This week, Addicted is inspired by John Wilk, founder of Climax Media.
Climax Media is a Toronto-based, full-service digital agency – producing customized web and mobile solutions that breathe new life into established brands and deliver results. John started this company with two other people on his team back in 2006, and over the past 10 years Climax has grown into a team of fifty digital craftsmen united by a drive to push the envelope and constantly challenge the status quo. The company’s mantra is Damn Good Digital, and that’s exactly what they provide, and how they’re able to bag big name clients like Honda Canada, TalentNET, Brookfield Homes and Fresh City Farms. Focusing inward as well as outward, Climax Media recently took home sixth place at the 2016 Great Places to Work Canada awards – showcasing that Wilk and his team truly have their priorities in order when it comes to their clients and their staff.
Along with his work at Climax, John is also a partner at Wildflower at The Thompson Hotel. He has also been a judge for the entrepreneurship awards at BrightLane, an incubator for startups.
For his entrepreneurial endeavors and his unwavering ambitious, we feel that John Wilk is truly inspirational.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Funny enough – a pilot, musician or business man. When I was about ten years old, I asked my mom if I could take music lessons, but we weren’t able to afford them at the time. I took up a more affordable hobby of putting together remote control airplanes. Around that time, I also started selling chocolate covered almonds for extra cash and discovered I was really good at it and upgraded to running a Dickie Dee ice-cream cart. It wasn’t long before I was able to buy my own guitar.
How did you get involved with the work you currently do?
A friend of mine started a flash animation company and knew I had wanted the opportunity to get into the space; he brought me on board as a partner when I was seventeen. Five years into starting the business, we decided to go our separate ways. I reincarnated the company as a web dev agency, as 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.
What is your WHY? (the reason why you do the work you do)
I’ve always wanted to work for myself and be able to afford the lifestyle of my choosing. When my family first came to Canada we were constantly treading water and had a hard time making ends meet. My parents worked really hard to be successful, and in doing so engrained in me the drive to make a good life for myself.
What are the biggest challenges/set backs you’ve had to face?
Looking back, the toughest challenge was having minimal finances to get the business going, a lack of industry knowledge, and having very few connections. I would send emails to random people about business and no one ever got back to me. It wasn’t until we landed out first major client, that things took off.
What piece of advice would you give to someone trying to do what you do, or trying to follow their own dreams?
When we’re young we don’t see obstacles, but as we get older we find more and more reasons not to do something. Stop thinking about obstacles and do what you need to do.
If you had one wish to help make the world a better place, what would it be?
I would love to revamp the education system. The younger generation learns more about life skills as opposed to theory. The economy is continuously changing and the people coming into the workforce are unaware of the struggle real life has to offer. Youth need to understand what a credit card is, when to open up an RRSP, and how to set their selves up for financial stability.
If you could pick one charitable organization to ask our readers to donate to or volunteer with, which would it be?
Single Mothers In Progress or The Toronto Humane Society.