Laurier Inspires Canadian Excellence
Paul Maxwell (BBA ’07) has his own motto: “Think of something you could do every day for the rest of your life, and find a way to make it profitable.”
This is exactly what he did in May 2008 when he opened the doors to Maxwell’s Music House, a licensed lounge near Laurier’s Waterloo campus featuring professional live performances as well as jam space, music lessons, workshops and rock star camps. And as the business gets ready to celebrate its third anniversary, it’s more successful than ever.
Maxwell grew up loving music, from playing piano and guitar, to listening to his favourite rock bands play live. It was in his fourth year at Laurier while taking an entrepreneurship course that he realized he also had a passion for small business.
“That’s when it really started to come together, when I started to figure out what I wanted to do with my business degree,” said Maxwell.
His idea for a space where musicians could practice and perform began to win support from students, faculty and small business experts. Maxwell continued to pursue entrepreneurship classes at Laurier with growing success.
“Without the confidence and the ability to put together a business plan and a pitch, and the mentorship I received at Laurier, I would not have been able to start this business,” said Maxwell, who won the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce “Young Entrepreneur Award” in 2011 and 2009.
Today, Maxwell employs nine full-time staff and has several volunteers, including high school co-op students. He’s also hosted over 1000 live performances and put 300 students through the music school. He has cut down his hours slightly – from 100 hours per week in the first year to about 60 hours per week now – but still does everything from booking classes and bands, to teaching piano, bartending during performances and carrying out janitorial duties.
“Working 60 hours here is like working 30 hours at a regular job,” said Maxwell. “I wear all these different hats and that’s what allows me to enjoy it so much.”
He knew when he started the business that it would take a lot of his time, that it wouldn’t be profitable at the beginning, and that there were a lot of risks involved. But he also knew he would enjoy his career more.
“Now it is becoming more lucrative, and becoming more financially successful, and I’ve enjoyed it the entire time,” said Maxwell. “It’s been very exciting to have all of my passions under one roof.”