Jayme Cousins, In House Logic
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Brazil to British parents and lived in Rio de Janeiro until my family moved to Canada when I was 10. We lived in Sarnia until the year my Father passed and I started studying at Western. In London I studied computer-aided geography and ran the campus paintball club. Painting houses in the summer lead to owning a franchise in my 4th year. After graduation I worked for the university as a recruiter and academic guidance officer before signing up at Fanshawe College for their Urban Studies co-op program. The work placement after 2nd year was with the London Free Press where I stayed for a year instead of returning to college. A year later I was asked to join a software firm starting up at the University Research Park, a position I stayed at for more than seven years. During this time I met a wonderful woman named Heather, fell in love and got married three days before 911. We now share our home with an ancient standard poodle and lively son named Alan.
Tell us about your business. How long have you been operating? What do you enjoy most about your job?
In House Logic is a web development business which started 10 years ago with the help of the Small Business Centre and the OSEB program. We build custom-fit web sites which are well understood by search engines. Our clients have ranged from solo-preneur start-ups to government agencies across North America. We have the most fun when the site just won't fit into the standard one-size-fits-all approach that is now common in this industry. We work with a small team of specialists who bring great expertise and a touch of humour to all their projects. Personally, I greatly enjoy speaking at workshops and seminars run by Fanshawe College or the London Small Business Centre.
What led you to start this business?
Before staring In House Logic I was working as a Marketing Manager for a local software company and doing freelance web development on the side. When my employer sold its primary technology to a US firm we had no products to market and so many of us were let go. It was then that my freelancing turned into a proper business – and maintained the focus on helping small projects get online safely and effectively.
As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?
I like to turn pens on my lathe in the garage. Simple woodworking and home projects are a major distraction for me. I have a regular group that I play board games with and I'm quite involved with a fraternal organization which has a number of volunteer projects. Watching our son progress with his karate and cub scouts gives me a great deal of pleasure. We've recently been able to travel a bit and have had some great adventures overseas. Now that we live in a more rural neighbourhood, we're enjoying time with our new neighbours and friends.
What is the #1 small business book/blog/website you would recommend?
"Don't Make Me Think" by Steven Krug
Can you tell us about an entrepreneur you admire and why?
Marilyn Sinclair – now the CEO & President of London TechAlliance, is the best manager I've ever had. She taught me to accept the things I could not change, but to think creatively about those challenges. She empowers people to work with a spirit of trust, cooperation and support. Marilyn could teach a lot of business leaders about handling themselves and others with grace and respect.
What's the best business advice you've ever received and why?
My father-in-law's simple mantra for dealing with adversity: "Declare victory. Move on." It's the best advice I've ever received.
What advice would you give to someone starting a small business today?
Get on with it! Don't let waiting for perfection be your enemy. Just like a web site can launch with simple features to begin with, so can your business begin with the basics. Do the things that you're good at and ask for help with those things that drag you down. Don't be afraid to part company with a client who is treating you unfairly. Compete on the value of your skill and experience – not price. Lastly, listen to that little voice in your head that warns you whether a situation is good or not. Those are your personal Spidey-Senses and they really are a super power.
What's in the future for your business?
We're working on bringing in some lower-cost web site packages for start-ups and small projects that still offer proper technical security and features. The current options for this market are often not safe or effective in the long-term. We're constantly asked to rescue small sites that get abandoned or abused. It would be so much better for these projects to have reasonably priced options that can grow with the businesses, but which start with solid foundations in the first place.
Plus there's some other stuff. Standing still is boring!
To learn more about In House Logic, please visit: www.inhouselogic.com