Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Jordan Whelan, who, on top of co-owning e-commerce site Framestr and cardboard marketing design firm Our Paper Life, has aspirations of becoming a New York Times bestseller and turning his newspaper column into a series of books…
I am a full-time entrepreneur. I co-own and oversee Framestr.com, a new e-commerce site that provides cash rewards for sharing products with friends, and Our Paper Life, a cardboard marketing design firm.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I left media two years ago because it can be a duplicitous industry and I wanted to create my own entrepreneurial life from scratch. Once I lost the Sunday night dread and pit in my stomach, I never looked back.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is working with my co-founder, Chris Porteous, who can find the silver lining in the most doomsday moment. It must be black magic. The most challenging is by far the rejection that comes from shifting the status quo and introducing a way of doing things, like cardboard furniture as a marketing tool. People can be incredibly rigid.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
My dating life is in terrible shape but sadly I’m not sure I can attribute that to my work schedule.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to have sold both of my businesses and write full-time. I had a national newspaper column called “Try Guy” that I want to develop into a series of books. I’ve also barely travelled in my 20s, so I want to make up for lost time in a big way.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
My personality isn’t for everyone. I’m abrasive and I demand a lot, but I also give a lot. I do, however, think it’s important to thin the line between your personal and professional self. I’ve been surprised how many connections I’ve made doing just that.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
A certain degree of money eliminates anxiety and stress but it quickly plateaus. Success to me is when work doesn’t feel like work.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
My first radio gig producing Mike Bullard’s noon hour show. We used to host a segment in which prisoners would call us from behind bars. Mike Bullard is bar none the greatest mentor I have ever had.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I can’t stress enough the need to develop a sense of urgency. In business you quickly learn there is always someone running behind, beside, or ahead of you. Also, it’s essential to put more emphasis on nose to the grindstone and less on attending self-congratulatory networking events.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I’m a big fan of the vegetarian restaurant chain Fresh. It’s a little respite and recharge from the adrenal failure I tend to hold so dear.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I love to weight train and go to concerts, but mostly hanging with the greatest group of friends, who are responsible for a great deal of my success. I’m incredibly fortunate in that respect.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I just went on my first vacation in over two years this past week to San Francisco and loved it. It has a flurry of activity like Toronto but with respect for historical buildings and infinitely more kale.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Anything with a BPM over 120
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Writing full-time with a sprinkle of stand-up comedy. I want to become a New York Times bestseller, like the paragon of literature Kim Kardashian.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’m happy to support anyone who doesn’t charge at me with a clipboard.
What to you is notable?
Integrity, Valour and people willing to move “the line” so others can follow.
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