Did You Know?
It's All About Balance
When I set out to start this business it was going to be called HHTC (Hudson's Hope Traffic Control). Totally not a clever name but I wanted people to know where we were from and where we worked so it seemed the right choice. Then I spoke to Anna at WorkBC about going through the self employment program there and she asked me about the company I wanted to start and then asked what I was going to do when it was slow because they couldn't help me start a seasonal business.
I told her I was thinking of taking an online security course and maybe doing something in the winter like looking after people's properties when they go on vacation or something and she thought that could work so we started the paperwork. About twenty minutes later I got an email from her with the details of a three-week course that also had the BST training in it. It was free because they didn't fill all of the spots up and opened it to anyone who was eligible, and I just happened to be.
It really was serendipitous and I am not one to licklook a gift horse in the mouth so I jumped on that. I had already done most of the courses but some were new, like wildfire suppression and escape, basic security training, and the pipeline construction safety. The ones I already had were mostly coming due or past due, so it worked out well.
What I haven't told you is that when she asked me what I was going to do in the winter, I wanted to say, "Not much! Why would I need to do anything in the winter?".
I really thought that I would work all summer and sock away a bunch of cash and then just do on call stuff all winter. Like the odd spun out truck or accident scene. I had it all figured out and all I was going to be doing for the winter was that and getting a new pickup geared up so we could run two crews the next summer.
I'll tell you what I was thinking. Fantasy worlds and magic beans. I guess I'm just an arrogant thinker. In my head I was going to be up and running by June 1st to take advantage of our short and busy construction season. I had a waiting list of people who wanted to work with me and within a month would be hiring on all of the flagger's vehicles because we couldn't keep up with our two. By fall we would be taking our most safety conscious employee and training them to be the safety coordinator and working towards our COR.
By next year we were going to have traffic controllers from all over the province wanting to move here for the healthy, nurturing, and safe work culture of the company, added to the very low housing prices and clean northern living. Companies would be clamoring to get our competent, happy crews to work on their jobs and everybody would prosper.
What I am thankful for is that Anna made me get a new plan and then had that opportunity come across her desk right after. Without that I wouldn't be working at all right now. When I started out I remember telling her in the intro meeting that I was planning on just winging it but then figured I should do it right and take the help of people who had experience in starting businesses. She then put me in touch with Bonnie at Community Futures and even though it seemed like a few months wasted doing exercises and red tape stuff, it was all invaluable and necessary.
Now it has worked out because, while I want to get the traffic control going and get working there, I don't have to accept sub-par employees and hope they do the job properly and don't wreck anything. I can work away at the security side and get it in better shape while I try to find the right people to work with. I know good things take time and luckily I'm not going anywhere soon so I have that time to build things properly and do it with a clean conscience. That means a lot to me.
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