Entrepreneur’s Past Experience Leads to New Venture
A tech whiz with a passion for nature, Bryan Sutton left his twelve-year IT career in hopes of running a landscaping business. Upon learning about EMBERS Ventures from a friend, Bryan enrolled into the Self Employment Program and soon discovered an alternative, but viable business idea that was closer to home instead.
“I was bored with my IT career and was hoping to start a landscaping and horticulture business,” he said. “But while building my business plan and looking at our startup costs, I realized that my idea was not going to work and that we weren’t going to make money doing it.”
Bryan, along with his wife and now business partner, Kailani, embarked on a new venture. “I realized I could combine my skills with my wife’s graphic design experience to launch a website development business,” said Bryan. “It was an opportunity to make IT exciting again.” A graphic designer and former ad exec with ten years of experience working with clients, Kailani was the perfect co-pilot for Bryan’s new business.
After every Ventures class, Bryan would share everything he learned with his wife, and together, they would refine their business idea. Originally planning to support Bryan on his horticulture business, Kailani now joined forces with her husband to launch Copperhead Creative.
“It was hard going into the class and telling everyone that I was going to do something completely different, but they were all excited for me.” said Bryan. “I was relieved to get that encouragement.”
Looking back, it was clear to Bryan and Kailani that they had complementary skillsets from the start. They each had skills the other lacked.
“I remember trying to get into coding and building apps in my early twenties,” says Bryan. “But I couldn’t see the visual aspects of building an app.”
“Everything is going digital and I feel the stress of not being tech-savvy, but Bryan knows how to talk to computers,” says Kailani. “It makes sense to focus on our strengths and combine our skills.”
Changing businesses may have been risky at first, but the demand Bryan and Kailani received for their digital services was immediate, clearly indicating they have made a smart decision.
“When I came into the program with my original idea, family, friends and colleagues were interested and supportive of it,” said Bryan “And as soon as we pivoted to web designing and development, we were offered work or referrals for work!”
The couple secured their first project even before the Ventures program wrapped up.
Bryan is thankful the EMBERS Ventures Self Employment Program was affordable and helped him lay a solid foundation for his business.
“We were looking to get started and did not have the capital to spend on other more expensive ways,” says Bryan. “I couldn’t afford a $9,000 course for instance, which is what everybody else charged. The program’s timeline is condensed, which understands that people want to build their business right away.”
The quick launch and immediate rewards Bryan and Kailani experienced may not be typical for all entrepreneurs, but the couple is ready to face new challenges and take on more even projects. They’re aware of the challenges entrepreneurs face, but have embraced continuous growth and self-confidence as key determinants of their success.
As a digital agency, the couple has the luxury of working anywhere, and may even fly off to a sunny destination like Thailand to avoid rainy Vancouver weather! Wherever their journey takes them, Bryan and Kailani are confident they can rely on each other and their newfound knowledge from EMBERS Ventures to help them navigate the world of self-employment.
Learn more about Bryan and Kailani’s business at www.copperheadcreative.ca.