Interviewing Toronto Entrepreneur: Zoe Share
Updated: Jul 30, 2018
By Andrew Lie I July, 27, 2018
Welcome to our Friday Feature: Toronto Entrepreneurs segment, where we bring you insights, experiences, inspiration, and advice from prominent entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area!
We’ve interviewed business leaders who have been kind enough to take the time to share their experiences with us on what it’s like starting their very own business (and nurturing it as well)!
We believe that these stories would be valuable to other aspiring or established business leaders. On behalf of TorontoEntrepreneurs.ca, we hope that you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed creating it! Feel free to share this story with your networks.
Introducing Toronto Entrepreneur: Zoe Share, President and Chief Executive Schmoozer at Schmooz Media
Company name: Schmooz Media
What does your company do? Social Media Marketing (and more!)
Year launched: 2014
Number of employees: 5 Full Time, Lots of Freelancers!
1. How did you get the idea to start your business?
I started Schmooz after I completed my Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of Waterloo. I started the company without completely realizing what I was getting myself into. I knew I wanted to bring value and I knew that I was good at communicating clearly. I had a few clients at the beginning that added up to 30 hours a week of work, for around 6 months. I told my husband that if it didn’t become a full time job that I would leave at the end of the 6 months. I never had to do that and started hiring within that first 6 months instead. Here I am four years later, with a growing team, amazing clients and a lot of exciting opportunity on the horizon.
2. What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started your business?
Best Thing: Having my daughter in January 2018 and continuing to see my company (and each individual employee) grow and flourish during and following that time.
Worst Thing: I would argue that this is the best and the worst. Clients can sometimes be very mean; I’ve learned how to have a tougher skin, set more boundaries and be more transparent about what my company can and cannot do for a business. It can be painful to grow and learn, but that’s what I want to do.
3. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
One of the most challenging parts of being an entrepreneur is learning how to let go and allow others the chance to help you build (and maintain) your company. Trusting yourself to make good decisions about your team and trusting others with your business is challenging. I am fortunate to have hired people to join the Schmooz team who don’t only understand the vision, but are a huge part of the vision. It is a privilege to do what we do and to be able to pay my talented team to do it!
Another challenge for me is corporate taxes. What can I say? I’m a natural born Schmoozer, and not as good at the numbers! My advice? Keep really good track of your expenses and hire professional accountants. Most importantly, ask for help!
4. What are some lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Three major lessons:
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Then, hire people who are smarter than you.
2. Let someone go who is the wrong fit for your company sooner rather than later (hurts you, the business and the employee less in the long run!)
3. Patience is a virtue. Seriously.
5. What are the best parts about entrepreneurship?
I have constantly had to remind myself that I decided to start my own business because I wanted flexibility and because I wanted to contribute both emotionally and financially to my family. The best moments, the moment where I am happiest, which don’t happen all the time are when I am able to create an ideal schedule for myself, when I am challenged, and when I am helping people and making money to support myself and my family.
6. What has been your most effective form of advertising?
Referrals have been the most effective form of advertising, which feels amazing as it is an indication of our clients happiness. It’s also great to know that our social media and blog content brings a lot of organic leads to our website. One of the beautiful things about working in social media is being able to know exactly how we would use the technology if and when we need new business opportunities. I’m proud to say we’ve been keeping busy!
7. Who are the entrepreneurs you look up to?
I am fortunate to have a lot of entrepreneurs in my family to learn from. My parents started a law firm over 30 years ago and have managed to be a happy loving couple together as well as amazing, supportive and involved parents. Moreover, they are the leaders of a successful, ever-evolving company. I hope my own daughter will look up to me in the same way as I look up to them.
8. What goals have you achieved for your business so far?
I have achieved a lot of exciting things within my business so far. I’ll list a few:
- Hiring part time employees; hiring full time employees
- Opening an office location at 3453 Yonge (Suite 201) after running the business successfully from home for 2 years.
- Incorporating my business from its original sole proprietorship
- Having an amazing company culture and team who has a heart and passion for what we do
- Firing myself from daily operations (after having a baby) and hiring a Director of Operations so I can focus on what I love most, sales and business development
9. What are your goals for your business in 2018?
My goals are to continue bringing tangible solutions to existing and new clients. I’m so delighted about the work we are doing; whether it is a one-time bulk video creation project, sending out newsletter campaigns, fulfilling a monthly retainer or even doing a fill-in-the gap transition/strategic planning project. I want my team to keep learning and schmoozing and also, teaching each other. We’ve started doing company Food for Thought Sessions (otherwise known as lunch and learns) and we’ve updated our office furniture. 2018 has been amazing so far and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
10. Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
In terms of Schmooz, I hope Schmooz moves towards including more automated services in our offering as well as growing the team and changing with the team as needed. I want my clients to be happy and get good results, which means changing with technology, and I want my staff to be happy, which means hearing their ideas and feedback. Simply, I want to be happy and make a good living.
Personally, in 5 years, I hope that I’ll have another child (I have a daughter now!) and I also hope that I’ll also have another dog (don’t tell my husband!).
11. What upcoming projects are you working on?
We’ve in the middle of renovating our Schmooz space. It’s been four years, so it was time to invest in some new stuff. We’re getting a new mini-fridge, microwave, air conditioning unit, carpets, new desks, new outdoor signage and a regular cleaning service! I am so grateful to the mish-mash furniture we’ve had for the past few years, but I am so excited to update the look of our space for my amazing team and clients.
Client work is exciting and always changing. Whether it’s covering the social media accounts for an event, creating bulk videos for social media, drafting blogs, newsletters, graphics, running ads on Facebook or interacting with influencers on Instagram, there is always something new and something challenging to do around Schmooz.
12. What trends are you seeing in your industry?
I think it will always be trendy to be social in a genuine, human way. Technology and social media will always evolve and change, but most people value connection and feeling like they are part of something. This is key to always remember!
13. What business advice would you give yourself if you were to start all over?
I wouldn’t change anything about my journey. I have learned so much from every up and every down. I think I would tell myself to study and analyze the data in the financials at least once a month. The patterns I’ve learned from my business data is so important, but also needed time to accumulate and be meaningful.
14. Last but not least, let’s end off with a fun fact! What might we be surprised to know about you?
I don’t consume caffeine! By around 9:30 p.m., I cannot Schmooz anymore and require deep sleep. My husband and I build furniture together in our spare time (I love DIY!) and I adore candy.
Let’s get social. Follow Schmooz Media on social media!
Many thanks to Zoe for sharing her story with us! Stay tuned for our next featured Toronto Entrepreneur!
Do you have someone in mind who should be on our Friday Feature – Toronto Entrepreneurs segment? If so, email email@example.com