To all the entrepreneurs/business owners out there—do you ever see others in the same position and ask “how on earth do they do it all?”. It takes a lot of working sunrise to sunset, day in and day out, and it’s entirely possible to do. Is it sustainable? Not in the long run. Free time starts to become a thing of the past and your health/wellness becomes greatly impacted as a result. Truth is, most small businesses benefit from hiring someone to help once it all becomes too much to handle. When you first start out, it’s natural to want to try to do as much as you can on your own. To take care of everything, to be involved in every part of the process. There’s a lot of hustle involved in the beginning, and it is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. As your business grows and evolves, though, so should your team. Asking for help, to some, may seem like a sign of weakness. Like you’re giving up and are admitting defeat. You may feel that worry associated with paying someone else to do what you feel comfortable putting on your own plate instead.
In one of our recent blog posts, about parenting and running a business, we mentioned that—at some point you will need to accept the things that you can no longer do. For example, when it comes to the Seaport Market, you all know we want to be there to greet you all every single weekend. We miss market days and would be there on the regular if we could. On the other hand, along with ongoing expansion and growth, we just can’t do it anymore. We’ll get to the market when we can, when time allows, but we’re pretty busy in the kitchen dreaming up and creating new products, coming up with those delicious donut flavours for you on the regular, creating content… the list goes on. Then there’s operations, dealing with customer requests, orders, quality control, payroll and SO much more. On top of having twins and dealing with everyday family life, there’s little to no time left.
That’s why it was important to admit at some point… that we needed help. It wasn’t a matter of hiring just anyone to do the work, we always want to make sure the people we hire are a good fit with us, and that they represent YOU—our loyal Schoolhouse customers and fans—that they understand and share the same passion for our products and our business as we do.
We met Andrew Fraser back in mid-2018. He called one day, on a whim, just to profess his love for the Pumpkin Muffin and to tell us about how he found it hard to live without Schoolhouse since he moved away from home. He also placed a huge order for pickup on his next trip home and expressed his excitement about the online store when it first opened up, meaning he could get a taste of home delivered to his front door while he was living out of province. We reached out to Andrew again, got to talking, and the fact that he worked in PR/communications came up in conversation. Andrew happily answered some questions we had, so naturally, we brainstormed some ideas…and that’s where it all started. We reached out to Andrew again with a proposal and the rest is history. Now, Andrew is officially part of the Schoolhouse family! We felt something special, and trusted that Andrew was the right fit.
You know… we’ll let Andrew take it over from here. He’ll tell you a bit more about himself, his journey and what led him to his current position here at the Schoolhouse. Andrew… take it away!
Why hello there, friends! It’s a pleasure to meet you all. I officially joined the Schoolhouse family back at the end of 2018 and I have been working very closely with the team to curate engaging content for you, to keep you up to date and in the know on social. I have also been working on ways to bring our gorgeous gluten-free community across the country closer together. I hope you’ve all been happy with the direction we’ve been taking things, including the ‘Be Well’ blog, the contests, the ongoing recipes and more.
Just to give you a little background about me, I am a private freelance PR/Communications consultant based in Montreal. I was born and raised on the East Coast, grew up in Lower Sackville (right outside of Halifax) and graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University with a BPR (Bachelor of Public Relations). After graduating with more than a year of industry-based co-op experience, I thought I would end up diving right into the field and that would be it. After spending a semester abroad in South Korea during my time at MSVU, I ended up catching the travel bug. I felt the need to spend my 20s traveling, experiencing the world around me. I wanted to see our world from a whole new perspective. Living abroad in both South Korea and Japan helped to shape me into who I am today, both personally and professionally. I owe so much of my current success to my younger self-for never being afraid to take risks.
Upon my return to Canada, I was still craving that big city life. I ended up in Toronto for several years, and added 3+ years of experience to my resume (a mix of agency, not-for-profit and corporate). Ultimately, Toronto wasn’t for me, but I made a ton of connections there… including the one with Schoolhouse. Which, as you can see, led me to the opportunity to join the family!
Since leaving Toronto, I’ve since set up shop here in Montreal. I am self-employed and work closely with clients in an effort to help them tell their stories the way they were meant to be told. My goal is to work together to build a strong, clear brand identity. To help clients connect to and communicate clearly with their customers/target audiences. By choosing to work as a freelance consultant in this industry, I gained the freedom to choose projects that speak to me personally; projects that I connect with and can bring a certain something special to. Working with Schoolhouse has been a blessing in disguise, especially after facing the loss of my mother late last year. Losing a parent is something you can never truly be prepared for, and I questioned everything around me. The choices I made up until that point, the path I chose to take, my ability to continue working in a high-pressure industry like PR.
While I’m still working through the pain, I’ve found that working for myself was the answer. I wanted to be fully responsible for my own success… and my own happiness. I choose my projects and the amount of work I take on. I am in control of my schedule, of my day-to-day, meaning I can focus on work and then take the time to heal when I need it the most.
I understand that it can be hard to put all of your trust in a freelancer or a private consultant to help you with your business, I totally get that. It’s scary to confide in someone, expecting them to really ‘understand’ you and your passion. To be able to communicate to your customers, fans and followers in the same way that you do. Trust me when I say that not every consultant, not every freelancer, not every agency is going to be a good fit for you, specifically. You need to feel it out, to get to know them on a deeper level. It’s important to find common ground with those you choose to work with and it’s important that you feel out the relationship before fully investing. If you feel connected, feel aligned with the person that you’re considering to hire, chances are your working relationship will just work. It’ll make sense. The puzzle pieces will all fit. Trust your instincts, and more often than not, the stars will align.
I’m excited to get to know you all better, and I hope you continue to follow us along on the journey ahead!
In health and happiness,
Have more questions for Jen & Aidan about the process of hiring a freelancer to help? Want to pick Andrew’s brain or have questions/suggestions about Schoolhouse social content? Leave a comment below or send us a private message on Facebook or Instagram! You can also join our new Facebook group ‘Learning to Live & Love Your Gluten-Free Life!’.
Check out Andrew’s website here to learn more about his freelance/private consulting services.