“Start with what you know” is one of those truisms that people spout about starting a new business; for Connor Martin the saying rings true.
She graduated from the Media Production program at Ryerson University, Toronto, just as the pandemic hit in spring 2020. All the film and television jobs she was hoping for evaporated overnight. Facing a summer of “newly acquired free time,” Connor started with what she knew. She offered her media skills and creative energy to entrepreneurs, small business owners and community organizations in her own community of Ohsweken in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
Connor is an Indigenous creative from the Mohawk nation and Bear Clan and her services help to promote Indigenous culture through videography, photography and graphic design.
Within a few short months, her new production company, Little Brown Bear Media, worked on everything from product marketing, informational videos, visual storytelling for grant proposals and even a YouTube series with a local Indigenous chef.
“I wanted to focus on my own community first, because there are a lot of stories to tell,” she said, “we have so many amazing entrepreneurs in our community and it's really inspiring to see them all.”
Collaboration is one of the most important things that drives her work with others. “Every business has a story to tell,” Connor said, and she likes to promote projects that she really believes in like healthy Indigenous cuisine or Indigenous inspired clothing design.
Connor joined the Start My Business Bootcamp at the Laurier Women Entrepreneurship Centre to fill in some business knowledge gaps and help her build a more well-rounded business. “One thing that really helped me was the finance part,” she said, “something as simple as starting your own business bank account… I wouldn’t really have thought about that.”
She also found value in the different perspectives on marketing. “I took quite a few marketing classes when I was in school but it’s different when it’s applied to your own business,” she added.
Connor initially thought her freelance business would be a side hustle - something to fill her time after graduation until she could get back to work on film and television projects.
Now that she’s been at it for a year, it’s beginning to feel like something she could do full time in about five years.
“I would love to eventually have it be my fulltime thing, but I think I still have a lot to learn.”
The Women Entrepreneurship Centre (WEC), as part of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs of every age, stage and culture to achieve their business dreams. We believe in fostering leadership. We believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. We believe in connecting you with the right people, skills and support to make it happen.
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