If working full time was not enough, Jennifer Rowe has also been building her own business over the past year.
Rowe founded Aux Business Support last February. The premise is to provide support services for new and existing businesses.
“The idea came because in addition to my full-time job at McKee’s Weatherproofing, as I was doing a lot after hours for other people,” she explained. “People were coming to me for help. I realized that this was potentially a side gig for me.
“It’s a way of giving back to the community as well. That’s why I decided to start my business.”
Helping other businesses keeps her hopping.
“I started it in February and haven’t really had a chance to do much with the marketing side of it, website development and stuff, because I’ve been booked fully solid since about April,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun for sure, but very busy.”
She helps relieve the burden of paperwork on small businesses. Aux Business Support services include bookkeeping, mobile clerical and administrative support, preparing basic personal income tax returns, document preparation, funding applications, business and strategic planning, research and development and resume preparation.
“A lot of people don’t have time for that and it’s not their forte. For me, it’s as easy as breathing,” Rowe said. “I just do the data entry for them and make sure everything’s organized. One of my skill sets is organization and bookkeeping. I have a lot of other marketable skills. I decided to put them to use and it’s been a lot of fun.
“I used to be in the tourism industry, so I have some knowledge of that, and basic bookkeeping, tax preparation and computer repair — just little things that interest me as a person that I’m now translating into a service.”
The past year has moved along quickly as the business nears its one-year anniversary.
“Yes, it’s been unreal,” she said. “Mr. McKee, who owns McKee’s Weatherproofing, has been kind enough to let me use this office after hours for my own business interests. He’s been a huge supporter of me and I really appreciate it.”
A recent project has been one of her favourites.
“The highlight so far has been helping a friend of mine, Leslie-Anne Dupuis, get her business up and running, her music recording studio and event space (called In Session),” Rowe said. “It has really been a lot of fun because I have a musical background as well and it put me back in touch with that side of myself.
“At the same time, it’s been great to see her get back in the game after seeing her close her night club six years ago. Just being involved in the creative community again has been tremendous and I’m really enjoying that part of it too.”
She likes helping get new businesses off the ground.
“That’s why I enjoy the consulting side of it,” she said. “I can advise them for some of the things that maybe they weren’t thinking about and make sure they are on the right track. I do a lot of business planning and workshopping as well.
“It’s best to get in at the beginning, when the business is first starting out, so they can talk about their values and build a foundation for their business.”
After growing up in Montreal, Rowe has come to appreciate the sense of community in Timmins.
“I moved here in 1987 with my family,” she said. “My father found work and we’ve been here ever since. I really enjoy living in Northeastern Ontario and am a huge proponent of paying it forward and also giving back to the community. I’m kind of using my business to do that too. I’m always aware of that.
“I’ve been very lucky with the people I’ve been working with over the years supporting me and I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m very grateful to the community.”