Lori O'Connell has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. She started and ran small businesses over the 19 years she lived in the greater Vancouver area, and now having moved back to her native Ontario, has plans in the works to start small businesses in her new community, Burnstown, ON.

Early Entrepreneurial Years in Vancouver

Stacks Image 66
While living in the greater Vancouver area, Lori got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. She started her first business as a freelance copywriter in 2004, and continued to take contracts for over a decade, expanding her services into web marketing over the years.

Teamed up with designer Kris Tung, she also started a greeting card business around that same time, Cards for Real People, selling cards with quirky messaging that flew in the face of Hallmark conventions.

On top of that, Lori started her own martial arts school in Richmond, BC, Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu, in 2006, which she ran for 14 years until she closed it during the pandemic. During the pandemic, when she was not able to teach or do film work, she took a 6-month online life coaching course at the Canada Coaching Academy. Since then, she started taking clients and continues to coach to this day.

Future Businesses in Burnstown

Lori moved across the country with her partner Chris and three cats in June 2022 with a dream, to build their new home on a 2.6 acre forested property they bought on the Madawaska River in Burnstown, ON. Their plan is to build a highly efficient eco-friendly home, built to the Passive House standard where they will run several small businesses:

Stacks Image 78

Leaf on the Wind Nature Retreat

Mission: To create an idyllic natural setting in which to host personal and couples’ retreats, helping people to explore their true selves and their connection with the world around them.

Details: This will start as an AirBnB business, renting out a basement bedroom in their home, with plans to build a small cabin closer to the water later down the line.
Stacks Image 97

Wilder Self Coaching

Mission: To help people who feel stuck, disillusioned or burned out make lasting positive changes, open themselves to the infinite field of possibility and rediscover their zest for life.

Details: This business will be run virtually for the most part, but Lori will also offer unique coaching packages to people who are working through issues and ideas while doing a personal retreat at Leaf on the Wind.
Stacks Image 94

New Leaf Dojo

Mission: To create and connect with a community of like-minded martial artists who want to study techniques and practice drills in a playful, inclusive training environment.

Details: This business will be primarily run in the basement of their home, but Lori will also offer offsite workshops for businesses and community organizations.

Lori and Chris are currently still building their home and developing their property, with plans to move in before the end of 2023. They hope to start running these on-location businesses in early 2024.