During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 160 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Global Entrepreneurship Week is about celebrating the entrepreneurs who make our economy and our cities better. It’s about encouraging everyone to explore the opportunities entrepreneurship presents while connecting people with success stories and peers from around the world who share a similar mindset.
Although I may not be attending any big events or competitions this week, I’m happy to be reflecting on my decisions and my personal entrepreneurial journey. When I first dove into the world of entrepreneurship six years ago and began jotting down name ideas for what would become Blab Media, I had no idea what the future would hold. I started my business as a way to find a job within a market that didn’t offer me enough options. At the time, it was a difficult decision and I was honestly quite scared. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Ironically enough, I still have my ups and downs but that’s just how entrepreneurship works. Some days you celebrate and others you struggle but when you close your laptop at the end of the day, when you walk away from your desk and turn off the lights in your office, there’s this sense of accomplishment thats beyond compare. It’s knowing that even if you do fail, you’ve done something that most wouldn’t dare try. You’ve survived without a steady/constant income, you’ve worked ridiculous hours, you’ve sacrificed and you’ve had to pave the way for your own success. There is truly nothing comparable to the feelings that entrepreneurship evokes. It’s a fire in your soul that can’t be put out and I’d have it no other way.
Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week to my fellow entrepreneurs and to all the inspired minds of the future #GEW2016
Last week Blab was out and about around Windsor with Rose City Sport & Social Club giving out lots of free goodies and smiles to complete strangers. We’d been working together on this campaign for over a month and from May 2nd-6th we were finally ready to hit the streets! Myself and two RCSSC team members set out to a variety of locations each day to surprise an unsuspecting individual with a Play Pack full of Windsor goodies that were provided by generous local businesses. The Play Packs included coffee from March 21st Bean & Leaf Cafe downtown, tickets to the Windsor Spits home opener game, passes for Urban Surf, a fresh rose from The Bourbon Rose Florist, tickets to see a MasterWorks performance from The Capitol Theatre, a John Max gift card, a cupcake from Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, EPIC Winery Passes from Tourism Windsor-Essex, Steam Whistle swag and a voucher for a free sign-up with Rose City Sport & Social Club all stuffed into a branded bag and tied up with balloons. How amazing is that?!
We called ourselves the Day Makers and I can honestly say, we did a fantastic job of making people’s days a little brighter. Seeing people surprised, smiling and happy made all the hard work worth while. CBC even joined us to surprise a teacher who was nominated at Sandwich West Public School! Although the whole experience was amazing, the highlight for me was when the team and I were walking down the street and spotted a young girl giving her Subway lunch to a homeless man. We just had to pass on the kindness so we caught her at the street light and made sure she knew that what she did for that man did not go unnoticed. She was on top of the world!
In a city that can be so full of uncertainty and negativity, it was nice to go out and spread some happiness. After five full days of adventure, photos, smiles, excitement and genuine happiness, I can honestly say the campaign was a success but we couldn’t have done it without all the donations from our amazing business sponsors so thank you very much for your kindness. A big thank you also goes out to Rose City Sport & Social Club for spreading the love. I’m a firm believer that together we can lift up this city one surprise/smile/good deed at a time!
There’s just something special about a new year! It’s a fresh start, a different outlook and a chance to do things differently. As we embark on what is sure to be an incredible year, I’m taking the time to lay out goals and really reflect on how Blab can grow in 2016. That being said, I think that sometimes motivation can be hard to come by when you’re a busy entrepreneur that’s trying to find balance in your life. It’s because of this that I’ve decided to start a weekly blog series that’s designed to spread positivity and help you to start each week with a fresh new outlook.
As someone who carries their phone around 24/7, I know first hand that it can sometimes feel more like a burden than a convenience. I’m constantly checking emails, getting notifications, listening to voicemails and fiddling around with one thing or another no matter where I am or what time it is. I don’t even want to know how many hours each day I spend looking at that screen and frankly, I could do without that information! Since I spend so much time looking at my phone screen, I decided to use that valuable real estate as a place to display my weekly mantra so that every single time I check it, I’m reminded of what I’m focusing on over the next seven days. The best part about these mantras is that their all customized by me and for me. On Monday morning each week, I take a look through my favourite wallpaper app (appropriately named Wallpapers) and choose a quote I feel will best sum up my weekly goal/vibe. Sometimes it’s silly, other times it’s business related or poetic. Either way, it guides me through each week and ensures I keep my head in the game so no matter how busy, frustrated, upset or stressed out I become, I can always keep myself on track.
So far I’ve really come to appreciate how much this simple process helps me stay focused and I’m looking forward to sharing my weekly mantra with you on the blog each Monday. But don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself! Build up a stash of good quote wallpapers (or make your own) and every Monday morning, before you dive head first into your busy schedule, choose one that you want to guide you through the week and then spend the next seven days owning it!
Check out my past mantras from January below and share some of your favourite motivational quotes/sayings in the comments. Have you started embracing weekly mantras on your smart phone? Share it with us on social via our Facebook Page or Twitter account.
Last night Blab Media accepted the Biz X Magazine Award for Social Media Leader Who’s A Tough Act To Follow! It was an absolute honour to share the stage with so many amazing local businesses who truly make our city unique. It was truly inspiring to hear the words and stories of other business owners and humbling to share mine as well. The food was delicious, the company was superb and the theme was just out of this world! I’d like to thank every single person who voted for Blab Media and made this night possible, every client who believed in my skills, every professional connection who helped me along the way, every friend who supported me and my parents for always believing in me. I’d also like to send a big thank you out to the whole team at Biz X Magazine and everyone who made the awards gala possible. Without you and this event, so many small businesses would go unnoticed and unappreciated.
Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and award winners and thank you for doing your part to make Windsor an amazing place to live, work and play. Cheers!
The first-ever two day Boost Your City event was a whirlwind of creative ideas, strategic execution and a whole lot of fun! Day one was fast-paced and incredibly productive with our web development, photography, graphic design and marketing teams brainstorming, strategizing and delegating tasks. The Sweet Revenge girls contributed to the final outcome through mini meetings and sessions with each individual team. By the end of the day, everyone involved had a firm grasp on the direction and began executing individual elements. Day two was a lot more task-oriented, focused and efficient with team members editing, sculpting and finalizing elements. Each team was responsible for rationalizing and reviewing their aspect of the project as part of a group presentation. The Sweet Revenge girls were given an overview of everything the group accomplished over the course of the event and were later provided with a full booklet outlining all strategies, recommendations, and necessary information.
Our team of volunteers was unstoppable! A combination of St Clair College students and industry professionals made up our web development, graphic design, marketing and photography teams. They all demonstrated impressive time management skills, produced inspiring content and kept their cool all while working seamlessly together in a group! We couldn’t have accomplished anything without them and we owe them a big thank you for their time, dedication, insight, skills and contributions to the event.
All of our volunteers worked so well together and it was great seeing each of them contribute their unique skill set and ideas to the final product. We all had a great time despite the strict deadline and could not be happier with the outcome! The Sweet Revenge team was involved throughout the whole process and was able to work with each group to help sculpt the end result. They left with a rolodex full of professional contacts, new branding, print materials, a fully functioning website, custom icons and a full marketing and promotions strategy to help them plan for the future.
On behalf of the whole crew, we wish Saskia and the Sweet Revenge team nothing but the best! Your passion is so evident in everything that you produce and your delicious sweets were no exception. We’re so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented and motivated young entrepreneur whose passion and positive outlook are contagious. All we ask is that you don’t forget about us little people when you get your own baking show on TLC!
We’ve finally chosen the first ever Boost Your City business and we’re incredibly excited to get this project started! We’d like to send a big congratulations out to Saskia Scott and the whole team at Sweet Revenge Bakery in Olde Riverside. Young, fun and motivated to the max, Saskia sees big potential for her bakery to expand in size to start taking on my orders and expanding services. We can’t wait to learn more about her inspiration and her goals so we can give Sweet Revenge the boost it needs to succeed! Stay tuned to our social channels for event teasers and post-event updates as we progress!
This month was one of our most anticipated events of the year – Startup Canada’s Day on the Hill. An annual event that brings together government leaders and the entrepreneurial community to create dialogue and advance Canadian entrepreneurship. As a Media Sponsor, Blab Media was responsible for creating content, taking photos/videos, managing social channels and generating conversation online throughout the event. Our goals were to lead the conversation online, generate excitement for attendees and keep the rest of the Startup community informed online. While it was a very busy job, working with Startup Canada makes me proud to be an entrepreneur and after attending Day on the Hill in Ottawa, I definitely felt the growing passion other Canadians have for it too.
This one day event brought together nearly 1,000 attendees – a mix of seasoned entrepreneurs willing to share their insight and young startups trying to make meaningful connections. It featured some of Canada’s top entrepreneurs, inspiring Startup Community leaders, media personalities, and government decision makers. The day program was fast paced and fed off of all the positive energy from the attendees. I’ve been to a lot of business events (surprise right?) and sometimes I feel like the networking gets impersonal and well… boring. This didn’t happen for a second and it honestly shocked me. There was a sense of camaraderie – everyone was there with the same goals and it was a collective effort to get to know each other. Where else am I going to hear Frank O’Dea (Founder & CEO of Second Cup) tell the most inspiring rags to riches journey of starting a business, meet Kellie Leitch (Minister of Labour and Status of Women) and Kerry-Lynne Findlay (Minister of National Revenue), laugh along with Dr. Sean Wise (consultant to CBC’s Dragon’s Den), and still get the opportunity to have real conversations with them? I was in entrepreneurial heaven. Packed bootcamps, free mentorship clinics, meaningful government roundtables, an evening soiree, and a bbq after party – it was tough to see it come to an end but I came home inspired and motivated to be a better entrepreneur.
Between all the tweeting, hand shaking, note taking (old school pen and pencil style), device charges, and awkward photo bombs I put together a highlight of my most loved moments from Day on the Hill 2014.
This month I (Katie) had the opportunity to attend The Art Of Entrepreneurship Conference in Toronto courtesy of our client Startup Canada, a sponsor and strong supporter of the event. I joined 1500 other passionate and driven attendees for an afternoon of presentations from internationally renowned bestselling authors, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, who shared with us an exciting blend of cutting edge thinking and real world experience on today’s most critical business issues. My favourite speakers were Debbie Travis (largest celebrity brand in Canada) whose personality and stage presence really blew me away, Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit) whose crazy stories and laid-back attitude made him a blast to listen to and Eric Ryan (co-founder of Method Cleaning Products) whose sense of humour and outlook on business was both refreshing and hysterical. Overall it was a fantastic networking opportunity and a day filled with inspiration, insight and energy. I absolutely have to share the following closing remarks from host Ron Tite who summed up the day’s lessons and advice from all the speakers and turned it into a truthful and incredibly witty outlook on entrepreneurship:
We learned that business – aka selling shit – is about depth. We learned that Entrepreneur is French for “Has ideas. Does them.” It’s someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves opposed to working 1 hour a day for someone else. But that dedication isn’t enough. How do you start it? How do you build it? How do you grow it?
Start with what you have. Coming up with great ideas is easy. Coming up with your values is easy. Writing down what you want to do is easy. Doing it and sustaining it is entirely different. Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything. And luck, my friends, has nothing to do with it.
Freedom is what we want and value is how we achieve it. And you don’t need to open a factory, just open your laptop.
Don’t play house. Find your passion. Figure out if you have a good idea.
Surround yourself with the best. After all, others can steal your ideas or steal your products. But they can’t steal your culture. And they can’t steal your relationships.
Admittedly, no one has any idea what they’re doing. So just… trust your gut. Be authentic. Be helpful. Be balanced. Be happy.
- Be in the right place. At the right time. With the right offer.
- Market in the year you live in.
- Have a sense of humour.
- Think “yes and”, not “yes but…” And on that note, say yes to the doughnut.
- Don’t care about your competition. Care about your people.
- Reality isn’t a solution. So…
- Embellish. Lie. Hustle.
- Create from scratch.
- Make great stuff.
- Marry a team player.
- Embrace risk. Embrace mistakes.
- Attack monsters, not villains.
- Experiment with pricing.
- Stay in your lane.
- Protect the daisy.
- Inspire advocates.
- Sleep your way to the top. But remember, sex is like marketing. Only losers pay.
- Keep it weird because weird people change the world.
- We’re all in this together. So let’s all make the world suck less.
Live it. Dream it. Do it.
The Windsor Star
By: Yvonne Pilon
March 30th 2012
Social media is what this entrepreneurial duo does best. If I had to sum them up in a 140 characters, it would read “Social media lovers, inventive thinkers, collaborators, young professionals, and community enthusiasts”.
Even as a startup, these entrepreneurs are making time to engage with their community through various events, including Startup Drinks Windsor, volunteering and of course, social media.
They’re also very ingenious in the ways they’re building buzz and awareness about their business. It was only a few months ago that they showered the downtown core with wallets filled with ‘Blab’ dollars and business cards. Why? Well, if you can imagine, as soon as a wallet was discovered, the contents were searched. If you were one of the dozens of people who found a wallet, you’d know that the owner was none other than Blab Media. The team also hand delivered branded homemade candy apples to customers and supporters in celebration of their 1 year anniversary. What a sweet gesture! (pun intended)
Entrepreneur Profile: Blab Media
Name: Katie Stokes/Jessica Apolloni
Business Name: Blab Media
Location: 131 Elliott Street West Windsor ON
Type of Business: Digital Marketing Agency
How long in Business: 1.5 years
Twitter/Facebook: @blabmedia www.facebook.com/blabmedia
Idea Origination: We worked together in a corporate marketing environment and realized there was a serious lack of education in regards to social media and digital marketing efforts. We wanted to simplify the process so businesses could start taking advantage of digital platforms to increase awareness and sales.
Prediction for the Future of Your Business (5 Year): Growing into a full digital marketing agency offering a range of digital services and expanding into other Canadian and US markets.
Toughest Part About Being an Entrepreneur: The “behind the scenes” work like taxes and payroll.
Best Thing About Being an Entrepreneur: The freedom to coordinate your own schedule.
First Job: Katie – Retail Jessica – Theatre Technician
3 Tips/Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Don’t be afraid to take risks, invest your time in networking within the community, and always play an active and accountable part of your own business
Best Career Success: Getting an office!
Favourite Quote: “The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do” – Apple, Think Different Campaign
Favourite thing about Windsor-Essex: The people and their contagious positive attitude for change.
Why do you support Entrepreneurship: We support entrepreneurship because we admire the qualities that entrepreneurs like us exhibit and how people with these qualities help make the community a better place. We’re always striving to be the best and to find success in everything we do. It’s about having a serious passion, ambition and the guts to take risks.
To see the original article click here
The Windsor Star
By: Dave Hall
February 16th 2012
Two young Windsor companies growing together have found common ground on the Internet and on social media sites.
Michael Lapico, a game developer and publisher who owns Touch Village, has been working with Katie Stokes and Jessica Apolloni of Blab!Media, a social media company that helps businesses create a complete web presence, for the past year.
“It’s a good example of two new businesses working together, and our relationship just clicked from the start,” said Lapico, a marketing and web development specialist before getting into the exploding game app sector.
Lapico sold Web Heads, his web development business a year ago, and decided to shift his focus to the mobile gaming applications sector as both a developer and, more recently, as a publisher of developer’s ideas.
He developed KitchenPad Timer, which has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, an app for cooks and chefs that enables them to manage multiple cooking times on both range top and oven.
It emits warning sounds – a rooster for chicken dishes and a cow for beef recipes – warning multi-tasking chefs that dishes are close to being ready.
Now, he’s moved into the game publishing business with Dragon’s Rage, which was developed in Ukraine, and ChinUp, a product of Digital Harmony Games, a small gaming app studio in Austin, Texas.
“After attending gaming conventions, I realized that a lot of the developers just aren’t marketing people, and I saw an opportunity to become a publisher of these games and help developers get them to market,” said Lapico.
And it’s that same niche approach that has allowed Blab! to make an impact locally by guiding startups and established companies into the world of social media.
Stokes and Apolloni both said their expertise lies in helping companies with no local presence get their products and services in front of new customers and also developing that same local presence for clients such as Lapico, who is known internationally through his gaming app development.
“As our client’s needs change, we adapt to those changing needs,” said Stokes.
In the meantime, Lapico is looking to partner with local game developers who need help getting their apps into the marketplace. He’s also seeking investors to help his company expand. For more information, visit touchvillage.com or getyourblabon.com.