Picture your typical businessman: Black suit, skinny tie, leather briefcase, 40-something, looking stressed out.
Nicholas Belliveau couldn’t look any more different than that. Welcoming us with a big smile, this 21 year-old HEC Montreal graduate is ready to take on the world. Founder of his photography company, cofounder of Bootiq, project director at Association Marketing HEC, cofounder and presenter at La Chaise Bleue, and MVP at the Happening Marketing 2015, Nicholas is just getting started.
Q: Hi Nicholas! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new company, Bootiq! You started the company while you were still an undergrad, what was that like? It must have been rough!
A: It was definitely a busy year. The month of March was the hardest, because I had so much going on: Getting ready for the Happening Marketing – a huge marketing competition for Quebec Universities, where Nicholas won MVP – practicing for the HEC fashion show, studying for finals at HEC, handing in paperwork for Bootiq, taking extra classes at Concordia… My stress level was very high. I learned to manage my schedule, to plan out everything well. If you want to be successful and great at what you do, you have to invest a lot of your time. Even if it was a stressful year, it was the most fun, because I got to experience a lot of different things. I don’t really like learning in school: I like learning on the field and making my own mistakes. But now that I’m done with my bachelor’s degree, I’m actually taking more classes: different workshops, coaching and mentorship sessions. I love learning about different topics and subjects, with different teachers and hearing other people’s opinions and vision.
Q: Did you grow up wanting to be an entrepreneur?
A: Actually, no: In high school, I wanted to be a surgeon, just like my dad. However, I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I remember being younger and having garage sales, knocking on my neighbours’ doors, offering them to cut their lawns and stuff like that. I even remember giving my mom this booklet full of coupons that she could use for rebates on chores. For example, a coupon would give her 15% off on me emptying the dishwasher. Then I started my photography company, which has always been a passion of mine. Starting university, I had a bunch of different ideas and projects in mind. I’d say I really decided to study entrepreneurship during my second year of university.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far, owning your company?
A: You have to define your own success. Trust your own abilities and trust yourself; no one will do that as well as you. Go for what you believe. Also, you have to have discipline. That’s been the biggest problem for me, but I’ve become more organized and I’ve learned to set priorities.
Q: What advice would you give other young entrepreneurs, who are interested in starting a business?
A: Talk about your ideas! Share them with as many people as you can. A lot of people are scared to get their ideas stolen if they talk about them, but that’s not the case. Yes, there are a lot of competitors and some specific details should remain a secret, but the general idea should be shared. It might sound obvious, but you have to know if people are interested, if they’d be willing to buy the product or service. By talking about your ideas and your projects, you can create a huge network of people and find many collaborators that can take your project to a whole other level. For example, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about Bootiq and someone referred me to this lady who was also in the business. Now, we’re talking and she’s helping me with my project.
If you want to get in touch with Nicholas, or follow him on social media, here’s his info: