The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Taylor Lyons is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Taylor Lyons and I am the Founder of Giving Back Canada. We are a charity based out of the Greater Toronto Area, and we work to provide food and basic necessities to the less fortunate. Due to the pandemic, we have shifted our efforts this year to tackle seniors and families in the GTA whom are struggling with loss of income, access to food and transportation.
What did it take / how did you get started?
For this to become what it is today, it took a ton of dedication and a girl who never gave up on her vision. I started this in 2017, where myself and seven other friends decided to cook up some hot meals for the homeless on Christmas Eve. We had no expectations, and ended up feeling so rewarded that Christmas. There were of course many obstacles along the way. We had rented a venue (with the $800 we made in tips from serving that month) thinking we could attract endless number of homeless but realistically, they did not want to leave their corner of the street. With that being said, we had to completely change our game plan, and go around delivering on two feet. This was one of many obstacles we faced in the past four years. The truth is, the more we have grown and continue to grow, the more problems arise. From operational, organization, tax receipts, volunteer outreach, donor satisfaction, social media marketing, to finding the right families, it has been extremely overwhelming doing this mostly on my own. Thankfully, we have started delegating and bringing on more team members which has helped me tremendously. Regardless, being constantly surrounded by such go-getters and positive people, makes any obstacle more of a challenge we are willing to face.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
The future for Giving Back Canada is something that excites me to talk about. Our goal is to one day become an international foundation/organization that gives back to those who really need it. We at Giving Back Canada are here to serve the less fortunate. From illnesses, sudden loss, hunger and poverty, we as a charity are here to remind those who need us, that we are all in this together. We wish to eventually host annual galas, while also focusing on monthly projects/families in need to keep relevant and involved within our community. Giving Back Canada is an organization that is driven by its community and volunteers, and we are passionate about representing our Country wherever it may take us.
What drives / motivates you?
What drives me the most is seeing how many people that can be affected by just one person and their idea. There are so many influencers I have looked up to and wondered what separated their success from my own goals and dreams. The only answer to that was that they went for it. It's overwhelming to see how much this charity has impacted families and brought hope into their lives just by simply telling myself to get out there and "do it". The act of giving and reward that comes with it is unmatched and motivates me to grow my charity more and more every single day. I hope I can one day represent an "idea" that you can have everything you dream of- you just have to dive head first and go for it.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Advice I would give someone who is interested in doing something like myself, would be to stop worrying and doubting your potential, and just do it. Find something you can't go a day without thinking about and something you enjoy to your core. Set wild, unrealistic goals for yourself to keep you on your toes. Whether it's starting up a charity, writing a book, or creating a Youtube channel, cooking show or online business, just go for it. People will have an opinion regardless, so block the world out and do what sets your soul on fire.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
The hardest part of the hustle is probably taking it all on yourself. Since the beginning this was essentially an initiative I had run on my own for months on end. To me, it didn't feel like work but it definitely took a toll on my body once everything was said and done. Now with delegating and many more volunteers, it has become a lot easier to manage. I believe as you grow, you quickly learn that there are a lot more responsibilities that come with the territory and as long as you have the right people around you, you will be successful. Also, people will always hate, block it out.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
I am obsessed with podcasts. From business mindset, meditation, to a healthy diet and fitness lifestyle, I always make sure to work on a growth mindset every single day. Some of my favourite podcasts include anything Tony Robbins, Gary Vee. For Youtube, definitely suggest subscribing to Law of Attraction Coaching and listening to all motivational speeches by Robert Kiyosaki & Jim Kwik.
Side or full-time hustle?
Side hustle since I don't make an income off this, but one day become full-time.
List the founders
Taylor Lyons, directors are Naim Shaw & Navneet Aujla
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
During the months of the event launch, I say I am working 3 months every single day. 8am-12am. Throughout the year every day maybe two three hours making connections/linked in, brainstorming.
# of Employees?
We do not currently have employees as we are not a registered business yet. We have delegated roles and tasks, but no set salaries or employees. I have applied for charity status and are currently waiting for approval, so as of now, 5% goes to operational fees, and the remaining proceeds go directly to those in need.
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
We fully launched and took this more seriously as a business this year. Between website, paying our videographer, and operational fees, $3000 roughly.
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
To fundraise, we strictly used Facebook and Instagram.
2017- $800 raised and 7 volunteers
2018-$2500 raised and 10 volunteers
2019- $7000 raised and 50 volunteers
2020- in May we raised $16000 in ten days (free groceries to families struggling during the pandemic)
2020- in Dec we raised $35000 in monetary and $8,000 in in kind donations in just 24 days (half went to shelters in the GTA, other half went to families struggling to make ends meet due to Covid)
Any call to action?
We are always looking to grow and learn as a charity. I have many volunteers who are willing to help, but would love to have a mentor share with me tips and tricks on how to get to the next level. We are always accepting donations through our website at www.givingbackcanada.net. You can also check out our Facebook Page- Giving Back Canada or our Instagram @givingbackcanada. Anyone who can help connect us to bigger corporations or guide us down the right path would be super helpful. Seeing as we've done all of this without charity status, it gives me hope that we can soon approach larger corporations and ask for bigger donations. Hiring is definitely something we are interested in down the line seeing as we hope to grow our team and one day becoming international.
I am also looking for a mentor - anyone in the charitable industry, founder or knows the ins and outs of running their own business/organization. Preferably someone who has seen success and been able to make a living out of running their charity and is willing to show me the ropes on how to get there!