May 12, 2023: This Founder gets candid about Entrepreneurship
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Profile: Kyle Boulay and Purposeful Founders
What does your company do?
My current company, Purposeful Founders, equips you, as a founder, with coaching tools, performance science, and operational expertise to power up your people.
My former company, Bus.com, provides reliable charter and shuttle bus services and solutions.
What insight led to you launching it?
Purposeful Founders: The insight that led to me launching Purposeful was the observation that there was an overall lack of opportunity for startup founders to rapidly develop their managerial skills. I experienced firsthand the challenges of learning to manage and lead a team effectively. And, despite having access to lots of ‘experts’, I couldn’t find comprehensive solutions to my problems which is how I stumbled my way into the performance optimization world.
Bus.com: The founding insight for me was that there seemed to be an opportunity to create a more pleasant experience for all bus transportation stakeholders (riders, drivers, organizers, bookers).
How did you know you were ready to start a company?
I’ve always been eager to enter environments that demand continuous learning for success. The founder experience embodies this type of challenging atmosphere which greatly contributes to the excitement of starting a company. I knew it was time to launch Purposeful because everyone that I discuss the body of knowledge that we’ve put together at CORE Sciences, wants to learn more.
Since I can't spend lots of time with everyone, this is the best format I’ve come up with to share the body of work. When I co-founded Bus, I had recently had a really bad experience as a Greyhound customer on my way to Lollapalooza in Chicago and so I had really felt the pain of poor customer experience in the bus space. I always knew that I wanted to build a company and shortly after I luckily met my cofounder, Wolf. He knew so much about the bus industry and was open to support with commercialization. It all just came together serendipitously and within a few weeks. We had the draft of the brand and a commercialization strategy.
How did you meet your founders/know they were the right people to start a company with?
I met my current partner at CORE and Purposeful, Evan LaPointe when I attended his talk at On Deck (another great founder community). After his presentation, I approached him with a barrage of questions, and our connection quickly blossomed. Evan is an exceptional coach and leader, and I feel genuinely fortunate to be building a company alongside him.
Our chemistry plays a significant role in my motivation to establish this new Purposeful community. Through working together, I’ve grown my understanding of myself, and we’ve intentionally created just enough structure to perform at our best daily. It’s one of the most value-aligned, highest performing, environments that I’ve had the privilege to work in.
I met Wolf, my co-founder at Bus, while helping a mutual friend move. We were both volunteering our time which says a lot about one thing that we had in common: a compassionate worldview. Our skill sets complimented each other well, enabling us to support each other and leverage our different areas of strength from the get-go, which was enough for us to rapidly get in sync and build momentum.
Kyle and Wolf - Co-Founders of bus.com
What has been the hardest thing about your journey so far?
It’s tough to pinpoint just one. There are a bunch of tough things. If I'm honest, many of the hardest moments were personal.
I believe it's important to be candid about the real difficulties of entrepreneurship, so here are a few of my lowlights:
Being there for your family can be difficult while running a company.
Two years into Bus, I was diagnosed with a serious chronic illness which I initially mostly ignored. The consequences were quite severe, and it took seven surgeries and years of symptom management before I finally, and only recently, got it under control.
Perhaps the most significant challenge is living up to the relationships you form, both personally and professionally.
There were moments when the rapid pace of entrepreneurship left me feeling disoriented and disconnected from myself. In those instances, my actions may not have aligned with my values or intentions. Accepting the consequences of that and moving forward can be tough.
Across my various leadership roles, there are many things that I've done well and many things that I could have done better. Something I'm getting better at is aligning my business values with my personal values. I didn’t always know how to stand up for myself amongst many strong-minded stakeholders and make the type of high-quality, but compassionate, cultural decisions at the moment that I now know how to make.
What has been the most pleasant surprise?
The most delightful surprise is the seemingly unlimited joy that entrepreneurship brings.
The daily satisfaction of creating something that makes the world a better place and helps others—especially when tackling difficult challenges—is a rare opportunity in most work lives.
As entrepreneurs, we're fortunate to take responsibility for real-world problems and to design positive experiences for others. The entrepreneur’s journey also allows us to continually learn and discover all kinds of fascinating things.
What are you trying to achieve over the next 12 months?
Over the next 12 months, as we launch Purposeful, we’re looking to build an amazing group of 100-150 founders to discuss
1) how to coach ourselves/our teammates
2) how to apply the latest performance science from academia
3) how to connect the two previous dots to create excellent business operations.
We’re hoping to create an incredibly stimulating environment for engaged discussion, active learning, and immersion into our carefully crafted curriculum that will help founders be the leaders they have always wanted to be.
What is your proudest accomplishment outside of your startup?
I’m proud of the wealth of knowledge and experiences that I've acquired throughout my journey. There are many things that are best learned through experience (even painful ones).
Additionally, I cherish the opportunities I've had to support and help my family, through the growth that I've experienced.
Learn more about Kyle and Purposeful Founders here
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Check out the interesting content, events, and happenings for the community here:
TechTO: Retail | May 24, 2023: Learn from Lauren Steinberg, Amber Foucault, Drew Cashmore, Marie Chevrier, Kelly Brawn about all things technology, brands, and retail
TechTO Social | Vancouver | May 29, 2023: Get ready to connect and meet new people in Vancouver! We're excited to be back! More announcements coming soon!
TechTO: Together | June 5, 2023: Learn from the top Founders and creators in Canadian Tech. Whatever your goals are, this event can connect you with like-minded individuals that will help you level up and reach your goals.
Elevate | September 26-28: Our friends at Elevate are back to unite world-class innovators and industry leaders at Canada’s Tech + Innovation Festival with up to 45% off tickets. Get the Super Early Bird offer here: ElevateFestival.ca
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