1. Tell us about your business. Jessica Oman of Write Ahead

Write Ahead Consulting is a business plan writing, copy writing and editing firm located in Vancouver and launching in Toronto in April 2012. We help start-ups and existing small businesses more forward with planning their business, and ensure web copy is compelling and business communications are error-free. We’ve been helping grow businesses the "write" way since July 2010.

Write Ahead Consulting

2. Other than being an entrepreneur, who are you? Tell us about yourself. 

I acquired an MBA from Simon Fraser University in 2009, following a decade of instructional and administrative work at various public post-secondary institutions in BC. My undergraduate education includes a B.Ed in Secondary Education and a BA in English Literature. I really enjoy going to school and would like to study law in the future.

I’m addicted to live music and sports, having attended over 200 concerts and dozens of professional sporting events. The Vancouver Canucks are an embarrassingly important part of my life. I’m an obsessive cyclist, proud lhasa apso owner, and I make arguably the best chocolate chip cookies within 100 kilometres of Vancouver (and yes, I’m willing to put that to the test).

3. What motivated you to go into business for yourself?  

I left a well-paying yet boring job in public education to pursue my MBA. After graduation, I returned to education, and worked in the private sector for several months. The work paid poorly and I wasn’t a good fit for the direction of the organization, so I determined that I would be happier to be in business for myself. I had always wanted to earn money writing and editing, so in 2010 I finally decided that it was time to see if I could turn my passion into a viable business.

4. How do you overcome challenges and obstacles in your business?  

For me it’s about remaining calm and focused. I had $200 in start-up capital for my business, and it was a huge challenge to stay cash flow positive at first. But I knew that whatever happened in my business, I couldn’t fail as long as I maintained clarity about where I wanted to take the company. I wanted to be a writing firm – not a freelancer – so branding quickly became really important. Staying focused on that goal helps me make better decisions about how to handle obstacles as they come. I also try to remember that a challenge or obstacle is really just an opportunity in disguise, and that alleviates a lot of unnecessary stress.

5. What are your greatest strengths as an entrepreneur?

I’m incredibly ambitious. I create ridiculous revenue targets and set tough deadlines for myself. If I fall short of my targets, I don’t get disappointed; instead I look for the reasons why I didn’t get there, change my strategy, and try again. It’s important to me to learn something from every experience I have as an entrepreneur, because that learning will contribute to a better business and a better experience for my customers. I have an unwavering commitment to improving and growing Write Ahead, and couldn’t imagine ever stopping.

6. What are you most passionate about in your business?  

I love creating messages that make my customers exclaim, "that’s EXACTLY what I wanted to say! How did you know?" It’s so exciting to write and edit content that gets people unstuck in their business development process, whether it’s a business plan, a web site or a sales letter. When my customers have that "a-ha!" moment and know exactly what they need to do next – that’s a perfect day for me.

7. What is one piece of helpful advice you would give to other entrepreneurs?

Get help and feedback as often as you can. You don’t have to do everything yourself. I meet so many entrepreneurs who love helping each other, offering resources, and providing mentoring or support. Sometimes just a conversation with another entrepreneur can provide incredible clarity. Connecting with others and being receptive to their feedback, as well as offering advice in return, can really help you grow your business.