For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “$tatements”, I had the opportunity to interview Bailey Parnell, Founder and CEO of SkillsCamp and one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Bailey is also a TEDx speaker with her talk Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? reaching over 1 million vies.
SkillsCamp is a soft skills training company that works with businesses and educational institutions to build soft skills in their people.
Paolina: What are the soft skills you would say are the most important for an entrepreneur to have in general and when they’re trying to access funding and why?
The most important soft skills for an entrepreneur, and especially an entrepreneur trying to access funding are:
Resilience – Entrepreneurship is full of so many ups and downs, often in the very same day. Your ability to withstand stress and bounce back to thrive will set you apart. When seeking investment, just expect to get rejected a lot and prepare for it. If one failure knocks you down, investors won’t want to invest in you.
Networking & Relationship-Building – To this day, most business deals and most investments happen through relationships. Whether B2C or B2B, all businesses are human 2 human and how you treat them/what they think of you matters.
Resourcefulness & Problem-Solving – Another word for entrepreneur could easily be “problem-solver”. We often find ourselves dedicating our businesses to one problem, putting out fires, or helping others do it. Your ability to find creative solutions to problems and manage them when they arrive is key. Investors also want to see that you have shown creative problem solving in how you run your business as well. This way, you are more likely to be creative in generating a return on their investment, if needed.
Public Speaking & Presentation Skills – Even if you’re not speaking on a stage to thousands, most entrepreneurs will likely find themselves talking to their team in a meeting, pitching investors, or selling customers. The fundamentals of presentations are good for anyone to know. Plus, you will do a better job in your pitch presentation!
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and money/finance and what did you learn?
SkillsCamp is a soft skills training company. WE are the service – our minds and time. Therefore, we were able to bootstrap our growth. The challenge is that it took longer; but, we also didn’t have to take any investment or loans. A (maybe unexpected) upside was that the time I spent working full-time at Ryerson University while building up SkillsCamp helped SKillsCamp in every possible way. By the time I went full-time, we had a solid client base, great testimonials, and enough money in the bank to fund at least a year’s worth of salary and overhead. This allowed me to focus heavily on strategic business growth instead of where my next meal was coming from.
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about money/finance when you were first starting your business?
Sign the divorce agreements before you get married. Get your finances in order early and while everything is going peachy. Ideally, it stays that way and you won’t have to use the agreement.
Paolina: What are your current FinanciElle Faves?
- Favourite productivity tool? Asana and the whole Google Suite (Calendar, Drive, Slides, Sheets, Forms, etc.)
- Favourite business/leadership book? Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
Excited to see her speak at the GEM Conference on May 30th!