This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

In the first two weeks of June I was fortunate to get into an amazing program offered in BC called Successful Consulting & Contracting. The program is offered by the BC government for business professionals on EI or who are underemployed.

I have been freelancing for almost 2 years and doing business  for over a year, but I felt that now was the time to take this program so that I could learn not only how to be the best at my business, but how to run a business. I don’t have any plans to expand my company anytime soon, but it’s always good to have a vision of where I want my career to go and where it might eventually take me. In April after finishing a big project and working part time, I felt that it was time to take the program and expand my general business knowledge so that I can continue to be successful.

The SCC program is a 10-day course jam-packed with sessions taught by professional facilitators and consultants, some of whom were graduates of the program.

On Day 1, I got to meet my 13 other classmates and learn about their areas of expertise (the program is arranged so that no one is in the same industry). Doug Courtice of DWC Educational Services talked about life as a consultant and the importance of staying focused and committed in our consulting ideas, because without the commitment and drive to be self-employed, there is very little chance that you will last before wanting to apply for a job. With a year under my belt on my own, I was sure that I could continue as a consultant – the question is whether I’ll be able to evolve the way I envision myself growing in my mind. On Day 2, we learned about our Personality Types and Colours from Elizabeth Harris at Aspire Self Employment. I found out that I had changed since four years ago from an INTJ to an ISFJ, but that I’m still very much borderline between the S-N (Sensing-Intuition) and T-F (Thinking-Feeling) streams. I think it’s because I absorb info from the world around me in a factual way, but I use my intuition and my feelings to make decisions that I think are best for me, and I have also started to think in a ‘big picture’ way after watching some life-changing films and making big decisions like not eating meat. I also discovered that I had changed colours from more of a Gold person to a Blue, which means that we value relationships and are passionate about people. It makes sense because these last few years I have prioritized my closest relationships – including business ones – over myself and how I want the world or other people to be.

On Day 3, we learned how to “Create a Winning Presentation” from a fireball of energy called Adrienne White of Power Speaks. I was surprised, after attempting to teach Twitter in 3 minutes, that people said I seemed confident and relaxed, when I know that I was SUPER nervous and am always nervous before speaking in public. But when I think back to my job as a Call Centre Supervisor, I remember having to speak to a team of a dozen people 2-3 times a week, not to mention performing in front of crowds of up to 2000 people when I played in a band or when doing Hawaiian dances at the PNE. Being in front of a crowd is nothing new to me. I suppose what I need to work on most is presenting what I know with the same confidence so that I don’t need to rely on papers and Powerpoint presentations to make me look good.

On Day 4 we went over the basics of Marketing, practiced 30-second commercials with Jennifer Gerves-Keen, and were introduced to the basics of Legalities with John Boon of HKMK Law Corp.

Day 5 was a very un-boring day of Banking and Financial Services with Maurice Lavergne of Financial Options Consulting. Maurice is also one of those people who is full of energy, loves what he does and isn’t afraid to show it. He made dealing with money not only fun but an issue of huge importance that we as business owners would need to be experts at.

On Day 6 we continued our legal training with John Boon by talking about the various types of Contracts we might enter into with our potential clients, and had an afternoon on the basics of Accounting with Dermot Strong. I had always thought that my bookkeeping skills were pretty good but I learned that I have made a lot of mistakes and need to keep up a proper system or find an accountant to do my annual Financial Statements.

On Day 7 we were tutored on Project Management with Daniel Dittrich of PM Solutions and I learned some great tips on how to be more organized from Lorraine Arams. Probably the most enlightening fact that I learned about myself was that I was over-organized, so much that I tend to work overtime. Work/life balance is one of the most important things to me and I have to remember that no matter how much work I have to do, none of it is that important if I cannot make time for the people who are important to me and the moments outside of work that are worth living for.

On Day 8 we went over how to make a Business Plan with Maurice again and it’s been great to learn tips on how I can improve mine and how important it is to revisit my goals and keep myself on track. We finished the day with Communications for Business with Alessandra Ringstad of Ringstad & Associates, who enlightened us on the types of communication (something that seems common sense) and when best to use them. I also realized that even the marketers need tips on how best to communicate.

Day 9 was another energized day of Sales with Colin McWinnie of SalesXperts Solutions and I never knew that learning about sales could be so fun. Sales isn’t just what you do, it’s how to go from the process of meeting a client, identifying their needs or problems, and showing how you or your business can solve it through the steps of communicating and making proposals and contracts. And there’s a way to do it so that you don’t feel or come off sleazy like everyone thinks sales is about.

Our last day finished off with learning about Government Contracts from Tess Menges of Public Works Canada, and formulating our Action Plan for the next two weeks with Doug Courtice. We had a fabulous potluck full of multicultural dishes and cake to celebrate my colleague’s birthday. We were also paired up with “alumni buddies” to make sure that we would keep ourselves on track.

I feel like my mind is jam-packed with info that I need to get out in the open or use right away, but I know that it’s going to take some time to fully absorb and be able to apply it. This summer is filling up with meetings and new projects so it’s great to know that at least I’m getting off to a good start and will be able to use some of my new knowledge right away.

For those thinking about taking the program, visit and get in touch with the wonderful ladies there.* Due to the demand for the program during the current recession, SCC was able to get more funding and respond with two intakes per month instead of one. Participants also get 3 hours of post-program consultation with the facilitators or other available consultants.

Lastly, here are the names of my colleagues and their area of expertise – feel free to email me if you need any of their contact information:

Ana Maria Alfaro – Translator/Interpretor, specializing in the mining industry (she speaks 5 languages, primarily Spanish)

Brian Nann – Commercial Real Estate Management Consultant

Doug Docherty – Residential/Commercial Energy Advisor

Erik Bayfield – Project Manager in Corporate Sustainability

Farrah Azordegan – Project Portfolio Management for large-sized companies

Iordan Jelescu – Industrial Contractor

Jessie Sutherland – Trainer/Facilitator for Finding Home, a program for seniors’ dialogues

Leon Li – Web and Multimedia Designer extraordinaire for iBO Creative Media

Max Jarrar – He has many years of International Business and IT under his belt, and has a few business ideas, one of which is Business Consulting and Coaching.

Sonya Tietjen – Project Manager for Aviation Safety Management Systems

Tracey Leslie – Geriatric Recreation Specialist for caregivers and patients with dementia

Veronica Meszaros – Counsellor at Fraser Heights Counselling Place, specializing in youth issues

Zubair Mohammad – Medical Instrumentation Consultant


Good luck to everyone in your careers!

*The program is no longer offered in B.C.

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