In less than five years, Jayne McCaw has gone from renting her cottage on Lake Rosseau to operating a successful business that has earned her a nomination for the Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
After renting cottages in Muskoka Lakes for many years, Jayne purchased a cottage of her own in 2011. When she did not plan to be at the cottage, Jayne would rent it to trusted guests to help cover expenses. After returning from a trip and going back to selling software in Toronto, Jayne realized she wanted a change. “I just hated feeling like I was not appreciated at my job and fighting traffic all the time,” says Jayne. It was that same trip that inspired her future business plan.
While on vacation, Jayne stayed at a place that rented units in various locations, but also offered services similar to a resort or hotel. Jayne would begin to facilitate cottage rentals of her own in Muskoka between owners and guests. In 2014, she became a registered travel agent. Port Carling-based Jayne’s Cottages operates like a hotel or resort and connects guests with water craft rentals, pickup at airports, and provides a full concierge service with shopping and daily cleaning.
Within the span of three summers her business grew and Jayne’s Cottages now rents 130 properties in Muskoka and provides jobs for five full-time employees. Her business also generates business for local sporting and cleaning companies. The Royal Bank of Canada nominated Jayne for the Canadian Entrepreneur of the year Award.
From the first moment Jayne visited Muskoka Lakes, she fell in love with its peacefulness and natural beauty. “I love the water, relaxing in the summer, the sound of the waves and boating. The ability to get on the water right after work, no traffic, and boat to a place for dinner, makes life so satisfying,” says Jayne.
“I love the water, relaxing in the summer, the sound of the waves and boating. The ability to get on the water right after work, no traffic, and boat to a place for dinner, makes life so satisfying”
The best thing about doing business in Muskoka Lakes is the local support. Jayne cannot say enough about how supportive local resources at the municipality, chamber of commerce, small business centres, and more have been. “It is easy to feel the small community vibe here and the support locally has been tremendous,” says Jayne.
Starting her own business has been a dream come true. She is very proud of how fast the company has grown. Jayne loves connecting with other local business owners across Muskoka. Networking in Muskoka goes a long way into building a successful business. This is a community where everyone wants to support each other and it makes it is so helpful when starting a business in the area. What is the one piece of advice Jayne would give to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Always answer the phone,” says Jayne. “Take every call seriously, as it shows a true professionalism that customers respect. This respect goes a long way to obtaining a returning customer base.”
Visit Jayne’s Cottages at 90 Joseph St, Port Carling, Ontario or online at jaynescottages.ca.