Diana Olsen, President and Founder of Balzac's Coffee Roasters, has a theory: being an entrepreneur is similar to being an actor.
"Actors need validation. They need to be noticed. I think that's something in their personality. I realized that's sort of true for entrepreneurs too. We don't need to be personally in the limelight, like an actor, but we're driven. That drive might come from this need for validation."
Not that she thinks it's a bad thing.
"If that's insecurity, well, the opposite of that would be to not care about something. I admire that in people. I've always felt I need to succeed, I need to prove myself, I need to get my father saying, good work, Diana, I'm so proud of you." She laughs. "It was always in my DNA I guess. I don't think I'm an insecure person in a bad way."
Maybe it was her recent appearance on CBC's Dragons' Den that started Olsen on this tangent. After all, her televised pitch thrust her into some actor-style limelight, which has taken some getting used to.
"I've always just been behind the scenes. The business is known as Balzacs, not Diana Olsen's."
Balzac's Coffee Roasters might be named after a 19th century French writer who was enamoured with the bean, but Olsen's business is infused with her personal passions: literature, coffee and all things French. She is the driving force behind seven unique cafes scattered throughout Ontario, including her recently opened Toronto Reference Library location, with funding from two of the Dragons, Arlene Dickinson and Bruce Croxon.
By YouInc Columnist Tiffany Burns