Jay Holtslander and TamTon Training

The Metro Vancouver area has quickly grown to be recognized as a major hub for tech companies, entrepreneurs and startups. Many of the people from these businesses choose to cowork at one of our Network Hub locations for any number of reasons. One such individual is software developer Jay Holtslander, who is being featured in this week’s Friend Friday.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

My name is Jay Holtslander and I’m an entrepreneur in Vancouver. I have a pretty wide and varied background, but I have been working in software development for many years in several different capacities, a far cry from my formal education which was geared towards Film and Media. I’m currently working at TamTon Training which is a Vancouver based technology training company founded in 2008. We run offline courses, workshops, and bootcamps as well as run custom tailored workshops for Enterprise customers.

What makes your company different or special?

We’re the first company of our kind in Western Canada, replicating proven models that have been extremely successful and financially rewarding in the US and Eastern Canada. We’re small but firmly established. We’ve built relations with many of the technology companies in the Lower Mainland and even provide custom tailored solutions for some of them. We just wrapped up a developer training session for Sage this week that was run both offline and online simultaneously with US developers in remote attendance.

How did you get started?

TamTon originally started out as a development house doing contract based web work, marketing, and consulting. Over the years the direction of the company has changed focus to where our real interests lay which is in education and technology.

What are you currently working on?

In addition to our work on producing and running offline courses, we’ve also been internally developing an education oriented SaaS for the last two years that’s geared towards both online and offline education. Right now, we’re just finishing up the last bits of testing and bug squashing before formally launching, so I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time in the works. There’s certainly no shortage of education-oriented websites out there, but we believe we have something significantly different to bring to the table that will attract a lot of users and sway customers away from the more established players. My role on the project has been varied due to our streamlined team but primarily focused on front-end development.

What made you decide to cowork at The Network Hub?

The Network Hub is known far and wide as a great place to work out of. Anyone in the area involved with startups has heard of the Hub and knows its reputation as a great atmosphere that encourages startups to succeed. It’s an affordable solution for working space where you get to be in the company of like-minded individuals and other companies. The cross-pollination is priceless and the owners are amazing. We could easily have gotten our own space, but we genuinely love the atmosphere and location.

Any advice you have for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?

Being an entrepreneur is a hard life. There are many temptations to give up, but if you truly believe in what you are doing and are willing to make sacrifices, you will be more likely to succeed. Be prepared for those sacrifices. They may be hard to swallow. It may mean working extremely long hours with little pay, relationship troubles, financial stress, and even anxiety or depression. There’s all kinds of things that can go hand in hand with being a startup that not everyone is prepared for or can handle. Be aware that it will be HARD and take a long time to get your footing. Unless you’re very lucky. Take advantage of all the government programs you can, find mentors, and remember to delegate when necessary. Don’t try to do EVERYTHING yourself. You’ll burn out.