In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.

After moving to Houston, British Columbia in January 2016 Lisamarie Johnston had trouble finding full-time work. Through WorkBC she entered their self-employment program and even though the program was originally for bookkeeping, it’s there that she discovered virtual assisting and decided that was the direction she wanted to pursue so she started Diverse Office Solutions.

Diverse Office Solutions helps solopreneurs with all aspects of back office support from social media and website maintenance to document creation, client database management, travel planning and online research. Lisamarie always loved the idea of being an entrepreneur and with her independent spirit, determination to live her own life and the natural curiosity she has, she knew she had the right mentality to work for herself.

We caught up with Lisamarie to chat a bit more about her entrepreneurship journey and her business. Here’s what she had to say…

What were you doing prior to starting a business?

In the past few years I’ve gone in a couple of different directions while trying to find where I fit. I worked a couple of years as a security guard at camps and oil sands sites. For most of the past decade I’ve been either a receptionist or an administrative assistant. In the year that I lived in Houston I worked 5 different jobs – up to 4 at the same time. That’s what pushed me into starting my businesses – it was hard to make a living there working only one job.

What has it been like starting a business in Houston, BC?

It was a bit slow, given that it is such a tight economy. My pet sitting business, Aurora Pet Services, was where I got most of my business in town. I had no clients in town for Diverse – all of my clients are currently in the US.

Why did you feel there was a need for Diverse Office Solutions in Houston?

I thought that with so many small businesses who didn’t necessarily have the resources or need for a full time assistant a virtual assistant would be quite beneficial.

What has been your biggest milestone to date?

Really just starting my businesses in general – I couldn’t have done it without being in Houston. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and caused me to have to take that last step to actually starting a business.

Where do you see you and your business going in 2017?

I see it being a lot more successful and really taking off. I’ve had a really good start to it and am starting to get a pipeline of potential clients. I’m excited about the future!

We can’t wait to continue to watch Lisa and her business thrive! You can learn more about her business here.

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