Frequently Asked Questions

What is “pragmatic coaching”?

I call myself a “pragmatic coach” because I help people get things done in a practical, achievable way. Someone who is “pragmatic” is someone who is focused on results. And, all of the advice that I provide to clients is firmly grounded in reality, not ideals. For example, if a client dreams of opening a business, but they can’t afford to pay their rent right now, I’d recommend that we work towards finding a stream of income that can pay the bills right now. That’s a pragmatic approach.

We don’t rely on theories or spiritual approaches – the way we get things done remains firmly planted in what works, what’s realistic, what’s achievable. That doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards a dream or a vocation! It just means that you get a realistic viewpoint that informs you of what it actually takes to achieve that dream. And by breaking things down into manageable parts, we can actually work together to make it happen.

Also, there are many unconventional ways of doing things, so my approach uses every tool in the toolbox to make things happen. For example, there are plenty of ways to get a high income job with just a high school education. But most career coaches will only employ traditional methods and advice. In my practice, the “how” doesn’t matter as much as the end result. This is also why I like giving my clients worksheets and roadmaps so we can track your progress along the way.

In order for this approach to work for you, you also need to be highly motivated. I’ll champion you and your efforts, all the way.

What would your mother say about you?

That nothing surprises her anymore? I was a rebellious kid who turned into a playful, but responsible adult. She’d say she’s proud of me for figuring out a lot of things on my own through trial and error. My parents made sure we had the basics. The rest was up to us.

Why should I trust you?

I don’t believe in convincing people to trust me. What I can tell you is that I will never waste your time. If I don’t know something, I’ll tell you. I have no desire to take your money unless I feel I can competently do the work you’ve hired me to do. That’s what I personally look for in people that I hire to work for me.

Can you help me find a new job outside the IT sector?

Absolutely. I can help you find a new job in ANY field, except for the civil service. The reason I have this exception is because the civil service hires people through a highly standardized process. My specialty is in private industry, contracting, Crown corporations, and anything that isn’t the civil service. 

What do you do for fun?

Honestly? I decided at age 43 that I really wanted to play with Lego again. So, I buy used Lego and I build spaceships for fun. I also play Minecraft and other video games. I ride a BMX bike, I train in boxing, I photograph stuff in nature, and I look at microorganisms under the microscope. I also recently picked up a cigar box guitar and I have no idea how to play it yet. I am never bored!

Can you be my business coach?

Sure, I can offer some business coaching services. I can help you with the following:

  • Help you establish goals
  • Help you with time management
  • Help you manage others
  • Teach you how to do customer service
  • Act as a sounding board

Sometimes, you’re not really sure what you need help with. Have coffee with meand we can figure some things out, and if I can’t help you, I might be able to direct you to someone who can.

Where do you live?

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It’s the capital city of Canada. Ottawa is a small town and people frequently call it the “city that fun forgot”. I’ll get in trouble by saying this, but it’s true – it’s a boring, but predictable little place. I’m here mostly by happenstance. My partner and I want to move to Prince Edward Island in 2021. A life by the ocean, fresh seafood, a thriving arts scene – I think I’ll fit right in!

Did you go to school for marketing?

Nope! I dropped out of college seven times. Couldn’t figure out what I wanted to major in. So, I learned all about computers through a neighbor who owned a computer company. From there, I worked in IT and as a software manager in the private sector for the past twenty years. On the side, I was an artist, a photographer, a high school teacher of adults, a referee, a boxing coach, and I owned a little web design company for a few years. Everything I’ve learned about marketing, I learned by doing it in real life.

How can you help me with strategy?

Having a plan isn’t enough if your plan isn’t setup properly. As a strategist, my job is to make sure you achieve your goals by giving you the best advice possible to make that happen. I do that by getting to know you, and what you want to achieve. After that, I set you up with a short-term plan and I send you home with ‘homework’. Doesn’t sound like fun, but with time, you’ll start seeing results – and that’s the fun part!

Can you just do all the work for me?

Sure, I could do your SEO, your content writing and manage your social media. But, that’s a LOT of work and it would cost you at least $5000 a month. If you have that kind of budget, I’m open to that kind of work. That being said, I’m focusing my services on entry-level and intermediate business advice to help individuals help themselves. So, if you have money, I can do the work. If you don’t, I can give you the best advice to do it all yourself. It always comes down to time or money. 

Common Questions

Should I work for free to get experience?

Sometimes. I’ll give you an example. I used to do photography, and I knew I wanted to photograph events and artists. So, I partnered up with local small theatre companies and worked with them for free for an entire summer. I had a full time job so money wasn’t an issue. That allowed me to create a massive portfolio, and I built a lot of new skills along the way. Bluntly, if it’s on YOUR terms, go for it. But, if it’s for a for-profit company that wants your skills and talent for free, think twice. If they want you, they can pay for you, even as an apprentice.

How much time does it take to make money online?

How much time have you got to put into it? It all depends on how aggressively you pursue your goals. Working on it full-time, I’d estimate between 6 months to 1 year. That’s with a proper strategy in place. For many people, it can take 3 to 5 years to really be successful online (and by that, I mean a successful store, or a blog, or a YouTube account). If you need money next week, get a job. If you want to focus on a long-term business online, then you have to think long-term.

Where do I start?

I know a lot of websites try to offer general advice, but knowing where to put your energy is a very personal thing. Blunty, you start at the best possible place you can for what you’re trying to do. A performer would be best to pursue a YouTube channel, while a plumber would likely want a solid website and SEO. But, if it’s a plumber who can also perform, then that requires a different approach! See? Have coffee with me and we can figure this out.

Why is it so expensive to hire someone?

For the same reason it’s expensive to hire a psychologist, a physiotherapist or a financial advisor. A digital strategist is a professional. I remember when I was a late teen, I scraped up $175 to pay for one hour with a top arts consultant in the US. I wanted advice, and to this day, that one hour was worth it because I still apply a lot of what I learned from her to my work with clients. You’ll hear this a lot when you hire a professional: “it’s an investment”. It’s true. You invest in yourself, and in your business. Or if you can’t afford it, you spend the time it takes to learn it all on your own. There are many ways to do things, but the reason it’s so expensive is simply because you’d save time by hiring someone who knows what they’re doing.

Resources

From the Blog…

How to find freelance work from home gigs in Canada.

How to find freelance work from home gigs in Canada.

(Originally published on Feb. 4, 2021. I recently updated this article with more info, including looking for work on Twitter!) Here in Canada, it sometimes feels like we have fewer options for work from home jobs compared to our American counterparts. Thing is though,...

How to setup different streams of income.

How to setup different streams of income.

We're living at this strange time when $130,000 a year is considered 'middle class', and it's not enough to just have a full-time job, or several part-time jobs anymore. I've always been a fan of having several sources of income, so here are the basics on how to do...

We need more artists in business.

We need more artists in business.

Recently, I wrote this blog article on my personal website. I was feeling nostalgic about my artsy days. I've had a very coloured past that included wild nights with a variety of artist friends, impromptu photo shoots, and the company of beautiful women, good wine,...