Father to Calvin, 9 and Audrey, 5 // Owner of Kleurvision

Written by Jessica Gedge // Photographed by Joelle Segal

When you grow up in a family of entrepreneurs, being a business-owner can kinda be in your blood. Patrick Lyver’s family always encouraged him to do what he loves, giving him the freedom and runway to go for his dreams. We met with Patrick at his very cool office space in Port Perry, the home of Kleurvision, a boutique brand agency that works with businesses and associations of all scale, providing digital solutions, corporate identity, brand messaging , and marketing. The mostly remote team gathers together once a week at the office and we immediately felt the great vibe – hardworking, fun and family-friendly. He works with his wife, Allison, and the kids pop into the office regularly. Read on to hear about how he made the switch from corporate life to business-owner.

Tell us about Kleurvision and how you became an entrepreneur.

Sort of by accident, but primarily through family encouragement. I spent time after college working as an on-air graphic designer for CTV (National News and Canada AM) as well as TSN and a few pilot shows for Discovery Channel. The experience was great, but it wasn’t hitting the mark passion-wise. I started freelancing a bit and my parents pushed me to get out and start up my own thing. Now we have an 8 person team, including my wife. 

How do you stay motivated?

I absolutely love solving problems which means challenges are my lifeblood. I make sure that we’re always changing up what we do, how we do it, and what types of clients we choose to work with – and the motivation comes naturally from that. I’m also a husband, father of two, and volunteer quite a bit — these round out who I am as a human and are my driving forces for always striving forward.

What advice have you received that really resonated with you? 

This is great, but it’s counter advice that resonates with me most and I suspect that is rare (maybe not). I had someone once say to me that “There is margin in the mystery” referring to the digital work that we do and that we can charge more when people don’t know what it takes to complete the work. From that moment on I decided I would educate first, execute second – so that our clients were never left if the dark. It makes me so uncomfortable to think about tricking our clients for profit.

Do you have a mentor?

Absolutely. I have a few. I use my mentors to help point out both flaws and strengths that I have a hard time seeing.

What is your favourite part of your business and why?

Sales. It’s where problems and solutions come together.

Do you practice self-care? 

I just really love problem-solving so I could probably work on client projects constantly and be happy with that. But I do try to spend a lot of time outdoors doing physical activity – like skiing, mountain biking, camping, and baseball. I don’t really carve out specific time to myself but I just love what I do. So much so that I volunteer (Humane Society of Durham Region, Angel Investors Ontario, NACO, Port Perry BIA) so that I can try to add value to other organizations and help them with their challenges. I have a hard time unplugging because if I de-motivate it is really hard for me to ramp up again and I don’t want to take time off and then come back and be buried under “busy” work. 

XO SNAPSHOT WITH PATRICK

Favourite podcasts?
I listen to quite a few podcasts — here are three that I always come back to:
1. Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell would be one that I think anyone interested in persuasive storytelling should pay attention to. The way he crafts his narratives and supporting arguments are fantastic.
2. The second would be the You Are Not So Smart podcast with David McRaney. It’s heavy into brain science but unpacks a lot of theories, conditions, and phenomena into consumable information for the neuroscience wannabees like me.
3. Lastly, the Akimbo podcast by Seth Godin. Very short theories on changing and influencing culture.

Favourite tunes? 
I’m a 90’s punk kid. NoFX, Guttermouth, Pennywise, Bad Religion, etc. I’m a fan of almost any music actually, as that was an early part of my career — we built MySpace layouts for artists all over the world when MySpace was the go-to for bands and musicians before they had their own websites.

Recommended office tools/software?
My software stack seems to always be changing, but right now it’s the full Adobe Creative Cloud stack, my development stack for building Shopify sites, Teamweek for resource planning, and I am a massive fan of Yet Another Mail Merge for G Suite to run growth hacks. I would probably bore you if I went down this rabbit hole. 🙂

Favourite things to do with your family?
Getting outside and always moving. That’s my favourite so anything to support that — camping, mountain biking, skiing, are all things we do as a family. 🙂 

Other Faves
I love good coffee, craft beer, and really nice pens and notebooks. 

What are the challenges you face as a parent and entrepreneur?

Time management is the biggest challenge as we have a lot of clients and a lot of calendars to schedule around. We make some sacrifices both ways and I think that we’ve found an amazing balance — the kids love coming to the office and on business trips, and they know why my day is not typical (early mornings, late nights, lots of meetings, etc.). My wife started working with Kleurvision a few years ago and manages client relationships – because we work together it allows for flexibility with our schedules. So while I may head into the office early, she’s able to drop off the kids and maybe head out to pick them up and pick up with work at home. 

How do you and Allison balance work and family life given that you work together? 

My wife, Allison, has such a great balance of skills that I don’t have so it is amazing she is working with me. She’s great with people and such a good judge of character. She’s been instrumental in decision-making because at the end of the day if there are big decisions to be made with the business, they’ll ultimately affect us personally – so it’s great to have her on board. 

We’re pretty good about not talking about work at home around the kids all the time.

Do you think being an entrepreneur has influenced your kids? 

Maybe! My son always seems to find a way to be entrepreneurial. He loves ski-racing and so he started waxing other people’s skis for money. They set up lemonade stands. I’d like to think when they spend time around the office and just knowing what we both do, that we’re instilling that hard work ethic into them and showing them you can pursue your passions as a career. 

Has parenting changed the way you run your business, or vice versa?

Maybe a little bit. I have certainly changed the way I look at negotiation and the tactics I use to persuade. It has also put a lot of things into perspective for me when it comes to stresses, applying importance on things that matter versus things that do not. It’s made me work to improve my communication and be better at setting boundaries.

We are also very conscious as an organization to be respectful of the work/life balance – which is atypical for most agencies in our industry. We don’t want to overburden any one team member. And being a parent and entrepreneur has really made it clear to me that when I’m communicating it’s all about truths vs. beliefs – even though something may be true, the other party may not believe it and at the end of the day it’s about how to support trains of thought. 

Hearing Patrick’s story reminded us of the wise words of Pennywise “…life is but a game and it doesn’t matter how you score but how you play…” – he’s found a great way to balance his love for solving problems, built a successful business from being transparent with his clients, and is able to spend quality time with his family. With clients worldwide across a range of industries, Patrick has built up a dream business based on what he loves to do and spurred on by family encouragement and support. He’s passing this love of what he does to his kids and found a way to successfully interweave family life and work life.