A natural leader and entrepreneur, John Wilk has built his business, Toronto based digital agency – Climax Media from the ground up. Climax Media being shortlisted in The Globe & Mail’s Great Places to Work Canada 2016 is a result of john’s ambition and work ethic. To add, he is also a partner at Wildflower at The Thompson Hotel and a judge for the entrepreneurship awards at BrightLane – an incubator for startups. He believes the best way to progress in life is to simply act and create opportunities for yourself – the higher the risk, the higher the reward. To delve deeper into the man behind the brand we sat down with John for an exclusive one-on-one to better understand what it takes to be an self-made businessman/entrepreneur.
Why did you decide to work for yourself and what would you say has contributed to your success the most?
I wanted to pave my own way and be responsible for my own success. I like experimenting and building things from the ground up, I even enjoy the obstacles that come with it. When I noticed a few of my friends getting into the web business, I saw an opportunity to make a little dent in the universe.
The biggest contributors to my success would have to be relentlessness, consistency, and passion. Also, networking with the right people is huge; most of my business opportunities have come through friendships or business relationships I’ve made outside of Climax Media.
How did you come up with the concept and idea for Climax?
A friend of mine started a flash animation company and I wanted the opportunity to get into the space, so he brought me on board as a partner. Five years into starting the business, we decided to go our separate ways. I reincarnated the company as a web dev agency. I saw a big need for development services and a lack of companies in the space. Within the first year, I was able to triple my business.
As the Founder of Climax Media, a partner at Wildflower, and a mentor at BrightLane – how do you maintain a work/life balance?
Honestly, I have attention deficit disorder, which means I have a really hard time sitting still and focusing on one thing for too long. I’ve found a way to channel my never ending energy and impatience, into something that has a positive impact on my life, and hopefully, the lives of the people I’m surrounded by.
Climax’s core values include entrepreneurial spirit, drive, charisma and innovation – how do you apply these values to your life outside of work?
Climax’s core values are a reflection of my personal beliefs and the other entrepreneurs I’ve chosen to work with. I try to take my positive learnings from Climax and extend them to my inner circle – I often share experiences, ideas, and lessons with my friends outside of the office, hoping I can contribute to their individual success. The people I spend the most time with tend to have similar values to those we’ve chosen to engrain in Climax – I’m constantly soaking up the knowledge and passion of the people around me to help fuel my drive to move forward.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur – establishing a start-up or continuing to make it a success?
The journey of scaling a company and the rewards that come along with exceeding the goals I once had, is the most rewarding part. I also love seeing our employees succeed – whether that be through a promotion, a new skillset, or simply stepping outside their comfort zone.
How did your partnership at Wildflower come about?
I like to sink my teeth into different kinds of businesses. I’m naturally social and love hosting. The investment and partnership in Wildflower seemed like a perfect fit. The Toronto Nightlife scene is, for the most part, monopolized by the same people. Coming from the corporate world, I believe I can bring a different perspective and clientele to the table.
What do you love most about Toronto? What are a few of your favourite places to hang out?
I really love this city. I can’t go far without running into someone I know, the community vibe is incredible, there’s always an event going on or an activity to do. On any given day I can do a Bootcamp at StriveLife, go flying on the Toronto Island, walk through Trinity Bellwoods or take my boat around the Harbourfront. The restaurant selection is also incredible. You can find me at my standard watering holes – Copacabana, Jacob’s Steakhouse, or El Furniture Warehouse. The dispensaries aren’t bad either.
What are a few key lifestyle habits you try and follow on a daily basis?
Lifestyle is key. In the morning, I will go for a run, walk the dog. I try to meet up with my friends and talk business, share tips and what’s happening in our respective business spaces. I make it a goal to try to meet someone new every day. I would suggest to stay engaged through hobbies, it will keep you stimulated – I love flying, boating, steaming, fitness – it helps me maintain a work-life balance. I end the day off with a drink, it helps me unwind and reflect.
From entrepreneur to successful business man, how has your style evolved over the years?
I’ve started to dress a lot more casually in order to be approachable and authentic. Casual wear also makes it easier to transition from business day to nightlife. I’m a chill guy and huge sneakerhead – I like to keep it simple.