Episode #0043 TPD chats with Liv Pod Creator & Interior Design Professional Lisa Kooistra

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson interviews fellow interior design professional and Liv Pod creator, Lisa Kooistra.  

Crystal and Lisa discovered that they essentially have been living parallel lives with Crystal being a few years ahead of Lisa. However, there is one major difference. While Crystal’s husband is also a contractor, she does not work with him on a regular basis or really at all. Lisa on the other hand, work regularly with her contractor husband Ryan Kooistra of York Renovation Design. She and her husband do residential home renovations. 

Lisa cut her “interior design teeth” working for several successful design firms gaining lots of interior design experience. After years of working for different interior design firms, she and her husband both decided it was time to start their own businesses. 

While looking for an alternative for a home office, Lisa and her husband decided to design a self-contained unit. What they call a “Liv Pod”. The pod is located in their backyard, and it has heat, electricity, and more. The pod s connected to the main house for all electricity. It was the perfect solution to still be able to work from home while also having a separate space. The Liv Pods are available for all types of uses. And she has found that even start-up salons have found the perfect solutions to their office problems. 

So, join Crystal and Lisa as they chat about Lisa’s similar experiences to Crystal’s. What Lisa is doing to create new flexible spaces for starting businesses. Do something today that your future self will thank you for. And look into getting a pod for your business.   

How to reach Lisa:
Website – lkdesigns.ca      I      livpods.ca

TPD chats with Liv Pod Creator & Interior Design Professional Lisa Kooistra

Recommended podcast – The Decibel

Episode #0042 – Strategy coaching call-what is your differentiator?

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson coaches fellow Interior Design professional Michaela Donato to help make her business better. 

This week’s episode is all about strategy coaching with Michaela’s business and what insight Crystal can give to take her to the next level. Crystal will go over flat fees versus hourly pay, marketing, differentiating your business, and attracting the right clientele. Crystal asks Michaela open and honest questions about her style. And what her current strategy is to find the best ways to help her. 

For Michaela, the main takeaway is learning how to set yourself apart from other Designers. For example, if you were in a room with one hundred other designers, what would do you do that no one else would raise their hand for? What makes you special? What could be the difference between someone choosing you or another designer? This could be your love for being environmentally friendly. Your keen eye for good antique pieces. Your use of bright colors, or your ability to adjust to someone’s lifestyle. There could be so many different key factors that could set you apart from others, and it is important that you know what that is. 

Crystal and Michaela also discuss design fees,  flat-fee versus hourly. In this episode Crystal touches on the fact that everyone has to start with a lower fee due to being new to the craft. But as your experience grows your prices need to grow too. When it is time to increase your rates, you can inform your current clients that your prices will be increasing as of a particular date. Notifying your existing Clients will make them aware that you are more experienced and therefore more valuable. This will also inform current clients that anyone they refer to you will be paying a different price. In some cases, the current clients who are used to paying a smaller fee may agree to pay more to get more value from your work or not. Either way, you will be paid your worth. 

So, join Crystal and Michaela as they explore different ways to grow her business through this strategy coaching. Then, do something today that your future self will thank you for. And determine what makes you and your services different from other Interior Design professionals.

How to reach Michaela:

Website : donatodecor.com 

Michaela Donato as guest in TPD episode titled Strategy coaching call-what is your differentiator?

Recommended podcasts:

Happier, The School of Greatness, The Daily Shine 

Episode #0041 Women empowerment with 19th & Co.’s Christine Woodward

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson is joined by fellow interior designer Christine Woodward. 

Christine is the owner of 19th & Co where she helps her clients transform their company into the next phase of growth by helping with strategy, implementation, and execution. She also has a team of skilled consultants behind her that allow her to work with almost anyone wanting to grow their business. If it is not in Christine’s expertise, she will find a consultant of hers that is. Her biggest rule is that her company is not mean to give you more work or be a chore. Instead, it is meant to make your work life easier. Christine’s ultimate goal for you is to help you get to the place where you are the most important person in the room. But without the need to be there all the time (meaning a dependable team!)

Christine believes in women empowerment. She elaborates on how she only hires women to help empower her clients. Because to Christine, most women lack confidence, particularly in the business world. This is something that Christine wants you to no longer feel. So she hires other informed women to keep the standard of empowerment. She never wants you to feel weak or powerless. Instead, she wants to help give you a voice and see your worth in your skill. Did you know most women will only apply for jobs when they have at least eight qualifications, but men will apply after they have two? So, why do men have more confidence? Confidence is not a trait, it’s a skill, and it is a skill you can learn.  Christine wants you to learn this confidence, apply it in your business, and then take your business to the next level. 

  So, join Crystal and Christine as they talk about confidence, and how to get your business to where you want it to be.  And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for, and be sure to contact Christine about your consultation today. 

How to reach Christine:

Website : 19thandco.com I LinkedIn- cwoodward1

Christine Woodward as guest on TPD episode about women empowerment

Recommended podcasts:

The pitch and How I built this

Episode #0040 A dual podcast of The Productive Designer and LinkedIn with Louise.

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson joins Louise Brogan for a dual podcast of The Productive Designer and LinkedIn with Louise.   

Louise will answer Crystal’s many questions about how to use the social media platform LinkedIn with ease and professionalism. As this platform continues to grow in popularity,  becoming more authentic, now is the time to start defining yourself before it becomes too cluttered. Currently, the platform can be seen as a wild west. Most people have one, but only 1% of the users are currently using it regularly and to its full potential. Louise will show you how you can define yourself and get yourself established before others catch on. 

Unlike most social platforms LinkedIn really only needs to have two posts a week in order for you to stay ahead of the game. With that being said, it is best to be intentional with your posts. For example, if you are reposting an article, why are you reposting it? What is special about it? Elaborate on your content. Louise recommends commenting on someone’s posts, instead of just “liking” it. This will show up on their comments, and it will show your name and headline. The more eye-catching your headline, the better. This will allow you to be seen instead of getting lost in the “likes”. 

Louise also dives into the importance of knowing that the platform is a “slow burn.” You’re not mean to find business in two or three weeks. You’re not mean to be an overnight sensation. Instead, it is about the connections that you make and the conversations you have. Don’t just instantly try to sell your product or business. You should try having a genuine conversation first to open the door. After you’ve established connections and had conversations, that’s really when things can start moving into place. It may take two or three months or more, but in the end, it will be worth it. 

So, join Crystal and Louise as they talk about the wild west of LinkedIn. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for, and be sure to tune into LinkedIn with Louise. 

How to reach Louise:

Website : louisebrogan.com     LinkedIn : louisebrogan     Instagram- louisebrogan

Louise Borgan on TPD episode A dual podcast of The Productive Designer and LinkedIn with Louise

Episode #0039 Pamela Durkin, discusses new perspectives on social media

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson chats with author and interior designer Pamela Durkin.

Pam has been in the industry for almost thirty years, and for most of that time, she has owned her own interior design firm. Pamela believes the best part of being a Designer is knowing the value you bring to the table when someone hires you. Elaborating on knowing your worth when walking into a home. Pamela explains how when a Client is looking ot hire a  Designer it is less about the furniture selections and more about how to make a space that works. Their home is a sanctuary, and they have to feel safe, comfortable, and blissful in their space. 

Pamela also gives Crystal new perspectives on social media. While Crystal often sees it “as a necessary evil”.  Providing tips on how to make your social media more impactful. Aw we know in reality, it is essential, as everyone is doing it. But, if everyone is doing it, why are you? Are you just going to post a white kitchen because everyone is? Or are you going to add what makes your kitchen style different? What elements did you add? What is unique? The real question is, if everyone is posting the same things, what can you do to make you stand out? Are you commenting on other’s post? The most important thing about social media is to be consistent and to show a different perspective.  

So, join Crystal and Pamela as they talk about new perspectives on social media, owning your own business, and Pamela’s book. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and check out Pamela’s book Elevate on Amazon.  

How to reach Pamela:

Website : pamela-durkin.com      I       Facebook : pameladurkindesigns/ 

Instagram- @pameladurkin

Book- Elevate-design-business-basement-Penthouse

Pamela Durkin on TPD episode discussing new perspectives on social media

Recommended podcast : Redefining Wealth

Recommended books : Essentialism, No BS Marketing to the Affluent, My book, Elevate

Episode #0038 Authentic Social Media Networking with J. Kelly Hoey

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson with author and speaker J. Kelly Hoey.  

Kelly started off a lawyer, but after many years on Twitter, she has since discovered her unique ability to combine networking and social media. She combined the digital age with the “analog” world, and she has unlocked the ability to create a new network without having to leave the house. In light of the pandemic and the need to meet virtually, she gives tips on how to best use your different platforms to work for you.  

The biggest advice she has for anyone who is on social media is to stop thinking about social media being another alternate personality. Instead, your social media should be a reflection of who you are as a person. Depending on the platform, you can decide what piece of your personality you might share, but no matter the media, it should always be authentic. You should never be striving to be anyone other than yourself. 

Kelly also knows the power of networking, the right way. After meeting with someone, you should always send a quick email thanking them for the meeting. The second email afterwards is most important and is often forgotten. The second email should be explaining what you did with the insight and information you were given. By doing so, you demonstrate that you listened and you took action. A simple follow-up status email, shows that you are taking the time to show you appreciation. When taking time for others, people will notice. 

So, join Crystal and Kelly as they talk about social media, networking, and authenticity. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and check out J. Kelly’s book Build Your Dream Network. 

How to reach Kelly:

Website – jkellyhoey.co      I      Twitter- jkhoey 
LinkedIn- kellyhoey          I      Instagram- jkellyhoey

J. Kelly Hoey as guest on TPD episode Authentic Social Media Networking
Recommended podcasts:

The Red Note, The New Paris, Before Breakfast

- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

Welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer I have a special guest with me today I’ve been very fortunate to have lots of wonderful guests, and this guest will definitely not disappoint. I have Kelly, who we with me, who is she’s obsessed with changing the way that we understand and approach networking, she’s an author. Her book is bream network forging powerful relationships in a hyper connected world, Kelly has appeared on many different shows and has many accolades to her name, which I will put in the show notes, and let’s just bring Kelly on welcome Kelly.

Hey, thanks for having me fun to be here. This is great to have you I am really excited about talking about this topic today because I think, more than ever, right now with us being, you know online networking is a definitely different has a different lens than it has in the past, so they’ll tell us a little bit more about how you sort of got to where you are today,

well who knew that practicing law on, you know base Street and Toronto, get you here, new to being an author of a book on networking but my career started as a lawyer and, you know, for anyone knows that profession, you know for practicing or, you know have relatives or whatever who are lawyers, it’s sort of this profession where you have to invest a lot in what to say your skills development, a lot in client relationships, and a lot of time at your desk doing client work, and how do you balance those things so that you build the relationships because the only way to be successful in that profession is from client relationships, and just doing. And so, there’s an element of you can’t work, your head down and do the work but I practiced, and graduated law school back in 1991 So what was our technology, more Palm Pilots, maybe wasn’t even very early on in my career realize that you had this friction of you had to build relationships, but the work requirements meant you were often in isolation. And so how do you reconcile those two things. And so I began looking at networking differently. And I think a lot of people you pinpointed a lot of people are challenge right now, because we’re in this wholly digital world. But I think the challenge for some people, extends far before 2020 kind of pigeonhole what we believe networking is. Yeah, and they think it’s this transactional schmoozing conferences, coffee dating out your business cards. Yeah, business cards, cocktail party, you know, how do I chat with a stranger kind of thing. Yeah, rather than thinking, how would where am I interacting with people on a day to day basis. So if I go back to 1991 Kelly that was, you know, how was I interacting with people on a daily basis, I was sending email I was leaving voicemail, I was writing and sending memos, I was, you know, okay, so all of those touch points are in my mind, networking activities, chance to build start further enhance a relationship, and that kind of mindset has carried me through to now.

Yeah I can see it’s funny whenever I’ve watched legal shows, because that’s where I’ve got my legal knowledge. I watched that and I would think my god it’s so much is on sales for I’m using air quotes but sales, part of the business because you need to bring in those big clients. And yeah, to your point, I can’t imagine I mean obviously that’s why you have, I guess law clerks and juniors and whatever that are doing the grunt work but really when you move up the chain you’re no longer practicing really you’re just doing relationship building,

well you’re doing relationship building. So often, you’re not going to get a client to move, just on the basis of a single pitch. It’s sort of like, you have to liken it to football. Every once in a while someone wins a team wins again because of a Hail Mary, you know the quarterback throws the Hail Mary, but most of the time it’s a series of, you know, another three rounds. Another, another play and another, you know, few more yards and a few more yards. And so, how to show up every day and looking at the numbers of ways they encounter you I think is far more powerful than thinking, I’m going to swoop in once and dazzle them, and they’re going to move 15 years of relationship over to me.

It’s completely okay to even think that that kind of, no it really, really isn’t. So yeah, so we kind of touched on the COVID so how, like how are you seeing the poll, have you seen even let’s just say in the last five years because people were using, you know, we’re not talking business to business or, you know, using LinkedIn a lot, using social platforms of some sort, a lot more. Prior to the pandemic. So how have you seen the shift because you know you’ve been involved in this in a long time and, and how are we changing.

Well I think there’s a lot of people who have looked at, I want to say, digital virtual online networking, as the secondary or lesser less adequate form of networking, and I think they’ve thought that there’s different rules, or protocols that are etiquette that applies to me because it’s online, oh this is, this is my online persona or this is my, this is what I do online but this is who I am in person and somehow this, it’s not as real right like

it’s gonna say to city of right because you can curate that and you can craft it and you can spend hours writing the perfect two sentences,

but I think that’s the sort of mindset of this sort of digital thinking that’s not in real life, and what we’ve realized since 2020 is it’s like it is, it is real life. And if anyone wonders if I’m New York City, wherever you are, you’re here we go. There you go, authentic, authentic, authentic, you know, voices in New York. Hey Kelly Where are you, well I can’t hide bad at this point. Yeah, so, but I’ve been advocating for some time, it’s not one or the other. Human beings are using all the tools at our disposal to connect with each other, and there is a digital first generation. And then there’s a generation that is rapidly adopting the digital at a faster speed than the digital generation. We think that the digital generation was also the generation that brought us co working spaces and maker spaces and, you know, all of those things because they wanted to figure out how we can get together in person. Again, whereas, you know, the analog generation the boomers and beyond. And you know probably Gen X part of my generation, they have been the fastest adopters because you know what other kids with grandkids what you know like, Oh, if I want to write. So, at some point there had to and I’ve been saying there’s somewhat there had to be some kind of a coalition, where we just realized, this is how we connect and communicate and maybe that’s what 2020 is given us is a chance to realize like, oh, there’s a multiple of tools. It’s not one or the other, it’s both, we need to be amphibious in how we move between these and how we need to use all of these in our networking toolkit to connect with other people, the people who I believe are going to be successful in our world going forward, are those who can build relationships online and take them offline, and those who know how to maintain and enhance their analog or analog relationships, their analog relationships in the digital world, because they need to do both. Yeah, they influence each other. And one of the things I talked about in my book, build your dream network is, I don’t look at digital spaces, any differently than I look at, in real life spaces. So you mentioned LinkedIn. Yeah, LinkedIn, reminds me of a Law Society of Upper Canada event really now okay so explain that. I feel I gotta put a suit on, I need a certain context in terms of how I talk what information I share what information I want to receive. I feel like I’m going to be a suit, again, when I’m on LinkedIn,

right. I really feel like that because I feel like it’s changing a little bit like I feel like I’m definitely seeing more stuff that is more personal, more human than than it was.

I think there’s much more personality in it, I think there’s much more banter, but I don’t want to see what someone chose to wear or what they’re eating on LinkedIn. So that’s what I mean by the context, you know, the banter that you see in the comments I think of that like the hallway banter if we were attending a big conference. Okay, I wanted around the conference, you know, or I wanted around that context of that information, not like there’s other places for that personal kind of conversation so I said, share with people, I think of LinkedIn like the office or the professional industry conference or association, you know Facebook I, you know, when I was on it I would think of it like friends and family. Yeah, how you gather around the Thanksgiving table. Okay, and then Twitter’s the grand cocktail party, how are you good guest, and then how about Instagram. That’s, that’s an interesting Well it’s kind of a combination of things. You know, it’s kind of a mixed use because even when people have used it, and I’m thinking, interior designers have been extraordinarily good at using Instagram with the visuals of the properties, the real estate but design, but when they’ve inserted. Personal like they took a dog to work one day, that’s when they’ve seen engagement go up, so I can sort of feels like you kind of, I don’t know, it’s driving like driving a standard car you know you got to get both pedals go in there.

I get that. That’s funny. Yeah, it’s funny I used to be on Twitter and then I haven’t been on it in years, and I hate to say this but like did Donald Trump like like give life back to Twitter or has Twitter always been. It’s funny, like, people are talking more about Twitter again, whereas I felt like it kind of went away.

Yeah, it kind of, it lost, it lost some of the joy. That’s probably the best way of putting it got very marketing. Okay, I got very lost the conversation because originally. I’ve been on since like 2008 2009 was pretty early on, and I looked at it and you could based on hashtag you could find other people who were talking about the same things you were and you could see what they were talking about and, and then you could enter into conversations with them so I feel particularly as a woman, that it enabled us to be invited into like networking rooms that were otherwise previously close to us, and I’ll, I’ll give you an example on that. Okay, yeah, I was like, great how thinking about Twitter like the cocktail party you can find conversations of interest, and then you bring your human networking, you know, kind of attributes, not you know marketing attributes you bring your human attributes, and you follow, and you listen and you engage, And if you’re the good guess you get invited back or people want to interact with you. So you and I recording this conversation and luckily we’re doing it on Zoom and we got video and so we can see each other. Yeah, just like the way you just said yep or the way you’ve nodded when I’ve made comments. How is it like or retweet, any different than those physical nodding are saying yeah I agree with you, it’s not so if we start looking at those technology kind of features of a social networking site say what is, if I was standing and talking to someone, what’s the human equivalent of that. Yeah, why wouldn’t we use it that way so you want the example I always use is the foreword to the paperback edition of my book was written by Tom Peters best selling author who wrote In Search of Excellence best selling business book for 40 years he’s written like 20 books, prolific writer management speaker before Twitter where would I have a dialogue with talk. I don’t know like a book signing where I’d be some sort of bonding sinker fan, and it would just be really awkward. Yeah 10 seconds of his time and yeah hey Mr Peters you’re really swell like nicely signed a book and like be like, carry on, like, you know, Another crazy other book signing center away right. We gathered around conversations on Twitter regarding management and corporate governance and board diversity, and had banter back and forth. And then, you know, next thing I know I got a mentor, a friend, someone who offered to write the foreword to my book has been a massive champion of mine. And by the way, we’ve tweeted at each other for probably going on 10 years now. We’ve had a few phone calls, I’ve had the joy of interviewing him twice, and we’ve met once in person. That’s amazing. Yeah, it was perfect and when we met in person it was no different than our banter on Twitter, except we had more than 280 characters.


a limited amount. That’s amazing. So what, like why do we have such a hard time networking why we find it such a challenge and I think first of all, I mean I think just to, I think our mindset is exactly what you were talking about at the beginning is, you know, we’re at the cocktail party and we’re going in for the hurt sell or we’re gonna pass out our card and we’re, you know, it’s the fake schmooze II stuff so yeah, get that aside and then we actually get down to the nitty gritty of what what makes it so difficult for people.

Well I think there is that element of the One and done like if we don’t nail this person right now, we’re in rather than looking at every encounter as a chance to start, or further a relationship like it’s not, if you don’t get the deal or if you don’t like why can’t it just be the start of a relationship. The first time you meet someone, I think, so there’s, there’s that element to it, but the basic thing is networking is hard because you got to deal with human beings. And we’re weird,

yeah. Oh yeah. It’s true right because you you, I mean when you’re chatting with somebody, it can be all of a sudden you’d be like, Oh that was a great conversation was so easy, it flowed. And then there’s other times you start talking to somebody and you’re like, Okay, I gotta get myself out of this conversation like quickly because this is awkward and it’s not going anywhere. And so you just kind of know you don’t have a rapport with that person,

and then you find out later that they thought you were the most interesting person on the face of the earth and they’re looking forward to talking to you later. And the person that you have a great conversation with you follow up with them and they act like they’ve never heard of you before. Yeah. And, yeah, like we think of yourself on any given day of the week, we are nice needs, desires, wants change. Yeah, probably hourly, daily. Yeah, so you’re always having to factor in like, you know, how can how can I listen, observe and understand this other person who is, you know, at any given point, got different needs, wants, and desires.

Exactly, and you don’t know what just happened to them an hour before they arrived at this conference or, or what’s happening in their life or whatever, right,

right, and you know, we tried so much anxiety into one interaction, that when we don’t hear from someone you think oh my god it’s us. Maybe it’s them. I know.

It’s like flipping it you got to flip it, you got to flip the narrative and sometimes go you don’t know what’s going on in their life right and then you automatically, or I guess our innate instinct is to go if something’s wrong with me, you know, what’s, Why did they get back to me and it’s got to be me and yet, yet you don’t know what’s happening right they look at some humanoid huge project that’s on the go and overwhelmed. You know, I mean I’m guilty of reading the email, and as soon as it’s, you know, gone far enough down my screen and it’s not in my boot like forget right life gets.

So, or I had a situation years ago so you know how nice and warm our computers get. So I had a cat who really loved that. Oh, nothing better than sticking this little chan on Mac keyboard, one time and like were my emails. Seriously, like just sat on it long enough to delete, delete, delete, delete, and then it must have been like, do you want to permanently delete these things and, you know, the cat was like, Yeah, let’s do that too. And I remember thinking, and then I thought to myself, What’s really important. And it’s like the new version of my dog ate my homework, right, my cat deleted my, you know, rather, anxious, neurotic about it, or rather than getting kind of uppity and kissing. Just, you don’t know. So yeah, send a card of communication that you would like to receive. And having that empathy and being open to understanding. The first time I said this, someone said to me, what’s the trick to networking I’m like a jerk. You want to networking hack Don’t be a jerk like don’t send email but if you received it you would, you know, flip the bird off at someone, and yeah, because you don’t know, maybe, maybe they’re sick, maybe a family member sick maybe the cat deleted their emails.

I’m gonna use that one. I love it. What are some of the mistakes people make with networking like what, what do you see is kind of a common phone call, or, you know,

blunder that people do. If you were to correct one thing, and I actually think this is one really big thing and it in my mind is the biggest networking mistake, it’s a failure to follow up, or follow through. Okay, so I think it’s networking courtesy like someone agrees to meet you for say a zoom coffee date to just thank them right like hey thank you very much for taking that meeting with me. That’s just common courtesy. Absolutely. But what’s the communication said after that. And the number of people. Well, shocking and deploring the number of people who don’t send the first email, not to send the second one and more the third one, have a zoom, day, and someone gives you some information, you’re like, Thank you for taking the meeting appreciated your advice. Let them know what you did with the advice. Did you read the book did you apply the information did you follow up on the job leave they recommended you to, you know, fix your cover letter did you tell them what you did. And let’s just reach back out. No, you suggest today that this revised, you know, my, my resume, applied for some new roles and you’re right, I got a whole lot more hits thanks to your advice, I’ll keep you posted on my job search, period, you don’t have to ask them for another coffee date you don’t have to let them know, because people who give their time willingly, like they do that because they want to they want to help other people. And the way that they continue to want to help you is if you just let them know that you actually use their advice, how not to here’s, okay,

if I had an instance where I reached out to I work with a lot of builders and developers, that’s pretty much my, my niche that I work in, and I’ve been very fortunate that over the 1820 years, I’ve really haven’t had to cold call, it’s been very much referral based and, but I have you know started reaching out a bit more to some, some builders that I haven’t worked with before and sort of a wiser refer to that you know a warm lead somebody introduced me, sent a little note, you know, did some research on them referenced a project that they’re that’s coming up, you know, wondering if you can, you know, facilitate an introduction to the like the marketing manager who would be more who I’d be in contact with, and radio silence and then I followed up another one just Hey, just wanted to make sure this didn’t get in your you know last year Mail. Where do you once, I mean, I’ve obviously given up on that. But if I were to reach out to them again in numbers, maybe right now. I’m busy. Nothing that that is relevant for me right now. God, whatever, like how I think there’s this first interactions is good but then when it’s been, you know, six months or four months like what are what are your some tricks or tips or advice on how that sort of dynamic relationship without a feeling like hide even more from you. Exactly.

Particularly, we had a warm intro. The person who made the warm intro, I was letting them know what happened. Now, that’s part of follow through that I would always do. By the way, I’ve emailed so when I hear back from that might be a situation that so and so a couple of times, didn’t hear anything. You know I’m gonna see what’s going on with them if there’s any, you know insights or color, you could add just they may go, oh yeah, it’s been sick it’s anything and physios, whatever. And that’s, That’s why, but that person made that initial warm intro, this is where they want to know what’s happened because they may have made have done a whole bunch of networking favors to this guy. And they, or gal company, and so they may have been like, yo, yo, we won. or they may be, you know, they may be like whoa like that is really out of character what’s going on, let me find out and I’ll get you back some more information, so look that original like that let that person know because they may add some color and stuff to it and then the other piece on this one is, yeah, I mean reach, this is like, Thank God for like Google Alerts and things and social platforms in this sense is that you know you can kind of be like that good internet stalker, you can find information, because maybe there’s something about their company, maybe there’s a new project you’ve been awarded, you know, maybe you see that they recent some industry, is there some other say well it’s been ages since we talked and saw on LinkedIn that you were just granted you know whatever congratulations whatever if there’s no the opportunity for me to work with you or pitch you again. I mean, obviously love to have it but the purpose of this communication is. Yeah.

Yeah, it’s funny because it’s those initials are sort of easy but then it’s like, you know the, we will keep you in mind, we don’t have anything right now and if something comes up and then you want to kind of keep going back to them but without sounding desperate.

Another way to go back to them is to if there’s other projects you’ve worked on in the interim, that would be parallel to the type of work you want to do with them. Just to say hey since we last talk. These are some of the projects that I have worked on here’s where you can, you know, assuming it’s publicly available, or someone to visually see what the work is is uh here’s you know, here’s some of the things that I’ve done this one in particular would look like, looks like, you know, might have been something that would have been up your alley in terms of me looking at what you’ve done before and I just wanted to keep you posted on my portfolio of work and I’m optimistic that something will come out for the future that we’ve worked together.

So how do we like disconnect without losing momentum as far as I don’t want to be hounding, but we don’t want to like where’s the fine line of kind of trying to keep that relationship going. If there’s not, if it’s not reciprocal I guess well things are cyclical,

you know where you can file those really think of this in the in the digital world where you have so many social media gurus were like, You need to know you need to post five times a day and you need to do this, you need to do that mine you need to as you need to be generous and considerate and human, and you need to be adding value to other people and adding value doesn’t mean that you were, you know, a megaphone for your own, you know fabulousness all the time, right. Yeah. And I think if you are present and you’re authentic when you’re on social channels, and you’re truly human. Then you can log out and not have anything to worry about. In that sense, when I think of a friend of mine who’s an independent filmmaker photographer based in Paris, Elena Rossini 2019 Yeah, she was off. Social for over a month because she got married, and she came back and all her followers on Twitter were like, it was the wedding. Good to see you. Yeah, She didn’t lose followers. It wasn’t some catastrophe. Her work in her business and she gets. She’s a case study my book she gets like 90% of her business leads because of Twitter. Yeah. And so, it’s all on how she uses it, and that sort of authenticity and really highlighting the work of other people, as opposed to, hey, hey, hey right kind of sad. Yeah, and there was no ramifications. There was no detrimental ramifications for her completely stepping off social for over a month. How do

you see is a is a happy balance because we’re all, you know, predominantly, my audiences, independent business people, or small business owners where we’re wearing 17 different hats at a time, and social media can be just yet another I have two on my list of things to do, you know, they’ll say we should spend a day of your week or whatever marketing and everything like where is that sort of fine line up where you think it’s being effective, but it’s not. Because sometimes I really don’t know how, how effective social media is like. Again, it’s this double edged sword for me. So,

here’s how here’s how I think about it is, In many ways, social media is the best listening to you have for what your industry what your clients what your potential clients are thinking about caring about who’s complaining about what’s their news, what’s happening about them because that’s where the news and information breaks first, And so, in many ways is you know, the awareness of what’s on those platforms, how they work, how your client base is using them. And in using it in that listening, observing research trends in many ways that’s its highest and best use equally highest and best use is, are you think about first impressions. It’s someone recommending you or talking about you. And the room that we’re someone may kind of affirm that first impression or solidify that first impression is because they plunk your name in a Google search. And then what shows up, probably your website, your LinkedIn, and your Twitter as a probably the first things that show up. So, the second element and sort of its highest and best view says, well this is reaffirming affirming solidifying a reputation. How can I make sure I have the strongest, and how to make sure there’s not a disconnect between what my great mentor and friend says about me and never wasn’t discovers online, right, and that’s an SEO play. Yeah. I’m not saying Oh, you got to post. But if somebody, there’ll be a network and said, if someone is looking for you. You know, what are you networking out to the world. So use those, those are when I think of a business owner use them in those ways. And then thirdly it’s like if you’re Chataway online, you know, be there, be authentic and they do it when you have something to say and show as much, and engage, what other people is graduating worrying about who is going to go viral, money, or which vanity metric, am I going to get all wrangled up in today like here. So, yes,

so we just have so it’s such a quantitative, at least two years ago when advertising was you put a billboard you put a newspaper ad you put a whatever, you didn’t have that like instantaneous feedback of whether it was good or bad or indifferent, you know, it was months of okay well that ad went out here and and now we see some sales increase so it must have been, you know like the track that we have at our hands now is, it’s almost too much a timeframe you can, as you call it the vanity metrics like it can, it can make you crazy.

So, what are your clients, what use it as a research tool. Use it in a way that you understand that if someone said oh my god you got to go and talk to Crystal She’s fabulous. And they all have a Google search or they walk across the Florida cocktail party,

they’re like,

are those parts of your network, or are they enhancing, you know, what do you want to be sound for the words want sent your way. Yeah,

so it’s almost like the, the, solidifying your brand with your brand and making sure that all the pieces that you put out there are authentically you and what you’re about and who you are and what

business do you do right what like why, why, you know, kind of losing networking in the network building opportunity because I don’t know your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have a headshot, and no one has any knowledge of how to find you because you buried your contact information on your website. Recommendation perfect person for you don’t make the introduction. I’m just doing research first. No,

right, let’s

just look at a part of me as you can call it a personal brand, I always say personal brand or your branding, particularly an individual company is based on what your network tells you is how you behave and how you engage as opposed to something that you quickly find strapped for time, and he was my mindset, my, my approach on this, you know, goes back to where we started this conversation. Being a lawyer, having to build ours, not having time, but knowing I had to build relationships. So, how can the information. Other people find what I’m recommended, how can it, you know, affirm that I am the one for the job, can they reach me easily when we do exchange information, you know, do they kind of still is it all adding up to something that when they finally do meet me, they’re like, Oh wow, yeah, this was a great person, this was, this was like.

So in summary, you’d basically say, Like make sure your website is current and, you know, is portraying you in the way that you want. Obviously contact information being easy to find, you know what you’re discussing online as you know is is a permanent sort of record of who you are and what you’re about and what your thoughts are and yes I’m very conscious about not making any political statements like I’m pretty conscious of that, obviously right now, it’d be so easy to do. But you know just any of that stuff where it’s just that double checking of, you know, once you press you know sin it’s up there and it’s kind of already there for the world.

I think we’re gonna go keep going back to Little League. It was a partner, a law firm, and he says, oh, you know, sort of that arrogance of, you know, private equity, m&a is like oh I don’t need to be on Twitter, no one no one, no one who matters, like, my business is there. I’m like, Oh really, really, I should give me a couple of names or some of your clients, and let’s see what else. Yeah, so the next day I sent him like an email with 75 Twitter handles. There was his clients there was some of the people that they followed who seem to be similar types of private equity and hedge funds and other asset class kind of similar asset class. I said, and then here’s all the competitor firms who had those practices who were also on Twitter and had accounts and I said, I did 30 minutes of research. Did you want me to do some more. Can we just say that, you know maybe it’s good I mean maybe I won that argument. Yeah, like, you know, like point Kelly. And, yeah, the point is is kind of like, no you don’t need to be sitting there tweeting all the time and you don’t need to listen to that garbage advice of oh you need to tweet five times a day and you need to do this and you need to do that. But you need to be aware of who’s out there and you need to make an active choice in terms of missing kind of having, having a piece of your networking opportunities like like ignoring you know and again goes back to, Again, I think for for time starved individuals, business owners typically are, you know what, think of it as part of your research on your clients know and if you do Google alerts on your prime clients or potential clients or prospects, it’ll pull up their tweets and everything else. This is a good stocking on the internet,

productive stocking.

Stocking well I mean there’s just, I find it’s such a, it could be sort of a daunting and overwhelming, and then looking at it I guess I’ve never really, I think I had these in two different silos to be honest I think I had networking in one silo and social media in another silo and, you know, not sort of, I mean this conversation is giving me such a good perspective of what that is, even though I know that it was kind of there like I know it’s just, you know, awareness top of mind, blah blah blah. You know, commenting, so that you’re continuing but I never sort of looked at that was associated with networking. So, what were you thinking,

you know, seven touch points to a sale, but you know back in the day, you know, kind of, Zig Ziglar or whatever it’s like yeah, what is that gonna be, you know, seven lunches before you met you know, seven coffee date seven, you know steak dinner, communication, could lead to a voicemail that’s a retweet, that’s repost that’s a comment that so, you know, with all of those things and next thing you know everything, small business owner, you know, your networking Arsenal What’s your email signature, you know, do you have the links in there, or is it showing who you are, maybe you’ve got a quote that gives an impression, or a link to some media where you’ve appeared or maybe you’re like hey, our latest work is featured in and that’s in your email signature line. You will soon join as part of your networking arsenal. Your influence as part of your networking arsenal, You know if you got a business that’s, you know, got an answering, you know, answering service, how they treat customers is part of your networking Arsenal because any kind of disconnecting that chain affects the relationship with the individual, for sure.

Absolutely. Oh my gosh,

this is great i This is like, I think it’s just giving me such a different perspective on how I’m looking at posting, even from the podcast and like just, it’s I think you because it’s great, no doubt it really hasn’t made me go. You know, it’s those aha moments,

liberating as well, because there’s more chances to connect with people, and more. By sort of micro networking actions as I like to do. And I think going full on most of it will be even more credit. This past year, I do want to be decision makers, purchasers of your services people who need to interact with. Cool, for whatever reasons may never come out from behind a screen. So there’s so many people like, oh I can’t go back to the normal and we can, We can go and good conferences and stuff again. Some keynotes decision makers, people are gonna be like, I want to do that like I want to end up in an ICU with a gym down my throat, you know,

thank you very much. Yeah, because we’ve definitely seen how did that, How we can do things differently now.

We’ll use the example of like various meetings I’ve had them saved me a minimum of an hour for a minimum of an hour of my day by not having a meeting. Before I need to be on the call and so I think to your point, our human behavior, definitely, I would say I’d love to see what they’re gonna write about, you know, this sort of the social this pandemic will change, like change, everyone and how willing, I think we’re a part of it, experiment.

Really, a Twilight Zone episode and someone’s gonna come out and tell us to analyze to get the result

that conspiracy theorists social experiment we want to see how this was gonna do. Yeah, I, yeah it’s crazy, and that can go into so many different discussion topics on on how this is going to affect us good, bad or indifferent, but we will go there because we don’t have all big. So I want to ask you some of my interior acquisition questions, just ask all my guests at the end of every episode. What is one thing you think

every person should experience in their lives, regret, and I say this sooner sooner. Better than later and analyze why you have the lack so you can make better choices going forward. The mistakes or failures, learn from them, and how your choices affect other people and what that impact is and then say right. Let me have clarity so in the future, how I make my choices so I don’t have to experience this again. What’s the wisest thing that you’ve ever done. I don’t have a plan B, mentor and a friend and he said, consider if you’re focusing on plan B, you’re not executing planning. That’s very good. Yeah, it’s like, failure is not an option right.

Episode #0037 Setting realistic expectations in the construction business with Rahul Faria

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson with fellow podcaster Rahul Faria. 

Rahul works in construction and has a clear passion for the craft. He started his podcast Build Our Future to better understand the changes the world of construction is making. He believes in understanding the past in order to create a better future. He also found that while in his podcast pursuits he fell in love with his job all over again. Sometimes in our lives, we can hit a rut in our careers and forget why we loved our job in the first place. This podcast has helped him reignite that love, by having meaningful discussions with others about various topics related to construction. 

As we navigate this new world, we all have had to adjust to new difficulties due to the pandemic, and sometimes relying upon realistic timelines and budgets is almost impossible. Many want discounts due to COVID, but he has to explain the added hardships that the job now encounters including safety measures, extensions, guidelines in place during COVID outbreaks, and more. 

Rahul reminds us that the client should always be given realistic expectations and an understanding of the buying decisions. For example, sometimes quality is better the more you pay.  In other cases, sometimes the price is high, but the quality is not. It is his job to explain to the client what their expectations of the products should be. This allows for clients to fully understand what their choices are and what their purchase means long term.

So, join Crystal and Rahul as they talk about podcasts, constructions, and realistic expectations. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and listen to Crystal on the Build Our Future Podcast.

How to reach Rahul:

Website – rahulfaria.com     I     LinkedIn: rahul-faria 

Twitter: @rahul_faria      I      Instagram: @rahulfaria 

Rahul Faria as guest on TPD episode Setting realistic expectations in the construction business
Recommended podcast:

Contech Crew, The Construction Record and The Site Visit

- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

So welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer I have a special guest with me today I have Rahul Faria and he is from One Oak Construction as well as Build Your Future podcast welcome Rahul.

Thank you Crystal great day, great to be here.

Oh, it’s so great that we finally managed to schedule us and just sort of make it happen because I know we talked about it and

as I know last year, it’s a better part of a year now right I

know, but life happens right quarantine and lockdowns happen.

That’s right, that’s right. Sometimes it feels busier during lockdown and quarantine then.

I totally agree. I just keep looking at my to do list going. Okay. Some of these are self imposed I probably could take some things off but then you also feel this pressure of, okay, we’ve got a little bit of downtime, now’s the perfect time to do it right so it was a double edged sword. So tell our listeners a little bit about your day job, and then your podcast. Yeah, yeah,

so I started up a construction company about March will be eight years now, called window construction as you mentioned, worked in the industry. I mean, full time since 2005 But, you know, I went to school for civil engineering and at Waterloo University of Waterloo and we had Co Op program there. And throughout my many Co Op turns working with engineers municipalities, the one field that I really enjoyed working in was construction, you know, I could see a 2d drawing and actually see it being built, you know, and it was it was, I was fascinated by that you know that lines on a sheet of paper. Now I mean now you can see it but some of the construction modeling software right Oh yeah 3d renderings Come on, but back then I mean, I mean it’s not that, you know that long ago but yeah 1617 years ago that stuff wasn’t necessarily the way it is now so now that come to fruition like physically and, you know, being able to walk in to a store that was built by the company and you know it was just, to me it was fascinating. Yeah, so when I graduated, I you know had a couple stops and learned the ropes and as most entrepreneurs do know, we tend to think that we could do it better so we start. So I started eight years ago and most entrepreneurs will know in any business you know you go, ups and downs and left’s and rights and sidesteps and restarts and refocused and replanting and re, you know that we went commodity, a lot of reuse right. But you know, with those reasons, there’s always like fundamental core beliefs that you have as a person, you try to, you know, you try to find team members that that believe in that same vision that you have, you know, because that’s, that’s the goal at the end of the day you know we, I always want to do something I love. So I try to get that same passion with the people that I have. Yeah, yes, there’s always the mundane stuff we got to do like paperwork. Yeah, so you know, you know, I’ve been doing that for eight years and as you know last year, I started to build our future podcasts as well and you know I’m more of a research person analytical person and so I was planning it probably eight months prior to that, like the idea was actually in 2019 in the summer, but we’re busy and so it was slowly like Kid where, what might do I need What software do I need, how do I want to break like that I like. That gives me confidence. Yeah and then the lockdown happened and I had already recorded a few episodes and I was like, You know what, now’s a good time it’s any and we’ve been, you know, talking to people from all over the world and it’s, it’s eye opening some of the construction methodologies and you know initially it came out, it started as more of a conceptual kind of show where we talk about we talk to people and companies that have been pushing new concepts in the workplace that either gonna improve efficiencies or provide some value added service. Yeah, but as I started talking to people and hearing about what other people are doing, you know, it kind of evolved into, you know couriers, operations, sustainability ideas and concepts you know that were actually challenging our mind, you know I like to say thought leaders, shall I say, yeah, absolutely. And so I found it fascinating talking to these people and I’m a talker too so it came, came a little bit my wife likes to say, you know you’re gonna do this podcast, you got to let other people talk more than you do right so that was a little bit of an adjustment for me and it’s it’s been fantastic and you know I took a bit of a pause at the end of October, and back was getting was every week was too often for all the concepts and such. So, take a little bit of a pause and McKay, tried to refocus on okay. You know the many things in the podcast, we’ve talked about it but now it’s like a rat and never ending rabbit hole right, it really is. Yeah, Really I think for me the podcast is so phenomenal because I think it kind of reignited some of the passions for construction that kind of waiver wavered for me at times, you know, dealing with, you know some of the, I call them punch lists, other people might call them deficiency lists, you know, dealing with some of the trades and this you know sometimes you can really just dive into it fully and forget about family life, you know just other things. Oh yeah, absolutely, and I kind of was starting to lose some of that passion and with the podcast and hearing other people so passionate about what they’re doing and kind of just kind of just jump back into it right.

That’s great. I mean that’s good too. Yeah, cuz you do like, as you say there’s 24 hours in the day and you’ve got, you know, work that can consume 24 hours if you let it. But, yeah, you know, and then wanting to do in the podcast and I feel the same way when I start talking to people and because at times you go, you know the podcast it’s it’s something else right on top of all the other things, but once you get talking with somebody, you’re like okay no now I know why I’m, you know, I remember why I wanted to do this and it’s just great to have the conversations,

yeah, yeah. And part of the reason to is what I was finding the initial idea was, there’s so much technology out there, and I was really having a hard time trying to really figure out what kind of platforms work for me and my business, shall we say, No More often than not, most companies, they would set up like a one hour, an hour and a half like pitch brief, and you know you’re trying to find that time when you’re busy, is really challenging, trying to find that, you know, sometimes it’s hard finding 15 minutes in a day, when you’re really busy like driving around everywhere. So, you know, and I’ve been through so many different SaaS platforms, just trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. So, I thought it would be something really cool. You know that people driving, or just listening on their leisure time can can just listen to it and be like, You know what that actually works for you because coming from the industry it’s easy for me to ask more pointed questions for as relates to the industry. Yeah right. It’s stuff that you know I’ve had people from other general contracting firms telling me that, you know, the questions you ask them is what we would ask them, but now we can just listen to it and see, okay, yeah, this actually might work for us. Well you know what they’re not quite there yet, but we’ll keep it in mind, you know, we’ll keep updates and see So, so you’re getting that kind of feedback has been, you know, it kind of pushes you to be some more to write,

because you know that you’re giving value right your eyes right people are gaining the knowledge, they’re getting value from what it is that you’re doing and you’re not just another podcast out there, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s definitely a niche, you know podcast as is mine but the people that are in it, that niche or, like, find value in it. So tell me about how many people are in your company like what is what is this size because I was finding that, to the point of software. Yeah, you know I’ve researched stuff for as I was mentioning before we recorded my husband’s contractor and it’s like, you know, we’ve tried to look at different songs but some of them is just way too big, like way too, robust and really not so really not needed a lot of the stuff so what, tell me about the size of your.

So actually, right now it’s just me. Okay. Unfortunately your great COVID Yeah, it’s just been, you know, I know it’s been a struggle for a lot of people right, we went through, I think at a peak, we’ve had as many as like 1213 site and office staff, yeah, when we were doing residential as well. Yeah, then we kind of pared down to about five seven kind of thing depending on workload, but then you know when, when the pandemic hit and then we had the lockdowns last year, all of my work I shut down, you know, for like six, I think, six, seven months was completely shut down. I kept my guys on for like a month, month and a half and just suddenly so long you can do, there’s only so long you can do it right, unfortunately, so you know I had to make some really challenging decisions at the time. And then I think late late in the fall, we got back to you know some smaller jobs and stuff and you know I was going. It was a really tough decision whether I should hire people or should I not hire, you know, a few of my guys found full time jobs for a man which was really good for me like I gave them glowing references I mean, they were with me for a reason.

Yeah, exactly.

So you know, at least I’m grateful that they found found some spaces but you know it’s been it’s been, it’s been a challenge right I mean, we were just getting back, I think last week we started a project and then, you know, the new lockdown started I put up a V log that I’m trying to do now once a week as well about the shutdown and honestly like, it felt like such a gut punch you know I started getting excited to get back to work and re engaging with trades and you know, challenging my mind on issues and you know like that kind of stuff that we take for granted sometimes again right

so like dope sorry doors rocket can go away

yeah so I mean so that was a bit of a that was a bit of a struggle. You know, it’s kind of one of those, it’s hard, but we’re not the only ones in this position, so we try to lean with our friends I keep in touch with my subs, my clients, my consultants because you know as business owners and even as just regular people, you know, we have ideas and visions of budgeting and planning, and so on and so forth and when that doesn’t come through, it’s really hard to put stuff on hold for, I mean, you can probably tell to you for as a business owner, like you’re always looking at okay how do I market myself what do I do, how do you market the business, but the problem is during this pandemic like the way marketing is changing so much. How do you, you know, commit a certain dollar value to marketing and stuff and then, you know, all of a sudden like that’s not resonating. You know what I mean like it’s, it’s really hard because no one knows what the start or the finishes right now.

Absolutely and I think with you and I, being in a project based type of business, you know, there’s budget, you know, these companies or clients, whatever, you know, if it’s not in their budget. It’s not you, it’s just not in the budget because

of, you know, can be so many things,

yes so many circumstances that are that are unforeseeable uncontrollable. And yeah, like, it’s kind of one of those where you can plan all you want but right now, like we just don’t know any.

Yeah, I mean, I think on one of my V logs again I put in, you know, everyone’s always trying to get a deal right. And so but I think I’ve heard it so many times right now, I don’t know if you have it’s, you know, can I get a COVID discount, so like it’s, and you know, in all fairness, I understand the psychology behind that. Yeah, well, would they don’t understand is how much more it’s actually costing us to save has

anybody looked at the cost of lumber that has not gone down.

Yes. Forget the cost of materials, the cost of the additional health and safety, the cost of scheduling workforce. Yeah, you don’t I mean, yeah, approaching that was normally two months is now three months because you can’t quote unquote blow it up, you know what I mean, people have to be segmented off in different different segments Absolutely

yeah, if you can continue right I mean,

if you can continue right, so, but I think it goes back to, you know I think fundamentally what you’re about, what any company is about when individual is about I think it’s how you present. I guess any, any, any business that aligned businesses, how do you present your proposal, you know, are you looking to provide the client with, You know as much valuable information upfront, or are you looking to get the job work, because there are two completely different things. I can price to get work, no problem.

And that’s unfortunately what a lot of the stereotypes of the contractors are right, they are really really low balled and then as the project goes on, you know that it’s like oh well yeah I only quoted extra that even that you know and it’s just, just like in that’s where the distrust is I think a lot of the time with, with the profession,

but I don’t necessarily blame the contractors, I think both people are at fault right because I know when I give a detailed proposal I’ve got broken down by division, you know, unit costs of things that you know if the stuff that we got to provide or assembly, they’re still trying to figure it out, but they don’t look at that they just go to the bottom dollar. Right, and I’ve had many times that people have come back to me, clients have come back to me and say hey can you match this price and I say okay, send it over. I’ll take a look and literally it’s like an Email Proposal. Yeah, you know, and here I’ve got a typed out letter with, you know, a full like spreadsheet breakdowns, referring to the drawing numbers, you know, so I’ve gone through and then I’ve got lists of assumptions. Yes, you know, lists of identify prices and lists of alternate prices in case they want to attend, but my main price is what the designer or the architect has has specified, because I don’t deviate from that, there’s a reason for that right because the vision that needs to be met. Now, I can come up with alternatives, but I need like you as the designer or the designer on the project to sign off because it might be a slight shade different, but now the lighting might have to change as a result


that. That’s right. So you know it’s not a problem, like I mean, it’s something I had to. With time kind of just accept that this is what I wanted and I’m not, I’m not going to be hitting at that I mean what do they say 20% is a good great winning projects like I’m not gonna hit at the 20%, but I’m okay with that because I want to make sure that upfront, I’m as honest as I can as open, because that also leads to a quicker job quicker payments quicker issues down the line, I’m not saying, I’ve done stuff perfectly, but the Loyalists progress not perfection. Right,

well, and less surprises right

surprises. That’s right, the

biggest thing right it’s transparency from the very beginning, you know, it’s the same when somebody says, Oh, you know we budgeted 20 grand for master bathroom, And you know I could say, Yeah, okay. That’s not gonna happen, like 20 grand is not going to cut it for what, what needs to be done. So yeah, I think it’s just being honest and upfront and managing expectations from the start, as opposed to, you know, kind of having that in that’s, that’s what I was saying about sort of the reputation was where, you know you’ve gone in because you’ve priced it so that you get the job, knowing full well that you haven’t priced it accurately and that there’s going to be additionals and then you lose it’ll

be additional, and that’s where you’re gonna make your money and another is that you look at all the soft costs involved to that people, especially on the residential side commercial side, obviously, the larger the company, the more they know about it. The smaller independent owners, they don’t know that what you know, because a contractor’s certificate of insurance is or what it actually does. They don’t understand WSI B, they don’t understand that you’re, Like residential, like no one really provides WSI B to their, you know, to the clients when they’re building. No but in commercial it’s mandatory no one pulls insurance and residential, right, but those are all costs that add up with time and it’s just like on the insurance. Yeah, you know, when you actually need it, you pray that you need.

Right, yeah, it’s only, it’s only there or what was the terminology something like it’s only good when you need it, type of thing or Yeah, yeah.

So I mean, you know if that’s the exact same thing has happened a few times that we lost a project to a client and then a week before the opening, they’re like, oh the landlord needed insurance and our master business license they do this so a member of some association and me like do you have and I was like Yeah, can you send it to me it’s like yep so here you go. Okay. Can you do the job and I was like, well I gotta let you know because obviously I was looking at other after other projects right well yeah because yeah, the low contractor didn’t have like they might have had a $2 million insurance not five, right, like, like little things like that like people kind of cut corners on and stuff right so I mean it’s unfortunate, but I think there’s got to be some place that can educate clients more because, you know, I think that they don’t know,

I always say that it’s, they don’t know what they don’t know. Yeah, yeah, and a lot of it’s not ignorance, it’s not. It’s just they don’t know like if they haven’t been through the situation or, you know, or somebody hasn’t done a renovation in a while, or, you know like they just, sometimes they really just don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know the cause, so they don’t understand the process and why things need to be done in a certain way and, yeah,

so it’s a 100% with even even little things like, Oh, well, why are you charging me a markup on materials like when I was doing residential, and I was like, Well, do I have to give you specs, and then, like when a designer wasn’t involved like do I have to give you specs for you to approve and how many rounds is that going to be. Then, when we have to buy it, like, do I have to come up with the square footage, do I have to buy it, do I have to pick it up.

Right. You don’t have somebody do your accounting in your book,

do I have to offload it. Do I like what I look at all the steps involved just to get one piece of material. Yeah, right. And, you know, and then I asked him that I was like, listen, like you can do it if you want to just bring it on site, and I’ll do when I first started, that’s what I did you bring it on set, I’ll do it. No problem, like no no it’s easier going through yours like the price. Yeah that’s right, right, right this way or this way or this way, one or the other. Yeah,

yeah, yeah and it’s better, you know, knowing from, from experience is better than the contractor does it because again the clients would be like, Oh, I didn’t realize you needed the Ruffins or, you know, because you’re just at framing I didn’t think you needed the plumbing yet you’re like the that now, you know like, exactly, again, they don’t know what they don’t know.

Right, so don’t know what they don’t know. That’s right, that’s right completely agree.

Who are your what like I know you said that you were, I guess you’re doing more commercial work now,

what Yeah,

who are your typical clients I know you’ve done some restaurants. Yeah,

I mean, a couple years ago I think 2019 We kind of made the decision, I used to work with my wife, you know, so we decided not to work together anymore. No, only because we had our first child, a few years ago and, you know, we kind of said, You know what, in the interest of like having a family life. Yeah, let’s try and separate something plus we were both so that sometimes we forget, we talked about earlier just spend time with each other, but we kind of decided that, you know, commercial was the way to go, it’s actually more my passion, shall we say, on the commercial side, as our IP I, I feel like most commercial clients sometimes like the big world but more chances, and I also like the structure around

commercial. Yeah,

there’s a little bit more structure in the drawings, a little bit more structure in the process to which I quite enjoy.

And to be honest there’s less, I think, emotions around the finances

100% Obviously with the independent businesses there are some emotions, but they can still look at things at the lens of a business right yeah like money in money out if I add this. Now, when will I be able to recoup that money right as from a business person. Yeah, exactly. They can, they can look at things more tangibly, and so you know is this actually a value add, or is it like this is a fun thing to have, which we do in our, in our residential lives. So there’s so many times, right, yeah, yeah so so we switch over to commercial completely our predominant like area is restaurants as you mentioned that do a lot of quick serve restaurants Domino’s that sort of stuff. We’ve done a lot of red lobsters, even though they’re not building new, you know, we get a lot of facility management for them, like maintenance, I should say, Yeah, we also did a lot of universal washroom additions they needed the new code compliant washrooms, which is challenging to say the least, because obviously I want to keep the restaurants open and you know to Washington still always have to be open and then trying to figure out how we shouldn’t cut seating as well.

Exactly where they try a new generating party,

and then still get your pop up like it’s been you know so having a good team, we’ve had some really good teams on that right from, you know, the, the designer, the interior designer to the clients like they were, you know, it was pretty fantastic and, you know, we’ve been doing sit down restaurants and, but that that’s probably I would say 70 80%, we’ve done a few offices to not not quite as many but we’ve done another few offices and I kind of liked them too because they’re more design, build, which, which is which is a little more fun you can give options and styles and stuff. And then we’ve done a couple of retail retail spaces, which is always challenging trying to work in a shopping mall at times you know there’s always noise restrictions and, yeah, you know, but, you know, construction right back if you’re either building new or you’re renovating right one or the other. Yes, your options.

Yeah, and I guess yeah retail for sure would have been more of a challenge because you know, you can’t be disrupting business. So you’re going in after hours and yeah,

that’s right. And so, yeah, it’s not as easy because, you know, people always think that, oh you know I’m just laying tile, it’s not gonna be noisy I’m like yeah but then you have to cut the tile at some point,

I was gonna say what you

want to cut that one tile

noise the dust the

yep completely, completely. Yeah, it’s not.

No it’s not, not an easy one for sure and I can imagine even just staffing like that from a trade standpoint, of trying to get those coming in after hours and non regular and

yeah that’s a bit of a challenge. Yeah, I mean you know the commercial side, I said I like the process of things but you know there’s certain ambiguous notes and some of the specification manuals that that drives me up the wall, you know, it’s like, you can, you know you can work in doing daytime hours, but if someone complains, you got to stop, like how do you, you know what I mean like how do you price something like it’s but it but that’s been the case for a while and we kind of we kind of have figured out a happy medium with that I feel just generally with contractors.

Yeah, yeah, I

think you go into knowing production, you know, the chances are we are going after work after hours, and if we don’t, it’s a bonus kind of a bonus for us you

got completely.


So you mentioned that you developed a simple yet unique approach to projects, can you expand you know expand.

I mean, that that’s also kind of evolved with time shall we say, and I really started focusing on when I was doing residential and trademark and all of this stuff and it was essentially was like a simple five step process. Oh really, that I call the stress free revenue solution. Okay, which is basically, it was just meant to serve as a guide clients prospective clients to help them understand the process that like the full gambit of a construction project right so you know and I created all these fun names for each one so they easy to remember, you know, it was, you know, started out with the design advantage, right. Most times, like they love to send Pinterest photos through contractor thinking they can build it from Pinterest photos were not geared that way. Generally I’m not saying no, I’m not saying not all contractors of use some do have that flair, you know, I mean that they can kind of see something and build it, but most contractors, you know, they don’t know putting two swatches together, how they like how what the end result is going to be right. They’re good at what they do kind of thing, right. So, basically the design advantage, a little blurb about how important you know that, that portion is the second one was called the budget Maximizer which is essentially, you know, they might have their budget, but you know we all love marble floors and we all love the you know the high end clawfoot tub and stuff, but once they start seeing those prices, they’re like you know what maybe we don’t need the Lambo, maybe I need you know something. And so, but that was really just created because what I found is, you know, we all want the nice things right, but what we want to do is kind of show them that there are alternatives, but we also have to understand how brutal a product might be, you know, how often they might have to change it, what’s the customer service like with, with a certain product you might be paying a little bit more, but you know how long is it actually going to last, right like little things like that. Oh

yeah, like the marble floor, no.

That’s what I mean right so you know just going, because there are pros and cons to every product right so just going through that to see what fits with their budget. What do they want to sacrifice on whatever they want to splurge on, that’s, that’s the best way to go. Yeah, I remember because now that I’m not in residential it’s been it’s been a little while. Yes, a budget Maximizer then we had the rental process, which is obviously we talked about weekly meetings photos every week. Construction status that sort of stuff. Yeah, then it was the punch list I referred to earlier. Much of the soul, you know, so they know at the end of the project I tell them all the time you know we’re humans doing the job 3d printing is not there yet. You know for stuff like this. So you know humans doing the job and, you know, I always tell them to take two weeks to use it first before we come back in to fix anything because they’ll notice things you know sometimes because of what you’re looking at a wall, you might not notice a little bit, or you might not notice a certain grout line has not been full, it happens. So we still come up with this we’ll fix it, we’ll do it. And the last one was called the lasting experience, which is essentially a warranty system, right, like we give them a two we gave them a two year warranty, just so they know that we’re here to make sure it lasts, and people will last for longer and we said unfortunately we can’t do longer because it all depends on where until even two years of stretching it is pretty

generous Yeah,

yeah we, I mean, like I said we an idea is we don’t have to go back, we do it right the first time, that’s that’s the whole idea. Yeah, but that kind of evolved into like the fundamental of that whole thing was, what I call our three C’s, which is clarity, collaboration, and craftsmanship I’ve kind of referred to it, right throughout this conversation right. Yeah, that’s really the crux of the whole company crux of who I am right, I try to be as clear as I can as transparent through the process through the project so just scheduling through everything, collaboration, I think people talk about it a lot but what I’ve noticed is that it’s really important to be able to communicate not just with your trades but where your client and you know consultant team and openly and honestly because once you figure out what the shared vision is forever for each party. You can collaborate so much easier to figure out, even lower in cost value engineering you know different products might be a little bit more expensive but it’ll last time so much longer and having just an understanding that shared vision is, is I think key in order to collaborate properly, right,

for sure. I always say with any types of these projects, you know, I, coming from the design perspective, and you from the construction, I mean, my vision, and to being able to then say okay, I want to do it like this, is it going to work the way that I think it’s going to work, is there a better way to do it, how like, it’s all that kind of stuff because you’re the expert in that area I just have an idea but I don’t I’m not the person that’s on site and understands, you know some of the engineering and materials or so, as designers we know a little bit about a whole bunch of things, and we don’t have to go to the people that are the experts in that

and let someone for my role as a construction manager or general contractor we know how all the pieces fit together. We know generally what the code is and what’s right and what’s wrong. We rely on some of our trades to ensure that not just if it’s possible. Yeah, but if it’s gonna last as well if it’s the right way of doing it because we can always just put peel and stick it off. But is that the right way, what if in five seven years they wanted to rebrand, you know, is there a way we can fasten it differently, so that now we don’t have to rip out the drywall and you don’t I mean like these conversations are important, especially in the commercial space when you know you kind of want to redo things every now and then to refresh the look refresh the feel of everything right. And the last one craftsmanship, I mean that. I think that goes without saying we aim to try and not cut any corners, we all know drawings don’t have every single detail there so people can get pretty creative at times. So, you know, we really tried to showcase a proper finish, you know, a showcase, you know, how we end up doing it with our team, right from the initial shop drying process right through the quality control and fixing up the punch list items, because you know the quality isn’t there, it’s kind of done.

Well, there’s both sides of it your your reputation, obviously, is in there for, you know, future business, whatever, but then also the fact that, who are they coming back to you when things do go wrong. So you need to, I mean, I just, you got to do it right from the beginning, because, you know, it’s just so it’s so obviously important why you have to do that. That’s right,

completely, completely agree. Yeah, so, so it kind of, kind of gone back to that initially the whole company was started on that, that those three concepts that I didn’t, I didn’t really formulate at the time it was just stuff that I always did. Yes, and then it kind of evolved with time into like just how do I relay this message that simple and easy for clients and stuff, and everybody to understand.

Yeah, yeah, and it’s true it’s a it’s, it’s something that you do, it’s an intangible, but then you’re like, I got to put it into some form of a word or some way to to express

it because everyone else, how do you separate yourself from another contract right it’s easiest question how do you separate yourself.

Yeah, yeah, what’s your differentiator. Well, you know,

there’s a million of you

guys out there and that’s right. Why would I trust my money with you. Exactly, exactly,

exactly. Yeah,

I get it, I get it, it’s and the ones that are good, continue to stay, you know, they never do have to really worry about business, it’s because their reputation, their quality there, you know, to me it’s all about integrity as well. And then, I’m on that point, how do you find business, how do you do market do you are you a lot of

referral based,

you know what, for the, for the longest time, we’re always referral based very fortunate to be referral based, but I found that can only grow to a certain point, and referral basis, but I always struggled with, you know, hiring a marketing company because lord knows I’ve spent so much money like on the website and updating and since it’s not my we’ve talked about areas of expertise yeah not my area of expertise. Every time I look at somebody new, they’re like, Oh, your last guy did all of this wrong and it’s so jaded right yeah I guess yeah you know. So what you really got to do so. I mean, you know they’re different things we’re trying, you know over the years we started doing videos called behind the space videos of my projects and get our clients involved and consultants involved to be like, Okay. What was the thought process was, you know, how’s the construction style and kind of put it out there so people can have like a simple idea and see the work that was done understand the process from other clients almost like, like recommendations but then talking about us so you can put a face to the name people can reach out to them so we’ve done that, a little bit. I’d be lying to say the podcast hasn’t helped as well in people reaching out because now they know they hear my voice a little bit more than, you know, hopefully they hear some of the passion that comes out of that, get to know you get to know me, right, get to know me a little bit so you know, little things like that, you know, one thing I hope is once work gets back I don’t lose some of the strain because aside from the marketing side, I do enjoy a lot.

Yeah. Yeah, no

it’s I think it’s

such a especially contracting is, I think, too. There’s so much trust in the referral part of it that, you know, just to, you know, when he says to look you up in the phone button a bit a bit more but do you know, a search a Google search on you know contractor near me or you know, I think it’s such a, you know, somebody’s got to know like and trust you to want to work with you and so that, oh, Jim sends you okay well I trust Jim and Jim trusts you so there’s that mutual me Jim and Jim

has done work so I can go see it. Yeah, yeah. And what the process was like right, I mean in the commercial world, I mean you’re talking like most times, you know, something most times 10 times more than, right, for the bathroom right like it’s you’re committing 100,000 150,000 Sometimes, you know,

oh easily yeah

I got the bullet right yeah so I think that’s, I think that that’s something that’s always going to be a struggle until you’ve kind of made Your name in the business, I find, and as a company.

Do you use do you do much marketing on LinkedIn because you are kind of a b2b type of

yeah you know we’ve done so, you know, I’ve got all for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and it’s it’s funny it’s it’s so interesting because I follow a few of the contractors and stuff in the residential space as well and they get so many hits on Instagram, so many hits. Yeah, I get so many hits on LinkedIn, and I probably like if I get if I get 200 likes on a video something that I’ve posted on LinkedIn, maybe get five on Instagram. Yeah,

yeah, no I hear yeah I know what you’re saying, yeah,

yeah, it’s like a completely diff so I don’t

think Instagram makes sense for business to business type of business. Yeah, I

mean, I guess you’re right. But I don’t always, you know somebody posted the other day and I actually do agree with it, I think, I think nowadays the whole concept of b2b b2c is kind of lost a little bit, not lost. I think the concept is dated. I think now it’s more like HTH human to human. So, so the thing with Instagram I think is you have to figure out what the right tags are, because what you’re posting can also go on people’s personal feed, right, because now the people that are on Instagram, they’re individuals right they’re not gonna like they’re not going to be going on that company’s Instagram, and then checking out what they’re following, so it’s yeah it’s really like kind of almost doing the market research as to who are the decision makers, right,

and where are they

and where are they and what are the interests that are similar to that work that they’re kind of doing in their personal life. I know it sounds so sneaky right like China

does and it doesn’t because it’s but it’s the core of the marketing and the strategy is saying okay like you know me when you look at it just to my point of being the superficial, okay well it’s just personal, you know, it’s, it’s, I think of Instagram as more of a personal space. But you’re exactly right. The people that are there, they’re people, they’re humans. They’re there as well. But yeah, trying to figure out what they like,

that sort of thing at the end of the day the human to human marketing side, we talked about how do you sell yourself right by. And you’re talking about referrals. If you don’t have referrals. You know when you have that first meeting if it’s done well or not it has nothing to do with your proposal. Now, it’s like an interview, it’s like how do you present yourself, how do you present the company, you know, like they do come across trustworthy you come across somebody with integrity, like you mentioned earlier, and will this person let me down, or if, if, if stuff goes down, will he step up or she step up, you know what I mean like most of the questions they ask whether it’s b2b or b2c

Yeah, I always say it’s theirs. You don’t know how good of a supplier trade, whatever you have until something goes wrong, right, how do they handle that.

Yep, completely, completely agreed. Yeah, completely agree with you. So that’s what I think is as far as as far as that’s concerned, like the marketing side, I think it’s more human to human what concepts gonna resonate,

are you trademarked that are you are you aged age

no I think I’ve seen it online, a fair bit

cuz I was gonna I was gonna give you full credit.

I won’t take full credit for that. Okay, well you could have had. I will take full credit and executing interior designers visions but that’s about it.

Fair enough. All right, well let’s, we could probably chat well we’re gonna, we’re gonna have another part to this. Rahul is podcast but for the rest of mine, we’re gonna do what I have is my interior Inquisition, and this is where you can answer regarding life business whatever but firstly what is one thing that you think every person should experience in their lives. Oh, that’s,

that’s a really good question. You know what, I will definitely say and I hope people are doing that, or have figured out a way to do that during this pandemic, with the various lockdowns and stuff, is try and find balance within yourself. Don’t let external issues items bother you because no matter when or where your hand your life, there’s always something else out there, it could be, you know, government stuff government rules, it could be your uncle or your mom said something. Yeah, that can affect you, but always try and find the balance within you, because at the end of the day, you’re with yourself and your own thoughts all the time so if you don’t find that balance within you, you know, other people will affect you all the time.

Yeah, very true, very, very true. What’s the wisest thing that you’ve ever heard someone say, keep quiet and listen.

That’s true, yeah I mean I, like I said I think I mentioned earlier, I’m I’m a bit of a talker, but, but I think, honestly, I think it’s my wife, to be honest with you, she, I marvel at her capability of truly listening, you know, you, you can have conversations with people and they listen, they hear you, they hear you, you know, they know even though they listen but she, she will remember a conversation from four years ago, that meant something to somebody else. I mean like yeah, she might not remember it over the four years but in conversation with that person she it’ll come back up. Yeah, that is something that I think, you know, I wish I had, you know, sometimes I feel more my mind works more transactionally Yeah, information will come in and I’m like, that really doesn’t matter to me. Yeah, exactly. Trash, but she has this natural ability to, you know, communicate and listen to people that I just marvel at, it’s really something to see.

That’s great. That’s wonderful. Now what are three podcasts that you’re listening to.

Oh, more or less listen more or less, aside from my own.

I might, yeah. You know

what they kind of they kind of move around a fair bit, yeah. A lot of them are in the in the construction space though, there’s the Contact Crew as one. Currently I listen to I listen to the Construction Record as well. It’s local one here in Canada. I daily commercial news one, I think those, those are really the two I mainly listen to. There’s a couple others. The second is a podcast is pretty phenomenal. They talk a lot about stuff that happens on the project site so that adds a different dynamic the stuff that I generally talk about it’s kind of interesting construction records awesome too. They talk a lot, a lot more about you know, current events and what’s happening and stuff which is, which is again, they’re all like add different different fields and different, different stuff to it. Yeah, yeah. I don’t remember them but I used to listen to a lot of business podcast business owner myself sometimes. I tend to get stuck in my own ways.

Yeah, so it’s

good to hear somebody else’s personal yeah somebody else’s and then you know it gives you an idea of how you can implement your own. Absolutely, so I used to listen to a lot, not so much anymore. Yeah, Just because, I mean, we’re talking about 24 hours and it’s not like I’m driving all the time, you know,

I find I’m not listening anymore and I said to my husband, this morning I said, I haven’t actually been out of the house in the last two days,

I haven’t been outside.

Yeah, ridiculous.

Yeah. Yeah, so it’s

no I find the podcasts I think there’s different stages of life that you need different types of podcasts, right. You need something you’re going through some sort of whatever you’re like I need advice or information on that so that’s why you listen to them so I have a whole slew of different things depending what, What, what time of the of the lifetime I didn’t. Yeah, well this is great so if people want to find you. What is the best way to, to

follow you on social media.

Yeah I mean LinkedIn Instagrams their, you know, One Oak Construction Build Your Future both of them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, obviously personally I’m on LinkedIn as well as the other ones do but I try to keep that more personal than professional, shall we say, but you know we have a current website right now that you can find out all of our episodes it’s rebelforce.com/podcast but you know we are building a custom website, Due to popular demand, where you can kind of search through you know, teams can be sustainability operations technology, and I’m hoping that goes live in a couple of weeks so I’m pretty excited for that it sounds. Yeah, next week, which is kind of cool.

Episode #0036 Discover why you are “Newsworthy” with Jennifer Singh, Media Pitch Coach

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson with former journalist and CEO of She’s Newsworthy Media Jennifer Singh. 

Jennifer helps women entrepreneurs gain exposure in the media. As a journalist, she noticed that more men were getting tv spots and exposure than women. She believes part of this issue is related to a woman’s imposter syndrome that she often feels. Jennifer also coaches women to overcome their insecurities and find what makes them stand out. She helps women entrepreneurs on how to put their best foot forward on podcast interviews, presentations, and on-camera training.    

Jennifer offers many workshops to help others in their entrepreneur dreams. She includes one on one help as well as group activities. She offers a variety of options because she knows everyone needs something different in order to succeed. As we all have different learning styles.

Jennifer knows the key to success is reaching all different platforms. So it is important to her that women know how to land podcast interviews and tv spots.  

So, join Crystal and Jennifer as they discuss how to successfully start landing media spots. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and discover why you are “newsworthy”.

How to reach Jennifer:

Website – shesnewsworthy.com 

Instagram – @shesnewsworthy

Jennifer as guest on TPD episode Discover why you are “Newsworthy”
Recommended podcasts:

Abraham Hicks, BizChixs and Turning Point 

- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

Welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer I have a special guest today, Jennifer Singh, and she is from She’s Newsworthy Media welcome Jennifer.

Hi so thrilled to be here.

We’re happy to have you here a real professional. And when I asked you were you ready you’re like, Yep, good to go, but my guess is listeners a little bit about yourself, what you do, your background,

Give me the bio. Yeah, so

I actually started in the industry as a journalist, I’ve been a journalist for over 15 years and when you become a journalist, it’s not it’s a designation that you ever lose right once journalist, always a journalist I worked mostly in television in Ontario, at many of the stations I also moved to the east coast was really gung ho on becoming a reporter, and I transferred my skills from being reporter and producer and writer to helping women entrepreneurs land media spots, and the reason is because when I was booking those guests and doing interviews in the field for so many years, there was a real disconnect between the number of men being booked and the number of women being booked, and the narrative is really shifted towards the male voice so that’s why the company’s name she’s newsworthy right she’s giving that female perspective so that has always been my purpose and my passion and I work every day to help shift that narrative.

Thank you. If needed, a whole bunch of, that’s a whole other topic I’m sure we could get into but I think it’s great that you’re focusing on helping to move that along.

So do you have a. So who do you, would you say that you are working with, who is your like, you know, the term ideal client term but who would you say is your ideal client or who you’re working with currently

yeah you know what, when you become an entrepreneur you have to kind of figure it out, it takes some time. I know now my ideal client is a woman service space owner right she has a service based business she either has an expertise in anything from health and wellness to design, to I’m trying to go through who’s on my list right now to publishing to kids and mental health to lifestyle bloggers so anyone who has really stories that they can connect to the media’s new cycle that are newsworthy. I always say we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. what we’re trying to do is position, an entrepreneur in a unique way, with a fresh perspective. And I think that’s kind of the biggest hurdle for a lot of women entrepreneurs I work with, they just don’t think there’s they need to be special, or they need to hire or they’re they’re not newsworthy and it’s kind of goes back to the whole mention about men versus women, men just show up and they’re confident they have it so mostly that’s who I work with, I would say, Yeah, women service space owners, business owners,

and I think that the, you know, as a woman, owner of a service based business I think a lot of times we get so caught up in what we do and we think it’s just, it’s boring right it’s what we do and nobody really it but from, you know, we were so I guess insular and, you know, navel gazing at what we do all the time that we don’t think to your point, it’s newsworthy, what do they want to know about this and yet as we can see on half the stuff that’s on tick tock, and on, you know the reality shows. People want to know right like they’re interested in that. So I think that I can see why. We just don’t think it’s important

or interesting, for sure, and I think it’s, it’s more about, you know, when I work with women, like I realize I realize it took me years to realize but I do have a special skill of being able to figure out what is newsworthy and I can clearly tell within a five minute conversation, what is going to be newsworthy and appealing to the media we have this, you know we have a circle goes what kind of what I look at it, and the media is you’re at the top of the circle, you’re trying to appeal to the media, but in order to appeal to the media, you have to give them content that’s going to appeal to their audience. So it’s not just thinking about what’s going to make the news but what’s going to make the news that’s going to appeal to the media’s audience I had a client on CBC yesterday and she has a she actually is a product based business, rarely work with product based businesses but she has developed a book for helping kids to be more mindful and we know right now in the middle of the pandemic how needed that is. So, you know, listeners on CBC, you know the afternoon drive people are maybe not driving home with kids now but it’s that afternoon, people are getting ready for dinner, they’re finishing up school so that broadcast is going into home so that’s a perfect interview for that audience so I think people don’t really think about the two parts of it right so what is it the media want and what is their audience want, yeah. Is your clients right

that’s right and it’s kind of we look at it as, KY we want to get it to the media because they’re going to be the ones that gonna make it happen, but they’re the media, clients are, who we need to be appealing to

exactly and I think that, you know, one of the biggest things that I see the mistakes is that people always wonder why press releases never work in a press release is kind of a standard template it’s mass sent out to everybody and nobody picks it up, and that’s why because you haven’t considered the media’s audience, and you need to customize the pitches that you’re sending out. Makes sense. Makes total sense.

So what would you say is the misconception between PR versus marketing, or misconception or how I think a lot of people don’t, they think they think of PR as marketing.

This is interesting because I literally I know it’s gonna sound strange but I’m completely new to PR and marketing, because as a journalist, you try to get away from that you’re trying to tell the story. So if you’re an entrepreneur I think PR people think of PR, as things that are published right so that’s in a magazine or on TV or on the radio, and they think of marketing as maybe social media ads, or maybe something else. I look at it two completely different, I see that every entrepreneur needs to have a marketing machine, and that marketing machine includes media interviews, podcasts, interviews, and speaking gigs, push all that content out to social media, because that’s where people are going to be seeing your exposure and listening to your exposure you know you’re going to be posting an image or a link or sharing something and that’s how people are going to be able to connect to this podcast but I think it’s really like entrepreneurs need to think about the machine that you have and you have to do a little bit of each. You can’t just put all your eggs in one basket.

What do you mean by that. Exactly.

So you have to, you can’t just do podcasts you can’t just do speaking gigs, you can’t write Okay, media, maybe eventually you can write like maybe eventually you can like, maybe you just book really high paid speaking gigs but the way you’re gonna get those speaking gigs is if somebody’s seeing you on like a media interview, or somebody seeing, listening to you on a podcast, kind, it’s like a cycle, right, yeah.

There’s like, it’s like the chicken or the egg thing right it’s kind of, yeah,

I mean the golden end of the day, we’re busy. We’re busy right so it’s better to have inbound requests than us pushing out stuff all the time and I find when you have the marketing machine in place, you do start to get those inbound requests right so I mean I pitch myself I’m an entrepreneur as well I pitch. I mean, I want to do media interviews I did about 12 podcasts last year I didn’t pitch a single one media interviews on TV I think I did five didn’t pitch a single one, right, like that’s kind of how you want to be able to set yourself up but you can only do that if you’re putting yourself out there constantly,

right, and making people aware of you and why exactly, exactly. That makes sense. So when you say marketing machine can you just sort of give a little, I guess, explanation of because that might scare a lot of people, because you’re gonna watch I got somebody that I’m already up to here with stuff today and you’re telling me I gotta have a machine. So,

I mean, okay, I’m a solo entrepreneur I have VA and that’s it we this is my team right now and we’ll be growing my team later on but when I think about marketing machine I think it’s just about laying out at the beginning of the year, or, you know, in June had the half point, you know, six months, and what are my goals for the next six months, I keep track of how many podcasts interviews I do when I see okay maybe I need to add a little bit more. What, you know, Where can I be that part of the marketing machine up, you know have a target for how many speaking gigs that you want to do, whether that’s a virtual other all virtual now but whether that’s a virtual, whether that’s hosting a webinar, whether that’s doing a guest expert interview whether that’s doing a masterclass. And then the third part of it is like your PRP so, you know, looking to see how many media interviews can I do within the next three months or six months, I think the biggest problem is we don’t have targets, we don’t have targets on anything we do so, how are you going to see the results from any type of marketing, right, how are you going to see your results right

yeah we just kind of go okay let’s put it out there and Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn maybe and hope for the best.

Exactly right, but there’s no kind of strategy behind it so I think that this whole concept of the marketing machine I don’t even know if it’s coined or anything like that but that’s kind of how I view it that’s kind of how I see it I see that we have to market in a couple different ways. I personally have never done Facebook ads I’ve never done Instagram ads or paid for Google ads or anything like that. So this is kind of how I’ve been growing my business and teaching others to grow their businesses as well.

Well, because I think that that can get, I think almost a double edged sword with with doing paid ads, a, I mean if you’re a small business, maybe you can’t even afford those because they I understand can get costly. And secondly, I think there’s this is probably my personal opinion but what I sometimes see sponsored or, you know, there’s a little bit of a, like, I don’t know there’s something not as real about the the non paid or the more organic type of posts I guess,

yeah it’s it’s an interesting it’s very interesting because we know that the whole influencer marketing thing is huge right we know that that is huge and we know that people feel like that is superficial, but there are like everything there are legitimate influencers that do, you know, push out products and talk about products that they genuinely love and I think there has been kind of that shift in the last couple of years where people are being more outspoken about about that right and you’re just, you know, doing it for the money. At the same time I think the other part of that is that, you know, as entrepreneurs we really should be thinking of different ways to bring money into our businesses right and not be closed to different opportunities. It’s really just perspective and I’m trying to think like, even like when we think of like magazines right traditional magazines, you can open up a magazine and you see it’s kind of the same thing with influencer marketing you see an ad on or not an ad an article on one side, for whatever, you know how to get flawless skin in the winter and then I’ll write on the opposite page is, you know, very intentionally placed the product that they’re talking about right so it’s just a different type of marketing, I think, but we are becoming more media literate right we’re understanding what is genuine and what is, what is not. Yeah,

I think that’s, that’s a very valid point right there the whole, you know you might, you know I’ve teenage kids and everyone so I’m like you guys got to remember like specifically my daughter. That is a curated altered filtered image, and that’s selected out of the, whatever, like I’m like it’s not, it’s not real, right, like that’s not a real candid snapshot that is showing no this is all being staged and, you know, and just making sure that they as as our kids are understanding what is real and what’s not real and, you know, what’s so hard I mean it’s a hard space to be and I think as a kid growing up through all of this right now just, you know, how much is real and you know what is paid for and, you know, but I

think I think it’s a good thing, right, because our generation when we grew up we didn’t even know that like that was not even like a concept I remember when I was younger looking through magazines wanting to be looking like what whoever it was, not realizing how touched up they were and I think now that now the kids I’ve made we’re making ourselves sounds alright, I’m adding your age to to this but I’m 40 and I feel like it’s just a completely different generation and I’m able to be knowledgeable enough to tell I’ve two kids three and five and I’m, you know, able to tell my five year old who has lots of questions. You know what is real and what is not. And I don’t think my parents generation like was able to be educated in that way to inform us and that’s why it took so long for us to get to where we are,

yes to be okay you know what I’m okay. No I’m not. Yes, so I’m not, I can’t think of some of the models that I grew up with Naomi Campbell and I was like, whatever that pack of yeah we’re at that age and, yeah, I think, I think it’s right. I think the kids are learning to the access how easily it is to alter to right like some of these images and how they can figure it out yeah I can, you know I can, like I always joke with my daughter with Snapchat I’m like can you put that one that erases all my wrinkles.

not gonna hate on those filters at all.

You know we got to be real, gotta be real. So, what exactly is media success coaching. So how do you help women, like what what is, what are some of the things that you do to help women do this.

So, again, as an entrepreneur, I totally was baffled by the concept of how PR has been structured before because I’m coming from a storytelling background and a very authentic and genuine background, you know, knowing that what’s important is human interest story so you know for a little bit of context traditional PR as I know it in Canada and in most places is an agency, they usually write your pitches for you they book things behind the scene for you, they kind of just tell you where to go and how to show up right, right, and your job is to really just be on camera and do your interview and it’s kind of like a done for you.

and then huge price tag.

Exactly right, there’s usually a retainer fee retainer fees can be in, I mean we’re in Ontario retainer fees, I know it for Toronto, one of the bigger agencies may be five to 10k a month would be an average price. And that’s like a done for you and they have an entire team taking care of you right so when I developed meeting success coaching and trying to figure out how do I help entrepreneurs, how do I help people like myself, I tweaked until I came up with a formula which is kind of like a hybrid program where, you know, entrepreneurs still get that chance to have one on one time with me. We do your strategy session, I tell you what’s going to be unique and what the angle is that you have to stick with, you know, in order to craft newsworthy stories you draft your pitch, using the tools that I’m providing you, you know, all my successful pitch examples, you send out the pitch to the email, you know you email the media based on like my media contact list, you book your interview you organize all that stuff. And then we caught back on and we do an on camera session where I’m coaching you through, you know pace pitch your tone, you know what to include. So that part media success coaching has that part of it and the other part of it is a community that was amazing right now I have such a stellar team of women, inside the group right now of other service based entrepreneurs, you know, and we meet once a week and we have learning lessons so we know that interviews have shifted completely to the online space so that’s going to look different for every station, but the way new success coaching is set up, it’s so that I’m giving you the tools but also coaching you through it so that after we work together, you are self sufficient. The biggest you know feedback that I hear from people, I have a lot of people come to me after they worked with traditional agency and it didn’t work out was, they don’t know what happened to their pitch, they don’t know who it got sent to they don’t have any relationships they don’t know what to do. And I think I’m really feeling that Nisha, you know, women are go getters, you know that women are go getters we get, we get shit done. And it’s just kind of like we’d sometimes like if you need to get it done give it to a woman. Like, I literally like come on, right. That’s just how we are. That’s just kind of how we are right we have deadlines we’re motivated to do it so this program really is developed to coach you through the process giving like pull back the curtain to show you what it is, you know, sharing my media context with you, but also kind of sitting back and letting you take control so you’re building your relationships. It was designed that way as well because when I was inside the media, the last thing I wanted to do was go through a PR agency to book a guest that just, you know, not good for deadlines, that’s not, and then also it feels like it’s very packaged and very rehearsed, whereas we want real people. If I could just pick up the phone and call you and get you to come on my show. That’s fastest you know I’m going to keep going to you over and over again because of those types of things so the perspective I guess I bring as well is like the perspective of recorder and a journalist and, you know what they need to know it’s this unique program, only one of its kind, right now in Canada,

and so you’re saying this so this is like a group coaching kind of program and you meet once a week, And then is there, like is it. Obviously, each other. We help each other out and have some accountability with each other, like, and what else do and how long does this program for,

so there’s no it’s not like the group accountability when you think of business coaching because it’s a hybrid program. The they have, we meet group, like weekly as a group, and it’s more learning lessons so that everybody can share how their interviews went but the other part of it is the one on one time I have with clients, that’s why I say it’s a hybrid program. Yeah, I think a lot of people like even myself, I don’t love group programs right but I guess that’s in the traditional sense in terms of how people work because I still think I need my independent coaching my situation is going to be different. So it’s the one on one coaching me walking you through everything and editing your pitch, and you know prepping you for on camera, and the group component is more like learning lessons of the week and I also give updates, there’s been lots of changes in the media in the past year, lots of layoffs, lots of people moving stations, you know people we need to be up to date on that in order so that we send our pitches to the right people get blocked.

Yeah, absolutely, with I guess with kind of circling back to the PR agency and then being able to I mean, I guess being able to I was looking at that is. Yeah, so you’ve given your, it’s like you’ve handed everything over to the PR agency. And then there’s to your point, you don’t know what they’ve done with it you know they don’t, you don’t know who they’re talking to and then you’re almost handcuffed in a way to because if you want more of that, they have all the contacts and you know, whereas, doing it all, you know yourself or DIY however you want to. You are in control of keeping those relationships going indefinitely and like you say, you know somebody that ABC company does somewhere else, you still have that relationship with them and it’s it’s yeah I guess it’s, it’s much more personalized and I think that’s where all of our marketing is going right it’s becoming more personalized more, you know, real in the sense of, despite the fact that we’re talking about the filtered images but you know you see stuff on, on, whether it’s YouTube or whatever where people are okay to show the true right like, and then it’s less, I guess, contrived in a way and I think it’s more real or that’s becoming more acceptable for it to be real versus for sure, you know, being in the makeup room for the last hour and a half getting my hair done. Stepping on you know this, the set and having all the great lighting and all that and it’s like yeah, especially right now.

I know well we actually do coaching with like I you know I had to do my makeup myself for many many years when I was on live TV, and so I coach around that too, right, you know, bring me your makeup stash and let’s figure out what’s going to be the best look for you right now.

The other thing I was gonna say, so I actually watched, where I was first initially introduced to you was, you did a webinar for TI DC and international design and you were talking about the lighting and you know just about doing. I guess some all we want to say on camera but whether it’s posting videos online or whatever and I always wear my catheters that actually works perfectly in my office because I, I’m in the basement, but I have a huge big pretty deep window and so I can face the window and have the natural light like perfectly I want I’m like, makes a big difference in tone oh yeah well the big dark shadows under your eyes and you know, Lord knows I can use whatever. So, which is great. You know you’ve kind of touched a little bit of on about how women, we don’t typically, I mean I’m using a broad, sweeping statement here but we don’t typically show up, or typically come with confidence and we struggle a little bit with imposter syndrome. How do you help women get over this to,

I guess the thing.

So, this is so interesting because, as I grew my business and started developing it and working with different women, you know, I had the whole formula mapped out for how to, you know pitch the interview, how to land the interview how to book it do all that stuff, but the thing that was tripping women up constantly was their mindset so they were experiencing a lot of jitters before going to do an interview or just having that thought like they would say out loud, you know who am I call myself an expert who am I to say that I’m a thought leader in the space so some of the things that I do and I do it for myself as well is to just shift the perspective into reminding yourself why you started your business and what it is that you’re doing to show up and serve every day so when you focus off of your purpose, versus on yourself and how you’re going to look and if you’re going to make a mistake, then it shifts your energy so some of the things that I like to do in my business and for myself I actually keep a book, and it’s a book that I just have just for my wins I track my monthly winds and the winds could be anything from new clients to new opportunities to my kids going back to school that was a win at one point it was. It was at one point but then I look back and I see a bigger picture to see how far I’ve come, and the impact that I’ve made on other women, I’m like so proud to say that I’ve helped over 40 Women land media spots and I remind myself about all that I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished and who I’m going to help with whatever interview I’m doing, and it calms me down, it literally calms me down. The other thing that we do is affirmations. Yeah, so literally have affirmations basically things like, I love how I look and sound on video, that’s hard for people to do, to do to show up and to feel it. We do affirmations and we just, you know, it’s more about being, you know, I hate to hate using that term in this context about like the self love and self care but it is really just helping us not be so critical, and also reminding ourselves that men are not waking up thinking all the stuff that we’re thinking about age makeup and they show up so we should be doing the same.

Totally, totally. I

always say it’s like giving yourself Grace right like give yourself some grace and and to sometimes be like, damn, I did all that or I can’t push that and link it to your point or like when we were talking about earlier was about, you know, why, why is my, like, they don’t want to listen to me you know I’m just doing that but others come in from a completely fresh perspective and don’t know about your business, whatever that is, in particular, and you will do have information that that other people want to hear and learn about and it is it’s a mindset shift in perspective to see that what you do have to talk about is interesting and

newsworthy, I think like staying in your lane as well right so when I worked in the TV industry you know the TV industry, of course, very competitive, you know, there’s always competition on who’s gonna get the next job. I felt way more insecure about myself and my confidence level because I was always comparing myself to the next person beside me, and I think entrepreneurs can get caught up in that do simple things like hit unfollow or you know stay early. I wake up in the morning and I always wondered about this like years ago I always wondered how do people do it but I wake up in my lane. And I think well what am I going to do to move myself forward I’m not waking up thinking about Susie or Brenda or you know, Frankie I’m not thinking about any of those people I’m thinking about myself and what I’m going to do to hit my goals so that’s also big, you know, from mindset I think that’s also you know just stay in your lane for a while and

I think interior design in particular is we’re, you know, it’s so easy to get caught in that trap right it’s so easy to go on Instagram and Facebook and go oh my god look at the project she’s working on Oh my God, look how great that is and it can it’s very hard I mean I’m 20 something years in the business and I can still find myself going, like, I don’t like it and it’s funny, I’ll be like oh my god that’s such a great project and I’m like, but I don’t actually desire to have a firm of 20 people plus like I don’t want that. Yeah, no and that’s what that’s what that requires so like to move on because that’s not where I want to be you know and yeah it’s it’s so easy to get caught up in it for sure.

It is yeah, everybody experiences that I totally still experienced it too, I’m not gonna sit here and say that I’m perfect, but it’s like don’t get caught up in it right don’t get caught up on it you see it. Okay, you feel a little bit of jealousy just yet.


Yeah, exactly.

I think those are those are very, very wise words because, yeah, it can it can it can totally derail you. Right, and especially if you’re if you’re trying to move forward in your mindset, it’s like that’s not gonna help you it’s gonna stall you for sure. Let’s see, did I have any other, was there anything that we didn’t talk about that you wanted to mention about what type of services that you offer for women, service providers because predominantly what this audience is,

uh Yeah so one of the things that I developed because I knew a lot of people are not ready for PR, I totally get this, this is something that I’ve heard over and over again and, ironically, the reason I started my business was when I was in my last position and reporting for CP 24 I had to coach some women, other women that were on my team to fill in for me for my morning hits and I was coaching them for their on camera so you know their pace their pitch their tone and all that kind of stuff and how they were showing up. So, I, that was kind of actually the like the seed that got planted to end up turning this into a PR service but what I’ve recently developed is a similar program a hybrid program that includes one on one time with myself as well as in a group setting where we just focused on on camera, and your presentation skills so those on camera presentation skills can be used in a discovery call could be used if you’re hosting a master class or a webinar, it could be used of course when we go back to in person, communications, but I think again it just goes back to the fact that women don’t have that competence to show up, and especially now, on camera like yeah how much pressure for us to look a certain way we know statistically that on camera men are less judged than women so I think now that we’re in the virtual space that felt like the right time for me to develop this so that we don’t know how much longer we’re going to be in this situation. And, you know, I think this is a massive shift that’s going to be here for a long time, you know we have a word for all of us if we haven’t already been online we’ve pivoted online,

you have to right, it’s. And you’re saying about on camera, I think, zoom, like zoom Yeah.


Yeah, predominantly what

people don’t realize like I’ve been in so many zoom meetings where, not necessarily with my clients but with other organizations and as soon as they show up on camera, it says a lot about them. And of course yes we’re going through a lot because we have kids at home and we’re tired and we’re exhausted, we’ve been in the pandemic forever but at the end of the day how you show up on camera says a lot about your brand and what it says about doing business with you. It’s a reflection, it’s a reflection, even if you’re a leader and you have a team, it’s going to be a reflection on how you assert, you know, whatever you have to assign to your team are they going to take you seriously or you know what I mean. So yeah, and there’s nothing more

frustrating than being on a zoom call or version of zoom call. Yeah, a video call, where you’re like, the cameras positioned wrong you’re getting like half their head cut off. You’re like, can you not see that like your point, you are showing up in a business setting, and you should be as if you were in person, right, like I mean, yes, you may have leggings on below. But you know like you got to show up like you wouldn’t have in a business media. I mean I just find a it’s been funny and I had a meeting last week where there was like a huge group of people on. And yeah, I’m like the one I’m like I can only see part of his head.

Like, yeah,

I mean, a lot of people just don’t know they just don’t know how to do things like really simple things that are intuitive to me because I work, you know when you work in TV, it’s not like you just get dressed and stand in front of a camera you’re actually in charge of editing shots and times I did some editing as well. So you know just learning the aesthetic for it, you know, it’s something that’s kind of a skill that people need to pick up or they learn over time or they’re taught right so especially if you’re in a business that’s not a

visual or creative business, you may not even. It’s not even in your wheelhouse or like yes, it’s not even there. Whereas I think somebody like designers were a little bit more aware of, yeah, yeah. So, for sure. Well, this is great, this is I have, I mean, there’s time we could talk about the Center for hours but I respect your time and I have my closing questions my interior Inquisition. Yes, and these are questions that can be about life for business or however you want to answer them. What is one thing you think every person should experience in their lives.

Going to the ocean, going to the ocean and spending a day at the ocean. I cannot tell you what a reset that can be, and now we’re now we can’t do that right now she lives somewhere warm. Yeah but spending a day at the ocean, or even better on a catamaran in the middle of the ocean, done that several times in the Caribbean. It is the most surreal spiritual experience that really is, yeah,

yeah, it’s like, I don’t know if you’ve ever done scuba diving, have you done scuba diving a little

bit not like, Yeah, a little I was in St Lucia, we, we did a little bit but right before they everybody was supposed to jump off the person who was like manning the ship said to us, you know, make sure like you don’t get bit by this like,

you know, poisonous

did it so I didn’t do much.

That’s not.

That’s but that’s, to me that’s one of those experiences when you’re under water and your world. It’s such a surreal experience. Not to say that I’m not super anxious before I do it every time.

I’m super nervous and I’m like oh

my god I don’t want to do it and then I’m like okay so


seemed totally it’s totally. So grounding, what is the wisest thing that you’ve ever heard someone say,

this is a hard one. This is a hard one. Okay, so here’s what I’ll tell you, not the wisest thing because that’s, you know, I’d have to go back through my catalog, but I think kids are so intuitive and there’s so great and they can really put things into perspective, I’ll tell you quickly we had a massive bug in our house and we freaked out. I freaked out, and my son just looked at me and he said, but it’s smaller than you, right, like Yes that is right. It’s small, but it was it was a quite a big bug but I’m like

it’s so big and he’s like No, but it does millipede things,

yes, yes,


I was like about

the only really big bug we get here. Yeah,

right. So, you know, just keeping that perspective like just any sort of wisdom around perspective,

right, they’re, they’re, you know basically what the out of the mouth of babes or something yeah it’s true, they’re just tell it like it is and see things, especially when they’re young, they say, I’m an unjaded perspective,

exactly, but I think it can apply to anything in life right, it can apply to the pandemic, it can apply to, you know, work it can apply to your personal life. Yeah, for

sure. Absolutely. See, wise words. What are three podcasts that you’re listening to, are more or less so

I love Abraham Hicks, I don’t know if you know, Joe, I listened to that every day I listen to a little bit every day. I love that it’s in short snippets,

I love podcasts that’s specific to them.

Yeah. So, look, there’s two, I don’t know which is the right one. But I listened to the I think the most current one, they do, it seems like they have conference and they’ve, you know,

Oh yeah,

definitely the book I have the book. Audio Book of it so yeah,

so maybe, but it’s a live concert, it’s like a Live, a live event that they seem to have chopped up, so that one’s really good. The other one that I listened to his base checks which is out of the

bay, I went to BizChixs live last year.

Okay, we have to talk a lot last year 2019

Right printing is so

crazy. I don’t think I didn’t think anybody knew who that was on.

Natalie Ekdahl fam. That is

hilarious so those, those two there and I will say, I actually okay like here’s my thing. I have a big pet peeve with how people sound on podcast so I don’t listen to me. No, yeah, you’re being judged and you actually you have a phenomenal voice who speak evenly you’re articulate, anybody who shows up with a valley girl voice, I check out so so those two are the ones that are my go to I don’t have a third, you know, it’s, it’s hard to get into business podcast because they’re not produced properly or with somebody who has the speaking skills, I’m a little judgy when it comes to that business. Right. It drives me bonkers because I can’t listen to their message all I can hear is the,

you know, whatever. Okay. Her tone is off.

Yeah, slowly Yeah,

that’s what I hear, so those

are my two favorites, Awesome, awesome. Well, I’ll give you some afterwards of my, my, go twos considering you like this check. So, yes, I think you’ll, there’s some other good ones that you might like so. Well, thank you again, Jennifer, I think this has been just such a wonderful chat and learning about what you do and I think what you’re doing is filling that, that niche that is definitely that is needed for sure for, and I think it’s educating to because there’s a lot of, I think there’s a lot of mystery about media and how do you get there and, you know, we know how to go on to social media we know how to post stuff that’s easy, but the, the next part of it is definitely coaching is needed because if you’re not in the industry, you have no idea what you’re doing so, if people want to find you. Where is the best place to find you.

So I am on social media. I’m very active on social media, more so in my DMs I feel like I don’t post as much but but I’m on Instagram at a@shesnewsworthy, and my website is shesnewsworthy.com There’s a free media pitch template there, this is the template that I use with all my clients to land interviews, and I also have all we talked about the marketing machine I have a set of master classes on there as well. So you know, speaking gigs, how to get paid as well as pitching to podcast and we just did an on camera masterclass so those are all accessible off my website. Awesome,

well thank you again, you know, put all this stuff in the show notes so people can, you know, because they’re probably walking or driving right now. They can find it all so thank you again and it was a pleasure chatting with you today.

It was so wonderful, thank you.

I feel so lucky that I get to interview such amazing women, and I’d love to taking with Jennifer, I think what she’s doing is really filling a void that is definitely needed. I think that pitching media. If it’s not something that you’ve done in the past or have sort of some sort of connection with I think it can be, can seem overwhelming, and can seem a bit, you know a bit daunting as to, you know, how do I get this out there. And, you know, we do not most of us small business owners don’t have the luxury of shelling out five to $10,000 a month for somebody to do this so I think she’s definitely found found a spot where there’s a definite need for. I love that she’s predominantly you know working with women because we do tend to look at ourselves as not maybe being having information that is quite as interesting and newsworthy, or don’t see it as being newsworthy when it really is and so having that outside perspective of somebody else looking in at what you do and pulling that stuff out that may be something that we totally take for granted. So I think Jennifer’s got got a great program and being able to do it in various methods whether you want by just a single one off program or course that she’s offered or being part of her group, I think that she’s offering a great opportunity and I hope you enjoyed this podcast, as much as I enjoyed interviewing Jennifer’s so do me a favor and go do something today that your future self will thank you for. Thanks again for listening and I hope you enjoy the show. And if you can rate and review us on Apple podcasts or iTunes or Spotify or Google, wherever you listen to the show. Thanks again.

Episode #0035 Creating Emotional Homes and Retail Environments, with Hollis Rendleman

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson is with interior designer Hollis Rendleman.   

Hollis creates an experience in the home that is purely based on how her clients want to feel when they are in their own space. She has advice for creating more soothing office spaces in the home by adding comfort items or scents. For example, if you find velvet to be soothing then perhaps a velvet throw pillow is a small item to add that will create a more soothing workplace in your home. Hollis elaborates on different ways to get clients to talk more about how they want to feel in their home instead of just explaining their likes & dislikes. 

Hollis has had experience as a social worker and a retail clerk which has created this desire to tune into people’s feelings. She has truly found her place in the market and is using these skills effectively to create custom interiors for each of her clients. However, getting into the interior design world and creating her own business has not always been easy. Like many, It was not always easy, and she had to push herself to pursue her dream of being her own boss. 

After a year of starting her own business, the pandemic hit. Like many, she struggled during that time, but thankfully, she was able to find ways to expand her business. She hosts workshops online to help people create more relaxing environments in their homes and helps others reach their full potential in their designs. The moral of the story is, there is no perfect time to start your own business, but once you found your calling, it’s time to dive in and just begin somewhere…the hardest part is starting. 

So, join Crystal and Hollis as they talk about Hollis’s journey to interior design and creating a wonderfully relaxing home. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and find what items you can add to your home that will make you more at peace in your home.

You may also want to check on episode 31 which is about Creating Your Happy Place

How to reach Hollis:

Website – hollisrendleman.com and hollisrendleman.com/workshops 

Facebook- HollisRendlemanInterior I Instagram- @hollisrendlemaninteriors  


Hollis Rendleman in TPD episode Creating Emotional Homes and Retail Environments,

Recommended podcasts:

Boom! LawyeredLovett or Leave it and Pod Save the World

- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

Welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer podcast. Thank you so much for joining me and my guest Hollis Rendleman today. Welcome Hollis.

Thank you. I’m very excited to be here.

First of all I love your name, it’s such a difficult is it what’s the nationality behind it.

It’s old English but my mom’s little sister when they were all little her sister had a friend named Hollis and my mom just was like, I love that name, it is in the memory banks.

I really like it. I think you get like do you get called Holly or anything like

I did as a kid me crazy because I was never a holly but yeah, by now. Yeah, in the last you know couple decades it’s been fine, but I love it it’s like that’s my last name that’s the big cat.

Oh really.


That’s such a stately name like, you know, Hollis Rendleman here.

I love it I love it has

a mouthful but thank you.

Yeah, no, it’s great. So tell us a little bit about what you do in the design world and who you do it for.

Yeah, so I am an interior architect, I have kind of two funnels to my business. One is working with custom clients where I focus mostly on remodels, so kitchen and bathrooms. Yeah, and I really like to work with custom clients who can be very clear about how they want to feel in their home, I am less tied to the aesthetics and more tied to kind of someone’s speaking, emotional language.

Okay and so would you say that that comes out in the form of more of a function, or how, how would you define this field is obviously a bit of a loose hearts 10 yard.

Yeah, I think, I mean it really helps shape the function, how they’re going to use it to kind of achieve those feelings, But then I think it actually makes aesthetic decisions. A lot easier because we, it’s so much less about this tile is pretty or this tile is trendy and much more about are all of these elements together going to really help solidify how you want to feel in this space.

Okay, yeah, I get that, that makes sense.

Yeah, so it’s, it leads to some very interesting introductory conversations, but it’s fun when I find clients who can really go there with me, which is great,

and that’s, and that would be, I’m guessing, sort of, I’m Canadian, so I’m going to say niche but your niche, would that would be what it would be right like that’s sort of how that differentiates you

yeah and it’s interesting because, you know, I’ve kind of wavered about saying this case but I also find that a lot of these clients also already have a really vast collection of artwork and again it’s not, it’s less about the aesthetic of the art to me also, but just the fact that they find these, you know, two dimensional pieces, evocative and they want to incorporate that in their space and that helps indicate you know some clients who are going to be able to have those kind of conversations with me, right, right. Wow.

Yeah, that’s definitely a different approach from what a lot of people I talked to in the design world. Yeah, so interior architect, I know that that’s, that’s more of a British term is it not like a UK thing, or how do you differentiate that.

Yeah, so basically I, you know, it was in the program I went to, it was enough about some of the system you know plumbing and HVAC and electrical systems that I felt like, you know remodels were in my wheelhouse in terms of kind of the scope of understanding, you know the costs implied in moving things and adjusting things and then really got to hone in on those skill sets, when I was working in corporate retail design, because that was a huge part of, we needed to design a great store and also not go crazy with the cost because we were flipping the whole store and changing all the plumbing or whatever,

right so I understanding more the structural and mechanical implications. Yeah, which is what you’re absolutely right because a lot of times I find my husband does renovations and there’s a lot of times where he’ll find he’ll get plans that have been drawn up by an architect, interestingly enough, and he’ll be like, cool, they’ve got the bathrooms over here and then again they’re on the opposite sides and he’s going okay from a cost standpoint, that’s really expensive like yeah, this this this and I can kind of gang it in one area, it’s going to you know make this much more usable budget and cost a lot less and, yes, less work so Yes. Interesting. So I know that this is not designed is not your first career so tell us how you ended up here because your website, it has the story but I want to hear from you so well and I have to say,

I have been loving listening to your podcast and especially people who have had a nonlinear path, their career, it makes me feel a little less alone and a little less weird. No,

it’s very common, though, I mean, I think in particular is one that people discover sometimes later on I felt like I discovered it later but I really didn’t I mean I, I went from high school into university and I studied kinesiology, for a semester. Yeah, and then I went okay this isn’t what I want to do so and then I you know, and then I figured out that I wanted to do design so

yeah, tell me your story. So I was in the social service social justice world for the first big part of my adulthood, specifically working with survivors of sexual and domestic violence. And a big part of my job was education so educating other service providers, you know crisis line or shelter or food so that they had a career responses to survivors that they may be working with who were coming to use their resources. So, including, you know, police and kind of city professionals, so the whole gamut, so I did a lot of the education around King County, which I loved, but, you know, honestly, I think I could have done the work forever. It was the. It was really hard to be in a profession that had this overlying scarcity mentality. Never enough people never enough money never enough resources. And just noticing how much that impacted my entire life, even when I wasn’t at work,

really. And I can imagine I mean, I think people don’t like you or I even think of we were talking about dogs earlier like veterinarians and all those people that, that have to deal with heart hurting issues and incidents and I mean I can’t even imagine how you could, you know, shut yourself off from that,

it’s, for me it was really interesting because I felt like working directly with clients, was hard, but you know you got to see all this resilience and power, and kind of, you know, so that really wasn’t. What kind of drew me in, it was, it was much more working with nonprofits, they just like yeah you know this kind of air of desperation all the time which I understand, like, that piece just got very hard for me to have that be kind of ruling my psyche all that yeah

yeah and I can understand that because you’re you’re knowing I guess what resources and things that could be done but there’s just no money to do it. Yes, is that we are kind of thing. Yeah, exactly,


yeah that’s frustrating,

so I made a 180, and went and worked at a feminist own sex toy store.

That is the one ad.

Yes it was. I have to say, you know, that was really a move on a solely like selfish level, but to get to work with people who were celebrating themselves and other people physically, sexually, was just like, such a sad for my, you know, little damaged system after doing that work for so long, and I ended up managing that store, and that is where I discovered retail design, and you know just the power of you change the display and you change the lighting, and you know maybe change the colors that are around that display and then suddenly those things are flying off the shelf, and just, you know is really fascinating to see kind of the psychology of retail design for sure. Yeah, I had always been the friend who I’m a really bossy person by nature, so I’d always been the friend would come over and be like, You should move that piece of art and those chairs and, you know, but I never considered career in design, until I was at that store and then I was like, this is like a superpower, change the display change a fixture change the lighting, change the graphic, and just like watch people be drawn like these two flowers, what you’re trying to sell and I was like, I’m into this, this is so cool.

I it’s funny I started my sort of design career and I worked for a retailer too. We have, you know, in the US you guys have Bed Bath and Beyond, yes, we so Canada, we brought in through the Hudson’s Bay Company called home Outfitters and it was literally a copy of that. And so I was doing all those while they were rolling out in Canada and they actually just closed them all, I think last year which was kind of sad but I understand the retail side of it, like speaking that language as well and yeah it is kind of interesting. So it’s

super fun.

Yeah, so okay so you get into retail design so sorry I can’t you just ever you want to do retail.

So then I started school, I started a program that was, you know, supposed to take me three years part time, because I was working full time. Yep. And this was the toothcomb trying blinking on the year 2009 Recession hit while I get in grad school. So, what was supposed to take three years took me six. At one point I had to like just earn money.

Yeah. Honey, you have to do that too.

So I had left that toy store and gone into the interior design world and then of course got laid off, and all the giant firms in Seattle, laid off hundreds of people with years more experience than me, and so I went back into retail and worked for another kind of really small business, and got to do their whole renovation and then got to open a pop up store with them so that was super fun, but, you know, retail, working directly for the retailer. I was still a store manager, yeah, yeah, making the design, and I just really wanted to be in the design world so wonderfully lefting got more into firms and all of that sort of stuff.

Right. And then, and then what happened so then you and then how did you start your own business. Well,

again not linear, I had started a few times and had you know a few good goes But, even though I had as a retail manager I had managed teams and big budgets and stuff like doing it on your own, it’s just such a different game. And so, you know feeling uncertain and not, not really finding the right structure and then life would happen, and a corporate job would show up with steady pay and insurance and I’m like, oh yes please. I’ll take that for another couple years so I kind of did that off and on for a few years and then honestly I just I had a couple years, 2016 and 17. My dad died, which he had early onset Alzheimer’s so was one of those, we knew it was coming but it was still pretty hard, but he was buried in the national, oh my gosh I’m totally blanking, the military in DC, the military Greenbrier Arlington alright yeah it’s just it takes, it’s a six month process, which you know, so we didn’t bury him for six months, which I don’t recommend.

There’s no closure,

no and it was really hard. I mean, again, because we knew he was dying, I didn’t think it was going to be that hard and it really ended up being very hard. So, and then I was diagnosed with cancer, right after that. Yeah, so I had surgery and treatment, and was all better. And, you know, was so grateful for my corporate retail design job that I had and yeah and you know grateful that they gave me space to take care of myself but also I could come into work and work on these really cool projects, and then, you know, after I was healthy again. I was like, What am I doing this is, I’ve wanted to have my own business. I just need to take the plunge. So I left that in the summer of 2019, and I was just going to pick up at the beginning of last year and then COVID hit, which I don’t recommend having a pandemic in your first year business oh no it’s not it’s not helpful.

No surprisingly Yes, it’s a little curveball that nobody is ever needed to plan for no business plan, No, no, my goodness. Oh my goodness.

So and I just wasn’t quite established enough to have, you know anything getting me through the beginning of COVID So that was yeah, he was hard.

I bet, I bet. So what are you are you doing your business, your own business now, like yes, yeah,

yeah, yeah. Yeah, so things feel like they’ve stabilized and I’m, you know the right kind of clients and projects are showing up right now and, and finally getting to really focus on the online side of things that I want to focus on. Yes, which is kind of a second funnel of my business,

and is that the workshops is that what Yes.

Yeah. Yeah. So

tell us a little bit about your workshops, I’d like to read a few of them but

yeah so basically in kind of all this murkiness, a friend of mine was, I was currently just working with some retail clients. This was one of the periods that I was trying to do my own business, in the last handful of years, and a friend of mine was working at a community college in the continuing ed department, so people who just kind of want to take one class at a time. So she was always looking for new classes and she’s like, why don’t you come in and teach people how to design a room and I was like, oh, that’s the most brilliant idea ever, because all of my jobs, prior to design had involve teaching

or training or you know,

exactly, and I really loved that element, and it had actually made me sad knowing going, I was going into design. And that wasn’t going to be a part of it. So I put this course together at the time it was three weeks it’s now evolved to three months, because all the feedback was like, can you design a house. And I taught it in person it was super fun because again, you know, someone’s individual style is less important to me and I’d have someone in the group who was doing this totally Zen office, and someone else in the group who was doing their living room with this whole Safari theme, you know, and just a how these projects evolved and these people who did not fancy themselves designers like really start to put some stuff together in a way that really was working and

no, that sounds great, I mean it’s a great idea and as we all know everything is virtual right now so yes

yeah yeah so I have some workshops that are just kind of, you know when 90 minutes being specific to a room or zone, and then I have a program that will be launching end of February, early March, that’s a three month, how to design one room from floor to ceiling, and we do you know we have the time to do all the space planning, and all the materials selection and all the furniture selection.

That’s great. Yeah, it’s like a, like a mid level I mean it’s a course and it’s but it’s, it’s more than I think more than a workshop. And yes, you know, not going in to a degree program. Yeah,

yeah, and it’s really it is all of this is really aimed towards the DIY and client folks. So, you know people who don’t think they can afford a designer or feel like they have enough vision that they don’t really want to design or they just want to figure out how to execute their vision.

Yeah I was gonna say cuz there’s a lot of, I think, like I’m just thinking about the sort of the market yeah there’s people that are di wires and are like, I can do myself I don’t need help. And then there’s probably like to your point where you’re finding people that are going cable I know what I like and look but I just and I want to do it properly because I always say the biggest thing is, you know, clients just sometimes don’t know what they don’t know

know exactly. So and I, it’s been interesting for me business wise, because those were a lot of my custom clients initially who like well I’ll just do this and I’ll just do that. And what’s great about offering these courses is I feel like I have a great place to funnel people who are inclined, so that my custom clients are the people who want to do, you know, the big projects with the professionals and all of that

with full service

yeah exactly yeah so it’s this nice kind of way to channel people are sure.

Yeah, cuz a lot of times you know they’ll if they come to you. I remember early in my, my, sort of independent days and I remember having a couple people hire me and I’d be like, Why did you hire me. Yeah, you want you’re basically just kind of, I don’t mean telling me what to do but like you had a vision, you had a hammer and, yeah, and that was yeah and I think a couple of them I had to just say like, we’re done because this like this isn’t working, I’m spinning my wheels you’re spinning your wheels like,


like there’s no satisfaction from either of us and so having something like that I think is, it’s great that they can learn some of the stuff that they don’t know that they

know exactly, and get some cheerleading which everybody needs Yeah.

Yeah that’s true and it’s not just a online course where there’s no, like, go through each module on your own.

There’s great feedback, like there’s absolutely, Yeah. Yeah, huge, which is huge.

Yeah and accountability, I’m sure, right.


you gotta get this done.

I think it’s a big piece and it’s that’s the interesting transition to online because when I taught it in person. You know people are committed to showing up and they’re having to bring something to show. So, yeah, every I mean everything has, like you said gone online so that’s the interesting kind of create accountability, but because it’s a virtual world it doesn’t feel the same. Yeah,

yeah, absolutely. So your tagline or mission statement on your website is that you’re I’m gonna just read it in your. I’m here because I believe everyone deserves a space that feeds their soul and elevates the way they live. I love love love this, so thank you I’ll dive a little bit more into that.

Yeah, I mean, I definitely have a deep philosophy one that everyone deserves a home, I feel like homes are a right not a privilege, and to everyone deserves a home that is beautiful to them. And that, I think when our homes are beautiful and functioning, they really allow us to rest and recuperate and connect with people that we cherish. And, you know, kind of as we were as it sounds I believe that when that happens, we can each walk back out our front door or these days, go back on our computer and do what it is that we do to make the world a better place, but if we’re exhausted, If you know we’re frustrated by our house if it doesn’t allow us to feed our souls, then we’re not stepping out into the world, being our best selves, and probably creating a little more chaos than good and so I just really, I mean I really have this belief that, you know, homes are made of organic materials they’re on the earth like they are these kind of organic living beings to a degree that need to kind of fluctuate and respond to who we are as we grow emotionally and spiritually and, and I just want that for everybody, You know, I just, like, imagine if everyone had a beautiful, you know, again, their term of beautiful right home to go home to each night, like when the world beautiful.

Their safety it’s, you know their their point their comfort their place to

fully relax fully be Converse their bodies and their bodies and, yeah, communion with other people, I mean it’s just, and again, I mean this year especially, all the new things we’ve had to do in our homes, like, no I know we’re all stir crazy but also what a way to discover what a kind of sanctuary your home can be from a world that feels really crazy and chaotic and scary and all of the things, and it’s it’s the ultimate safe place right

now. Yeah, like it’s yeah, yes, here in Toronto we just went into literally a state of emergency lockdown again, like, big time like they’re, you know you can go out to get groceries, you can go to exercise and go to your job. If you have to like if you don’t can’t work from home, right, like, That’s it, like, and they’re, they’re doing, you know, fines or you’re going to be fine if you’re like, wow, yeah. It’s hardcore like it’s, like, there’s no messing around because No, no, we’ve got to so that I mean, I think, more now than ever, what you’re talking about is people are going to understand and resonate with it more so now because it’s not even, to your point, it’s not even just the aesthetic like oh I don’t like the color or I don’t like the whatever it’s, it’s yeah, it’s how are you feeling in that space is it even from a, from a standpoint of, you know, are you able to work. Yes properly right yeah you’re in a busy household and, you know, you only have one space or something and now you’ve got four or five bodies there that all need to work and have quiet and, you know, it’s, yeah.

and are you getting good sleep during a pandemic which is creating great anxiety and, yeah, I mean it’s, yeah this year has been so interesting to really think of, I mean just to really drive home for everybody. The impact our homes have on us for sure,

for sure,

and with the additional discomfort they can cause if they’re not working right.

Yeah. Is there any tips or is there anything that you Yeah, especially from maybe some of your workshops and that that you have found as being a good kind of go to for for people living in people that say I want to do something I don’t know with my house like is there any bring plants in or something I

don’t know. I mean, mine is more, you know, I, one of the things I do with every workshop is have people kind of recall a time where they felt really good in a space that you know if we’re doing a home office in an office or if we’re doing a bedroom in a bedroom, and to really notice the senses and what the qualities were for taste and smell and light and temperature, and how, you know before they go buy a new desk and paint the wall and stuff, how can they create a similar quality of light or, you know, can they have a candle or a diffuser with a similar smell going or, you know, how can they create a similar sense of temperature, and just start to get our senses in a place that feels more soothing for whatever environment they’re working in,

and I bet you a lot of people have never looked at it that way right

I’ve never thought that way you know and and again it’s like not huge changes, and as you move forward to make the purchase of the new desk or paint the new wall, you’re kind of grounded in a better sense of how you want that space to feel, and, you know, part of that is going back to retail and, you know, there’s a few years ago, this kind of aha moment of small retailers or hotels or whatever having a signature scent. Again you know the power of smell to evoke a memory. And if you have a really great memory of a certain office, that can be brought back with a smell, why not use that, even if you don’t have control over having the desk size that you really want, like,

I totally agree with that we actually here in Toronto, we have a woman who’s become a center designer. And I think that’s so


I know I was like, she told me she does and she’s done some corporate, obviously you have to be careful because of people’s


and activities. But I was like, You’re, she’s so it’s so bang on we actually did a couple years ago and it came up on my seat the other day and I was looking at it, we did a scent pairing dinner. So, since it’s so good. It was so fun, and it just might have been like, I’m gonna call her and see if she wants to be on the podcast because, yeah, it was I thought what a brilliant concept, Just because that is one of our senses and smells. I think for a lot of people is like, you know, I smell a fragrance and like if I smell something that my mom used to wear it’s like yes, totally, yeah. So actually, that’s such a great, to your point small little thing that somebody can do, you know they weren’t maybe at some great hotel or they went to a spa they had some fantastic scent, you know, try to recreate that. Yeah.

Yeah, and it’s, it’s super fun to do that section in the workshops and just have people be like, Whoa, all I need is like some sort of soft velvety thing to touch, and I will be greatly soothe in this environment, like, there you go you know that could be just one throw pillow, and suddenly you’ve changed the game of how you feel in that space.

That’s amazing. I love, I absolutely love that concept and looking at that from more from like the five senses, I guess really yeah right trying to reach those and then getting those pulling those that extracting them from from the clients to get them to sort of really, you know, dig deep and figure out, oh it is that that I like or it’s that’s what caused why liked that feeling or room or whatever it was, yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting. I

love it. Yeah, I just did this with two new clients I’m working with and we’re remodeling their kitchen and then I had them each tell me their kind of favorite kitchens story, and to try to address the senses as they’re telling me this story and it just goes, I mean their stories were not did not involve each other they were pre having met each other but they were so evocative and I just felt like I was in the kitchen with them and, and then to see the overlap and similarities of what appealed to both of them about that, like how many people were in the kitchen and how many people were cooking and they both had a big fire element to their kitchens and I’m like, great, this is like, you know, suddenly becoming so clear what your kitchen needs to be based on these two fantastic stories where you told me, You know what the lighting was and what you were smelling and you were both sipping on wines and, you know. Yeah,

that’s awesome. That is this probably a dumb question, but do you think that your years of being in social work and social work that you’ve been able to know either how to hone in on people’s emotions or figure out how to get those answers out of them. Does that make sense.

Yes, I mean I think I’m pretty empathic to begin with, which probably is part of what drew me to the social service work, but yeah, I, I do think that honed a lot of it and I mean it’s kind of, you know, I just didn’t. I just did a q1 planning meeting with my team and I asked them all how they wanted to feel when they were doing work for this team and so we, in the slide deck we had one sheet with everyone’s three feeling words, and it’s just, I mean that is my go to for everything because I feel like that is its own language. Yeah, and obviously if I say I want if one of my rules for everyone I work with is they cannot use comfortable because that’s just a given.

You cannot do it very uncomfortable,

your living room. I will make it comfy. Put that aside, that’s an odd ask Go ahead. Moving on to other words, like, I just, to me, that helps. It’s just this real clarifier for me, it really helps me be able to visualize. And, you know, kind of put myself in their shoes so that I’m getting to the right place faster rather than I am not someone who can hear like I like blue tiles and gray slate floors, and get it right the first time but I’m

just gonna say, yeah, there’s this, I, when I present to clients I use what I call them look and feel bored, and it’s kind of like a mood board but it’s the same type of thing, you know, somebody will give me words and give me this and they’ll say we want it to be, you know, contemporary, which, again, like those words are such loose, so. So for you, for you, you’re, you’re pulling it out and I can see like, we just hear you talk about fire and you’re like oh, like you can just start to, You get the design direction starts to right like you start to feel like okay now I know where I’m going with this, and how to move forward.

Yeah, and I feel like it also helps me clarify where I can push them a little bit outside of their comfort zone to something new. Yep, which I don’t feel nearly as confident doing if, you know, again, we’re talking about blue tiles and slate floor,

yeah, yeah, that’s such a like it’s like a generic description, yes, you know, and even, you know Pinterest and showing me pictures of what you like. That would that’s helpful but then you’d have to go what do you like about

this like what exactly and then pulling up

to your sense like the, the emotions and the words and yes you know that out of it. Yeah. Yeah, that’s amazing.

I love it

I love it.

Yeah, I’m glad I’m finally here after such a like, you know, circuitous path, but

well I think everything happens for a reason and they’re, you know, you were meant to do that and me, you know, and just not that having, having illnesses and all that, or there’s a path but I think that there is sometimes the struggle is there’s some there’s a reason right there’s

something. Well, I mean it would have been so easy to stay comfortable in, where I was. Yeah, had I not had to kind of back to back things that were just like, What do you want to do with your life

like with life. Ultra basic Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s amazing. I love I love your story and I think it’s great and I love to hear how people end up, you know, in the design world and it’s great stories because a lot of people come from different, different backgrounds and, and a lot of the time it’s some sort of I don’t want to say hardship but there’s something that has pushed them a little. There’s that, you know, kick in the pants kind of thing that’s made them do it. Because to your point, it’s too easy to just sort of stay status quo and, yeah, you know, and there’s never a right time to start a business, no. There’s never a right perfect time to have a kid you just do

like there’s those exactly

like life events or there’s never a perfect time so, so I want to end this with my closing questions which is yes I call the interior Inquisition, and these are anything with regards to work or life or however you feel you want to answer them. So, what is the one thing that you think every person should experience in their lives.

Yeah, my answer is going to be really weird but it’s Greece. And I think, I mean, again, I obviously I’m, you know, very driven by emotions but this year in particular it’s been fascinating to watch people so actively avoid feelings of grief, with all the losses we’ve had, you know, from the very small thing of not being able to go get coffee for a while to death and all of that stuff and, and I just, I really think grief changes you if you let it just kind of make you feel. Yeah, if you feel it, there is something else on the other side of it that I think can be so liberating and powerful and I know it’s scary, but that is truly my wish for everyone is that they could just really let themselves feel it and then get to the other side.

Yeah, I think that’s so true that the feeling part of it because too many people try to push it down, ignore it, avoid it. Whatever, whatever avoidance mechanism is yes, it’s discomfort and we don’t

totally like to be there. We don’t have a ton of tools around it and we don’t talk about it well and all of those sorts of things, so you know it’s not an individual’s fault. I mean, that’s our culture. But yeah, we’re all going to face it at some point so learning to.

Yeah, for sure, absolutely, wisest thing you’ve ever heard someone say,

this is interesting because the first podcast I listened to of yours when you ask someone that sounds like, oh I know what it is. I think it was an article actually in a design magazine years and years ago but someone said something along the lines of a beautiful room can’t be designed, quickly or, you know, in a couple weeks or whatever they said and I just remember reading it and being like, no so frustrating. And then the more and this was way before an interior design career but the more I do it the more you know, again I want people’s homes to be representative of them and their experiences and our goals and unique to them and that takes time to put together and you know it’s it’s honestly part of why, like the home design shows there’s something about it that just like gets me. I can’t watch them. No I can’t. And everyone is really surprised but I’m like I cannot stay in those kinds of things, because it’s just like the reveal, I mean I love me a transformation. Oh yeah, like that’s super fun in such a like hit of whatever it is adrenaline or or Tonin or whatever but the lack of character to it. Got me and yeah, to have that character takes time, and I think, you know, I remember having a client, we had gotten to the furniture and finish stage of her big remodel, and she was ready to like disregard these chairs that she loved because it was going to take two months to get there. Yeah. Amazon has ruined us all.

Yeah. Instant instant instant I can get it tomorrow I want it right now right now right now. Yeah. Yeah. And I was into that exact point. You know I’ve had a couple jobs where they’re like, it’s gonna be and it’s like, you know what, it’s your first choice, and it’s your house. Yes. Wait. yes like you will be worth it, you exactly you won’t be disappointed, and like that you

wait enjoy the anticipation and then enjoy the arrival, and then enjoy that you got what you want it, like Yeah,

yeah, it’s so true. It’s so true and then even just the creative process of getting to the as the right solution. Right, totally not alone is yet we’re to instantaneous, where you can just do it up on cat, somebody behind that that has to sit exactly, then, think it through and, you know, sort of try to, you know, troubleshoot okay well what about this, what about that and does that work here and you know like there’s all these variables that we have to consider in in in rushing, you know causes errors and not the best work right. So, yeah, I love that that’s that’s absolutely true. And what are three podcasts that you’re currently listening to,

I mostly listened to political podcast is the truth I stopped listening to.

I bet you they’re very active right now. Yeah, breaking news. Yeah, yeah,

I stopped listening to any sort of business related ones, but then just in the last couple weeks I’ve discovered two highly entertaining podcasts, one is in strange woods. Okay, which I thought was gonna be one of those kind of like, like a serial type. Yeah, but it’s a musical. Oh my goodness, but it’s a, you know, kind of, dramatize missing person dead person story, but then everyone breaks out into song and I had no idea that was coming, and it’s delightful. I mean, it’s super good. And then the other one is from now, which is this sci fi story, the years, 2035, and a spaceship returns no the year has to be it’s different. This, I think the spaceship left in 2035, and he was gone for 30 years. According to everyone on earth but he came back minutes later, according to him. And so it’s this whole like what happened, but the sound effects are super good and it’s a couple actors I like who all have Scottish accent so that’s also quite nice and so it’s like a story, it is a story. Yeah, with episodes yeah to speak right yeah, and it’s been delightful, literally I just discovered both of those a couple of weeks ago and it’s been delightful to have something nice to listen to on walks and not just politics.

Yeah, I think, the is there we say like There’s certain times in your life where you just need certain types of podcasts like we’re where you want to do your point kind of check out, and not be you just be entertained, yes and not be learning or heated up by political stuff, or whatever, right. So I think that’s, that’s, yeah, that’s good because we’re definitely right now I think we could probably stay away from the news for

even a whole day would be life changing at this point.

Exactly, because there’s. Who knows what tomorrow. It’s yeah, yeah, I mean I guess you, you are living in the country where most of this is happening so I can I apologize on behalf

of all Americans, that we are seeing this chaos

right now so it’s it’s it’s a it’s an interesting study and and I’m sure you know 10 years from now when you know, students are studying this in school, they’re going to be just like, Wow, 2020 and 2021 Yeah, was so messed up. Yeah, what were people thinking. Yeah, crazy. Well thank you so much. He’s really nice chatting with you, delightful. Yeah, it was fun and I love I love your approach to to how you’re working with your, your clients and I think it’s great now more than ever it’s, it’s something that’s super relevant for people to sort of look, look around them and figure out how can we make the space, make them feel more safe and comfortable. Yeah. Well thank you so much.

Thank you. I really appreciate it.

Thank you. Wow,I feel so fortunate at times when I get to speak to such great guests and be able to hear their story and learn about how they ended up where they are today and holes is definitely no different. I love her approach to design as well. I love that she really tries to get to the essence of what people want in a space and it’s not just about the aesthetic and the beauty space but how is it going to function and, you know, how is it going to make you feel which I think is is such a great way to really go deep and I think, you know, finding this niche or this niche for her is, I think just, you know how lucky are her clients that get to work with her and you’ll do really get that sort of attention to detail in the sense of really going deep into figuring out what it is that will be the right space for them and and feed their soul if she says, and I love that she had a has a retail background, and then the social the social worker background.

Episode #0034 – Michelle Cooper’s Seven Key Points to Analyzing the Health of your Business

Featured in this week’s episode of The Productive Designer host Crystal Collinson with entrepreneur and owner of Alchemy Accounting and Bookkeeping Services, Michelle Cooper. 

Michelle is an author and business owner who helps businesses create profit and lift themselves out of poverty. She discusses how she went virtual in her work over the years, but especially when COVID hit. Shifting to work virtual has allowed her to work with people from all over the world and support others in all aspects of their bookkeeping and analyzing their business needs. QuickBooks has been instrumental in helping Michelle stay on top of her business in assisting others with their needs. 

Michelle also has her own blog with a multitude of advice for businesses. Some of her best advice is teaching others how to turn a profit instead of letting their bills and expenses take control. Michelle has seven key points to help you in your business endeavors. 

  1. She starts by taking a look at your mindset to find what you are truly saying about yourself and your business subconsciously. Start by clearing your mind of the negativity your subconsciously thinking about your business. 
  2. What is your profitability on your price point? 
  3. Where is your spending going? Who are you paying and what are you paying for? Must Haves? Convenience? What is this? 
  4. Where are you discounting your services to get clients? 
  5. What is your team doing and where are their hours going? 
  6. Developing important and better relationships with your vendors. 
  7. What is your client’s lifetime value? 

So, join Crystal and Michelle as they talk about how Michelle can improve the mindset of your business, and how you can turn a profit on your business. And then, do something today that your future self will thank you for and listen to this episode of The Productive Designer. 

How to reach Michelle:

Website – alchemyaccounting.ca 

LinkedIn- michellebcooper  I Facebook- businessamongmoms

Michelle Cooper as guest on TPD with episode Seven Key Points to Analyzing the Health of your Business

Recommended podcasts:

Mind Your Business, Run Like Clockwork and Real AF

- Click here for the RAW, unedited transcript -

Welcome everyone to another episode of The Productive Designer today I have Michelle Cooper, she is a powerhouse entrepreneur, CEO of Alchemy Accounting and Bookkeeping, author of Confessions of a Money Rockstar your money date journal and co author of the collaborative book Women Rising. Michelle supports the growth of her clients business with real strategic planning, while also addressing the mindset issues that arise with growth in order to bust through and rise up to levels. They never dreamed up. The team had alchemy, accounting and bookkeeping support clients across North America and into Mexico and South America, as so many entrepreneurs go virtual Michelle has helped many business owners climb out of entrepreneurial poverty and into the land of profit welcome Michelle,

thank you so much. I am very excited to talk to you guys today. And thank you for having me crystal,

well this is exciting I there’s so many I have so many things here I just I want to know how do you work with people in other countries like how does that work for you from I guess from, obviously there’s different tax laws and how has that developed because I know how I work with my bookkeeper in accounting and I think okay how can I make this 100% virtual so tell

me a little bit about that.

Yeah, well, you know, so many businesses are going virtual, And so many entrepreneurs are, you know, becoming kind of like digital nomads or, you know, that kind of like laptop lifestyle kind of thing. And what I noticed is that when I was speaking at entrepreneurial events in Canada and the United States. Quite a few people were like ex pats living in Mexico, or Costa Rica. Right, right. And so, what, what I ended up doing like, you know, they needed support, and I develop the team. Like I cultivated a team of professionals that can support them. So I don’t I can’t be the expert in every single situation, for sure, but I do have some really really great people on my team that can support people and know exactly the legislation or their situation what they should be filing in regards to supporting people with bookkeeping is pretty easy these days, right yeah with the use of QuickBooks Online or other software and Dropbox and firewalls, it’s pretty easy to to make that completely virtual,

right. So do people like just no like I’m thinking logistically like when I have all my invoices and my receipts and stuff and I have them like are they scanning them in and sending them to you is that kind of how it works. Yeah,

so, so QuickBooks has an app, which basically you can take a picture of a paper receipt. Okay. And then that records the receipt so we asked the client to do that, we’ll allocate it, but at least there we have a picture of it, and the IRS and the CRA, the two government authorities. They will now accept digital records they didn’t used to do that but they will know things like email receipts and stuff like that, we have a system in place where basically the client forwards the email,

and it’s recorded

by my staff saved into Dropbox for them and kind of like a little bit of a concierge kind of service, and, and that way it’s all taken care of.

That’s great. Yeah, cuz I was just thinking, I mean I know when I take my receipts I put them in a file like enough mental thing and I just collect them and then every quarter I give them to her and she lives very close to me but, no, that’s great, that’s what was, those are my questions I think you should do that with the receipts because it wouldn’t be labor intensive on being the client to have to scan them all in but with having an app like just to take a photo it’s much easier.

Yeah, yeah, I mean you know sometimes say somebody hasn’t kept their bookkeeping records up to date and they have a year or more of receipts. What we’ll often do is say, put them in the mail to us and we’ll figure that piece out. Like, I’ve got staff who can, you know, scan things at a kazillion miles an hour and we can take record of it right. Yeah. You know, like our goal for 2021 is to be paperless. Yeah, I don’t know if we’ll reach it,

but it is.

That’s our goal to be completely paperless, it makes me nervous because even for my own records I’m like printing stuff to myself or like I thought it was supposed to be paperless I’m like oh yeah just ignore that.


that’s me and my hang ups, not anybody else. No, I know I’m the same way I mean I still feel like I print stuff like I don’t know, is there something tangible that I go kids and it’s physically in that folder I know as opposed to it being digitally in a folder so yeah I get it I get it but, so you have a, I guess we’re gonna talk a little bit about seven, brilliant ways to increase profits without killing yourself. I thought this was a very appropriate topic for my audience who pretty much predominantly exists, solopreneurs small business owners, and as we know when we are those, we wear all the hats, and I’d love to hear your expertise on this.

Yeah, well, you know, one of the things I found was that business owners like we especially when we’re at the beginning stages are what I call this start phase which is kind of like

zero to about

350 $400,000. We’re wearing all the hats. Right. And so we can often just lose track of, like, the actual profit that’s in our business, and that’s the most important number right like that number is, what, what you get to keep as a business owner, right, like that’s your money. Yeah, and business owners can get really really caught up in, like in the top line revenue number. Right. And, and, you know I want a six figure business a seven figure business, all of that kind of talk, and there’s really no like there’s no point in having, you know, a million dollar business, if you’re making $1 in profit.

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. If you got a million dollar business, but you have 900 and something 1000 in expenses and costs, then, yeah,

you’re not like there’s no real point to it right. And, and what I found when I was working with more and more business owners is that they didn’t, they didn’t have a significant enough profit to sustainably support the business, and sometimes they had no profit at all, and often they weren’t paying themselves or paying themselves enough. And what can happen is that they start to build resentment towards the business. Oh yeah, absolutely.

You’re exhausted.

You know, like you’re putting in all this work. And what do you got to show for it.

Yeah, you’re like, I could go work at Starbucks and be checking checkout and probably take home the same. Yeah,

and I literally had in the early days of building my business I literally had a client who was in that position, and she was like, either you figure this out and tell me what to do, or I’m just going to go work at Starbucks. Yep, think about

this point. Yeah, exactly.

So is there is there seven steps, or seven items like let’s let’s, let’s bring this down.

Yeah, so one of the first thing I tell people to, you know, consider, is looking at your mindset like looking at your thinking. Right. And, really, like, what do you feel is your thoughts around creating a profit, your business. Do you are you are you operating from a place of, it’s really hard to create a profitable business I never have enough money. There always seems to be too many bills like what, what’s that dialogue that’s going on inside your mind because the mindset piece is like the foundational piece of where we start. Right, and clear that out. So whatever methodology you adhere to or you believe in, whoever you follow in regards to mindset. That’s the most basic place to start. And we can do this by either being still or silent or some people like to, I personally journal. And when I think about something like profit. I just listened to the internal dialogue that comes up. Right, so what is that subconscious talk that oh well you can’t have that much money, or, no, no. That’ll never happen, Or, or, that’s gonna be super easy like what happens,

right. It’s the money story right that they talk about,

yeah it’s total money story right clear that up, the other. The second piece is to look at your profitability on projects like what is your profitability on your price point. Right. So, especially, you know, for your clientele. They’re probably operating on a project by project basis, right, something like QuickBooks Online, you can enable projects, which is very useful because you’re able to allocate income and expenses directly to a project, and run a profitability report.

So you get the numbers very easily from QuickBooks, if you’re running project accounting. Okay. And, and that’s going to show you, like, you know, when you say you build out on a project to build in 100k, and your cost of fulfillment of that project like the, the costs that are directly involved with the fulfillment of the project are $50,000 I’m just making these numbers, universities, the math right, so you write a 50% profit, like gross profit margin, what I call that number that’s left that 50k that’s left, that’s your real revenue. And that’s what you have to pay yourself with,

and all of your overhead.

And it’s a really important number to understand. So looking at your pricing looking at the profitability of projects where a project’s perhaps going out of scope is another place to look at, right, and why, and really getting a firm handle on that. Usually, when we look at that, we see that there’s an capacity to a increased price point. Right. Often when people are in a start or grow scale phase of their business, they can bump their price up a little bit, and then the third one is really to look at your spending. So I talked about doing a spending audit. So this is examining where your money is going. Who are you paying. What are you paying for. I categorize expenses into three categories, when we do a spending audit with clients, and the first one is, I absolutely have to have this to do my business. Okay,

the must haves. Yeah,

right. So, must have could be something like zoom, could be something like, I don’t know some software you need to like AutoCAD or something like that. Right, have to have it. The second category is, it’s a convenience, so it might save me time. I could not use it, but I use it. And then the third category, which is always the one that gets people is, I don’t even know what this is.


yeah. Yeah, and when I say to people is if you’ve used this for three months that you need to get rid of it. Yeah, and you do a spending audit by just like you’re just gonna pull up your bank statement your credit card statement and go through it line by line for your past couple months, and you can take a highlighter or whatever works for you. And just look at your spending. And often, people can save 1000s of dollars, just by doing that, which is going to increase your profit margin.

Yeah, and when you’re talking about that it’s, like, right now there’s so many apps that we can have subscriptions to, and they can be $7, and $8 a month and you’re like, well, that’s nothing. But if you’ve got 10 of those, I mean, it can just those little things like where they call that the the coffee isn’t there like the latte factor or something where they’re talking about your spending. Yeah, yeah, like the $5 or whatever, but those 678 $10 $12 a month, apps, to your point, if you’re not using them, then they’re your absolute, you know, waste in an expense that is not needed. Yeah,

yeah, absolutely. So that can really help increase our profit margin. Right. Yeah, for sure. The fourth one is around discounts or kind of like deals, you know like, where are you discounting your services. In order to get the client.

Well and and designers decorators designers are notorious for this you know we are the people that are, You know, especially if you’re doing hourly, even if you are keeping meticulous hours. There’s so many of us, I don’t do hourly anymore but so many of us would be like, oh I can’t really charge them. I can’t, I can’t really invoice them for all the hours I’ll just take them off. Right and you because it’s you have a mindset issue with that right and then, yeah, you know, now that they’re older, they’re gonna freak out if they see that it was you know 35 hours last month. So yeah, big time on that for sure.

Yeah, and that to me is a, an indication that they need to move out of hourly pricing for sure, right, if you feel like you know I believe in value pricing for sure, but you know sometimes people, you know, it’s, it’s just inevitable you just have, you have to charge by the hour for some thing, but if you find yourself going, oh I can’t charge them the full, you know what we longed for time, then you need to move, that’s like firm indication need to hold value pricing, or at least set fee pricing, and you know I see that I remember years ago in my bookkeeping business where we were, you know at the beginning charging by hour, and, and it was like, Oh, that feels like a lot, Exactly, that’s what they weren’t, that’s just

it’s overinflated, it’s always under estimated for sure because we forget, you don’t necessarily keep, you know, you think you keep really good at but you’re never 100% accurate. And yeah, so it’s always underestimated for sure, and then you’re taking off that too.

Yeah, totally, totally. So, you know, looking at that, looking at, you know, perhaps, if you’ve got a team. There’s somebody working over time, like that’s that cuts into your profit margin, where you know you don’t scope for overtime, really, what is the expense, What’s going on, where are we, incongruent to what we had scoped to this project. Right.

So how do you how do you recommend with clients that are on projects like, like we are, how do you sort of get a handle on. I guess just making sure that that they are encouraged to, to what we’re charging, Is there any tips or tricks that you have on that.

Yeah, well, time tracking time tracking time tracking time tracking. One of the things that I do with my team, besides our time, you know like we have time, kind of logging software, right, because even though we don’t charge by the hour anymore. I still want to know what the team are working and how long it’s taking them right. And if we, it’s a good measure if we go out of scope. But besides that, having your team, track their time, even just on an Excel document or a Google doc like quite granular what are they working on, you’ll start to see where they’re working on things that aren’t relevant to a project, or they’re working on somebody else’s project. Now that’s out of scope right they weren’t, they weren’t included in that scope or like some anomaly will come up. And that’s a, it’s a really good thing we do quarterly time tracking as a team for three days out of the week, and we just use a Google Doc, and it tells us so much information. Yeah. And you know you’ll get senior staff who are working on things they shouldn’t be working on.

Yeah, exactly, like that’s not your best use of your time value is not there.

Yeah, yeah. And, you know, just measuring, right, measure, measure, measure of Penny thing

that makes sense. Absolutely.

So where are we We’re number five. Number five, looking at your team, this kind of leads into what you were saying, right, looking at your team who’s doing what. Is this the most valued use of their time. Do you have senior team members who are doing junior team members jobs, Or vice versa, right, like, what’s, what’s happening, doing an audit, as well, about, like, the people on your team. Are they revenue generating roles are they overhead roles, or how much of their role is revenue generating versus overhead. Yeah, He got it you really got to manage that, especially if you’re trying to grow a business in the growth phase of business, it’s very easy for your payroll to outpace your profit.

I can imagine.

So is there an zero magic favorite kill you, like that you would say what percentage that yeah,

30% should be your payroll, and that includes your admin, and your fulfillment, including all your taxes shouldn’t go over 30% as a really rough guideline. Okay, so if

you were looking at somebody as a staff member if you’re thinking of bringing somebody on how would you determine, like especially if it’s an admin person right that’s going to be maybe ordering, placing orders for several projects right so they’re they’re brought in for, you know, maybe four or five different clients, and so they’re doing some admin for for each client, they’re doing some correspondence there was You’re clearly not revenue generating How do you know when you have the, the income to do that or when, how do you know when it makes sense I guess what I’m trying to ask.

Yeah so, looking at your financials, looking at your profit margin, understanding how much you need out of the business as a business owner.


and what amount of revenue, do you need to bring in to support that person. So, you know if it’s a $60,000 a year role, I don’t know. What does that mean for your business, right, so what’s the total cost of that person do they get benefits, taxes, all that kind of jazz, right, and what would be the breakdown of their work, like are they 5050 overhead and project work. So you know, project work you know you’re charging them out. Right. Are you charging them out. What are you charging in the mode is it double is it triple what their what their salary is, if it’s, if you know that their charge out rate is 50% more and they’re doing 50% kind of admin overhead, you know, you, you broke even on that person. Yes, okay. By charging them out. Gotcha. So it’s a little bit of analysis and getting into more of the granular numbers of your business but totally doable, like, really easy to figure out,

Okay. Alrighty, and number six.

Oh my goodness. Number six, looking at your vendors, right, like where, where can you negotiate better pricing, reduce freight charges. Where can you consolidate vendors, you know, is there somebody if you did all of your business through one can you get a better deal kind of thing, really trying to develop important relationships. Totally. I call it kind of like relationship capital right like, for

sure. Yeah, exactly. I mean, even with even just from a sort of very basic level, it’s like okay well I’m trying you know I’m trying to outfit a house or something like I try to minimize the amount of vendors, because of just logistics, and then secondary if I’m, you know, shipping, just basic shipping charges because it’s coming from six or seven different vendors, whereas if I could narrow that down to half, then, yeah, so it’s the small changes. Sometimes it’s not easily done but, but you’re even negotiating better discounts with them, I’m sure.

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, number, number seven. The best one yet.

Hopefully the best for last.

Right, looking at your client lifetime value.

Okay, so

what is the client journey for you. Right, they come to you with this one project, is there a follow on service you can provide or. And how long does that take how long do clients normally stay within your business. Is it a one and done, or is it a lifetime or somewhere in between. Right Understanding your clients, kind of like habits and their journey with you. And what we call client lifetime value can substantially help you increase your profit margin, because you might identify a gap, and you could create a product or service that would fill that gap and extend the total value of that client to you. Right,

how would you determine that he’s like say, Most of the designers do typically residential so your, you know, besides doing Mr Mrs Jones his living room and kitchen, and then hoping in the next, you know, one or two years they’re gonna do it faster and, like, what are some, like, are you saying things like, offering. I know I wouldn’t say Landscape Services but in Canada we only compete that a few months a year but like what would be some of the examples.

Yeah, so you could think about like complimentary services that you could offer or or partner with to bring under the umbrella of your company, you could think about, like, like kind of like refresh packages or, you know, another great thing is, we have a couple of clients that are interior designers, and when I was last year, when I was chatting with one of them, I was like, have you checked in with these clients. I know they said they were going to do their home theater, and then COVID happen and you know blah blah blah. I was like, have you checked in. No, I just figured they call me.

I’m like no,

let’s build that relationship. Yeah, yeah right. Yeah, build that relationship stop by. See them ask, like, don’t be afraid to ask like hey and and make it relevant like no one’s going in the movie theater, have you decided to do your home theater now right like can we get started. Yeah, propose work to them.

Yeah, and I don’t think many, many would think of that right many would think to propose in its, but I think keeping in touch I think is crucial right just keeping top of mind, you know, staying in touch with them, because you never know, right, you just never know where the next job, or keeping in touch with them even if the Mr or Mrs Jones don’t necessarily have but maybe their friends do or their neighbors do are totally referral referral

referral. That’s like, I built my whole business off of referral. We’ve never advertised I still don’t advertise, and we have new clients coming all the time, but I think referral, it’s just such an easy way to expand your profit.

Yeah, it cost you X amount to get that client but it’s like a third or whatever it is to keep them so to speak, right.

Totally, totally. But the idea of proposing work like, Have you thought about doing this, or do you think it’s time to do that, or because what I find, it doesn’t matter what you do what industry you work in the client doesn’t really know what they need, what they can’t why they’re varying yeah like they don’t end up there like I don’t know, is it time to do that or not, right, like it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about renovating a bathroom or, I don’t know, getting a new furnace like,

I don’t know if you need that or not.

Right, but an expert will.

Right. And it’s planting the seed,

it’s totally planting seed and what, what often happens is people come back like you could be like, oh, you know I was seeing there’s, you know, we could totally pull your bathtub I would do this and that and whatever right I don’t know. And they might be like oh yeah no, I’m not really ready for that or whatever, and then they’re thinking about it. Yeah. Right, right.

We planted that little seed and then you’re just like let them go away and all of a sudden, you know, months later, they’re like, Yeah, you know, did you mention that, yeah. Yes, that’s a good way to do it. So, you’ve said you haven’t advertised, is there a certain like to get your to get clients is there certain niche that you work in. I know that you are a fellow Canadian on the West Coast right Yes, excellent. So I can say Nish to you and you

know what you’re talking.

Yeah, so how are you finding that like, what’s your clientele look like.

Well, I think that what we really excel at is supporting consultants. So people who are providing a high level of service and our specialties seems to be evolving, more and more into those businesses that perhaps need a little bit of catch up a little bit of cleanup sometimes a lot, they might have, you know, outstanding filings for taxes and things like that, like, will, will still take somebody who’s, you know, all up to date and current, but more and more we see people are deciding okay you know what this is going to be a priority in my business, and I’m going to get my shit together. Basically, and we’ve developed a great system of catching and cleaning up clients records, pretty quickly, while also getting them on a monthly service, because what I used to see out there in the marketplace or still see now, really, is that people will try to catch up and then not I’m not working on the current record keeping, right at the same time, which kind of makes any or sense right, but then you’re always kind of catching up.

Yeah, you’re never, you’re never proactive you’re just reactive.

Yeah, yeah, and it’s a long drawn out process, it feels really painful and gross. And we’ve managed to create this really amazing system where we can get a client caught up like current right now, and we’re still working on the old records. So, you know, it depends how much they got to catch up on.


that’s worked really well. What we really stand for is impact driven businesses. So, really an entrepreneur who cares about their impact in the world.

Okay, so, what type of services, yeah, yeah I was gonna say like how do you work with clients because obviously you do bookkeeping and accounting but is there is there different levels is there different, because everybody’s needs are going to be slightly different. So can you tell us a little bit Oh totally,

totally. We have some clients, you know their basic level where we’re just doing monthly bookkeeping and, you know, making sure the records are neat and tidy. Everything is allocated correctly, they get them up and report, and they’re all good

to go.

We have clients that were basically their accounting department. We pay bills for them. We chase receivables, you know, we do it all we are their virtual accounting department, which is really really useful when you get busy and then use that, like cash flow becomes as a whole nother podcast. Yeah the cash flow becomes a really important thing to manage right. So, and it can be really affordable to outsource an accounting department, and pretty easy to do. And then we also provide like I provide fractional CFO services so more kind of advising and consulting. Okay, looking at analysis projections, and that’s where the cash flow management comes in. Yeah, yeah, to make sure that you know there’s enough money for everything. And then, you know there’s taxes, right, obviously, taxes,

there is depth. What does it say the two guarantees whatever. Yeah, yeah,

yeah, so we’ll make sure that that’s our kind of compliance work where, you know, we’re, we’re making sure that everything is filed, it’s all up to date and accurate.

People all caught up.

So I read you are a your Profit First certified or whatever that you’ve done a profit first professional Yeah, professional Yeah, so I started reading the book or listening to the book the audio. The audio book and

tell me a little bit about that because that,

I just I get very excited about it and then I got to the implementing stage and I went, I don’t know what to do here and I stopped.

Yeah, yeah, you know, it’s funny, that’s what happens right and that’s why there was Profit First professionals for that exact your exact experience. Yeah, I read Mike’s book, probably, I don’t know maybe six or seven years ago, and I’ve made, like in growing my business or creating my business, whatever you want to call it. I feel like I made every mistake that there was to make, I pretty much did it, and one point, I was so busy growing my business and focusing on revenue and client generation that I lost track of my expenses, and I had a business that was costing me, just to keep the business open $22,000 a month. And I was like what is going on like, there’s no money for me, and I had lost track of my financials because I was so busy in the business, and I figured I gotta figure this out, like, Yeah, this is crazy. And there’s so much shame involved in that right out here I am and I’m accountant I own an accounting and bookkeeping company, and I felt like I was treading water. And I found Mike’s book it came as a recommendation from a coach that I know and who was actually a client. And so I read it, and I was like, well, this just seems so easy. Yeah, like, yeah, like I don’t Is this gonna work like seems too easy, but I was at the point where it was like, either. This works, or, I can’t keep doing this, I just got to close this business right yeah. And so I implemented it and like I saw an immediate benefit, like, immediate, like I did the spending audit. I like I cut down a whole bunch of expenses I looked at you know where my money was going where it was coming from. I also incorporated it with one of his other book called The Pumpkin Plan, right, which is about looking at, you know, your client categories. And then I was talking, I was at like a CPA. I don’t know, continuing education thing or something like that. And I was talking to some accountants and they were like,


you can’t, you can’t do that like it’s not really counting, and I was like this this book just saved my business like what are you talking about. Yeah. And so I looked further into, Mike, and what he was doing, and I saw that you could become a prophet first professional like you could become certified in this. Yeah. And so for me, I you know I do like to kind of, like, follow the rules, sometimes, and no you

don’t, I can see behind you. You can’t see but she has a, be legendary blank average

starts with an F and ends with the kicks.

I don’t like to use other people’s work without their permission, at least right. Yeah, and so I looked into I was like I’m gonna do this because I think it’s really useful. What I do find is that not a lot of accountants, like it because it is so simple, and it kind of leaves, sometimes alleviates the need for somebody to pay a whole lot of money to an accountant. Good, what can happen is people read the book they try to do it, there’s all these different accounts there’s money flying back and forth, they’re in high stress anyways. And they just can’t do it on their own and they can’t manage it, They can’t match that and

their business. And that’s so is that something that you offer as a, I don’t know if that’s doable like is there a separate like service that you could get somebody on that. Yeah, okay.

Yeah, absolutely. I call it like a profit first implementation. It includes like a profitability analysis, and we really get clear on cash flow, understanding projections for business as well. Yeah, and then working with a client like literally being on zoom with them, will they do the transfer of the percentages. Yeah, to make sure they get done, we can be great because what usually is the number one concern is, is there going to be enough money. Yeah. Like I just don’t believe there’s going to be enough money, and they need some hand holding. To show them there’s enough money. Right, so it’s quite intense at the beginning, you know it’s weekly calls and it’s a lot of hand holding a lot of support at the beginning, and then we scale it back every other week, and then, you know, after six months, it’s kind of like once a month. Some clients like to stay on. Yeah, and just have that once a month call and we’ll do quarterly check ins or maybe bi annual kind of like deep dive into stuff. It’s a really useful service. And if you’re a fan of the book and you haven’t been able to implement Profit First, working with a profit first professional will get you like it, you’ll get it implemented, and it will work.

Yeah, like,

I’ve never seen anyone who has fully implemented Profit First and it hasn’t saved their business. That’s

amazing. I mean that’s, that alone because, as I said I was reading, you know, listening to the book actually it’s very good to listen to it because He’s quite a character I have to hear Him speaking I did, and I was I was very jazzed about it I even bought the book and then as I got to that exact point where I went, oh I don’t even know like I started the spreadsheet and that was just Yeah, and then yeah, business you get too busy doing what it is that your business is. And, yeah, it’s just falls down the wayside like social media and all those other should be doings and, you know, unless you hire somebody.

Well yeah and you know like I call it with my clients, I call it a CEO date right it’s or, like, you know board meeting kind of thing like I’m your CFO we’re sitting down at the board table boardroom table, and we’re talking about the financials and that’s all it is, there’s no judgment here there’s no anything, there’s just as looking at the numbers and part of that is for us to look at cash flow would that’s the biggest part of

our business is this. Not that I’m by no means an expert in that but that’s always the story of what’s coming in and what’s going out right it’s just,

you know, it’s interesting writing books and there’s like this small business administration in the United States did a survey, two years ago and 90% of businesses that did close had significant revenue but they closed because of cashflow problems. And that should tell people how important cash flow is like I see businesses all the time, especially service based businesses where they’re giving people terms for payment. I see them have significant contract values and revenue coming in, but because their receivables are out of scope. They do not have the cash flow to support the business. Yeah.

No, and that’s just it, it’s it’s because it’s a service right I think people feel a service isn’t a tangible and and I haven’t shipped you the 100,000 widgets, but I’ve done all this work for you, it’s an intangible, right, right, no yeah, let’s do it that’s that’s pretty sad statistics, actually, it’s,

it’s not a good thing and, and it’s a real, it’s real. Like it really happens, and it’s,

It’s awful to see.

I had a clan, too, as a contractor, and he was, he gave his clients like residential clients not even commercial 60 day terms, and I’m like, do you understand that you have to pay your staff every two weeks.

What about all the materials and

supplies. So this might not get income from, like, but I need to give them this, these terms in order to get the business, I’m like, You’re gonna bankrupt yourself.

Do you need the business that much. Yeah. Because, again, we’re not a charity. Right.

Yeah, it’s, it’s, yeah, wow, so you don’t go into like Safeway and say oh I need two months to pay for my milk, like,

I’ll get it to you I promise I’m good for it, yeah. Yeah, but again you’re going to jail. Yeah, you pay for it now or you don’t have it. Yeah, and I think, again, like we’re saying but being a service based business, and if you’re doing, especially when you’re working with residential, there’s a difference when I find working with most of my clients are more commercial builders, so it’s a little more black and white, I mean it’s not any easier necessarily to get the money sometimes they have their terms that are different, but I think there’s something with us with working with homeowners and residential that more personal residential that there can be a lot of hang ups on asking for money, you know is that, oh I shouldn’t charge them the full 35 hours it took me to do it I’m only gonna charge them 25 Like no, no, we’re in a luxury business right like people, we are not in necessity right we are not in essential circus COVID language we are not essential right i mean you do not need our services you want our service, it’s a luxury. It’s a nice, it’s a nice city.

So you got to pay for it. Yeah, and I think that comes with, you know a lot of times comes with just competence and time in business too right that you realize that, wait a minute, you got to pay for this. So,

so at the end of every episode I’d like to ask my Interior Inquisition questions, and so this can be about business life, whatever. So what is the one thing you think every person should experience in their lives.

Oh my goodness. Well, I think adventure and adventure means whatever it means for you. For some people adventure might be whitewater rafting down this MBZ, for others it might be going to Edmonton. I don’t know.

It’s a really bad option, sorry I

yeah, I think adventure I think it pushes us outside our comfort zone, and it enables us to grow in so many different aspects.

For sure, for sure. What’s the wisest thing that you’ve ever heard someone say,

Oh, I love this.

My favorite quote which is by Raymond Charles Barker, who wrote the Power of Decision. He said true prosperity is having the money to do anything you want, and the time to do it whenever you want to do.