Opinion Women Who Lead

A Journey To Finding Myself: How Shantelle Bisson Turned Passion Into A Career

Shantelle Bisson

With the COVID-19 pandemic changing up your everyday routine; having to juggle kids, your career, your relationship, and all that’s in-between at home, it’s safe to say navigating your goals has never been more complicated. I understand the stress that comes along with getting a business off the ground while trying to run a fully functioning household – even now that my kids are adults. Through it all, here’s how I found myself, my niche and my advice on how you can start – regardless of a pandemic. 

Why It’s Never Too Late To Start

I had my first daughter when I was nineteen, I was young and trying to figure it all out. “How does one decide what they want to do?” was a thought that often crossed my mind. Conflicting priorities arise and your child comes first, leaving you with little to no time to experiment with different things. 

It felt like my husband Yannick Bisson always knew he was always going to be an actor. I myself had no idea what was next. I found quick success in acting, at sixteen, that seemed to dry up once I was twenty-seven with three young daughters, looking like I was twenty-one, but all the casting people knew I “was a mother”.  What followed my acting and professional cheerleading days were a few different businesses including opening a boutique gym, renovating and flipping real estate, and writing TV show concepts, it took me a while to figure out what my true skill was: being an entrepreneur. 

When Inspiration Comes, Follow it

The journey of starting a business is long and demanding, but it’s the journey I chose to jump into with both feet forward. Having opened up a boutique gym in the late 1990’s that was quite liquid, I had some experience under my belt, but was forced to sell and close the doors from a spinal cord injury. I couldn’t and wouldn’t let that deter me. 

The bug and perfect new small business fell into my lap fourteen years later when I was more than ready to give something else a go. In one summer I became an avid cottager and saw a gap in the market when the oldest marina on our lake suddenly became available, I leaped at the opportunity to bring my modern vision for not only the marina but the lake community as a whole to life.

From there, Shantilly’s Place was born. I turned to friends and people in my network for advice and inspiration, hardly knowing how much work would go  into having this passion project come to life. From boat storage and docking to grocery and merch, logistically there was a lot to figure out.  

The Journey to Beginning

The largest hurdles to overcome where the structural issues the building was suffering from.  A sixty-three year old girl, when I purchased the building in 2018, although it maintained its strong bones, it lacked proper upkeep that dated back to the 90’s. 

We poured cash into making the marina structurally sound.  Our idealistic hope was to run the business and fix structural issues for a few summers before tearing down the structure. In its place a modern and sound structure would be the face of Shantilly’s Place. Reality ensued and it quickly became apparent that the structural issues would have to be rectified before we could open for business. An expense no business owner anticipates within the first year of business. 

Letting Passion Find You

The support system from my friends and family is what has got me where I am today. In April I followed my long time passion for writing and I launched my new book  ‘Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool’. With the Marina doing well, a successful book launch, and day to day victories raising my family, if I could offer one piece of advice as an entrepreneur it would be: follow your passion.  

So often, especially as women we talk ourselves out of risky ventures.  We worry about failure, we worry about taking time away from our family lives, and in some cases women who have the entrepreneurial spirit don’t even respond to that call within themselves because they’re concerned. Flooded with internal questions like, ‘Should they go down that road’, ‘will I ever have time to have a family later’, ‘Should my business consume this much of my life?’.  To that I say, with the proper support of friends and family, anything is possible.  By building a deep management team within your business, we female entrepreneurs can absolutely have it all.  So what are you waiting for?

Shantelle Bisson is a Canadian author, producer, actress, and owner of Shantilly’s Place, a marina in Ontario’s Kawartha region. She has raised three fully functioning young adults and recently launched her first book in April,  Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool – which is full of funny and real accounts of parenting and relationship moments, some #momfails, and all of the pieces in between.