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How Exporting Can Benefit Companies Led by Women

Written by Jennifer Cooke, Corporate Lead of Women’s Business Strategy for Export Development Canada

Business Exporting Tips for Women Entrepreneurs via Export Development Canada EDC

Many women find entrepreneurship to be a natural fit in their busy life. Aside from the perks of setting your own hours and being your own boss, the parallels between running a household and leading a business are unmistakable. It’s no wonder more and more women are choosing self-employment, while enjoying great success at it! In fact, female entrepreneurs make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the Canadian economy, with more than one million women choosing to start their own companies.

At a certain point, you may feel that you are hitting a plateau in your business. You may be wondering if there are markets out there that you haven’t tapped yet or customers beyond your geographic boundaries who would be willing to pay for your services. Many of the female entrepreneurs we talk to at Export Development Canada (EDC) think that exporting is only for large, multi-million-dollar enterprises or companies that make and ship actual physical goods across the border. Rest assured, that is not the case!

International trade comes in all shapes and sizes. You can absolutely do business abroad as a small organization—even if you’re a staff of one. If you specialize in commercial services, exporting could present an especially red-hot opportunity—and you don’t even have to leave Canada to do it. 

How Exporting Can Benefit Your Business:
If you choose to export, your company has a much higher chance of success. This creates a trickle-down effect that benefits the Canadian economy and all Canadians. Some of the advantages your business could enjoy are:

Sources: Statistics CanadaDeloitte and the Conference Board of Canada

How Services Can Be Traded Abroad:
There’s more than one way to export your services. Here are four:

1. Cross-border: This could include the movement of something like an online training course across our border and into another country, without involving the movement of any people.

2. Consumption abroad: Foreign tourists who come to Canada to use a service, such as people who visit Banff to ski, fall into this category.

3. Commercial presence: One example is a Canadian company that opens a branch in another country to provide services, such as a logistics company that has warehouses around the world.

4. Movement of people: An architect who travels overseas from Canada to oversee a project or provide a service in another country would be included in this category.

Areas of Opportunity:
In 2017 the proportion of service exporters was greater than goods exporters for the first time in Canada and we expect this budding trend to continue. Service exporting plays an essential role in Canada’s economy, creating jobs even during recession, and lending much-desired expertise to the rest of the world across many areas, including:

  • technology
  • financial services
  • resource development
  • agriculture
  • software development
  • product design
  • marketing
  • management 
  • scientific and technical consulting 
  • and many others 

Many smaller Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are taking advantage of this demand; in fact, 56% of our service exports go to U.S. customers, while the rest go to every other corner of the globe. The opportunities for starting and leading high-growth businesses with global ambitions have never been more vast. More global supply chains, innovative technology and state-of-the-art distribution methods mean companies can be born global and that’s exactly the kind of trade culture we want to inspire here in Canada.

So what does all of this mean for Canadian women?

While the consumer services sector accounts for over half (54.4%) of early-stage female-led businesses, followed by business services at 28.2%, we know women business owners are, on average, less likely to engage in international trade than their male counterparts. 

Obviously, we want to see these figures improve and to do whatever we can to support the growth of your businesses into competitive, world-class companies. It’s totally normal to have concerns about the challenges you could face going international. As women, we’re not so much risk-averse as we are in need of fully understanding the risks before choosing to take them on. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to facilitate that learning process.

What You Need to Know:
Business is not a one-size-fits-all situation, so business models must be adapted to each individual market and culture. The top five challenges service exporters tend to face include:

  1. Identifying and connecting with potential customers
  2. Competition
  3. Global economic conditions
  4. Political climate risks
  5. Finding skilled talent and dealing with rising business expenses

One trait that is essential for exporters to develop is cultural intelligence. It’s the ability to function effectively in different cultural contexts, from etiquette and meeting protocols to dress and appearance, and it could make or break your next business deal. In fact, if a trade deal is aligned on price and service, but fails to come to fruition, the failure can be attributed to a cultural misstep 80% of the time, according to a study by Harvard Business School. 

Relationships are also key to exporting services. Part of fostering strong relationships means mastering the following:

  • nuanced communications
  • superior negotiating skills 
  • diplomacy 
  • knowing when and how to follow up

This is a process that takes time but consider it an investment that will pay off in spades!

Key Resources:
Making the decision to go global can be overwhelming. Luckily, you’re not alone. Here are some key resources to tap into:

  • Export Development Canada: At EDC, we specialize in risk and we offer resources specifically for women entrepreneurs. We can help you mitigate risk in areas where women entrepreneurs tend to run into the most challenges, such as getting financing or gaining access to the right people. We have a wealth of free resources to:
    • Give you knowledge and insight through international market intelligence reports
    • Introduce you to the right networks and connections through our Connections Program
    • Help you access financing and growth capital
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council: Each year this U.S. organization hosts a national conference and business fair, the world’s largest gathering of corporate and government buyers, along with female business leaders from more than 18 countries.
  • Business Women in International Trade is part of the Government of Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service and offers Canadian women-owned businesses the following types of opportunities:
  • Women-only trade missions, including the WBENC’s national conference and business fair
  • Funding and financing through CanExport 
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Shalini Dharna – Dharna CPA

Shalini Dharna is an Elite+ Mompreneur® Member based out of Mississauga, Ontario. Her company Dharna CPA is  your one-stop shop for all your accounting, finance and tax needs!

mompreneur Shalini Dharna of Dharna CPA

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Growing up with my father who is the definition of entrepreneur, I knew it was something I was destined to do at some point in my life. After working insane hours for the benefit of others in the corporate world, when the opportunity came to join my father and develop and grow the business, I jumped at the chance. I have never looked back.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part of owning my own business is the flexibility that comes with it. I am the mother to a young toddler and I love being able to spend time with him when I can and schedule work when I need to. The second best part is the networking I’ve started doing; meeting other like-minded individuals has been a great experience in exchanging ideas and making connections both personally and professionally.

Shalini Dharna family

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
I count on my parents and my in-laws. My father is my partner in business and has been doing this for almost 30 years. He is my go-to for any technical advice or client relationship advice I need. My mother and my mother-in-law are my go-to for babysitting when work and personal needs overlap.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
My family has had to sacrifice a steady income, and we’ve had to learn to live off of one income until my own client base is developed and steady. I also sacrifice work to be with my son when he needs me; this may mean not going to every networking event I’m invited to or having to reschedule a meeting. I find most people, especially fellow mom entrepreneurs, are very supportive of needing to balance work and family.

Shalini Dharna

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I have planned my working life so that I get at least 1 day off with my son where it is just him and I. We go to the park, or play in the backyard, just the two of us.

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
At this stage in my life I am not as active in my community as I have been in the past. I have volunteered with the University of Toronto alumni association in the past. Supporting local means using my personal time, or my professional skills, to help those who can benefit from it.

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
My father, Harpal Dharna.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
I see myself growing my business and establishing Dharna CPA as the go-to business for all accounting, business and taxation needs.

Dharna CPA

Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
Be mentally prepared. You are likely sacrificing things at home – steady income, investing your savings, or not being as available to do everything around the house as you have been in the past – but know that it is for the greater good of the family when your business will succeed.

A version of Shalini’s Success Story was previously published in July 2016.

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Gen-X and Perimenopause Struggles

Written by Teresa Isabel Dias

Matt Galloway, the new host of The Current, recently interviewed Ada Calhoun, the author of Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis. As a woman, a pharmacist, and a NAMS* Certified Menopause Practitioner, I was very pleased that Ada identified the hormonal changes of midlife, known as perimenopause, as one of the causes of Gen X women’s struggles. 

It certainly is refreshing to hear people talking about menopause because it is still a taboo subject, hardly spoken of in private, much less in public and on the radio! Ada had clearly researched the subject. She explained how some women experience symptoms similar to mental illness—anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and stress—during perimenopause. 

Perimenopause can start in a woman’s late 30s or early 40s, and just because it’s natural and all women go through it, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The challenges of perimenopause can affect a woman’s quality of life, relationships, and work. 

Most women in their 40s don’t associate what their minds and bodies are going through with menopause – they aren’t aware of menopause and it often catches them by surprise. Most women also don’t know that the fluctuation and decline of estrogen in midlife can cause physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. Some women start to believe that they are experiencing physical or mental illness. Moreover, menopause affects not only the woman but also those around her: her partner, children, family, friends, and co-workers. 

Ada writes, “In the middle of the night, I wake up feeling warm. I open the window and pull my hair back into a ponytail and drink some water. Then I glance at my phone, delete a few things, and see some spam. I hit unsubscribe and go back to bed. Then I lie there thinking, ‘What if by opening that spam email I got myself hacked? What if I just sent everyone in my contact list a Burger King ad at two in the morning?’ Now wide awake, I move on to other concerns: my parents’ health, my stepson’s college tuition, pending deadlines and on and on.” This sort of experience is common among women in midlife. 

Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, NCMP, and Executive Director of NAMS*, says, “The unique confluence of stressors and hormonal shifts poses a sort of chicken-or-egg problem for Gen X women: the symptoms of hormonal fluctuation (like sleeplessness) are exacerbated by stress, while those symptoms (like not sleeping) in turn raise stress levels. How well your ovaries function depends on your cycle and your mental and emotional state. It’s all tied together.” 

Help is hard to find. Most doctors have very little menopause training and aren’t familiar with how to help; and the way our healthcare system limits the amount of time one can spend at the doctor’s office at each visit doesn’t even give a woman time to explain her troubles. 

I don’t want to medicalize menopause, but as a pharmacist and NAMS* Certified Menopause Practitioner I know how hard it is for women to find the right care. Women want to be listened to, taken seriously, and reassured that it’s not “all in your head” and that they’re not alone – millions of women are going through similar challenges, and of course they want to hear that there’s help to be had. 

That’s why I founded MenopausED – to educate and support women in midlife, especially in menopause, to raise awareness about menopause, and to break the taboo. I offer a range of services: 

· One-on-one consultations with women, both in-person and online. I offer FREE 15-minute discovery calls — book yours today! · Workshops on corporate health and wellness (menopause in the workplace), both in-person and online

· The Women’s Health In Midlife (WHIM) Network is for women 40+ to get the best information, learn the latest, and connect with other women going through similar challenges. Join us, make time for yourself, and learn from the best!

· Contact me if you want me to speak to your book club or women’s group – it would be my pleasure to talk about menopause, break the menopause taboo, and help women navigate the change. 

mompreneur Teresa Isabel Dias of Menopaused

Teresa Isabel Dias is an ELITE + Mompreneur member in Toronto, Ontario, and is the founder of MenopausED. As a pharmacist and Certified Menopause Practitioner, Teresa helps women 40+ navigate the menopause transition, induced menopause, and lifestyle changes to optimize healthy aging. She provides one-on-one consultations, in-person and online, workshops, discussion groups, and she helps organizations and businesses support female employees during the menopause transition with educational presentations in the workplace and education and training of managers and HR professionals—because besides affecting quality of life, menopause can also affect women’s work performance.

*NAMS, the North American Menopause Society, is North America’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women’s health and quality of life through the understanding of menopause and healthy aging.

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Yvonne Yua – World Financial Group

Yvonne Yua is an Elite Mompreneur Member based out of Burnaby, BC, and is a successful Financial Professional and Brokerage Owner with World Financial Group, where she is dedicated to helping others find financial freedom. We’re thrilled to share Yvonne’s Success Story!

mompreneur Yvonne Yua with World Financial Group WFG

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I was inspired to become an entrepreneur when I repeatedly witnessed my corporate job colleagues invest in higher education in hopes of gunning for a better position and compensation, only to discover that they had unknowingly turned themselves into a liability to the company. As a triple minority (female, Chinese-Malaysian, young millennial), I had to work three times as hard to move up. I eventually hit the glass ceiling when I got promoted to manager. The only way to move up was for me to invest 15+ years into the company, obtain an MBA degree, wait for a position to open up, and compete with my colleagues for the job. At the end of it all, I would have only helped build something that could never be mine to own or to pass on. Despite all the right reasons, I lacked the courage to leave what was comfortable and somewhat stable.

Things changed when I became a mom. When my daughter was three months old, I was given the opportunity to begin my journey in learning about financial services and eventually owning my own financial brokerage. Being a mom gave me the courage and inspiration to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part about owning my own business is the freedom to call my own shots around priorities, time management, and income potential. I love that no two days are exactly the same. I wake up inspired and excited to create solutions to make tomorrow happier and more beautiful for individuals and families. I go to bed knowing I have made a difference and my investment in my business has compounded another day.

Can you describe a typical day?
No two days are exactly the same for me, which I love! On most days I wake up very well rested. From home, I check my email and messages then touch base with my assistant. If I’m not working from home you will find me at a breakfast or lunch meeting with a friend, a prospect, a networking group, or a product partner. Then I get to my office for an early afternoon client appointment or hiring interview. After lunch, I pick up my daughter from school, escort her to an after school activity, or help her with homework. I will hold a few more client meetings either before or after dinner. After my daughter goes to bed, I tackle the dishes while listening to podcasts or audio books or take care of the laundry while watching Netflix. Late evenings are when my creative juices flow because there’s no interruption. That’s when I write speaking or marketing content and create client solutions. I end my day with 30 minutes of reading before retiring to bed.

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
When you’re running a business while juggling family and community commitments, you have to learn to ask for help and show a ton of gratitude! One of the best and most profitable decisions I’ve ever made was hiring an assistant for my business as it freed me up to do what only I can do and what I do best. My lovely husband ensures our family, our team and our clients feel loved through his cooking! I call on my out of town parents and in-laws to help with babysitting when my husband and I have to attend conferences. The biggest thanks will have to go to my daughter who has been so understanding and patient when attending long meetings and client appointments with me since she was baby!

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
During the start-up years, most of my time and finances were allocated to the development of the business; volunteer commitments had to be limited and home improvements had to be put on the back-burner. Now as my daughter gets busier with school work and entering her pre-teen years, I’ve reduced my evening and weekend meetings to make time for her.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
A day off is when I am vacationing without my phone and knowing that my awesome team of advisors and assistants are taking care of business back home.

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I am quite active in my church community, especially with the women’s group. I facilitate bible studies and help mentor other women. I also volunteer my time and expertise weekly to teach financial literacy to men and women in addiction recovery. To me, supporting local means being invested in people and organizations that share similar values. Local doesn’t necessarily mean nearness in a geographical sense. I care about many different causes and have supported organizations that do good work in elevating the overlooked and voiceless in China, Laos, Uganda, Mexico, and Canada. I am also very passionate about the mission project in Ethiopia where I get to work with widowed mothers who are receiving micro business loans to be empowered with financial literacy and entrepreneurial tools.

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
I admire and am inspired by a fellow Canadian entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson, one of the investors who appeared on Dragons’ Den, CEO of Venture Communications, and a published author. Arlene is a self-made multi-millionaire who possesses business savvy and a big heart. I met Arlene a few years ago at a company convention in Las Vegas. She struck me as a woman of strength and accolade, yet she carries herself with such gentleness and humility. I aspire to be that role model and inspiration to other women, especially to my daughter.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
Almost everyone I encounter can benefit from tax-saving strategies and improving their financial status. I am honoured to be an active participant in this movement of empowering and elevating financial literacy among middle income families, women, and children. It is my dream that one day everyone will understand how money works as we understand how teeth-brushing works. It is when you understand money (beyond just learning about it) that you truly feel empowered to make sound decisions about where and how it flows. I like to encourage everyone to know your worth and protect it. Dream of your future net worth then design and implement an action plan to achieve it!

Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?

  • Find a mentor.
  • Identify your gifts and strengths and build on them.
  • Know when to say “No.” Don’t hesitate to delegate or ask for help.
  • Ignore the naysayers. Use them to fuel you!
  • Be passionate and tell your face when it doesn’t show.
  • Take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to fail forward.
  • Read and apply “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, and “The E Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.
  • There is no such thing as work-life balance and be okay with it. There will be seasons when one might be a priority over the other.
  • Be disciplined with your resources (time, finances, health, etc.).
  • Focus on important priorities; not just the urgent ones

A version of Yvonne’s Success Story was previously published in December 2016.

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Announcing Our 2020 Top Finalists

Announcing the Top 26 Canadian Female Entrepreneurs in the running for the 2020 Mompreneur® Awards !

The 8th Annual Mompreneur® Award Winners will be announced at The National  Mompreneurs® Conference and Award Show taking place March 27th-28th, 2020 in Toronto. 

The list of Canada’s most powerful female entrepreneurs, presented by Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc was announced this morning. The Top 26 finalists have been selected for the eighth instalment of The Mompreneur® Awards, paying tribute to the exceptional women business leaders who advocate and inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs. 

One of Canada’s most distinguished recognition awards for women entrepreneurs, the Mompreneur® Awards were created by Mompreneurs® Founder and CEO Maria Locker, to recognize the hard work and determination of busy female entrepreneurs who are armed with the education, drive and talent to make advances in today’s Canadian entrepreneurial business environment. 

This year, the 26 finalists across the nation will be vying for one of five prestigious awards, with the top prize valued at over $30,000 in cash and business services designed to drive the winners’ companies forward to further success. 

Inspired by new lifestyle norms and the desire to take charge of their economic livelihoods and career options, more women than ever are empowered to create their own business, while juggling new, scale-up, established or export-ready businesses with the demands of their families. 

Nominations began in October, and applications closed December 8th 2019 for the 2020 Annual Mompreneur® Awards. Over 1,200 women were nominated, and 136 entrants advanced. After accumulating points based on support from over 20,000 public voters within one week, as well as impression ratings from a selection committee, the finalists were narrowed down. 

The final 26 Mompreneurs will be evaluated by an expert panel of respected judges, including Co-Founder of Mabel’s Labels, Media Personality and Digital Influencer Julie Cole; and Tech-maven, best-selling author and President of AmberMac Media, Amber MacArthur. 

Judging will be based on criteria such as innovation, commitment to community, sales growth, leadership, and scalability, in five (5) award categories: Mompreneur Award of Excellence (exemplary product/service), Mompreneur 

Startup Award (for a business under 4 years), Mompreneur Award of Merit (for a consultant, broker or franchisee), Mompreneurs Momentum Award (for a non-profit, charity, social enterprise, or community based organization), and Mompreneur Award of Distinction (for exemplary service and leadership). 

Drum roll, please! The finalists in each category are: 

2020 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence 
AnnaMaria Di Nicolantonio, Olivia Rose — Hamilton, ON 
Carinne Chambers-Saini, Diva International Inc. — Kitchener, ON 
JennyLyn Pringle, Fusion Mineral Paint — Toronto, ON 
Kalpana Kundra, UNSTICK By Daughkun Inc. — Brampton, ON 
Mandy Wolfe and Rebecca Wolfe, Mandy’s Gourmet Salads — Montreal, QC 

2020 Mompreneurs® Award of Distinction 
Dr. Dina Kulik, Kidcrew — Toronto, ON 
Jacqueline De’Ath, Homeworks Etc. — Langley BC 
Julie Rock, Julie Rock Photography — Milton, ON 
Kim Vopni, Pelvienne Wellness Inc. — Port Moody, BC 
Patsy Commisso, Metabolic Care Clinics — Oakville, ON 
Shontelle DuBois, DuBois Fitness Inc. — Woodbridge, ON 

2020 Mompreneurs® Momentum Award 
Erin Woodward, The Girly Book Club — Burlington, ON 
Julie LeJeune, Wish & Give — Toronto, ON 
Kay Habib, Skilled Accents — London, ON 
Melanie Levenberg, Pl3y International Inc. — Vancouver, BC 
Nihal Elwan, Tayybeh Foods Ltd. — Vancouver BC 

2020 Mompreneur® Start-Up Award 
Charissa Floriancic, Crushed Aftercare — London, ON 
Charlene Li, Eatable — Vaughan, ON 
Laurie Franklin, Unique in the Creek — Stoney Creek, ON 
Lyndsay Scott, Culture Kefir Co. — Richmond, BC 
Rosy Atwal, Maple Organics — Surrey, BC 

2020 Mompreneur® Merit Award 
Bilie Aadmi, Holi-Wellness with doTERRA — Vancouver, BC 
Justine Levenberg, Sportball Vancouver — Burnaby, BC 
Kate Moir, Moir Bags Please with Thirty-One Gifts — East Selkirk, MB 
Reema Rafay, Arbonne International — Ajax, ON 
Tanya Vakil-Fernandes, Forest Hill Real Estate Inc. Keystone — Milton, ON 

The winners will be announced in Toronto at the 8th Annual National Mompreneurs Conference on March 27th to 28th, 2020 at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre. 

For information on the 2020 Mompreneur® Awards and prizing, please visit 

More information about the Annual Conference can be found at: 

To interview Maria Locker or any of these emerging Canadian business leaders and mentors, including sharing their stories, getting business/entrepreneur success tips and learnings, or showcasing their business ideas, please contact: 

Rania Walker, Media Relations, Front Door PR 


– 30 – 

Mompreneurs® Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc. ( is the trusted national network that supports, educates, and empowers female entrepreneurs across Canada. With a team expanding across Canada, they boast a collective of over 20,000 members and subscribers, and an online community over 80,000 strong. @TheMompreneurTM

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Teri Holland – The Empowered Life Academy

Teri Holland is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Maple Ridge, BC. She is a Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, Time Line Therapy® and NLP Coaching, and Founder of The Empowered Life Academy. We’re excited to share Teri’s Success Story!

Mompreneur Teri Holland of The Empowered Life Academy

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I watched my parents work jobs they hated. They would come home from work every night miserable and exhausted. At a young age, I decided that wasn’t the life for me. Then I found myself one day working a job I was miserable in, dreading going to work every day, and it was affecting my health. One day I had enough and I walked out. My husband (then boyfriend) was at depot training to become an RCMP officer and had no income, we had no savings so it wasn’t ideal timing, but I knew I could make it work and that night, I started my business and I made it work.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Knowing that I am in control of my destiny. Nobody determines my income but me. If I want to make more money, it’s on me to create it. I determine when I work, how I work and when I want time off. To me, it is the ultimate empowerment.  Continue reading Teri Holland – The Empowered Life Academy

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10 Ways to Inspire Your Sales Team

written by Peter Maddox, President of DSA Canada

If your business is sales based, an important part of your role is to motivate your team and ensure their success. Whether you are operating in the direct selling space, or utilizing another retail or distribution model, it is crucial to inspire your salespeople and support their journey.

Consider these ways to ignite the sales fire and keep it burning:

Beyond their regular compensation, sales incentives are a great motivator. These can range from gift cards, to dining experiences, all the way up to vacations. Pick incentives that will appeal to your team and create the desired outcomes.

Educational Opportunities
The opportunity to learn and improve skills is incredibly valuable to people. This type of incentive has the added advantage of building people’s effectiveness in their role – the payoffs can far outweigh the costs.

Sales Promotions
It’s easier to sell products or services when the offers are appealing to consumers. Having a great story to tell is motivating to salespeople and boosts their enthusiasm.

Quick & Easy Payment
If your team is commission based, paying them as promptly as possible will be affirming and make them want to sell more. There are many banking and financial tools that can make this a reality.

Good Communication
Commit to and encourage regular, two-way communication across your sales team. Clear understanding of team goals, processes, as well as the sharing of wins and setbacks, will truly make people feel like they are a part of something special.

Support & Empowerment
Be there for your team and let them know that you support their accomplishments – back this up with regular outreach and helpful resources. Allow people to try new things and trumpet their successes.

Healthy Competition
Managed appropriately, setting up competitive challenges across the team will be incredibly motivating. Consider a digital tool that will “gamify” sales outcomes and allow real-time competition.

Building Team Spirit
Group activities, including holiday parties, social outings and even regular sales meetings, will provide a sense of shared values and goals. Tight bonds create a ‘stickiness’ that will lower personnel turnover and improve results.

Target Setting
If you can’t measure success, it is impossible to reward it. Set overall targets with the team and work with individuals to develop goals for them to strive towards. Targets are motivating, plus they will help you activate the other incentives mentioned above.


With solid planning and help from industry experts, creating an inspired and effective team is attainable and consequential.



In Canada, direct selling companies are represented by DSA Canada, who advocate to government on behalf of the industry, provide business support and networking opportunities to member companies, promote the direct selling opportunity, and uphold the need for ethics and integrity.



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Marietta Snetsinger – Ascend Franchise Solutions

Marietta Snetsinger is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Cambridge, Ontario. As the founder and lead Franchise Expert with Ascend Franchise Solutions, she helps successful entrepreneurs decide if their business is franchisable. Marietta and her team teach entrepreneurs how to implement “replicatable” systems and processes within their businesses so they can set themselves up for growth and scale, whether they franchise or not. We are thrilled to share Marietta’s Success Story!

mompreneur Marietta Snetsinger of Ascend Franchise Solutions

About Ascend Franchise Solutions
We teach entrepreneurs exactly how to scale and convert to a happy profitable franchise system. We teach franchisors how to be confident so they can attract the right franchisees. We support emerging franchisors build solid operational systems and processes designed to best manage the on-going relationship between themselves and their franchisees. We teach emerging franchisors how to attract and engage “right fit” franchisees. Our signature product is the Franchise Blueprint Experience (FBE) – where we teach you EXACTLY what you need to know to create a happy profitable franchise system!

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am a cheerleader and I truly love to support entrepreneurs, especially those who are interested in scaling and growing their business — I could do this all day, everyday. I love helping them solve complicated situations and or problems, creating clarity. Often the answers come easily for me. I love to help people realize their dreams. I have seen many companies convert to a franchise and then fail terribly because they truly didn’t understand what they were getting into and how complex the relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee can be. Becoming a franchisor can be a complicated, challenging and risky proposition without the right support.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I always had the desire to be in business for myself… always! But I was too scared to leave the “security” of a paycheck. I also know that everything happens for a reason and when I was released from corporate I knew that this was the “gift” I had been waiting for; there were so many signs from receiving a free smart phone to acquiring my first client within 2 hours of being let go from my final corporate role. I knew that my knowledge and experience could be really helpful to others.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I get to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams and goals everyday and change lives. I get to work from a home office with my two pups by my side. I get to meet new and interesting people all of the time. I get to hear about exciting new ventures and help bring them to life. And of course, I love the time and location flexibility that comes with this lifestyle. Plus I get to work with my puppies at my feet everyday. It’s a great gig!

mompreneur Marietta Snetsinger of Ascend Franchise Solutions

Describe people and/or experiences that have been instrumental to you along your journey to entrepreneurship – what impact did they have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
So many amazing mentors; I have been blessed to be surrounded by so many people who have taught what it means to take a risk, persevere and take constant micro actions to move my business forward.  When I first changed my Linked In profile, I was immediately contacted by a franchise leader who has over the years collaborated with me and is still a trusted advisor.  As he says, your network is everything, staying connected with them is critical.

While in the corporate franchise world of M&M Food Markets, I was able to see how a world class organization supported franchisees. During my time there I was able to help create the systems and programs to support franchisees. This experience really helped to me to hone and master my skillset as a business coach. Similarly, during my time at Dunkin’ Brands, I was exposed to an international organization where 50% of the team was remote – this was a great way to transition to my own consultancy because I had the experience and confidence to know that I could work from a home office.

Since launching Ascend Franchise Solutions in 2011, I have had the opportunity to support new and emerging brands as well as many well loved brands, including The Body Shop, Clarks, and Boldheart. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and it is difficult, if not impossible, to do this alone. I have consciously invested in myself and my business on a regular basis in order to ensure that I have a community and space to grow authentically, be stretched, and keep my mindset healthy and productive.  

What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?

I believe:

  • Massive change can happen at the speed of light.
  • I am responsible for my results.
  • In being of service and in being generous with others.
  • In being honest and transparent.
  • If you don’t invest in you, don’t expect other to invest in you (and your services).
  • In being pleasantly persistent!
  • Mindset is everything!

mompreneur Marietta Snetsinger of Ascend Franchise SolutionsI believe in getting up early and getting started early. When I do, I always feel better. It also means I may need a nap midday and I need to get to bed early, and that’s ok.

I believe in knowing thyself. I recognize and acknowledge my strengths and my weaknesses, and put a plan in place to support my nature instead of fighting it. I am futuristic and visionary BUT on the flip side, I am not great at follow-up, so in knowing and acknowledging that, putting a plan in place to support me in this way is critical to my long-term success. This is a game changer for me!

I believe in me and the way that I am able to change lives through my business.

I believe in always improving and getting to the next level — 2020 is going to be awesome!


What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am proud because it is not always an easy path and after almost 10 years, I am still here! I’m proud of my reputation as an expert in my field; of the integrity of my business and the way we serve our clients; of the referrals that we regularly receive. I’m proud of betting on myself and my ability to be successful.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
Merry & Bright! I have a big plan for my business to grow internationally and be focused on providing world class support for franchisors through on-line programs, services and courses.

Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?

  1. Get a mentor.
  2. Join a community that will cheer when you have a win and lift you up when you are down.
  3. Invest in you first.
  4. Persevere.



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5 Healthy Habits to Welcome in 2020

Do you have a New Year’s resolution? If it’s to have a healthier lifestyle, then it’s time to take action; no more putting your own needs on the back burner while you look after everyone else!

Here are five healthy habits you can start with right away:

Choose something that inspires you; whether it’s yoga, salsa, bootcamp, boxing, walking, cycling, or pretty much anything in between – if you’re into it, you’ll stick with it.

Eat Better
Take a cooking class, follow food blogs, and create a meal plan. Have fun prepping and planning healthy meals that taste amazing. Remember, just getting organized is a great start – the rest will come naturally as you get into your groove!

Try Meditating
If you make it a part of your routine, it’ll change the way you approach your days. A fave option is learning to meditate with the Headspace free “Basics” pack, a 10-day beginner’s course that guides you through the essentials of meditation and mindfulness. It’s so very simple to use, the gentleman host’s British accent is so calming, the cartoons cute and light, and each daily headspace focus is only about 10 minutes — it really doesn’t take much to make this work for you. You can even program right within your smartphone’s calendar to remind you to ‘take some headspace’ every day!

Take Breaks
Spend more quality time with your family. Try to turn your phone and work emails on ‘silent’ and be all in  when you can; all work and no play will not serve your best interests in the long run. Giving your mind and body a break from all things business is actually good for you, and best of all your family will appreciate it.

Sleep is Essential
Audit your sleep habits and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to get enough rest. There are lots of great tools you can access to help you set better sleep habits and put yourself in the mood to sleep. Fave tips include:

  • turning your smart phone to ‘do not disturb’ (the moon symbol) and airplane mode, no matter where in the house you charge your phone overnight.
  • download one of the sleep playlists from Spotify and let soothing sounds lull you into a deep sleep.

Here’s to your best year yet!




(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via


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Patsy Commisso – Metabolic Care Clinics

Patsy Commisso is an Elite+ member based out of Oakville, Ontario. She is the owner of Metabolic Care Clinics, where Patsy and her team offer a variety of solutions for your optimal health including for weight loss, disease support, athletic performance, stress management, healthy kids and female hormone support. Their programs include amazing nutrition plans, fitness programs and wellness supports, designed to get you fit and healthy. We are thrilled to share Patsy’s entrepreneurial journey!

mompreneur Patsy Commisso of Metabolic Care Clinics

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Looking at my parents, cousins, and even my husband – all of us are entrepreneurs! We seem to all have a special talent and we have decided to showcase it and bundle it up for sale. We know that talent alone will only get you so far! The ingredient that seems to be part of my DNA is hard work. Work was such a large part of my upbringing; working in family businesses and giving it my all is a part of who I am.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I’m a take charge kind of girl. I like to see things evolve and don’t want to wait for decisions to be passed through layers. Being an entrepreneur, I have direct access to understand what my members need and can make their requests happen. I am also a mom of 3. Part of my business plan includes picking up my children from school because they are not feeling well, or missing a day or two to support my kids in their sport tournaments.

Metabolic Care Clinics - mompreneur Patsy Commisso

Can you describe a typical day?
Where does the day start: I wake up at 6:00am every morning and use the first 40 minutes of my day de-stressing with high impact exercise. I then get ready for my work day and set my three kids up with a healthy breakfast and portable lunch. After dropping the kids off at school I head to MCC (metabolic care clinics). I love walking into my clinic; there is always a happy feeling that comes over me. The clinic day seems to be done with a blink of an eye…

My role at the clinic is to manage and inspire! I work closely with all the MCC team members to ensure they are operating at their best of their ability. I work on program development to ensure members are getting the latest education based on research and market trends, and I see members one-on-one to ensure they are getting the full MCC experience to reach their health and wellness goals. I do head back home to pick up the kids after school, prepare healthy snacks and dinner. After helping with homework and driving my kids to all their active sports, I may have a few minutes for myself. My free time consists of reviewing needs for my program: clinic needs, program research, marketing, brainstorming, and a few times I head out to play soccer. I do try to hit my pillow at 10:00pm and sleep solidly until 6:00am!

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
I believe in a network! I have both a strong work and personal network. My parents live a block away, have an active part in helping me with our three kids. For work I have a great team; some have been with me since my store opening and others have come on board throughout the years. I have a group of like-minded individuals that genuinely care about helping people!

Metabolic Care Clinics team - owner Patsy Commisso, mompreneur

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
It’s weird, but nothing ever seemed like a sacrifice. I did have my last child ten years after my first two. When I had him, I was 5 years in business. I did go back to work immediately, but felt at times that I was not as invested as I was before having the baby. That could be an indirect sacrifice. For the most part I have a perfect work and life balance.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I don’t have a designated day off, instead I try to do two things:
1) vacation: I head South a few times a year for a complete recharge. I relax by the ocean, and after a few days of rest I allow my recharged creative juices to develop new diet plans.
2) I take many mini vacations: yoga classes, massage, pedicures. I do believe in investing in my own health.

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I am very active in the community. I offer free talks to local sport teams, running groups or other groups that are looking for nutrition guidance.  Our clinic also supports local charities: every weight loss challenge we make the buy in: a donation, a canned good or used clothing, all donated to local charities.  My members are also local and we support any event with nutrition and exercise support, like providing fitness trainers at school wellness day to perform a fitness class.

Metabolic Care Clinics - mompreneur Patsy Commisso

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
My husband; he has also grown up in a family business. He has taught me that a service offered is only as good as the business sense. I remember going to university for nutrition and refusing to take business courses, little did I know… My husband has shown me the importance of having a business mind in a service business.

mompreneur Patsy Commisso of Metabolic Care ClinicsWhat does the future look like for you and your business?
This year the clinic expanded its space to offer more wellness services. MCC has become a destination place for so many, by offering safe, simple and successful solutions. Not only are members coming into the clinic, we are expanding our online presence and starting partnerships with other health care professionals to offer the MCC program at their workplace location.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
You can do it all: live a healthy lifestyle, take care of yourself, feed your family healthy meals, own a business, make it successful, spend time with the family… the trick is to be organized, and have gratitude, and be okay when things are not perfect!


*a version of Patsy’s Success Story was previously published in March 2017