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.


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.”


Who am I writing this for?

Usually I write about business leaders that I had a coffee with to learn more about them and why they started their business.  I started this because I thought “What better way to get in front of business successful business leaders than to learn about them.”  My problem is, I am not a blogger.  Today I am going to be a bit different.  I recently went to a blogging workshop by Bonnie Sainsbury.

Who Is Bonnie Sainsbury?

Bonnie is the founder and online marketing consultant at Left Brain Media.  Bonnie is  a passionate advocate of social media and internet marketing for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses.

I decided tonight to write this post because Bonnie gave us a bunch of really useful tools to help with our blog writing.  I thought that it would be good to share some of these with you.

Why blog when I have Facebook?

Many people don’t know that you don’t own the content that you put up on social media sights.  Facebook and Twitter, and in some cases, can take down your sight.  If you are passionate about what you are talking about or possibly controversial, the only way to truly keep your content is to blog.

Who am I writing this for?

A lot of people write their blog promoting their business.  Bonnie told us “When you write a blog, you are writing for your customes, not about you.”  what does this mean?  Bonnie gave an example of a landscaper.  Instead of him telling people how they built a fence.  Instead tell your readers how to build the fence.  some of those people will try it on their own but some will take the landscaper as an authority and hire them to do the work.

Bonnie gave us many more tips that I will be incorporating into my blogs.  

I haven’t yet interviewed Bonnie for my blog but I will be soon.

Please let me know what you think!

It was all about building relationships, credibility and trust

Patrick van Ponder - The Big Picture Coach

Patrick van Ponder – The Big Picture Coach

I met Patrick von Pander, The Big Picture Coach, 5 years ago.  I was going to the Self Employment Program at Douglas College and he was our networking instructor.  He taught us to leave our comfort when it came to networking. 

One of the questions that I asked Patrick was can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking to your business when you were just starting up?

“Well how do we define social networking?” he asked “If it’s live, then I would say it would be foundational for me.  If it was online, when I started my own business, it had little or no role to play.”  When Patrick first started his coaching business, there really wasn’t any online “Social Media”.  I asked him if he did most of his networking face to face.  “You bet yah.” he replied.  “I was attending two, three, four networking events a week, 50 weeks a year.  And I was building my data base like my mentor taught me to.  It was all about building relationships, credibility and trust.”

Probably the most valuable piece of networking advice I ever gotten was from Patrick.  On the first day of class he stood up at the front of the class and asked us how many people we knew.  Think about it for a second.  How many people do you know?  How many people have you met in your life? 

Then he said the one sentence that I live by when I go to a networking event.

“I know that you know a lot of people but I know a lot of people that you don’t know.” 

When I go to a networking event representing Anything on a Clock, I am not there to sell to the people that are at the event clocks.  I am there to meet people and see who in my network could possibly benefit from the product or service the person that I am talking to is promoting.

Now I would like to challenge you.  Take one online connection that you have and take it offline.  Go have a coffee with someone that you met through social media and see how you could do business together. 

Week 18 – Doug Anderson

Doug Anderson and his Family at Fenway Park in Boston

I met Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent about 4 years ago at a networking workshop.  My company, Anything on a Clock donated a custom clock as a door prize and he won it.  That was definitely a win – win situation.  He was able to preserve a special moment in time on a clock and I gained a fantastic mentor and a friend for life.

Who is Doug Anderson

“What made you into the man you are today?” I asked him.  “About 50 excruciating years of experience” Doug  joked.  “I think part of it was an upbringing that got me familiar with the 50’s and 60’s as a child, and then try to bring that Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver style to small business owners in the next century.”

Doug’s father was in the foreign service.  Doug was born in Edmonton Alberta.  When he was just 6 months old his father was posted to San Paulo Brazil.  “My first language was actually Portuguese.  My upbringing was mostly from outside Canada.  That also added to my perspective of being a person of the world, rather than just a Canadian.”   Doug spent many years in the USA.  He also lived in Australia for 7 years, 3 years in Manila and 4 years in Brazil.  “It gave me the chance to see a lot of the world and it’s given me a healthy perspective of how lucky we are to live in Vancouver.

Tell me a bit about DA Top Talent

“I started DA Top Talent 11 years ago to help people in career transition.  After 2 years of working part time, I started working full time at it.” Doug explained.  That focus soon shifted from executives looking for a career change into small business advice.  Doug helps small businesses focus on the principles of their businesses.  He coaches them on their leadership, management, finance, marketing and sales.  

I am not one of his clients but I have had the opportunity to sit down with him on a number of occasions.  He is what he preaches.  He has an open door policy whereas he encourages those who work with him to call or shoot him an email whenever they need his advice.

But how do you measure success?

Heinz and Eric Hasselmann

Heinz and Eric Hasselmann of Century Pacific Foundry

During the first 5 months of my blog, I have talked with a lot of business owners.  Many of them are quite successful.  Some of them you will read about in this blog.  However, a lot of them are struggling and that is the reason that I am writing this blog…  To help inspire small business owners.

One of the recurring themes that I hear when talking to the struggling business owner is “the economy is killing me” or “the competition is too stiff” or…..  You get the drift.  There is always an excuse for not succeeding.

My first interview was with Heinz Hasselmann.  A German immigrant who started Century Pacific Foundry in 1968.  He had a bit of experience, very little money and didn’t speak very much English.

In the beginning…

In 1968, Century Pacific Foundry had just 10 employees.  The owner Heinz would do sales calls in the morning, and then work in the foundry, shovelling sand, or whatever he needed to do.

Jump forward to 1991, when his son Eric joined the company, they had 30 – 35 employees and on a good day they were producing less than 13 000 pounds of metal castings per day, and all by hand.

Now they are at 70 employees and are averaging 40 000 pounds of metal per day and can pour 56 different types of metal.

Through out this project, I will be interviewing successful owners of many companies.  But how do you measure success?  Heinz Hasselmann is an immigrant from Germany who came to Canada with almost nothing in 1952.  He struggled with the perception of being a German in Canada in 1952.  In a time where Canada wasn’t as culturally diverse as it is today.  And yes, he struggled financially at the beginning.  With the help of a few suppliers and having ideal customers at the beginning, Heinz was able to grow Century Pacific Foundry into one of the main foundries in North America.  Thanks to his stubborn German pride, Heinz Hasselmann is the definition of success.

What are your obstacles and how do you plan to eliminate them?

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