Who is Sarah Millin?

Last weekend I tried to open my outlook and I got an error message telling me that there was a problem.  I know how to use the programs that I use all the time but that is about all I know about computers.  As chance has it, I was meeting with Sarah Millin of Make It Work Computer Solutions the next day.  Fortunately for me I was able to bring her my computer so that she could fix it for me.  Unfortunately for her, I wasn’t able to email her the questions.

The first thing I asked her was “Who is Sarah Millin?”

This question caught her a bit off guard.  “I don’t know; my family is insane.” Sarah joked.  “I like fixing things.  My psychologist says there is a reason for that.”  Her grandfather on her mother’s side was a shop engineer “so there’s something in the family about fixing things.”

Sarah’s mother was born in Canada and her father was born in England during the war.  Sarah was born in Vancouver but moved to Toronto when she was a little girl.  She did her schooling in Toronto and Ottawa before moving back to Vancouver to go to university.  I asked her what she took at UBC.  “Latin and Greek” she replied with a chuckle.  I said jokingly, “and that ties into computers really well.”  “Yes and no” Sarah answered “Because I read a lot of Plato and Plato is all about logic and everything about computers is zeros and ones.  It’s all logic.”

I asked her what got her interested into computers.  “I used to be a Commercial Credit Investigator at the Credit Bureau.  I was there for about 8 years, and I wasn’t really happy there.  I was thinking about going back to school and getting training in computers.  We had a computer technician there who was just horrible.  I thought to myself that I could do it so much better.  Then we got bought out by a multi-national and we all got let go and E.I. paid me to retrain.  That’s how I got into I.T.”

Sarah started her business in 1999.  “Literally the minute I got out of I.T. school, I had clients.  In 1999, demand was really high.”  I asked her what operating systems she worked on back then.  “The course I was taking was teaching us about windows 3.11, windows 95, NT4.  Windows 98 had just come out.  So I was literally supporting everything from the DOS based stuff to the present.  Windows 2000 came out shortly after that.  Then that horrible thing, windows millennium came out. “I told her that I don’t even remember that version.  She told me “it was a good one to forget.  They took the worst features of windows 98 and the worst features of windows 2000 and shoved them together.”

Now I started my post by letting you know that I had a bit of a computer problem.  Sarah took my computer with her after our meeting and I got it back the next day.  The bugs were all fixed and my computer is now almost as fast as when I first got it.  Thank you Sarah.

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Brenda Louie of InspirAction Coaching

This week I had the great pleasure to meet with yet another entrepreneur but this time, there was a twist.  Brenda Louie of InspirAction Coaching has not been in business for the usual 5 years that I look for.  She does however have a story to tell that I thought was too important to pass up.

I asked Brenda to tell me about who she is.  “Well, I am a woman that has come from many experiences in life starting from childhood, and those experiences formed me into the woman that I am today.  Who I am is somebody who connects well with others at a more intimate level.  I stand for removing negative patterns of being.”

Brenda has 2 siblings.  Her brother is 11 months older than her and her half sister is 16 years younger.  Brenda is from a split home.  “My parents split when I was 5 years old.  My father was really abusive to my mother.  I don’t think he realized it but he was an alcoholic.  He was mentally and emotionally abusive to my mother.  I didn’t put that together in my life until later on when I was married.  With my husband I found out that the cycle of abuse followed me.  I realized that I married my father.”

Brenda left her husband after 18 years after having 3 beautiful daughters with him.  “I knew even before I married him that I wouldn’t be with him forever but there was patterning there that I was used to.”

Brenda went on and told me all the details of her decision making that I feel might be too private to tell here.   She did however end off by saying that “I didn’t shed any more tears after that day.  I cried for years up until the day that I left.  He made me feel that I would always be this single mom with 3 kids.  No man will ever love me.  No man would ever want me.  I was unfit.  And my life is so beautiful today.”

Because of her life experiences, she decided to start a coaching business targeting called InspirAction Coaching.  “The reason that that was so relevant is where I come from in my life.  I needed to find something that inspired me.  If I can inspire others into taking action and to move them into reaching more happiness or fulfillment  I believe that’s what my life purpose is.”

Brenda is starting a 6 week workshop “Geared for women who are motivated in moving past old ways of being.”  For more information, click here.

Shawn Bearman – The Businesswoman – Part 2

In my last post I introduced you to managing editor of Tidbits of Vancouver Newspaper and business coach, Shawn Bearman.

Seeing as this blog is about how business owners started their business we concentrated the bulk of this interview on her coaching business.  I am still getting to know Shawn but what I do know about her is that she is a tough, no holds barred coach who gets results.

I asked Shawn how she started her business.

“My coaching business I started in 1995.  Inside of coaching there is a whole world of  things that people just don’t know, and if they knew, they wouldn’t get stopped any more.  I did some really good work there but I put that business on hold to go and work for Landmark Education.”  Shawn put her business “on hold” for a year because this was such a great opportunity.  This year quickly turned into 7 where she got trained by some of the best coaches in the world.  “I was committed to staying there until I could go anywhere, do anything and work with anybody and be effective and powerful.”

After Shawn left Landmark, she restarted her business and she “created a whole new set of distinctions called ‘Reclaim Your Power’ to give people a plan of what to do when they are disempowered or in the blahs or when they are just not doing what they know they should be doing.”  When she restarted her business, Shawn realized that she wasn’t going to be able to run her business as she had in the past “so I created a distinction called the Dharma Added Effect where for every client that comes to us and pays cash, we allow ourselves one client who pays in hours which we then allocate into the community. So 50% of our clients pay in hours instead of with money.  There was one man who broke his leg and our Dharma clients went to his house and walked his animals for 2 months.”

Shawn Bearman is not only the founder and CEO of Radical Ideas Coaching; she also is the Managing Editor of Tidbits of Vancouver and one of the Community Partners with Rapid Time Networks (Burnaby).  “Just to tell you how Tidbits started, it’s a very interesting thing.  My business partner at Tidbits was one of my business clients when I started Radical Ideas and he brought me Tidbits to look at as a possible venture for him.  Clients were often asking me to review things about their business.  Because, as a business coach, it’s just one of the things that I do.  When we met (to discuss Tidbits) he said that the only way that I’ll take this on is if you become my partner.”

Thanks you Shawn for letting us get to know you.

Getting to know Shawn Bearman – Part 1

Shawn Bearman from Tidbits of Vancouver and Radical Ideas Coaching

Almost a year ago, I was contacted by Shawn Bearman, the owner of Tidbits of Vancouver about advertising my business, Anything on a Clock in her “good news” newspaper.  Not only is my advertisement in there every couple weeks but they also did a story about how I started my business.  Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Shawn to find out more about her and her businesses. 

Shawn was born in Victoria BC.  When she was about 4 years old she moved to White Rock where she grew up.  “I lived in Hawaii as a teenager.  I went to Maui Highschool for a couple years. And then my mom sent me back home to Canada to finish my education, because the education system is better here.”

After highschool Shawn went to Langara College and studied journalism.  “I really wanted to become a journalist.  But then realized I couldn’t step on the amount of people that you had to step on in order to be successful.  Journalism is a really cut throat kind of business.”

Shawn went to SFU and decided that she wanted to be a teacher.  “Because what’s the next best way to make a difference?  It’s to be with kids.”  Throughout university Shawn worked at the YMCA running an out of school care centre program.  But then she realized that she “didn’t want to work in the school system.  There were people who were principals who I really couldn’t stand behind and respect for their values.”  So she decided to take another look at what she wanted to do.

“When I finished university I continued working with kids until I was working with the most behavioural disordered kids that you can.  Which was violent adolescent male sex offenders.  I worked with them until I was injured too many times on the job where the doctor was at the stage that he wasn’t going to sign the medical release forms.”

After that Shawn went to a self employment type of program and she realized that the woman running the course was really making a difference in people’s lives so she decided that that was the direction that she wanted to take… but she couldn’t afford the schooling.  While talking about her new passion, a woman from the PEO Sisterhood heard Shawn talk about what she wanted to do.  This organization is women helping women “and they funded my return to school and my program.”

After she got her certification Shawn worked for a company called Community Fisheries Development Organization counselling out of work fishermen.  They expanded to forestry workers, older workers, ect.  “I started coaching people on a regular basis and I never left it because it is so rewarding.  Why would I do anything else.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

What can you do differently…?

The last week of the summer, I continued with my RTN Tour doing Vendor Presentations wherever I could.  My 6 year old son, Nathan, has really been enjoying going to the meetings with me.  Now you may be asking, why would my 6 year old son be going to my networking meetings.  Well, he has been helping me with my vendor presentations.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, he has been singing O’Canada as I “set up”.  Then I tell the story about the first time he ever sang in public, ending off by showing everyone the clock that I made using the photo of the first time that he ever sang.

Last Friday, I tried something really cool.  I downloaded an app called BFF.  It is Broadcast For Friends, powered by uStream.  I had my wife Lucie record my presentation at the Buzz Cafe in Vancouver.  BFF broadcast live on my Facebook page.  This is a really cool tool because not only can I share my presentation with some of my friends who wanted to be there but couldn’t, but it gives me the opportunity to view my presentation whenever I want.

I thought that this was a great way to watch my presentation and critique it.  What I didn’t think about was how great of a marketing tool this could be for RTN.  I had a couple of my friends watch it.  Friends who I invited out to RTN but were not interested.  Friends who are now intrigued and would like to come and check it out.

What can you do a bit differently that can make a difference?

Friday August 31, 2012 vendor presentation at the Buzz Cafe

If a picture says 1000 words……

O'Canada clock

O’Canada clock

This week I had the great opportunity to do a vendor presentation at the North Vancouver Rapid Time Networks meeting.  The last one that I did I talked about our recent trip to Seattle to watch the Blue Jays play.  This week we decided that, seeing as my son was off school, I would have him help me.

I took Nathan and my wife out to the meeting.  Nobody knew what was to follow.  All that they knew was that Lucie wanted to check out RTN and Nathan wasn’t at school so he was a “Tag Along”.

When it came to my time to present, Nathan came to the front of the room with me.  I introduced him and said that as I set up, he would entertain the crowd.  Nathan started to sing O’Canada.  To my surprise and really to Nathan’s surprise, everybody in the room stood up and sang along.  When the anthem was over, I explained that Nathan started singing in public when he was just 4 1/2 years old.  I told them that I would never forget the first time he sang that anthem, or what he was wearing, or how he was holding the mic (which is said with tongue in cheek because he didn’t hold the mic the first couple times singing.)

I said “Because every time I walk into my office, I see this clock on my wall.  At Anything on a Clock we like to preserve memories ” as I held up the clock that was make out of a photo that was taken on Nathan singing the anthem.

I then continued my presentation showing a business application on a clock and then answered a few questions.  As I walked back to my seat, George Moen said “you are going to be a great salesman.”  I thought to myself, I wasn’t selling anything, I was telling a story but that was one of the best compliments that I think I could ever get from someone who is such an amazing salesman as George is.

What marketing works best for you?

Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent

Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent

Back in June, I introduced you to Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent.  One of the things that I know about Doug is that he is a connector.  Recently he hosted a number of his Rapid Time Networks team at a Vancouver Canadians game.  We sat with him and his son so that Nathan would have someone to talk to.  As it ended up, we mostly sat with his son because Doug was jumping all over the stands connecting people.

When we met I asked him what form of marketing he did when he started DA Top Talent.

He told me that it was mainly referrals and word of mouth.  He put up a web site, got business cards, attended networking events and became members of various organizations “but a lot of it didn’t work and a lot of it was a lot of time spent without any return.”  Doesn’t this sound familiar?  “I’ve been lucky and blesses that I’ve had some great people to help along the way.  In return I usually get an unsolicited referral from most of my customers, and that has allowed me to have a very busy and successful last 10 years.”

I know Doug does a fair bit of networking.  I asked him if that worked for him.  “In some cases but I think, gone are the days of networking and just showing up to one event per week because that was the industry event.  Now there are literally 3000 Meetup groups that you can attend.  I think it has even become more difficult to get traction in a networking environment.  Especially when you are going to half a dozen different ones each week.  My advice would be to find 2 or 3 that you really like and go regularly without the expectations of getting a referral.  And to go there, make an impact and help the group with their achievements.  Then you’ll find the referrals will flow after.”

Please tell my your networking philosophy.

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