ContractMe.ca provides a bridge between the professional services of small, local independent operators and the many businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies looking to hire by contract.
Joel Jacobson — 'Company to Watch' Spotlight
(Originally published in the July 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal)
Laurie Dolhan is full of ideas, ambition and energy.
The Ketch Harbour businesswoman has parlayed that trifecta into a growing business that provides a bridge between the professional services of small, local independent operators and the many businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies looking to hire by contract.
Her company, ContractMe.ca, opened six months ago and has combined a database of professional service providers and local contract job postings, enabling a wide range of contract business to remain in Nova Scotia.
“I always wanted to run my own business,” says the 38-year-old married mother of a five-year-old. “I studied business in college, and then worked in government and for non-profits for 10 years in the Yukon (where she gained Canadian citizenship after emigrating from New Jersey).”
In the Yukon, Laurie ran into obstacles in outsourcing people to help with her projects. These professionals ranged from writers, researchers, graphic and web designers, to bookkeepers.
But from this outsourcing challenge sprung inspiration.
When she and her family moved to Nova Scotia a year ago, she knew the time was right to start planning ContractMe.ca.
“I saw Nova Scotia as an established market where you could test something like ContractMe. You can be creative, new, bold, and find accessible people. When I’m at networking events, I’m so impressed to meet people who have the expertise, along with new services and new ideas. This is a fantastic area for independence.”
Laurie generates memberships on her site from these independent entrepreneurs — “well-educated, talented and experienced people, both young and old” she says — and makes their information available to businesses seeking to source unique talents. It’s free to source from the site for those seeking entrepreneurs and, at the present time, for the entrepreneurs too.
She says whether a business is seeking expertise not available in-house or is just adding a little extra help, contracting out can prove to be a flexible and cost-effective solution to help grow and maintain a competitive business. Contracting out leads to tapping into an infinite number of brilliant, creative and sometimes deceptively simple ideas.
With a family business background but an early interest in art history (“my father told me I’d be broke,” she smiles) Laurie says she’s now living her dream life.
“I have everything I ever wanted, I’m passionate about what I do and want to see it grow. If I don’t have it right, I’ll evolve, but I’m confident this is a good idea.”
With business changing constantly, Laurie says being unique and exceptional is the way to earn the dollar.
“There’s international competition for business. If you want to best represent yourself and your product, you have to up the product. Contracting out is the best way to do it. It’s always fresh.”
Joel Jacobson is a freelance journalist and a former columnist with The Chronicle Herald. If you have a great business-to-business company profile idea, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (902) 479-0442.