OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Tina Olivero

    Couples in business: Daniel and Katie Porter

    Katie: Being a busy mother, wife and multiple business owners, can certainly lead to hectic days. Maintaining a healthy balance of work, social and family life takes practice and patience. I have endless lists but rather than have them overcome me, I look at everything with realistic goals and challenge myself to prioritize and balance my day – every day.

    I can, and often do, get caught up in the paperwork, phone calls, cleaning, errands, marketing, accounting, customer service and banking. There will always be more to do, and something else I should have finished but that’s okay, it’s a work in progress and the great thing about my career is that my “work” doesn’t feel like “work”. I love my job and take great pride in my accomplishments. It isn’t easy being an entrepreneur, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started my journey, but here I am, doing it!

    Daniel: As multiple business owners my companies all require different aspects of focus and attention. My companies range from established and smooth running operations to new a new start up. We are consistently changing and growing to meet the needs of the market and customers. To run our businesses, I really count on the output of partners, lead hands and employees to represent myself and my businesses on the job site. I believe good leaders surround themselves with good leaders. We all bring certain things to the team, and one of my specialities is team building. I see a vision of what I want to do, build the idea and the team and then bring the vision to life.

    The OGM: How and when did you meet?

    Daniel: We have known each other for 24 years! We are both from the same hometown and were friends for a long time before we were together. We always knew we had a lot in common, so when we finally started dating we knew that was it!

    The OGM: How do you structure family life and succeed in business simultaneously?

    Katie: Having two small children comes with its own structure. We are mainly driven by their needs and schedule but also the needs of our businesses. We accept that our businesses are a 24/7 commitment and we try to give each other the support and understanding needed to grow and survive the highs and lows of being entrepreneurs.

    The OGM: When did you decide to become an entrepreneur and why?

    Daniel: I was almost a gym teacher! I spent 6 and a half years at MUN when I decided that I wanted to have a more dynamic life. I saw an opportunity in the rising oil and housing sectors and increased infrastructure spending in the province. That’s when I decided to contact my friends who were in various facets of the related industries and started my companies from there.

    Katie: For me, it was all about the timing. I had a “someday” dream, and then an opportunity presented itself, and we jumped at it. I knew I wasn’t quite ready to go back to teaching because of our small children, so I decided to take a little career change and see what the beauty industry was all about.

    The OGM: What are the challenges and the successes of being partners in life and at work?

    Katie: There are many challenges of being partners in both life and work, especially when we both work from home. Trying to separate work life from home life can be challenging when there is this high level of responsibility, but that is why having a supportive partner who understands the work and lifestyle that goes with it. Being responsible for so much can be stressful, and one of the main reasons for stress within a business is the highs and lows that come along with that.

    The OGM: What makes a great relationship happen? Where do relationships break down? What do you do about that?

    Katie: Great relationships happen when two people love each other and have the same goals and the same ideas about how to get there. Also, sharing common interests or appreciating each other’s separate interests has proven to be super important.

    THE OGM: Define success.

    Katie: Success is having a happy, healthy family, feeling fulfilled in your career and being financially stable. My dad once told me that whatever I choose to be when I grow up I have to pick something that I enjoy. And I do! Very much. I am proud of our businesses, and my work doesn’t feel like work. To me that is success.

    The OGM: What’s a day in the life of married entrepreneurs and partners look like?

    Katie: A day in the life of married entrepreneurs is busy busy busy! There always seems to be something. If it’s not a year end its, phone calls, banking, emails, running around doing errands. There is not enough time in the day! It makes the job a little easier knowing that you have somebody to discuss things with, bounce ideas off or try to find a solution. We are a great team and we each excel in different areas.

    The OGM: How important is physical, emotional and mental health to you?

    Daniel: Physical, emotional and mental health are all super important to us. We understand that physical exercise supports mental well-being. We try our best to exercise on a regular basis. We are always trying to justify the means that provides the end. In other words, we do what needs to be done, in order to provide ourselves with a more free lifestyle. One where we set our own office hours, our decisions determine our output, it is stressful at times, but it is also freedom.

    The OGM: Where do you see the business going in the future?

    Daniel: Business will always be a dynamic evolving quest. One must be willing to adapt to the market changes hopefully producing innovative start-up opportunities. We feel business is shifting more to the service industries as well as alternative energies and water.

    The OGM: What do you think are solutions for economic prosperity in the province?

    Daniel: We must continue to develop our energy sources and raw materials and bring them to the global marketplace. With only half a million people, we provide iron ore, oil, gas, hydroelectricity, fish, minerals, water, and more. We are a resource-rich province that is providing vast sources of employment, revenue and business opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We need to expand and capitalize on that.

    The OGM: What would you recommend as a solution to advance the business climate of the province?

    Daniel: There is not one specific answer to this question, but there are a few things that we noticed that could advance the business climate of the province. First off there’s the tax burden on small businesses, from both a payroll and GST. Starting a business is difficult in ideal circumstances so there needs to be consideration for start-ups. Throwing in a tax increase affects the bottom line for consumers and business owners. I think that implementing tax relief would help immensely with the success of new business growth. Also, the worker’s compensation fees are the highest in Canada and they should be reduced.

    The OGM: Where do you feel the next trends in business will be?

    Daniel: The next trends in business will be shifting to an e-commerce world. The ability to access sales without ever leaving your home creates immense opportunity for business people. With the internet, the marketing available today, and the scope of business and its potential to access millions, are in our hands for the first time. I hope to see an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to harness technology and innovation and prosper right here at home. Too much of our money leaves the province. We need to figure out ways to bring money into the province from other regions of the world.

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