Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in human resources but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Aura Telman, Founder of My First 90, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business provides a niche HR service that helps start-ups set up their HR stack, define their values, and develop strategies for maintaining their company culture as they grow—all within 90 days!

Our customers are companies in the start-up phase (newer than five years). Many founders are not sure where to start when it comes to HR; they don't have the expertise in-house (and are not ready to hire a full-time HR person), or they are too busy growing a company. We provide a solution for them by building a solid infrastructure for growth to come.

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Tell us about yourself

I've spent over a decade in the glamorous world of HR. Four years ago, I founded my first company, focusing on building a strong culture for remote and hybrid teams. This experience highlighted the importance of fostering a cohesive and engaging work environment, regardless of physical location. My passion for supporting companies that have the potential to make a significant impact on the world (for the better) inspired me to launch My First 90.

In the past three years, I've observed dramatic shifts in workplace culture. Employees are now demanding more from their employers, seeking not only job satisfaction but also fulfillment and alignment with their personal values. Companies are grappling with economic changes, the complexities of remote work, and the rising influence of Gen-Z, who bring fresh perspectives and expectations to the workplace. These changes made it clear to me that traditional HR approaches, while still important for compliance and policymaking, are no longer sufficient. Start-ups, in particular, need innovative, proactive, and mindful HR strategies to build and maintain good, safe, and inclusive work cultures.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is that I have been able to be profitable and work with companies that truly align with my values from year 1, and I have been able to maintain a profitable business for 4 years and launch a second one in year 5!

In Canada, women-owned businesses make up only 19% of the entrepreneurial landscape (2024), and I am very proud to be part of this percentage, all while being able to service clients who identify with the values of inclusion, fulfillment, and joy.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Navigating uncertainty is one of the hardest things about being a business owner. I always call myself the anxious CEO because, as a founder with anxiety, this plays a big role in managing uncertainty. Uncertainty can come from decision-making, managing finances, managing expectations from clients, and every other role you usually have when you're starting out—marketing/PR/social media/HR/finance manager.

When you move from employee to entrepreneur, especially if you're the first one in your family or circle, there is a steep learning curve because of the uncertainty you now have to manage.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Trust your gut – when you're making decisions, when you're first time starting a business, it can be easy to doubt yourself, be overwhelmed by the amount of information and content out there, and see "overnight" successes – with all this around your, go inward and trust yourself when you're making decisions.
  2. Do market research – even if you know your potential clients need your product, spend time doing in-depth market research on your ideal clients, your competitors, and the general marketplace and industry you're entering. This will help you tremendously when it comes to branding and marketing.
  3. Launch and test instead of trying to do everything perfectly – it's very easy to get caught up doing everything perfectly; I've learned it's more important to launch something you're proud of and test it with your market first and then make adjustments.

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