Chef Dacyion Reid, owner of Dacy’s Gourmet Kitchen, graduated from culinary school during the pandemic lockdowns. She’s always dreamed of running her own shop, but circumstances forced her hand. After friends urged her to just put herself out there, Reid crafted her first menu, and then sat on it for about a month. “There’s criticism and then there’s…the other stuff. I was afraid no one would order my food. I was afraid if they did, they wouldn’t like it. I was afraid of the unknown. But eventually, I put it out on social media. I think I got 17 orders on that first menu, so I thought, “Okay…this could be something.” I sent the menu to friends, then they sent it to their friends, and before I knew it, I started getting about 50 orders a week. After that, people started to approach me to do private dinners for birthdays because no one couldn’t go out. I was forced to put myself out there and create my own lane, but I have no regrets. It’s created a lot of opportunities.”
Soon, Reid was applying her signature Jamaican cuisine to a bespoke lunch delivery service for a group of employees at a large shipping company. She’d prepare the orders and a friend would play courier, dropping them off inside the facility. Her lunch business was going well, but her lunch courier left. So, Reid pivoted again to focus on catering rather than take a position in a restaurant, working for someone else. “I’m a single mom of two. Working a twelve-hour shift in somebody’s kitchen is not feasible for me. Also, I’ve spent so much of my life making somebody else’s dream a reality. I feel it’s my time to build a legacy for my kids, whether or not they choose to work in the industry. It’s about showing them that if you have a dream or a passion, no matter the obstacles, you keep going. They see me, and they are watching me.”
Reid learned the ropes of entrepreneurship on her own and on the fly. It took a lot for her to find a champion in herself. “It was me, alone, learning as I go. Each week, I’d learn something new and apply it — like riding a bicycle. As the months went by, I found I could take off the training wheels. From the get-go, I used Interac e-transfer to get paid. It was easy, and during the pandemic, people didn’t want to exchange cash. It was perfect and still is. Payments go straight to my account, and I get a notification message that lets me connect the payment with the order and share pick-up details. I don’t touch any cash and when I need to buy supplies, I just use my card.”
Reid encourages other hopeful entrepreneurs to get informed, trust themselves and stay focused on their business vision. “Do research. Go on business websites and search ideas like your own to learn from other business owners’ stories. They’re not all going to be pretty, but you’re not looking for pretty. You’re looking for a blueprint of what to expect. Even before then, you need to believe in yourself enough to put yourself out there. It’s scary, but if you put good energy and intention out there, good will come back to you. Since I put myself out there as a chef, I’ve learned to see success not only in numbers, but in opportunities and open doors I never thought would be open to me. Finally, ask for help and recognize that you’re going to hear “no”, but that’s not the end, it just means “not right now.”
Working for myself means constant learning, and I love my job and have real passion for what I do. When you have that passion and love combined, it’s a different kind of feeling. Like when an actor or an artist goes on stage, they get this adrenaline. I see food as sexy. I’ve tried it all. I tried social work. I tried business administration, but I’ve always been around cooking. I’ve been cooking since I was seven when my dad brought me into the kitchen at his restaurant. While I’ve always been around food, I ran away from food. I thought I was going to help everybody—that was my passion. I’m still helping people, but in a different way. Because food to me is not just eating, it’s an experience and the community that you bring together. It’s a universal language.”
“When you have a passion and a love for it, and then life gives you lemons, you have to use the whole lemon,” Reid counsels. “You make lemonade, and you save the skin to make lemon pepper.”
Canadian entrepreneurs are embracing the nine-to-thrive as Canadians seek to turn their passion into profit.
As more Canadians take on side hustles to earn additional income, a recent survey* from Interac Corp. reveals a ‘nine-to-thrive’ effect taking place. While the initial motivation to launch a side hustle is often financial, more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed say that it turned out to be more fulfilling than expected, with three quarters (76 per cent) intending to continue their side hustle alongside their main job, and almost two in 10 (17 per cent) planning to go all in, turning their passion project into their career.
Interac e-Transfer® plays an important role in supporting these entrepreneurs, with nearly two thirds of those polled (62 per cent) using the service for business-related payments, contributing to 25 per cent transaction volume growth year over year.
The Interac From Dollar One hub includes tips on building financial confidence and how to avoid burnout alongside practical instructions on the role Interac products, like Interac e-Transfer, can play in meeting a business’ key milestones.
Learn more at: interac.ca/en/dollarone
*The Interac survey was conducted among 500 Canadian entrepreneurs, a sample comprised of 362 side hustlers
(i.e., do work outside of their primary employment), 82 small business owners (with 0 to 4 employees),
and 56 freelancers. It was fielded by CICIC Research from August 9th to 16th, 2023.