Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur creative professional Liane Coulahan, whose expertise lies in combining all aspects of content creation to bring stories to life at her agency, Nordest. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her work and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a storyteller, a creative director and a Nordest co-founder. I help brands communicate their stories through video, social, experiential and more.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
It wasn’t so much inspiration as it was experience coupled with trial and error. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I went through a process of elimination for many years to determine the industry and work that excited me most.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
The most memorable milestone was the day my business partner and I realized that Nordest had grown to a point where it could employ a team. Realizing we could hire creative Torontonians and provide them with a livelihood was a moment that made us pause and think, ‘OK, wow, we’re doing this!’
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In five years: we’re building out various sub-branches of Nordest, some of which are taking effect in the next six months. I’m going to keep it at that for now, but stay tuned.
In 10 years: we’re partnering with other entrepreneurs, joining forces to produce work that is creatively meaningful; work that can effect real change (i.e. campaigns that encourage people to vote, content that inspires people to think about stigma, videos that connect people to stories and challenge the status quo, etc.)
In 20 years: We’re pulling a Beau. We show up one morning and call a team meeting, only to explain that we’ve sold the company and our employees are the new, proud owners.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice is, you don’t have to listen to everyone’s advice. Once you start your business, everyone will have something to say. Be open and gracious to those who take the time to share nuggets of information with you, but recognize that you CAN be selective in what you do and don’t take to heart. Being a young entrepreneur doesn’t mean you don’t know anything; trust your gut.
And find yourself a really solid financial mentor.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Everyone on our team comes from the not-for-profit space – it’s a part of our fabric. So we’re excited for Nordest to finally be in a place where we can give back and support a charity we care about. We’re currently vetting LGBTQ organizations in Toronto to find out where our time, dollars, and resources could be most useful. We’re committed to supporting the work being done within this community and looking to spread the love, break stigmas, and change the dialogue. If you know of a good one, shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Scaling! When should we invest in more staff? Where do we take risks? What kind of risks should we take? How do we transition from start-up to small-medium size business? I’m fairly risk-adverse, so this is by far the biggest challenge that I’m still working to overcome.
What does the word notable mean to you?
Something or someone that has the potential to inspire.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I’m a creature of habit. I love The Drake for Friday evening dinners and cocktails and Easy near Roncy for Mexican brunch.
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Website: YouTube. We produce a ton of content and consume a ton of content. YouTube is my jam for all of it.
Smoke Break by Chance the Rapper. Apparently I’m a year late.
Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Shameless plug: @NordestStudio. Our channel is full of beautiful TO shots, info about upcoming events, and insight into some of the work and projects we tackle on a day-to-day basis. Our writer and social guru Kailah would be very happy if you followed us today
What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Iceland inspired me in ways I couldn’t have predicted. The environment was bold and stark but still warm. The designs were clean and minimal and the people were vibrant. Without intending to do so, we ended up doing a lot of business planning and brainstorming in Iceland.
Next up? I’m heading back to good ol’ Ireland this summer to road trip around the country with my sister and catch up with family.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Missing out on salsa events in the city! It’s my new thing and I don’t want to miss out on fulfilling all my childhood dance dreams.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Poutine… I’m French.
What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I didn’t spend so much money on rent, office space, and Uber.
I wish I spent more money on self care (massages, weekend getaways, more dance classes).
And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success = freedom of choice; to choose my career path, the team I surround myself with, the projects I’m working on, and how I go about making money. It also means making a conscious choice and effort to focus on my own health and well-being, how I spend my time, and the people I choose to spend it with.