By helloDarwin
December 15, 2023

Young Entrepreneur Podcast: the Founders of helloDarwin

Invited to take part in a roundtable on the subject of entrepreneurship, Michel Jodoin (founder of RenoQuotes.com and co-founder of helloDarwin.com) and Mathieu Plante (co-founder of helloDarwin) agreed to take questions from Sébastien Dallaire (Soyezentrepreneur.ca) about their experience and their journey as young entrepreneurs.

Read on to find out more about this, as well as the knowledge they want to share with young people looking to join the entrepreneurial adventure.

Learn from your failures to succeed later

Questioning the excessive optimism shown by young entrepreneurs, of which they themselves were victims, Michel Jodoin and Mathieu Plante start the interview by talking about one of their first projects as entrepreneurs: GoEpik. In a nutshell, this company aimed to organize group trips, mostly with young people determined to have fun abroad.

Confident with their skills, they embarked on this adventure, which ended up being a lot of fun and .... not financially viable at all. Should this be perceived as a failure? If, at the time, their wallets would have answered a resounding yes, the lessons learned from this professional experience lead them to say that no, it was not an absolute failure.

In this regard, Mathieu Plante mentions the fact that their unalterable confidence in their ability to make this project a financial success led them to hire employees a little too early on.

After careful consideration, the best option would probably have been to provide a little more elbow grease to start the business before investing monetarily on the hiring side without further guarantee of the project's profitability.

Even though the dollar bills disappeared, the lesson remained. It is, therefore, necessary to be optimistic, all while considering the possibility that success is not instantaneous and that earning a profit in the short term is not always possible.

Mathieu Plante and Michel Jodoin

Look at the first year's results

Continuing on this point, the first year's results seem to be decisive and can have a negative effect on the future, even if they are positive. Why is that? Simply because overconfidence can lead to making decisions that are a little too proactive and not financially sound. Thus, even if successful, it is better to keep a cool head.

But what happens if the results are negative? Of course, it may be tempting to give up. That's when you'll need to be resilient, which is not easy when you're confident due to your early success.

Success as an entrepreneur: a question of sacrifice

Recounting the beginnings of RenoQuotes.com, Michel Jodoin remembers the sacrifices that paved the way for the success of the company. The first point to be made on this subject is surely the lack of profit in the first two years, which was particularly difficult financially speaking.

The same goes for the launch of helloDarwin, as the company's success and its gradual development have led its co-founders to invest everything in ensuring its growth. Another financial sacrifice both entrepreneurs had to make was to allow their project to benefit from a maximum of financial means in order to take off.

The need to make financial sacrifices to gather enough money to make investments should not come as a surprise to new entrepreneurs.

Moreover, it will be necessary to give up many hobbies and moments between friends to help increase the company's notoriety. Michel Jodoin knows a lot about the issue, as he spent years using door-to-door strategies to find clients for his former companies, even on cold winter nights ...

Finding the right recipe: the key to success

Starting a business cannot be done without having the funds required to set up its infrastructure and to promote its services or products. Nevertheless, it must be said that the whole deal is not simply a question of money: we must find the right recipe. As perfectly described by Michel, the right recipe is the one that allows all parties to benefit and find what they are looking for.

Moreover, the formula used by RenoQuotes and subsequently adopted by helloDarwin.com is a perfect example of this idea. Not only does the customer have access to several bids to find a qualified contractor to carry out their project at a good price, but the contractor also wins: they can quickly find customers by paying only a modest sum in relation to the value of the contract they have signed.

Always focus on human relations 

While it might be tempting to think that a company that operates essentially through the web and moves away from the traditional business model loses the human dimension that is associated with it, Michel Jodoin and Mathieu Plante do not agree with this statement. Asked about the importance of human relations within helloDarwin, they stress that they are still strongly present, but in a very different way.

For example, they highlight the close contact with the suppliers they work with on a daily basis and the importance given to the feedback provided by them. If the contact is not face-to-face, it is nevertheless always maintained in order to ensure the satisfaction of the supplier in relation to contracts that they get through the company.

Mathieu Plante reminds us that human contact must never be lost sight of, especially since the offer is vast and a customer can always turn to your competitor.

This motivational poster is installed in the helloDarwin offices

Entrepreneurs looking towards the future

Driven by their thirst for new challenges, the two entrepreneurs have no shortage of ambition for the years to come. For Mathieu Plante, the desire to see helloDarwin expand and tackle the international market is one of these key objectives.

For Michel Jodoin, it seems that mentoring is a project that is very close to his heart. Eager to share his experience and guide young entrepreneurs towards success, he would also like to be able to support them financially to give them a springboard to get better chances in business.

Are you looking to learn more? Here is the full episode of the helloDarwin where we speak with Michel Jodoin and Mathieu Plante (in French only) : 

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