can ask questions. Within our space we have a community you have someone across the table from you that you can ask if they have a couple of minutes and read something that you are writing so it sounds professional. It’s an opportunity to have actual important space with all the AV and the technology and all those things that you need. Co-working to me is looking after your businesses, looking after yourself as well. We also have a cafe and a gym as I think it’s really important that we take care of ourselves because we are the biggest risk to our business. If we can’t show up every day then we don’t really have this right?
CC: So I wanted to create that space and really have a place for people to grow and grow out of our space as they get more successful and come back and be alumni to be, and help the rest of the entrepreneurs.
Host: Something you said that really tweaked for me and something that you hear people talking about more and more is looking after ourselves. A number of years ago it was go hard don’t stop, never give up right? And of course we still don’t want people to give up but the thought now is that it’s okay to take time and take care of yourself or based on the event that you had at the center on Monday night its okay to talk about some of the hard stuff that’s happening in a business right?
CC: Yes absolutely. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned as a consultant I often go to clients and help them with the things that are their biggest pain or their biggest worry or their biggest anxiety in their business and help them find solutions to keep them from coming back um but as the business owner yourself it’s so much more emotional so I have such a new perspective for those clients that I am running my own place um because you get emotionally tight of the things that are for you and it’s a lot harder to which um so it’s been a really great learning for me but yeah it is hard, its hard balance and you are end of one so you only have so much time right? Yeah isn’t that the truth.
Host: So you talked a little bit about how you got into the business I don’t think that you are ever a real estate owner before in terms of business real estate is that right? Right. So you went from home ownership to seeing an opportunity and starting this co-working center based on the story that you were sharing with us at the beginning, I am hearing a bit of sort of the opportunity called you vs you went looking for an opportunity, would that be a fair thing?
Christina: It would and it was a natural thing that I didn’t have that little voice back in my head saying that why are we doing this again? I’ve got a lot of experience…. I’m sorry with a lot of other companies trying to get some sales experience, trying to get some financial experience and things in just a little bit so that I can have a better understanding but this didn’t feel like that to me, this felt like this is the home base now for you take spanning grow from and since I’ve started because we attract a lot of service based businesses and freelancers now I am thinking creatively about other industry right? So what would this look like from a music perspective? What would this look like from an artist perspective? What would this look like from an agricultural perspective? What would this look like from a tech perspective? Right? So there are so many versions of this that we can utilize based on the structure that we have created um that is been really exciting.
Host: Wow! Yeah you know it’s exciting when you can put that kind of spin on something because suddenly you’ve got an opportunity that you can take to scale.
Christina: Yeah well in that thing that drives me to do that is that the feedback I get from the members that we have at Queens City Collective is things like I come here and it takes me an hour to get done with and 6 hours to get done at home. I finally made more money here as an entrepreneur than I did at my job somewhere else. I am so grateful that I have this space because it feels like it’s a place where I can go just to focus on me myself and my business without distraction of everything else. Thank god Dave’s here to feed us anytime back because that nutritional value feeds my brain that I can just be more productive I am not eating so much packet of peanut butter. So it gives me goosebumps talking about it now because that’s the stuff, that’s good and that’s what I want to keep up locating for other people. Yeah that’s awesome
Host: Okay so I am an entrepreneur, I own a business if I was looking to go and work in a co-working space what sort of things should I look for, what questions do I need to ask before I choose a space.
Christina: Right, so the first thing everyone comes up with is price and cost and all that obviously right? So there is different structures there is some places have dealing hourly right? So it depends on your usage so think about how much time you actually want to spend there but then also think about autonomy like do you want to be talking your hours? Do you want to be spending time figuring out that budget making sure you invoice properly and all that as well right? Some member so you just pay fee and you come and go as many times as you want. You want to look at their hours make sure that you have 24/7 access if that’s important to you to work as side of business hours and think of things like coffee and water and working your clients to meet you and front doors open when you are having client meetings. If you are on the phone a lot skype or video conferencing is there a place for you to do as well, that’s not gonna add fees to your cost already. Also there are so much things you want to think about first. Also think about your commute too, right? The wonderful thing about living in a city is that we don’t have our commute every day and we get that time but if you are not used to leaving your house um practice it a couple of times, ask the place that you are going if you can have a couple of free day trials to see if it’s a fit because and I really encourage members to do that without us before they get started, because I’ve had people when we first started that found like they just come and get going enough to get out to get to our space, it wasn’t a space in our co-working model, it was just their day to day right? Yeah.
Host: Something you said there are really tweaked for me. That 24 hour access I know with my schedule because I am working with clients across the country, there’s a lot of time at work so by 7 o clock in the morning but on those days quite often I am brain dead by 3:30 in the afternoon and so now I will do the easy stuff that doesn’t take quite as much as brain power so being able to come and go from an office as if it’s your own I think is a really important concept and that’s what I’m hearing you talk about that this is something that becomes your own right?
Christina: Yes absolutely. The technology came with the building so I will give a shout out to a Danans to sign for us, but we actually have lock that has connected to app on your phone so we don’t have to worry about keys or losing your keys or forgetting your keys if you have your phone you can get in always so unless you didn’t do update but that’s been really helpful and helpful for me as an owner too because I can know that it’s your safe in there and you can lock the door behind you that only people that I have given the permissions to coming in into that space for my safety perspective but then I know too that I don’t have to be that thing like open out for you as well right and that I can give u that autonomy or adults you can get your work done as you need to.
Host: Yeah, coming and going as you like and not feeling like why have to wait till someone to get to the building to let me in and that’s huge. So, what types of services are available at the space right now?
Christina: Right now we have a boardroom so anyone with the membership gets unlimited boardroom of access. We charge very low rates I think its 25 dollars an hour for public for non members to use it as well so we like to do that to keep the traffic going and keeping different organizations in and out of our space which makes it really fun and exciting. We also have my services to you so you get business quoting as part of your membership so if you want me to just take a couple of minutes to you know go back in fourth of couple a times in a week to ask questions about a project you working on or if you really want to spend an hour and go through you know an overall suspect of your project on your flow and how your dream is matching your output we can definitely do that as well so I offer that every day at cafe offers discount on your membership for all your food and coffee and then same with the gym. So we have right now a gym in the back with personal trainers that utilize the space with their clients but we have some downtime as well so we have with inner counter that people can utilize that gym space and go in there and sweat out their stress.
Host: So by being a member I get access to the gym right now?
Christina: Yeah. Also with the higher membership you get included in our parking too. So we have 7 spots that we play parking wars with.
Host: So Christina shared a story with before we went on air today we are sort of chatting about what we might talk about while we were live today and she shared a little story about parking wars that happened at the back of the building so tell us that story there is always something.
Christina: Well it’s a parking downtown Regina’s always the thing that ever it like a big controversy, right? So we are very fortunate that we have 7 parking spots in the back. So between the business owners me and Davin and the gym and our VIP members we have enough parking for all of us but they are too deep the parking spaces so somedays you just lose the lottery and you are always behind the guy that used to get out and yeah to move a little bit but you know but when I take it for not having my meters every 2 hours or to move my vehicle now or to like pay over 200 dollars for a spot in park, so it works out very nicely and yeah it’s just it’s funny because that seems to be the one thing that’s like that’s just bad factor right in the day that we are very fortunate for but it’s we have last supported as well.
Host: Well and as you said parking in downtown Regina and I think any you know sizeable community you are gonna have parking issues they are just never enough so to have free parking you know you can kind a deal a little bit with the square game where everybody’s shuffle around and get to the right spot.
Christina: So Yes. Absolutely and our Portland in the basement or in the main floor they have their spots too and sometimes we squeeze into theirs and there’s always that seems to parking lot. Parking your pittens that seems to be our thing in the back right now.
Host: Excellent. Okay. So, let’s just jump back quickly to co-working. It’s just like growing trend nationally, provincially internationally?
Christina: Yeah well for sure in North America I did a kind of research before we open into a newry because I was familiar with the co-working but it was strange to me that there was no lot of really loud co-working purse like people I guess in Regina um so I towards ask they have total 7 spaces that have been up. Oh wow! Um I did a lot of research a lot of um articles and research papers around RY and incubators and accelerators which is very growing too but we needed to start somewhere so we just started with the basic co-working spaces and its really interesting that about for 15 years it’s something that I think that came up around in a silicon valley tape place, places in North America but about in 15 years they have been up I did in Portland in march.
Host: How big was that?
Christina: Well the Portland’s been around they’ve been having spaces for about 9 years. Okay. and I went to 4 spaces there and talked to owners on various degrees some of that were you know a thousand plus members vs some that were publically 50 members so it was very, very interesting to learn about what they were doing and just there is this whole kind of evolution I guess is happening with that as well as we work in these other have a more corporate style. Spaces are coming into play because some of the corporations are starting to feel that maybe they don’t need the footprint of they had right people like more autonomy working from home and so maybe they can start utilizing these places which is a great model but then there is also that how can we create a space for this is the offside for people to be creative and ideation to come to and to create community and support and this is a very different type model right so I think our space is a ladder there for support and collaboration and connection were to you know you would say you will always gonna have a place in your business for your own comfortable so this is your place to be comfortable if on purpose to me that just for that um but really and truly that’s it that. So it’s interesting to see how these models are shifty and how they are popping up in North America and some of these are returned on investments cash flow and coming out, but it’s exciting because we can start moving into more the hyper accelerator model where we can start investing in these companies that are part of these spaces right.
Host: So I wanna picked a thought in just a second Christina but I wanna bring listeners up to speed. You are listening to Knight Views, the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJTR Regina Community Radio and each week we introduce a new local business owner and we profile their acts of audacity that are happening right here in our community.
Christina was just talking about the incubator and that whole entrepreneurial collaboration that’s starting to happen. In the past, I think as business owners there’s lot of silos you had to keep your stuff your work to yourself and you didn’t share clients and you didn’t talk about what you are doing because there is a bit of fear of competition or having your client be scooped, but that’s really starting to change and I think we see that in a number of different places here in Regina so your long term vision for Queen City Collective is an incubator, is some sort of collaborator that starts to grow business. Can you talk that about a little bit?
Christina: Yeah absolutely. So, kind a step one for Queen City Collective is open the doors, create open shared workspace is get the people in and educate around with collaboration and co-working is right that’s sort of phase 1 where we are at right now which is craze and then we are gonna start moving more into programs right so let’s surface some of these ideation kind of ideas right how can we start helping you those ideas into something that you can actually utilize in your business. What does that structure looks like and is it you know maybe a mastermind group or any counter ability group or something right so within our membership we can start doing that for each other um and we have like I guess I should mention too, we have an online community portals as well so you don’t have to be physically be at the space at the day to start participating in some of these conversations.
Host: So what’s in the portal? Describe that for me.
Christina: Yeah so the portal, I will describe as if it’s a male Champaign Facebook had a baby, this is the portal it’s the same portal that I and the reason I chose that was because we’ve had an agreement worth you remember at our space and you remember at their space and we can go back in forth between the two cities as well we have another place in Toronto as well that we have the same agreement with so which is great and we are hoping to expand that but we wanted to keep that internal platform similar, so people can start joining more and more conversation about you know just kinda like phone a friend right you can have your own chat with someone who in a profile maybe the marketing expert and you’re an IT expert and you just need that couple of questions or you wanna post your events or you want to talk about something that sounds comfortable all these types of things right um and I think that it was important for me to have that um internal space from IT perspective or a software perspective because I don’t want people to come into the space and feel like they are being salt too either, yes but as entrepreneurs we want to share what we are doing or really excited about it. So I wanted to create meaningful outlet I guess for that so people could engage and continue conversations with each other.
Host: Excellent, that sounds very good. So go ahead, continue. Yes please do.
Christina: We are going into more the hyper accelerator model which is really then starting to look at what kind of what is intel funding, when can we start getting capital and how can we start creating some casual inflex into some of these businesses that people have is their ready to grow you know maybe that looks like a percentage that we all you know that the corporation be quips or maybe it looks like you just pay a fee and then you go through booth kind of stuff right like there is lots of different ways we can involve into that space and lots of opportunities are in North America that we can tap into as well so it’s not just Queen City Collective it is like a whole network right so it’s gonna be exciting I think in the next few years as people kind of get out of their basements and tax and coffee shops and start coming together because I think we are all more powerful together.
Host: So and I don’t think your incubators taking any trees down without the affairs statement.
Christina: It will be a true statement today well only to expand at some point and I will not always because I feel that a place I like to expand too is already in existing space in the harder downtown, so will be safe there.
Host: Good. That sounds very great. So we’ve all heard the stories of being a business owner and doing whatever it took to be successful to make the next mortgage payment to make payroll whatever it might be. Is there something as you were starting either one of your businesses because you are managing both Queen City Collective and Carlson Consulting, so is there anything in both of your businesses that you know became that moment of whatever it takes?
Host: Really for me with my journey and that it’s been very tough but amazing learning.
Christina: I guess I should say so I went from the you know corner window, office with the 6 figure income in a corporate setting to a business owner who is eligible was like we need to eat out of the freezer this week because we don’t know how we can afford food but I needed those lessons. I needed to realize that there is a better way to manage my finances and I needed to realize that I probably did overspending in certain areas I needed to look at my abundance in a new way and attract things and figure out the things that I had in my home that already existed instead of getting into that accumulation of more stuff perspective but I think having like I said that never go through people who also go through the same thing is really been helpful in that journey and just understanding the link between your dream and that cash flow and as clear as you can connect those lines and leashed down as much as you can to make that really existent and tight is really important.
Host: Wow! Christina we only have a couple of minutes left, can you share with everyone how they can contact with you?
Christina: Yes there’s loads of ways so you can go to our website queencitycollective.ca. You can come by have a snack and I will give u a high five and we’ll chat. 2054 Bradstreet on the 2nd floor is our address you can come to work outside the box which is our outer workspace on Thursdays in Victoria Park between 10AM and 2PM.
Host: And is there one tomorrow?
Christina: There is one tomorrow absolutely, every Thursday in July and August we will be there and you can give me a call, our number is on the website as well.
Host: Okay excellent, so that’s Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective and Carlson Consulting, just quickly tell us in 1 minute or less, what type of consulting do you do with Carlson Consulting?
Christina: Oh it’s a business management consulting. So I’ve moved away from sort of that corporate overview type perspective for your business and more into you know let’s just figure out top 10 top 3 things that are really overwhelming you and your business and great process and system around that.
Host: So with so much going on like, like what keeps you going, what’s making you take care?
Christina: I’ve learned that what I do now shows that for me 3 months from now in my business and that cycle is been going and ongoing from the last year and it’s been exciting to see things that I’ve planted, seeds I’ve planted come to life and that’s what keeps me going. It’s that look on people’s faces when they can either feel relief or have an ideal moment and be productive, that’s what it’s about.
Host: Wow that’s incredible!
Well it looks like we are just about out of time so I would like to thank you and the listeners for joining us here today on 91.3 FM CJTR Regina Community Radio for Knight Views, the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs and thank you Christina from Queen City Collective and Carlson Consulting for talking about co-working, you’re the incubator and the entrepreneurial collaboration and its really starting to happen in our community and wow thinking about managing 2 businesses, one is more than enough thank you!
I will be back on August 15th with Amanda Baker from the Regina Chamber of Commerce to share her story and talk about how the Chamber is supporting entrepreneurs in Regina.
If you would like to be a guest you can email email@example.com or reach out to me directly on Facebook or Instagram at @abovethefoldcanada and just a reminder you can submit questions in advance of the live show on our Facebook page.
I am your host Barb McGrath, local business owner of Above the Fold Canada and I thank you for the opportunity to be here today. Folks, Sherry will be with you at 12 o clock next week and in the meantime remember don’t keep your success a secret.
Bye for now!
Ep.1 The Secret Life of Entrepreneurs
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