Nicole McLaren is a Metis entrepreneur from British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Combining her passion for supporting indigenous entrepreneurs and using her vast knowledge of the industrial supply chain and economic development, Nicole has transformed a small book club. Raven reads., The world’s first native subscription box. With thousands of subscribers across Canada, the United States and Europe, Raven Reeves continues to grow rapidly, returning to local communities. With the success of the business, Nicole has been able to raise more than $ 400,000 to the indigenous economy and more than $ 2,000 to Indigenous youth and children.

How did you manage your business finances following the epidemic?

The epidemic has affected our supply chain and our ability to send and receive products. To address this, we need additional funds (debt) to support the purchase of our raw materials in advance, which allows us to collect our packages and ship them to our customers faster. As a result of the epidemic, we have received loans from our local Aboriginal Financial Institution (AFI) and Futurpreneur. As we increased our debt burden, we were more likely to enter the epidemic with lower debt burden.

Has your sales and marketing approach changed?

As an online business, we have not made any major changes in our approach to reaching our customers. Our current approach includes paid social media advertising, organic social media engagement, email marketing and partnerships. For example, this year, in collaboration with PoeWow Pitch, it shows the products collected from past and present Peach participants in their annual mailboxes. This year, we have begun to focus more on our email marketing strategy and reduce our dependence on paid advertising. This is to reduce our marketing costs and reduce our dependence on certain social media platforms.

How did technology play a role in your business at this time?

While the epidemic has no effect on our use of technology, Raven Reads relies heavily on technology to monitor our transactions with our customers, to receive orders and to execute orders. We are a 70% virtual team and technology allows us to communicate and collaborate on the activities and goals of the company. We are currently looking for capital to increase our use of technology and to improve our website and e-commerce services. By 2022, we will make the best use of technology and not only meet our physical needs, but also develop digital products that provide an enhanced continuous experience for our subscribers.

How did you manage your thinking (and your team)?

I gave birth 18 months ago and continued to work all the time when I gave birth to a baby girl and went to school at my eldest daughter’s house. To deal with all of this, I had to work harder every day, sharing my priorities. I work at bedtime and do what I can during the day. I make sure I take time for myself and get as much sleep as I can. They are the ones who make me go, so I work regularly with my team – and I continue to move forward and keep creative. If I am stuck or struggling to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, I have a strong network of like-minded entrepreneurs I can count on. I will stay healthy with work and focus on getting my family running. And when everyone is asleep, I take the time to enjoy a good (novel) book or TV show.

What advice would you give to all entrepreneurs in your industry today?

Being an entrepreneur or working for yourself is very different from doing nine to five jobs for an employer. You are responsible for setting your schedule, and no one will tell you if you are doing a good or bad job. We get this newly acquired freedom and often give up day jobs thinking we don’t have to do much. This is a bit of a lie – especially if you are entering a strong growth phase of your business. Make sure you have a support network around you to help you on your new journey. You may be overworked because you do not have someone else to set expectations for your work. It is entirely up to you to set boundaries, set expectations, and use experience to take care of yourself by moving your business forward.