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What this 40 Under 40 winner thinks about entrepreneurship

This week we sat down with Elizabeth Mah—2018 recipient of Business in Vancouver’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Award. 


Here are some highlights from our conversation on entrepreneurship, stress management, and cereal. 


RTOWN: If you had to pick 3 skills that all entrepreneurs have in common, what would they be?

Elizabeth: Hmm, I think all entrepreneurs are bold


When you’re a business owner, you have to get things done at any hour, stick your neck out for what you think, and voice an opinion. You have to get out there and do what you want to do. You need to be okay with swimming upstream.


Also, entrepreneurs have the ability to cope with yucky feelings. You have to get used to feeling failure. To feeling defeat and frustration.


You feel stress—not only for yourself, but for your teammates, clients, and anyone else that matters. Entrepreneurs have to sit with these feelings and know that they’ll pass. You know, keep your head and your heart above the water so that when you feel like you’re sinking, you can still make good decisions.


“You have to get used to feeling failure. To feeling defeat and frustration.”


I’d also say that all entrepreneurs are creative. As an entrepreneur, you have to draw on inspiration from the world around you to solve your seemingly unrelated problems.


RTOWN: How do you manage stress? 

Elizabeth: I do a few things.


I take my two little girls to their preschool in the forest twice a week. 


I hang out with my friends who’ve known me the longest. They have a way with energizing me.


I also look forward to my next vacation. And I take vacations—they’re great for escaping the routine of every day and recharging. 


RTOWN: Are you more of a hunter or gatherer? 

Elizabeth: I would consider myself a hunter.


I enjoy seeking out clients and contacts.


I “hunt” them down, if you will, on LinkedIn or through mutual people we know, and then I see where and how we can be a fit for each other in both business and life


RTOWN: If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why? 

Elizabeth: Oh, probably Corn Pops.


It’s the only type of food that I can consistently throw in the air and catch in my mouth. 


They’re sweet. They pop out like a surprise. They’re in a yellow box. And they definitely look like they’re having the most fun. 


“If I was a box of cereal, I’d be Corn Pops. They definitely look like they’re having the most fun.”


RTOWN: Do you have a piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

Elizabeth: The path may wind, but stay true to the core purpose of who you are and what you’re building.


Key takeaways from the interview:

  • Be proactive about making new connections 
  • Hang out with people who recharge you
  • Accept uncomfortable feelings for what they are
  • Believe in what you’re building
  • Take vacations (and enjoy thinking about them)
  • Eat more Corn Pops



RTOWN is a digital marketing agency that specializes in working with local businesses. To support our community, we host monthly educational events at our HQ in Yaletown. The next one? A lunchtime seminar with Elizabeth Mah, happening Wednesday, November 21st.  Here’s a 50% discount to join us next week.