Chris Malhomme of JVR Construction & Consulting embodies the characteristics of a serial entrepreneur. He’s not afraid to take risks and try new things. He builds to scale up or sell. “I always have ideas and then I take action,” he says. In fact, Malhomme never stops.

But he admits he focused on the ‘now’ and didn't look ahead to his future. “I grew up with nothing and that has really influenced how I think about things. I wanted to have a plan for ‘old Chris’ and to know that my family would be taken care of,” he says.

JVR construction owner Chris Malhomme

The ‘aha moment’: Is my life serving my business or is my business serving my life?

With so many questions about the future and not many answers, Malhomme reached out to Servus Credit Union and met with Chris Cooksey, Investment Advisor, Servus Wealth Strategies/Credential Securities. "For me it was about building trust; so I asked Chris [Cooksey] to help me with my investments to start. He did a great job. Having owned his own business, I find he really understands what it’s like to think like an entrepreneur,” says Malhomme.

“I remember he asked me this question that really made me think: ‘Is your business serving your life or is your life serving your business?’" Remember, your business should exist to take care of you.

Pay yourself first

Applying the pay-yourself-first model to your business goes beyond taking a salary when you're starting out. Consider your succession planning and retirement as part of your business strategy.

“If you don’t have things in place, then what if something happens to you? What happens to the business and everything you’ve built? It’s like flying a plane … you have a checklist. If you don’t, you’re left scrambling if something happens.”

"Chris [Cooksey] saw an opportunity to help me reorganize my corporate structure to protect my capital, allow me to invest for long-term growth and eventually access the cash for ‘old Chris.’”

Malhomme admits he’s relieved to finally have that checklist in place. “I’ve been able to develop a plan that includes a mixed portfolio. For one, my existing and future capital is being invested for growth so I can be paid dividends. I also plan to build my real estate portfolio and have most of it paid off by the time I reach 55 so I can collect a decent monthly rental income,” says Malhomme. “And I’ll continue growing my different businesses and someday look at selling them.”

His journey may not be the norm but he learned some valuable lessons to pass on to those entrepreneurs who want to have a plan in place for their retirement and for the future of their business:

Make the time

Think about your future and what you want it to look like. Think in increments of 5 years, 10 years and so on. This is a critical part of the journey.

Look at what you have

Start by looking at your existing business structure and how you’re organized. "I really appreciated Servus’s help with this; it means I’m now investing for ‘young Chris’ and ‘old Chris’."

Think about your employees and how you can help them with their retirement plans. "For me, that was about setting them up as subcontractors. If you own a business, you may want to take a different approach. The experts can help.”

Use a checklist

Checklists remind you of your progress and what you've accomplished.

Play to your strengths

Find experts you trust and learn to rely on them so that you can focus on your business and your strengths.

Chris says he’d like to help other aspiring entrepreneurs in Alberta and potentially across Canada start their own businesses, paying it forward with the lessons he’s learned so far. Another business idea perhaps?

About Chris Malhomme

Chris Malhomme's entrepreneurial journey began at the young age of four when he would go with his mom to small towns across Alberta, setting up pop-up clothing shops. Fast forward to 2007 when he left his job as a commercial pilot and started a junk removal company with $100. Junk removal later grew into a landscaping company. He also created a pub crawl service that shuttled people to bars and founded a school teaching people how to operate small excavating machinery.

After selling his school, Chris decided to travel. With time to think came more ideas for new businesses. After returning to Edmonton, he started his own roofing company, which evolved into paving and concrete.

Today, he is the owner of JVR Construction & Consulting, based in Edmonton. The 10-year-old company offers concrete, asphalt and parking lot maintenance services in Alberta. He also owns Kumbaya Enterprises, which offers rentals from boats to ATVs, wakeboards and dirt bikes. If that wasn’t enough, his latest venture, MGM Design Build, specializes in commercial development and multi-family dwellings.

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Servus Wealth Strategies Ltd. is a subsidiary of Servus Credit Union Ltd. offering financial planning, life insurance and investments. Mutual funds, other securities and related financial planning services are offered through Credential Securities. Credential Securities is a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc. Financial planning services are only available from advisors who hold a financial planning accreditation through applicable regulatory authorities.