As the child of an entrepreneur, Gillean Woods had always figured that one day she would be running her own show. However when faced with the ‘anticipated headaches’ of being her own boss- the tax implications, the client relations, the marketing- as well as the unclear process of how to begin a design firm, she settled for the life of an employee.
It was never a question of whether she had the talent for it, though. Woods went into Interior Design from a Degree in Science without any previous experience in drawing or design and was able to harness her incredible creativity to excel in her work. When she was finally in the industry, she was personally sought out for private work and consultations outside of her job. As her opportunity increased, Woods’ hereditarily entrepreneurial spirit returned and this time she asserted to act upon it.
“I’d first heard about invest Ottawa from a fellow interior designer. When I expressed interest in starting my own business, she had had a great experience with them, and I thought I should check them out.” She said. “I was looking for the how to start a business for dummies guide” and “I also needed bookkeeping and filing taxes for self-employed. So I was looking for any support I could get.”
Woods utilized several seminars at Invest Ottawa, such as How to Start Your Business, Networking for People Who Hate Networking, and Tax Implications for the Self-Employed. She was blown away by the quality and practicality of the content as well as the credentials of all professionals leading the workshops. Gillean says she also gained access to practicing accountants and advisors who provided consultations for her business needs. The best part, she says, was the entrepreneurial spirit that was afloat within the entire office.
“It was very, very supportive. And the energy of being surrounded by other entrepreneurs who are chomping at the bit to get things off the ground; it was all-in-all just fantastic.”
Woods is now founder, principal, and lead designer for TRUform Interiors. The business offers services that range across the design process for residential, commercial as well as corporate spaces. She has personally worked on projects such as the AFMC’s in-house conference facility, where Woods re-designed a barebones facility into a contemporary plus functional space. Gillean considers the support of her family, peers, and expressly Invest Ottawa as one of the key elements in her ability to found her company.
“It was rather daunting until I went to some seminars and discovered that [starting your own business] was not that complicated of a process. So it really made it possible for me taking the leap of confidence.” Says, Gillean “I’d recommend following the same process of informing yourself, gaining the knowledge, and going for it”
If you are a small business within the Ottawa region and are ready to seek out help, see what Invest Ottawa can do for entrepreneurs such as yourself.