Partners in Business and in Life: How a Chance Encounter Changed the Lives of Vancouver Island Co-Partners Patrick and Elyse Ellison

YMM: How did you two meet?

Patrick Ellison: In early 2016, I went on a trip to Central America shortly after leaving a store manager job at a jewelry store. 

Elyse Ellison: At the time, I was living in Toronto and working as a store manager for Zara. I was travelling through Mexico and Belize, which is where I met Patrick.

Patrick Ellison: Later on in that trip we met up in Costa Rica, then flew back together to Toronto, and went to her hometown of London, as well as visited Montreal. 

Elyse Ellison: Patrick had to go back home to Victoria. Then I got a job that happened to be in Victoria (BC), so Patrick flew back again to Toronto, loaded up a U-Haul [truck] to move me to Victoria. Of course right in the middle of the move from Toronto to Victoria, Patrick gets a call to interview for Operations Manager at You Move Me, and at the same time we were running out of gas!

Patrick Ellison: We found a gas station next to a house in the middle of a park in Ontario, and Elyse had to go knock on the door for help – fortunately someone was there and gave us gas. The whole situation looked terrible! Here she is – having to go get gas for our truck – while I’m taking a call in the middle of nowhere!

Bike Ride

YMM: How did you decide to start working together at You Move Me?

Elyse Ellison: At the time, I was working at Old Navy in a corporate role – mostly developing teams at a high level. I quit that job right before Covid to start my own business. Of course, Covid happened so that didn’t go through. I started working for Patrick part time, then slowly started dedicating more and more time to the business. 

YMM: How did the path to ownership at You Move Me happen for you?

Patrick Ellison: I initially joined as the Operations Manager. Then, in January 2017, I was approached to buy 20% of the business. We Increased our share after that and, now in 2022, Elyse and I are 50% owners of the business.

Elyse Ellison: I joined You Move Me full time as of last August [2021] and formally took over all of Operations, doubled our staff count, and continue supporting our growth efforts. 

Patrick Ellison: Now in 2022, as co-owners, the business has grown exponentially and we have expanded to a  fleet of eight trucks.

Elyse Ellison: The first year, we had no office and we only had two trucks. And our team had to take the trucks home because we didn’t have a space to park them.


YMM: What is the secret sauce to your success with You Move Me and in your partnership?

Patrick Ellison: Divide and conquer your buckets of what you’re good at, and don’t overstep those buckets, communicate and be willing to ask for help. 

Elyse Ellison: Really trusting the other person with their buckets and their responsibilities.

Patrick Ellison: Elyse has been there since the beginning, helping out and providing support. Before Elyse took over operations and sales, I was doing everything: sales, scheduling, helping on the trucks. Elyse supported by helping delegate tasks that became better for our work-life balance.

Elyse Ellison: Patrick sometimes has to be on the trucks, working 12-hour days. So it is important to have someone who’s available to jump on the trucks (in case someone is a no-show) and still make sure the customer has a great moving experience, while the other is able to take care of the day to day operations like hiring, doing sales, and overseeing our marketing.

Patrick Quote

YMM: What are the benefits of choosing to own a business through a franchise system?

Patrick Ellison: Elyse and I are a great team, but not everyone has the benefit of having a team that can see each other’s blind spots and be able to speak to that. That is the benefit of having our You Move Me business coaches. They can provide a clear definition of what it takes to be successful.

Vancouver Island
You Move Me Business Coach Russ Pickett, with Vancouver Island Partners Patrick and Elyse Ellison

YMM: What is the most rewarding part of being a franchise owner?

Patrick Ellison: Creating good opportunities for our team. We care a lot about the people that work for us, and we like to ensure they’re having fun while doing it.

Elyse Ellison: Taking the time to celebrate our wins is very important. On Sunday we took our team to a beach. We had a bonfire, played sports, and had a picnic. We always want to celebrate our team and celebrate collective wins and creating culture. We understand being a mover is an entry level job, but if you want to learn more and move up you can do that. There’s a lot of good lessons one can learn from working in moving and customer service. Especially at a place with a team culture like You Move Me, that can get you ready for what’s to come in your future, whether that is growing with us, or following your own path. We can help you develop that work ethic and connect the dots from the information learned in school and apply it to the real world.

Bus Ride
Vancouver Island Team Retreat

YMM: Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Patrick Ellison: Our five year plan is to continue to develop people – and be less directly involved – while providing opportunities for our team. Make time for the things that make us excited about the business and stay engaged, while allowing our team to grow in the business as well. 

Elyse Ellison: Own a second business, while being able to go away for a month. Maybe go to Mexico and work remotely from there, or get a cabin with a wood burning stove on the [Vancouver] island while continuing to do our part in the business.

YMM: What advice would you give to your younger selves?

Patrick Ellison: You’re going to screw things up. I know I’ve said it before that I have made all the mistakes, but it all has been an invaluable learning experience. In the beginning, we were so preoccupied with keeping our guys busy when we could’ve been paying better attention to the numbers and paying attention to the lessons that came along the way. 

Elyse Ellison: I grew up without a lot of advantages, and had to live in foster care for a little while, so from the moment I was able to work I took a job. If I could give myself some advice, it would be to take it easy. Enjoy your childhood. However, my background instilled a great work ethic that I can now apply to my current opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *