Money Tips Monday: Big advice for your small business – Okanagan

Secondary jobs or side hustles have become an economic reality for an increasing number of Canadians looking for additional revenue streams that will help them stay in the black.

For some, however, these pursuits are more than a supplemental income. They’re new opportunities for personal and economic growth.

Brandi Haaf of  Empire Crepe is one of a growing number of people whose passion turned side hustle has led them to take a plunge into a new economic pool. This month, for Money Tips Monday,  Travis Lowe spoke with her about what it took to risk it all and who helped her along the way.

Haaf quit her corporate job and last March took her family food truck side hustle to the next level.

Haaf said food trucks and the way they chase events tend to limit the ability to create an atmosphere, or a vibe, that a brick-and-mortar operation can offer. So, she started to build a foundation on a delicious idea and it’s been going well.

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To get going, however, she had to tap into some expert financial advice, the likes of which financial advisor Brandon Robson, from  Valley First a Division of First West Credit Union, is happy to offer his clients.

Robson has seen many people walking a similar path to Haaf, and one of the first questions fledgling entrepreneurs like her have, is whether it’s the right time.

Robson said, typically, if you have a certain amount of demand where you just can’t keep up with it during your spare time.

“So that’s a good start and the second one might be your passion. If your day to day job isn’t doing it for you and you can make it work financially or otherwise than that’s the time to make the transition,” he said.

Another important question is whether to incorporate a small business or operate as a sole proprietorship.

For that, Robson said there is no right or wrong answer but a sole proprietorship is the easiest way to start an official new chapter in one’s business life.

There are still some hoops to jump through like registering a name, making sure you have a business license, or opening up a business account with a bank. But choosing to incorporate is just a bit more involved and those who choose that path typically need a lawyer, he said.

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“An accountant is probably the best to tell you which one is best for you,” he said.

Once those early decisions have been made, success is far from a sure thing. Around 20 per cent of small businesses fail in the first year or two.

That’s why Robson advises tapping into as many resources as possible to make a go of a new endeavor.

“A great starting would be just they have a section in there for employment and small business in particular they have step-by-step guides on how to register, grants you might be eligible for tons of good information on there,” Robson said. is another site with a lot of resources.

They’ve got a business plan format, cash flow template, and tons of other resources, Robson said.

“They also provide some funding they have a loan program if you need it,” he said.

Community Futures is another resource that Robson recommends.

They have local advisors who offer training for self-employed people as well as financing to grow a business.


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