Make me feel good, or pay me well.
Published on June 11, 2023
This weekend, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a phenomenal event in Victoria, British Columbia, and sharing the stage with some of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs. Individuals like Brian Scudamore, who turned backyard junk removal into a billion-dollar company, and Ryan Holmes, the founder of one of Canada's largest and most disruptive tech firms.
However, among the company founders and venture capitalists I spoke to, a surprising highlight emerged.
Closing the conference, I got to sit down for an intimate fireside chat with Chantal Kreviazuk, the internationally acclaimed singer, and songwriter.
Kreviazuk rose to stardom in the mid-1990s, her blend of captivating piano harmonies and angelic vocals cut through the grunge rock era dominated by bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
Her music career includes three Juno awards, a Grammy, and dozens of hit singles written for world-renowned artists like Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira, Drake, among many others.
Our discussion unfolded in front of 300 entrepreneurs, all founders of million-dollar enterprises.
In conversing with Kreviazuk, I aimed to delve into work-life balance. As her music career soared, her husband, Raine Maida, enjoyed a parallel ascent as the frontman of another internationally famous band, Our Lady Peace. I wondered how they managed the tours, media engagements, the Hollywood buzz, and their burgeoning love, while most impressively, raising three children.
“How have you balanced all of the demands on your time?” I asked.
“I have a rule with people I allow in my life”, Chantal candidly said. “Make me feel good, or pay me well.”
The capitalist in me did not expect this response from an artist. I don’t know why - I had entered the conversation with some assumptions. But her words resonated deeply, as I had recently committed to examining the relationships consuming my energy.
The term 'opportunity cost' is common - what I do today, comes at the cost of not doing something else. This concept expands to relationships. My time and energy are limited. Investing in one person implies a sacrifice of not investing in another.
If I am confident that I am investing only in high-quality relationships, then there is no issue. But what if there are there people in my life that I am merely tolerating? More importantly, if I freed up that time and energy, what other doors would open? Likely on a new relationship, sparking new perspectives and opportunities.
“If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”
- Paulo Coelho
I chatted with Brian Scudamore, the founder of 1-800-Got-Junk, who started his business with just a shovel and a pickup truck, and now generates over one billion dollars in revenue. After detailing his entrepreneurial journey, including his greatest challenges and darkest days, he distilled his key lesson from four decades of company building:
“I always start with who, then I get to what.”
This theme echoed throughout the event - from dozens of seven, eight, and nine-figure founders. Success and failure, as told by one entrepreneur after another, always hinged on the people on board for the journey.
Just like the founding of a multinational company, Chantal Kreviuzuk had to turn herself into a world-class organization - and she applied the same rules - get the right people on the bus, and get the wrong ones off.
Build your life like a world-class organization, and it will become one.
Now, let’s jump into the portfolio...
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