by Stella Shepard
The Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce (EPEICC) recently hosted the fourth annual Explore Economics East conference at Rodd Brudenell River Resort. The event attracted local business leaders and innovative entrepreneurs who shared their success stories with a full house.
EPEICC is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting its members’ businesses and the community.
“Our vision is to create a strong relevant Chamber that is inclusive and supports our businesses and communities,” says Lori MacGregor, Executive Director of EPEICC. “We welcome new businesses and new ways to collaborate to deliver innovative ideas and projects to the East.”
Side hustle panelists
People engaged in a side hustle work on a project they are passionate about which offers a supplemental income, in addition to their regular job.
Nathan Veld has worked with Health PEI in a few roles over the last seven years, most often as a Patient Care Worker in acute care hospitals. He recently started a position in mental health and addictions.
Nathan is also an artisan who creates one-of-a-kind countertops, kitchen islands, vanities, coffee tables, and so much more, all from concrete. His side hustle business is called Cementheadz.
“It’s nice to do something creative outside of my day job,” says Nathan. “As well, it’s a niche market that no one else is doing.
“A side hustle is nice because I can fit it into my schedule, and I can work from home. All the business I’ve received is through word-of-mouth and community support.”
Nathan offers this advice to anyone considering starting a business or a side hustle: “Seek out people who can help you, decide how much time and energy you are willing to put into the business, and have a solid business plan.”
For more information about Cementheadz, contact Nathan Veld at 902-218-6979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit www.facebook.com/cementheadzpei/ or search on Instagram.
Erin Kühn is the owner of Bookkeeping PEI. She has more than 12 years of experience in bookkeeping and office administration with a wide variety of businesses ranging from restaurants to surgeons, natural health practitioners, non-profits, and tradespeople.
She also grows and sells flowers and fresh eggs from Abundance Farm in Sturgeon, and home schools three children while her husband studies to be a plumber.
Her side hustle is working as a birth doula, offering emotional and informational support to women during pregnancy and labour.
“I think every woman should have the birth experience she wants. My second and third child were born at home with a doula, and it was an amazing experience. I wanted to give women the same support. Now I am at the point where I am almost as busy as I want to be with two births a month. I’m grateful my self-employed day job allows the flexibility to be a doula.
“Compared to Ontario, it’s much easier to make connections on PEI. People seem to want to talk, share information, and help each other in business. I would not have had access to the business service providers in Ontario that I have discovered on PEI.
“I suggest entrepreneurs take advantage of free or low-cost business workshops. Sell yourself by telling people what you are doing, and be confident in your business plan.”
Brad Coffin has worked as a System Support Specialist with the Department of Finance for 12 years.
His side hustle is Fortune River Charters, which he co-founded in 2019 with Chad Dingwell. Co-located with Paddles on Fortune River, the business provides unique tours of Fortune River using a pontoon boat that allows access to shallow, hard-to-reach areas around the bay.
Chad is a Logistics Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and operates the tours during his time off. “I put in a lot of hours outside my day job to get ready for the first season, which was very busy,” says Brad. “Hopefully, Chad and I can build the business. We probably won’t hire someone next season, but hopefully in the future.
“I grew up in Fortune and on the river. I’ve seen growth in tourism in the area. I wanted the business to showcase Fortune and make it a destination.
“It’s important to do a business plan and speak to service providers before starting a business. There are programs available to assist with start-up costs, get advice from business advisors, and access other services.”
For more information about Fortune River Charters, contact Brad Coffin at www.fortunerivercharters.com
Jorie Rose is the Atlantic Canada sales representative for EarthFresh Food, specializing in growing, storing, packing, and shipping fresh market potatoes.
She started her side hustle in 2018 with The Potato Farmer’s Daughter, sharing her life passion of potatoes and sweets by producing, marketing and selling potato donuts at local events.
Potato donuts originated in the 1900s as way to use less flour than a traditional donut recipe. Potato donuts are crunchy outside and fluffy and dense inside.
Knowing where your food comes from is very important to Jorie, who grew up on a potato farm in North Lake, PEI. Working for EarthFresh Foods has helped Jorie better understand the importance of using local produce.
“I love my day job and my side hustle,” says Jorie. “EarthFresh Foods is an amazing company to work for and are very supportive of my side hustle.”
She spends anywhere between 30 and 50 hours on her side hustle each week, which is a big commitment. Jorie sets the alarm for 3 am Sunday morning to bake and decorate 250 donuts for the 9:30 am market.
The business was a huge success in her first year. Next year, she plans to invest in a larger deep fryer to help make the donut baking process more efficient.
“My long-term goal is to have a storefront in downtown Charlottetown, but for now I am happy to keep it as a side hustle,” says Jorie.
“Growing up, I was in 4-H baking and cooking classes. At first, my side hustle started as a creative outlet for me. I started bringing potato donuts to parties and people were asking for the recipe. I said they couldn’t have the recipe but they could buy the donuts from me.
“Earning extra money and being creative were motivators for starting my side hustle. The community has been very supportive and people are happy when you succeed in business.”
For more information about Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce, contact Lori MacGregor, Executive Director, at 902-838-3131 or visit www.epeicc.ca