At The Good Stuff, we believe that the foundation for a great life is freedom. We also know that finding freedom day-to-day can be tough – we wouldn’t exist if it was easy. We have chosen a few of our favourite people to share with us how they keep their busy lives in check and learned that balance is the key to having more freedom in your life.
There’s the old adage that says find what you love and do it on purpose. Kelly Turner is a testament to that. She loves building brands and being around entrepreneurs, so she found a way to put the two together. And then she found another way to do that.
And then another.
Kelly is best known for Fall For Local, a quarterly market in Vancouver. She's extended that to a monthly event called LocalTalks where entrepreneurs share the good, the bad and the really ugly side of running a business, hosted in Vancouver and Ottawa.
And that's not her only job. Outside of that, she also works as a brand-building consultant and is helping develop a new line of cannabis products.
We sat down with Kelly at Lonsdale Quay to chat about the reality of that level of commitment, plus how working with your strengths and delegating gives you the freedom to do more in life.
Why did you start Fall For Local?
Originally, it wasn't meant to be a large-scale event. At the time, I was living in Ottawa and I had a graphic design business called Caribou Design Boutique.
I didn't know how to get clients – I'm not a sales person – so I talked to a local media company in Ottawa and told them my idea to throw an event for entrepreneurs and asked them if they wanted to partner. I literally printed invitations and hand delivered them to businesses in Ottawa.
It was more of a networking event for entrepreneurs to connect with other like-minded people. People were really into it because it was a chance to get out of the daily grind of running a business.
What made you bring it to Vancouver?
When I moved out to Vancouver, I felt that the two cities were kind of similar in the fact that there was a disconnect between entrepreneurs. In the beginning, no one was selling anything, but everything was about connecting to local businesses.
Then I realized that people wanted to actually buy each others' stuff, so I pivoted and made it a market. I found the Pipe Shop, which at the time wasn't doing much, and I thought, let's do this. I really believed in the brand and the community and the overall vision of what it is has grown into today.
If I’m being totally honest, Fall For Local was never supposed to be a business, which goes against conventional wisdom that says that when you go into business you should have an end goal. I say screw that. You have to be agile and flexible, which is really how Fall For Local was born and continues to grow.
Conventional wisdom says that when you go into business you should have an end goal. I say screw that.
How do you handle the logistics of large-scale events like this?
I remember have a bit of a breaking point during the second market. The lead-up and planning was a lot of work in itself, but then on the day I had to manage volunteers, people setting up, vendors, decor and a million details.
I realized I needed help.
My husband and friends are really great but you can only rely on free help for so long. But I also realized that it could actually be a business, so I looked at the numbers and decided I could hire someone.
Looking back, I don't know how I did it alone. Hiring someone was the best thing I ever did. I'm sure I could do it alone now, but only if it was my only job, but I like diversity and I believe in diversity for different streams of income and delegating. Delegating is such an important way to lift your own brand.
You are obviously working more than 40 hours a week. How does that affect your life?
You have to. You have to work hard. You have to work your ass off. You have to make sacrifices. When I started, I literally gained like 15 pounds. I'm not joking. I was literally wearing leggings every day and eating out every day. I was at my computer literally shoving food in my face and I gained weight. I wasn't able to maintain friendships because I was literally head down working 24/7. No joke.
People didn't see that. People thought it was easy, but it was a struggle. I feel like that’s why Local Talks is so important. Like, let's share the shitty side of entrepreneurship because I think people glamourize it. People don't understand how hard it is, and how much you have to sacrifice and the risks you are taking.
Why do you do it?
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I feel like it is just in my DNA. I remember being a teenager and being so busy working at Subway and I didn't have time to clean my room or bathroom, so I hired my best friend to do it. I delegated that and it worked. Delegate, so you can focus on building your brand or forming new relationships.
What do you do in your personal life to keep sane?
Cooking is a thing. I like to cook and like to bake. It’s a kind of meditation for me.
I wasn't taking care of my body at all when I started out, so I've been forcing myself to work out a few times a week.
My husband is also an entrepreneur, which has been a good thing because we'll bounce ideas off of each other and he can relate because he's had the same struggles. He'll tell me to "embrace the suck."
Why do you drink The Good Stuff?
It's really helped me fuel my body with the right stuff. As I was saying, when I first started I was eating the worst food ever. That isn't really me. I really love food and good healthy food, but I wasn't treating my body right.
With the Good Stuff, because I'm super busy, it makes it convenient and I just blend it up and then go to the gym in the morning. It’s become a ritual. I feel like if I have it in the morning, I'm setting myself up for success. If I eat a good breakfast I'm more likely to eat a good lunch, but if I eat a shitty breakfast I'm thrown off for the full day.
Try out Kelly's favourite smoothie, the Wise Ninja.