Mompreneur Lisa Chan has created a successful business by making life more comfortable for Vancouver visitors.
She started out by renting out her own apartment, and today, 7 years later, Lisa’s company Suiteliving is one of the largest furnished rental companies in Vancouver.
Here is my interview with Lisa Chan.
DE: What is Suiteliving?
LC: Suiteliving is a service that gives travelers a much better alternative to staying in a hotel. Suiteliving provides fully furnished homes for clients looking for long and short term stays. Whether they are here on vacation or in need of a temporary home, having a warm and welcoming place to call home can make the transition much easier.
It all started in 2006 when my husband and I took a summer off to attend Cordon Bleu Culinary program in Paris. We posted our Yaletown apartment for short term furnished rent on Craigslist and over night received over 20 interested inquiries! When I returned from Paris, I continued to rent the suite out and lived with family until our new presale condo was ready for move-in. I realized there was a demand for furnished accommodations so we invested more time and money to make it what it is today.
Whenever I travel with my family, we prefer to stay in a vacation home rather than a hotel because it enables everybody to stay together thus creating amazing memories through laughter and conversation. For those who are relocating to Vancouver, Suiteliving offers suites that they can call “home.” Because we offer much bigger living spaces including kitchens, living rooms, private laundry & etc, people can really settle in and feel comfortable for a long time. I’m proud of business, Suiteliving, because we have created unforgettable memories for so many people visiting Vancouver through the offering of our luxury suites.
DE: What has been the greatest challenges starting up a business on your own?
LC: Keeping track of the financials! I tend to focus too much on the qualitative and not enough on the quantitative aspects of the business. My business coach told me repeatedly that in order to excel at any game that I’d need to constantly know what the score is! Therefore, I can’t excel in business unless I know what my bottom line is every month!
DE: What has been the greatest rewards?
LC: Having the flexibility to work where I want, when I want. Job flexibility so I can spend more time with my kids. Having the ability to motivate and inspire my staff.
DE: What is next for Suiteliving?
LC: We would like to move into the luxury suite segment and focus on quality vs. quantity. At the present time, we manage over 60 units so we would like to downsize to around 50 suites and improve our suite quality and service. Suiteliving would like to be known as the premium brand for temporary accommodations in Vancouver.
DE: What is your best advice for other women entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
LC: Be sure your partner is 100% supportive of you and your business because you’re going to need the support in the beginning when it’s most challenging. Don’t get into partnerships unless there is something fundamentally beneficial that your partner can offer or you don’t possess.
If you have an option, always try to hire competent staff with skills that you are lacking. If you ever feel like you need a sounding board, try to hire a business coach for support and advice.
The secret to my success lies in the loyalty and competency of my staff. Training somebody is very time consuming, so if you’re going to invest that much time into training, be sure you spend the time to hire the right person.
For more info on Suiteliving click HERE!
Dorthe is an accomplished journalist and has had a successful career as a global reporter. She has worked for Endemol, TV2 Norway, Aller Media and Cosmopolitan. In addition, she has co-created three Norwegian lifestyle magazines and has also founded and co-developed Xylem Advance Organic Skin Solution.