20 Years of Entrepreneurship, 20 Years of Transformation

To think that I hesitated for three years before I dared to go into business for myself. Not having been exposed to entrepreneurship in school or through my immediate family, starting a business on my own seemed entirely out of reach. I doubted my entrepreneurial skills. I believed that I would not be able to develop a business, nor to live without an assured paycheque. Worse yet,  I had imagined this failure a thousand times.

And yet, on September 11, 2001, when the world trembled, was the day I decided to take the plunge – alone. 

That first step 20 years ago created CASACOM and subsequently the  Brave Project. Today, I live an exceptional human and professional experience that exceeds all my young-adult dreams. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things that I am compelled to share with you. 

Building a Business is a Permanent Profession of Faith

You can’t think about it too much, but everything hangs by a thread and nothing is ever granted. A new contract, an employee or partner’s response, the available cash flow to make a certain payment, your team’s well-being: uncertainty is permanent.

How was I able to keep everything in place despite the fragility? Faith. Faith that everything will be fine, that we will be okay, and that we can face anything. You’ll tell me that’s the way it is in any organization. In fact, when you’re leading an independent company, like CASACOM, there is no one there to catch you when you fall. I often say: my business is like a flying car. There is nothing above, nothing below. But the beauty of it is that we are behind the wheel!

Your Business is an Expression of Yourself and Your Values

There is little difference between me and CASACOM. Just like her, I’ve grown as the years went by, through our client interactions and the contributions of the employees who joined us. By imbuing CASACOM with our values and our vision for the future of our profession, we have made the organization unique. 

I didn’t apply ready-made recipes, I didn’t try to be someone else.  In fact, that’s what we tell our clients and employees: we need you as you are. It’s your quintessence that interests us. Like many people, too many organizations waste a crazy amount of time not being themselves. Whereas it is precisely their originality, their independence of mind and their unique values that will make them a success.

Seek Daily Discovery and Transformation Opportunities

Not having a bachelor’s degree in business or working in a PR firm before starting CASACOM, I learned everything in the heat of the moment. There were plenty of learning opportunities, day in and day out, and I took advantage of them all. I learned about myself, public relations, related disciplines, our clients’ industries and the business world. Among my most important learnings in 20 years, I would say real-time digital interactive communications, mindfulness, consultative sales, refining our approach and teams’ mobilization top the list.

Some experiences have literally transformed me, others, sometimes painful, have moved me deeply. Whether the result of hardships or simply lessons learned from my mistakes , every new challenge has gifted me with knowledge and insight. I became addicted to surpassing, sharing what I knew and transforming. As I said, there is little difference between CASACOM and I. We both share a purpose with our team;  to elevate ourselves…in all spheres of our life.

Courage as a Driving Force

If there’s one thing to remember, it’s the importance of courage. Without it, my life would have been unsatisfactory. Courage is learned, and the more it is practiced, the easier it becomes. Courage made the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary journey for me. I owe it everything. It is what inspired me to create Brave (braveinspiration.com) four years ago. To tell stories of courage that will inspire others to take action, to take the plunge that can elevate their lives. 

Marie-Josée Gagnon About the author
No Comments

Leave a Comment: