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Ep. 105 Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Are you a pet parent and animal lover who believes you would never surrender a pet? Have you heard stories in the news about animal shelters and rescues being overwhelmed as pets are surrendered?

Do you find yourself automatically blaming COVID? Assuming that these pets were surrendered because they no longer fit people’s lifestyles?

Tune in today to learn the rest of the story. COVID impacted so much more than the health of millions of people; it also impacted family units, living accomodations, finances and our support systems. When families are choosing between groceries and dog food or school supplies, gas and a necessary vet treatment, sometimes the choices are not so clear.

For anyone who has lost a pet, surrendered a pet or made these impossible choices; it is heart-wrenching.

Our guests today are Louise Yates, a retired dog kennel owner and animal welfare volunteer as well as Jennifer Berg, accredited force-free dog trainer.

To learn more about the supports in our community:

Resources for Pet Parents:

  • Cooperative Care by Deb Jones

Podcasts:

To connect with Louise @ Living Sky Honey:

Connect with Jennifer @ Oberhund Dog Services:

Jenn’s e-books can be purchased or downloaded here:

Teach Your Dog How to Be Alone

Pawsitively Purrfect, 4637 Rae St, Regina

Ebooks can be purchased here:

https://books2read.com/TeachYourDogHowtoBeAlone

https://www.dogwise.com/teach-your-dog-how-to-be-alone/?aff=416

Teach Your Dog Manners Around Guests

https://books2read.com/u/bzZJ5E

https://www.dogwise.com/ebook-teach-your-dog-manners-around-guests/?aff=416

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ALL DOG OWNERS TO KNOW: LEARN HOW TO READ YOUR DOG.

Google “Canine Stress Signals” and look at the illustrations of dog body language.

Learn them so you can understand your dog’s emotional state.

VetBehaviourTeam.com has some excellent ones (Behaviour Fact Sheets).

Transcript

Barb 0:00
In today’s episode, we’re tackling the tough conversation of dogs surrendered, unwanted behaviors and support for pet parents in our communities. We’re going behind the scenes with a local dog trainer, and an animal welfare enthusiast to deconstruct the recent media coverage on shelters and rescues being overwhelmed.

Barb 0:25
Welcome to The Secret Life of Community Show. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, Google girl and local business cheerleader. Let’s get started.

Barb 0:36
Today, we’re doubling the fun with two experienced and insightful guests on the topic of animal welfare. Louise Yates is a former dog kennel owner and volunteer for the past 20 years, along with Jennifer Berg, who has been providing force free science based dog training and behavior modification services for over 17 years. Welcome, ladies. Thank you for being here.

Louise 1:05
Well, thank you for inviting us.

Jennifer 1:06
Thank you. Thank you so much.

Barb 1:09
Absolutely. Louise, can I get you to tell us a little bit more about yourself as we’re getting started?

Louise 1:14
Sure, my hubby and I owned and operated K-Lane Kennels, we actually just retired after doing it for over 20 years in the first part of May. And through all those years, I have been involved in several volunteer projects within animal welfare locally and internationally. And currently, I have a new dog. He has been with us for three months. And he’s about a year and a half old. And I’m training him to do search and rescue volunteer work. So hopefully one day he’ll save somebody’s life. That’s an aspiration we’re working towards.

Barb 1:54
Exactly. And that is fantastic. And in fact, this story of how the dog came into your life actually goes right along with our topic today. So once Jenn’s had a chance to introduce herself, maybe you want to tell us a little bit more about how he came into your life.

Louise 2:08
Sounds good.

Barb 2:09
Okay, awesome. Jenn, take it away. Tell us a little bit about yourself. And what does force-free, in science mean like, what does that actually mean to me as the pet owner?

Jennifer 2:20
Okay, well, I’m a force-free, science based, humane dog trainer. And I’ve been doing that for over 17 years now. What do I do and what is a force-free, humane, science based dog trainer? Well, basically, it’s about learning to train dogs, communicate with dogs in a way that is not using intimidation, or coercion or any equipment that causes any kind of discomfort. And it’s basically teaching them the behaviors that you want them to do and possibly avoiding behaviors you don’t want them to do.

Barb 2:54
So if I was to translate that into the parenting realm, force-free, science based would be just like back in the 60s and 70s kids were spanked, but now, it’s not so cool. So the same thing. Dogs were trained to fear or to experience pain to change behavior. And so the idea is supporting the dog through the learning process without having to be afraid without having to, you know, be worried if he or she makes a mistake. Is that kind of a guess in a nutshell?

Jennifer 3:31
Yeah, and setting them up to succeed, and then reinforcing that rather than setting them up to fail and then punishing or correcting it. So it’s giving them a fair chance, rather than not doing that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. It’s more like, I’d like you to do this. Good job. I’d like you to do this. Good job. So there’s just a matter of time before hopefully before the dog training community gets on board with that. I mean, there are groups of us who are already on board with that. And you know, started 20 years ago, 30 years ago, even but, you know, that change is hard. And change takes time. And sometimes there needs to be a law or sometimes there needs to be some sort of barriers to doing the alternative.

Barb 4:10
Exactly. Yes. And for anybody who listens to the podcast regularly, I talk about our fur babies quite regularly. And in fact, they’ve, you know, interrupted the odd recording and made an appearance at the odd time. And so some have heard our stories about our rescue and what we think may have happened in the past versus the work that we’re doing now. We’ve seen some really positive results. And we’ve seen our rescue, decompress, and it’s because we’re using exactly what you’re talking about force-free, science based. He trusts us. He trusts us in a completely different way than I think he was able to prior to being rehomed. So

Louise 4:53
And it’s great that you mentioned that connection to how children were raised to dogs because I find it really interest thing that, you know, people get it that you’re not supposed to spank children, and you’re not supposed to wring them out, you know, I grew up in those 60s and 70s. And I remember kids getting the strap in school and all of that, and people know that now, they don’t do that anymore. But then those same people will come home with a dog and do some of the aversive methods. So, you know, making that shift is, is a big step, if, if all someone has ever known is a more violent approach, then that’s what they take. And there’s so much you don’t use the same methods with your dog as with your kid, and you’re gonna, you’re gonna go to much better places in your relationship. Exactly.

Jennifer 5:38
Yeah. And I would like to jump out of that just a little bit, that the basis is also not so much, as well as the intention, but also, you’re able to understand your dog more because of what you’ve learned. And so you can understand their behaviors and say, Oh, that’s actually the dog being afraid or anxious. It’s not bad behavior. They’re not doing it on purpose to spite me. So by understanding how your dog, what your dog is communicating and their emotional state that can change the way you train completely.

Barb 6:08
Absolutely. Yeah. You know what that is the number one thing that I have noticed, as we’ve worked with Frankie, is his communication skills. He’s constantly communicating. And now that we know what we’re listening for, oh, my God, that dog has so much to tell us. Absolutely. Okay, Louise, we need to jump back to you. We need to hear a little bit more about the dog that joined your family a few months ago.

Louise 6:36
Well, Seamus is an Australian cattle dog. And he was bred by a very reputable breeder in Ontario. You know, he had the genetic testing and all of that. So it was a good breeder, not just somebody who decided to turn out some puppies. And he was adopted into a lovely family in Ontario. But unfortunately, the marriage dissolved, and the couples split up. And instead of living in a big house with a yard, and a couple with a child, he ended up living in a Toronto apartment that was quite small. And Australian cattle dogs are working groups, they are designed to work and think and be busy and be active. So it just really wasn’t the life for him.

Louise 7:26
And after our other dog Spec passed away, I knew I wanted my next dog to be a working dog, a volunteer working dog with search and rescue. So I knew what I was looking for in a new dog. And I also know how much work puppies are. So it just worked out perfectly that one family’s struggles led Seamus to come live with us. And I hope to give him a happy-ever after ending. You know, by giving him a good life and giving him all the course free training and hopefully one day he’ll save, save some people out there too. So it’s a bit of a storybook ending, I hope for him. But it’s a really good example of how sometimes people get dogs or cats in their houses and families. But sometimes life has a way of making it impossible to keep that happen, you know, to keep that relationship or to make it where it wouldn’t be fair to the dog or cat to keep staying in that situation.

Louise 8:32
Even though you know this, the woman who had Seamus absolutely loved him, we sent her updates and pictures. She absolutely adored Seamus, but she knew that she couldn’t give him the life that he deserved. So, you know, it’s a really good example of, you know, all the best intentions when people get a pet sometimes don’t always work out.

Barb 8:53
Exactly. And that’s exactly where we wanted to have the conversation today. So that is a beautiful segway. We’re hearing stories of, you know, pandemic puppies, and they’re being returned to shelters. They’re being returned to the Humane Society. Can either one of you confirm whether or not that’s actually true? Or are those just suspicions and stories in the media right now? Do you know?

Louise 9:18
Well, I only know from what I’ve read in the news, and there was a globe that sorry, Global News did a really good article, and they interviewed the Regina Humane Society in the Saskatoon SPCA, and both said yes, they are receiving a lot of animals right now. And they’re not blaming this on COVID or COVID puppies or anything. COVID Kittens, they’re blaming it on economics.

Louise 9:47
People are surrendering their pets because they can’t afford to keep them because maybe they had a great business or job before COVID hit, but they don’t anymore. And we all know what inflation is doing right now. So if You’re buying, you know, I noticed, when I was picking up some cans of dog food, it used to be able to get some higher quality dog food for like, three to 3.50 a can. Now it’s six – 6.50 a can, right?

Louise 10:12
So you know, when you see those kinds of price increases, and families will be struggling financially, before the pandemic hits it, it can be overwhelming, you know, and so, you know, some people can’t afford to buy groceries for their families or braces for their kids. And if they have a pet, it’s like, you know, it’s it’s, it’s easy for people who’ve never lived in their shoes to judge if they have to surrender or rehome their pets, but until people are living that reality of maybe economic instability, or or having health problems or health crises or, or marriage breakup, you know, stuff happens, right? It’s really important that the animals get the best care. And sometimes rehoming is an important part of that.

Barb 11:07
Yeah, absolutely. You know, the flip side of that is, even when life doesn’t necessarily happen, because our lives have changed. And Jen, of course, we’re back in the workplace. We’re busy again, we’re doing lots of things. Now, sometimes the behavior starts to come out. Now, are you talking to families who, you know, they’re having more behavior challenges, because they’re having to leave? What are you hearing from your clients? And how can you support them?

Jennifer 11:37
I would say, I won’t know for sure until maybe September, but it sounds like it’s on the same level as it was the past year.

Barb 11:47
Okay, so so far, we’re on par? And are you seeing more of the separation anxiety type behaviors from those that have called? Or? Or is it something different? Like I’m, you know, I’m trying to pinpoint because of the stories that we’ve seen in Louise, as you referenced, so global did a story here in Regina, as well as Saskatoon, and they also did one in Calgary. The three stories were somewhat similar, but there were some unique nuances, obviously, in each marketplace. So Jen, from a training perspective, are you hearing differently? Are you needing to support your clients differently?

Jennifer 12:26
Not really, it’s the same. It’s teaching them how well usually it’s teaching them how to teach their dog how to be alone, or they are, the problem has become so bad now that it’s become a severe case of separation anxiety. And so then it becomes a more complex problem.

Barb 12:43
So yeah, exactly.

Jennifer 12:46
And one more thing I’m getting to is that a lot of time, a lot of people are now starting to have guests in the home more than they had before. And so their dogs either have never had guests in the house because they were pandemic puppies, or their dog wasn’t very good before and now hasn’t had practice for that for the last year or two. And now they’re trying to go back to the way things were and it’s like a sudden change. So.

Barb 13:08
Yes, exactly. Okay, let’s just talk about language here for a second you guys. We’ve used the word animal welfare, we talk about shelters, rescues rehoming. Can you help the audience understand what’s the difference between some of these terms? And animal welfare must encompass more than just dogs? So that’s cats and guinea pigs and rabbits, like that’s animal welfare across the broad spectrum, is it not?

Louise 13:36
Yep, I would say that you have animal welfare as the umbrella piece over top of sheltering and rescue and a whole lot of other community services out there. And when people think of rescues and shelter, they think about adopting an animal, but they may not understand everything that goes in behind the scenes with with that, you know, a shelter is obviously a physical building, that houses animals and in order to have an animal shelter where you’re taking in animals, you have to be able to feed them, give them water, give them the the necessities of life, veterinary care, enrichment, all kinds of things that go with it.

Louise 14:21
And within a facility, there’s all kinds of biosecurity needs, I say, it’s kind of like a cross between a school and a hospital where if they’re not meticulously clean and sanitary, then disease can happen and that sort of thing.

Louise 14:38
Rescues tend to be smaller, they tend to be organizations that accept a limited number of animals of a specific type. You know, for example, cc rescue is a local rescue and they do work with First Nations communities. In Saskatoon there’s a small dog rescue And all they do is small dogs. Other organizations do breed specific rescues. So they might only take Australian cattle dogs, for example, or mixes of them. And then some just are, don’t discriminate that way, but are selective, they tend to, I find, they tend to take in more puppies, because generally speaking, puppies are easier. You know, they, they’re, they’re cute, they don’t come with, you know, some of the baggage sometimes. And some of that baggage that might be there, as Jen mentioned, isn’t the dog’s problem. It’s it’s people stuff of, you know, people working working with the dogs.

Louise 15:40
And then within the animal welfare umbrella, there’s lots of other things that go in there. For example, the Canine Action Project is a group in Saskatchewan and they do on reserve, spay neuter programs. Again, there’s socio economic elements that come into play here if a community doesn’t have access to veterinary care, because it’s remote, and the financial situation is tough. It’s really, really difficult to spay and neuter your dogs and cats. So that group is dedicated to helping that targeted population.

Louise 16:12
When I look at a group like the Regina Humane Society, they do the sheltering, but they are also the municipal impound and handle bylaws for the city and have tons of community programs. They’re going to be opening a new animal community center in harbor landing next year. And it’s, it’s, it’s like, this is a very cool thing, because it’s through the educational programs for kids to come and learn about some of the things that Jennifer was talking about with force-free training.

Louise 16:40
You know, it’s like if people do what their parents did, so if these kids can come in and learn about, you know, better ways to communicate with animals and better training and things like that, then they’ll grow up to be better pet owners in the future. So the education piece is huge. And also the community service part. Again, with the Humane Society, they’re a big support to the Regina police service, to fire, to victims of domestic violence, they have all of these programs, well, not just programs, but you know, if the the Regina police are going to a drug house, and there’s a dog in it, they’re calling the Regina Humane Society to come in and help get that dog out.

Louise 17:20
And people don’t think about those kinds of layers. Or if a woman is, well, not just a woman, but if a family is experiencing domestic violence, the Regina Humane Society will help get the pet to care so that the family can get care because often people will stay in difficult family settings because of the pet. So animal welfare is very big, it’s very tied with a lot of other social socio economic issues within a community. They tend to focus, you know, there’s a link between violence between animals and people. So you know, if you get the socio economic things right, you can fix a lot of the animal issues in the community. And then, you know, frankly, then the sheltering and the rescue needs can be reduced as well.

Barb 18:07
When we think about the support that families might need, whether they’re experiencing economic difficulties, whether they’re experiencing behavior difficulties, is a humane society someplace I can go for support? Tell me about some of the support that is in the community. And Jen, obviously, you have a training business. So tell us a little bit about the work that you do and how you can support families that might be looking for it.

Louise 18:36
Well, they have a ton of outreach programs. For example, they have the low income spay neuter program. So if people have a pet that they and they are having, you know, have a household income that meets certain thresholds, they can get the their pets spayed or neutered, which, you know, again, if parents are struggling to feed their their kids, and keep their host going if they can get that spay or neuter looked after there’ll be less puppies or kitties but ended up being homeless down the line. And with that comes tattooing and vaccinations. And as a bundle.

Louise 19:13
They also have a food pantry program where if people are struggling with getting pet food, they can reach out because they don’t want people to have to surrender their pets. And sometimes it might be just that a family needs a little extra support for a short time. They’ve got different programs that can help them out. You know, within targeted communities, they’ve got outreach programs where they’ll go into the community and hand out leashes and food and pet supports as well. So they’ve got a lot of things going there. And they also if they have you know when people donate extra foods, and you can hear that when people…

Barb 19:56
Have something to say about

Louise 19:58
When people donate extra food Then things that they can’t use, they share it with the rescue group. So none of it ends up going to ways.

Barb 20:04
Jenn I’ll turn it back to you to tell us a little bit about some of your programs.

Jennifer 20:09
Okay, well, the way I sort of support the community right now, with dog owners, the community of dog owners, I have a training business and I run a specifically probably the most important or the two most important are the private online concert, the private consults, which can be online or outdoor in person. And then I give people hands on one on one, that kind of thing.

Jennifer 20:33
And then the other one is the outdoor group dog walk class that I have, which really allows people to enjoy their dogs in a very normal everyday event where we’re just walking in a nice park area. And so I can help them with their individual needs. So some dogs react really excitedly to other dogs or other people or bikes, or skateboards, or rabbits or squirrels.

Jennifer 20:55
So I basically help guide them through the difficult process of trying to get their behaviors under control a little bit, but also making sure the dog is an owner having a good time and enjoying their dog. And it’s not a very it’s not an expensive class, it’s something that’s sort of long term because, you know, training is an instant usually. So it’s very, very affordable and very thorough. I’m looking for unstructured, yes, and it adapts to the needs of the different people attending. So that would be my two ways.

Louise 21:27
And I will vouch for Jennifer’s walking group, because I take Seamus to it once a week, and it is fantastic.

Barb 21:33
Now the other two things that I know are that you have Jen, and I don’t know how you distribute them, but you’ve written a couple of ebooks. And for someone who is feeling the pinch, how would they talk to you to get a copy of those ebooks?

Jennifer 21:49
Well, they are widely available. So pretty much anywhere where you get an ebook, you can find the titles. And you can also find them on my website oberhund.com. So the first is to teach your dog how to be alone. And that’s a step by step guide, it can be read in an afternoon, and it takes you through the different stages of lessons to take your dog to learn how to be alone.

Jennifer 22:13
And then the other one is to teach your dog manners around guests. So those were the two that came out of all of the calls that I was getting from when the pandemic started, basically, but also I had been getting those calls before, but I just thought, you know, I just need something that’s very inexpensive, but very to the point. And it’s something that people who can’t afford or don’t want to do a private consultation and take the private class private lessons and go through it that way, they can get this book and get a start at least so.

Jennifer 22:41
And it’s a good complement to a private session as well. So for people, for example, for the dog, for people who have dogs who have very extreme behaviors, you know, this book isn’t necessarily going to solve that problem, because that’s a complex problem. And you would need some guidance from a professional usually so but it’s but nothing in the but nothing in the books, or I guess everything in the books does complement a private session with a professional to deal with a very complex case.

Louise 23:08
And I just want to add there is sort of going back to our first conversations about force-free. Not every dog trainer is created equal. And I like to put it in terms of, you know, sometimes new trainers will come out and they can teach your dog how to sit or stay or walk as a heel or that sort of thing. But when it gets to the more complex issues, then you need more complex instruction from the people that are supporting you.

Louise 23:41
And it’s really important that the people you choose to help you and your dog and your relationship and their behavior, have the same philosophies as you do with your pets. Because, you know, we talked when we started this conversation about sometimes people still do things to dogs that are a little bit what I would call mean. And so when you’re working with a trainer or a behaviorist, just, you know, make sure that you know what you’re signing up for. And if you ever do contract with somebody to help you and you don’t feel comfortable with some things that they might suggest that you do with your dog, or that they do to your dog, you can leave you can say no, just because you’re paying somebody for a training service doesn’t mean that you have to stay if it’s not meshing with your values of how you want to work with your dog.

Jennifer 24:31
And I would add that you may save your money in the long run. If you do let that money go and find a better way or a way that’s going to work better for your situation, because to undo a lot of the damage can often be much more expensive and much more time consuming than to just have not gone through with the rest of the two classes you had left or whatever it was.

Jennifer 24:51
And just just to add to what Louise said. The dog training industry is completely unregulated. So anybody could call themselves a dog trainer. It’s a terrible situation for consumers. It’s really It’s almost criminal, I would say, because there’s really nothing for them to do they have they’re on their own, they’re trying to figure out well, you know, it’s like if you hired a plumber, you would have an expectation this person knew what they were supposed to do, and it has the training. But dog training, it’s not that way.

Jennifer 25:16
So and then also to add what Louise mentioned was, people do what they know, and they don’t know what they don’t know. And when people know better, they do better. So a trainer is always a good trainer and will always be learning and always be open to new ideas and changing their ways if they find a better way and stuff. So, you know, when people know better, they do better. So there’s no judgment. Unless they intentionally do it because they know what’s wrong, and they’re hurting dogs on purpose. Like that’s, you know, I don’t think a lot of trainers are like that. I think they’re doing the best that they can with what they know.

Barb 25:52
All right, ladies, we are totally out of time, but thank you to you both for joining me. On that note, if you would like to sell your story, you have to tell your story. And there’s no better place to start than being a guest on The Secret life show.

Barb 26:08
If you’d like to be a guest, email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or just reach out on our Facebook or Instagram account @abovethefold.ca

Barb 26:20
I’m your host Barb McGrath, Google girl and founder of the Get Found for local program. Remember, you were charged for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Jule Gilchrist Cuppa'T Teas Regina

Ep. 104 Jule Gilchrist

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Is it just me, or do you think about drinking tea when you have a sore throat? What about when you can feel a cold coming on?

Tea is that warm, soothing drink that seems to help cure all that ails you. And our guest today is an expert on tea. Specialty Teas.

Jule Gilchrist LOVES tea! So much so, that she’s owned a tea business for 16 years!

Listening to her talk about teas, varieties, sources and some of the “additives” in teas gave me a whole new appreciation for consumables. (Might not be what you think!!)

Grab a fresh cuppa tea and listen in on today’s episode!

Transcript

Barb
Are you ready to make the phone ring, the door swing and the till ding? One of the best kept secrets in any community is its network of local businesses. But no more secrets. From the skinned knee lessons that will make you wince, to the tell all exposees. These everyday people are doing extraordinary things in their businesses.

Barb
Today we’re sharing the secrets of Cuppa t’ Teas in Regina’s Cathedral neighborhood. These are the stories you thought you’d only hear on a Friday night over a cold bevi or quietly over a glass of wine. They are the gooders.

Barb
Welcome to The Secret Life of local. I’m your host Barb McGrath, Googlegirl and local business cheerleader. I’ve been helping local businesses thrive for over 20 years. From online businesses to multi location stores. You can turn browsers to buyers and thinkers to doers. Let’s find out how.

Barb
Today’s guest is Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa T’. So Jule get us started. Tell us a little bit about yourself and Cuppa T’ teas in Regina’s Cathedral neighborhood.

Jule
Well, I love tea. Back in the early 80s there was a tea store. And I was working and I would like probably half of my paycheck would go in there. Yep. And it was an oddity and it was way before its time. And then I am a, I would say ex social worker. So hey, when it was time for me to leave my career, this opportunity to have a tea store came up and I jumped at it. So that was 16 years ago. Okay. And I have never looked back. We are nestled in the cathedral area, which I absolutely love. Yeah. And we’ve kind of grown from there. And most of our teas come from Germany. So they have quite a stricter, higher standard, they tend to kind of test for a lot more things about 500. And I think it’s 27 items. One item shows up back to the country of origin. So they deal in a lot of clean tea. Okay, which is good because of the amount I drink.

Barb
Okay, but tell me about that, like what are they testing for? What would a tea that’s not clean be or have in it?

Jule
Contaminants? So they’re not heavily big on organics, they’re more into well, this isn’t a good substance if it shows up we’re sending it back. Some teas are grown in areas where the fluoride is too high. And that fluoride is absorbed into the tea. So if it has a little bit too much of that back to the country of origin. Believe it or not, the tea you drink has bug parts in it.

Barb
Oh my goodness. Are you serious? Okay. Yes. I don’t want to know this, I think.

Jule
And if it’s too high, we’ll go back to our country of origin. So they’re quite strict. Actually, any food you eat or give is gonna have some bug parts.

Barb
That’s so excellent. Talk about my appetite for the day. Oh, okay. So, when you first started the store, have you always carried teas from Germany? Like, like, how did you find this out? Because that’s not common knowledge stuff?

Jule
No, um, I carried from a wonderful company in Toronto. And they carry kind of more mid grade T, okay. And then we were kind of looking around just exploring. I had a business partner at that time. And she found a company in BC. And they were the distributors for a German company. We thought, What the hell, let’s try them because they’re different. Not many people carry their tea. So we tried them. And it was like, Oh, my God, this is good tea. Ah, okay. And then we looked at their fair trade practices, all that kind of stuff, how they kind of manufacturer where they get it from, what are their standards? And we kind of went, Yeah, sold. We’re on board.

Barb
Got it. Okay, so, so help me as the consumer. Understand what, from a flavor perspective? How when you consume tea and you’re like, Oh, my God, that’s good. Tea. What’s different about it, tea? You? What makes you? What makes you say that? Is it the amount of flavor like what is it?

Jule
It is the quality? Okay, so you can have a chai tea, which is full of spices, and it’s gonna taste nice and fresh and have layers of flavors. And you can just taste all the elements, or you can have just an over spice black. Got is kind of flavored with artificial stuff. And if there’s a lot of artificial things in there, you’ll notice that once you buy your tea a month or two down the road, it doesn’t taste as nice anymore, because it’s all that artificial crap that’s in there.

Barb
Yeah. And you know, that’s very true. It doesn’t matter what I’m eating. If there’s artificial flavors in there. I find I can identify them now. And many of those artificial flavors. They leave a bit of an aftertaste. Yeah. Hey 10 Yeah, no, thank you. If my food still continues on the net, no, I’m good. It doesn’t work. Okay, so nestled in Regina is 13th Avenue. Have you always been there? Yes. Ah,

Jule
Well Actually, I’m gonna have to say no, we were on 15th Avenue for 15th or 14th Avenue, maybe for a year or two. But I’ve been 16 years on 13th Avenue. Yes.

Barb
So how did you find the location or it just happened to be available and and it was you could just tell it was a perfect location to be.

Jule
I’ve always wanted to be on 13th and I was taking a walk. There was a place for lease. Boom. And it was that I think it was that day she put it up and it was like a phone call introducing myself. And away we went from there. Oh, wow.

Barb
Oh, isn’t that something? It sounds like how we butter cabinet the lake. We went for a walk. We saw it. It’s like, oh, hey, what do you think? Mixing you know, work and owners. Sometimes those impulse decisions are some of the best decisions that you make, right? Yes. Yeah,

Jule
I even did that with tea. I was ordering tea. And it was actually a chai. And it was the Marcelo one. And I wasn’t thinking and all of a sudden I just said, you know, black Chai? Well, there is a tea that is black Chai, and my German distributor sent it and it was like, Ah, this is the wrong t and I thought, Oh, what the hell let me try it. It is the best Thai. Really, I call it my best mistake.

Barb
It sounds like a good one. Okay, so let’s talk about that. What are your favorite teas? What are your go twos?

Jule
Oh, depending on what mood I’m in.

Barb
So then that means that you carry teas for pretty much every mood, every style. Right? And so what are you feeling so to speak?

Jule
So typically in the morning, I like a black tea. And depending if I have a sweet tooth moment or not, will depend on whether I like to make flavored tea or just plain tea. Okay, so we’ve got some beautiful plain teas, what we call traditional teas. They have no flavors added or anything. They’re just the tea plant. I’m least favorite to see long because it’s got coppery notes to it. Yeah, so one of my favorites, I would say would be one of my Psalms and it’s more earthy, like and I have a Scottish breakfast and a queen’s blend that I quite love.

Barb
And they’re Scottish breakfast sounds very interesting. Yes.

Jule
And they’re just plain beautiful blends of their earthy notes. Sometimes if I need a little bit of a boost, I’ll do a pu erh. And oh, that one is more of what I say acquired taste because it’s really earthy. Okay. So it’s one that is almost like a compost tea. When they pick it, they let it in a sense, kind of pack it or put it away. And it’s a little bit moist. So it continues to ferment. Okay, so it’s quite earthy. It’s called pu erh. And some of my staff call it poo tea, because sometimes it can be a little ripe.

Jule
Excellent. I can just see customers lining up to get that one after we’re done.

Jule
We usually give a sample if they’ve never tried it before. We give a sample and say don’t buy here’s a sample. If you like it, you’ll come back.

Barb
Right? Yeah. Because it can’t be something that you can get everywhere. Okay, so let’s talk about that. So T store T is one of those things that you can probably buy just about anywhere. Grocery Store. Online. So absolutely. Somebody who, who knows their tea, they’re coming to you hands down. But how do you get that customer who, you know, they’re just dabbling in tea. They don’t know the difference between a box of tea and a good tea. How do you find that customer? How do you get them through the door the first time?

Jule
Usually word of mouth, we have quite an awesome group of people that say, oh my god, if you want good tea, this is where you go. Yeah. Because you’ll taste the difference. And that’s what I hear from a lot of customers. Otherwise, we do a lot of kind of just advertising on well known advertising just over on Facebook or on Instagram or on Google. So those kinds of things. And we have a sandwich board that we tucked in the middle of the sidewalk there, well, not the middle but on the sidewalk there and that brings people in. So those kinds of things and people get teased as gifts and all of a sudden it’s like oh my god, I got this. So a variety of ways. We just don’t rely on one way.

Barb
Right. And I think you know, that’s pretty common for just about any local business. There’s no one place where all of your customers, you know, exist. And so when you’re looking for foot traffic and phone calls, or maybe online purchases, you have to be found in all of these different places. Right? So talk to me a little bit about the foot traffic aspect. Do you have a lot of folks who, you know, you’re fairly close to Regina is downtown, they go for a walk at lunch, you know, they see the sandwich board, they pop in. What do you put on the sandwich board? Is there a call to action on your sandwich board? Or is it a recipe? Or today’s flavor? Like, tell me a little bit about that? What does that look like?

Jule
We used to have summer teas or fall teas, or favorite teas, or a tea subscription box. So we changed it up. Recently, I’ve been lazy. And I have not made any changes. I’ve been working on the Google side. Exactly. And so it’s yes, we change it up. And we do put recipes on there. If we’re doing recipes, it’s going to be either on our Facebook or Instagram, okay, is where you find our recipes. Otherwise, it’s like, hey, we have this. So someone will walk by and say, Hey, what’s that T there? And they’ll point to the board and they name it. And hey, and we kind of go from there.

Barb
Ya know? And it’s, you know, anything that’s going to intrigue traffic to pull them in, right?

Jule
Yes. And it’s changed. Like years ago, we would do radio, we would do ads and paper. And then it started to change. We do more on Instagram and Facebook, and now more on Google. So it’s developing, it’s changing. And yeah, you have to, you have to go with the flow.

Barb
Yep. Yeah, you really do. And I think almost any local business is seeing that now. Where it used to be as simple as if you’re a plumber, you got the phone calls. But now they’re looking for the website. They’re looking on Google, they’re checking if you have any social media channels. And so as consumers, we want to understand more about the businesses that we’re dealing with. And yet we hear from so many local businesses that it feels like everyone is shopping online. And one of the things that I always talk about is, if you if that’s what you’re hearing from your customers, what is the convenience that online is providing that in store? Isn’t it? Is it ours? Is it product selection? What are they going online for? Because, you know, if you’re a tea drinker, and you want quality tea, I can’t get a quality tea from an Amazon or a box at the grocery store. Right. And so I think so many local businesses are starting to see that. Are you starting to see that or hear that? Well, with

Jule
COVID? That’s when things really changed hard and fast. Yeah, we did. We did a lot of online stuff, we got a lot of phone calls, we did a lot of no contact deliveries. Now, and it’s the shop local, there was a really big push on shop, local support local. Now as things have opened up, I’m finding that less people are on the bandwagon of shopping local. I just saw on one of my feeds that there’s a store that’s closing, they just didn’t have the foot traffic. So it’s one of those things that yeah, you gotta be creative. And the questions you ask if I had the answer to that might be a millionaire.

Barb
No, isn’t that the truth, though? It’s interesting. You talk about another business closing, one of the things that we saw from a marketing agency standpoint was that COVID masks came off. And there was this bubble. All of a sudden consumers were out. They felt safe. They went and did their shopping, our phone rang, could we help? Could we work on SEO? Could we work on social media for businesses, and after about a three month time period, that bubble burst? And so by a boat, June, so you know, a month ago, six weeks ago, the bubble started to burst. And then the call was okay. Things haven’t come back the way we hoped. You know, what are our options? Or, you know, people aren’t coming through the door, we don’t have foot traffic. What can we do specifically to get people back in store because the basket size tends to be larger when they’re in store versus just ordering online? Absolutely. So one of the things that we’re starting to hear and of course, you know, even with the writers talking Boat? What was it? 13 players and five staff have tested positive for COVID. So, you know, we don’t know what’s gonna happen with this next wave. And so I think as business owners, we almost all naturally start to recoil to protect ourselves, because oh my god, are we doing this again? Right? And how many more times are we doing this since getting a little carried away? But that’s a whole other story. So I mean, as business owners, we’re protecting ourselves, because yeah, we’ve seen, I saw more businesses have to close their doors when that bubble burst, then the whole time that COVID was, you know, more active than it is right now. And I don’t even know if that’s a fair statement. So have you thought about that? You know, like, how, how will you protect yourself? Will customers go back online and contactless? What are your thoughts?

Jule
You know, it’s so volatile right now. It’s good. Don’t know. So what we’ve done because of the recession, and everything going on in Europe, shipping is a nightmare. And I don’t get my knickers in a knot about it. It is what it is, you go with the flow. And so what I’ve started doing is never in history, and I’ve been at this location over 16 years. Have I ever had to put an order in for Christmas in April? Yeah, we usually do it in August. We get it by the beginning of October and life’s happy. Well, we’re hoping we get it in October. So when I can I’ve just been stocking up because I don’t know. It’s so unpredictable. So it’s kind of a stocking up. Not so much like, whoo. You know, some people say you need to be bone dry, sell what you have. And I’m going oh, no, I need to stock up because I have no idea what this fall is going to bring. So we’re getting creative. We’re doing like advent calendars, and, you know, fun Christmas boxes. We’ve got some cool stuff like pumpkin spice and all those kinds of things. So even though recession COVID shipping all that’s gone. Blowing up around us. We’re just kind of going okay, well, we can’t change that.

Barb
What can we change? What can you influence? I love that jewel, what can you influence? And you can influence the world immediately around you? Right? Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Okay, so an advent calendar for tea for Christmas. That’s awesome. I love that. So is there a different T for each day? Absolutely. That is so cool. Oh, my goodness, I’m already thinking about the D lovers on my left. That would be perfect. Okay, when will they be available?

Jule
Um, I’m supposed to, like I don’t have it? Well, I have some of the teas ready that are going to be shipped. But it’s one of those things that they should be available probably towards the end of October, okay. And I find as a small business that it is collaborating with people. So it doesn’t have to be in their local businesses. They may not be in Regina, but they’re local businesses.

Jule
So I have a lady out in Kelowna. And sometimes we share shipments together. Because sometimes the minimum order might be three to $5,000. Well, I really don’t need that much. A lot of tea or tea products. It’s like, okay, $5,000 worth of a particular cattle. No. So she and I get together and we split stuff. Yep. And so it’s collaborating. It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone right beside me, this person happens to be in BC that I share shipments with. But then again, we also have local, so I’ve got Traditions just down the street here. They’ve got beautiful pottery and stuff. Well, I don’t carry the munchables. I send everyone over there. Ah, yep. And sometimes we’ll collaborate like Mother’s Day. They made tea in a cup. Oh, cool. Yeah, yeah. So it’s kind of getting together and doing stuff with people. There’s a couple gift boxes that are here in Regina that people will purchase tea for me. I’ve got a lady just out in a small town. She works with a funeral home where they give a box and it has cherished things in there. So we’ve done a blend with roses, symbolizing the love of that person. So people are getting creative and it’s all over the map and you just kind of look for those little niches and you just kind of jump on and have fun. Yep.

Barb
Okay, so you know, but that really brings up a good point. So you guys don’t serve in stores. So I can’t pop in and buy myself an iced tea as I’m walking down the street. But if someone else on the street carries it, and you know, hey, you can go to a cup of tea to buy this particular blend. That’s, that’s great cross promotion for you guys, too, because they’re carrying that higher quality product. And you know, driving some foot traffic and awareness. So is that what traditions do or is that similar?

Jule
Traditions is more that it’s a purchase, take home. Okay, but we do have 13th Avenue coffee house and Stone’s Throw. They purchase my tea. So if someone says, Well, I’d like to try this. It’s like, well, there’s a couple places you can go to.

Barb
Exactly.

Jule
We did a post with the stone’s throw they did. Earl Grey cake. Oh, well, it was huge. People coming here cannot have a slice of the cake. No, you got to go to Stone’s Throw.

Barb
Oh, isn’t that brilliant? And you know what? I’ve had tea from 13th Avenue, and I never made the connection. Right? Oh, that’s brilliant. I love that. How in the heck did you guys come up with that?

Jule
Um, you know, I don’t know if they approached me or I approached them. I can’t remember. I was a while back. But just this year, Larry’s bread machine. He is a food truck at the farmers market. And he specializes in croissants and breads and that kind of stuff. And I said, Hey, you want to serve my iced tea? And he said Absolutely. Yep. So he’s got iced tea on Saturdays for people. So it’s just kind of doing that kind of stuff.

Barb
Exactly. So tell me about these iced teas, because I do see you post them on. Especially on Instagram. I see them but you’re making blends and you’re doing recipes and stuff. So how do you come up with those recipes? And do you have a favorite summer recipe?

Jule
The recipe sometimes we find them on? Like googling, Instagram, whatever will find a recipe, but typically it’s sometimes it’s trial and error because I’ll blend teas well. What happens if I put these two together and see what it is like? I do a lot of that. Okay. In my house it’s called surprise tea.

Barb
It’s like that. You know, you used to go to buy like a $1 candy bag and you never knew what was in it. And was that $1 Candy Vegas tea? Yes. Like it went to the pitcher today.

Jule
And if it doesn’t taste good, the plants love it. So we’re good. To waste. Exactly. Typically, because I’m so busy right now I’m incredibly lazy, especially in the summertime. So when I make my tea, I make cold brews. Okay, and one of my favorites is our mango in a cup. And literally, in 1.5 liters of water, it’s six teaspoons of tea, throw the tea and put my cold water in, stick it in the fridge. It’s there the next morning.

Barb
So brew for 12 hours and or 24 hours. I’m seep I guess.

Jule
As long as it’s four hours or more, you’re good.

Barb
So it doesn’t change. So okay, that’s a question I’ve always had about tea. So if I leave, especially if it’s in hot water, does it continue to add flavor if it stays there for a long time?

Jule
In hot water? Yes, it does.

Barb
Okay, but in cold water.

Jule
No cold water, it still gets a little stronger. And after about 12 hours. It’s pretty well done. Okay. Yep. So depending on how strong you’d like your tea, I don’t make my iced tea by boiling it, cooling it down and putting it in the fridge.

Barb
you don’t need to then.

Jule
That’s too much work.

Barb
So cold water.

Jule
Yeah, just fridge water, my tea leaves, in the fridge, done. If I’m entertaining like sometimes I’ll have family over like my son and stuff. And I’ll just make the tea in the morning and by supper. It’s ready. So when anyone contacts us or comes into the store, we give them tons of ideas and how to make their tea experience easy, enjoyable, fun and yummy.

Barb
So one of the things that I really enjoy when I come to the store is the solution base so jewel I got a sore throat jewel like feel a cold coming on. I’m having a hard time sleeping Right. And so you become that kind of tea doctor of, oh, well, how does this smell? What do you think of this? Do you like these ingredients? And do you find that you do that then for a lot of your foot traffic, they come in with a specific want. And that sort of drives where the purchase goes.

Jule
Yep. Every time.

Barb
I start calling you, Dr. Jule. Awesome. I love it.

Jule
And it doesn’t matter if it’s for oh, I got an upset stomach, or I like this flavor. We’ve tried every tea so we can pretty well match people up. Yeah, and we’re pretty accurate.

Barb
Nah, that is awesome. All right, we are pretty much at a time. So what I need to do is get you to tell everyone how to find you both foot traffic and online because you talked about your social channels and your website and some of those things. So tell us away.

Jule
We’re at 2732 – 13 Avenue. And we do have a website, which is www.cuppatteas.com. You’ll find us on Instagram at cuppa.t. And we’re also on Facebook as well. But that one’s a really long one. So you go on one of those you’ll find us either way. Just call us.

Barb
And the phone number?

Jule
It is 306-352-4411.

Barb
Awesome. Well, Julel, thank you so much for joining me today. You know, it was really interesting for me hearing more about your business and peeling back some of those layers. Because most often, most often when you’re talking with a local business, you don’t know all those behind the scenes little secrets like sharing orders and tea coming from Germany who would ever know so thank you for sharing so openly with us.

Barb
And on that note, if you want to sell your story, then you need to tell your story. And there’s no better place to start than being a guest on The Secret Life show. If you’d like to be a guest, email me at Barb@abovethefold.live, or reach out on Facebook or Instagram at abovethefold.ca. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, Googlegirl and founder of the Get Found for Local program. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Jule at Cuppa T Teas

Ep. 103 Annika Mang

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Today’s guest is passionate about encouraging families to connect outdoors and has gained over 40,000 social media followers within the outdoor family travel space on her platform Born to be Adventurous. In June 2020, she self-published her first hiking guide “Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies” by funding the printing of the book through Kickstarter.

She worked as a high school teacher, writer, photographer, social media specialist, and content creator for a variety of brands, and tourism boards.

Annika Mang is the co-founder and CEO of TrailCollectiv, every family’s dream app to plan those summer activities!

Transcript

Barb 0:00
Today’s guest is passionate about encouraging families to connect outdoors. And she has gained over 40,000 social media followers just within the outdoor family travel space on her platform, Born to Be adventurous. In June of 2020, she kicked off a self publishing hiking guide called Hikes for Families, A Guide to the Canadian Rockies, and she kicked it off with funding through Kickstarter. This lady has worked at a number of different things. She’s been a high school teacher, a writer, a photographer, a social media specialist, and even a content creator for a number of different brands and tourism boards. So Annika Mang, is now the co-founder and CEO of TrailCollectiv. And she joins us today to talk about the new app and the program she’s launching. Annika, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Annika 1:03
Thank you so much for having me, Barb.

Barb 1:05
It is an absolute pleasure. So kick us off. Tell us a little bit about trail collective. What is that?

Annika 1:12
Yeah, so TrailCollectiv is launching very soon. Actually, it is launched, and you can check it out. But it is an app that is breaking down the barriers for families by giving them detailed trail information and safety information so that you can know where to go. But you can also know what to expect when you get to a trail to start hiking it.

Barb 1:34
Absolutely. So how did you start pulling that stuff together?

Annika 1:41
Yeah, so a lot of it is stuff that I’ve gathered a while going out hiking, I’ve done a lot of trails, we actually have over 200 trails in Saskatchewan. And we have a ton across BC and Alberta as well, with struggles going into eastern Canada and into the South. In the US, we actually have done a lot of the trails ourselves, but we have a group of excuse me, um, trail contributors as well that are contributing trails, which is exciting. So from the community, but people who know what families are looking for. So a lot of moms and dads that are you know, they know what families want. They know how to assess the trail, is it stroller friendly? Is it a city stroller, is it all train city stroller friendly, because those are making a difference? We have, you know, my co founder, Jess out NBC and I, we both have experience with working with people who have disabilities and getting them outside. And so we’re able to assess trails to kind of give notes on that, you know, how accessible it will be for someone who maybe has, has a disability. So those are kind of all things that kind of go into how we provide our trails on our platform.

Barb 2:53
You know, you actually touched on something really interesting to me there. It’s not just a list of trails, it’s, you know, how long is the trail? What amenities are available? On the trail? Is it family friendly? If you’ve got a stroller? Is it wheelchair friendly? There’s so many things that go into, you know, being able to plan outdoor time, how did you start to see the opportunity in the marketplace? Or how did you see the need for something like this? And it’s, you know, I kind of think that’s an obvious answer. But I’m curious what you have to say about that.

Annika 3:29
Yeah, so it could be a very long answer. But it started kind of back when I had my kids and I was really struggling to find the information that I needed. So my kids are now seven and eight years old. But we found it really hard. And even today to find that information that we want to get out and explore with them. I actually started a very simple blog a long time ago that probably not a lot of people know about called ACE family adventures.

And from that, I started to have family and friends ask me for advice on where to go on how to go OUT out on adventures with their kids, soon with people I didn’t know. And that’s when I decided to start and create, you know, maybe try to pursue it more intentionally. And so I created a platform that’s called Born to Be adventurous. And that’s where I was able to share more of our family stories, share trails to go on, and share, you know, tips on what to do when you go outside. So that’s kind of kind of rolled into that. From there. I started writing a hiking guidebook that took me five years to actually publish, because it’s a lot with two little kids at home.

And then that’s done really well, published in 2020. And I’ve always had this dream to create an app where families can more easily find this information and find more trails because when we publish that book or when I publish that book, I had a lot of families reach out and say, can you write a book around Edmonton? What about Saskatchewan? You move back here? Can you write a book around Saskatchewan? What about Vancouver? Because those are all places that I’ve lived and all places that we’ve explored. And I actually thought about writing books in each of those areas, and maybe down the road I will. But how can we impact more families and help them get upside, because the impact for some families is really big. And so that’s where the app started to be created. And now we’re launched.

Barb 5:28
Exactly. Well, and just looking at your background, I think your interest in all of this comes very naturally, because you were both a teacher, you have a Bachelor of phys ed, and a Bachelor is education is the other one. Now my notes are under something. So your interest comes really naturally to all of this talk about, you know, the benefits that you see to families? And you know, how, how do you make space in what already feels like such a crazy busy time when your kids are little to get out there and do this kind of stuff?

Annika 6:01
Yeah, I just from even before I had kids, and just being in the phys ed program, and teaching, you know, students how to be active and how to enjoy being active, was just so incredibly valuable to the students. And you could just see it and get them outside, even just away from their cell phones or on their cell phones constantly. AndI’m not against cell phones. But I do think that we spend too much time and there’s an increase in depression that’s associated with cell phone use.

And so whatever the age of your kids, whether they’re little or whether they’re teens, they need time to be able to escape that. And one of the best ways that I found to do that is through the outdoors, because it automatically makes you more present within your space.

And so that’s partly why I am very passionate about TrailCollectiv is just to help those families, escape the noise of the city, escape the noise of their phones and get outside and start connecting outside. And some of the stories that I’ve heard from families who have either used my book or been impacted by my website by what I share is incredible from one mother who she quit smoking, became more active and started enjoy connecting with our kids all because she realized it was possible to go out and know where to go with her kids. And I think those are the types of stories that are just incredibly impactful.

We don’t realize that because it’s always pushed aside, you know, it’s not seen as valuable. But it reduces stress, anxiety, and improves mental and physical health. And then above all connections, like you can start to actually enjoy hanging out with your kids in that space and being active with them. Instead of sitting on the sidelines all the time watching their sports.

Our kids play soccer, I love watching them, but I like to be active with them too. Because it’s also about my own health and not just my kids.

Barb 7:55
Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny when your kids are. I think you said your kids are still under 10. When your kids are smaller, they look to you to say okay, Mom, what are we doing today? Right? Are we going hiking? Do we have to get groceries? What do we have to do? And when they get a little bit older, mine are in their early teens, when they hit those early teens, it’s like, Are you kidding, I am not getting off the couch to go anywhere. And there’s a whole new set of pressures that comes with that age because their friends are online.

And it doesn’t matter what time of the day they try and log in, they’re gonna find someone online to text with or message with and, and so getting them off the couch by the time they hit those years is a lot harder for me to say, Hey, guys, let’s you know, head out do Wacana trails today, they look at me like I just sprouted a third head.

So my point and my story is a start when they’re young, because getting them outside to do something, if you’ve started when they’re young is a heck of a lot easier. And b make it fun. Let them pick the trail, let them pick the level of difficulty, right? Let them start to make some choices. And they’re not always going to choose to want to be with you. But you know, even if you can get them to the trail with friends or something like that, at least they’re active. Meanwhile, you might have to follow behind them because you’re not actually allowed to be with them anymore. They’re not allowed to be seen with you. Right, but at least they’re out there and they’re doing something.

Annika 9:27
You hit on like three very important things that we always I always try to tell other families because you’re right. Those are such great tips to give people and even if you it does help if you’ve taken them when they’re younger, but as they get older, those are the things I mean my kids are still young but from what I hear from other people is, you know, bring go with another family with kids or go with their friends bring their friends and start you know, giving them those opportunities. And the choice is really huge to like. I noticed that in teaching just how much choice is so important.So I love that you match on those. And those are such bang on. Great tip.

Barb 10:04
So thank you. That’s how I do it with my kids, but don’t tell them

Annika 10:13
for those years, you were like, okay, like, I know I’m getting there because I know. Yeah. So

Barb 10:19
you know, honestly. So for us our son started when he was 10, we started to see that transition. He’s only 13. Right now. He’s just finishing up grade eight. And yeah, you know, he’s kind of at that point, we can still get him to go do things because he really likes hockey, he’s enjoying his rollerblades. And so you know, we’ve had to put limits in place around screen time. And it’s like, other than that, I don’t much care what you do. If you’re outside and you’re doing a sport. I’m all good.

And the one thing that we’ve always had with him is, if there’s a ball in a sport, he’ll do it. Right. So it’s like, oh, look, I bought you a new baseball, I bought a new soccer ball and off he’ll go.

Annika 11:03
Yeah, I love that. You know, I was like me, I give me a rugby ball, a basketball, give me a baseball, like I just yeah, I didn’t have to battle the phone back when I was young. We didn’t really have them. But it’s different now.

Barb 11:15
Exactly. It is so different. I we, you know, one of these days, I have to see if I can get someone on the podcast just to talk about the impact of technology on our youth. Because I agree with you. I think it’s huge. You know, it’s tied to so many negative things. But anyway, that’s not why we’re here. So let’s get back to this app. So tell me about the app, I haven’t had a chance to download it yet. And so tell me about it. What does it do?Yeah, tell me all about it.

Annika 11:41
Yeah, so you can sign up for an account, you go in, and you can search your trails by location, or area or what’s nearby yourself. So you can click a button and check out what’s nearby you. Once you see all your trails, you can go and check out an individual trail, it’ll show you how hard it will be. And you can kind of learn our rating system, it’s a little bit different than other ones that exist. So excuse me, usually people do easy, moderate, hard, we have easiest, easy, moderate, hard and hardest. And because we found that there’s not a big, you know, there’s a big difference between the trails that are, you know, 500 meters to two kilometers, and that they’re shorter. And they might take, you know, an adult, you know, 20 to 30 minutes, but they might take a little toddler 30 minutes to an hour or two, depending on what you’re doing and how you’re exploring.

And those are also often great places to go for a picnic. And so I think those are very valuable just for anyone who wants to explore kind of, but then just be outside without much effort. And then we have a spot, you can see what the adventures are on the trail. So is there a great place to throw rocks? Is there a beautiful mountain to scale or stunning prairie views that you can look at?

And then from accessibility information, as I mentioned before, and then safety information? So are there cliffs on the trail? Is it in an avalanche zone? Is there a fast moving river? Is it uneven? Is it steep? So we really like to hone in on those safety notes so that people can be prepared.

Some trails have a detailed description, there’s a map, and actually, if you open the map and you’re in service, you can follow yourself along the map and see the whole thing on the trail. Yeah, and we’re, our next set of development will add in some offline use so that whether you’re online or offline, you’ll be able to use the app. And then if you contribute a trail so you can contribute a trail you and what you provide is not some good quality information, you can add your Instagram handle, and so that we can then people can find you and say, oh, this person was the one that added that trail that’s so cool. And they’re adding a lot of trails and they can come and find you.

You can get directions to the trail. So there’s lots of can save a trail, you can favorite it. Ie once you’ve completed a trail, it’ll show you how many trails you’ve hiked and elevation and distance and on your profile. So there’s lots to do. Yeah, so there’s a lot to the app and a lot to engage with and a lot that we’re building further. So yeah.

Barb 14:16
Okay, I don’t expect you to know this off the top of your head, but you have to tell me later. Do you have Klingers trail on there?

Oh, I don’t think so. But maybe you should add it. Yeah, we might have to go look for that when it’s still actually under development. It’s up by Greenwater Provincial Park. So you know, we’ll have to talk afterwards. And we can figure out if it’s for sure. So okay, I’ve got the app, I can do all of these things. I love how, you know, being able to put a heart on it. Get directions to find things like those are huge. How many trails do you think, you know, we know about versus what’s actually out there and let’s think Western Canada, right. I think there’s probably as you said there’s 200 trails here in Saskatchewan alone? So there are probably hundreds, maybe even 1000s, you know, in each province, how were you starting to pull all of this information together? That seems like a huge job.

Annika 15:13
Yeah, so we have some ourselves, we have a group of trail contributors that are trusted, that are helping us get them. And so if you want to contribute trails, we like to keep track, we give out, you know, stickers and swag and other things, if you are contributing a lot of trails, especially if you become one that gives us that high quality data for the families, because we really want families to know what to expect when they get out.

We’re also working with destination marketing organizations. So we also visited tourism agencies and parks associations as well to fill in the gaps for that data. So my co founder, and I have quite a lot of connections with people across Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC and a few in the States. And so that’s kind of how we’re able to connect with them and help get that information. So there’s a lot of different avenues. And through all of that, we get the information that we need.

Barb 16:06
Exactly. It’s almost like crowdsourcing trails and,like health and fitness activities for family, right. And so it’s that whole crowdsourcing concept, right, which is really cool.

Annika 16:20
Exactly. And then just being a little bit more like we approved the trails right now that are going in, because we just want to make sure that we have some of that information that’s missing on some other platforms that do exist. And we want to make sure that we’re kind of being that source that is a little bit more reliable and able to kind of get them out on their adventures and know what to expect.

Barb 16:41
Yeah. So as a startup, Were you part of the cultivator here in Saskatchewan?

Annika 16:52
Yeah, I feel so lucky to have been in their Start program back in 2020. And when I had this idea, I got accepted into the program, which was amazing. And I went through the biggest learning curve in my life,

Barb 17:10
I believe it.

Annika 17:11
I didn’t know much about tech, I didn’t know much about business, only the stuff that I learned from running Born to Be adventurous. And this was a completely different world to me. And I’m actually still involved with them and still working with them. And they’ve been an incredible amount of support in this journey. And I am not sure I mean, I wouldn’t have done it without them. Because I just honestly didn’t think that it was possible to do this. So as someone who’s not a tech person, so absolutely.

Barb 17:40
So you’ve been through that startup phase. So talk a little bit about as a startup, how do you find the funding? And where does the funding come in the future so that the business becomes sustainable?

Annika 17:52
Yeah, so right now we’re completely self funded. We brought on an amazing Regina based developer who’s been working with us, and she’s awesome. And she’s female, which is pretty incredible, because there’s not a ton of female developers. And she’s a full stack developer, if you know much about what that means. But it means that she’s pretty amazing.

That’s awesome. And so we’re clearly self funded, we are actually in the process of trying to raise some funds so we can move forward. So we’re really lucky and thankful we’re in the startup TNT, top five, that’s happening in Saskatoon, which is a pretty large,large scale, funding opportunity, and just a great place to build connections.

So it’s been really good for us and being involved in that process. In the fall, we are going to be part of the global startup Canada pitch competition, which is really exciting. And there’s a number of prizes there. And that mostly, you know, I’d like those would be, you know, it’s wonderful to win those competitions. But those are also the spaces where I find that I’ve been able to build those business connections that I lack, because I’m in the education sector, and I don’t have those connections.

And so this is kind of where it’s been really great for me is to build out, you know, our connections. We also were just in competition, and Banff, it’s called her story, and it’s put on by the 51. And that was amazing as well, I got to hear pitches from amazing women entrepreneurs, that are in the tech industry, you know, everything from people who are, you know, doing life changing stem cell research? No, yeah, it was just incredible to be amongst these amazing women in the so that’s kind of where we are looking for funding. At some point we will be charging for the platform. You know, and we have different models that we’re trying to explore. It won’t be outrageous. But we will have to be able to sustain the business and continue to get the word out. So yeah.

Barb 19:56
exactly. You know, I think about some of those pitch competitions and as you say, it’s the people you meet and the connections that you’re able to create. But even the unique approaches to the ideas, right, being able to hear how other startups have, you know, found that model outside the box and be able to then retrofit that to your own business, your own organization, the value of that, to me would just be huge. Absolutely huge. Right. And so yeah, those are very cool. Now, is it through the cultivator that you’ve been able to find all of these and find that common thread to these pitch competitions? Or how did that come to be?

Annika 20:43
I think it’s just a lot of research. So some of it, I’ve learned through them, some of them through different people I’ve met along the way. And I think, connection. So yeah, I just feel like if I and then you can, like I’ve Googled some things just to try to learn about different opportunities. We’ll be looking towards government funding and that kind of thing as well. And hopefully, in the future.

But yeah, I feel like it’s a lot of you know, trying to meet the right people who are going to be able to share the information that you need.

Barb 21:13
Yeah, absolutely. So do you have some favorite trails? Or does your family have some favorite trails?

Annika 21:19
Oh, we are near Regina, we love I believe it’s called the Hidden Valley trails, they’re very close. We also love Fairy Hill. It is just such a beautiful little trail to explore.

So those are kind of near what we really love when we went out to Cypress Hills, we really, it’s a little bit more of a challenging trail for some people. But still, you know, able, a lot of people are able to do it. But it’s the hidden conglomerate cliffs and it takes you kind of off a really steep steep trail, and then takes you over to just these hidden cliffs that you just would not expect to find in Saskatchewan. So those are our favorite ones in Saskatchewan.

Yeah, and then we have other I mean, we’ve explored all over from all over Alberta and BC and then all over Utah and California and Idaho. And yeah, so we’ve been all over. But those Oh, I should say, whatever favorite trails you’ve ever completed is last summer, our family did the West Coast Trail together.

We did it with our six and eight year old, which isn’t really recommended.

Barb 22:24
I know that trail I yeah, I get it.

Annika 22:26
But it was like we just can’t believe that we did it with our kids and that we had so much fun. Like we had an amazing time and connected in a way like we never expected we would.

Was it hard? Yes. It was extremely hard, especially with two little kids. But it was just an outstanding, amazing experience. So absolutely.

Barb 22:55
How many days did you take to do the West Coast?

Annika 22:58
We did it over 10 days instead of how people usually do it in five or six days, and we did a food drop midway. But that was kind of annoying, because we got rid of all of our weight. So not all of our weight but a bunch of the food weight. And then it was like back to a lot more like it’s recommended to have packs on that trail because of the ladders are massive and the amount of climbing, it’s recommended to have a pack that’s like 35 pounds and like my pack was 50 to 55 pounds. And my husband’s was like 60 to 65 which is not really necessarily deemed as safe because you know, if you have a bigger pack, you’re going up ladders and you’re climbing over big boulders.That would happen but

Barb 23:40
but you had the kids and it’s not like they can carry a 30 pound pack. So it’s just no yeah.

Annika 23:46
Have lighter packs on that type of trail too.

Barb 23:49
Exactly. And so when your kids are looking for stuff to do on the weekend, like are they the first ones to be like Hey, Mom, let’s go do this trail. Or, you know, because they do it too much. Are they like Mom, can we just watch TV this Saturday morning?

Annika 24:04
I think it’s a mix. Like I think sometimes they want to do it and sometimes they don’t. Our oldest is obsessed with reading right now. So sometimes it’s really hard to pull her away from her books. And then they like to play soccer on the weekend. So that’s a lot of what we do. They do love like my youngest always wants to go backcountry camping, but I think it’s because she likes being beside me to be beside I think that’s why she likes then I think they just enjoy the time and then sometimes, you know, they still they go a lot they’ll complain, you know, and then once we’re out there then usually they have fun and explore and it’s fine, but it’s the getting out there. They don’t really love transitions to be honest.

Barb 24:49
Yeah, and what kid does right?

Annika 24:54
Like trying to get them in and out of the bath. It’s like they don’t want to go in the bath and then they get in the bath and they don’t want to leave the bath and You’re Yes, yes. Okay.

Barb 25:02
So, um, so your husband obviously really enjoys being active. Is this? Is this something he was like? Yay, let’s go do this. I can’t wait to hike another trail or see like, okay, yeah, let’s go do another one. How does that work in your house?

Annika 25:18
He loves it. It was actually his idea to do the West Coast Trail. And I was having anxiety about taking our little kids on it. I was like, I think they can do it. But it was like a little bit nerve wracking, but he was just so confident that we could do it. He’s very avid like, last summer, he loves trail running, and he also runs. So last summer, he ran the boreal trail in a day, which is about 125 kilometers.

And so I just obviously love the trails, and he likes doing hard.

Barb 25:49
Exactly. Okay, that makes way more sense to me. Because when you have a spouse who’s like, Yeah, I’m gonna do an ultra marathon. Okay, that explains everything.

Annika 25:58
Yeah, and I also knew about the West Coast Trail, I knew that I’d set a goal, I knew that it would be hard for me and I said, you basically have to be the one like when the kids need that extra story when they need extra, like attention that’s on you. Because you have the energy because you’re an ultra runner. For me, I might be in my head like, this is so hard. And I need to also have time to say things like, this was hard.

Barb 26:22
Yeah, exactly. That ability to decompress. Exactly. Okay, we are almost at a time.

So tell folks where they can find the app. Let them know where to find them on your, your social channels, your website? How can people connect with you? And yeah, I really look forward to some of the content you’re going to share related to here’s how to get your kids off the couch. So take it away.

Annika 26:44
Yeah, so you can download track collective, it’s TrailCollectiv without an E on the App Store. So Android and Apple, you can find us at trail collective or trailcollectiv.com. And you can find me personally on the App forum to be adventurous on all the social platforms, as well as my website borntobeadventures.com.

And if you’re in Western Canada, we most likely have a Born to Be adventurous mamas group that you can join. So search born to be adventurous mamas and find the one that you’re nearby and join.

Barb 27:16
That’s right, because we didn’t even talk about the five Facebook groups that you manage.

Annika 27:22
Yeah, well, I started with one. And then people asked to create other ones and other places. So if they know, I oversee them. But mostly they’re run by the communities that are running them.

Barb 27:33
So wow, that is crazy. Awesome.

All right. Well, thank you Annika for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you. And you’ve certainly given me some ideas about how I can get my own kids moving. I’m looking forward to downloading the app. Of course, we’ve recorded this episode before the app was actually live. So as you hear this episode, hop into the App Store on Android or Apple and download the trail collective without an E app because you need to check this out.

If you would like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovthefold.live or just reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Abovethefold.ca

I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember you work hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Annika on the trails around western Canada or connect with her online.

annika@trailcollectiv.com

Ep. 102 Ronley Arnold

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder impacts an estimated 9.2% of Canadians during their lifetime.

Our guest today is not a statistic; Ronley Arnold was impacted by PTSD in the workplace. Join us to hear his story of recovery, the surprising places he found support and the disappointing trends that continue in mental health.

If you, or someone you know, is impacted by PTSD, please contact the Canadian Mental Health Association, or, for Veterans and First Responders, OSI-CAN.

Transcript

Barb  0:00  

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder impacts an estimated 9.2% of Canadians during their lifetime. Our guest today is not a statistic. He’s here to share his story and the support that he found in our community. I’d like to introduce you to Ronley Arnold. Ronley. Welcome.

Ron  0:23  

Thank you.

Barb  0:24  

Thank you for being here. Let’s start off with a little bit of an introduction. Tell us a bit about yourself and where you work.

Ron  0:33  

Well, I have found myself a position working with OSI-CAN or operational stress injuries Canada as a communications coordinator. So essentially what I do is I help with the online and virtual communication of the OSI-CAN needs to try and improve awareness about not only PTSD, but also I can always access services of everywhere we have within reach.

Barb  1:04  

Okay, okay. And you guys are provincial, actually, you’re a national organization and you work for the provincial chapter. Is that correct? That is correct. Okay, so these supports are then available across Canada? Are they exactly the same in every province? Or is it a little bit different province to province?

Ron  1:22  

Actually we are in Western Canada, we are really slowly building and we will be growing further as we go along. Our services, a lot of them are similar in other provinces, but they are run a little bit differently according to the needs and the resources that they’ve developed in those other provinces.

Barb  1:43  

Okay, so let’s talk about where the need for the services came from in the first place. So wherever you were in your life in your career, Something brought you to OSI-CAN take us back, if you can, to what was happening in your life that made you recognize you needed to find some help?

Ron  2:05  

Well, for me, I was diagnosed with PTSD. And I had gotten quite upset that there didn’t seem to be any resources for those with PTSD across the province. Okay. And so I was having difficulty trying to get the help I needed. I knew I needed to not only function in society, but even to be able to associate with my family properly. Got it.

Barb  2:32  

Okay. And can you talk about what was happening in your life that made you recognize that you had PTSD or, or how you were able to determine that that’s what it was?

Ron  2:45  

Oh, it was, emotionally, it was a pretty painful time. I was, at my worst, isolating myself in my basement. So my family couldn’t see me. I would disappear from society, I was having almost no contact with my immediate family or my extended family. A lot of them didn’t know what was going on with me. They just knew that I didn’t want to come and come out and meet with any of them or go for coffee or anything like that.

Barb  3:18  

Yeah. So some antisocial kind of tendencies were coming out, essentially, yes. Yep. And is that quite contrary to who you typically are? Are you a pretty social guy love to hang out with family, and I’m generally

Ron  3:35  

Quite social. At least I was before. I did well with people. I was actually a public speaker. I used to teach public speaking with the cadet program. I used to teach instruction. And I would get along quite well with a lot of people.

Barb  3:57  

Right. Okay. And so all of that was starting to change. Yes. Was your family part of the impetus to get help? Or did you recognize yourself that, you know, things that something wasn’t right?

Ron  4:14  

A lot of observations other people had of me like I was basically behaving outside of I hit 10. When I got PTSD, it was from 10 years in corrections. Okay. And I was starting to behave the way I do at work at my home, and how I responded to my wife and my kids.

Barb  4:35  

Yep. And so very militant.

Ron  4:39  

Incredibly, yes.

Barb  4:40  

Yeah. If that’s a word, I don’t know if that’s even a word. Oh, it is. How old were your kids at the time?

Ron  4:47  

They were about… Oh, man. I honestly am not sure how old they were at the time when this all started.

Barb  4:57  

Okay. Yep. Either way, it’s gonna have a pretty significant impact on them, I would think because our kids look to us to be consistent, but you know, have some compassion, have some empathy, right? Those sorts of things. And yep, I would guess that those were difficult emotions to get to. Was there any other? Was there any other? I don’t know, I’ll call them side effects or symptoms that you were experiencing? Anger, finding that you were drinking more than usual? What else? What, if anything, else were you finding?

Ron  5:34  

Well, I was getting angry at a lot of things very easily. My driving had become a lot more aggressive and risky.

Barb  5:42  

Ah, yeah.

Ron  5:45  

I actually had gotten into a car accident at one point, from the fears I was having, and having difficulty concentrating. Because I would look for dangers everywhere. And so it became getting to a point where I could not avoid feelings, and I couldn’t put them away and then concentrate on my driving, concentrate on what I was doing. And it was affecting everything that I did.

Barb  6:14  

Exactly. It was 24 hours a day, with the exception of you know, hopefully, still getting some sleep and maybe even that was disturbed. It was set on your shoulders for a long time. So let’s talk about that then. Because anytime we’re expecting, sorry, experiencing that emotional stress. Everybody carries it differently. I know I’m a shoulder carrier. Where did you feel it in your body? And you know, when you started to heal and get better, did you find that there was that weightlifting sensation that they often talk about?

Ron  6:52  

For me, it wasn’t really lifting a weight off of my body. It became almost more of a pressure. I didn’t feel as tight in my chest, I was breathing more controlled. Those were the kinds of things that were going on with me that there was almost a pressure going, pressing in on me. Yep.

Barb  7:15  

Okay, that makes some sense to me then. So talk about getting help. Let’s talk about OSI-CAN and how you’ve been able to find the support. And now in fact, you’ve made that your career. So let’s talk about that.

Ron  7:29  

Well, initially, I was, as I said, I was quite upset that there wasn’t anything out there. So I started calling around to see if anything can be done because WCB was not recognizing mental health issues. Ah, okay. At the time they were starting to know but at the time, they did not. Okay. And so I started calling around so I’d actually gotten some backup from my local MLA. I started phoning around so they suggested phoning around to places like the firefighters.

Barb  8:02  

Okay, yeah. Okay, that makes sense. And when I contacted

Ron  8:07  

the Regina firefighters organization, they actually pointed me to OSI-CAN.

Barb  8:13  

Ah, so they were aware of it already. Yes. Okay.

Ron  8:18  

And knew that they were making an effort to try and make some changes at WCB. Called the presumptive clause. And they also had a group that was available. So I contacted OSI-CAN. They said the contact was through either the Legion or through the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Barb  8:36  

Okay. Oh, boy. So there’s pathways and channels that you have to find and follow to find the support that

Ron  8:43  

There was a time Yes. Yeah.

Barb  8:47  

Is it easier now,

Ron  8:49  

It is a lot easier. Now we’ve got a full website we’ve got as a direct line of contact towards the director of OSI-CAN now. And you just basically you don’t, you can contact the Legion and they will basically give you the information, or the CMHA will do the same. But generally, if you type in OSI-CAN into Google, up we come.

Barb  9:14  

Exactly, yes. And I know you’re also working on being that top result for someone searching for PTSD, or you know, some of those keywords that you’re working on because you want people to be able to find you easily. So at the time that you found OSI-CAN there was no website it was almost a word of mouth type of network. It sounds like then, just about Yeah, yeah. And you know, I think, yes, I can understand why that might happen. But it’s unfortunate that that was the case, because for a lot of people depending on how deep they are into their mental health crisis. Your ability to seek out support gets less and less EFS as your health starts to deteriorate, so the harder it is to find, the less people are going to start to find those supports.

Ron  10:08  

So it is also very difficult to admit that you need support.

Barb  10:12  

Okay, let’s talk about that. So was that a hard thing for you to run? Like?

Ron  10:15  

Yes, it was, it was quite difficult because I had to admit the PTSD was an issue. I had to admit that i The problem wasn’t everyone else. It was happening within me.

Barb  10:31  

Yep. And do you think that that stigma has started to change? Because as a former corrections worker, like that’s pretty, I’ll call it a macho environment. That’s an environment where I would think it would be particularly difficult to say, hey, yeah, you know what, guys, I need some help.

Ron  10:54  

That was difficult to do. The stigma is improving. Sometimes, it’s almost the stigma that we hold ourselves. Mm hmm. That makes it an issue to try and call for help. Yes. But also whether or not if you have to admit that you have PTSD, a lot of times you almost lose the support of your co-workers. And so you need an organization like OSI-CAN, which is now a program of the CMHA. To be able to find that help.

Barb  11:31  

So okay, that’s interesting. So it felt like you were losing support of your colleagues. Tell me about that. Why do you think that was,

Ron  11:41  

It was a lack of understanding a lot of my colleagues I never heard from again, after I stopped working. And they only understood they’re at the jail. And a lot of the principle of what goes on there is if you start to have problems, the question is, maybe you should find somewhere else to find a new job, a new career. And then once you leave, you’re not the immediate problem, which is how you operate at the Correctional Center, you deal with the issues happening right then and there.

Barb  12:19  

And so does that. Does that inference come from your colleagues? Or does that come from higher ups? Or maybe I should speak in past terms? Did it come from higher ups?

Ron  12:34  

A lot of it came from those higher up? Because once you found somewhere new to be, they didn’t have many resources to offer either.

Barb  12:46  

Okay. Once

Ron  12:48  

WCB took over, it’s no longer their problem.

Barb  12:53  

Oh, okay. So that’s so even in that process, with PTSD not being recognized? Was it still considered a workplace injury? And disability? Is that where, where the process starts with them? Or what did that journey look like for you?

Ron  13:15  

Well, with them WCB has now started to recognize it as a workplace injury. Okay. Before you had to be able to prove it, and prove that it was something from your workplace, which was very difficult to do.

Barb  13:29  

Yeah. How do you do that? Like, even even as you say that out loud, I think, how in the heck, do you ever prove that something came from, you know, the workplace versus, you know, common life? Yes. How did you prove it?

Ron  13:45  

For me, it was that presumptive clause, it was the fact that I could point to certain incidents that actually were videotaped. And they were there in my reports, and in the things that I wrote down, I could point to those incidents and be able to prove that something had occurred at work.

Barb  14:09  

Got it. Okay. And being in that corrections environment, I can, I can just imagine some of what you’ve seen and heard and stuff over the years and the, the average citizen out there doesn’t want to know, right, like, that’s one of those things that, you know, people don’t talk about, because they don’t want to know about what goes on behind that closed door. Right. Exactly. Yep. So I can just imagine, okay, so then when you found the OSI-CAN intake process, you found a support group. Has it been smooth sailing ever since?

Ron  14:46  

No, I wouldn’t say smooth sailing, but the support that I got from them has been very very low stress.

Barb  14:54  

Yep. So you found a support group. So do they still have a number of different support groups?

Ron  14:59  

Yes, we do. To across the province and in other provinces as well.

Barb  15:03  

Okay, and so what would a support group look like?

Ron  15:08  

We have a total of 16. Like I now run one of those support groups. And you essentially come in. And even if you don’t want to tell your story yet, you can hear the stories of others. And we often talk about what has gone on in our lives, even just in the last week, or in the last year, if we need it out, that is a place where you can get it out.

Barb  15:32  

Got it. Okay. And so you have males and females that come together, do the groups have particular topics that they talk about? Or is it really just a safe place to talk about whatever?

Ron  15:49  

Well, it is recovery focused on the location, the idea is you come in, and you talk about what is going on. And it is focused on how you can actually become a little bit less damaged or harmed by your situation. And so you are able to deal with your family to go to something as simple as going to a large store. Basically, all of it is something that we encourage people to go see their psychologist, see a psychiatrist, see their doctor, try and get that medical help, as well as the emotional health that you get from the group.

Barb  16:36  

Right. Okay. And do you find that a lot of relationships are forged in those groups, then?

Ron  16:41  

Oh, very much. So. Yes. Yeah.

Barb  16:43  

So you, you knew your group almost right.

Unknown Speaker  16:48  

Yes, exactly. Yeah.

Barb  16:49  

Well, it is pure sport. Exactly. Yeah. Known

Ron  16:53  

As other people who understand what you are going through. And they have been through similar circumstances themselves, like PTSD comes in many shapes and sizes. So for us, it is those who have had experiences similar to our own.

Barb  17:09  

Okay. So let’s talk about those signs and symptoms for a minute. You talked about your own experiences and how you knew you needed to reach out for help, what would be some of those common signs and symptoms that others might be experiencing?

Ron  17:24  

Well, like we said, there was a lot of anger, that you are very quick to anger, you’re very quick to suddenly have fear. And it’s that kind of fight or flight mode that you go into very quickly. For me, whenever somebody slant, like I would go to the gym, as I was encouraged to and it was, I had support to help pay for going to the gym on a regular basis. The problem was that every time I heard the weights slamming together of somebody else working on their barbells, I would automatically flinch and suddenly go into panic mode. And I’d be looking around at all these mirrors where there’s tons of people looking around at what’s going on. And I would go into a panic attack.

Barb  18:16  

Ah, okay.

Ron  18:20  

I did not sleep well. I had strong anxiety. I definitely had issues with depression. Okay. And there were a lot of cases of isolation where I would disappear. My family would often wonder what happened to me. There was a Christmas get together one year, up north, and I disappeared into another area of the hotel. Nobody knew where I was. Nobody knew what I was doing. And all I was trying to do is bring my breathing back under control.

Barb  18:54  

Yeah. Just trying to get away from it a bit. Yeah, yes. And if your family or even if only parts of your family, were aware that you were experiencing some signs of depression, then when you disappear like that, that puts a whole new level of anxiety and everyone else’s minds then to

Ron  19:12  

Oh, very much. So yes. And they will often become afraid of what they can say to me and what they couldn’t say to me. There were times when I wanted to, like, my depression got so bad, and my fears got so bad. I wanted it to be over in any way that I could find. And luckily, I called up for help before it got to the point where I would look at ending things entirely.

Barb  19:40  

Exactly. So let’s talk about that. Then, as an organization, how do you get your message out there?

Ron  19:50  

A lot of the time it goes by word of mouth. So if someone has heard of OSI-CAN they refer someone else to it? We’ve Got it up on Facebook, we’ve got it up on Instagram. We’ve got the information going out on the website through the regular media, things like that. We’ve also got our public service announcements coming out soon. In fact, they’re starting today, with CTV

Barb  20:24  

Got it? Oh, awesome, okay.

Ron  20:28  

And it’s going to be very intense when people are going to be able to see for themselves, but they have to understand that, oh, wow, someone else actually has been through this, someone else might understand what I’m going through.

Barb  20:44  

Okay. And so in getting the message out to any of these new people that are out there, do you even have the support that you need for the number of people who may reach out to the organization

Ron  21:01  

I do now have like, we’ve got the support needed. We treat that for others, we actually encourage them to talk to each other in the groups. We have our leads, June is PTSD Awareness Month. So we are working very hard on making sure that information gets out there. Yep, we’ve even got our healing with horses retreat. Okay, that allows people to come over, we, it’s for a very small price, because we find people are very open to attending something that they have paid for. Yep. But if it’s inexpensive, they show up. They get to interact with the horses with each other, they get to experience a little bit of what it would be like to have counseling, art therapy, different things like that. So they learn about those different modes of healing.

Barb  21:56  

So why do you think that healing with horses retreat is so popular? I know you and I have talked about it before? A What is it about horses that are so calming? And when is the next retreat? And how would someone participate?

Ron  22:17  

Well, the next retreat, we’ve got the family one that is coming up soon, we’ve got one in Prince Albert. And we’ve got one in August. That’s for adults only. Okay. Yeah, July 9 is the family retreat where we get to bring kids ages six and up. Yep. And so what it is, is that when you get there, the horses, what they do is they mirror our emotions. So when we start to feel around those horses, if we feel like we’re concerned, we don’t want to go, you know, we’re scared of the horse, the horse will also pick up on that and we’ll stay back. But if we start to relax a little bit and start to release, the horse will approach okay. And it helps with finding symptom management with those horses. Got it?

Barb  23:04  

Okay, so do the therapy horses have some special training? Or is this very intuitive for a horse?

Ron  23:14  

A lot of it is intuitive, but there is special training the horses go through. Okay. So Equine Assisted Learning is the program that they’re taught. And so they learn how to respond to a person who’s going through that. Yeah. So that way, otherwise, a horse might rear up or whatever else, but a calm, very well managed horse will actually respond appropriately, and not cause something even more fearful.

Barb  23:43  

Exactly. We only have about two minutes. And I want to ask you two quick questions. So first, can you just talk to us also about your service dog? How you found a service dog or how you were, I suppose, matched with a service dog?

Ron  24:00 

Essentially, I was matched. This is currently my second service dog. But what it was is that I had been encouraged to try and find some kind of support that I could have with me 24 hours a day. And my Cert and a service dog was that the dog was provided by OSI-CAN. Okay, I was given some training in terms of how to interact with the dog and the different commands the different what to expect from the service dog. And now I’m actually going into a slightly different situation where the dog is actually a puppy. My other dog has retired. 

Ron  24:43  

And she’s actually enjoying life on a farm.

Barb  24:48  

Ah, okay. Real farm Ron Lee. Yes.

Ron  24:54  

Yeah. Yeah. Your parents say to you Is your kids happy?

Barb  25:00  

Exactly. Exactly. Okay, run late, we need to wrap up. So just quickly, please tell everyone where they can find OSI-CAN and what they should do if they or a family member if they believe that somebody needs some support. So tell us, please.

Ron  25:20  

Well, you can contact us at www.osican.sk.ca, or you can find us at OSICANrecover on Facebook. There, we have lots of information for support of how to support a person going through PTSD, what support we have available for them. And we regularly changed the information and brought updates along as well.

Barb  25:49  

Awesome. All right. Thank you, Ronley. I so appreciate you joining us today to talk about your story and talk about the support that is out there because with nearly 10% of the Canadian population impacted at some point during their life, there is a significant number of people in our community who need support. If you or someone that you care about needs support, please look up each of the contact details that Ronley just shared so you can get the support that you need. 

Barb  26:20  

If you would like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Abovethefold.ca 

Barb  26:33  

I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Ronley @ OSI-CAN

ra.osican@cmhask.com

Ep. 101 Susan Robertson

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Today’s guest has always been a little on the “artsy” side. Even in her youth, she was involved in art, dance and theater. It wasn’t until she moved to Outlook, Saskatchewan in 1983 that she found her passion.

Playing in the mud! OK, not quite, but playing with clay!

As she will tell you, she doesn’t go to “work” everyday, she goes to “play!” And with 250 vendors across Canada, she does a lot of playing…..

Susan Robertson is the owner, player and chief maker at Susan Robertson Pottery and the Handmade Gallery. 🍵

Tune in to hear how her “retirement project” is going! 🤣

Transcript

Barb 0:00
Our guest today has always been considered artsy. In her youth. She was involved in art and dance in theater. But it wasn’t until she moved to Outlook Saskatchewan back in 1983, that she found her passion. One of our guests, you’ve heard me say this before you still love to play in the dirt. But our guest today, she loves to play with clay. Remember that deep, that dark clay that we would play with his kids? Yeah, she actually makes her living off this, but we’re gonna let her tell you a little bit of the story.

Barb 0:34
So I would like to welcome Susan Robertson to the show today. And Susan, please kick us off by introducing yourself.

Susan 0:42
Well, I am Susan Robertson, from Susan Robertson Pottery. I have been a ceramic artist for over 35 years now. And I just moved to Broderick, Saskatchewan from Outlook big move a kilometer down the road and built a new studio, which is, as Barb will no doubt laugh through this, my retirement project. And my husband likes to remind me that I’m supposed to be retired. But yeah, I get to play in the mud all day. I don’t work for a living. I am really fortunate I get to play every day at work.

Barb 1:24
Exactly. You play for a living. So let’s back that up. Because you actually just told us a whole heck of a lot of things. You built this new studio and having been there, that studio is gorgeous. That compares to anything that you might see in a city. Nevermind that I’m going to head out to Broderick to Saskatchewan to see it. So tell us a little bit about the studio. And what inspired that build, especially since this is supposed to be a retirement project.

Susan 1:48
Well, we had a business in Outlook, as well as my pottery. And it was a small motel, and we lived in the motel as well. And we decided that, you know, we’re both thinking that we should retire. And COVID hittin that kind of went down the road. And then they announced a huge irrigation project. So we thought, well, perfect time to sell. But, of course, when we sold, we lost the motel and the studio space that I have. So we had to build elsewhere. And as my husband says, He knows that I would not be happy without a place to work

Barb 2:32
And play. A place to play!

Susan 2:35
Well, yeah. Yeah, laughing down. So we bought two lots side by side and built this space. And, you know, my husband said, build whatever you want. First mistake. I turned around and said, How about if I build what I can afford? And he said, Okay, and so we planned it. But in the planning, I also put it in a retail space. And he’s, you know, kind of shaking his head because, you know, like, Don’t you just want a place to go and play all day? And I guess it’s just not in my nature to sit? Well, it is definitely not my nature to sit still. And I always seem to have to be moving forward. And I think that’s because part of my philosophy is if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Barb 3:28
Sure. Yep.

Susan 3:30
So you know, I added the Well, I had a small retail section, but it was just my pottery, whereas now I have a full blown Canadian handmade craft gift store. Yeah, so that’s, and so that’s why I’m so busy and working so crazy now, because most of what I used to do was wholesale. So I sell my pottery to stores all across Canada, but 250 of them. Okay. So now I’ve added this new dimension. And so now I’m learning all this retail stuff. And you know, and my husband just shakes his head and you go, exactly.

Barb 4:12
This is supposed to be a retirement project. So I think I met your husband very quickly in passing. But of course, I don’t know him well, and I have to say, I think he’s a very brilliant man who recognized what he needed to do to keep you happy. Because I have a sneaking suspicion if you were bored, you’d probably be driving him crazy.

Susan 4:37
Well, that’s what I say to him. I said, What do you want me to sit here and look at you all day, like, not happening? I love you dearly but

Barb 4:46
And that’s why you still love him dearly because you each have your own lives that are probably very full and rich and you get to do lots of things that keep you happy. So that’s a huge thing. Okay, tell me about this Canadian and handmade store that you’re growing. I didn’t even know that. That’s news to me too.

Susan 5:07
Yeah, well, if it is actually history, I’ve done so many things in my lifetime. I used to have a store in Outlook. And I had a stony little small studio, it was like 900 square feet on the corner of the two major roads. And at the time, it was only one stop where the stop signs were. And it was called A Wrinkle in Time. So I actually have retail experience that it was a Canadian handmade gift store. And when I moved from that location to my larger location, I decided that I didn’t want to spend time in the retail store. I just wanted to focus on the wholesale. Then when I moved back here, the wholesale is well, it’s not without its challenges, but it doesn’t present any new challenges, hey, and I’ve discovered that I need to constantly be doing new things. And I felt that re-inventing the Canadian gift Gift Store. Also, because we’re you know, Broderick is a town of 90, I think we’re up to 92 people now.

Barb 6:21
A thriving metropolis.

Susan 6:24
Yeah. So it’s not exactly, you know, conducive to local shopping. So it needed to be a destination store. And while a lot of people love pottery, not everybody loves pottery, but everybody loves, you know, a shot that they can come and find gifts for that are special and unique. So and in the process, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of really great artists as well. So that’s been a lot of fun.

Barb 6:53
Absolutely. How do you find your artists then?

Susan 6:58
All kinds of different ways. Some have been through other contacts. So for instance, I had a friend who had a new glass artist, she was formerly a ceramic artist. And she had a mentee that she thought I’d be interested in his work. Well, it turns out, I got her work and his work. Here now. I have gone to the Halifax craft DS Expo. And through it, I’ve met a lot of maritime artists, and they have some really interesting art.

Susan 7:35
Yeah, so one, one through their website that I found that she has these amazing cards, and I decided that I was going to buy them and then I read her story. And she is a disabled person who has Down syndrome. Like I was impressed with these before it was just oh my god like exams. I actually now I’m jealous, because, you know, here she’s producing this amazing work and, and of course, she has some help from her family and things but still like oh my god. So you know, other stores that I deal with I actually mentored by a woman out of nowhere, she is in Nova Scotia and she is a retail specialist. Okay. So she connects us with other retailers. And so as well as guiding a lot on how to run a retail store. It’s also how to source products and, and they said it in exchange.

Barb 8:40
Okay, let’s jump back to clay. Let’s just jump back there for a second. So how in the heck did you actually get into pottery?

Susan 8:48
Well, actually, I moved from Ottawa. I’m a city girl. I grew up in a city in Ontario 40,000 people and moved from there to Ottawa, and then moved from Ottawa to Outlook. And when I moved here, I left my family, my friends, and my job. And I had a 17 day old baby. Oh my god. Yeah.

Susan 9:09
Needless to say, I got cabin fever. And my husband said you have to get out of the house, you need to go do something. And he saw an advertisement in the paper. We used to have a pottery studio in the community. Go take pottery classes, you’ll love it. So I took my first class and absolutely fell in love with it. And I actually remember one of the other women who was a longtime ceramic artist, looking at me and going, you look like a potter. I thought I don’t know what Potter’s are supposed to look like, but apparently I do. Exactly. So that started me off. And then years later, our little motel was suffering through the 80s which everybody was Yeah,

Barb 9:57
Everybody was.

Susan 9:58
Yeah, and I needed to go get a job. So I did. And I worked for the Saskatchewan Craft Council as their marketing coordinator. And through that I got exposed to some of the most amazing work like, Oh, our would know. Yeah. The province has some of the most amazing artists and a lot of them are world renowned. We just don’t tell anybody about them. It’s terrible. Anyway, back to the story. So I worked for the Craft Council for quite a few years. And through it, through that exposure, it really motivated me to go and get some education. And so I took an applied Fine Arts diploma through SIAST, which used to have a ceramics program, and graduated in 1995. So I actually have a piece of paper to hang on my wall. Maybe I should find it. Because I’d always every now and then I go, Oh, yeah, I do have a degree or diploma.

Susan 10:59
And then, you know, meantime, we’re still working. And then I did the traditional, you know, go to craft sales, flogged my wares. And I had at that time, I had three young children. And there was one time I was gone for like nine weeks, I was on the road. And I came home. My kids didn’t know me, they were scared of me. And yeah, it was I said, that was not the life. I want it for myself or my family. Yeah. And that’s when I decided to pursue wholesale, which is not something a lot of artists and artisans have done. Because for a whole lot of different reasons. We could do a whole podcast on

Barb 11:45
Wholesale and retail. Yeah, absolutely.

Susan 11:48
So after that, I, you know, still did the occasional shows, but, you know, mostly wholesale, and then in the last probably five years, I don’t do any retail shows at all, I just do wholesale shows. So that’s where I am now.

Barb 12:07
Yeah. So let’s talk about that. Why are we such a well kept secret? Why do we work so hard to not tell anyone? What do you think it is?

Susan 12:20
Well, I don’t think necessarily, that it’s that we don’t tell anyone, I think that it’s really hard when like a lot of people are, they’re selling everything that they produce. So they didn’t have a need to go beyond their community beyond our borders, got it. The ones that have become internationally well known are generally ones who have gone the path of what we term one of a kind.

Susan 12:53
So rather than producing multiples of things, they produce a single vessel or object. And quite often, they are very expensive, and we don’t have those markets here in Saskatchewan. So then those people have to go outside of the province, they have to find other venues. And so they go national and then International, because that’s where the markets are.

Susan 13:24
When you’re producing by yourself. It’s you know, and I should, you know, state that I do have employees now, because there’s just no way I can do it all on my own. And for a lot of people, they’re just happy. They just want to make pots. And I guess that’s, you know, talking about Potter’s, but I think maybe that’s the flip side of it that most artists come from an artistic bent, and they don’t have a business background or business thing. Yeah. And that is a big stumbling block for a lot of them because they just want to stay in their studios and make things. Yes, exactly. Yeah. And I’m the other well, I shouldn’t say and the other way around, like I have this creative half, then I have this business and have, you know, grew up in a family and business. And so, you know, it’s almost ingrained in you and

Barb 14:20
So well, if you’ve 250 retailers across Canada, how did you build that network network? How are they finding you? And how the heck do you get ceramics from small town Saskatchewan out to some of these retail locations? Because how does that stuff not break?

Susan 14:36
And over the years, we’ve learned to pack very, very well yeah, I bet. yeah, the building the network it it actually all started because I was at a craft show in Ottawa. And this little woman went sailing by me. And next thing I know she marches right back to me and she puts her finger under my nose and cheek. I want to represent you. Oh, okay. Okay. And we have had over a 20 year relationship.

Susan 15:13
And, you know, it was just, I mean, I had been starting to do wholesale, but because of her name is Ryan Moffat and her company’s anything is possible. And she only represents Canadian artists. Okay. So, you know, she started taking me to the wholesale shows I had been going to some of the wholesale shows. That’s sort of where you start. And then, you know, you build a reputation for quality and good products.

Susan 15:47
And most, a lot of my stores have been buying for me for years and years. And, I mean, part of that is possible, because I’m constantly creating new designs, and I do custom work. So they might have something they specifically want, let’s say, a lighthouse in Nova Scotia, and they want me to reproduce their lighthouse. So I will reproduce, you know, whatever icon they want.

Susan 16:15
The imagery is very changeable. And in fact, my collection is very eclectic, because I have whales, and like, we’re a landlocked province here. We don’t have whales, we don’t have, you know, oceans. And so people are always surprised to find whales here. And it’s so well, it’s because in BC and the Maritimes they want whales, so I make whales.

Barb 16:41
exactly, that’s one of the things that I really like about your work is the variety of patterns, and then you can get everything to match. I’m one of those people who I like things to match. And you’d never know it by looking in my cupboards because it does seem like a completely eclectic set. But you know, having that special mug that matches, you know, the cheese platter, right, all these pieces, like there’s just something about that, and I don’t even know what it is, but it satisfies that. I don’t know that very square side, I suppose for my creative side something anyway.

Susan 17:19
Well, there’s a lot to be said for, you know, enriching your life with objects. And you know that that sounds weird, because I mean, really, let’s be honest, you can go to the dollar store. ceramic mug for $1. But it’s a mug. Yeah. Mine is a moment. It’s enjoyable. It’s warm, fuzzy. Yes,

Barb 17:45
It’s personal. When I select something from, from your patterns, like there’s, there’s something so personal about it. And it makes me want to put my coffee in it each day. Right? And so yeah, I totally, totally get it.

Susan 18:05
Well, we sort of our branding or logo or whatever you want to call it or, you know, we make people smile. That’s what we’re about. Like, nothing gives me more pleasure than when people come into the store. And they’re looking at my work and oh, look at this. And oh, you know, remember when we went on that trip? Doesn’t that remind you of that? And or, you know, they’re looking for a gift? Oh, my God, you know, and June will love this because she’s a bird person. Yeah.

Barb 18:39
So do you design the patterns as well? Or does someone else help you with that part of it? Or where did the patterns come from?

Susan 18:47
Well, they come from a lot of different places. Inspiration was really funny, I was just thinking about the very first, or one of the very first patterns I created was birch trees. And it was because I was at my sister’s house, and she’s a very accomplished artist as well. And she had done this painting of her backyard, which was all birch trees. And I just fell in love with the painting and I gushed over it and thought that I gave her enough hints that she should give it to me. And she did.

Susan 19:20
So I went home and I created a birch vase, which I then sent to her. And many years later, I’m at a show and I didn’t know I’m telling somebody this story and she’s standing behind me and she looks at me she goes, Well, why didn’t you just ask for the paint so that was you know, sort of the beginnings of it. But

Barb 19:44
S Susan, what do you think is next for you?

Susan 19:50
Well, actually, right, I got so many irons in the fire. It’s not even funny. And again, you know I’m supposed to be retired but the thing is River and Rail ArtVenture which you’re familiar with.

Barb 20:03
I’m very familiar with it.

Susan 20:07
Yeah, yeah, I have to give a shout out to Above The Fold, because they are the companies that we’ve worked with to develop this self driving art venture tour of Southwest central Saskatchewan. Fabulous June 25th & 26th. Here I go with my shameless self promotion.

Barb 20:29
Yes please. Yes, when it is, where it does and how many artists we have this year.

Susan 20:35
Yeah, it’s nine communities with over 60 artists, 30 venues.

Susan 20:45
And in west central Saskatchewan, so from Outlook down to do Tugaske. And you hop in your car with your friends, pack a lunch, or stop for lunch, stay overnight, and just go and see artists in their studio.

Susan 21:01
So people went on last year and had a really good time, and we’re expecting this year to be even better, bigger and better. Because even for myself, I wasn’t able to have people in my studio, partially because of COVID. And partially because we just moved in. So this year, I’ll be able to do studios, tours and demonstrations. And so give people a chance to understand more about what it is we do as artists and gain a greater appreciation for the work.

Susan 21:32
So then once that’s done, the next big project is Economusee. And this kind of ties into you know, the whole concept of artists not being known. And the Economusee is a project that started in Quebec, and their whole thing is to promote artists and artisans. Being able to live and work in their studios without having to travel outside to make a living, that people will come to them. So basically a type of eco tourism, you know, and the launch for my Eco tourism will be in September this year.

Barb 22:16
Ah, very cool. Where do people find you? How can they get to your studio and where might we find you on social media?

Susan 22:26
Okay, I’m located at one Kiley place. Broderick, Saskatchewan which is an hour south west of Saskatoon. Actually, I’m not quite an hour from now. Okay, it’s about 15 minutes and I am eight kilometers east of Outlook, major highways easy to get to and I’m right behind the potato barns which you might go. What’s that? So another reason to come here and find out.

Susan 22:57
And online I have shop.srobertsonpottery.com. And social media. It’s facebook.com Susan Robertson pottery instagram.com Susan Robertson pottery, and I try to be consistent. Yep. And on YouTube, Google, Google me. But I have to say you get a tour of the studio. But that’s the old studio. I haven’t done the new video.

Barb 23:28
And a new tour yet. All right. Awesome.

Barb 23:31
That is fantastic. Susan, let me wrap us up. And thank you.

Barb 23:36
Thank you so much for being here with me today. You know, it’s funny, you and I have talked, of course, dozens of times. But we’ve never really had the opportunity to talk about your business because we always have a full agenda when we are meeting so thank you for coming and sharing your story and telling us you know a few of your secrets and how how you’ve been able to be successful, as you say especially because that’s not what you were looking for with your family when you had three small children. So kudos to you.

Susan 24:05
Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about myself.

Barb 24:11
Absolutely.

Barb 24:12
If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram pages at abovethefold.ca. And just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our shows.

Barb 24:28
I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl remember you were too hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Susan @ Susan Robertson Pottery

susan@srobertsonpottery.com

Ep. 100 Victor Roman

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

You know all those “pretty pictures” and amazing designs you see on billboards, websites and in magazines? You can bet our guest today was instrumental behind more than a few of them. Victor Roman is the creative juice behind many of Saskatchewan’s most infamous creative campaigns.

Tune in to learn about his journey from the social work field to a thriving career in marketing and design. As a professional, he values the balance of time with his young, growing family and working for an organization whose goals align with his.

Transcript

Barb 0:00
My guest today is going to tell us why pretty pictures aren’t the only thing that matters. He has spent years in the creative field working at some of the largest agencies in Saskatchewan, and for some of the largest clients are Crown corporations and our municipalities. But have you ever thought creative isn’t just pretty? There’s also a lot of strategic thinking that goes into it.

Barb 0:26
So I want to welcome Victor Roman to our show today. And Vic, start us off. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into creating these pretty pictures.

Victor 0:37
For sure. Yeah, thanks for having me, Barb. So as you mentioned, I’m Victor Roman. And I have kind of a weird history and a weird placement so I’ll kind of explain where I am right now.

Victor 0:48
So my primary role in my day to day job I work with the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation with their communications and marketing and their communications marketing specialists currently and by night my superhero dropped my Batman cape crusader. I run a small, very limited kind of freelance work that I call Toro Creative. Victor Toro, makes sense I’m a Taurus, got it got it got a ring in my nose. It’s, it’s a thing. Love it.

Victor 1:21
And and really to kind of zoom you back a long time until like, how did I get into working at Community Foundation in the nonprofit sector as well as still doing freelance creative, I’ll kind of just work your way back to when I was starting to figure out what I was going to do for university I kind of had two routes either wanted to become a social worker, and a youth worker, okay. Or I wanted to go into graphic design because I had discovered Photoshop when I was a 10 year old. I actually remember when layers were like a new thing. Yeah. Which is kind of crazy. Just as a kid, I remember thinking, oh, there’s layers. This is so cool.

Barb 1:55
But you know, he said, Wait a second, I have to stop you there. So 10 years old, and your parents were willing to spend the money on Photoshop? How did you do? Oh,

Victor 2:04
My older brother worked for a local newspaper. Oh, there we go. So I started to play with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe page mill and I would make websites that would never go online. But I started developing things just for fun, based on my hobbies.

Barb 2:19
Okay, I was gonna say you knew your parents buttons, if you could get them to spend that money then?

Victor 2:24
Oh, no, oh, no, it was, I was lucky to have it through a brother. And um, and when I, I ended up actually choosing to go to university for social work. And then getting lucky. And just based on the kind of work I had done in high school, I got to work placements here in Regina, at Squareflow New Media, when they were just a brand new company, a printing shop.

Victor 2:46
So I was one of their first employees. And I did that while I went to university. And what kind of happened was their company kept growing. As the years went by, and kind of by year three of university and working with them, I was at a point where I was actually making more money with him than I was going to be as a social worker. And I was about to have to take an unpaid practicum that I did not know how it was going to afford.

Victor 3:09
So it kind of gave me the opportunity as a kid, I’m gonna leap into this full time I started working with them full time. They kept growing and growing. Eventually, we split off into Square Flow for Web and Flowprint for print. So then I moved solely over to the print side at that point.

Victor 3:26
Beforehand, I was working on the front end web as well as all the print. And then after that, I became a print designer. Eventually. I think I was a manager of some sort. I came to remember my title. Yep. And then I just kind of hit a point that I took a leap of faith and I started to take on freelance work.

Victor 3:47
And then I did freelance work for quite a few people. That’s actually when I met Jim Aho, who I can’t remember if I did work through Brown, but I met him through that. And then I did work for Captive Audience and a few other places. And I actually ended up then working at Captive Audience for a couple of years. And for them I did graphic design and got really into branding and do a lot of really fun stuff because they do experiential marketing. So I was like, creating like custom entire custom displays for like SaskTel’s trade show booths and, and started to work on concepts for augmented reality and virtual reality kind of in collaboration. Wow, Talking Dog Studios at the time. Yeah.

Barb 4:32
And then that would have been one of the early sort of augmented reality studios and productions too, because yeah, yeah, so that wasn’t commonplace.

Victor 4:41
Yeah, it was really neat. They were kind of first on the ground Captive and Talking Dog did a lot of collaborative work for clients. It was really neat to be there. Like I remember getting the Oculus Rift set before it was released. Oh, playing with it and just like, yeah, it was really neat.

Victor 4:57
So I learned a ton of skills at Captive. And then after that, as I mentioned, I knew Jim Aho when at the time he was still with Brown Communications Group and he had kind of headhunted me. He had reached out a couple of times. And then finally, the timing was just right. Yeah, I ended up moving over there and started as an art director and quickly became a creative director. Wow, I spent a couple of years as the Creative Director at Brown.

Victor 5:25
And then, throughout all of this, when I quit school, I also became a big brother, mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. And I volunteered for them in other ways too.

Barb 5:34
I know I have to ask one question there. Did you ever go back and finish school and do that practicum? Or did you switch directions or you just boom, jumped into the workforce and said, Hey, I’m making money and things are going good.

Victor 5:47
I just jumped into marketing, like, like a creative marketing role, where my portfolio spoke louder. I think then, yeah, any schooling was going to so I’ve never had the issue of getting work, because it’s like, well, everything I’ve done. Absolutely. Yeah. For my role. It does. And I actually, yeah, there was kind of a point where I felt like I, you know, had been about 10 years in the marketing industry.

Victor 6:11
It’s a lot of work, like no matter what, and I was a new parent. And I think becoming a parent really shifted my perspective as to what I am? What am I willing to do? Because now family is really important? How do I balance this, I just, I found it really hard to balance to be totally honest. And there was an opportunity with Big Brothers Big Sisters that opened up for their executive director role. And they actually, I ended up becoming their executive director and totally shifting industries.

Victor 6:41
And that’s what kind of led me to where I am now at the Community Foundation is they were one of the funders of Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I was part of their vital signs community network through that role. And when the pandemic hit, and they kind of gave me some insight into I wasn’t sure I was the right, Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, based on what I thought they were going to need now that the pandemic was a thing, right.

Victor 7:07
And a perfect role opened up at South Saskatchewan Community Foundation. And the timing just worked out really well that I felt like I needed to move here and give Big Brothers Big Sisters some room to kind of reassess what skill set do we need in this kind of new reality? And how can we get there? So I spent a busy amount of time in 2020, doing both roles. And then once I was done with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I still volunteered and was constantly in contact to make sure they were in place until they got their new Executive Director. Exactly. So that’s kind of that, that’s my journey of like 14 years to how I have this kind of weird split reality. Exactly.

Barb 7:45
There’s this totally eclectic background that, you know, makes you who you are today. So how are you finding the balance now? Because do you have one child or two?

Victor 7:55
Almost 2. One 4 year old and then one on the way in September?

Barb 8:01
Oh, awesome. Okay, so if you found balance hard with one, what’s your plan to tell me about this balance? Because I have yet to find it too?

Victor 8:09
Well, to be honest, my role with Saskatchewan Community Foundation has given me that balance. It’s very flexible, we work in a hybrid model. So there’s work at home or work at the office. Like just the nature of my role, it’s easy to work odd hours. So you know, daycare, daycare drop off doesn’t go well, because you’ve got a grumpy toddler. It doesn’t matter because I can just work a little bit later, that sort of thing. It’s made a huge difference, to be honest. Yes. And another part of it too, and is that you know, either way, I’m working a lot of hours during the day. But what I found working in the nonprofit sector, just in general, that’s different than when I was working with ad agencies is that your work is so focused, like no matter what I’m doing, whatever I was doing Big Brothers Big Sisters was towards impacting youth in a positive way.

Victor 8:59
Now at the Community Foundation, everything is about connecting donors with charities to impact our communities in a positive way. And there’s a million ways you can do that. But you just always have this honed in on. And that was something that that’s something I think just mentally keeps you I think a bit more sane than in an ad agency because you know, in an ad agency, especially as the creative director, you’re on so many clients so your brain is just jumping from Okay, now I’m working with a telecom on how we’re going to sell internet to the next hour. It’s a goal now how do we sell powerline safety? And how do we get this messaging out and then the next hour is something totally different. Totally different. So by the time I get home, my brain is just like I need a rest.

Barb 9:42
Exactly. I don’t mentally exhausted.

Victor 9:45
And that experience is incredible. But it’s for my personal life situation. It wasn’t ideal anymore. Now that I’ve kind of become this parent and when I get home, I can’t turn my brain off.

Barb 9:57
Yes!

Victor 10:01
Yeah. So I just kind of saw, you know, for me, I felt to be a better parent, I needed to make a shift. And then to be honest, once I made the shift, and I just had that clear sense of purpose, I just feel like I’m in a role, I’d never want to leave doing this. And then kind of as a freelancer, the work I do, I get to choose because it’s work, I’m passionate about the work I want to do. And its clients I know are gonna resonate with. So it’s really nice from that lens as well. I get to be kind of a picky, picky designer for fun and then impact the community throughout the day.

Barb 10:36
Exactly. Okay, so knowing how you’re balancing this and because you and I have done a little bit of freelance work together, like, you know, where are you working, then after your four year old goes to bed? Like, where are you? Actually Oh, you are?

Victor 10:50
Okay. That’s, that’s generally what is that bedtime until I’m ready for bed, that’s when I do work. And on weekends, like, yeah, during the afternoon, my partner, they’ll take our son to the park or something. And I might just leave behind and say I’ve got a couple hours, I’ve got a project to work on. And I’ve been pretty good at it. I feel like I have the right workload we’re never run into. I’ve only actually, really, once I’ve run into a situation where I was overloaded, but never, never beyond that. So I’m just really careful not saying yes to everything and kind of I’m committed to the people that I do always say yes to.

Barb 11:28
That’s right. Yeah, having a small and select group of people that you work with on a consistent basis, which actually improves the quality of work. So I share that. So talk to me a little bit about how design contributes to those strategic goals. Because, you know, certainly I can think of many of the creative situations where I’ve been in, and the, you know, the top people often think, you know, it’s just about looking good. And you often hear so many opinions. We don’t like that color, we don’t like yes, well, there’s actually some purpose that goes into it. So talk a little bit about that purpose and how you get there.

Victor 12:08
Yeah, and actually, that’s a great point, I think one of the biggest challenges being a designer, is not knowing how to communicate the client through the path of where you ended up. If you just show the end result, the client has a lot of preconceived ideas. And you have this like, great grand journey of how you got there.

Victor 12:28
So then, what I often see is if a designer does that, they show it, they’re proud of it, they’re nervous to show it. And then the client hates it, because they just wanted the color purple, and it was blue or something like Yeah, so it’s really important to really break it down into the structure and like, almost look at it as like, how are these modular pieces? And how does everything work individually? And how do we bring it together? So often?

Victor 12:53
I’m always hesitant especially if it’s a new client to just say, for example, with a logo, a logo designer, bigger job, I never just like plop up a logo on screen and say, here’s the logo. Love it. Tell me about it. Oh, let’s go through the process. Okay, we had a discussion, we said these are, this is the personality behind your business. Based on what we already discussed, these are some colors that can represent that plus, this is a palette that kind of resonated with you. So these are the colors we’re going to explore.

Victor 13:22
But then even with that, I’ll show the logo in black and white. So you can see this is the design before we add the colors. Before I show the logo will show the symbolism and say like, Okay, this is going to your local Mark is going to be for example, we talked about it being about health. So there’s a heart and then take whatever your initial, so might be like, KB I’m just making up, things might show that and save. So for option one, this is what we explored. When we explore that, here’s how it can look black and white. Now here’s how it looks if we add color. Now here’s how it can look vertical or horizontal, here’s how it can look kind of everything and just build and build and build and then take and based on this, here’s kind of a graphic device that can work with it. Here’s something that we can use in the background.

Victor 14:04
And then after you show all those pieces individually, talk about the meaning of them, make sure they align with the kind of that initial conversation we had of what we’re trying to achieve. And always keeping that goal in mind. You have a lot more success. And then what I often find happens and then I get to the point, but then I show the creative applications like here’s how it would look on stationery or business cards. And by the time you get there, they’ve already gone through that journey with you putting the pieces together.

Victor 14:31
And often what you get is I still usually don’t get like, you hit it 100% on the spot and you got it but what you do get is a really constructive conversation. You go back and say this looks like usually it’s kind of like, Oh, this looks great. But this is why it doesn’t work for me or this. This looks great. But maybe let’s try a different shade of blue. The blues is just not quite right. And it becomes really useful.

Victor 15:00
It becomes a situation where I think the client is also in a better position and more comfortable to criticize it constructively, yes. And to actually go back and not just kind of end up at a wall where you have to start at point zero, but prep work to get there is so important. It’s almost more important than the design itself in many ways. Yes. Because if you can’t, if you can’t communicate your process in a clear, easy to understand way, it can be really hard to get some clients on board.

Barb 15:31
Yes, being able to communicate it clearly, and taking them on that journey with you. Because if you’re traveling the journey on your own, then you’re arriving at the destination on your own. And a big part of any, any creative person’s role is to bring everyone with them. Right? Not just show up and go, Okay, here’s what we’re doing. Right? That’s leadership at the end of the day. Okay, so that makes a ton of sense to me. Can you think back to let’s start with the easy one, tell us about a project that you worked on. And you don’t think about giving us, you know, details, because I know those can be highly confidential. But give us an example of a project that you worked on where everything just melded and came together? It was the stars aligning and telling us about one of those projects? What does that feel like? What Do you think?

Victor 16:22
I don’t know, I think that that happens often now just because of the experience. And because I’m often I’m good at screening a client and knowing like, am I going to be the right person. And just honestly, like, sometimes I’m not the right style, or whatever.

Victor 16:36
So generally, now I kind of end up in those situations, often trying to think of one that I think I was proud of because it was challenging that happened, it was when I was at Brown, and I had just become the creative director. And it was kind of interesting, because the previous creative director that was on this account, was kind of part of the reason why the client actually took the account. So when they left, I think the client, I don’t know if this is me assuming but there’s probably a sense of just like, betrayal kind of somewhere in there just being like, Well, now, it’s like we went from this really experienced person to like, Hi, I’m Vic, I’ve been doing this for two months in this role, and had to really prove myself, so I was super nervous. And it was an entity that had a lot of silos.

Victor 17:25
And I was presenting to five silos in one room, and trying to get five different people with clearly different directions onto the same path. And I didn’t do it alone, I had a lot of help from a client rep there that did fantastic. But we went into the presentation and gave them the options, kind of how I just explained to you really took them through like the full step by step process. And as a result, we hit it right on the head, and everyone agreed on the right option right away. In a situation where like, Everyone was worried it was gonna, it could potentially be hostile.

Barb 18:00
Exactly. So yeah, I can totally see that. What do you think made that situation? Was it taking them on the journey? Or what do you think was the crux of being able to make that work,

Victor 18:11
It was 100%, taking them on the journey and myself and the client rep on there and spending the time to be like, these are who’s going to be in the room. And this is what matters to them, and understanding the person behind it. And by understanding the person behind it, and understanding how they probably want to be communicated to, is going to have a lot more success.

Victor 18:32
And there’s quite a few situations like that, like there’s one client who and this just comes from experience of learning someone is once you learn someone, you know, it’s like, Okay, this one person really wanted to wanted me to kind of put together something that they can then take and present themselves or someone else wanted me to do something where I was very much straight to the point. And by being straight to the point that they were going to be confident with it. And it’s just a matter of like, yeah, every every client had a different approach, just based on understanding of the client. And that’s, that’s where you really get success. Don’t try to make people fit your mold, try to fit into theirs.

Barb 19:09
Into their mold. So when you can work, you know, face to face, you’re in an organization or you’re working directly with a client, I can absolutely see how that starts to come together. But because I know you do freelance and sometimes you get a sketchy email that says can you create this for us? How do you make that work?

Victor 19:31
I think if I was if this was 10 years ago, I think it would be a lot harder like I said now I think just with the experience like as a freelancer I almost don’t meet with anybody in person I do a lot of work that’s not even in province for what I do, or definitely not in city so I Just have a think the benefit of being comfortable on like a zoom like this and creating a connection like this.

Victor 19:54
So it’s always a video call like I don’t like to meet on some phone. I always like to read our persons actually, there’s so much more to talking than just a voice, you know, exactly, you feel like I understand a lot more based on a video. And it’s really the same process just without being in the same room to be honest. And if I ever have, if I get an email, and I don’t know what it is, like I just, I just hit my questions really quickly and easily and right away, send them back. And I’m sure you’ve probably had that for me too, with a couple of new clients where I’m just like, I just got to feel this out. I don’t know what’s expected. Let’s figure it out.

Barb 20:30
What do you do when somebody wants to meet? Do you have the flexibility at work that you can still meet in person? Or do you just say, You know what, I don’t do that anymore.

Victor 20:40
I’m very limited. Like, I think I’ve met with one person. And just with the pandemic, like in my specific situation, like we have a four year old, he can’t be vaccinated sort of thing. So he’s in a daycare where people don’t have that choice. So in any case, we just tried to be pretty low key.

Victor 20:58
So and kind of before I’d always gauge it on, okay, like, well, we’re COVID numbers out there really low, maybe we’ll go to a patio, coffee, or whatever. And there’s a little bit more of that now. But during the pandemic it is definitely like, easy to just be like, no, just, it’s automatically on Zoom, and then play it by ear if someone does want to meet, but I think I’ve only met with people maybe twice in person in the last year. And it was like the one with someone that I already know.

Barb 21:25
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That’s one of the things I’m seeing at this point is, you know, people are getting much more comfortable meeting in person, again, until this last month, these last couple of weeks. What used to be once in a while, is now a daily thing. And you know, as a small business person, if I can accomplish the same thing online, I’m going to try and you know, get it done online, because it saves me a heck of a lot of time and travel costs and buying that coffee, and, you know, eating that muffin, right. And so, you know, I’m a little bit torn. I’m like, we work with folks across Canada. And there’s only a small group that are local, who want to do this face to face thing. Right? Yeah. So yeah, sometimes I’m really torn on that. And I love personal relationships. But you know, I also see a lot of value in Hey, you know, being able to get a little bit more work done.

Victor 22:17
This is what I’ve noticed, too, because kind of two things come from this from personal relationships. I like this one client that worked with us in Saskatoon. I’ve never met her, but just based on our conversations, I would go for a coffee with her anytime in real life, like in non virtual reality.

Victor 22:33
So I think those connections can still be made, it’s just a little bit different. And again, when I’m not working with people locally, this is the only way to do it anyways. And I’m no one instance, I want to see where I’ve done something virtually. And I would never want to do it again. Now that there’s more of a chance, as we did with Saskatchewan Community Foundation, we did a little bit of not a rebrand, but more of like finishing our brand, it wasn’t really ever finished.

Victor 23:00
So we did a brand session kind of internally with staff and board. And normally this is something we’d have a boardroom, we’d have sticky notes around the room we’d be exploring together. And instead, it was like virtual sticky notes, virtual whiteboard. And it was all sitting in a zoom together for like four hours and sitting staring at a zoom call for that long is not good for anyone. And it’s, it’s different. Because your eyes are just arrayed here the whole time. Whereas normally you’d get up and go for a walk, you’d be looking around the room.

Barb 23:32
And talking to people having small interactions. Yeah,

Victor 23:36
So I remember by the time we got to, and I did kind of condense it into a quicker session. And by the time we got to the last part, I could just tell it’s like, oh, people hear their brains are fried, my brain is fried. So that’s the type of thing that I like, given the situation again, like I’ve done that one on one with people, and it’s easy through this, but in a group setting, I’d 100% given the option, I would never go back to virtual for that.

Barb 24:00
Wow, look at that. Vic, we are pretty much at a time. So before we disconnect, can you share with all of the listeners? How would they find you? I don’t know. Do you have any social channels or websites? Or is it just email? How would they find you?

Victor 24:14
Um, I’m gonna plug South Saskatchewan Community Foundation instead of my freelance work. And that’s simply because I’ll just kind of say I’m limited and I’m going to be more limited with this a second child so I’m not going to be expanding that at all are in South Saskatchewan Community Foundation is really where I’m focused on so you know if you’re ever interested in I guess, what a community foundation does how charities or donors can be supported. You can find us @sscf.ca You can look up South Saskatchewan Community Foundation on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and you’ll find this as well. And as I mentioned, like anything marketing communications goes through me there. That’s really where my main passion lies and everything else is kind of for Fun, so awesome. I highly recommend checking us out. We do a lot of work and we’re trying to be louder about it. And it’s important work in our community.

Barb 25:10
Exactly. Wonderful. Thank you so much. That was fantastic. And you’re actually my second guest from the Foundation. And so the more I learn about the Foundation and all of the different ways they touch our community, it’s actually pretty fantastic. So to Vic’s point, if you’re not familiar with the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, please do visit their website and just learn a little bit more about them. Maybe there’s a way to get involved. Maybe there’s even a way to become a contributor. So please do check them out.

Barb 25:39
If you would like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live, or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Abovethefold.ca.

Barb 25:51
I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Victor @ South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

victor.roman@sscf.ca

Ep. 99 Faith Alyssa Peter

By Secret LifeNo Comments

Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Google Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Breaker  Overcast.fm  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Pocket Casts  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Radio Public Spotify   Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Anchor

Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Moms come in all shapes, sizes and colours but what binds us together is our love for our kids and our commitment to doing everything we can for them. 👩🤰👩‍🚀

How about doing something for yourself, that will fill up your cup, to give MORE to your kids, family, spouse and/or partner? 💖

Enter the Stressed Out Mamas Subscription Box! 😀 [Enter code ‘secret10’ at checkout for 10% off!]

Faith Alyssa Peter dreamed up the subscription box as she cared for 5 children at home; from 3-year old twin girls to a 13-year old bonus son, she has her hands full! And now she’s added a thriving business to that list!

Tune in to hear about her subscription box which includes everything from laundry soap to razors to her viral TikTok “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” video! 🤣

Any Dads out there looking for a gift that keeps on giving? This is the answer you’ve been looking for! This is mom / wife approved and available across Canada. Check it out today!

Transcript

Barb  0:00  

If you are a mom, if you have ever felt stressed out, potty training, getting groceries, cleaning the house, and literally just finding your kid sometimes. Today’s guest is going to help you find calm once again. 

Barb  0:20  

Our guest today is Faith Alyssa Peter, and she owns a business called Stressed Out Mama’s Subscription Box. She gives moms that gift of relaxation that we all crave. So nevermind listening to me Faith, take it away, introduce yourself and tell me all about this subscription box. I can’t wait to hear about it.

Faith  0:47  

Well, Barbara, I want to first start off by saying thank you so much. This is a huge, huge honor for me and my little business. Wait a second, let me cause big business. Yeah,

Barb  0:57  

exactly, exactly.

Faith  1:00  

So I started my business about 18 months ago now. And I was looking to bring mom retreats home. Because us moms, we don’t get the time to go on those five fishing trips. Like sometimes our husbands or spouses do or we don’t get to go golfing or we don’t get to do all of those things. And I was thinking to myself, I told my spouse and he was so supportive. Yeah, go out honey, go for a weekend with your friends. And I said, I don’t have any buddies.

Barb  1:28  

So true. That wasn’t exactly true.

Faith  1:33  

Right. So then I thought, Okay, well, let’s do mom retreats. And then I thought to myself, Okay, if I was to do a mom retreat, well, now I gotta check off all the boxes, the babysitter, I gotta pack. I gotta make sure everything’s together. I got to make sure the house is clean. Because when the babysitter comes over, I don’t want them to judge me. And I thought, Oh, this sounds way more stressful to get to the retreat, than it would be for any mom to actually go.

Barb  1:56  

Exactly, yes. And then you spend the whole retreat worrying, what if the baby is sick? What if this happens? What if the dog gets lost? Right? How is that supposed to be relaxing?

Faith  2:06  

Exactly. So I have the opportunity to bring it home for moms with my subscription box. It is all Canadian made products inside the box, which is super exciting to come because supporting local is a great idea. But realistically, us moms don’t have time to spend hours and hours looking for something. So not only is it a retreat package, but it’s also an everyday essential. And what I mean by that is you’re gonna get laundry. So you’re gonna get razors, you’re gonna get shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, things that you actually need in motherhood. But then I paired it with body scrubs, bath bombs, scrunchie, earrings, jewelry, so many different items to combine motherhood essentials, but still being able to pamper and relax yourself all in one.

Barb  2:53  

That is so cool. The thought of not having to run around to pick up my razors and getting scrubbed, especially for this time of year because like the, like pasty white flaky skin is like coming out of the woodwork right now. Right? Yes, it is brilliant. So, like, how in the heck did this one ever come to you.

Faith  3:18  

Um, I have always been passionate about spoiling myself. So when I first became a mom, eight years ago, I was fortunate unfortunate to be in a very domestic violent, abusive relationship. And after that, I decided I would never be put there again. I had that will in that power in that fire. So I started to pamper myself all the time. And I started to realize other moms looked at me like I was psychotic. You bought yourself flowers. You took yourself for a date? What is wrong with you? I was like, aren’t you supposed to? I’ve got it confused.

Barb  3:53  

You know what I love about that, though, faith. You were empowered to look after yourself. And that’s one of the things that we’re, we’ve got busy lives, careers, kids jobs, our own businesses, whatever it is, we our own self care tends to end up at the bottom of that list. And so creating that no guilt environment where it’s like, it becomes normal to look after yourself. Like we need more of that we need more women thinking like how do I find the time? How do I make time for myself? Right, brilliant.

Faith  4:35  

So then when I met my current spouse, he had two sons, so I got to have two bonus boys. So I became an instant mom from a single one mom to three. Okay, and I went, Oh, this is fun. And then we decided to have one more. That turned out to be twins

Barb  4:54  

One more. Yep.

Faith  4:56  

And living out in rural Saskatchewan. I realized supporting local was extremely difficult. It wasn’t as easy as going down to the local store and picking up something local, it became very hard for me

Barb  5:10  

Really see and I would have thought the exact opposite. I would have thought supporting local, especially in the smaller communities would have been really? Wow. Okay, this is fascinating to me

Faith  5:20  

Because it’s easy to go on Amazon and buy something, have it shipped to your Pio box. It’s not easy to go on a website and say I’m looking for Canadian made laundry soap. What mom, even if you have one kid, is going to type into Google. I want to find Canadian laundry soap. So it’s on Amazon, that it ended up done.

Barb  5:42  

Exactly. Well. And if you’re going on Amazon, it’s like, oh, the kid needs a new bathing suit because they outgrew the fourth one this year or new shoes or? Right. Exactly. It’s yeah. It’s constantly thinking about

Faith  5:56  

It’s just the simplicity of it. And being realistic. us moms, we need simple like yourself, Bob, we were saying before we jumped on the call. You know you have teenagers, you’re still thinking about what those teenagers need to get done. Yep. And you forget about brushing my teeth? Did I take care of myself? Something so simple?

Barb  6:16  

Well, the good news is with the teeth, like you can just kind of, you know, check with your tongue and be like, Oh, no, today, I didn’t do that. Right. You know, it’s so funny Faith. Because when I go to the gym in the morning is there’s lots of times that I don’t see the kids before they go to school. And so my spouse also works from home. And so you know, he has to get them out the door. But before I leave in the morning, it’s inevitable. K, don’t forget this. And he has to take his lunch today. And then she’s got this right. And I give them this checklist. And I know it’s going in one ear out the other because when I get home, oh, no, you didn’t take his lunch today. Okay, I’ll run it over to him. Like really? Right? Why do I bother? Right?

Faith  7:02  

Exactly. So with all that stress on your mind constantly, how are you going to say, Okay, now, I want to go on, buy a foot scrub, you’re not going to do that. So when it is shipped to your mouth on a monthly basis, you get these pampering items, you go, hey, it’s just sitting on the counter right there for me to pamper myself. I’m gonna go grab it, and I’m gonna get these feet taken care of. Yep.

Barb  7:23  

And we’re still going into that season. Ladies, you need to take care of those feet.

Faith  7:28  

Right? So I love coming up with my box names because me and my fiance. He has such a great sense of humor, and I do as well. So last month’s box was called a wooly mammoth. 

Barb  7:41  

Oh my god, god. Oh my god. That’s hilarious. 

Faith  7:45  

Perfect timing for getting into spring. So it came with razors. Shampoo and Conditioner, body butter. And then it came with heatless curls. All of these items have been made here in Canada. But like you’re never gonna get them right before spring and you’re gonna go put on your capris or put on your shorts and go oh, my legs. Right.

Barb  8:11  

Okay, we just think what was that last one? What would you call it? heatless curls. I’ve never heard that hurl.

Faith  8:16  

So they’re this cool thing that they clip into the top of your hair. And they look like basically a rope. But this is a rope made out of silk. So it promotes your hair not breaking. You wrap. I go. Not super damp, but like a towel dry down, wrap my head around it. And then at the end, I come out and I have these beautiful curls.

Barb  8:38  

Like waves and curls. Cool. Yeah. Oh, I like that. Like not doing the hair required. Take it out of these things. Boom hair done. I like that.

Faith  8:49  

right? So I always see on Instagram, all these trendy moms, you see these heatless curls and stuff. But when I go to look, I can only find US based products when I go on Amazon US based products. So I was so lucky to find a lady in Ontario called Laguna August and she makes some. Oh, I was like, Oh my gosh, this is so exciting. 

Faith  9:13  

But then it kind of clicked to me when I went looking and I went oh my gosh, they’re $35 ouch. Yep. Am I going to spend $35 compared to Amazon? That is $12. Oh, right. That’s a huge difference. And when it comes to supporting locals, that happens a lot. Where we go, oh, supporting locals is almost double the price. Can I afford that? Can I do it? But with this subscription box I purchase at wholesale so that you get the opportunity to have a box. Yeah, that is only costing $65. But if you’re gonna buy everything by itself it would be double or triple the amount.

Barb  9:52  

Oh, see, and that’s okay. So that is really smart. Because if you can get it wholesale and you’re doing All the homework for me, that’s a total bonus.

Faith  10:04  

Right? So subscription boxes are going to be, I think the new in thing here in Canada in the US, they are a lifesaver, because you have someone that does all the research for you all the work and takes on most of the cost for you just get to reap the benefits of having something shipped to your door. Exactly, yes, please.

Barb  10:25  

And so does the box automatically come every month? Or do I have to do something?

Faith  10:31  

No, that’s a great thing. So you can sign up for a monthly subscription. Okay, I have month to month, there’s no commitment, you can cancel at any time. There’s a three month option where you pay three months at a time, okay, or there’s a 12 month subscription. Sweet. 

Faith  10:45  

So the cool thing is, I have had dads whose wives have signed up month to month. And then she goes, Oh, you know, I’m feeling too guilty. I’m going to cancel. They go about one month, and then all of a sudden I’m getting a message or a Facebook or something going How do I sign her up? She gets me extremely stressed. I don’t know what to do at all. I know this box kit. Stop coming to my door. Please help me. Oh, oh, I know what you’re talking about. Let me set you up.

Barb  11:15  

Exactly. Oh, that’s hilarious. So but you know, you think about it. Like when you’re even when you’re posting on Instagram. Yes, women are your target. But men are probably equally your target.

Faith  11:29  

Yes. And for men, they get scared because I’ve asked a couple of them in my town like why don’t you sign her up for a subscription? Well, I’m scared. What are you scared of? She loves it. Mother’s Day birthday and Christmas? What are you scared of? Well, what happens if she doesn’t like it? And I said, if she’s loving it three months out of the year, trust me show love it all the time. Exactly. So a lot of men don’t even want to sign you up for this subscription because they’re scared. Well, what if she doesn’t like it? Well, now it’s on me that she hates this thing, and I’m gonna get in so much trouble. What should I do? So I always promote to the women that follow me, you need to tell them, you just say, hey, I want this. Get it for me. Are they gonna be too scared?

Barb  12:10  

You know, but that’s that, that brings up a really good point. Because yeah, our husbands are often unsure. And it’s really hard to help them understand that getting me something that you know, is going to be relaxing. How do you not like that? Right and not like it?

Faith  12:33  

Right and practical. Like, it’s not just relaxing, but it’s practical. So like your guilt of him spending money on you or taking money out of the family budget. It’s not really taking money or the family budget, because you’d be buying this stuff anyways. Totally. Yep. So like, there’s no guilt wrapped around this box.

Barb  12:52  

So you know, it’s funny, because as women, right, we’re looking at the household budget and this much for the kids and this much for groceries. And as you say, husband’s head off on their golf trips, their fishing trips, right? Do all this like guy stuff, which you know, I totally get and they need to do. But then when it comes to spending money on ourselves, we’re terrible. Now, I know I’m really generalizing. Because yes, I confessed. I might have just a small shoe collection. thing, right? Shoes and apps. Like that is my thing. Right? But yeah, if I’m, you know, looking at the budget, there’s no way I’m gonna go like, I need to go buy some leg scrub, like there’s no way that’s gonna hit the grocery list. Or be top of mind when I’m heading through, you know, any department store. So Exactly.

Faith  13:47  

Or like my biggest thing last summer was I put sunglasses into my box. And I was like, oh, wait a second. I think I buy my kids four or five pairs throughout the entire summer that might have scratched marks falling apart. And I like gluing them together just to make it through. Why am I not doing this? What is going on?

Barb  14:07  

Exactly? Do you know what the most hilarious part about that is? I just got new glasses. Today’s the first day with them. Um, but the point of my story is, when I went to get new glasses, I was like, you know, when’s the last time I got them? So I did call the eye store back and say, when’s the last time you had like, prescription for me? Was over four years ago. My kids have been through four pairs. This is like my first pair in four years. Like what the heck?

Faith  14:40  

Right? Something so simple that moms feel that we need to give up. Yes. And then we

Barb  14:47  

We don’t make the time for it. Right? Yeah, I gotta go get a new prescription. I gotta make the appointment. I gotta find time out of the workday. Like I gotta do all this stuff. Just to get glasses that look like you’re actually clear today for the first time. And who knows how long? Right? Right. And so yeah,

Faith  15:04  

we put it off until we get to that cycle of just beating ourselves up. I feel like as moms, we wait too long. So this box teaches you that you don’t have to wait any longer. You don’t have to spend the time. You don’t have to spend energy. I do it all for you.

Barb  15:18  

Yep. So how do you find the stuff that goes in the box? So you talked about this gal from Ontario? How do you find all this stuff?

Faith  15:27  

So usually, I just spent a lot of time Googling and researching and Facebooking, and all of those fun things. To find them. I planned my boxes about a year in advance, because what I do is if you follow me on social media, I always have a poll up there. So my followers get the chance to pick out things. And I don’t even think they realize what they’re doing sometimes, because they’re like, Oh, this is a fun guessing game. I like this, or I like this. Yeah. And then I take the majority of what everyone’s liking, and I put it into a box. And then when the ladies get it, they go, Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. I got this.

Barb  16:03  

So people don’t know what they’re getting before they get it either.

Faith  16:06  

No. So it’s like, a legit Santa Claus.

Barb  16:10  

I was just saying, like Christmas every month, then when that thing shows up.

Faith  16:15  

Right? So I always giggle because Santa is real if you’re listening, but sometimes he likes to tell us moms what he’s getting us moms. So we get a little disappointed as you get older, because Santa needs to make sure that you’re getting what you want. But I get to be that bet that fantastic Santa from when you were a kid and you don’t get to know what you’re getting until you get it.

Barb  16:41  

Oh, that’s even better? Because like you just you never know what’s coming. Right? Like there’s a surprise, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Like, there’s something about that little bit of surprise. Right?

Faith  16:54  

Right. And it’s exciting that when you go to your post office, I love my post office ladies like the one who actually started to subscribe, because she’s like, I always see you with these boxes. And you never tell me what’s in them. And I can’t open them. And you just leave a lot of my customers that say yeah, that actually happened with my post office too. They get so excited because they see each other month after month after month.

Barb  17:17  

So you know what? So that’s a really good point, because I’ve heard that from a number of local retailers trying to ship across Canada is almost cost prohibitive in this country. So how do you make that part work?

Faith  17:31  

So I actually offer my, my clients, I don’t want to say clients, I want to say friends, their customers, but they are my friends because when you sign up, I definitely become your friend. I offer a flat shipping rate. So I offer $12 flat shipping across Canada. That’s good mom guilt kicks in. And if my box is $65 plus another 30 to $40. On top of that, well now you’re feeling way too guilty to spend it. Yeah. And if it’s only an extra $12 on top of it plus your taxes. It’s like Oh, I’m getting a pretty kickin deal for this.

Barb  18:07  

For that price. You can’t even buy a good pair of shoes anymore. So, you know, think of it that way. I’m either gonna go buy shoes, or subscribe to this box. Like come on, dear. Which one’s gonna be better for him?

Faith  18:18  

Right And the crazy thing is if you were to buy from my vendors singly, you’re paying $20 shipping per item per item. So yeah, you get anywhere between five to eight items a box.

Barb  18:32  

Ah, so have you Okay, now this is totally contrary to everything you’re doing but it just popped into my head. And that’s how my brain works when it goes in so I’m gonna come out anyway. Have you ever thought about putting your subscription box on Amazon

Faith  18:47  

Wow, you just like to let all the goodies out of the bag. Oh, and one session don’t you!

Barb  18:56  

Not planned at all.

Faith  18:58  

Not at all. Yeah, actually, this month I’ve been looking into placing them onto Amazon. The only thing with Amazon as you then wouldn’t get the subscription you would just get a one time purchase box which still works great. And gets that awareness out there to everyone that even if you’re on Amazon, you can still try and support local

Barb  19:16  

Exactly. Why wouldn’t it work as a subscription because I know if I buy shampoo off Amazon I can have it show up monthly. So we have a subscription service.

Faith  19:27  

so then I would have to ship all of my products to Amazon warehouse. Oh okay. And I quite enjoy packing the boxes I have learned from opening my business. I’m a worker bee. My favorite part of this business is packaging the boxes.

Barb  19:42  

Okay, yeah, that makes sense. And then but does Amazon take a big cut of the box?

Faith  19:50  

Yeah, sadly they do. So that’s kind of the downfall of it. If I put my boxes on Amazon I will be making no commissions. I got it. I do understand that to get my name out there and to get people to recognize who I am, sometimes you just gotta take that little bullet to get to the big picture.

Barb  20:09  

And you would still get to do the shipping, right?

Faith  20:13  

I’m not too sure I haven’t looked too far into it. So they might charge different shipping, too, they might charge you for shipping. 

Barb  20:19  

Yeah, well, and what I was thinking is, even if you can get your card in there, right, and invite that second month where they get it direct from you, you might be able to turn that into some pretty good, and especially if there was, there’s a way to to do a price difference. So if you get it from Amazon, it’s this much. But if you get it directly from Faith, then it’s only this much. Right? Yeah, bring a few people back. Because yeah, just getting the awareness. It’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. 

Faith  20:49  

The great thing about me is that not a lot of people know about me, so all of my subscribers, like I said, they’re my friends, because we talk on almost a daily basis. And I love that. I hope as soon as I get super, super big, I’m still able to connect with everyone, because that was kind of the basis behind my box was to have a mom community as well. Yeah. So I have a great mom community on Facebook, where we have 700 Women in it. And it is so beautiful that we all just get to connect all throughout Canada, and we just love each other. When someone’s feeling down. We just boost her up. And it’s like, this is awesome. This is what I love to see.

Barb  21:25  

Exactly. So for your social channels, do you just have a Facebook page and an Instagram page? Or do you actually have a group where everybody kind of converges?

Faith  21:34  

Yeah, so I’ve got on Facebook, I have a business page and then I also have a private club. It’s called stressed out Mama’s club. And then, right, which is so unique, because everyone is a stressed out Mom, I don’t care where you are in your motherhood journey. Even I have found that some grandmothers still say, you know, I still worry about my 30 year old child.

Barb  21:58  

Oh, totally. Doesn’t matter how old they are. No, I totally get that. Yeah,

Faith  22:03  

Right. And then I have Instagram, and it’s just dressed up. Mama’s again. And then I also have tick tock which has been interesting, because I started to post about me using my products. And the other day, I posted a video of me shaving. And it went viral. And I went, why are you guys watching me shave my legs? Like, why is it interesting? I’m so confused.

Barb  22:29  

Oh, God, I hear that from so many people that use tick tock. It’s like, the things that I think will go viral? No, I got like a couple 100 things that were nothing. That’s what takes off. It’s like, what the heck?

Faith  22:43  

Yes. Right. Granted, I did that my legs grow for about six months. So they were quite hairy.

Barb  22:52  

Back to that wooly mammoth box.

Faith  22:55  

Exactly. And I didn’t know until I got these Razors that you’re not supposed to lift your razor off of your body when shaving. You’re just supposed to go up and down, up and down. And it will create less bumps. Okay, and less razor burn. So I was like, Okay, I gotta try this. But I want to make sure my legs are super hairy. Yep. To see if this actually works. And I was shocked. It worked.

Barb  23:18  

Wow, I had no idea. Yeah, I’ve always been like, bottom to top, bottom to top, bottom to top right.

Faith  23:27  

That’s how you’re taught? Well, that’s how I was taught at least Yeah,

Barb  23:30  

yeah, exactly. You watch your mom. And that’s what she would do. And oh my god, that’s fascinating. Okay, we have a couple of minutes left. But I have to ask you one more question. And then I want you to tell us how we find you. What is the craziest item that you’ve ever found that you put in the box?

Faith  23:48  

Whoo. That’s a good one. No craziest item as in pampering or as in realistic,

Barb  23:56  

just like, I don’t know, wild and crazy and wouldn’t wouldn’t necessarily think of in a pampering box.

Faith  24:04  

I think the laundry detergent really threw everyone for a loop. They were kind of like whoa, this is really awesome. I never thought of this as a pantry item. But it was Yeah. And then I think the other one would have been my mosquito spray. So you know, spray in a pampering box. People are like, Wait a second. How is this pampering? I’m like, do you enjoy getting bitten by mosquitoes? Because I don’t think this is the best Capri gift?

Barb  24:30  

No, I agree. But you know what, if you like not having to go out and get the laundry soap because you discover that you’re out on Sunday morning or not having to go out and actually find a location that has mosquito spray right now because everybody’s shelves will be cleaned off. Like I’m sorry, but to save me some time and I’m all in. Right so. No, I totally think those were awesome.

Faith  24:55  

I just loved when a dad had messaged me because he was like, I’m confused. I Thought this was like a pampering relaxing box. But she got laundry soap but I was like, Yeah, trust me. She’s gonna find it really relaxing.

Barb  25:09  

A little, you know? Yup. Rightly. Oh, all right, as we wrap it up here Faith tell us like how can folks find you? How can they subscribe? How can they learn about you and give us all the deets?

Faith  25:25  

Yes, so I am on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok Stressed Out Mamas is how you find me on all three which is great. And then my website is www.stressedoutMamas.ca. And that’s kind of how you get started with me. It’s just fine. Yeah, and those socials are my website.

Barb  25:44  

Perfect. That sounds fantastic. 

Barb  25:46  

Faith, thank you very much for joining us here today on The Secret Life podcast. 

Barb  25:50  

If you would like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Abovethefold.ca. Just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of the show just on our Facebook page. 

Barb  26:09  

I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember who worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Connect with Faith @ Stressed Out Mamas

stressedoutmamas@gmail.com

Ep. 98 Leah Mazur

By Secret LifeNo Comments

Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Google Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Breaker  Overcast.fm  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Pocket Casts  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Radio Public Spotify   Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Anchor

Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Curious to know if Facebook & Instagram Ads are still working?

Or what targeting strategies a local business can use to attract more ready-to-buy customers?

Today’s episode answers that and more!

Leah Mazur has been working in digital marketing for 11 years, 6 of which were solely focused on paid social media advertising.

She worked as an analyst at Canada’s #1 Facebook advertiser analyzing millions of ad spend and as the Senior Director of Paid Social at a large Toronto-based advertising firm.

She got bit by the entrepreneurial bug in 2017, and started Loop Digital, to get clients the results they needed from their advertising spend.

Connect with Leah @ Carousel Creative
📧 leah@carouselcreative.ca
🌐 carouselcreative.ca
IG @adswithleah
LI @leahmazur

Transcript

Barb

Our guest today has been working in digital marketing for about 11 years already. So I’m convinced just having had some conversations with her means she started when she was about 14. But six of those years were totally focused on paid social media advertising.

And you know, if there’s one thing that we all have in common as local business owners, there’s times where you just can’t get that algorithm to work. So hopefully, Leah is going to give us some real insight today.

She used to work at one of Canada’s largest Facebook advertisers, and spent her days analyzing millions of dollars in ad spend. And she also worked as the director of paid social at one of the large Toronto advertising firms. She’s got some real experience behind her in terms of what works, what doesn’t work. And I know she’s got some great information that she’s gonna share with us today, if you’re with us today. She started her own business back in 2017, and her businesses called Loop Digital. And all they do is paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Welcome to the show. Welcome to First Page.

Leah
Thanks, Barb. Thanks for the great intro. I’m really happy to be here.

Barb
It’s so cool to have you here. Now, I didn’t tell anyone before, but you and I have actually known each other for about let’s see my son’s 13. So about 13 years, because that’s when we first met when you’re at the university here.

Leah
Yeah, it was a bit less than that. 2013 was when I was in your class. I checked back on the date. So yeah. Oh, really? Nine years ago? Yeah.

Barb
Oh, so I was still teaching that. Yeah. It’s all just a blur when your kids are literal. It’s just a blur. So, let’s start with you, and Luke digital. So tell us a little bit about what you do in your business? And how do you support other businesses in growing?

Leah
Sure. So yeah, you’re correct. The only thing that we do is paid social advertising. So we do Facebook, Instagram. And we also do Tik Tok now as well. So basically, only the paid side of those platforms, though. So we don’t do any kind of organic posting for businesses or anything like that. Just when a business is ready to put some advertising budget behind their message, we will help them with planning their campaigns, setting them up creating ads, and then monitoring and optimizing and doing all the ongoing testing that comes with that as well.

Barb
Okay, so I think that right away brings up the question, do Facebook ads still work? We all heard the stories after Apple made the changes to their operating system. So does it still work? And what has changed?

Leah
Definitely, yeah. So most of my clients like they’re, you know, they’re all still succeeding with Facebook ads is definitely still possible. Ad costs have been rising. As long as I’ve been doing it, I think just every year more people get into it, and more people realize what a great opportunity it is. And of course, it’s an auction based system, which means that the more people there are bidding for those spots in, in, you know, in the feed and everything, the more the cost is going to go up.

Leah
So, costs have been rising over time, they’re going to continue to rise. And then with iOS 14, what happened was Apple made some changes to the operating system and how they allow Facebook to track people’s behavior after they click on an ad and so that reduced Facebook’s ability to be able to track and report on the campaigns as effectively.

Leah
And so that did cause a bit of a hiccup in a lot of people’s ad campaigns. It was kind of like, you know, q3 q4. Last year, a lot of people were kind of struggling with their ad campaigns. But Facebook seems to kind of have things under control now and it seems like things are back to normal. So that’s pretty good, but costs are definitely always going up. So that is definitely a concern but they still work.

Barb
So, you know, one of the things that I saw as an advertiser is the messages that I got from Facebook and Instagram were quite alarming. Like, they really wanted me to get worked up to get upset about these changes. And I mean, there’s two sides, right? Because the advertiser side, sure I was gonna be missing out on some potential customers. But then the consumer side, there was a bit of safety and security in there knowing I’m not going to be tracked and pixelated and followed everywhere I go. Right. And so what is the reaction that you’ve heard from most of your business owners or most of your clients around the changes?

Leah
Yeah, yeah, you’re right, there’s two sides. And Apple has really kind of positioned themselves as like, you know, protecting the consumer and, and considering the privacy for, for all of its customers, but it I mean, I’m, I’m sure that Apple is going to be rolling out their own, they’ve announced they’re going to be rolling out their own advertising. So really, like, I think that they’re probably going to be using a lot of the same data that they’re restricting Facebook from tracking, I think they just kind of position it as a privacy protection for their customers.

Leah
But I think it’s all just a kind of politics. But yeah, in terms of reaction. For our business owners, they’ve, you know, most of them are not super happy about it, we aren’t able to track our data as accurately in Facebook. Now, there are like, external tools that have popped up that have helped to add additional tracking for business owners. And now Facebook’s got like the conversions API, which makes things more accurate and everything but it’s definitely not as seamless as it used to be.

Barb
Yeah, absolutely. So when you’re talking to a local business owner, who, you know, they’re really just trying to get started, maybe they’ve never even done an ad before? Where would you suggest that they need to start?

Leah
Um, definitely start with a creative message. And what you want to say, this is really the most important part about advertising, I think a lot of people get really caught up in the targeting or the way, the settings on the campaign, or using CBO, or abo are different, like tactics like that. But really, the best place to start is just making a really good ad making something that people that your audience wants to see that they’re going to engage in.

Leah
So think about it from their perspective, what would be something that would be interesting for them and engaging for them? To that they’re going to want to click on like, how can you take your message and make it interesting to people and think about it from their perspective and make something that they are really going to resonate with?

Barb You have a really good quote on your website, and I forget how exactly it goes. But it said something to the effect of, you know, people will read a message because it’s of interest to them. Sometimes it’s an ad, sometimes it’s just a post. And it doesn’t have to be online, like we as human beings actually engage with content that’s offline as well, right now.

Barb
So it kind of walked me through that process. Because I do think that that’s a little bit different for a lot of advertising agencies, they tend to focus on you know, your audience and their age and this and that, where you’re really focused on the creative. So walk me through your process, how do you, how do you go about creating that? That great creative, and how would a business owner do that?

Leah
Mm hmm. Yeah. That’s really, yeah, what you said about, you know, people read what interests them. And I think that with paid social advertising, that is even more true than ever, because when your ad is showing up on social media, it’s going to be showing up like in the Instagram news feed in the Facebook newsfeed or on Tik Tok or whatever. It’s an interruption to people’s entertainment, right?

Leah
And so when you think about the context of where your ad is showing up, your ad is going to perform best if you make it blend into the rest of the content. So your ad should be, you should think of your ad like an entertaining Tik Tok video or like, Instagram reel or something like that.

Leah
And so thinking about making your content, like a piece of organic social media content, or making it similar to that kind of style is what really works well.

Leah
And yeah, yeah, you mentioned you know, traditional advertisers think about the demographics and everything. And I think we’re really, I’m really noticing a shift in marketing away from demographics and more towards psychographics. And thinking more about what is my audience interested in? What problems are they having? What desires do they have? Where do they want to be?

Leah
And speaking to those, rather than speaking to the demographics, and when you can do that you are actually creating ads that are going to really resonate with the audience, as opposed to previously, a lot of people thought of their targeting is happening, like, okay, let’s target, you know, 30 year old women in New York or something like that.

Leah
But now you can make an ad that targets someone who has a specific problem that speaks to that specific problem. And the algorithm will actually figure out who has that problem and show the ad to them itself. So as advertisers, we need to think less about those specific demographics and more just about making ads that speak to the right people.

Barb
At the right time. Exactly. And, you know, that’s something that we talk a lot about in order to find the problem. What problem do you solve for your customers, and, you know, problem or reward doesn’t matter which perspective you look at. Customers want something when they spend money, if they go for supper, the problem they want to solve is the fridge is empty, and they’re hungry. Or it’s Friday night, I’m way too tired to cook. And so I just want to go out and grab something.

Barb
So when you start to think about defining that problem, are you able to help businesses define their problem? Or do you find that by the time they come to you, they’re like, this is the problem we solve? How does someone you know wrap their head around? What problem can they solve, and then get that broader voice to folks?

Leah
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think a lot of business owners do have an idea of this. But I do like to really do a lot of research into it as well, because I think it’s so important to really understand it from the customer’s perspective.

Leah
So I think the best way to do this research is to look at customer reviews, testimonials, and find out what you know what the customers are saying, what did they get out of it? What was that process like, of going from not having whatever the business offers, to then having it? And how did that change their life? Yeah, so definitely going to the customers and getting the problem from them, as opposed to from the business owner and what the business owner thinks the problem is, because it’s not always in alignment.

Barb
You know, and I would even argue, in a lot of cases, I don’t think it’s in alignment, right? I use something as simple as you know, buying groceries. So it doesn’t matter where you buy your groceries, we don’t go and buy groceries, because we want to spend money on food, we go and buy groceries, because we have teenage kids that are eating us out of house and home, the fridge is constantly empty, and it’s too expensive to go out all the time. Right.

Barb
And so our motivations to buy groceries aren’t based on I want to, it’s a need to. And I think when we can start to think about our solution from that perspective, it really helps us get into the customer’s mind.

Barb
I like what you’ve said about you know, going read your customer reviews, what did they appreciate the most? For some of them, it’s you know, the ease if you’re a plumber, oh, goodness, they made it so easy. One phone call, they came, you know, they did everything.

Barb
And so sometimes it’s as simple as just making it easy for your customers to do business with you, the less friction there is the better, right?

Barb
So when you’re working with a local business or with a business who wants to advertise online, how do you counsel them in like, what’s the right time to start? So if Catherines with us today live? So Katherine called you up and said, Hey, Leah, we want to think about working with you. What questions would you ask Katherine first to see if she’s ready? Um,

Leah
I would start by asking like, where, like how customers are currently finding the business. And I always, I always want to make sure that the offer itself in the first place is attractive to people. Because advertising really only amplifies what you have already. Like if you have a business and an offer that people just aren’t interested in, and you haven’t tested and proven like the validation of your market, then advertising is only going to amplify what you already have, which is nothing so you’re going to get nothing from advertising.

Leah
So I always really like to make sure that the business has a good foundation already, that they’re able to get customers organically. That people are happy with the service and everything. Just to make sure that they have kind of like that foundation set. And then and then after that, it’s great if they have good assets, like, you know, testimonial videos, we could use anything like that for, for creating the campaigns. And then I think that’s pretty much it. I mean, advertising, you know, you can start early, even just with like a small budget. Yep.

Barb
And so would there be a different approach, let’s say for a local restaurant that relies 100% on foot traffic, versus maybe a dog trainer who works with clients online? So is there a different approach that you take? Or would, you know, maybe recommend a business?

Leah
Yeah, definitely. So a local business? I mean, you know, obviously, the targeting is going to be different, you’re going to want to target you know, locally in that region, because those are the people that are going to be able to, to go into it. And so in that case, I feel like our message needs to be a little bit broader and appeal to more people, because you’ve got kind of a smaller audience, right? You’re only targeting like one city or one neighborhood as opposed to targeting all of Canada or something. And yeah, and then it, if you’re, if you’re the dog trainer that can help anyone, then you can have more, I would recommend, like niching, a bit more so that you can figure out like, how you can really speak directly to one type of customer?

Barb
Yep, no, that makes perfect sense to me. And when you’re working with a client, depending on whether they are that online, online dog trainer, or you know, the local business, do you help them find the budget that might be, you know, the right budget? Or how do you determine that?

Leah
Yeah, um, budget. So for a budget, you want to work backwards from your numbers. So ideally, you want to understand what your target CPA would be. So the CPA is the cost per acquisition, or how much you want to spend to acquire a new customer.

Leah
So say the dog trainer, charges $500, for their, you know, dog training package, and they have a certain amount of costs, you know, software they have to spend, or whatever, in order to do that. Maybe it’s $100. So then, you know, they’ve got $400 profit, and for their time, they want to be compensated, like, say, 250. So then you’ve got $150 left to work with, that you can, you know, if they can acquire a customer for $150, then they know that they’re, they’re going to be hitting the numbers that they want to hit and get, get the margins that they want to get.

Leah
So then starting from that, $150, and you can work backwards from that you can run a test with data, you can see what your, what you know, cost per click is like what your conversion rate is like, and figure out what that CPA actually is. And then if it’s reasonable to be able to kind of do some testing and optimize and get it to that point.

Barb
Can you just say that one more time for me Leah? So walk me through that process? Because I think that was a fantastic explanation. Just walk me through that one more time, if you would.

Leah
Sure. So, um, so you need to figure out what, what is the price point that makes sense for you to acquire a new customer for on Facebook.

Leah
So once you figure out what that price point is, then you can have kind of like a goal that you want to get to, right. And so from there, when you start running ads, you can, you can, you can start collecting some data.

Leah
So for example, you’ll start learning what your, what your costs are on Facebook, what your cost per click is, if you’re getting say you’re getting like 100 clicks on Facebook for $1 a click, so you spend $100 and get 100 people clicking through and say you have a 1% conversion rate, so why not have 100 people actually purchases, then your CPA is going to be $100.

Leah
Because you’re getting you’re spending $100 to get 100 people to click through and one of those is purchasing, so you know that your CPA is $100. Right. So that’s kind of how you can look at the numbers and, and, and work backwards from where you need to be. And that’s how you can know if you’re successful.

Barb
Exactly. Do you find that the conversion rate for folks coming from either Facebook or Instagram are quite a bit lower than traffic that hits the website on an organic basis?

Leah
It depends and um, yeah, it really depends, I would say that it kind of depends on how long the customer has been nurtured for often, you know, someone might come from Facebook, and they’re not going to convert at that point. But maybe another month later they go and they Google the website, and then they go to it. And then they convert at that point. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s really from like, it’s really from the Facebook ads originally, right? So Facebook ad traffic, it? Yeah, it can be. It can seem like it’s not as engaged. Yeah, exactly. But you’re often like building up those relationships to nurture later as well.

Barb
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So you mentioned psychographics earlier, and I think about the dog trainer, psychographics would be a fantastic targeting tool, because we know who’s interested in you know, pets, and dogs and behavior and right, like, we can really pick those things, you’re a local restaurant psychographics probably have less influence.

Barb
And that might be where physical location, and even age fall into a little bit more. Because for some restaurants, you know, kids can’t even be there. So you have to be 19 and over things like that. And so is that how you differentiate when you look at a local business, the plumber, the restaurant, okay, it’s location based. Now we’re going to use more demographics, because, you know, even think about the plumber? Well, psychographics aren’t gonna matter, because we all have furnaces in our houses. Right? And so is that how you differentiate? Um,

Leah
I would actually say, no, like, the more and more I think that, I really feel like psychographics is just almost always the better way to go. Because even for that restaurant, I wouldn’t recommend limiting your demographic targeting any further, because you’re already limited by geographic, you’ve already got like, just only a neighborhood or a city that you can target.

Leah
And when the more that you limit, and the more that you restrict Facebook, the higher your costs are going to be. So if you’re targeting, say, you know, Regina, and I, in that case, I wouldn’t recommend, you know, targeting only people of a certain age group or something like that, because you’re going to limit your targeting even further.

Leah
And the Facebook algorithm, it’s, it’s very smart, it’s got billions of data points from, you know, the past decade. And so it really knows who, who’s resonating with that ad. And what happens is, as people start to click on the ad, engage with the ad, even it notices who’s like stopping there, scroll to look at the ad and read it. And it’s learning who’s engaging with that ad, and it will figure out the demographics on its own.

Leah
And if you limit your demographics, then, you know, Facebook might say, Okay, this restaurant mostly appeals to people in their 30s. But maybe there are some people in their 20s, that Facebook knows that they’re going to really like that restaurant just because of other certain interests that they have in common with those people in their 30s. So Facebook is able to find those outliers that might not necessarily fit into that demographic group. But in that way, you’re not restricting the algorithm from even being able to reach out to those people,

Barb
Right. So you might actually be able to target if you’re the plumber, you target based on maybe home ownership or something related to house and home. And the restaurant might look at interest, like sports bar, pool, those sorts of topics. So we could you and I have no idea what’s from that perspective, what’s available in Facebook ads, like if those psychographics would even be available. I did notice the other day, when we were in there for a client that they’re removing some of the demographic targeting, which I presume is just targeting that isn’t being used actively.

Leah
Um, yeah, actually. So in this case, with any local business, I really wouldn’t recommend any interest targeting. So I wouldn’t even recommend targeting, you know, based on, you know, like you said, sports bar homeownership, I would go totally broad. And this is something that I’m seeing working better and better and more and more broad targeting is what I would recommend, especially for a local business, again, because the location is so small.

Leah
You don’t want to restrict the algorithm any further than it already is. And so when I say psychographics, I’m thinking less of the targeting and more of like in your ad creative, really making sure that your ad speaks to the type of person that you want to speak to. So if you’re a plumber, you can speak to a problem that someone might have with their plumbing. And in that way, the ad will find the people that resonate with that problem.

Leah
So, the targeting more and more is happening at the actual ad level, because Facebook knows who’s responding to the ad and who’s resonating with it. And, then they’re able to find more people like that for you. So that’s why they’re removing a lot of the damage or a lot of the interest targeting. Because it’s, it’s just becoming less and less important to have that kind of targeting.

Barb
Okay, no, that makes perfect sense to me.

And that’s it. We’re out of time.

Thank you, Leah, for joining us today to talk about Facebook and Instagram and what’s working today and what’s not anymore.

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live, or just reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Above the fold.ca.

You can even submit questions in advance of our show just on our Facebook page.

I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Googlegirl. Remember you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Ep. 97 Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Environmental engineers by training, Kim Baldwin & Carmen Johanson saw a huge problem with the receipt waste, costs involved and customer tracking of those receipts.

But they didn’t stop at the problem. They also have the solution!

PayTrail. An electronic receipt tracking tool for customers to get out of receipt jail for free, pass go on all the scraps of paper laying around put the power back into the customers’ hands on how they want to track their retail purchases.

Welcome Kim & Carmen! And many thanks to the @cultivatorsk for their tireless support of entrepreneurs.

To learn more about PayTrail or install the app, visit:
FB @mypaytrail
IG @mypaytrail
LI @paytrail
Tw @myPayTrail
🌐 mypaytrail.com

Transcript

Barb 0:01
Today’s guests are solving a $121 million problem, a problem we all have and contribute to. Each year in Canada, paper receipts are used to equal 130,000 trees 130,000. That’s huge. To put that in other terms, you could wrap around the Earth 100 times, just with the amount of paper receipts that are used in Canada in a single year.

Barb 0:36
We all do it. We collect receipts when we go to the dollar store. When we go to Walmart, when we show up at a local retailer, there are over 15 point 1 billion receipts issued every year in Canada.

Barb 0:52
So our guests today are going to take us down the path for how we can stop spending that $121 million. How we can stop slaughtering, killing those 130,000 trees, how we can start to solve this problem.

Barb 1:08
Environmental Engineers by training Kim Baldwin and Carmen Johansen saw a huge problem with the receipt waste, the cost involved and customer tracking. How many times have you had to take something back and you’re scrounging to find that receipt, they have the solution.

Barb 1:26
Their company PayTrail is an electronic receipt tracking tool for customers to get the receipt jail for free, pass go on all scraps of paper that are laying around and put the power back into the customers hands for how they want to track the retail purchases. So I’ve done enough talking, I’m gonna ask Carmen to go ahead and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the company.

Carmen 1:55
Hi, Barb, thank you for having me.

Barb 1:57
It’s a pleasure to have you here.

Carmen 1:59
Yeah, my name is Carmen Johansen. A little bit about myself is I’m originally from Stockholm, Saskatchewan. I went to the University of Saskatchewan. And that’s where I obtained my environmental engineering degree. Following that, I started working and soon realized that there’s a bigger problem here that I want to focus on. And that was receipt paper. Every time I would go to a till I would say oh, no, I don’t need my receipt, thinking that it just wouldn’t be printed. But that’s simply not the case, which I realized quite quickly.

Barb 2:35
And then mentioned, does a retailer still print it and save it for their record? Yeah, for

Carmen 2:40
sure. So retailers print receipts for their own records as well as they put one for you. And when they print one for you, regardless if you want it or not. It’s still printed. Can they just crumple it up and throw it in the garbage?

Barb 2:52
Oh, wow. Okay, I didn’t realize that. Okay.

Carmen 2:55
Yeah. Yeah. And I just got tired of seeing that. And I thought this is a pattern that shouldn’t exist anymore in this day and age. So I wanted to do something about it. And that’s when we started PayTrail. And I became a co-founder with my partner, Kim.

Barb 3:08
Excellent. Well, Kim, on that note, let’s have you introduce yourself.

Kim 3:12
Yeah. Thanks so much for having us, Barb. My name is Kim Baldwin, I like Carmen, a small town in Saskatchewan. I was born in Davidson, Saskatchewan. So a little more central than Carmen was down south. I also went to the University of Saskatchewan, which is where Carmen and I first met. And then I started working. And Carmen mentioned this receipt problem that she saw a couple years ago. And she just was like, this is crazy, how don’t we have a better solution?

Kim 3:47
And I feel like I really resonated with that. And as soon as she mentions it, like lots of the people we talk to about this problem, as soon as you say it out loud, you start to see it all the time. And so that’s what happened to me. And that’s where we created PayTrail.

Kim 4:03
So paytrail is, like you said, a platform committed to eliminating receipt paper waste. We partner with stores to allow their customers to directly transfer and track their receipts from the tills to a user account that is in the version of an app on your phone.

Barb 4:23
So take me back to some of those early conversations that you guys had. We all tend to talk about the things that bug us. But not everyone takes the step and says okay, I’m going to start to solve this problem. So how did you guys actually sort of make that leap? Find yourself knee deep in entrepreneurship? Take me back to some of those conversations. What did that look like?

Carmen 4:49
For sure? This is actually I love I wish this was a meet cute, but really, it’s our idea starting cute. So, um, it’s a really funny story. Actually. I knew Kim when I had previous conversations about this issue, you know, we would talk about this issue.

Carmen 5:06
And I feel like every once in a while you’re surrounded by a group of friends. And you have those who have a million dollar idea who have a million dollar idea that can, you know, pay for us all to keep living and none of us, none of none of us have to work. And I always would always say, Oh, I have an idea, I have an idea. And I would always talk about this receipt one.

Carmen 5:26
And Kim really believed in it. And it was just these funny situations where we talk about it every once in a while. And then after, again, this problem kept becoming so regular in my life in such a constant that I could see it all the time. I started really thinking a lot more about it.

Carmen 5:43
And then one day, Kim and I, because we do spend a lot of time together. We were at a gin distillery, just having a drink. And we were just kind of talking about it a little bit more. And I think I asked her right then and there. I was like, Do you want to pursue this with me? Yeah, I was. I was honestly just a shot in the dark. I was like, if any of my friends are gonna be able to do this with me, it’s gonna be you. So do you just want to try it? I don’t know if it was the gin talking. Here we are now.

Kim 6:15
Little did we know. A little did we know it was our first team brainstorming session at a gin distillery. Exactly. Yeah, the rest. The next day Carmen followed up and was like, Were you serious about that? And I was like, Yeah, I think we should do it. And then we started googling. Yes,

Barb 6:35
Exactly. Because then the googling starts and the brainstorming and the, you know, the notes on the napkins or any little piece of paper that you can find because your brain just starts to turn, doesn’t it? Are all these ideas percolating? K. So from that time from that, that, you know, conversation, the gin distillery to when it started to actualize what was the time period? Was it pretty quick? Or was it fair?

Carmen 7:00
It was pretty quick, I would say it was over the course of like a couple months or maybe a month actually not even that long. As soon as we had those conversations, we knew that we needed to talk to somebody in the space because we didn’t know anybody in the startup space.

Carmen 7:12
So we wanted to reach out to a couple of the incubators here in Saskatchewan, to kind of see from their perspective. And again, we just utilize any link to anybody we ever know. So Kim asked her dad, who knew another startup person’s father, K, and somehow we got a connection to a startup in Regina that we just requested. Like we have a meeting with you just to kind of ask about things like, what life is like and how it works and what we should do and who we should talk to.

Carmen 7:44
And again, just taking those leaps of reaching out to anybody to learn. And from there we Yeah, had a meeting with Hannah from a cultivator in Regina. And yeah, that probably was over the course of a couple of weeks. And then oh, wow, following. Yeah, I was really quick. And then following that Kim and I had our first full day session of just kind of mind mapping this all out.

Carmen 8:07
We sat at my kitchen table for probably seven hours just on our computers trying to, you know, Google, what is a startup? What do you need to become a startup? What is the pitch deck? Like we knew nothing, and we just took it all by storm. It was really an exhausting first day, but we knew we were in the right place.

Barb 8:26
Good. No, that’s super exciting. So that was Hannah from the Connexus. Cultivator. Right. Yes, yeah. And so are you a part of that cultivator? Are you a part of any of the cultivators at this point, or because you’re both still full time gainfully employed as well? So you’re trying to do both. So how do you balance that time then?

Kim 8:43
Yeah, so we participated in the cultivator Start Program, which was incredible. Like I think Carmen and I both agree, it really set us in the direction that we are still going. It taught us how to reach out to people, make connections and do customer discovery. It honestly just gave us so many tools.

Kim 9:05
And then we are not currently officially a part of any of the other cultivator programs. But we still are on the cultivator slack. We probably talked to Hannah from the cultivator every single day. And so yeah, we’re still very much involved in that community. It really becomes one of the greatest things about the Saskatchewan startup community is it becomes just like such a tight knit connection. And as soon as you’re in it, it’s like everyone’s there to help. Everyone’s working together. Like we’re all on the same team. And so we’re very, very much involved with cultivators. We love the crew over there.

Barb 9:47
Yeah, those connections that you create that network. I would guess that it’s invaluable because there’s almost always someone who has faced a similar challenge who can help you through any of your current challenges. Right.

Kim 10:00
Yeah, yeah, the amount of times that on the cultivator Slack channel, someone will just post in the general group and be like, This is what I’m looking for. I’m looking to solve this problem or I’m looking for a connection, who knows something about this topic, and it’s just a thread of responses like, hey, I can reach out to this connection, I can maybe help you. It’s incredible. They’ve really fostered a great community there.

Barb 10:26
And so are all the cultivators working together? Is that just the Connexus cultivator?

Kim 10:32
Just connect this cultivator there so there’s another incubator in Saskatchewan based in Saskatoon called CoLabs. Right? And they’re pretty connected to us, we have some connections. So seven shifts in Saskatoon. We have some amazing mentors who work there. And they’re very involved in CO labs. And because Saskatchewan is so small, it’s pretty, it’s pretty interconnected. Whether you’re a part of the CoLabs community or the cultivator community.

Barb 11:03
Got it. Okay, that makes great sense. So, where are you at right now? If I go on Playstore? Can I download it?

Carmen 11:13
Um, yeah, so right now, we actually are like, at this very moment, releasing our app to the Google Play Store. Hey, um, so that’s really exciting. That’s, uh, last night, we just had like an hour and a half long meeting with our developer, just, you know, finishing out some final bugs and discussing some, like, absolute last minute things.

Carmen 11:31
But yeah, we’re in the process of pushing that out. So that’s really exciting. And it’s a huge milestone for us. We have yet to be released at the Apple Store, that’s just kind of strictly because Apple is really well known for taking a very long time to go through that process.

Carmen 11:47
So we have a couple of weeks, or a couple weeks behind on the Apple app store front, but we are really excited. And yeah, we’re almost there. So it’s really exciting. And we’re really pumped up to really set it to everybody, which we will be kind of posting on our social media when that all starts, so.

Barb 12:03
Okay, and that was gonna be my next question. So when will you make the big announcement that it’s available for download? As soon as it’s sort of in both stores? And I’ll say beta tested? Or is that what this first phase is? Is it? Is it a beta test?

Carmen 12:18
For sure. So we have been lucky enough to beta test already in, I believe it was in October, November, we pushed it up to a few people, I think it was maybe a group of 20 individuals to utilize the app and kind of go through what bugs were major, what additional features were were people wanting and kind of narrow down and create sort of narrowed down what we’re looking for this app to be as well as you know, expand in the areas that it needs.

Carmen 12:44
So we were able to do that and have interviews with all of our beta users. And that’s where, and from there we created what we have today. I think we will probably like to wait, maybe one or two weeks after the apple release, just to make sure there’s no insane bugs or something wild. I don’t know, lights, your phone on fire? Who knows? We’ll just make sure nothing crazy happens. And then of course, we’ll do a major announcement probably, you know, realistically, one week or two weeks after it actually was in the store.

Barb 13:10
Awesome. So like a ballpark a month from now. It should be publicly available to everyone and your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your cousin your aunt’s your uncle’s like they will be downloading to get it out there. Exactly. Yeah. So that’s the consumer side of it. How do you get retailers? Well, okay, let me rephrase that question. Are you hoping that consumers push retailers or retailers push Consumers

Carmen 13:37
I’ll start this Kim, if you want to add later, I, our plan here is for our user base to push retailers. So that’s why we’re really seeing this user app first, just to sort of get it out there to get traction to see a bunch of downloads happen. And then we can take that to our retailers and say, Hey, like we have this, you have this problem. And we have this solution. And we also have a community and we can bring that community to your store. And we can benefit you in multiple ways and you know, create that relationship. So that’s kind of what our plan of attack was when starting with this user app first.

Barb 14:13
Okay. And so let me just put on my retailer hat, which I am not, but if I’m a retailer, right now, I’m spending the money to get my til tape anyway. And so I presume that there’s a cost to be in the app, which, in theory, if I didn’t have to buy the tail tape, or even if I only had to buy half of it, I’m going to save money, I’m going to pay my fee. So do they pay like per transaction? Do they pay a percentage of a transaction? What does that look like? Because I presume there’s no consumer cost.

Kim 14:46
Yeah, yeah. So our revenue model model is a volume based subscription fee. So as a retailer, you sign up and you pay a fee kind of per month to be direct. We integrated with the platform. With that you’re right. So there’s a really tangible cost. In terms of just receipt paper, we based our initial pricing on approximately 25% of the receipt paper that the average retailer like small, medium, and large retailer are bending on receipt paper a month, it’s about 25% of that cost.

Kim 15:25
So with that is kind of you know, you, you want to have as many people using the paytrail option as possible, because every time you get a paytrail receipts, that’s one less piece of paper that you are both printing, which suck for the environment, but also you’re spending money on which sucks for you at all, on top of that some of the things that you can do through the app, when you’re partnered with us is you can push personalized ads through the app.

Kim 15:55
So we have a specific deals page, that right now is just kind of email marketing from retailers. But if you’re directly partnered with us, then we can kind of build feature ads and deals and discounts for you and kind of push those specifically for your store. And one of the things is because if people are using it every day, because most of the time, people get at least one receipt a day, they’re kind of opening up that app almost every day, and then they kind of see those deals and see your advertisements that you’re wanting to push.

Barb 16:28
Yeah. So how does the receipt get to my account? Do I have to give the retailer my email address? Or is there a QR code or a barcode that they scan and it then is connected to my account?

Kim 16:38
Yeah, so there’s a couple different ways Carmen and I’s goal through paytrail is really universality. We want it to be a tool that shoppers can have all of their receipts. And our vision for the future is that every single receipt is just directly transferred.

Kim 16:57
But we know that takes some time. And there’s some building blocks there. And so right now through the app, you can scan, you can manually enter a receipt, and then you can transfer it directly from the till using your PayTrail email. So when you sign up for a Patreon account, you just sign up with your phone number, and then your PayTrail email becomes your phone number out of PayTrail. com.

Kim 17:20
You can also change that and add an alias or nickname. So mine is Kim@mypaytrail.com.

Kim 17:28
And then at any retailer that uses that email option at their till, you can use that PayTrail email, and instead of it going to your inbox and getting lost and cluttered. And then having a bunch of marketing emails come through, it goes through the receipt directly to your receipt library.

Kim 17:46
And any marketing emails that get sent to that goes to your deals page. And then there, if you want to look at them, that’s great. You can look at them. And if not, then they’re just automatically deleted after a couple of weeks. And it really keeps everything kind of clean, keeps events. Yep.

Kim 18:02
Eventually when we partner with those retailers, which is what we’re looking at as our next step, we will be building out direct integrations to point of sale systems, which is that direct transfer.

Kim 18:16
So you think it might look a little bit different depending on the point of sale. But you think of you know, having an apple wallet card and scanning a QR code from that card, and then the til kind of knows this is the direction this is where I need to send this receipt based on the kind of the information that is being communicated in that QR.

Barb 18:40
Okay, um, no, I kind of lost my train of thought there. Because I realized, I also have one other thing that we have to talk about today. Um, but so when I look at the app, the Oh, look at my kids, my kids are teenagers, they never check email. So if these receipts were coming to their email, and would be a waste of time, I love that the phone number or an alias is going to sort of keep all of my information together.

Barb 19:04
And whether it’s my you know, power bill and my energy bill, or it’s the purchase of back to school supplies, the thought that it’s all in one place. For me, even as a parent, it’s like, Oh, my God, like so much easier. Is there also the ability and maybe this is a future thought to have that family account where you know, my husband’s phone and mine and the kids like everybody starts to tie together. So there’s one family account, everything’s together and it doesn’t matter if I’m taking my son’s shoes back or if he’s doing it on his own, that kind of thing.

Carmen 19:39
Absolutely. That’s a really exciting idea. I think that kind of plays into a thought that Kim and I have discussed which is you know, maybe having like group work accounts where where you’re, you’re with your team, you share receipts in case you know your project manager, whoever may be needs to approve them, you know, being able to see them into you know what, for anybody’s in that group is a really good idea.

Carmen 20:03
And that can absolutely be applied to families, which is a great idea. Creating those groups within the app is definitely something Kim and I want to do in the future.

Carmen 20:13
Right now, we’re just hoping it doesn’t, you know, crash and burn on the App Store. So you guys. It’s gonna be so great. It’s just, you know, one of those things that we’re definitely looking forward to doing in the future.

Carmen 20:26
Right now we’re kind of focused on single buying, being able to categorize what you buy, marking your purchases of warranty and putting in warranty dates, you know, putting notes or comments on things that you purchase, you know, maybe you said, Oh, I bought this for Kim for her birthday, in case you in case she ever asks, you know, oh, I need to return that, you know, being able to make those notes and comments. We’re kind of focusing on that right now. But definitely, definitely in the future. That’s a great idea. Okay,

Kim 20:53
We’ll see as well. Right now, you can export receipts, and then you can, like, email them to someone else, or text them or things like that, for Carmen’s example of buying something for someone’s birthday or something like that. It’s really easy to transfer them over.

Kim 21:10
But we do see eventually speaking to that, more like sharing within the app so you know, sending it to Carmen paytrail account instead of texting it to her if I have to send her seat. So yeah, if there’s, there’s a ton of very exciting, sometimes we have to narrow ourselves back in, because we just start talking about all of the things that we could add and all the features. And our developer has to be like, Whoa,

Barb 21:38
Exactly. And that’s like any entrepreneurial business, you have to prioritize. I know every once in a while I start thinking, hey, we could do this, we could do that. And my folks sort of bring me back in and it’s like Barb, you’re already complaining about, you know, how many hours and stuff you’re already working? If you start doing something else, it’s not good. So, yeah, prioritization, it’s a skill I never learned well.

Barb 22:03
Okay, so how in the heck are you guys balancing it all, because your developers are doing a ton of the code writing, I presume? You guys are the brains behind the operation. But you both shared with me that you’ve got some pretty exciting hobbies, and you love to get outside and do some nature. And, you know, I presume that you actually have family and friends, you need to see how the heck are you balancing it all?

Carmen 22:23
I think the key is this is a secret. This is a startup secret. The key to balancing it all is never sleeping. You just stay up all the time. And you never sleep. And you try to work off. Yeah.

Carmen 22:38
No, but in all honesty, I would say that is our biggest secret. There are two of us. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know how solo founders do it on their own. They’re, they’re superheroes if they can do it on their own. I think Kim and I are able to balance that workload and kind of, you know, be able to split it up as to, you know, what we do best?

Carmen 23:01
You know, I focus on this, Kim focuses on that it’s been very, very manageable. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we do. We do stay up late, we do work hard. And we do have to sometimes prioritize, you know, PayTrail, what we’re doing our passion over, you know, those nights to go for drinks with friends. But I think we’re just very lucky that there’s two of us to push through this. And you know, two of us, we have somebody to lean on through it all. And I think that’s just a really good way to go about it. i Yeah, I’m not sure if there’s anything else to add, Kim.

Kim 23:33
I think one of the things like when we first started it, I think both of us had a lot of troubles, giving ourselves a break or realizing when we needed a break. And I think breaks and startup world is like an evening. It’s not like, Oh, I’m taking a week off. It’s like, I’m going to spend four hours just trying not to think about this thing. I think you realize that you found something that you love, and you’re passionate about when you cannot stop thinking about it.

Kim 24:02
But it’s important to kind of realize when you need to just allow your brain to have a break and put your phone down and take your Apple Watch off. Because if your phone is down, your Apple Watch is going off.

Kim 24:17
And so that’s one of the things I think as we’ve kind of gotten further and further into it, we probably both are better at communicating. You know, Carmen said to me a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to watch a movie tonight. And it’s just like, Okay, perfect.

Kim 24:33
Like I know that Carmen is just going to take a couple hours tonight and turn her brain off and just enjoy the downtime and I’m not going to bug her with things unless it’s like you know, I really need this kind of thing right away. And so, when it comes to balance, it isn’t always something that you can have 100% of the time but making sure you get it sometimes is something that’s important. That’s something we’re working on. But we haven’t necessarily completely achieved that. Yeah,

Barb 25:04
Exactly. No, I totally get that. Ladies, believe it or not, we’re basically out of time. And so can I get you to share? Like how to folks learn more? How do they find your social channels? And I guess, you know, mark your calendar, because you guys should be in the app store, buy about, the 23rd of March, or both app stores by boat the 23rd of March, give or take. And so yeah, give us the details so that everybody can find you.

Carmen 25:34
For sure, absolutely. So you can find it at www.my paytrail.com as well as on all social medias. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, of course, at my Paytrail. I yeah, I would say mark your calendars for the end of the month here because we have some exciting things coming down the pipe.

Kim 25:55
You can reach out to us like on Instagram, send us a message or LinkedIn send us a message. We are pretty quiet on social media as we kind of make our way through and make kind of quiet progress. And it’s really just working our way up to a big release. But you can still even though we’re quiet, you can still reach us on the platform.

Barb 26:17
And that’s it for today. Thank you to Kim and Carmen for sharing their exciting updates with PayTrail.

Barb 28:21
If you are interested in being part of their retailer program, or their consumer program, please watch for updates and releases on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Retailers in particular if you’d like to be a part of their pilot program, just reach out to Kim or Carmen directly and they can give you more information.

Barb 28:43
Thank you for joining us today for the Secret Life.

Barb 28:46
If you’d like to be a guest you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at abovethefold.ca just a reminder, you can submit questions in advance of the show on our Facebook page.

Barb 29:02
I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Ep. 96 Meg Casebolt

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Today’s guest helps businesses show up in search results, get more leads & sell more products with intentional, Google 1st content.

Meg Casebolt is the founder of Love At First Search, an agency devoted to helping online businesses get found in search results & turn those new readers into leads, subscribers and sales.

Meg lives in Rochester, NY with her husband, 2 boys and 80lb pit bull. She has an insatiable appetite for s’mores, Broadway musicals and romance novels.

Connect with Meg @ Love At First Search
📧 meg@loveatfirstsearch.com
🌐 loveatfirstsearch.com
IG @loveatfirstsearch
Tw @loveatfirstsearch
LI @megcasebolt

Transcript

Barb 0:00
Today’s guest helps businesses show up in search results, get more leads and sell more products with intentional Google first content. Meg Casebolt is the founder of Love at First Search, an agency devoted to helping online businesses get found in search results and turn those new readers into lead subscribers and sales.

Barb 0:25
Meg and her family live in Rochester, New York. And one of her family members even joins us during the podcast, her 80 pound Pitbull. She has an insatiable appetite for smores, Broadway musicals and romance novels. But it’s not a conversation we had time for.

Barb 0:42
Today’s episode is brought to you by my very own, Get Found Digital Marketing. If you are a local business, or nonprofit who needs to attract more customers, more support, or simply make more time. Check out Getfound.live. Now on with the show.

Barb 1:02
So Meg tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

Meg 1:06
I am the founder of Love at First Search, which is a marketing agency. We’re really focused on helping people to show up in Google for the most part.

Barb 1:16
wow. Okay, so wait a second, let me get this straight, you’re not telling people that they have to do all the things on social media and they can find new clients?

Meg 1:26
That’s correct. I actually also have a podcast called Social Slow Down, because I think that so many of us start marketing our businesses on social media because it is free, and it has a low barrier to entry and our audience is already there.

Meg 1:41
And then we get dependent on those social channels, because they’re built to make us dependent on them. You know, if you set up a Facebook page, then suddenly you have to post on that Facebook page at least once a day in order to please the algorithm gods.

Meg 1:57
And it can be very stressful. And a lot of those decisions about whether or not what you’re creating is seen are completely out of your control. And also, I think with a lot of social media channels, people aren’t really there to make purchasing decisions. They’re there because they want to be entertained. So we can market our business on these platforms. But like, the people are there for cat videos, they’re not there to buy.

Barb 2:22
Exactly. And you know what, I could be wrong. But I believe every social media company, if you look at the stock exchange, is actually an entertainment company. So their goal is to entertain you and distract you. Right? And so okay, if I’m going to think about finding my customers from Google, and I want to stay away from social media, which I always like to call social media, the equivalent of junk food from a marketing perspective. Because sure, it’s fun, it tastes good at that moment, but then it’s gone, you get absolutely no nutritional value from that junk food you just consumed. How you enjoyed it in that moment while you watched your cat video, but then it’s gone. Right? And so how do we start to build long lasting content that compound value for our business? When you look at Google?

Meg 3:13
Well, I actually want to disagree with you respectfully about social media, okay, I don’t think that it’s necessarily like the root of all evil, and it’s not going to do us any good. And it’s just sugar and dopamine in our brains. There is, I mean, it has been documented that social media does give you that dopamine in your brain. So there is definitely a correlation there between that.

Meg 3:35
But I like to think of it more like social media as a place to nurture the relationships that we already have, you know, if there are people who are already in a Facebook group, or we’re connected with them on LinkedIn, or they’re following us on Instagram, whatever that connection point looks like, they already know us, that’s a great way to get to know people who are already familiar with you.

Meg 3:57
So whether that’s commenting on their posts, or you know, DMing them and sending them some information. It’s a good nurture space. Right?

Meg 4:06
I don’t think that social media is the best platform for discovery. Okay, yep. And that’s the difference that I like to put in here is people aren’t going to, you know, LinkedIn and being like, Who do I know that’s a plumber, right? Like, your basements flooded. You go to Google, and like, this happened to me, right?

Barb 4:27
Very top of mind. It’s very timely.

Meg 4:29
I wasn’t like, oh, I have two inches of water in my basement. Let me go look for a hashtag about it. So I can find someone who lives across the country right away when I have a problem. I go to Google to solve that problem. And I’m much more likely to take action on that decision because I am actively seeking out a solution to my problem by being in Google.

Barb 4:53
Do you think it matters what kind of business you are?

Meg 4:57
I think that the types of things that people want or expect to find from you are different. I do think that almost all businesses can benefit from having some search traffic.

Barb 5:08
Okay. Yep, I think that’s very fair. So if I look at and so let’s, let’s build on that the whole idea that you can nurture relationships. If you’re on social and your audience, you can tell in your reach and your impressions, your numbers are high. But nothing’s happening. What would you say to a client? So I’ve got all these followers and you know, my videos are being viewed, but my bank account is dry. How do you help a client with something like that?

Meg 5:40
I think the problem is that if you, if you are focused on metrics that are not related to revenue generating activities, then you might be tracking the wrong things.

Meg 5:52
You know, it’s wonderful to have a lot of people who love you, it feels really great to know that you’re getting lots of engagement on your posts. But if people aren’t buying from you, then potentially either something is wrong with you’re a little bit off, not wrong, maybe a little bit off with your messaging and the types of information that you’re sharing with your audience, or you haven’t trained them to go to your website and check out what your services are, what offers you have, what products you’re selling.

Meg 6:20
So it may require a bit of a shift to your social media strategy to include more information about how people can work with you. Or you may want to diversify your marketing.

Meg 6:31
And as you were talking about a couple minutes ago, before, what, wait, no socials, not all bad, it’s just not ideal. It’s not the only way. Right, one of the things you were trying to get at Barb is you can create information that’s on your website, or that’s on a specific type of content channel like YouTube, like a podcast that people can find in a much more evergreen, long term way than what you’re creating on social media.

Meg 6:58
And so I think, you know, if you have a big social following, but you’re not making a lot of money from that group, either adjust the way that you’re talking to those people to retrain what to expect from you more, spend some time creating something that when people are searching for that solution, they find you.

Barb 7:18
Yes, absolutely. One of the things I like to say to the folks in my audience is that when we think about Google, customers are trying to solve a problem. You have a solution, they have a problem, Google helps you make the match. And so whether your solution is plumbing, or maybe your solution is executive coaching, anything in that spectrum, people are looking at it, they have a problem, we go to Google with a problem.

Barb 7:47
So while I’m talking with my folks, I always like to think about how do we build something that is sustainable, and helps you continue to grow investment in your business, the end of the day, when we’re done with our businesses, most of us hope to either sell them or have some value built up in there. Right. So how would you do it? What do you think about compound value in content? What do you think about Google, Google Content having value?

Meg 8:18
Well, I think that there’s a couple different benefits to having a strong presence on Google.

Meg 8:26
The first is probably the most obvious, which is if you’re getting traffic to your website, from whatever search engine of your choice, you know, 95% of your traffic’s gonna come from Google. You will also throw in Bing, Ecosia, DuckDuckGo, and all those right like, but, you know, having search traffic to your website, if you’re thinking of selling your business or trying to find a way to move along, that is an asset that has taken a long time to generate and will move even if you like, sell your website that will continue to go to the website if you don’t change anything.

Meg 9:05
So that is an asset that is incredibly valuable and can be monetarily determined what that value is. Yeah. And there are, you know, tools that will do that for you and say, if you’re getting this much traffic for these keywords, and you need to pay for that traffic, here’s how much it would cost.

Meg 9:25
So that’s right does add a monetary value to the assets that you’re creating. And I think the other benefit to you long term when you’re thinking about, you know, the overall value of your company, is the brand awareness and the authority that comes from showing up in those search results.

Meg 9:44
When somebody looks for something and they see you show up. They trust that Google has already done a lot of the research and the vetting to give the best solution that they can based on what you typed into that search box. People trust search results more than they trust, even like friends and family recommendations, a lot of times the research says that I don’t, I don’t always trust Google as much as I trust my friends and family.

Meg 10:09
But the research says yes, it is one of the most trustworthy sources of information. So if you’re thinking about when people are looking for a solution to their problems, they trust Google more than they trust, you know, Yelp.

Barb 10:24
Exactly, yeah. And I think there’s an expectation that the content on Google has already been vetted, so that we’re not getting the spammy content showing up in our search. If you think back to some of those first Google ads, do you remember how spammy those Google Ads used to be?

Barb 10:40
And I believe that to this day, that plagues the click through because we all click through on something that was just pure garbage. And so people don’t want to click anymore. And in fact, you know, I talked to many people who are like, I am never clicking on those ads. They are the worst ads, and they’ve changed so much. But people still don’t trust them.

Barb 11:02
And so I think Google actually hurt themselves a little bit when they started with those ads. Definitely. So what do you think? I don’t know, let’s just say top three? What are the top three things that people need to focus on? When they think about trying to get found on Google?

Meg 11:17
Yeah, I would say the first thing would be technical, it would be making sure that I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw three things into my first answer, BB. So I’m trying to break the rules a little bit. I would make sure that your site loads quickly, that it is secure, and not likely to be hacked, and that it looks really good on a mobile device.

Meg 11:41
And I want to talk about that last time a little bit. Google looks at the cell phone version of your website before it looks at the desktop version of your website. Yeah. So if you can’t navigate around it, or if you don’t, like when you go to order food from a restaurant, you have to like to scroll into the PDFs to figure out what exactly it is. That’s not gonna work. Yeah, Google doesn’t like that. Because people don’t like that. Yes,

Barb 12:05
exactly. And that PDF, that’s not readable by Google. So you’re actually not helping yourself, by having all of your content hidden away in that PDF, get the content onto your website, let Google actually read that content. And hey, when I’m looking for the best chicken wings in my city, now, you might come up because you’ve got chicken wings on your website, right. And that’s one of the things that I net, a lot of people forget.

Meg 12:30
And that’s the second thing that I was gonna say is make sure that the words that people are looking for are on your website. This is where we want to be really clear about what we offer and who we help, and not be so clever. Yes. And

Barb 12:47
focus on the words that the customer uses, not your industry jargon. If you’re a plumber, I don’t care about the bits and bytes, and whatever else might go into replacing my furnace, tell me in my language, that you can replace my furnace after hours on a long weekend on a Sunday. And hey, you know what, you’re gonna get my click. So is there still a third one?

Meg 13:10
I would say that since you know, a lot of the people that we’re talking to at our local businesses, I would say that the third thing that you want to do is set up your Google business profile, which used to be called Google, my business is the same thing.

Meg 13:22
But basically, your Google business profile is the information that would show up in your Google Maps listing. So that’s a free tool that you can use in order to make sure that you’re showing up on Google Maps so that people who are local to you can find you easily and understand where you serve.

Meg 13:38
If you’re a home based business, you don’t have to put your home address in so people can come by your house at all hours. Oh, yes, sir. Knocking on your doors to get around that? Yeah, definitely get that set up and start to use that to ask for reviews because Google pays attention to where your reviews are coming from. And if people have like, used their Google account to write a review to your Google business profile, it will mean more than if they post on your Facebook page with a reveal.

Barb 14:06
Exactly. Yeah. And I think the one thing I would add to that is because Google business profile is such an amazingly strong tool for local businesses, those same words that you wanted to use on your website to help customers understand the problem you solve, you want to use those in your Google profile on your posts in your description, you want to make sure that Google makes a connection between those two pieces, and that customers see you in those top three listings that show up in your search results. Now, where you are made, do you guys still have a three pack? And I’m hearing rumors about some larger snack packs or local packs being tested by Google? So do you guys have three right now or do you have more?

Meg 14:50
We still have three where I am. Okay. Yeah,

Barb 14:53
I’ve heard of it in a couple of countries. They’ve been testing 10 packs. And I’m like, wow, that actually feels a little bit overwhelming. And then what happens to your organic search results? Yeah, and businesses that should be there. So that makes that first page pretty darn long if 10 businesses still get to stay there. So I don’t know if that’s maybe in larger markets? I don’t know. I’m curious to see where that will go. Do you remember hearing the rumor last year that they were going to start to charge us for our Google Business Listing?

Meg 15:23
You hear that rumor? And then I think what they did instead is they did the local search ads. So instead of charging for businesses, now they’re allowing people to basically provide ads on Google Maps? Yes. But not everyone needs to pay for them. So similar in the way that there are Google ads on specific search pages, but not all of them. And, you know, I’m fine with it.

Meg 15:45
If people it’s kind of like, when you go to Disneyworld, and some people want to pay for the Fastlane and some people don’t like that’s all that it is, is you can choose to pay to go to the front of the line, but then you’re paying for every single click, whereas exactly organic folks are going to wait longer. But it’ll be a less expensive outing to Disney World than everyone still gets to ride the Matterhorn.

Barb 16:05
Exactly, yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. To me. That’s a very good comparison.

Meg 16:12
Clearly I have young kids,

Barb 16:15
yeah, no, don’t give them an IV using like the teenage comparisons, I’m one of the things that I find really cool about Google is you can get your website on Google, by doing the work yourself, you can get your listing into that snack pack or that local pack by doing the work yourself.

Barb 16:31
In both instances. Google’s not asking you for any money. Right? If I want to do something on most of the social media channels, other than run organic content that disappears within minutes or hours of being posted out there, I have to pay something.

Barb 16:48
And so in that way, I find that Google lets you build your business on their foundational rock, so to speak, at a much lower cost or investment. I don’t have to post to my Google listing every day, I don’t have to worry about, you know, creating videos, and no, I can and they might get more engagement.

Barb 17:09
But I don’t. I don’t have that sense of I have to or I disappear. Right? Where I find on social channels, I have to get a post out there, watch a real one for a week, I better get something out there, oh, I haven’t posted a video, I need to get a video out there. So there’s a lot of pressure that comes along with maintaining those social profiles, especially if you’ve created numerous profiles over time, right.

Barb 17:34
So when you start to think about the, I’ll say, the amount of work, the time the effort that goes into either maintaining your Google or maintaining your social, what’s your gut feel on what you hear from your folks about, which is easier and where they’ve had more success.

Meg 17:54
I would say that the amount of time that you’re going to eat, let’s put it this way, you’re going to spend time on your marketing, no matter what. And the platform that you choose to create first is your choice. But this doesn’t have to be an either or situation you can create for social and then copy and paste that and expand that into a blog post. Yep.

Meg 18:18
Or what I tend to recommend to people is to search first, create the evergreen content first, and then repurpose and distribute it out to social media. Yeah, so for my business, we start all of our content from YouTube, because that’s the most time consuming place where we can be spending time you know, like for me to sit down and record a YouTube video is going to take me 45 minutes, even if it’s only a 10 minute video, it’s going to take me 45 minutes.

Meg 18:52
But then once we have that YouTube video edited down to that whatever, 10 minute time slot, when we get it transcribed, we turn it into a video, we strip out the audio, we turn it into a podcast, we take excerpts from it, we put it on social media, we take clips from the video, and we turn them into reels, which we can then put onto you know, YouTube shorts and Instagram reels, you know, I take 45 minutes to create that we turn it into 10 or 15 different pieces of content and put it into a scheduler that can continue to push that out repeatedly.

Meg 19:25
Exactly. It’s up. The process doesn’t have to be to create the one thing and then create the next thing the next day and then create the next thing the next day and always be in a loop on it. Exactly. It’s possible to maximize like if you’ve heard of the strengths finder, one of my top five strengths is Maximizer.

Meg 19:44
Why create it 10 times if you could take one thing and turn it into 10 things.

Barb 19:48
Exactly. Yes. So I always like to talk about Google first content, create for Google first, whether that be YouTube or your blog, wherever that fits, and then start to create all of those secondary pieces of content, because different points are going to attract different customers.

Barb 20:07
Some are going to find the YouTube video and subscribe and follow along with your message. Others are going to prefer to sit down and read a blog post, right? It’s been transcribed. So it’s all those bits. And I’m just like you where I want to create for Google first. And then I can turn every blog post into 10 different social posts that show up, you know, over the next three months and bring traffic back to my website.

Barb 20:31
So something that, okay, you’re doing really good. You do it in 45 minutes, I probably do it in 90. Right, but you create the video, and it’s there forever, as long as it’s correct. And you know what, when it’s not correct anymore, boom, go in, hit the delete button, right and do the new version. Because if there’s one thing that Google does like to do to us, oh, we change the rules today, we’re just gonna change it up a little bit. So now we’re gonna do it this way. Right, one of the most common things that we see coming from Google.

Barb 21:02
So yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. How can you create Google first content that helps you build and grow your business, attract new customers, and then think about those secondary uses for that content? Because the more you can push your content out there, people will see it, engage with it, and comments start to follow, right. And I think that’s a big part of how we start to attract more customers into our space. Now that describes our process. Meg, you and I are marketers. And so our brains are hardwired to be like, Hey, how do I get my message out there? But what if I’m a plumber? How do I take that same process? And make it my own? How? What do you want me to show on YouTube? Don’t show me changing a furnace filter? Like, what do I do? What do you think?

Meg 21:54
I would say that a lot of times, especially if you’re working in a local market, one of the things that you can do is have, you know, case studies and conversations with the customers that you’re working with to tell their stories. The benefit of doing that is that you can also if especially if you’re working in a local market, say, you know, I helped Meg had a Meg’s house in Rochester, New York had a flooded basement, and we were able to dry it out within 24 hours and save the, you know, the priceless foot painting that her grandfather made, and get that dried out.

Meg 22:31
You know, like by telling the stories, I think that can especially be an amazing way to do it in local markets. Because it’s not some anonymous person around the internet. It’s this person in this town who Hey, actually, I know her, especially in smaller towns, you know, everyone, and if somebody has given their permission to share that story, then you trust it even more, when you see a face that’s recognizable to you, even if it’s just like, Oh, I saw her in the grocery store. Right? It doesn’t always have to be your best friend. Exactly.

Meg 23:03
Have a, you know, acquaintance level relationship with somebody that’s going to benefit you as well. So it doesn’t always have to be, you know, here’s how, Hey, your basements flooded. Let me show you how to fix your sump pump. No. That’s not how to is not always the best solution. That’s right, telling the story, developing trust, explaining your process, explaining the benefits of working with you all of that can go really far.

Barb 23:31
Yep. And when I think about what you’re describing, that’s Google’s know, like, and trust process, right? People have to get to know you, they’re gonna come to like you just like our friendships, right?

Barb 23:42
We didn’t meet our best friend and go, Hey, you’re awesome. Let’s be best friends and get to know the person you found those common experiences with, you found common ground, you’re like, hey, you know, I kind of want to hang out with you a little bit more. Right. And so you move through that process where you go, now, I trust you, I know you. Now I want to be your bestie.

Barb 24:05
And it’s no different when we think about that customer journey, to get to trust where somebody is going to actually spend their hard earned money with you have to have built that relationship. And that is where he will say that, you know, you can build it all on Google, but by being there very regularly with social media that helps build that relationship. Right. And so I think that, you know, being able to move customers through the spectrum, that’s one thing that social media can help us do is move through that process, right?

Meg 24:43
Like trying to mute myself because my dog has decided that this is the time that he needs to hit him scratch. Oh, and scratch sorry. This is real life, right? Like,

Barb 24:55
Exactly, yes, we might be at the tail end of COVID but this is still a real life reality podcast.

Meg 25:02
Since 2013, this has always been my real life. Exactly, you make a really good point, which is that it can take a while for people to trust us enough to buy from us. And I also like to point out that SEO is just the introduction, right? People don’t need to go back to Google to remember who you are, they might continue to find you if they continue to search for new things and trust you more every time you answer one of their questions.

Meg 25:28
But I like to think of it when you’re saying like, we’re, we’re starting to develop a friendship. It’s like when you get to us, when you when you’re on Google, when you’ve used SEO to get onto Google, you’re just swiping right, it’s just getting the first date. Yeah.

Meg 25:43
And then it’s up to your website, to get the second date and the third date and to figure out how to get that person’s, you know, email address, so that way you can keep in touch with them. And then it’s social media’s job to continue to grow and email marketing is so important to continue to grow those relationships, I think even more so than social email is going to be the thing that helps people decide to buy from you. So don’t think that SEO is the end all be all solution. SEO is an introduction to new audiences.

Barb 26:14
Yes. And I think that’s a great analogy. I like that SEO becomes the first date. And once they hit your website, you know, are they swiping left? Are they swiping right? Like what do they want to do with that relationship? Right? And that the power is entirely in your customers hands. So it’s your job to make sure that you’re serving the content to the customer that they’re looking for. Right? Is that a fair statement

Meg 26:36
Your job, that you’re helping them qualify whether or not they’re a good fit for you?

Barb 26:41
Isn’t it? It’s okay, as a business, to not be a good fit, right? It’s okay to prequalify your customers and say, Hey, here’s who we work with x, we don’t work with you. And that’s okay. It’s not something you see a lot, but it is okay.

Meg 26:58
It’s just as important to know who you don’t work well with as it is to know those that you do work well with otherwise we’re in to carry on this metaphor. Otherwise, we end up going on a lot of first dates and kissing a lot of frogs. And for those of us that are, you know, running businesses that aren’t traffic based that are relationship based, we would rather get to really great relationships sooner by not spending a lot of time on, you know, discovery calls that are people who are not a good fit. Let’s let them go find someone else. That’s exactly it. Release them to go find what they need. Exactly.

Barb 27:33
Yes, I hear you make believe it or not, we’re already at a time can you share with folks how they would find you? I know it’s the fastest 26 minutes of your life.

Meg 27:44
Yes, please come over and find me at loveatfirstsearch.com. Or if you’re a podcast listener, go into whatever your podcast of choice is, and search for social slowdown. That’s my podcast to talk about finding ways to market your business without being dependent on social media.

Barb 28:00
Awesome. All right. Well, thank you to everyone for joining us today for Secret Life. Thank you Meg for popping in talking a little bit of Google and a little bit of social. And just sharing a few of your secrets around how you support your clients. And what you’re seeing is working out in that Google space.

Barb 28:17
If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page @Abovethefold.ca.

Barb 28:28
Just a reminder, you can even ask questions in advance of our live shows.

Barb 28:33
I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and GoogleGirl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Karen Kobussen

Ep. 95 Karen Kobussen

By Secret LifeNo Comments

Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Google Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Breaker  Overcast.fm  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Pocket Casts  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Radio Public Spotify   Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Anchor

Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Karen was born an entrepreneur, but didn’t realize it until she was 45 years old when she took the leap and bought a failing business in an industry she knew nothing about and turned it around into a profitable venture with her daughter as her partner.

Since that time, Karen Kobussen has started 3 other businesses, with failures and mistakes just as common as the wins and successes, which has made for a wild roller coaster ride on her entrepreneurial journey!

It was also during this time that she realized a family member had a serious substance use problem, and she became a vocal advocate for evidence based resources that support families to move from helplessness and hopelessness, to understanding and empathy through kindness, compassion and science.

Through sheer determination, a handful of ‘ignorant bliss’ and a massive amount of willpower and fortitude, Karen creates opportunity in every moment, and tackles her life and business challenges head on… with both the wins and losses contributing to her personal growth and her humble nature.

Connect with Karen at Canball Games:
📧 canballgames@gmail.com
LI @kkobussen
Tw @KarenKobussen
FB @karen.kobussen
IG @karenkobussen

Transcript

Barb 0:01
Our guest today is a born entrepreneur, but she didn’t realize it until she was 45 years old when she took a leap and bought a failing business in an industry she knew nothing about. She turned that business around and made it profitable with her daughter as her partner. Since that time, Karen Kobussen has started three other businesses with failures and mistakes, just as common as the wins and successes, which has made it a roller coaster ride on her entrepreneurial journey.

Barb 0:34
It was during that time that she realized she had a family member with a serious substance abuse problem. And she became a vocal advocate for evidence-based resources that support families to move from helplessness, and hopelessness to understanding and empathy through kindness, compassion and science. Through sheer determination, and a handful of ignorant bliss, as well as a massive amount of willpower and fortitude, Karen created opportunity in every moment and tackled her life and business challenges head on, both with the wins and losses contributing to her personal growth, and the growth of her businesses. With all of that, welcome, Karen, such a pleasure to have you here. Oh, hi, Barb.

Karen 1:31
Thanks for having me.

Barb 1:33
It’s an absolute pleasure. So you do have to kind of start with the story. Three businesses since the age of 45. And because I can see you right now, but no one else can. I’m guessing that 45 was about six months ago. So you’ve been busy for the last six months.

Karen 1:49
Yeah. Thanks, girl. So cute. Um, yeah, no, it was a few years ago. Um, it’s actually crazy how time flies like when you just said that? And I’m like, man, it does feel like six months ago. But it and that roller coaster have been just to go on ever since. So yeah, it’s been a few years. But wow, what a ride.

Barb 2:10
Exactly. So tell us a little bit about each of the businesses. I of course know Kanwal because we’ve had a chance to talk about Kanwal before. But let’s give everyone else just a really broad landscape for the businesses that you’re involved with.

Karen 2:23
Yeah, I think so. I’ll maybe just go in chronological order. That’s kind of the easiest thing to do. Yes. So I actually used to live in Regina. I live in Saskatoon now. And I was working on a contract for a company down there back in the 2000. And aughts. I don’t know how everyone says that about 2005-2006. Okay. And a girlfriend of mine invited me out to Regina beach for the weekend, and I had never been there. And I thought, oh, man, that would be so much fun.

Karen 2:50
But honestly, we’re gonna get a little personal here today, Barb, I hope that’s okay. Yeah, absolutely good. And anyway, she invited me out to the beach for the weekend. And I thought, oh, man, that would be so fun. But so here I had a little problem personally, I have kind of really weird chicken skin on my legs. I’ve always called it my chicken skin.

Karen 3:12
Okay, and so I had a really hard time shaving my legs, even as a tean youth in a team. And I was very, very, very self conscious about that always my whole life very, very, I lacked so much confidence in my ability to wear shorts or a bathing suit, and I just almost never did. Okay, so anyway, that’s how this whole story gets started. And yep, kind of interesting.

Karen 3:36
So, my coworker said, Oh, my goodness, I said, I can’t go. And I sort of told her why such, you know, very sheepishly, and she said, Have you ever been sugared? And I said, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Yeah. What is that? Yeah. And she just didn’t even let me answer. She picked up the phone. She called her girl who sugars which I had no idea. Yeah. And made me an appointment right then and there and said, basically, you’re coming with us go get go see this girl right now. Yep.

Karen 4:08
So I’m okay. So like half an hour later, I have this appointment, I jump in my car and drive to east Vic I get into this place. And this girl picks up this big gooey glob of paste. And she places it on my leg. And she kind of rubs it in and then she kind of pulls it off and all the hair is gone.

Barb 4:30
I just happened

Karen 4:31
It was such a cathartic moment. I almost started to cry. I was like what is happening right now and why am I just finding out about this? Yeah, now. So that was my first experience with sugaring.

Karen 4:46
I was so blown away and like literally the confidence in my appearance and my body came back instantly Barb it was oh, I believe it. It was bonkers. Yep, so anyways, so that was in 2006 I continue to get sugared. In Regina for a couple years, I was actually driving from Saskatoon to get sugared in Regina when I moved back because I couldn’t find anyone here.

Karen 5:12
So then finally I said to my girl in Regina, Hey, can you find me someone in Saskatoon that does this with this particular brand. And so she did her research and she said, yeah, here’s a girl’s number called the girl up. So now we’re in about 2008. Can I meet a girl here in Saskatoon, I start getting sugared. And then, and I’m like, her biggest fan, right? And I’m telling everyone, Italy. Yeah. And I helped, like, so I had a lot of business experience, just from my work. I was working with the industry association, membership based Industry Association. And so, um, you know, just talking to people, I’m a natural extrovert.

Barb 5:52
I can’t tell it all actually.

Karen 5:54
just came very naturally to me if you can believe it, but yet on the inside, I was super self conscious of confident body shape, you know, ashamed person. So this really helped me and I thought we are doing so much more here and just this treatment, this service. Like it honest to God, it just blew me away. And that’s what so that’s why I said when I sent you some of those little points for that introduction. Yeah. Like, I mean, the minute it happened to me, I’m like, Oh, my God, who needs to know about this? How can I help? How are we growing this? And it wasn’t even my business.

Barb 6:33
Yes, exactly. At least not at that point in time. Exactly. Yeah.

Karen 6:38
So the girl who had been sugaring here, um, she, she wanted to open her own salon. So I was like, Yeah, I’ll help you like, what do you need? What do you need? What do you need? So, you know, just making connections sourcing supply chains, doing different things like that for her doing some social media back in the day, which was completely different.

Barb 7:01
Changed last week, never mind if it was a year ago. Yep.

Karen 7:05
Yeah. So she started her business in about 2012-13. Somewhere in there. And then all of a sudden, probably within about two years. She got married, she got pregnant, she got divorced. And oh, the personal upheaval of her personal life at that point in time. She just couldn’t manage it all anymore. Yes, exactly.

Karen 7:26
And her business started to fail. And I didn’t want to see that happen because I was such a disciple. Yes. So in 2016 while my daughter then I said you should learn how to do this. I think that you’d be really good at it. And she did. And she was okay, so I had her. I still have my friend even though she kind of wanted an exit strategy. And I bought her business for $10

Barb 7:50
Oh my goodness. Oh my Wow.

Karen 7:55
Right. And what I didn’t realize is it was in a big place and it was so deep into debt. Yeah. I bought all the assets and all the liabilities, okay. And, and I thought, Oh my God, what did you? What have you done? Yeah, what have you done? You’ve literally set yourself up to go bankrupt. Oh, my goodness.

Barb 8:15
Okay. And so did she have a physical space store front or just inventory?

Karen 8:23
Yep. Huge space full service salon. You know, everything: hair, Pedi, Mani, massage, laser, like everything ever. Okay, so So but I mean, I didn’t go into it blindly. I looked at the books. And it was kind of interesting her income statement for I think that would have been her fourth or fifth year in business. But it was like pedicures zero. Medicare’s zero gel nails zero. Then it was like sugaring at $85,964. And I was like, I know, right? I know. So I just knew it was just inside me. It absolutely was the thing. The thing that Brilli busted me out of my shell was yes. Skin for the first time. Mm hmm. I can’t even explain to people how that felt.

Barb 9:25
Why and you I have a hard time imagining it because I’ve never tried sugaring to me, it’s just a bunch of goop that’s gonna pull the hair off and like her like wax, so I can think

Karen 9:39
And so the other thing that when you spoke in your, in your intro about that creating opportunity, you know, that that’s just another thing that’s very natural to me. So we, so I just look at her books, and I look at the place she’s at and don’t think that I ripped her off by paying $10. She still worked with me. Okay. You know, I mean of our X number of clients, you know, 90% We’re still her clients.

Barb 10:05
Right? Exactly. Oh, plus you actually bought her all of her liabilities and her debt. Right. And so she was debt free and died. Yes, that’s a huge value right there. So

Karen 10:16
and you know, it was a little bit of a little bit. It was certainly probably more than generous, but it was just a burning thing inside me that I just wanted. I basically needed to share this experience with everyone in Saskatchewan.

Barb 10:34
Exactly. Well, let’s get back to that business. I don’t mean to cut you off. Let’s come back to that one. But let me tell you about the other two as well.

Karen 10:41
Yes. So I was feeling pretty good about myself back then. And, um, my. So almost at the same time, my husband and I decided, so my husband had been in the printing industry for 30 years, okay. And we knew that that was kind of dying. And his company had come to him and said, hey, you know, we, we don’t know how long, much longer you’re gonna be here. We’d like to retrain you in something. Oh, so you have a suit? Because, you know, we weren’t that old. Right? We were like, yeah, like, in our late 40s. Okay. Uh, yeah. So, we thought about what we want to do? And we’ve seen some, we’re, we’re collectors of things and stuff like neat. Like

Barb 11:27
sports collect art, okay. Yep.

Karen 11:30
Well, when you hear the business, you’ll understand what we do. So we ended up buying a laser engraving machine. Okay, so we have a laser engraving business. So this machine is massive. I always joke that, you know, 45, 48, 50 people are buying both quads.

Barb 11:51
You guys bought an engraver?

Karen 11:51
And I’m like, Yeah, but just your boat and your quad. Does that pay you back? Exactly. make you any money?

Barb 12:00
Yep. Yeah, exactly.

Karen 12:02
And so you know, yep. So we bought a laser engraving machine. And then my husband actually went down to Texas to learn it. And because that’s where they’re manufactured. And just learn, learn, learn, like it was just all this learning curve. Like, for me in my real first business with the with, with the salon and the sugaring side, and then my husband and the laser, so we both got into businesses we knew nothing about okay.

Karen 12:28
But it was just this opportunity in this passion. And so the things that we can make on a laser engraving machine, like coasters, and we can engrave coffee cups, so now everyone in my whole entire circle of friends has, you know, an engraved travel mug.

Barb 12:48
Yeah. So like a coffee like ceramic or coffee, like stainless steel.

Karen 12:53
Like yeah, like a, like a powder coated like a blue God, tumbler, you know, for water bottles and whatever. So just funny things on them and whatever. So we started off with that. And we didn’t really know how to sell it and we didn’t really know what we were gonna do. But then what happened was, so I have this full service storefront, salon okay. 5000 square feet. It was ridiculous. And I’m slashing everything. Like everything is gone. Yep. So we had a spa room, a pedicure room and this big space and we put our laser engraver in there. Yep. So okay, cool. Now, we’re all one big happy family. It was a lot of happy family time there.

Barb 13:39
No sarcasm at all in those statements.

Karen 13:45
And, yeah, so the laser engraving, so then, you know, everything just progressed. On the sugaring side, I reached out to the brand that we represent Alexandria professional, okay. And I had gone into contact with the CEO of that company. And she was absolutely delightful. And then we and then I became a distributor. Okay, yeah. So now I have a western Canadian distribution. My daughter became an educator and actually flew to New York every year and, and the CEO of the company trained her to teach because it’s not easy to do.

Barb 14:21
No, not having the skill is one thing. To have the skill to teach is another thing. Totally. Yep. And so that’s where your course came from. Because you actually have a course that came out of the work that your daughter does as an educator as well. Right, right.

Karen 14:37
Yes. So we offer training, we offer distribution, wholesale distribution, and the neat thing about that is, as we train more people we train, we are training our customers, because we’re very brand aligned, okay. And because there is a difference in the formula There’s lots of lots of different products on the market. But it’s kind of like the difference between going to, you know, a beauty supply or your hairdresser, right and buying that shampoo, as opposed to going to Walmart and buying that shampoo.

Barb 15:14
Right. Okay. Right.

Karen 15:15
So we obtained the distribution, we have the education. We have Western Canada from Manitoba West. And so we do. Yeah, so we train people in this. And what we do, though, it’s so cool, because what we do is, especially during COVID, we’re helping people who may just want a side hustle. Yep, it’s extra money, they can do it at home, they can set up a neat little space. In a spare room. We’re helping women, that feeling of gaining that confidence. Yeah. Is what we try to instill in every single person that we train.

Barb 15:51
Exactly. Yeah, it’s absolutely huge. And, you know, the beauty industry has come a long way in terms of how women are portrayed. But there is still one hell of a long way to go. Because you don’t see a single magazine in a stand when you’re checking out for your groceries. That shows a middle aged woman who’s you know, carrying that spare tire and, you know, has lines cuz she hasn’t slept decent for a week. You don’t see that?

Karen 16:22
And my thing is always do chin hair, girl. Oh, we all have them. Yeah, come and see us. We’ll help you. I promise you. This is who we work on. We have significantly increased our male clientele.

Barb 16:38
Oh, that’s dragging chests.

Karen 16:41
We do their ears. Eyebrows. nape nose. Men’s noses. How

Barb 16:48
Do you know and know? You just

Karen 16:50
sugar. Oh, girl, I have no sugar. It’s fantastic. It doesn’t even hurt.

Barb 16:55
Oh my god. Okay. Yeah. Okay, so there was a third business, the teaching or is there still? Of course, no. I know. The third business. Yeah,

Karen 17:05
So that’s all under one umbrella. Okay, we did the sugaring got that all going? Got out of debt. It was a good day when that happened. Yeah, I believe in your engraving machine. But now. So we got rid of that space, that big, huge space. Okay.

Karen 17:18
And now we got to take the laser engraving machine home. So we’re a home based business? Yep. You know, it’s not the most ideal situation. Then, and through it all, as I mentioned earlier, I’m dealing with my other daughter, having some substance use issues, and having to, like, drop everything, to, to find her or to help her out of a situation she may have gotten herself in.

Karen 17:48
And you know, that’s really where and then plus sort of discovering new, different evidence based approaches to substance use and how to do it differently. So I’m learning all this. I’m growing this business and trying to get out of debt. But I got my but here’s the thing all along, too. So I have my daughter, I have my husband, and I have my dad. And I have my step mom, right. And everyone is coming along. And what do you need? What do you need? What do you need? Like, just picking up so and that wasn’t even like, planned? And that’s also part of that roller coaster where, you know, there were just some of the lowest days in those early days. And it was like, what am I done? Like, what? What have I got myself into? Yeah, why? Karen, you left a $100,000 a year job? To do what?

Barb 18:50
Yep, exactly like to run around like a chicken with your head cut off. But have more fun than you had ever had the entire time. You were in a corporate role. I’m guessing. Yeah.

Karen 19:03
I can have fun in a prison town. So there’s a little bit of that. Okay. However, I think I have the ability to share my vision. And my vision is my vision now, right? And to share that vision, share that opportunity, share the synergies that I want to create with other people. That’s really where it was right. Okay.

Karen 19:28
Then I also have the times where I’m like, curled up in the fetal position in the bathroom crying, because I’m like, can I make my mortgage payment this month? Yeah. And that’s very real. Right. And I think and I think entrepreneurs need to hear that new entrepreneurs, especially, I think, I think you need to know that when you’re backed into a corner.

Karen 19:51
It doesn’t mean you have to, you know, drop down into that corner and stay there. You just need to start thinking around the things that are holding you there. And think of it thinking out thinking out thinking, oh, yeah, so anyway, so then. So deal with all that kind of get this kind of, I think kinda because it’s never, you know,

Barb 20:11
never, always changing. Yeah, it’s

Karen 20:13
always changing. It’s always moving forward. And I got to kind of get things to a place like, okay, we can breathe now you can breathe, right? Then I got in 2020, not COVID related. I got crazy sick. I of course did not go to the hospital for, I don’t know, six days probably should have done that a little bit sooner. Okay. And when I get to the hospital, they are like, Oh, you need to have surgery immediately. And I had four surgeries and ended up having to remove my colon. Oh, wow. And I was in the hospital for 27 days during COVID. So no, but honestly, girl, it was really peaceful.

Barb 21:07
Why did they take your technology? Wait, how can that possibly be peaceful? No colon in surgery COVID. happening? How can I…

Karen 21:15
because there were no visitors. There were no visitors allowed? Oh, I suppose Yep. Right. And I couldn’t go out. Like for the first couple days I was there before they did the app started to do the actual couple surgeries that they did to me, I could I could still manage to get myself outside so people could come visit. And we would sit outside and visit it in the middle of summer. It was beautiful outside. But after that it was nothing. So like three weeks no people. And honestly, I didn’t. I didn’t think about my business really once.

Barb 21:46
Oh, wow. What a relief that must have felt like to be able to walk away. And I presume your daughter kept it going and your husband kept it going. And yeah.

Karen 22:00
And here’s the thing with CanBall. So CanBall Okay, so so just literally two months before that happened yet we I ended up going to or there’s our family is also huge, huge, huge sports fans. Like we literally have two TVs in our garage and we’re, you know, screen and screen watching two or three different games at a time and streaming one on the computer and whatever. And the baseball season was canceled.

Barb 22:31
Oh, yeah, it would have been okay. Yeah. 2020. Right.

Karen 22:33
So we were devastated. And I looked at our laser engraving machine. And I was like, oh, no, I know what happened. Someone tagged us in a Facebook post. And there was this version, this homemade baseball game on an old cutting board. Yes, stick-ins for batters and marbles for marking the score and I and someone’s akitas to better can you make this nicer? And I was like, Of course we can. Yeah.

Karen 22:57
And so we came up with CanBall. Okay, and we posted it in a private Facebook group in April of 2020. After we had done a few iterations of the design, we sold like 65 across Canada. Yep. And we were like, Man, this is awesome. So we worked on the design, I thought, well, maybe we should do something with this.

Karen 23:17
So that was April 2020. May 2020. I reached out to marketing guy No. And I’m like, hey, what do you think of this? And he goes, That’s awesome. Let’s do all the things and stuff. Yeah. And then in June I got sick. And then I’m in the hospital till July. So Campbell took a very slow entry into the world. Exactly that baby that you’re in like 40 hours labor with.

Barb 23:40
Yep.

Karen 23:42
And then I went on to 2021. So we did very well in 2020. Without any real packaging without any real marketing strategy without any financing. We bootstrapped the whole entire thing. And then in 2021, I got connected with st at the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority and was invited to become part of their love local box. And then I went on to present at the Go money pitch competition, which I won.

Barb 24:13
Awesome. Oh, God Powerball that.

Karen 24:16
I came in second, but I still think I won because of 80 applicants. I came in second. Okay, so that’s a win. Yeah. And from that, we just got a ton of exposure and now we’re heading into 2022 and we’re ramping up for hopefully baseball season the players are locked out again this year, which might actually be good for us again, because if there’s no baseball and we might sell

Barb 24:38
directly, then you sell a ton of baseballs.

Unknown Speaker 24:40
Exactly opportunity, all the opportunity. Exactly. Oh my God. And that brings us up to today.

Barb 24:48
You seem to have a very unique ability to see opportunity. For some people. They have to see it on a piece of paper the numbers have to jive, but you really have that gut instinct ability to see an opportunity. So can you talk to me a little bit about, you know, what does that feel like? How do you maybe refrain yourself? And sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. So let’s have that conversation too.

Karen 25:18
Yeah, good point, you know, it is very difficult to have just to see things, the potential and the possibility and the future of things. And honestly, Barbae, I’m just a person who believes that, when you see the future, you can create that. Right. So what you’re seeing are things that are like, Oh, we could take this, and we could go here, and we’ll just make it happen. Like, it’s just not a question for me. And that is not very well received by many people. And it’s been especially challenging in my world. Because the people that I work with are my family.

Barb 26:04
Oh, yeah, that adds a whole new complexity, doesn’t it? Right.

Karen 26:08
So I get a lot of Oh, Karen, you’re so extra. And, okay, that’s never going to happen. And right. And I and I love my people don’t get me wrong, but it absolutely. Is. There, it can be a wall. And it’s not because they’re doing it on purpose. They just don’t see it. Yeah. Right. That makes sense. Yeah. So I still get carried away. Often, and you know what, that’s why it feels very inauthentic to me to not

Barb 26:44
be carried away and have a big picture. So who brings you back? Your parents, your daughter, your husband, who pulls Karen back?

Karen 26:51
Um, I don’t think they pull me back. I don’t allow that to happen as much as they just like, throw a wall up in front of me. Okay. Yeah. And there are so many variables. Like, I think my daughter now of all of the people so yeah, like, my dad’s just kind of a grouchy old man. Um, but he gets it.

Karen 27:14
He doesn’t really pull me back. He kind of shoots me this look, you know, like the dad look. Yeah. Yeah. Like the eyebrow kind of goes up. And he was just kind of under his breath. Yeah. Hello, grant. And then I’m like, man, you’re smart. You can do it. Yeah. Because my dad actually designs all of our games for cannonball. So we don’t. Yeah, we have a football game.

Karen 27:35
And we have a golf game in prototype right now. And my dad’s actually the one who will play baseball. It’s just the game of baseball on a board. So it is yeah, there’s nothing there. But for football and golf, there’s nothing like it on the market at all. Okay, you’re nothing. So my dad designs all that gameplay and he is a master at tournaments like setting up because we have like a family golf tournament and all different kinds of keys a master like setting up like round robin play. And then, you know, a side wins and beats like, that’s his job. Wow. So if I have a crazy idea and vision, he’ll grunt and groan and give me the dad look. But what he’ll do, he’ll, he’ll try to get there.

Barb 28:18
Exactly. As soon as you plant the seed that I bet his wheels start spinning. And he’s like, Okay, I gotta figure this out. Right. So yeah, I can see where that comes from.

Karen 28:28
Yeah. And my daughter is the one that’s okay. She calls me Karen. She’s called me Karen since like, she was six. I don’t know, I think it makes me think it made her feel cool. Back in the day. And actually, we meet people now. Or we see people now that we’ve come in contact with in the past, they’re like, Oh, my God, I didn’t know you guys. That was your mom. Like, they just think that we’re friends.

Karen 28:52
But anyway, she has gotten better at kind of letting me have that. You know, that wide open ability to just talk things out and see things through. And then when she’s in the mood, I guess it’s a good point. Um, and then my husband, he’s just, he’s not really visionary. He’s the operations guy. He’s the maker of things. So once so on the CanBall side and the laser engraving side. You know, once I have an idea, or what my dad has no idea. He will sit very quietly and very patiently and bless his soul. We I don’t know, I don’t know. I think you work with your husband too Barb.

Barb 29:32
I do. Yes. Yep. its ups and downs. And yep.

Karen 29:38
Yeah. And I learned a long time ago. I’m just like, Karen, I need to just you need to walk away and let him work. Because we work at different paces. We work in different ways. He has a different method. I would be like Boom Boom Boom. Yeah. And I just know that if I want the quality of work that he’s able to produce, we leave each other alone. So it’s all been a learning curve. And believe me in the beginning It was not this pleasant.

Barb 30:02
Yeah, it’s not no, in the beginning, you’re learning how you fit in a whole new way. Yeah, marriage was ever invented to fit. And then you kind of get a groove and something changes in the business. And so you’re feeling some stress, or maybe you’re feeling too comfortable, or like everybody just starts to flex their muscle.

Barb 30:24
Because in the workplace, you know, maybe you had somebody who helped you, or, you know, maybe you had a real boss that you reported to? Well, when you’re just working together, there is no boss. And so who makes what decisions? And how does stuff get done? So an entirely new world, and, you know, I kind of believe at this point, if you can build a house, build a business and stay married, like, pretty damn good nowadays. And I like each other, like still like each other talk to each other, you know, want to be seen in public?

Karen 31:01
Yes. You know, that’s interesting, when you said that about having a boss and, and, you know, I have always said to people, you always kick the crap uphill, right? Whenever I was in, in my previous line of work, I was basically almost in charge, but I still had a boss, and then my boss reported to the Board. So but I would always tell people, if you have a problem with somebody, you just say Karen said, right, I had no problem taking that heat, that flack that concerns that complaint, whatever it was, and I still don’t, but the difference is, you’re right. I don’t have anyone I can’t Oh, can you just blame? Can you take it up with it? That guy’s No, it’s me. Yeah. Clearly said, Oh, yeah. So I gotta stick by that. And it’s a very challenging environment, like you said, when you work with family? Because, you know, you’re not their boss. I mean, I might, kind of but I’m really not, we’re partners more than that. So yeah, you know, I will have to say, though, on the flip side of that, you can’t just fire them?

Barb 32:12
No, I know, you have to work it out. Exactly. You have to figure out, again, how you fit because you each bring strengths. And whatever the the two of you are missing, you have to fill in the gaps with either other family members, people, you hire, whatever that looks like,

Karen 32:33
right. And that is probably the single biggest growth. I used to think I had a problem communicating with people after not doing my job, I was like, not I’m, I’m the boss, I hire people who are better at what they do. Like, right. So if I hire a marketing person, yes, because I don’t, I’m not doing it. I’m not micromanaging you. I trust that you’re an expert in your field. And you’re going to do the marketing. Exactly. Right. Yeah.

Karen 32:58
But when you then you have your own business. And you and you know, you can’t afford I can’t afford to hire all. Oh, all the people that I had working for me at my job. Totally. Yep. So now I become that person who has made, you know, I’ve made so many mistakes. But it’s, and this really sounds cliche, that Oh, but you learn from your mistakes. Well, no, but you really do. Mm hmm. Right. Yeah. But they’re still failures, and they still hurt. Yeah. And they can still be embarrassing, and they can still make people mad at you.

Barb 33:34
Right? It can make customers mad. Yeah, it’s financial losses for the business, suddenly, they have a very different impact when it’s your business. Right. And that’s, I think, one of the interesting dynamics when you have spouses, because one person might make the decision, but you’re both going to feel it.

Barb 33:52
And suddenly, that’s the family bank account, not just, you know, one person’s check or the other person’s check. Right? And so, like, how do you guys manage that? How are you? How do you make these decisions? Understanding that, you know, there’s always a risk of failure? Maybe you develop a new game? Maybe you do something with your online course, whatever it might be? How do you manage those failures?

Karen 34:19
You know, I, honestly I would I, I’m going to go back to what I see as the future and the possibilities, that is that I’ll just create that right. And I strongly believe and I’m not saying this to be like an egomaniac or pat myself on the back.

Karen 34:37
But I strongly believe that a number of the failures have occurred when I have stepped down or away because of so when I come up against that wall of Karen, you’re so extra oh my god, that’ll never happen. That’s not even possible. Right. So then I stepped back and I let myself believe that Yep. And that typically has been the time of failure. Ah, yeah. Okay.

Karen 35:05
So if I, it, you know, in retrospect, because obviously I analyze every day, okay, what, what? Not every day, but you know how this year how are we doing six months, whatever. What did we do last year with this? What did we do last year with that? And I’m always looking for that opportunity and I’m always creating the path to get there. Yeah.

Karen 35:29
And when I haven’t listened to my true self, when I haven’t listened to my heart and my mind, and my gut, yeah, that’s where shit goes off the rails. Okay. Yeah, like. But I also have to be cognizant of the fact that not everyone’s going to agree with me. My way is not the only way. Yep.

Karen 35:56
And I have to respect that of other people. But I think we’ve, it’s a balance, it really is. It’s about balance. It’s about me, like, like, I learned now, that if I see something, and I’m like, Oh, that’s a great idea. I’m gonna just I’m gonna, I’m not going to tell you guys like, I’m just gonna go put a few feelers in the other direction. Yeah, right. Yeah. So. So I need to, it’s I don’t know, it’s like, it’s trial and error it is. And, um, but I’ve learned that I’ve learned when to push forward, when to maintain status quo, and when to actually retreat a little bit. Yeah.

Karen 36:37
But I also know that for my own sense of purpose, and value and authenticity, that I’m not a retreat person, so I’m going to move forward, but I’m just going to maybe go a different way and not to upset the egg cart, if that makes sense.

Barb 36:52
No, that makes perfect sense. So have you by going through that process? Do you find that you’ve really learned what every one style is? And what I mean by that is, when we make decisions in our business, my expertise lies in the marketing area.

Barb 37:11
And so I will often say we need to do this, we need to that Dion doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what we do. If he trusts me that if I say we need to do x, then we go and do that. His style is much different. He will stop, pause, contemplate research, and just think about it for a period of time that drives me batty. I’m looking to just make a decision and let’s go. Yeah, right. Yeah. So have you seen that in your family where everybody’s got their own style? And they need to get there in their own time?

Karen 37:51
Um, oh, definitely. We, you know, we wouldn’t be where we were if, if, if we had all just decided that we couldn’t, that we just hate each other’s guts, and we couldn’t work together.

Karen 38:03
And, you know, we would have just folded everything right. So that in and of itself is a testament to how we can work together and how we can share the common vision. But like I said, it’s not all happy go lucky roses. And, you know, yeah, off the moms like it’s, it’s hard work, man. It is hard.

Karen 38:30
And it doesn’t even matter about family like everyone brings their own special unique value to our our, our collective many businesses. I am not a sugaring practitioner. I am not a sugaring educator. Yep. I can’t do any of that. But my business is based on teaching other people to sugar so that I can sell more products.

Barb 38:52
Right? Exactly right. And that’s so when you look at everything you’re doing from a business perspective, the engraving and cannonball, like that all kind of fits together. And then sugaring and your daughter and educating that kind of fits together. So in some ways, you’ve created businesses that, you know, we’ll continue to support you know, that second and third generation whether they decide to, you know, keep the cannonball piece once your husband’s not able to do the engraving, that’s a whole different thing. But, you know, you’ve got two very distinct like, there’s, there’s no crossover between these two businesses.

Karen 39:32
No, other than we’re all related. And again, going, you know, back to the time, I was very passionate about sugaring, just from a confidence perspective, and that’s what I wanted to share. And then on the laser engraving side, that was just what my husband thought, hey, that would be cool.

Karen 39:52
And we got an opportunity to get some training paid for. So you know, we kind of fell into them almost accidentally. Exactly. but it’s the ability to see that opportunity and see what the potential could be. I actually, this year, one of my I know, it’s also cliche. One of my New Year’s resolutions was, I want to work with a coach, ah, because I don’t when I do get extra, or when I do if my daughter listens to this, she’s gonna be like, Karen, I don’t sound like that.

Barb 40:30
Oh, God, don’t worry anybody to my podcast, he knows me, they’re

Karen 40:34
gonna share the crap out of this thing. But anyway, uh, so I decided, You know what, I need someone. And it’s a good point you make about when you’re in a work environment, and you have a boss and the name of whatever, but you have someone also lifting you up. Right.

Karen 40:54
And so that is also where like, again, the lowest of lows in this entrepreneurial journey and personal journey over the last number of years. Yep. The highest of highs, but the lowest of lows, like I’ve never experienced before in my life. Yeah. And, um, who’s there? I don’t have a boss, like, who’s there to come to me and say, You’re a valued member of our team. And we need you and you are this and this and this. And this. And I don’t really need that kind of coddling. But honestly, when you’re late, like I said, when you’re lying on the bathroom floor curled up in the fetal position, crying, it would be nice to have someone come in and say, You’re doing a good job.

Barb 41:34
Yep, come on. And you know what, you know, what I would add to that is, it’s one thing to have a supervisor say that to you and support you. But it’s another thing to have a team to have a team around you so that when you fall down, they can pick up the pieces.

Barb 41:50
Because when you were in hospital, it stopped. Yeah, when you do something else, it stops. And so that’s, that’s one of the most, I don’t know, frustrating, challenging, stimulating even aspects of owning a business. What if I stop? What if I can’t? Right? And if your whole business hinges on you, a huge risk and a huge pressure on each of us? Very much. Yeah. So have you guys had that conversation? Because that brings a whole new level of failure, possibly, you know, to the

Karen 42:31
Yeah, for sure. I mean, succession planning is always top of mind, especially after I got sick, like, didn’t really know the outcome, prognosis, whatever. I have always been interesting enough, my whole life has been very, very much I’ve been involved in professional personal development type of things. Never had a coach, though, this is a new experience for me.

Karen 42:51
So I’m very excited. But I’m just, you know, on leadership development, business planning, I’ve been a member of tech Canada for a little while. That was an amazing experience. And the one thing that has always stuck out to me in all of the years that I have listened and learned and, you know, researched and done all that, a fellow said once. Leadership plus leverage equals legacy. And l three, leadership plus leverage equals legacy. Yep.

Karen 43:27
And for that, I almost could not start this business or go into this business. Just for myself. It had to be about even if I had to bring everyone with me. Yeah. Because exactly for the reason you just said. It. I’m not doing this. So it just ends one day, you know? Yep. I’m doing it. And you know what? It might morph. But what if we sell Campbell? What if we sell it to Hasbro? Oh, do you know anything about Hasbro? Can you just call them up and be like, Oh my God, my girlfriend invented this.

Barb 44:05
Yeah, exactly. You have to see this! Yep.

Karen 44:09
You know, but like, so there’s always that kind of stuff. But it’s always about, everyone’s got to come along for the ride. And if you’re not alone for the ride, then you know, then you’re probably then you’re not. I love you. You’re part of my family, but you just maybe don’t. This isn’t your gig.

Karen 44:26
But the sugaring was always about my daughter, the laser engraving was always about my husband and the CanBall was always about the whole family. Yeah, so yeah. But um and leveraging who you know, resources who do you know who can help you with this?

Karen 44:44
Look at what SREDA had done with what I had done in the SREDA last year, not just me. There were a number of entrepreneurs involved in both projects, the love local box and the Go money pitch competition. You know, Have you ever seen a video of the winning if you ever look at it, so it’s neat.

Karen 45:04
So I, the guy that won first place, was so cute. And I was like, so there’s mean him standing. And I felt like I was at the Miss America Pageant. Like, where did he announce the runner up and then you just automatically know that the other person won. And then he got first place, but I got second place, but I grabbed him and hugged him and I was just like, oh my god, I’m screaming and crying. And he’s like, he was like a little well, he has a PhD first of all, he’s a very brilliant man. Yeah. Possibly from you know, maybe like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or something. And I could just look at his face when I saw the video. I’m just like, he’s looking at me going okay, crazy white lady like,

Barb 45:46
and I’m just thinking to myself, hey, wait a second. That means I won, come you’re celebrating he’s thinking you’re confused.

Karen 45:53
Yes. So you know, again, ups and downs, craziness, this and that. Just probably enough to make you puke. Somedays. But then enough to make you like, you know, want to just pop champagne and light fireworks, like, honest to God, it has been the craziest ride of my life this last like almost 10 years. And okay, bring. What’s What’s tomorrow? Let’s do it tomorrow. Now, let’s do it again. No,

Barb 46:21
good. Okay, so believe it or not, we’re out of time for our back to back episode we’ve already done to 25 minute episodes. And so here’s what I do think is you need to tell everyone who’s listening, how they find all of your businesses if they want to get a mortgage triggering if they want to understand CanBall. So give us the coordinates and tell us how to find all these businesses?

Karen 46:43
You bet. So for sugaring, we do have sugaring practitioners all over Western Canada. So the best way to look that up is to go to learntosugar.ca. Okay, that’s our website for that, that also has all the details about education and our educators. And you can see some contact information there. And you can call me from wherever you live. And I will find you someone.

Karen 47:06
And then for CanBall, we have an online store, you can take a look at that. And think that videos on there of me crushing the winner of the SREDA thing, and that is canball.ca. Okay, and some pretty cool information there.

Karen 47:22
And, yeah, we have a laser engraving business, but we don’t really advertise. But if you need a coffee mug made, or somehow something else, you can just reach out to me through one of those other platforms, and we’ll come up with something real fun.

Barb 47:34
Okay, that sounds awesome. So canball.ca, you can actually order online and you guys ship it throughout North America or through Canada,

Karen 47:42
Canada.

Barb 47:43
Okay. So shipping throughout, and shipping is just added to the price, right on your website. And having played the game. So I told Karen the story. We got the game for our birthday. And we left it sitting on our counter. So you can imagine we’re a family of four, and we’ve got this kitchen island. And we just left it sitting there as we played. And so we would walk by in the morning when we’re having breakfast and we’d play an inning.

Barb 48:11
And we come back at lunch and we play another inning and we’d sit down at the table for a while and we play a couple innings. So it was like this process that happened over a number of days. And my son got totally ticked off because I was kicking his ass and he didn’t like that. Nobody, all those years of baseball apparently pay off even though I’m just rolling a dice, right? So it’s just that’s how the dice rolls.

Karen 48:35
It’s super fun, super simple. It is. They do get real mad when they lose, but then just play another game. Exactly.

Barb 48:43
And the beauty was like, it is just the game of baseball. And it’s so hard to wrap your head around. It’s like your tea, but it’s baseball and it really is. So anyway, here’s my testimonial. Totally, totally love the game. So I’m just gonna quickly wrap this up and I’ll get you to hang on for two seconds.

Barb 49:06
So if you would like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or leave comments on our Facebook page in advance of the show.

Barb 49:17
I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and #Googlegirl. Remember you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Wilson Acton

Ep. 94 Wilson Acton

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Wilson is a builder. A people builder. An organization builder and a community builder.

In addition to being a serial entrepreneur and 4x tech start-up founder, Wilson has an extensive background in mergers & acquisitions, capital markets, venture building and multi-generational experience in agriculture.

Wilson is also actively involved in the community through his roles on multiple advisory and community boards, including KidSport Calgary and Alberta IoT (Internet of Things).

Catch up with Wilson at:
📧 wilson.acton@alco72.com

LI @wilsonacton

Tw @wjacton

Transcript

Barb 0:00
Okay, so Wilson Acton is our guest today. And Wilson is a builder. He’s a people builder, an organization builder and a community builder. He’s been a serial entrepreneur and a four time tech startup founder. So like many of us that are here today, Wilson has many things on the go.

Barb 0:21
There’s one commonality between all of the different folks that we’ve had in our programs and that we tend to work with. We all have multiple pieces on the go. So it’s actually kind of funny to watch. Wilson has an extensive background in mergers and acquisitions. And Wilson, if I remember correctly, you’re actually a lawyer by trade, correct?

Wilson 0:42
That’s correct.

Barb 0:43
Yeah. That’s kind of what I remembered. So you worked in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets venture building, and somewhere along the way, discovered that being an entrepreneur was much more exciting.

Barb 0:55
He’s very involved in the community in Kidsport, in Calgary, and Alberta’s Internet of Things, which he’ll definitely have to tell us about. So without further ado, Wilson, please introduce yourself and just kind of give us a little bit of story. How do you go from being a lawyer wearing a suit to mergers and acquisitions to tech? Like, how the heck did that happen?

Wilson 1:18
Yeah, it’s, uh, you know, much like life. It’s a winding path, you know, pleased to be here. They are me. On today. Yeah, it’s, you know, I actually recall, when I was departing my law practice so I was a, you know, a partner with one of the biggest law firms in the in the country had been there for just well, actually two weeks shy of a decade and had done all these transactions across a host of industries from infrastructure, oil, and gas, satellites, even car dealerships, you know, you kind of you name it. We bought and sold and financed it.

Wilson 1:56
And, I was having a good conversation with a friend of mine, who was also a client, and it was gonna be a tough conversation to say, you know, hey, I know, we’ve worked together all these years, but I’m out, I’m leaving you. So you know, best of luck. And, and he said, Well, what took you so long? As somebody? I said, What are you talking about?

Wilson 2:14
And he said, Well, the only reason we like working with you, we’re not the only reason but what the main reason was, you are an entrepreneur that just happened to be sitting in the lawyer’s chair, and you brought the legal tools to it.

Wilson 2:24
And so, you know, a lot of people say, Wow, what an about shift to leave law, you know, big law, and in the end get into, you know, the entrepreneurial game, and the reality was, it was actually kind of big law. That was the odd thing out in the middle, you know, before law.

Wilson 2:42
I was farming in the Moose Jaw area, my first degrees in agriculture from the U of S. You know, been, you know, grew up there and been in agriculture there on both sides of my family for I’m actually the fifth generation and through that, you know, start spun up a number of entrepreneurial ventures, including, while I was in law school, I started a construction company in Calgary, so you mentioned, you know, multiple things on the go, I was swinging a hammer in Calgary, you know, nights and between classes, you know, going to law school, at least most of the time, and still trying to farm in Moose Jaw. So we were covering some ground.

Barb 3:21
Oh, no kidding. Holy. That’s a Yeah, that’s having a ton on the go.

Wilson 3:26
So sucker for punishment.

Barb 3:28
So okay, so you sit down with this client? And you’re like, Yeah, we’re, I’m leaving law. Did you totally leave behind? Or did you still do some practice? Are you just totally like, where did you go? When did you leave law?

Wilson 3:44
So yeah, when I, when I left law, stepped into the, you know, first tech company, you know, in a, in a rapid series of four, and that business by the name of whipcord, it was in the data center space.

Wilson 3:56
And so I actually joined, what were clients, they had actually a business that helped them exit a business, probably about two years earlier, and they were getting to restart. And so, you know, they were focused on data centers and, you know, a really interesting market. There’s the huge kind of Google’s telco, the telecoms and Amazons of the world.

Wilson 4:20
But like, in a lot of things, there’s kind of this space in the middle, you know, the small players and and, you know, is there an opportunity to own a pretty interesting asset there and grow it and scale it and so that the goal behind that business originally, actually was to be very acquisition focused.

Wilson 4:38
So buy a lot of data centers, think of it like a real estate play where, you know, people just keep buying more real estate and rent it out. It’s the same kind of premise, just our real estate was digital. Yeah. And so, you know, you never really leave the last stuff behind, you know, as part of what I’m saying is you bring those tools you bring those skills, you know, Whether it’s trying to buy and sell businesses, trying to build them, you know, form, you know, big commercial relationships.

Wilson 5:06
Law is these, you know, tech law practice around m&a, you know, is really kind of strategy negotiation, you know, how do you kind of put these pieces together? How can we create wins. And so, you know, very transferable into the, into the business sphere, and, and that, you know, first business in the datacenter space, which we’ve since accident, you know, merged into another business, but that’s now called whipcord. Edge, you know, very, very interesting on where it’s going, you know, following that same directory, continuing to acquire, and, you know, and then you just kind of keep building up on, on those, those tools.

Barb 5:45
So we were first introduced to you by someone else who met with us, Scott Love, and he has a business here in Western Canada as well. So Scott refers to you as a business coach, then you’re a lawyer, then you’ve worked in these tech startups. So, like, helped me understand how these pieces come together? Where is that nucleus, that merger of all of these different pieces that you have on the go?

Wilson 6:17
You know, it’s for sure. And it’s funny, I never thought of myself as a business coach. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been referred to as one until I heard you and Scott call me that.

Wilson 6:29
So, you know, it caused some internal reflection of what I am now? You know, I don’t, I don’t know. But, you know, I think that maybe to step back, like, the coaching of the people is, in my opinion, and doesn’t mean I’m right.

Wilson 6:45
You know, my view is, in technology businesses in particular, the people are so crucial to the likelihood of success, the ability of that business to grow, that you can’t help a business grow, you can’t think about growing a business and doing all these great things, if you’re not thinking about the people, and you know, a very kind of seasoned investor was investing in one of the companies I was helping.

Wilson 7:14
And this is, you know, a little while ago, and after the deal was all done, you know, we were having a conversation of, you know, why did you come into why did you come into this technology story, which was very bleeding edge, and, but also very early stage earlier than they normally would, and came in with, with great conviction, like, within, you know, a few hours of conversation, they were in for big bucks. And, and I remember him saying to me, like, Listen, you know, he’d come out of the mining world, and he said, these smells have come out of mining.

Wilson 7:48
And, and made lots of money over the years, including in real estate, and all sorts of things. And there’s a mantra in real estate, which applies to mining, right?

Wilson 7:55
In the, in the value of the business, it’s all about location, location, location, okay? In technology, the value of the business is all about people, people, people.

Wilson 8:06
And, and to me, that was, you know, I joke, people call them aha moments, I call them like, a frying pan in the face, because it just kind of gets you like Looney Tunes. And these things hit and they resonate. And, that was one of those moments. And so, you know, because it really kind of tied a bunch of pieces together. And so, you know, what do I do?

Wilson 8:24
You know, I help b2b technology businesses grow, you know, with strategy and and, you know, how are we going to execute? What do we think about growth? And depending on the stage, there’s kind of different aspects to it. You know, also think through kind of the investment strategies, how does that work? And then ultimately, I bring my m&a tools to the table as well.

Wilson 8:45
And so whether that’s time to exit, or maybe they’re looking to buy something themselves, or whoever that looks, but, you know, twisted through all of that, is people, companies don’t buy each other people, you know, a company’s an employee, well, they just use another company’s by people.

Barb 9:05
Right? You’re buying a company because of the intellectual knowledge that’s there. Very seldom are we buying a company because of the, you know, the automations, or the machinery and stuff like that.

Wilson 9:16
Well, even if you are, you know, it’s a person who’s made the decision to do that the same as, even in b2b sales. Companies don’t buy stuff. People inside companies buy stuff.

Barb 9:29
Yeah, exactly. People do business with people. Yeah, for sure. Okay, so, um, you know, if I, if I look at most of the folks that we work with, they’re somewhere in that growth cycle between the middle and growing, so very few are right at ground level. In order to grow Absolutely.

Barb 9:54
You either need people or you need to partner with people and in fact, that’s one of the things early lessons that I learned in my business, is as soon as I started partnering with people, then I really started to see growth, because instead of me trying to do everything for the folks that I was working with, it was like, hey, I’ll do a you do B. And look, there’s more for all of us.

Barb 10:18
So that partnership concept absolutely took off. So how does or how do you coach? Or how do you phrase, you know, finding those right people growing those people? And, you know, maybe taking, you know, that early moldable employee and helping them become a really high performer? What would you say to me, to create those high performers?

Wilson 10:46
Well, you know, I think there’s a couple of key ingredients, and, you know, to pull kind of that high performer out of somebody out, you know, I think it’s in everybody.

Wilson 10:56
And, and, you know, I came through the world of sport. I did a lot in sport over the years and can continue to do so you mentioned, you know, on the board of Kidsport. And so that’s something that’s close to my heart. And, and the reason I raised that is, if you step back and think about, like, what was that very, the best sports team that you were ever on.

Wilson 11:18
And it doesn’t have to be high caliber, it could have just been like, the neighborhood kids who got around and played shinny everyday after school, but it was just so much fun and great for whatever reason, right? Well, if you kind of stop and you think about it, and you really start to dissect it, I believe that there’s some key elements.

Wilson 11:35
And there’s a there’s a, I’d have to find it. But there’s a book about this. So I’m looking around to see if I can see the title on my bookshelf, but it’s, it’s basically, you know, to help develop people, they have to feel safe, right?

Wilson 11:50
Like, they have to be willing, you have to be willing to push and expand and fail. And that’s okay. You know, you need to have a shared fate within the team. Like, if, if everybody comes together and gets it done, but, you know, really, Barb’s the only one who gets the win out of it, well, it kind of waters is up, waters it out, right, like the soccer team, they all win, or they all lose, like half of them don’t win and half lose.

Wilson 12:15
So there’s an element of that. And like, you can even keep boiling this down to like functional units within the organization, like the four people that are working on this project, you know, they’re in it together, they win or lose together, and you can transfer that into compensation and feedback, all sorts of stuff. Yeah.

Wilson 12:31
And so you know, that kind of safety coupled with that shared fate, I think, is a really important thing. And, and, you know, a lot of people are talking about diversity these days. And, and I, you know, I want to be really careful with the word because it’s now been loaded up with so much stuff. I’m not talking about kind of genetic diversity, or kind of physical diversity.

Wilson 12:56
I’m talking about thought diversity. And so, you know, the safety allows the thought diversity in the room, you could all look exactly the same. But if you’ve got different backgrounds, you know, I grew up farming outside of Moose Jaw, and somebody else know is from whatever an oil and gas family in Calgary and someone else is from, you know, North a PA or whatever, like, everyone’s bringing a different set of experiences in Yeah, so they’re going to look at the problem differently.

Wilson 13:21
And, and no one has the market cornered on good ideas. And so you don’t know how you’re going to solve this problem. But you’re all working at it together, you’ve got a shared fate, you know, you kind of you know, a bunch of these pieces, you know, it’s safe, it’s okay to be wrong.

Wilson 13:38
And there’s an element of, you know, for all of that to happen, also communications a huge part and, and I don’t just mean communicating, yeah. But the openness and the safety in it.

Wilson 13:48
And so, this book, I, you know, I wish I could remember the name, it’s like innovating teamwork or something like that. It is, you know, it talks a lot about pairing meaning, you know, there’s a meeting the group meets, and then afterwards, you know, back in the before times, to have you would walk off by yourself on the way back to your desks and talk well, you know, what its own so say, Well, you know, Susie said this or, like, you guy stop all that, because that murders trust, right? Like, yeah, if you’re talking about if the two of you were talking about Susie, behind her back, and, you know, dollars for donuts, that you’re talking with two other people about each other, right, and it just kills the trust system.

Wilson 14:28
And so that shared fate and that trust also is, you know, voicing both the constructive people and, you know, sharing the successes as a group, right? On the soccer team if the goal is doing poorly, right, like the whole team standard error at the timeout, while the coach has kind of a pep talk with the goalie. Yeah, it’s nothing hidden. Exactly. It’s gonna pull it all out in the open because it’s about building trust. If you don’t have trust in a similar customer relationship you don’t trust, shared faith You know, and safety, then you’re not going to get very far.

Barb 15:04
You know what’s really interesting to me, and you’ve made me think about some of my own sports analogies, without telling you a great big long story, because I’ll bore everyone. I coached my kids baseball team one year, and we won the championship.

Barb 15:16
Now, I don’t take any of the credit for that. I totally credit the kids. But one of the things I saw when we came down to that final game was the two teams showed up. And you know, let’s say there were 17 kids on a team at that point in time, our 17 showed up, we had probably got 34 parents like we were there in droves.

Barb 15:35
The other team purposely showed up with 10 kids, their 10 best players showed up, right. And we saw that I was dumbfounded. As a coach, I was absolutely dumbfounded to see that. Another coach would do that. In fact, I was ticked right off so I went to my parents, and I said, What do you want to do? Like they have stacked their team to win tonight.

Barb 16:02
And they’re like, Nope, we’re playing everybody. And we won, right, it totally, totally paid off. You could see how it hits me, right, until you see how some people step up to the plate. It’s the big moment, right, and that’s what matters.

Barb 16:19
So being able to recognize that in your people, this is who you know, steps up to the plate when we’re down to the time crunch. This is who, you know, we can count on them to be consistent. And so knowing your team is just so important, right? Being able to identify those unique, I don’t know, nuances, right? That we all have.

Barb 16:43
So I think whatever the book is called but but there’s something to be said there for, you know, John’s a guy who’s gonna go up to bat and he’s gonna bring us home every time and, you know, Peters, the guy who’s gonna show up and, you know, pitch or cat or whatever, right, but being able to identify that.

Barb 17:02
So when you’re looking at a tech company, and and, you know, for the most part, our audience is local business. So when I look at that tech environment, that local business environment, you’re, you don’t necessarily know everybody’s nuances, maybe you’re not on site with them. Maybe your team is virtual.

Barb 17:21
So how have you found in your own experience that you’ve been able to, to get to what each person’s strength is? Because I agree with you, everybody can be that home run hitter? How do you find that moment? Right? How do you find that in a person?

Wilson 17:39
Part of it is them finding it? Right, like, you know, I was a, you know, when I was in operational roles, and now you know, helping, you know, operating teams, I can’t be there all the time. You know, stuff going on, I’ve got meetings, you know, my kids get sick, so you get stuck doing that, you know, whatever it is.

Wilson 18:02
And so, you know, it’s not really about me finding what it is, and you it’s, it’s about you. And so, you know, I need to create the environment, kind of think of it as I need to give you all the tools for you to succeed, you know, people use the bus analogy, right, we got to put all the people on the bus, the, you know, the tools, you can describe it however you want.

Wilson 18:22
But the point is, you are the only one that can ultimately drive that bus or pick up those tools. And so, you need to kind of find that meaning, which is why I think actually the safety element, and the trust element is so important, because it’s the other people on the team that can help, you know, can help Andrew find his spot.

Wilson 18:45
And, and, and, Andrew might be, you know, stop restocking the back warehouse, right, and like, Park tech company versus traditional whatever, like Andrew might be, you know, sweeping floors and stocking shelves. And, and that’s, you know, that’s fantastic, right?

Wilson 19:01
And, because if the shelves aren’t stocked, and the floors aren’t clean, then, you know, Suzanne, who’s the top salesperson who sells $4 million dollars a year of whatever’s on those shelves, you know, can’t can’t get the product out the door, it doesn’t look right for the customer, right? Like it all comes together.

Wilson 19:21
And so, you know, having that pride and leaning in and going for it. And then, you know, ultimately you have to, you have to communicate, you have to talk to them, you have to spend time, you know, with with people, you know, do you take the time to and to truly listen, not, oh, let’s have a one week 30 minute check in and you just update me on all the things you’re working on. Like no, no. That’s not getting anywhere. Like Exactly.

Wilson 19:44
Tell me what’s going on in your life is your dog sick, like what’s, you know, moms had a heart attack and you’re not talking about it, but it’s weighing on your mind, like all these types of things.

Wilson 19:53
And so, you know, there’s an element of that and that was building the bond. That’s what builds trust and that’s what brings it in And then you can continue to work up from there.

Wilson 20:01
And the last point that I’d like to clarify is, I’m also not a, I’m not a big believer, although it may not sound this way. I’m not a big believer just throwing people at the problem.

Wilson 20:10
Like, I also don’t think that’s the solution of, hey, we want we’ve got a bunch of work to do, we’ll just go hire a bunch of people. Okay. That’s probably not right. In fact, if you know, more likely, it’s how do we use what we have better? How do we be really intentional about where we hire? You know, maybe part of this is, you know, you know, there’s other tools we can get, there’s other technology we can get? You know, we don’t need a second Suzanne to grow revenues, perhaps we just need to focus Suzanne, exactly where she is just like dynamite. Yeah, and let’s, and let’s peel some of the other stuff out of her out of her plate. And that’s how we can actually, you know, enable her to be better.

Barb 20:50
Yeah. Yeah. And that makes very good sense to me. Definitely. So some of the other companies that you’re working with, you know, we talked to Scott already, do, you have a handful of companies that you’re helping through this growth phase. And if someone were to knock on your door and say, you know, look, Wilson, we want to grow this thing and just blow the doors off. What does that look like? How, how would you help someone with me, like me? Who has this, you know, digital marketing course? And like, hey, you know, we want a million people through this course. Which I don’t? Yeah, which I do not. But if the question were there,

Wilson 21:26
yeah. First off, yeah, there’s, there’s a stack of companies that I work with, and they’re not all, you know, I’m, I’m careful to say that I work with b2b technology companies, not b2b software companies. Because not all are in the software space.

Wilson 21:42
So, you know, Scott over it started, or they’re very much in the software space, you know, awesome to me, you know, I know, they’re kind of making waves in the Saskatchewan market and becoming a bit of a household. If you haven’t heard of them, look them up. There’s another group that I’m working with by the name of MG live, they’re also in the soccer space. Totally different from Store to Door, or they’re involved in the video live streaming of amateur sports.

Barb 22:07
So that’s Tanner’s company, isn’t it?

Wilson 22:09
Yeah. Tanner. And, and the group, they’re so you know, really interesting technology, really interesting kind of value proposition, they’re really excited about that one. And so helping them, you know, it’s even earlier stages than Store to Door are kind of near the end.

Wilson 22:25
You know, there’s, there’s another company in the ag space that I’m working with, that is almost on the other end of that spectrum, you know, double digit million revenue every year, they’re kind of doing their thing. It’s a technology business, but very much a, you know, industrial bricks and mortar kind of, you know, process sort of thing.

Wilson 22:45
And, and that’s kind of their question is how do we take this to the next level? Like we’ve done, you know, phenomenal job getting here, kind of now? What? Yeah. And, and so you kind of see them across the whole landscape.

Wilson 22:56
You know, I’ve got another one who’s currently going through an m&a discussion, meaning, do we just sell this thing? And what does that look like? And sometimes that happens, because someone calls and says, I love what you’re doing, I want to buy it. And sometimes that happens, because, again, we’ve been at it for 20 years, we’ve had a great run, you know, it’s time to move on to the next thing, we think it’s time to kind of crystallize value for shareholders.

Wilson 23:19
And so I’ll get involved with that into the spectrum. So kind of it depends on the business. But ultimately, the common thread is, you know, how can I add value?

Wilson 23:29
And, and, you know, you could have built, let’s use the kind of industrial process company for a minute, you know, they’ve done an awesome job getting there. Well, if I can help them add value on going to that next level, I’m happy to do so. But maybe I can’t, and that’s okay.

Wilson 23:47
And, and, you know, so be it, you know, what do you need me for if you’re already doing an awesome job, or maybe I can add value, because hey, we can look at this, you know, we can unlock other ways of raising capital, we can, you know, expand international markets, we can kind of do all this other stuff. And so, it comes back to when someone comes in.

Wilson 24:05
You know, I always dig in, and, and sometimes it annoys people because I dig in for quite a while. On the why, okay, right. Like, why are you calling? Right? Yeah. Why do you want to in your example, why do you want to get a million people through your digital marketing? You know, of course, what and what are you trying to achieve? Why are you doing that? And really drive into that?

Wilson 24:26
Because I think often, either people get in love with the idea of, well, I want to be a billion dollar company. That’s good. But why? Like, you know, you’re already making 2 million bucks a year, and you’re not working that hard. And you go skating with the kids every Thursday, like, do you really want a billion dollar company? Because you’re not gonna be skating with kids every Thursday? Like so? Think about it? Yeah.

Wilson 24:48
So maybe you do, right, like because maybe the quest is not like this is my bucket list item. It’s like okay, well, let’s go for it. But really understanding the root of why What are you trying to achieve? Because if we’re kind of chasing the wrong thing, and it’s not aligned, one point or another, the wheels are gonna come off. It’s just, it’s just human nature.

Barb 25:10
Exactly. So I’m curious if people are choosing between growth or sales, which percentage goes which direction?

Wilson 25:20
I guess I’m not sure I understand it. So meaning, what do you mean between growth or sales? Yeah. So

Barb 25:24
If I’m going to sell the company, or if I’m going to grow the company, Oh, I see the percentage of people who choose each.

Wilson 25:31
Oh, you know, I’d say in this environment, right now the majority are going for growth, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. And I think that’s ultimately where most people start, like, even if they want to sell Yeah, well, let’s grow it. So I can sell it for more. Like, that’s kind of where it starts. Yeah.

Wilson 25:49
And, and I’ve often found that that journey of let’s grow it. Yeah. So I can sell it more often to help bring clarity to the Okay, well, why, like, ultimately, if you’re just tired, and you need to go off and do something else? And, and, you know, whatever, Dad has cancer, and you want to spend time with dad? Yeah, well, well, putting your foot on the gas and trying to grow the game for three years, isn’t going to achieve your goal, right? Because you need to go spend time with dad.

Barb
And that’s it. We’re out of time already. Thank you for joining us today. Wilson. It was a pleasure to meet you. Learn a little bit about your business and learn a little bit about your approach to building people, building organizations, things like that.

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Abovethefold.ca.

Just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our show just on our Facebook page. I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and #Googlegirl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Carla Browne

Ep. 93 Carla Browne | Real Property Management

By Secret LifeNo Comments

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Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions

Episode 9 with Dr. Gina Grandy from Hill | Levene Schools of Business

Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

Episode 3 with John Hopkins and Amanda Baker, Regina Chamber of Commerce

Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

Are you ready to meet a real-life mogul? A real estate mogul!

This lady knows the ins and outs of real estate, investment, ownership and the rental market from having spent the last 20 years in the day-to-day, hands-on world. But that’s not where her story ends – it’s where it all began!

Not only is she one of the top 100 influencers in the future of Canadian real estate.  She has vision; she has passion. And she excels as a leader who strives to see others succeed.

Carla Browne is the President of Real Property Management Canada, a Canadian company providing rental, building & tenant management and marketing services.

Catch up with Real Property Management:
Facebook @RPMProfessionals
Instagram @RPMProfessionals
LinkedIn – @carlabrowne
Website – saskpropertymanagement.com

Transcript

Barb 0:00
Our guest today is our first ever mogul to join the show. A real estate mogul. This lady knows the ins and outs of real estate investment, ownership and the rental market from having spent the last 20 years or more in the day to day hands on world. But that’s not where her story and it’s actually where it all began.

Barb 0:20
This lady is the whole package boys, but she is taken. Not only is she one of Canada’s top 100 influencers in the future of Canadian real estate, she has vision, she has passion, and she excels as a leader who strives to see others succeed.

Barb 0:37
Carla Browne is the president of real property management Canada, a Canadian company providing rental building and tenant tenant management and marketing services. I truly can’t do this description justice. So without further ado, welcome, Carla.

Carla 0:54
Thank you so much for that Barb. Wow, I hope I can live up to all of that.

Barb 0:59
You’ve already exceeded it.

Carla 1:02
When people introduce me and they talk about like the 20 some years because then people are like already envisioning how old is this woman?

Barb 1:10
Oh, no experience, ages just a number. But But explain this to me. So how does one business? Do all of this? Like that’s a broad product and service offering. So how does this actually work? Tell us a little bit about the company and then of course, yourself.

Carla 1:29
Okay, so real property management, the company I work with the franchisor right now Real Property Management Canada as their president, I also run a franchise in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Carla 1:41
And that’s where I started with the company as I started out in the franchise world and continue to run that organization. So when I say I know the business inside and out, I definitely live and breathe it every day.

Carla 1:54
And Real Property Management is the only franchise property management company in Canada, we specialize in residential single family rentals. And it is an industry that is just growing beyond belief right now across Canada, it’s it’s a super exciting time to be in any kind of real estate investment, property management, rental housing provider, any anything that’s linked to that, which is there’s so many different ways that that could actually go when you think about all the things that we need in our day to day.

Carla 2:27
And what we do is we attract individuals who are looking for business opportunities, or maybe already own a property management company, or in that real estate space that see the synergy between the companies that are looking for a way to really get into this industry, but want to alleviate some of the pain points because we have figured out a lot of foolproof bulletproof processes and systems.

Carla 2:51
And through the use of the technology and a lot of that proven process and marketing can make life much easier on the day to day. So when people think about property management, often often Barb they think about fixing fixing leaks and toilets and going to doors and collecting rent. Yeah. And that’s not what we do at all. We are here to proactively manage the asset for the investor and create a very safe environment for any resident or tenant who’s coming on coming on board to live with us.

Barb 3:23
Wow. Okay, so you’re talking about single family homes? Ballpark, how many doors across Canada? Would you have?

Carla 3:31
You’re just right now, with we have 17 offices across Canada. We’re fairly we’re fairly new. I call us an emerging franchise right now and in the Canadian Space, and we have about 3500 houses or units, townhouses, condos that we’re that we’re managing right now.

Barb 3:48
Yep, that’s huge. And so what do you predict the growth will be like in the next, I don’t know, three to five years. What are you expecting?

Carla 3:55
I expect that our office base this year will go from about 17 active we have more than that. But seven what I call 17 really active getting going businesses to we will double that this year. And in three years, we will be about 100 offices across Canada.

Barb 4:13
Nice. And are you coast to coast right now? Are you still sort of reaching those borders?

Carla 4:18
We are very present in BC, Alberta. We have the office in Saskatchewan, of course we have one office in Quebec, and we have a few offices in Ontario. So we are pretty much coast to close. But we have lots of room for expansion, lots of territories that are available for people to come into.

Barb 4:34
Okay. So let me see if I can kind of paint a picture. So if I’m, maybe I even own a couple of homes that I rent out. And so I do property management as part of my service and maybe I helped a couple of other folks at the local level with their homes. Someone would reach out to you thinking Hmm, maybe I can expand my property map management portfolio, not necessarily do I need to own more homes, it’s expanding that portfolio from a service perspective to, as you say, the investor who actually owns the house, then Correct?

Carla 5:15
Correct. And we do see that often where someone just really has a love for that for this industry. So they themselves are an investor. But as as an investor, as soon as you start getting a number of properties under your portfolio, it becomes, it becomes a full time job to do this properly, the tenants now tenant, the tenant profile has changed a lot over the years, their expectations have really changed.

Carla 5:38
Technology has blown up this space, like it has in any industry, I’m sure from any business owner that you speak to these days, and COVID only accelerated that. So we by using technology, it doesn’t make sense for an individual investor to invest in these pieces of technology themselves from a financial perspective.

Carla 5:56
So they can use the power that we have of that buy down from a franchise and are putting this into their business lives. And then that start to expand that if they want to make a business model out of it.

Carla 6:08
So that’s one thing. And then the other thing I just want to touch on that you touched on where if somebody is doing this for themselves and wants to like expand to maybe do it for friends and family, multiple provinces in Canada are regulated.

Carla 6:21
And it is you actually have to hold a property management license through the provincial regulator in order to be collecting rent from others other than your own personal property. And I won’t get into it province by province, because it’s the there are some differences across the board. But that is the norm in most provinces.

Carla 6:39
And people don’t understand that. So lots of times, it’s like, I’ll just help my buddy out. And I’ll do all the rent collection and all of this, but it is actually a very regulated industry, which is good, because it adds a level of professionalism, which I’m really, really passionate about making sure that the profession stays professional. Yes.

Barb 6:57
You know, that was good. Yeah. And that’s one of the things that really caught my eye in your profile. Because when I think back to our professional history, you have always always been on the top end of the profession. And what I mean by that is, like, there was no slouch on your end, in terms of you always made it so professional. And as an industry, it’s not always what we think of when we think about the rental market, the real estate industry, some of those sorts of things. So turn your passion head on for me for a few minutes. And, and tell me, you know, how are you seeing that changing? What are you doing personally or professionally to start to raise that that bar?

Carla 7:44
Yeah, well, I’ll even talk just from like my franchise, my franchise here in Saskatchewan. It’s something that I talk about, with my team all the time, and that and how we present ourselves to anyone who’s contacting our office.

Carla 7:59
And it’s that level of professionalism and professionalism. It doesn’t, I guess it doesn’t take much to be professional, which is kind of mind blowing, because people look at it like you have to do so much. It’s like caring about your client, respecting who they are. Communication is probably the biggest part of it is that, you know, we have a rule in our office that every email and phone call is responded to within so many hours, even if we don’t have an answer, it’s all these little things that we bring to the table.

Carla 8:27
And so and then by putting in a lot of processes and systems, we now create what I call a very consistent client experience. So you know what to expect from us. And that’s what we’re trying to gain by by putting these in all of these offices across Canada. So by automating a lot of the workflows, you can achieve that so that you can have a very consistent experience, because what we do know in Canada is that people don’t always invest in their backyard.

Carla 8:52
So you might be in Ontario, looking at Saskatchewan or Alberta. So maybe you’ve bought a property in Ontario, and you’re using real property management, now you’ve bought a property in Saskatchewan and you’re using real property management, well, we want that we want you to feel the same no matter where you go.

Carla 9:08
And the way you do that is by creating a consistent client experience and trying to professionalize the industry. So we’re extremely transparent, our owners know exactly what we’re doing, why we’re charging it, what they’re going to see on their statement every month. There’s there’s nothing to hide here. And it really shouldn’t be people are willing to pay for a service if they see the value.

Carla 9:28
And they can see that we’re actually helping them through this, this investment. And as you know, my I entered into my professional life on the real estate side. So I’ve always believed in what the real estate asset can do for people. And it is the one investment that will never go away and it will always grow. I mean, there’s ups and downs like anything, but it’s not usually as volatile as any other type of investment that you make.

Barb 9:51
Right, exactly. So when you talk about the client experience, do you see yourself serving the investor and the tenant or is it primarily the investor? And the investor continues to serve the tenant? How does that work?

Carla 10:07
Yeah, that’s a really good question because people do get caught up in that. And this is probably one very unique part of our industry is that we have this two sets of clients, the investor is always our first client.

Carla 10:17
That is who we’re here to protect, that we want to increase the value of their asset and protect it. Those are the you know, the two main things that we’re doing. But we do that by finding high quality tenants. And in order to find high quality tenants, you also have to provide a very high level of service to them as well. So they matter.

Carla 10:36
We want to make sure that houses are clean, that they’re safe, that we listened to their concerns that when they have maintenance requests, we’re responding to them, it doesn’t mean we give them everything they want. But we make sure that we are responding and listening to them.

Carla 10:49
So it is definitely to clients investor is where I mean, they’re the ones essentially that are paying us it’s kind of funny to say it that way. But they’re the ones that get us the business, right. So you need the product from the investor in order to service the tenant. But we feel our tenants are very, very important to us. And we do want to create an exceptional client experience for them.

Barb 11:10
So do all of the tenants even know who owns the building they’re living in or do many of them just know you.

Carla 11:18
Most of them just know us. And the reason being is that an investor will come to us because they want to be hands off. They were very, I used to say this in the real estate world. So this will be this will be something you heard in my century 21 world is that we’re full service.

Carla 11:32
So we take the property from the investor, we do the takeover inspection, we do all of the advertising, we do the move in the move out the showing the vetting of the tenants, any any requests that come in, coming in through our portal. So an owner is literally hands off, going into their portal once a month, seeing what their Owner Statement look like getting any communications from us, and the money is just deposited into their bank account to simplify the process, I guess. So and from a tenant experience as well, they like that, because they like to know that there is this middle person that’s kind of looking out for them.

Carla 12:08
So when they do have something that’s going wrong, they’re not relying on possibly an investor who doesn’t want to spend any money, they can rely on us to help mitigate that and help to try to make sure that their their, you know, their concerns are being looked after. Okay.

Barb 12:23
And that makes much more sense to me. Because when I think about an investment, whether it’s my, our RSP, right, I put the money in, I’m going to manage my statement. But it’s but I’m not doing anything on a day to day basis. So this makes rental home ownership or rental property ownership, almost that exact same experience where I make the initial purchase, I’m still paying off that mortgage over time, but it’s being managed in the same way that a financial planner would manage that investment for me.

Carla 12:57
Yeah, and the space has changed so much. So it’s really interesting that you brought that up, because I do think that the time is coming where owning real estate asset or a part of a real estate asset is going to be just as common as buying an RSP that you are going to be able to buy into an asset group.

Carla 13:17
So we see this, you know, with REITs, and bigger corporations, but I think just anyone, an individual person will be able to say, You know what, I have $100 or $500. And I’d like to put it into a real estate asset, there’s going to be a way that they can do that.

Carla 13:33
And those assets could be owned by a number of people. So not just what you’re thinking is a regular joint venture, and they will be able to then contract companies like ours, to do the management for them and help provide the statements for those owners. So I see, I see, when I look at technology and what it’s doing this space, I really think opportunities are endless.

Barb 13:53
Okay, yeah, that sounds very good. Okay, so let’s kind of continue down that vein. How does someone even get started? As an investor, I already have a mortgage, how does someone get that second park property? Get the financing for it? Like, can you give us any of that kind of background?

Carla 14:15
Sure. Well, because our company is part of the Charlwood Pacific Group. The Charlwood Pacific Group is a family owned business business based out of Vancouver that owns the rights to real property management, Centum Financial Services, and Century 21.

Carla 14:30
So we have what I call the the Circle of Success. So by talking to any one of us on any of those brands, we can start that investor cycle for you and start to get you to understand what you need to know.

Carla 14:44
Now if you’re just if you’re just like, just thinking about it and you want to know like, what does rental prices look like? How do I cash flow? If that’s your strategy, I want to buy something as a long term investment. I want to create some kind of a legacy for my family. Those are conversations you could have with you could start with at the property management level so that we can kind of guide you and what might you might want to look at.

Carla 15:06
There’s several organizations in Canada that people can also go to, for a lot of resources. We are a trusted partner with the with REIN, which is the Real Estate Investment Network of Canada. And so we’ve worked very closely with them, they are, they are investors from all across Canada, I don’t even I think their membership is up to like 2500 people. And they have some very regular educational sessions and sessions where people can kind of meet up, what we know is Investors love to hang out with investors.

Carla 15:36
So like anything, so you can kind of learn and, and glean from them. So but I would say first call us. Um, but if you’re really serious about getting into it, then it’s something to definitely look at getting some more education so that you understand what you’re buying, because a lot of people think that they just buy a property, getting 1400 or $1,500 for rent, and now I’m, it’s, I’m laughing, there’s so much more that actually goes into it.

Barb 15:58
Well, and you know, it’s interesting, when you and I started talking about having this podcast, that’s exactly what went through my mind is a rental property sounds good on paper, but the time and effort and work that has to go into it to maintain it sort of a client do the repairs, all of a sudden, as you said, it starts to feel like a second job. And you know, you’ve got kids and you’ve got activities.

Barb 16:23
And you know, I kind of get why sometimes there’s a breakdown in communication between owner and tenant, because the tenant wants something fixed today, you’re at work, then you’ve got hockey for the kids until you can never get there. So I can absolutely see how the service that you guys offer helps bridge that gap. Can you think and I’m asking you this question kind of off the top of my head. So I might catch you off guard a little bit. But you have to have heard and seen some pretty crazy stories in your years. So what stories sprung to mind right away when I asked that question, because I can see a pretty good smile on your face.

Carla 17:01
Yeah, well, first of all, I think I’m a highly I’m definitely a feeler on the spectrum if on the personality spectrum, so I do definitely feel for people. And I have seen a lot of crazy things come our way. I’ve seen a lot of tears from investors coming in.

Carla 17:21
And a lot of that really stems around. They’ve gotten themselves into a situation and rented to somebody who they thought sounded really nice. That ended up not, not not working out not paying rent damaging the property, they don’t know how to get people out. And it becomes super emotional, because this is this.

Carla 17:42
This is this property that you bought, as as you recall from from our past life together. We were involved in what is the biggest transaction people make a house purchase. Exactly. And so this property lots of times becomes very, it’s very emotional. And I always say I can remove the emotion and just worry about protecting.

Carla 18:03
So to me, this is a it’s a business transaction. I’m protecting the investor. And I can go through with trying to help them through the eviction, but lots of tears, lots of damaged properties. And you see those ones on the news.

Carla 18:16
And I always think that could have been avoided like Don’t make it sound like every renter is a bad renter. People often in Canada now rent because they choose to rent this is not because they have to rent, we know that more than 30% of the Canadians across across this whole country right now are renters. That means one in every three houses is an investment property. Yes.

Carla 18:39
And it’s and people make this choice. So I think renters get lumped into this bad bucket as well as, you know, the landlords that don’t do any work on properties also get lumped in. And it’s really not like that, that’s the minority. But probably the the stories that I that I see that are there, I’m smiling, but it’s heartbreaking, because it’s very, very emotional for some of them when they walk into my office and the tears are streaming and they don’t know what to do. And you want to help them and sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.

Barb 19:11
Yeah, well, and you know what, you made a really good point. They’re the stories that make the news, the stories that make social media, those are the stories that didn’t work out. And it’s unfortunate that there are a percentage of them, but all of the other stories that are working that have long term tenants that you know have gone smoothly.

Barb 19:31
They don’t get any press because where’s the story in that? Right and so yeah, it’s like anything else it’s you know, the the stuff that sells and gets attention is the stuff that maybe isn’t the greatest of news and I don’t know how we ever became hardwired that way as a society but we certainly do tune into it.

Carla 19:52
Yeah, no, probably never changed. It’s not exciting to tell somebody how smooth things went. That’s there’s there’s no sensational ism in there. So Yeah, people don’t necessarily want to listen to it.

Carla 20:01
But it is it’s usually very a very smooth, smooth transaction. And I mean, our office runs into the the odd one as well, we had, I’ll tell you a short story, we had a tenant not too long ago that was telling us she was in a lower level of one of our properties.

Carla 20:17
And we had tenants up above, and she was telling us how, you know, they had she, they broke into her network, and that they were doing all of this and it was like, I was like, mind blown, what she was telling me and I, I was actually, I totally bought into it, I would have to say, I would say my staff didn’t buy into it, but I think I got a bit emotional and, and my, my need to help people was there.

Carla 20:39
So I really wanted to put her into another property. And my staff was like, no, like, we need to work on a different solution. And I think you probably know what that solution is that I’m, I’m talking about. So even though I feel our vetting and our screening is very, very rigid, the odd one does get through, but we deal with it right away. We just don’t let it go on and on. And on. As soon as something seems too good to be true. Mm hmm. Yeah, it is.

Barb 21:04
Yeah, too good to be true, or something is off. Right. So you’re a feeler, I don’t know what I am. I think that’s intuition. Because I get that gut sensation. Or I’m like, you something just feels off here. And right away, then my guard will be up. And you know, I just look at everything twice before I make any kind of decision. Sometimes it’s worked for me sometimes not so much.

Carla 21:28
Yeah, it’s so true. I always say when investors will ask how we vet our tenants, and I always say, Well, you know, we want to we want obviously be screened for income, what’s their income we screen for past history.

Carla 21:42
So that would be landlords or character references, things like that, we screen for credit, because we need to know, we need to know these things. Not if someone has bad credit, isn’t necessarily a bad renter. But we know that those history, things are usually going to repeat themselves.

Carla 21:57
And there’s, and we want to make sure it’s just not a slight bruising of the credit, I like to say, but then there’s that gut check. So when my property manager meets them, and like you’re saying the intuition, or the gut check tells us otherwise, it’s actually more important than the other three things we just read on paper. Yes.

Carla 22:14
And you have to, and you learn that with experience. So I’m lucky that I have staff that’s been with us for a number of years, that can help us through that, and we understand if it’s, if it’s just a story, or not, yeah, the pieces of the paper kind of backup the stories what I always say.

Barb 22:30
Exactly, the process you just described is just like hiring an employee. Everything can look fantastic on paper, but then you have the conversation, or you dig a little deeper, and all of a sudden, there’s nothing underneath. Right? And I think in a lot of cases, you know, we don’t dig deep enough, because we’re busy. We’ve got a million things going on, we look at a LinkedIn profile. Right, and then we don’t go any further. So the process that you’ve developed is probably similar to, you know, when you do bring on franchisees and things like that.

Carla 23:02
Totally. Yeah. Yeah. I think by nature, we want we want maybe it’s a Saskatchewan thing. We want to trust people, right? We want we want to see the good in people, or at least I certainly do. Yeah. So so yeah.

Barb 23:15
No, that’s awesome. So just really quickly, we’re almost at a time I can’t believe how quickly the conversations go. But give us a quick lowdown like, how did you get where you are, Carla? Because if I’m a young real estate agent, or if I bought my first property, like you’ve really climbed the ranks, how what advice would you share with somebody, you know, thinking about the industry or thinking about investing?

Carla 23:41
Yeah, I would say, if you have a vision, don’t be scared to try to get it. We had as you know, a top office in the century 21 system, but I always saw this need, where I lived for property management for quality professional property management. And I had this I had a vision. And that’s really all I decided that I was going to step forth and do so know who you are and what you want. And don’t be scared to step out of that box and go get it.

Barb 24:08
Yep, that’s awesome. That is absolutely fantastic. Just before we do wrap up, how can people either learn more about you? Or if they are a home, not home owner, a rental property owner? How do they find you? How do they contact you?

Carla 24:25
Sure, you can find me on any social media platform. LinkedIn is probably the best one to find me out. So you can find me just simply Carla Browne with an E a color with an E. And Real Property Management also is on every platform as well. That’s an easy way to find us are simply going to realpropertymgt.ca our website. If you are interested in franchise opportunities, there is a franchise button there that you can simply click and we’d be happy to send you some information and get in contact that way.

Barb 24:56
Okay, well that sounds fantastic. Carla, thank you so much for your Today, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you. You know, one of the things that’s always interested me is that idea of a rental property. But I’ve never gone down that path because of the thought that it could be, you know, a second, third or fourth job. And so now you’ve definitely given me some good food for thought and my poor husband will be Oh, God now what have you done!

Carla 25:21
Good, good. Well, I’m, and I’d be happy to have those conversations with you, too. You know that so much for having me on the show Barb. It was great to reconnect with you. And hopefully, hopefully the listeners learned a little bit about investing in real estate.

Barb 25:35
Yes, I’m certainly did. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live, or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Abovethefold.ca. And just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our show just on our Facebook page.

Barb 25:56
So I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and #GoogleGirl. Remember you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

Ep. 92 Donna Ziegler | South Sask Community Foundation

By Secret LifeNo Comments

Donna Ziegler leads the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation team as its Executive Director.

Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Google Podcasts Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Breaker  Overcast.fm  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Pocket Casts  Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Radio Public Spotify   Secret Life of Entrepreneurs on Anchor

Episode Guide

Episode #105 with Louise Yates & Jennifer Berg

Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

Episode #103 with Annika Mang from TrailCollectiv

Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

Episode #99 with Faith Alyssa Peter from Stressed Out Mamas

Episode #98 with Leah Mazur from Carousel Creative

Episode #97 with Carmen Johanson and Kimberley Baldwin from PayTrail

Episode #96 with Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search

Episode #95 with Karen Kobussen from CanBall Games

Episode #94 with Wilson Acton

Episode #93 with Carla Browne from Real Property Management Canada

Episode #92 with Donna Ziegler from South Sask Community Foundation

Episode #91 with Scott Love from Store to Door Canada

Episode #90 with Mark Heise from Rebellion Brewing

Episode #89 with Brendan McGuire from Affinity Credit Union

Episode #88 with Tyler Clark form Prairie Benefits Solutions

Episode #87 with Craig Reed from Virtus Group

Episode #86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Episode #85 with Bill Thorn form Regina Humane Society

Episode #84 with John Vuong from Local SEO Search

Episode #83 with Linda Boryski from Saskatoon PhysioYoga

Episode #82 with Tracey Poffenroth Prato from RAD Talk with Tracey

Episode #81 with Janet Kotylak, YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode #80 Your Ultimate Guide to Get Found with Local SEO

Episode #79 with Jennifer Fox from Auto Electric Service

Episode #78 with Janet Akre and Susan Robertson from River & Rail ArtVenture

Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

Episode #76 with Julie Naismith from SubThreshold Training

Episode #75 with Josh Haugerud from Regina Folk Festival

Episode #74 with Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote from Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Episode #73 with Cory Furman from Furman IP

Episode #72 with Tracy Archer from Knight Archer Insurance

Episode #71 with Tim Nickel from Fifth Business Consulting

Episode #70 with Taylor Weisgerber from Spartan Mechanical

Episode #69 with Lisa McIntyre from The Optical Shoppe

Episode #68 with Santa Claus

Episode #67 with Kait Waugh from Fat Plant Farm

Episode #66 with Natasha Vandenhurk from Three Farmers Foods

Episode #65 with Dianne Beauchamp from PuroClean Regina

Episode #64 with Adele Buettner from AgriBiz Communications

Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

Episode #61 with Heather Day from C.S. Day Transport & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

Episode #50 with Erin Vaughan from Kinetic Auto Service

Episode #49 with Lisa Brice from Brice Photography

Episode #48 with Colleen Strauch from Luther College at U of R

Episode #47 with Doug Pattison from Pattison Health

Episode #46 with Erika Gayle from Erika Gayle Photography

Episode #45 with Carly Patryluk from House of Paws Pet Boutique

Episode #44 with Erin Caleval from Erin & Associates Insurance

Episode #43 Part #2 with Nikki Jacquin from Nikki's Portraits of Childhood

Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

Episode #42 with Nadene Joy from Nadene Joy

Episode #41 with Richard Arockiasamy and Sanjana Kumta from GreenMache

Episode #40 with Jodi Barrett, CEO of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada

Episode #39 with Erin Kinder from Kinder Surprises Antiques

Episode #38 with Tanner Goetz from Munz Media

Episode #37 with Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

Episode #36 with Wendy Turner-Larsen from Turner Larsen Consulting

Episode #35 with Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership

Episode #34 with Janci Templeman from Walker Wakefield

Episode #33 with Denise Anderson, Author, Divorce in a Small Town

Episode #32 with Anne Gibbons from Gibbons Travel Consulting

Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

Episode 21 with Jeff Kinash from Peregrine Farm

Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

Episode 17 with Terrie Dunand from REMAX Crown Real Estate

Episode 16 with Kim Zacaruk from Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective

Episode 15 with Luke Rossmo from Luke Rossmo Music and Gareth Bawden from Bawdenmedia.com

Episode 14 with Kristen Hill from Kristen’s Cultures

Episode 13 with Cyndie Knorr from Cynergy Coaching

Episode 12 with Paul Burch from EchoLotto Inc.

Episode 11 with Rea Faber from Amaranth Designs

Episode 10 with Brandi Good from BLG Business Solutions