Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jarrod Goldsmith, founder of eSAX Virtual Events, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Originally published on GoSolo January 30, 2023.
What’s your business, and who are your customers?
I am Jarrod Goldsmith, I have founded two businesses with cute names (Sax Appeal and eSAX Virtual Events), but both are in entirely different industries!
eSAX Virtual Events is an entrepreneur networking community for small businesses hosting virtual events for others on an interactive and inclusive (non-Zoom) platform with a specialization on corporate virtual conferences and virtual office space. As a background “stage manager,” and completely depending on a client’s unique needs, eSAX Virtual Events can moderate all aspects of a virtual event, including preparation and coordination of the platform, onboarding details, personalized demos to speakers, staff, stakeholders, sponsors, guests, and tech support on the “day-of” to help attendees experience an unbelievable event. This virtual event platform is as close as one can get to a real face-to-face networking event, conference, classroom, workshop, career fair, awards celebration, presentation, holiday event, or any other need to connect with people. Our ONLY role is to make sure your guests experience an exciting and trouble-free event from inception to completion. Our solution is perfect for employees to be more productive in individual virtual offices and to easily connect with colleagues. Customers range from governments, multi-national businesses, all kinds of organizations, charity/not-for-profits, small businesses, High School reunions, to someone hosting a virtual 50th-anniversary party. And everything in between!
For the other business, known as Canada’s Premier Saxophone Ensemble, Sax Appeal is a unique professional all-saxophone band located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. As the most extraordinary ensemble in the region, Sax Appeal is transforming the musical landscape in Canada with its distinctive sound, look and feel. Equally comfortable playing any musical genre ranging from jazz to classical to literally everything in between, the versatility of this saxophone ensemble is unmatched. We make every performance a true experience for attendees. We also hire any other kind of professional musicians to make an event a complete musical success!
Tell us about yourself
An archaeologist and musician by education, and now known by my signature fedora, I am a Canadian small business community builder. I am the embodiment of the small business spirit and have 700+ videos, podcasts, blogs, and interviews on entrepreneurship and networking for small businesses on the eSAX YouTube channel. I am living proof that if you follow what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Hard work, coupled with unwavering persistence and commitment to branding, has led me to make my passion for the saxophone and virtual event planning viable businesses. Upon launching such a unique all-saxophone ensemble, I had to literally network to get work since very few people have ever heard of, let alone looking for, a saxophone group. From all the networking I have done since 2011, I have branded myself as one of Ottawa’s most well-known entrepreneurs. My commitment to community engagement was further recognized when I ran a strong campaign for Ottawa City Council in the October 2018 municipal election.
The number one motivation for why I work hard every day is so that I can continue to stay in business into the future. All of my musicians and virtual event tech support are contractors. That means if I am not actively promoting the businesses, no one is.
What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While I have worked with some high-profile organizations, won some awards, and had some amazing press coverage, one of my biggest accomplishments as a business owner was when I assisted US President Biden’s inaugural virtual Clean Energy gala on January 20, 2021. With ~3500 registrants, and content from Billy Eilish, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Eva Longoria, Train, and many others, eSAX fielded 20 support staff to make it a complete success. I am known and recognized as a global expert on this virtual event platform.
What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Work-life balance is always an issue. As a self-funded entrepreneur, if you’re not working and networking, you will have no clients. The feeling of not having a “safety net” really motivated me to prioritize work above all else. With no sick days, pension, insurance, or any other kind of benefit that most other people have, the pressure to hustle in order to stay in business was strong. COVID proved to be an excellent opportunity for me, who was a very early adopter of hosting virtual events. The business was booming! But so was my weight from the many hours in front of a computer. In the summer of 2020, I started walking hours a day in the forest near my house, often averaging ~15,000 steps. Exploring nature and losing weight helped me to feel more energized and focused. The elusive work-life balance that I so often neglected was finally found!
What are the top tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You don’t have to do everything yourself. There are many people and resources available to assist in a wide variety of ways. Ask people for assistance or connections through your contacts and social media. Source the many entrepreneurial programs offered in your area, perhaps through your municipality or local Chamber of Commerce.
- Outsource tasks that you don’t like to do or do not have knowledge of. Sure, you can learn accounting or graphic design, but the time it would take to be efficient at every task required to start and run a business can be overwhelming. Partnering through barter and collaboration with others is a wise way to go.
- Find others who have “been there, done that.” Learn from other successful entrepreneurs and hang around where they hang out. Do successful business/community leaders frequent free networking events, or would they more often be found at paid events? Choose your time wisely, and keep networking!! Oh, and check out the eSAX YouTube channel for many more great entrepreneurial tidbits!
Where can people find you and your business?