What Motivated You to Start Your Business?


There are as many reasons why people make the decision to launch a business, as there are products and services to sell. 

If you are a business owner, think back to when you launched your venture.  You were excited, likely a little nervous, if not scared stiff. You had dreams, and you had the one thing that motivated you. Perhaps you had a burning desire to break free from a corporate position, or maybe your driver was financial and you saw the opportunity to remove the limits and write your own paycheque.
Your motivator then may be very different than the motivator that keeps the engines running in your business today.
This month marks my 30th year as an entrepreneur, and I can tell you, I have seen many faces of motivation over the years.   When I launched my first baby in 1988, Amika Stationery represented freedom and security. As a single mother I needed the freedom to work around my children’s schedule and the ability to create my own cashflow, without limits. As my business grew and morphed into Amika Graphics with a focus on graphic design, my motivator was my need to create and my client’s projects became my outlet.  
The need to create was a powerful draw for me, and when I opened my first retail business, Madsen Studios, I felt as though I had arrived at the pearly gates. We were a gallery, a flower shop and a framing studio, squeezed into a 700 square foot building in the heart of Highlands. 
By this time, my children were adults and helpers when we hosted our once a year garden art show filling the highlands neighbourhood with people from miles around. I loved every minute of it. We supported 55 local artists in that little shop.
Motivation shifts as we mature, and our responsibilities and priorities change. Following my passion for business development, I sold my gallery in 2009 and accepted a contract to teach entrepreneurs how to develop their plan and launch their ventures. I returned to where I began, but this time I was on the other side of the classroom facilitating and helping others and sharing my experiences of failure and success. 
I have met thousands of business owners in 30 years, and as they shared their business start-up motivator with me, they agreed our motivators change as we grow personally alongside our businesses.  People shared their thoughts with me, and here is a short list of motivators that pushed them into the world of entrepreneurship.

  • I want to control my own destiny.

  • I can do it better than my boss.

  • I want to remove the ceiling on my potential.

  • We are architects of our own destiny.

  • I want to start a business when I retire so I can leave a legacy.

  • We live in a country of opportunity.

  • Everyone I know is becoming an entrepreneur.

What motivated me 30 years ago has changed. I wake up every morning with a surge of gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to help others create what they want in their business. When I hear others talk about their why at a network lunch, seasoned entrepreneurs share in the “client centric motivator” - to serve the needs of others. This is where we end up, I believe, simply because we are in business to serve our customers.
Reaching beyond my one-on-one clients, I have the burning desire to share the planning program I’ve developed to more people. New entrepreneurs need the support to plan a successful business at a price point that leaves them enough cash to pay for all that is needed at start-up.  To speak to this need, we are launching an e-learning program - Encore CEO Academy. 
The second act is always better than the first. An Encore CEO comes to their table with experience, and we give them the tools to plan a successful business and the support to keep moving toward their dream. Learning how NOT to do things, can be as powerful as how TO do things. The lessons are filled with stories, tips, and of course step by step guidance. 
If you would like to learn more about the Encore Program, go to EncoreCentre.com and signup for updates.
Cheers to a successful fourth quarter.


💡 Where Do the Best Ideas Come From? (and Check Out This NEW Event I’m Hosting!)


Those sparks of inspiration can come from nowhere, and likely at the most obscure time, when we are doing a mundane task, or something completely out of scope from our work.
But, what do you do when you feel stuck, having exhausted all means of solving a problem?
This is a common problem, and I am often asked “where do your ideas come from?”
Ideas are bedfellows to intuition.  As we become more reliant on either, they appear more frequently.
Some of the best answers and ideas I’ve seen have come from brainstorming sessions with groups, or students.  Posing a problem to a group ignites a collective imagination, laser-focused on solutions to any problem.  
Napoleon Hill addresses the power behind Masterminds: A group of trusted individuals, coming together to solve problems, collectively.

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
— George Bernard Shaw

We are hosting a Mastermind Brainstorming session on June 14 - You're Invited!

This will be a facilitated Mastermind Brainstorming session, with only 24 people accepted in the first session. 
How to participate: 
Register – bring a problem you would like solutions and ideas on and have some fun! This may be the most inspiring, creative afternoon you’ve had in a while.

Here are the details: 
     Mastermind Brainstorming
     Date: June 14th
     Time: 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
     Cost: only $49+GST.
     Location: SPARK - #116, 2257 Premier Way , Sherwood Park, AB (See map by clicking here!

Registration closes on June 11th. 
Go here to register
(Remember there are limited spots so register soon!) 

🌷 Three Lessons from the Flower Counter 🌷

I was walking through the desert in Palm Springs last week, taking in the sun and beauty of a sparse landscape displayed in hues of brown. The only colour this landscape offered were occasional florals, in clusters of alstrameria and birds of paradise. Since we can’t grow these beauties here, my mind wandered back to the time when I owned my (unintentional) flower shop.

5 Keys to Unlock the Heart of Your Business


🗝 Key 1. What is in it for them?

Operating a business is synonymous with being of service. The most successful businesses have a core value cemented in service and what they can do for their clients. I heard an entrepreneur say today, “I want 25 clients, that’s all I need and I’ll be good.   When we remember that the purpose of the business is to serve a need in the market, the emphasis is put back where it belongs; what can we do today to be of service to our customers?

🗝 Key 2.  Show them don’t tell them.

When I see a business card, or sign that states, “We provide quality Service” I want to giggle. What’s the alternative to that?  They would probably attract more attention if they said,

“Our service is getting better and better, thanks to your feedback”.

Consumers expect the best in quality, they assume they can trust you when you are running a business, and if you happen to go above and beyond, good for you, and good for them. You want them to brag about you. Do it, don’t say it.

🗝 Key 3.  What are you building from?

What values are important to you? When you build your business from the same set of values, you attract like-minded people, and customers that are like you. When you can articulate your values, you are one step closer to knowing your differentiator, regardless of your industry, and the number of competitors you have.

🗝 Key 4.  Share your authentic you.

Be yourself.   Long gone are the days of walking into a prospective client’s office and planting a bottle of scotch on their desk, hoping to create a connection, and a sale.  Business isn’t conducted like that any longer. If you read my last column, “Gossip from the Avenue”, I mentioned how gender biases and intimidation was used as a tool in some circles. 

Consumers want to do business with real people. Businesses want to work with genuine collaborators, and connectors. Authentic people get noticed.

🗝 Key 5. Love the shoes you’re in!

Do what you love, and love what you do. When we are consciously serving others by doing what we love, creativity flows freely, ideas present themselves along with opportunities, and we attract more of what we want.

Happy Valentine’s day,


madsen ave.png

Shauna Madsen has been an entrepreneur since 1988. She is a business planning and marketing specialist, an author, artist and specialty framer. Since 2005, she has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs with their marketing strategies, business plans, as a coach, facilitator, mentor and designer.  She received international Gold and Platinum awards each year from 2011 to 2014 for creative excellence with the design and production of Womanition magazine. In 2017, she was honoured with the Womanition Supearlative Special Skills Award, and a Marcom International Gold award for the design and production of "Mentoring Women Leaders II", a compilation of stories by women in business, mentoring others to achieve success in business.

Gossip from the Avenue

Madsen Avenue works with clients to articulate their “why” and create a foundation for a strategic, authentic plan.  The first post in the series, Gossip from the Avenue,  Delain Witzaney shares her “why”, as a boudoir photographer.