HR Entrepreneur or Just a Side Gig?

HR Entrepreneur or Just a Side Gig?

Building Businesses with Afifa Siddiqui

Canadian Payroll Services’ CEO, Afifa Siddiqui, collaborated with Rebecca Bennett of the podcast LAUNCH! to share her story as a serial entrepreneur: from side gigs to building businesses in the talent management industry.

On last week’s episode with LAUNCH!, Afifa shared her start as an entrepreneur while being a self-funded, visible minority woman, the success and failures she’s faced, the various start-up and personal challenges she’s encountered and how she’s pivoted her businesses and used it as leverage to grow a talent management network – Cronos Consulting Group, Careerleaf Inc. and Canadian Payroll Services.

Are people really born entrepreneurs? How does one become a CEO of three HR businesses? From a very young age, our CEO, Afifa has always made a side hustle for herself. At only 13 years old, she was a telemarketer, selling garbage bags to earn money on the side.

Afifa’s first business in the talent management industry was Cronos Consulting Group, a niche Engineering and Science recruiting firm. On LAUNCH!, she told the story of how she accidentally created a recruiting business through realizing her ability to find working opportunities for her colleagues when she was looking for her own employment. Her journey as an entrepreneur organically grew from observing a lot of problems that needed a solution.

Although she lacked experience in the HR space, Afifa viewed it as an opportunity to think through matters logically, using her engineering mindset to set up her businesses. According to Afifa, she is “problem solving for resources, in which resources are people.”  A few years after founding Cronos, she invested in developing new opportunities, including Careerleaf and Canadian Payroll Services. Her method of transitioning her businesses was diversifying away from the recruiting space, conducting a continuum of experiments and constantly envisioning what’s ahead in HR. She refers to it as an incremental progression driven by current world occurrences.

But with success, also comes challenges, including the recession, the need to constantly reinvent in the recruiting space and issues in scaling.

Afifa also shared stories of her less successful endeavors as an entrepreneur with Wasabi, a business development company, and Youth at Work, which she envisioned to be a business dedicated to educating young people in finding their first jobs. These challenges are what led her to discovering her specialty, which is to focus on businesses that solve niche and regional problems.

What’s her best advice to upcoming entrepreneurs? To surround themselves with fantastic people, constantly think of products that add value to clients and workers, and to streamline the efficiencies that matter the most.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

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