Curated Collection: Some of the Best Advice for the Toronto Entrepreneur, from 4 Women of Influence


The spirit of entrepreneurship: it’s something we love here at Femme Fatale Media. That raw, searing energy and drive that turns irresistible visions into concrete realities. As such, we think it’s appropriate to share a few entrepreneurial insights to those of you who aspire to be a successful, influential Toronto entrepreneur. To that end, we’ve put together a quick, curated collection of some of the best advice for entrepreneurs – given by 4 business virtuosos who’ve been recognized by Women of Influence (including our very own CEO, Emily Lyons). Read it all, right here.

You Need to Be Bold

Entrepreneurs are well-known as calculated risk-takers, and there’s a good reason why: a paralyzing fear of risk often means that you won’t be willing to go all out in the pursuit of your vision. “My boldest move to date was starting Femme Fatale Media without any safety net to catch me — and with only $80 in my pocket,” says CEO of Femme Fatale Media, Emily Lyons. “I launched the agency in a basement apartment, marshaled onward, and plunged into the world of business and entrepreneurship.”

If you have the ability to swallow your fears and just go for it, you’ll already stand out from the pack of those in the 6ix who would like to be entrepreneurs – but don’t realize what it really takes to be a bona fide Toronto entrepreneur.

Take Advice from Mentors

Mentors play an instrumental role in guiding an entrepreneur to greater degrees of success. So what’s some of the best advice Toronto entrepreneurs have received from their mentors? “My best advice from a mentor was don’t stress out if you don’t work a full 40 hour week, because you will make (and have made) that up tenfold,” says bridal designer Gaby Bayona.

Sandra Longo – founder of Navy Street Charity for Persons with Disabilities, an organization devoted to distributing portable wheelchair ramps throughout Ontario – notes this advice from her mentor: “My best advice from a mentor was: success leaves clues. Go figure out what someone who was successful did, and model it. Improve upon it, but learn their steps. They have knowledge, then it’s up to you to become resourceful and to take massive action.”

Emily Lyons shares this nugget: “My best advice from a mentor was: ‘Do what you love.’ My mom told me that since I was young. She ingrained in me that it didn’t matter what I did or how I did it, but if I was happy, loved it, and was a good person along the way — that was what was important.”

Some Thoughts on Work-Life Balance

The topic of work-life balance can be a divisive one: some entrepreneurs suggest to embrace it fully; others reject the usefulness of such “balance” and throw themselves into the fires of their ambition with a fervent monomania. So what is the aspiring Toronto entrepreneur to do? The answer depends largely on one’s personality, time constraints, and life demands – so here we’ve included advice from both sides of the spectrum.

Sharon Kim, the CEO and founder of CanPlan – a company that makes and sells day-by-day planners for managing and beating cancer – takes this approach: “I balance work and life by setting goals for the week and then breaking it down by each day. If I accomplish my goals for the week, I make sure to do something I enjoy as a reward.”

“Work/life balance is getting up early,” says Sandra Longo – something early-morning risers will be glad to hear. “I have realized how to maximize my day by making the most of the hours I have in a day.”

Then there’s the more draconian perspective to work-life balance that is espoused by Emily Lyons – our young CEO and serial entrepreneur “with no plans of stopping”: “Work/life balance is something I don’t worry about too much,” she says. “That’s because I love entrepreneurship and I love my companies — and if you love what you’re doing in life, then work/life balance doesn’t enter into the equation. Obsession, not balance, keeps me fired up.”

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