John: Episode 4.
Kael: Episode 4: How to make money on Vancouver Island. That’s what we’re here for Johnny.
Kael: Episode 4: How to make money on Vancouver Island. That’s what we’re here for Johnny.
John: Ultimately, yeah. You’ve got to make some money so we can do all the fun things that we want to do.
Kael: Yeah, so I remember when I moved back to Vancouver Island about 15 years ago, I didn’t know what business I’d start and definitely you know, one of the biggest questions most people have is do you do a business to consumer or a business to business-business? So can you give me your thoughts on that?
John: Well I think there’s you know, there’s room for both, obviously the business that I have chosen is kind of a b to c you know where we’re retailing directly to customers but we work with lots of companies who supports us, you know the crane companies, the electricians, you know there’s lots of support businesses that supports us so I think there’s opportunity with both bubbles here on the island. We haven’t introduced ourselves. Kael, you’re host Kael Campbell, and I’m John Kierstead.
Kael: And we’ve got Dennis running our sound engineering and yeah, today we’re going to be talking about how to make money on Vancouver Island and you could see nothing makes entrepreneurs more excited than making money.
John: Yes, because we just skipped all the other stuff, went straight into making money. You know I think the really important thing is that making enough money to live this lifestyle and enjoy this lifestyle, you know in Edmonton it was all, you know for us it was a lot more about making the money and that was the big thing and it’s like you all suffer through this kind of long winters and nasty minus 3 temperatures and make enough money and it will be worthwhile, and then one day I’ll start living the life I want to live, and then after about 20 years, I was like ‘forget that, I want to move to the island and start living my life.’ And you know you really can, you can have the best of both worlds here, you can you know, maybe the amount of money that you make is proportional, right? You know there’s a little bit smaller markets and stuff but you know I find the cost of living here is pretty reasonable, you know compared to Vancouver, you’ve lived in Vancouver, I mean everything there has gone up so much in price, here there’s still a lot of bargains, and like you are mentioning in one of the other episodes like, depending on where you live on the island, you can get a really nice property for not that much money and still have all of the benefits of living in a great place without having to spend a whole lot.
Kael: Yeah, definitely cost is going to be a huge issue for not only you as an entrepreneur but also if you’re planning to grow your business and you know you can start off as solo-entrepreneur, but if you really want to get to what I call beyond the lifestyle business, you really need to end up hiring employees, and they have to have a place to live that fairly affordable, right now we’re definitely seeing a bit of peak housing and cost related to that, so yeah, I mean you have to make money so you can feed your family, but if you’re really going to grow your business, you’ve got to provide your employees with benefits and enough that they can say ‘yes, I have a future here and I can build something, whether it is, you know, helping them get through school if you know, they’re a younger person or helping them you know, somebody who’s got a family both, not only feed them, clothe the kids but make sure that they have some benefits and they’re putting some savings, so definitely making money is not super easy when we’re thinking about how do we start a business. I remember when I started a business, I ended up surveying a lot of people on the island but also off island. And I asked them specifically ‘what would you be willing to pay?’ and ‘would you be willing to pay a hundred dollars? A thousand dollars? Ten thousand dollars?’ so you know it’s really something we’ve got to ask as entrepreneurs, ‘are people going to pay for this?’
John: Well, and the interesting thing is that there’s a lot of money coming to the island, you know these people are retiring and building their dream homes which that provides you know the building industry here on the island is going crazy, and all of the supporting around that, all of the stuff that the builders buy and all the wood and the appliances and all that stuff, it’s amazing, like for when I used to sell spas and other markets, you know it was more of an accessory that was added and here what we’re seeing is people are building their dream homes, you know, so they’re not compromising, you know, they’re choosing higher quality, they’re looking for to build that dream house, their final house, you know they’re not planning on moving anywhere, so I think that businesses that want to make money are going to cater to the needs of those people, you know, make it easy for them to do it, you know, landscape businesses and all of these different businesses, to just help people make their dream home because I know that’s why I came here. You know I came here I want to have my dream environment, and it’s amazing, the number of people that are doing that, like what was the population growth over the last five years, I think those statistics would be quite interesting to see, I think the last census I said we’ve grown by 17% since the previous census so that’s what? 5 years? 6 years? Something like that.
Kael: Yeah that’s an amazing pace of growth for North America, you know we move to, go to some places in the world that’s not quite as.
Kael: Spectacular but yeah, when I see the changes that have happened in my short 42 years in Vancouver Island, it is amazing whether you’re looking at Comox Valley, Victoria, and Campbell river. So one of the things we’ve touched on a past episode was the Blue Ocean strategy, and you know, I might not be able to articulate it quite as well as other people but to me, the idea of Blue Ocean is where are their markets that you can add into that aren’t saturated, so if you’re swimming with a bunch of sharks and you’ve ever seen shark feeds? I’m a bit of a diver and I.
John: I’m afraid of sharks, man, I don’t want to be eaten.
Kael: I’m not too afraid of that but when they’re in a feed, there’s a lot of blood in the water so as a business person, you often want a Blue Ocean strategy, so you’re looking for some markets, you’re looking for some opportunities where you’re going to have some space and to me that’s looking for, if you’re in a niche business to business market, whether it’s consulting, that you’re not offering the exact same thing as other people, and yeah, looking for that new market I mentioned in the past episode about wind surf and kite surfing instruction, you know I think there’s only one to two businesses here on Island but it blows almost 365 days a year, you know there’s great opportunities for sailing schools, there’s opportunities for kite boarding and you know, you don’t see a lot of windmills, you know like generating a lot of electricity on Vancouver Island but I think there’s opportunities that are based on.
John: We’re seeing it with solar and other types of energy producing businesses, you know what you said about coming to the island and being able to you know relatively new and in a very short time, you can become the incumbent if you put your mind to it, I mean that’s what we set out to do three years ago we weren’t here, now we’ve just opened the third chain, store in our chain, which makes us the largest hot tub company on the island, I couldn’t do that on Vancouver, I couldn’t do that in bigger places because it’s just the players are so much bigger, so yeah I think it is, got a unique opportunity, the other thing I find is that the loyalty to local brands here is, and local businesses is much higher, you know example I have to use is thrifty’s, you know thrifty’s, I loved it before and even after Sobeys has bought it, it’s still maintain, they were smart, they maintain that, they let them still be Thrifty’s, and you see that in every city that on the island here, there’s those businesses, you took us to a place in Courtney that have that chocolate?
Kael: Oh yeah, one of my favourite spots, hot chocolates on Courtney on 5ft street.
John: Oh what an amazing place, and I mean the loyalty, like the place is packed all the time, and if you want your valentines or your Easter or whatever, better get your orders in quickly because they sell out fast it’s amazing.
Kael: Yeah, that’s great. Yeah it’s interesting how people have carved out their niches for them, so I think that winds it up for this episode of the Business Vancouver Island Podcast, I’d like to thank my host John Kierstead.
John: Yeah, thank you.
Kael: I’d like to thank Dennis our sound engineer, and Kevin who’s produced our intro and outro jingle, and also EO Vancouver Island, a great group of entrepreneurs who are sponsoring this podcast.
John: Awesome, thank you man.