Just before the holidays, I got the chance to interview Evelyn Huynh, wellness lifestyle and business coach who moved her business from Ottawa to Los Angeles last year.
In addition to describing her entrepreneurial journey so far, and commiserating on the importance of empowering women, Evelyn briefly outlined her EVOLVE coaching method, which I really like.
Tracey Well, welcome back to Canada. It’s really interesting for unapologetically Canadian listeners to hear, because you are now living in L.A. and you are a wellness coach. So can you just describe a little bit about how you ended up in L.A.?
Evelyn OK, so I’m going to try to give you guys the Cliff Notes version. I’m a wellness coach turned business coach in the wellness industry. I started off in the fitness and health industry as a personal trainer and then I took my business online.
The reason why I started in the fitness industry was because of my own struggles with bullying, body dysmorphia, body image, that kind of thing. And so naturally, I have some family in the states and it just made sense for me to bring my business over because L.A. is just this big hub for the entertainment and fitness industry. I was doing YouTube for a bit, so it honestly just made sense for me to bring my business there. And I’ve been there for about a year and three months now.
Evelyn You have no idea. It like the moment I come back to Canada. Even just stepping foot in the Vancouver airport, I’m like, oh my God, I’m on Canadian soil. You really notice the difference.
Tracey Is it because it’s a cultural difference or is it just a mood difference or is there something about it that changes who you are?
Evelyn It’s 100 percent an environmental, energy and cultural difference. When you go over there, it’s kind of like every man for themselves, but the moment you come to Canada, the stereotypes are so true. Everyone’s nice, you know? Two days ago, I was driving around the mall and we there was three cars at the intersection and everyone was just telling each other to go. That would never happen in the States. In the states, it’s OK, I’m going, you guys can deal with it later.
Tracey But that means that you have to be a little bit a little bit more aggressive again. Things that were you want.
Evelyn And that’s exactly the difference here. It’s like so, you know, a little bit slower pace. You know, everyone’s like, here you go ahead. I’m sorry. And then over there, it’s like, no, I’m in it. You fend for yourself.
Tracey Oh, my gosh. That’s perfect. And so tell me a little bit about where you came from. Because when the reason that I was looking at interviewing you is because you have a really interesting story in terms of how you got where you are. It’s almost like an origin story. So can you talk a little bit about what made you go into the wellness space? Yes, I love or maybe you actually know what? Let’s start with what you’re proud of for. I’m sorry. We should start with
Evelyn So I guess what I’m proud of is probably having overcome bullying, you know, my mental health struggles and body dysmorphia. That was as it was a result of bullying, which kind of ties into why I ended up in the fitness and health industry.
So I’m first generation Asian Canadian. My parents immigrated here after the Vietnam War. And honestly, with little to nothing. So I grew up eating, you know, things that were on sale, frozen foods, instant noodles, things that we just were not healthy for you. Growing up, I was you know, I put on a little bit more weight than the average person. And I grew up in a very Caucasian community, which meant that I was a minority and stuck out like a sore thumb. From the moment that I was in Grade 4 and onwards, I just bounced around to different schools because of my parents’ jobs. And as a result, I never really had close friends.
When I did have friends, it was kind of going into the popular high school dynamic. That’s where a lot of the bullying came about. I was in high in Grade 9 in 2009. That’s when Instagram and all the social media started really popping off. During that adolescent time when I was in school, cyber bullying became a huge thing. And that was probably one of the biggest struggles that I went through. Having overcome that is definitely one of my biggest success stories and the thing that I’m proud of most.
Tracey Well, I think people don’t realize how difficult it can be for women, particularly being bullied because women are particularly cruel mentally when they bully, I mean, that’s a big deal. It’s crazy. And when we’re hurt, we hurt others.
Evelyn Yeah, and that’s a great thing to remember, too, is that most of the time you’re being bullied by people who are equally hurt.
Tracey So can you describe a moment when you turned one of those incidents into something that that created hope for someone else?
Evelyn So I started my own fitness journey and about I want to say, like 2012, it got to the point where my parents actually had to legally separate so that I could go to a different school in a different district.
And so when that happened, they bought me my first gym membership and that was when I kind of started dabbling in the fitness industry. But just like most of your listeners probably are like, you know, experience. There’s something called yo yo dieting and yo yo training where you go to the gym for like a week and then you don’t go for like three months. And that’s what I did for about a year until I got accepted into university.
So I went to Queen’s University in Kingston, and that was really where my I became a fitness professional. So I became a weight room supervisor at the university gym. I got certified as a personal trainer and this was actually after I brought a couple of friends through the fitness journey and saw them transform and just feel better from the inside out. And that’s what I was like, wow, like this. This is my calling. This is where I need to be. I shouldn’t be in linguistics. I should be in fitness. And so that’s kind of where that all evolved.
Evelyn So you were in linguistics at the time at the university. What were you doing in terms of training? Is this weight training? And can you give me an idea of what kind of training you’ve done?
Evelyn So I’ve been a dancer and I’ve been in sports since I was a really young age. But the thing is, is that when you are just doing sports or you’re in dance like you’re not getting everything that your body needs. So, for example, dance is very cardio base. Whereas, you know, if I wanted to both lose weight and build muscle, I needed it to lift weights. So when I went to university, that was when I started really taking weight training seriously. So lifting weights, bodybuilding, that kind of thing.
Tracey OK. So do you still do weights?
Evelyn Yes, I even though I do business coaching for leaders in the fitness and health industry. Now my life and business has a foundation of fitness and health. And so, yeah, that’s that’s the my bread and butter that’s always gonna be a staple in my life.
Tracey OK, so give me a sort of a rough idea of what your weekly schedule would be like. What’s a good fitness regime for you?
Evelyn I like that question. I like how you ask this “for me” because every person is so different. And, you know, I used to be someone that could spend three hours in the gym because I was doing a powerlifting program more in the competition space. But now that I’m more just maintaining my body, I now go to the gym about four to five days a week for about 45 minutes to an hour. But I give myself a lot of freedom to leave the gym early if I need to tend to my dog or if I need to be on coaching calls, et cetera. So my bare minimum is like four to five days and then about 30 minutes to an hour each session.
Tracey OK. And you’re doing with the weight lifting, with your arms, your legs as a full body weight lifting every time I do, you do, you do arms one day, legs another day?
Evelyn So I do more of like a bodybuilding style. I usually, like, choose around like two muscle parts per day. So like on Monday it could be shoulders and chest. On Tuesday it could be my thighs and hamstrings. On Wednesday, it could be my arms. And then I just kind of alternate. So that’s kind of where my background as a personal trainer really does help me. I’m able to kind of wing a lot of things, whereas a lot of people, they don’t know what they’re doing so then they go to the gym and they’re just deer in headlights.
Tracey Yeah. Do you have a cardio workout as well as, you know, like you add cardio to it on a different day?
Evelyn Honestly, cardio is not my friend. So I get cardio in other ways. I actually was assertive. I’m a certified pull fitness instructor, so I got cardio that way. And then also I love to longboard.
Tracey No. OK. So do you do that very often? No, I mean, how can you do that in California?
Evelyn California is huge for longboarding. So when I first moved to L.A., I didn’t have a car so I honestly long boarded everywhere.
Tracey Oh, yeah. That’s fun. I didn’t really. I thought that there were sort of neighborhoods you couldn’t go into so you had to be sort of careful.
Evelyn I stayed more and like, you know, near Santa Monica. The areas that weren’t so crowded.
Tracey Okay. Okay. All right. What can you tell me about your favorite success story? What? How do you take what you know and help other people with it?
Evelyn Well, I think my biggest success story kind of tackles on to what I’m most proud of. You know, having gone through so much with like my own body dysmorphia and body image and then turning that into a thriving business that is now in L.A. I think that’s definitely it. So as a personal trainer and as a fitness coach, I realized that I my mission was to help as many women as possible heal themselves from the inside out and also heal their relationship with food the way that I have. And so I was really, you know, killing it as a fitness coach. But then I realized that me being a fitness coach wasn’t allowing me to help as the most amount of women.
So what I then naturally my business evolved into me being a business coach for other fitness professionals in the industry. So now I teach my exact systems and processes to those people so that they can coach their fitness clients, if that makes sense.
Tracey OK, so your clients are actually coaches and clients. And how did you evolve to do that? I mean, because we’re talking it’s only been a year and a half since you’ve been in the States. Did you have some of these clients before you left Canada?
Evelyn Fun fact, I actually built my first business, which is actually my mom’s home spa business, back in 2012. So I was twelve years old. I was in Grade 7 and we didn’t have much money at that time. So my mom paid me a little bit of money to get her website up and running and now it’s a thriving business. So I’ve always just had an entrepreneurial touch. And so naturally, when it felt like, wow, I’m tapped out. How many people I can actually help? I realized that the only way for me to either grow my business and help more people was to become a business coach for those in the fitness and health industry.
Tracey OK, so this began when you were only twelve. How old are you now?
Evelyn I just turned 24 in October.
Tracey Oh, OK. OK. So this has been a journey of about 12 years. In your bio, you were talking about some of your struggles. Bullying was one of them. You talking about body dysmorphia. So that’s because of the sad diet, which actually is so typical. It’s really hard to eat well when you don’t have a lot.
Evelyn Exactly. And it’s also education.
Tracey Oh, so talk to me about did you educate yourself? Because it’s not something that I don’t believe school does.
Evelyn Oh my God. I could I could not agree more. I actually was just interviewed by a magazine. And they were asking me, you know, who was my role model growing up for fitness and health? Honestly, there was none. There really wasn’t at my school.
You know, our schools, I feel like they do try sometimes to, you know, teach us. But I don’t know if you feel the same way. but growing up when I did fitness or health in school, like it always felt more like a chore than it was something exciting. They would make you run BEEP tests and make you do push ups and make you do all these things that were not fun. But the approach that I started taking on was like, if you want to make someone do something that’s hard, you’ve got to make it fun and enjoyable for them. And so that’s kind of my philosophy towards fitness and health is making fitness fun.
So for me, I actually was self-taught for everything health and fitness. And that’s why it took me about three years before I really got the results that I really wanted, because it was a lot of trial and error. It was a lot of going on Google, YouTube, doing things wrong. And then the moment when I got certified was when I started learning about proper form and technique. And that is really when my results came really quick.
Tracey It’s so different. I mean, it’s funny because you’re talking about what I was in school. I mean, I am 56. So I was in school for a long time. It was completely different. And we didn’t have the Internet when I was going to school, which I think changes everything, too. So when you talk about school, it’s like it’s almost like everybody has a library in their pocket. For me, the library was my safe haven.
Evelyn You know, I feel you. I’m born in 95. Actually, I think my years were among the last years without area codes. One day I went and called and my mom’s like, no, honey, you need a 6, 1, 3. And I was like, wait, why is it so crazy?
How times have changed since since then.
Tracey Yeah. Well, that’s sort of I feel like that’s something that people my age can learn from people your age because you grew up with Google and the need to find information publicly and the need to communicate publicly in order to grow.
Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve actually done that. Maybe we can talk about one way that it succeeded and one way that it failed and you had to revise it?
Evelyn Yes, that was a good question. So, one way that it succeeded. I mean, making money online is a thing more than ever. And it’s one of those things where you gotta adapt or you’re going to fall behind.
I was actually just at a shopping mall yesterday doing some Christmas shopping. And I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the brand Forever 21. I love shopping with them, but they are one of the brands that wasn’t able to keep up with consumers demands to shop online. They didn’t make their company or their products accessible to people online. And so, unfortunately, they kind of had to get left behind.
So I feel like a lot of people in my generation, like millennial’s and stuff, if they’re not taking advantage of what’s available to them in the online space, they are really missing out. Because the thing about online entrepreneurship is that you’re able to work with people outside of your geographical location. And that’s amazing. You’re not only working with more people, but you also have the opportunity to make more. So that’s definitely one thing. It’s just there’s so many opportunities. It’s insane. But the downside is that I just find that there’s less real human connection.
And there’s less, honestly, love is what I’m noticing. We would rather hide behind a camera and or a phone or a computer rather than directly confront someone. We would rather text someone rather than give someone a ring. And I just noticed that so much like we’re really lacking that personal touch and human connection.
Tracey Wow. Yeah. No, it’s it’s true. And making that personal connection with strange with people who are far away from you because they’re no longer strangers if you’re connecting with them online. I’ve noticed this with friends that I’ve made in groups and things the that the relationship changes if you can actually meet in person at least once, at least occasionally. You know, you’ve become friends. Bye bye.
Evelyn Actually. Or like if you really, you know, live really far. Then like got on Skype or Facetime. Like, see the other person, you know, be able to like feel their energy instead of just like words and text.
Tracey Yeah. Yeah, it’s fine. I mean, is this the sort of giving me that feeling like I’m getting to know you better be by by just talking with you?
No, because he can’t because you can’t know a person without actually communicating.
Evelyn 100 percent. I could not agree more.
Tracey So what about something that you tried and failed at first and then you revised it? You know, a story that I tried at first and I if I am someone who is or just something that you fell about and then dropped, that would work, too, because we don’t want to think that your perfect.
[00:19:21] Oh, Tracey, Evelyn is not perfect, if you follow on social, you’ll see. Let’s see if I feel like there has been a couple of scenarios. So, you know, there is this one scenario, my professional career, where I really trust to someone I’m a very trusting person sometimes to a fault. And right when I moved to L.A., I decided to work for somebody else. She was also another fellow business coach. I was actually a head coach in her group coaching program. And I was really excited. This was, in my eyes going to be the start of this new chapter of Evelyn.
And three days before the program was supposed to start. I was actually laid off because I was seen as a threat to the company. And mind you, this is after I moved from Canada to L.A. So for the Canadians, you know you know, our currency isn’t that great when you convert over to the US dollars. So I was it was a really challenging time. And during this time, because of logistics, I wasn’t able to share my story or be able to talk about it. So I was really struggling behind the scenes that nobody else really knew about or I could really talk about.
And that is a huge thing in entrepreneurship. Like we sometimes feel like we have to put on this fake face just to look like we’re holding it all together. But a lot of us are really you know, we’re going through a lot in the background, you know, people not supporting us, people backstabbing us, people turning on us, et cetera. But I will tell you, that taught me to depend on myself and that taught me that I was the only person who was going to really make my dreams happen. And so from that point on, that gave me the fire lit under my tushy, needed to build the business that I have now.
Tracey Wow. And that’s not that long ago because you’ve only been there for a little more than a year. So the business that you have now, can you talk a little bit about that? What do you mean you I know you have this thing called EVOLVE. That’s your system? I love that name.
Evelyn It’s my method. Yeah. My first business name is called EH fitness. Technically, it could stand for Evelyn Huynh fitness, but I was a linguistics major and one of the modules and things that we study was Canadianisms, so because of my Canadian background, my business name was actually like an homage to Canada. So EH fitness not only stands for Evelyn Huynh Fitness, but it’s also very Canadian based because we say that all the time.
Tracey You’re the perfect interview for a podcast called Unapologetically Canadian!
Evelyn My American friends always call me out on it because I still say that all the time. Yeah. So that’s that was my first business, which was very fitness based. And then now I have Evolve with Evelyn, which is my business coaching. So like I mentioned to you earlier, I help other leaders in the fitness and health industry as well as photographers make more money and have more time through the online space. So I basically help them build their businesses online. And I also do life coaching. So it’s kind of like a life, business and fitness coaching hybrid that I do for my clients.
Tracey It’s very interesting because, I mean, as a millennial, you have so much insight into how online business works. It’s probably even intuitive.
Evelyn It’s one of those things where as a fitness coach, when you talk to credible fitness coaches who’ve done it for a long time. As a fitness coach, when someone tells me like let’s say Jenna for hypothetical, Jenna says, oh, I’ve when I am 5 foot 3, I weigh X amount of pounds. This is my history. I’m able to just already piece together what the program is for them or what the future of their fitness journey is going to look like. Just like how I’m able to do that with those businesses. So when they tell me the current stats of their business, you know how long they’ve been in business, what their current offers are. I’m able to. Okay, Jenna, this is what’s going to happen in the next three to six months. And it’s going to cool. It’s very intuitive at this point.
Tracey So, what is Evolve? Does it stand for something? Is it an acronym. What is it?
[00:23:34] Okay all you listeners on unapologetically Canadian, take notes because this evolve method will literally change your life.
So the evolve method is something that I used to coach my clients and it’s something that I encourage them to use with their own clients.
I’ll just kind of tell you and kind of explain briefly. The EVOLVE method is something that I argue that every human should audit their life based on it and as long as each of these pieces are in your life, it’s a good life.
[00:24:02] So the first E stands for energy. So everything we energy is everything, right? Like attracts like.
[00:24:09] So the energy if we want to get that energy in our life, we’ve got to produce good, good energy outwards. But that also comes from like where our mental energy is at and also physical. So that’s your training, your nutrition, your mindset, your personal development and your spiritual development.
So the first thing I ever get people to audit is whereas your physical health that whereas your mental health and what changes and what things can you do to improve on that. If that makes sense. So that’s energy, because when you feel good, you do good things.
The first V is vision. If we don’t have a vision in life, either for life or for our business, we will get there. And so one of the. And, you know, especially being at entrepreneurship, what I’ve found is that when people don’t have a clear vision, they don’t do the necessary things that they need to attain their goals. But when you have a big enough vision, you know what’s at stake.
Tracey Yeah, yeah. Oh, no. I mean, I love it. I’m part of something called the Visionary Business School, and I think that changed everything. Vision really does really matters. And it’s not. It’s not even clear why or how, because usually the things that you think that you usually the thing you think it meant isn’t what it meant.
Evelyn It’s true! I just feel like so many of us are so like we’re kind of living in like the next like three to six months. Like we’re not thinking long term. And that’s where I’ve noticed that technology has really screwed up a little bit. Is that everyone wants things now. Everyone’s only thinking about right now, but they’re not thinking long term, whether long term health or long term vision in their life. So visioning is definitely really important.
Evelyn I’m a very type A organized person. My dad’s a software engineer. I’m exactly like him. I’m very analytical, very spreadsheets. So my clients love me for my organizational skills. I give them to-do lists. So I just want to ask you, like, are you like what? Where how how is your life organized? Like, do you have routines? Do you have a morning routine? Are you going to the gym? Are you following a planner? Do you use a schedule? Things like that. Because honestly, I want to be honest with you, being a dog mom, moving around, traveling, working and also doing fitness, the only way that that all happens is because I have a schedule and I follow it.
Otherwise, you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks.
Tracey Yeah. If it’s not my calendar, I don’t do it. But I’m a type A or. OK, that’s true. That’s true. That’s fair. I love working. You know, I feel like not everybody can be anxious.
Evelyn Maybe they just gotta find other ways for them to be organized. Maybe it’s not a to do list. Maybe it’s just, you know, telling themselves that they have like X amount of things that they need to do in the week and then just figuring out which day they’re doing what.
Evelyn Yeah. Radically. And then
Evelyn I know it sounds a little cliche, but after being in business and meeting so many people from all around the world, I just notice that a lot of us are really lacking love in our life. And love is the answer to everything, honestly. Like when we feel love, we want to give more love. I just noticed, you know, when people are bullying, when people are trolling on the Internet, it’s usually because they’re going through something, like we were mentioned earlier. So I always lead with love in my coaching and I encourage my clients to do the same. That really makes a difference in our life and business. Like just really ask yourself and then explain.
Tracey That also explains why you’re in Ottawa right now. Because you spent a lot of time coming back, which also probably gave you some of the impetus to make your business successful enough so you can come back to Ottawa regularly.
Evelyn You hit the nail on the head. That’s honestly why I come back every three weeks. I was just here three weeks ago. I come back so often and some people don’t understand why. And I’m really glad that you do, because sometimes I tell people you’re like, why do you go home so often? I’m like, because it’s family and love is the most important thing to me.
Tracey It’s wonderful. I mean, that’s lovely. I love it so much. So far, I’m so with you on the EVOLVE path.
Evelyn So the last thing stands for value. So again, like attracts like. The value vibration attracts value. So if I want to have more value in my life, I’ve got to give more value. So that’s kind of how I function. If you follow me on my Instagram or any of my social platforms, I aim to always put value in there every single day. So I put value on business, fitness, health mindset, anything like that, because then it always just comes back to me. So I always encourage my clients. I guess you want your business to succeed. Give more value if you want to be happy in your life. Make someone’s day. Give them some value because it will always come back to you tenfold.
And the last E is empower, which is why one of my favorites, because as you can probably agree, that when women are empowered, we make things happen.
Evelyn We empower women, empower other women. And so that’s just my motto is just if I can empower more women to feel empowered. That’s going to create a ripple effect.
Tracey Oh, my gosh, that’s wonderful. Yeah, it’s very positive thinking, too, because if you can I mean, the advantage of empower means that when you do have struggles, you can think, OK, if I can get through this, you shall.
So, yeah, I think my listeners will really appreciate that that coaching idea, because I really think that you’ve captured a whole lot of ideas in a very concise fashion.
So then you get actually you said several times that you have lots of social platforms. Which ones are you on? I assume you’re on Instagram?
Evelyn I’m in the transition of switching my website over because things just as you mentioned, like I’ve only been in L.A. for a year and a lot has happened in that year. So right now, I’m on Instagram and Facebook, but my website we’re just kind of rebuilding that back up. Oh, and YouTube. I’m on YouTube as well.
(Check out Evelyn’s amazing weight loss journey on Youtube. She also has two videos, beginning with this one, describing her tummy tuck operation in detail so that you can decide whether this operation might be for you.)
Tracey And so what type of advice do you have for other entrepreneurs like you? Because it sounds like you’ve gone through really four different trends, maybe even five different positions. Right? Did you recognize that you were an entrepreneur when you were 12? Like when did you come to that realization?
Evelyn That realization? I want to say in 2018, because you don’t feel like an entrepreneur when you’re not making any money. That was my feeling. Like, you know, other people will call me that. But the thing is, is that when you don’t like when you don’t feel like you’ve got all the running parts in your business, you won’t feel like the true CEO or entrepreneur. It’s just gonna feel like you’re it’s a very expensive side hustle or very expensive hobby. So it was honestly until in 2018 when I started actually making some a little bit of cash and I look back and I was like, wow, like I started a business when I was 12. I was an entrepreneur back then. That didn’t happen until many years later.
Tracey Oh, that’s fascinating. And so what advice do you think other entrepreneurs should should give to themselves?
Evelyn The biggest golden nugget is stay in your own lane and define your own version of success, because if you’re constantly focusing on what everyone else’s idea success is, you’ll not only never achieve it, but you’ll never feel fulfilled.
And that’s one of the hardest lessons that I have learned in this past year, was really having to put those blinders on and just focus on my mission in life because it’s so different from other people. And when you’re in a bubble, it’s so easy for your own dreams to get to feel like it’s not as big as other people’s.
Tracey Well, that’s, uh, it’s very, very important to connect to your yes. Yourself first. I mean, you that actually you talked about learning to love yourself. Actually, we should probably talk a little bit about that.
Evelyn That’s probably the one of the biggest transformations was actually learning how to truly love myself from the inside out. Because when, especially as a woman, when you are struggling through body dysphoria, it’s really easy to attach your self-worth to the way that you look.
Tracey Oh, yeah. Well, we all do it. I mean, it’s it’s it’s just it’s a big struggle I have. I find that very difficult now, too, because I’m at a higher weight than I want to be. And it’s like, well, it just doesn’t feel like me. Are you just yourself? And you think that doesn’t feel like me. But it is.
And before our last question, because I always have and the last one.
Do you have anything that I didn’t ask you that you were or anything that you had wanted to mention that I didn’t ask you?
Evelyn No. We talked about so much today and I feel like there’s so many golden nuggets for the listeners to kind of take on, you know, auditing their life with the EVOLVE method. Nothing really pops to mind right now.
Tracey OK, good. Well, then we go to our last question, which is do you yourself? Do you consider yourself a Canadian?
Evelyn Oh, my God, yes. Through and through. It’s it’s really a badge of honor that I wear now. I’m very proudly Canadian. I’m very proud that I started my business in Canada, especially after living in the states.
But, you know, it does feel like it’s a closer. I mean, maybe it’s because Canada is a lot smaller. But, you know, it just seems like the culture the culture here is a lot different. It’s more inclusive. I just feel so much more love. Every time I’m in Canada, and it’s it’s really interesting for me to say that now, especially after having lived in the states for a year, like I truly mean it when I say that I. You feel such a massive, energetic shift when you come to Canada. So to me, being Canadian just means like leading with love and acceptance and understanding.
Tracey How wonderful! That’s such a community-oriented response. Well, thank you very much. I so appreciate your time. It was really just a joy, as you said. I think that my listeners will get tons of value from our discussion. I just I love your whole method.
Evelyn Thank you so much, Tracey.
Like most business leaders, I just had to begin the year 2020 with an essay about my resolutions for the year and decade to come. https://youtu.be/CrntwkqUoDs [thrive_link color='blue' link='https://www.mixcloud.com/TraceyArial/resolutions-2020/' target='_self' size='medium' align='aligncenter']Listen to the audio here[/thrive_link] I'm inspired by many movements. They include: business clarity, a focus on creativity and the creation of intellectual assets, financial independence, generosity and resiliency. I'm horrified by the enormity of our climate change crisis, the wild fires in Australia and a series of xenophobic moves by the Quebec government. My resolutions attempt to take all these emotions into account. They include two personal intentions: to continue cutting my use of greenhouse gases; and to greet people with "bonjour/hi" as often as possible.
https://youtu.be/FSsPlMSABDg [thrive_link color='blue' link='https://www.mixcloud.com/TraceyArial/28-review-of-the-year-and-decade-ending-in-2019/' target='_blank' size='medium' align='aligncenter']Listen to the audio version here.[/thrive_link] I reviewed 2019 and the entire decade it ended based on 10 themes:
Community design, edible landscaping and a human resource catalogue are among the subjects that Douglas Jack and I speak about in Episode 27 of the Unapologetically Canadian Podcast.Listen to Episode 27 of Unapologetically Canadian
Jack also serves as the president of a local non-profit organization called the Sustainable Development Association, which specializes in green design and produced Montreal’s first green map in 1998. (I still use my copy of this map quite often.)
I visited Doug last spring. During our interview, Doug and I spoke about his community design ideas and his plans for a digital community directory. We also toured his property to discover how he uses food and leaf composting to grow fruit, nuts and vegetables that he consumes year-round.
Anyone interested in a seasonal diet in Montreal would benefit from learning about using butternuts and sumac flowers the way Doug does. It’s also inspiring to learn how many fruit trees and vines can fit into a relatively small urban space.
Here’s the transcript of our discussion.
Tracey [00:00:01] Here we are we are at Douglas Jack’s home.
Tracey [00:00:06] We are at the edge of a community near Bergevin and Jean Milot in LaSalle, which is a wonderful community. It used to be called LaSalle Heights and then it was Les Jardins LaSalle. And I don’t know what they’re calling it now. What are they calling it now?
Douglas [00:00:25] I think I should look on my lease or something like that. It just gives the address.
Tracey [00:00:35] Yeah I think they’ve changed it completely. It doesn’t have an entity anymore. Anyway.[00:00:36] And we’re talking about permaculture gardening and some of his passions and the neighborhood and the community that he’s organizing here. So do you want to introduce yourself and talk about what you’re hoping to do.
Douglas [00:00:49] Great. So I’m Doug and I live in this 815 housing units on 40 acres in two properties. One is 33 acres with Turret Realties Inc. The other is a seven-acre HLM—habitations à loyer modique [low income housing].
I’ve been here for 30 years. And my partner here Rebecca, well we’re ex, but we live close by and we have a son who’s 18 years old, Adrian. So this morning I was waking up Adrian at his window.
Douglas [00:01:36] So what’s really nice about this community is there’s about 40 extended families. And so that means that people are connected through grandmothers, grandchildren and just the whole mixture that’s here. And so promoting that connectedness that’s already here is important.
So what we’re doing is a software project which is a community economy software. The way we’re going about it is to on our Web site, we’ll put the software which has a human resource catalog. People go onto the catalog they put on their pictures, their talents, their goods or services, a description of who they are, or maybe their dreams. Then from there, people know about each other a little bit. And, out of curiosity or who lives next door to me. And then they then if they need a babysitter, or they need an electrician, or they need a doctor or they need whatever they’ve got, they’re able to find each other and they’re able to join together.
We figured that a lot of economy will be about bringing together the babysitters and the woodworkers and other people who can share tools and knowledge. We figured that’s the biggest challenge. It’s just that people know each other. We called the project “do we know who we are.”
Tracey [00:03:03] So this is like one of those old-time directories like what they used to have in the 40s and 50s for neighborhoods? Like Lovell’s or some of the other directories? They used these to make sure people actually know each other.
Douglas [00:03:17] Yeah. Oh I didn’t even know about that Lovell’s. But this community here was designed. The CMHC was one of the chief financers and it brought in the architects and engineers. They designed it as a garden city based on Frederick Olmsted’s work. Not by him but based on his work.
What they’ve done is that the roads are peripheral. I’m on the corner of Bergevin and Jean Milot but Bergevin kind of goes in an arc around the community. Normally where there would be lanes between the buildings there aren’t. It’s open green space instead.
But none of Frederick Olmsted’s projects—including Park Mont Royal in Montreal nor Central Park in New York City—were really realized as garden cities.
Tracey [00:04:15] So we’re going to just take a little bit of a tour around outside. Please excuse the wind. We’re not going to be doing this very long.
OK so now we’re just outside and we are next to a cement composter which I’ve been hearing about for a very long time because Doug and I do all sorts of local community stuff together. So tell me what you’re doing here.
Douglas [00:04:42] OK. A lot of fear of composting has to do with rats and mice and a fear of feeding them. So many people don’t compost partially because those populations can grow.
So this is cement board composter. Cement board came out about 30, 40 or 50 years ago and it’s very durable. This one is nine years old and it has no sign of degradation whereas the regular wooden ones that they’re building—and some cities are using—they last about six years before they are unusable. So this one is in perfect condition and it probably could last 60 years or maybe even 100 years.
I’m a designer I’ve worked in design for 50 years and so I thought oh let’s bring together cement board with composting. This one has the aeration on the corners and so it works quite well. I can get three or four harvests out of here a year.
Because it’s cement board, it can handle dampness. I bring out my dishwater and I just pour it in and it cleans the bucket at the same time and it wets down the material. Wet material will decompose three to four times faster than dry materials.
Tracey [00:06:48] Wow.
Douglas [00:06:49] Then in the morning there were about five kind of robins in here and they were they were picking at all the worms. Wildlife are working for us. They’re doing lots of jobs.
This compost has branches on the to hold the leaves. And I’ve done that pretty much all around and against the house because that’s insulating the basement in the wintertime.[00:07:24] So the leaves next to the basement wall are doing two functions they’re decomposing and they’re insulating the base and then over here and so do you remove them in the spring like now or very shortly from now from the side of the house so you leave them there. [00:07:38] I believe I’ll leave those ones there because those are my grape vines there. So the grapes need they need it. They can use some really deep soils. [00:07:48] This here is just a leaf compost. This leaf compost, I put about 60 bags into there and it doesn’t look like it because it gets really big. The kids come in and they jump on here like a trampoline and they pack it down for me.
Tracey [00:08:23] And do you get a lot of fruit?
Douglas We get wonderful fruit. Really it’s really been abundant this year. I’m still eating dried apples from the garden and Sumac that we grow.[00:08:39] Now it’s come to the end of the season and we’ve been harvesting sap from the maple tree maple. We’ve had about three weeks of maple sap now. [00:08:52] The last day was yesterday. And you can see it’s not dripping now anymore but I’ve done the method I’ve used for the first time is a wedge method rather than a drill method.
Tracey [00:09:07] I noticed that that’s interesting now what did you get them in?
Douglas [00:09:15] Well I took an axe and I tapped it in and I don’t know the method exactly but it’s the First Nation method when the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka here, were people of the flint. They were named that mostly because their primary products were maple taps made in the form of wedges going into the tree. OK. The main advantage of the me of the wedge method is that when I take out these from the slit, it will heal within a few weeks.[00:09:53] Whereas I’ve got I could show you on here. [00:09:57] I’m not focusing right now but some holes that I made with the old method and they never heal. Right. And so it damages the trees year after year after year. Whereas the wedge method still I’m still learning about it working it out OK but that’s it that’s with the First Nations approach with which there’s many things that we never learned. [00:10:22] How are we doing for time?
Tracey We’re just about finished the outdoor portion but we only have to do one little section so these are.
Douglas So here we have pears, and cherries and apples.
Tracey Currents are nitrogen fixers so that’s also very good for everything growing around.
Douglas [00:10:47] Here are some sumacs.
Tracey [00:10:48] Yeah. I’m surprised you don’t have sumacs everywhere because sumacs usually spread.
Douglas I eat the sprouts.
Tracey Oh, you do with the sprouts like I do with dandelions. So basically harvest them instead of taking them out.
Douglas [00:11:05] So yeah. So things are coming up here. Different plants will come up here and Himalayan balsam and this is this is a wonderful cherry tree and it does really well. It looks good. You can see how strong it’s doing.
Tracey [00:11:19] What kind of cherry?
Douglas It’s a sour. I like the sour.
Tracey Sour cherries are lovely. They make great pie too.
Douglas Yeah good. So now we can go around to the back.[00:11:38] Under here of course, I’ve insulated. You know that’s part of the basement. I take all the leaves I can get.
Tracey [00:11:47] All right. So we’re finished the outdoor portion and now we’re just going to go back inside.
Douglas OK good.
Tracey So so now we’re back inside so that’s the sound quality is a little bit better.[00:11:58] And now we can actually talk about your history and where even what you’re what you’re trying to accomplish could get so.
Douglas [00:12:08] So we’ve taken the digital approach to community development.[00:12:12] We have two software programmers both have their masters. One in information technology, the other one in communications. And the approach we’re taking is that the human resource catalog will be on the web. Today people are even though I think more disconnected than previously. But through the web, they can get to know each other and find a reason for saying hello and find a reason for using each other’s goods and services.
So in a local walkable community like here—which 40 acres so it means that people can walk from one side to the other typically in two minutes. So getting those economic relations going. Now some people here we have 500 Slavs. I mean that means Russian Polish Ukrainian Yugosalvian. And then there then we have about 500 Arabic speakers and we have about 500 Spanish speakers. Most of the guys working on the grounds here are Spanish speakers. But each one of them bring their incredible traditions. And often these are very indigenous traditions that they’re bringing from different places.
Douglas We have a community garden here that’s 700 meters by 30 meters wide. That community garden, there’s there’s hundreds of people eating off of that garden every year now. So there will be surpluses there that they could trade with each other.
The composting would really help, because the number one ingredient of recycling is composting. Once the compost is taken out nothing else smells. Everything else is clean. So we’ve been trying to get the eco quartier into the program. They’re very interested, but you know they’re on a very low low budget, and most of their budget is around education in the schools. So Lucas Gonzales, he wants to get the compost started here.
So here we have a private corporation that owns a property. I think that they do a pretty good job, except for when they spray Roundup or there’s some things that they’re just not. We’ve had a real problem with them around pesticides and actually we took them to court before Montreal and Quebec passed the no cosmetic pesticides use.[00:15:03] So in the end we won, but we didn’t win in the court case. because the judge of course is up at their college using their pesticides and not believing that there’s anything wrong. So we showed it to them. They’re still using Roundup which is shown to be a carcinogen. Someone just won a 170 million dollar lawsuit that was reduced down to 70 million dollars as a groundskeeper working in a school.
Douglas [00:15:36] So here we are we’re with the do we know who we are project, the concept is that people know each other they trade locally they can earn some of their living. Eventually when it’s well organized that means more and more and more people are involved in knowing each other and more of the local economy can be done locally.[00:15:59] I mean people who are traveling two hours to work you know to go and clean houses or something can do it locally. [00:16:10] So saving four hours a day of traveling is a big lifesaver.
Tracey Yeah it’s a big huge life saver.
Douglas [00:16:18] So our approach to community development is not ideal so much as livelihood based. So how do we make sure that people are earning a living that they’re enjoying to do. And so the catalog helps people to present themselves and present what they like to do. And then as much as possible help people get the jobs that they like to do and to grow spiritually and economically.
Tracey [00:16:49] Right now you’ve created an organization. It’s not actually a nonprofit. [00:16:54] It’s a different kind of work innovation to get some of these together. What kind of organization is it and how many people are involved?
Douglas [00:17:00] Well we are. I’m the president of the Sustainable Development Association which is a Canadian non-profit since 1994. We’re a Canadian corporation. And we have a subgroup called indigene community. So indigene is an old English word but it’s also French and Spanish and Italian and German and most of Europe uses the term indigene instead of indigenous.[00:17:33] And what we’re doing is I’ve been working with First Nations for 55 years and on different projects and been living in and across Canada and different places with First Nations.
Douglas [00:17:48] And so my understanding is that indigenous law, the economic laws that they use, the accounting methods, the governance methods that they used in their communities in their multi- home buildings could be a huge service to people today. Now we didn’t learn those because we came in violently and we immediately replaced what was here with the failure that we brought from Europe. So we were coming as failures. We were coming as refugees from a bad system that had failed. Now the oligarchs paid for our trip to get rid of us. But they had us impose their failure on this new territory because they wanted to milk it for money just like they milk every other place. And so here we are promoting failure in a place that was very successful in terms of ecological abundance and working with rivers and water and trees and plants.[00:19:05] Our goal is to is that we’re all indigenous we’re all originally indigenous from all around the world and the poly-culture orchards of Europe and Africa and Asia and Australia kept these lands humid and productive for thousands of species of animals and huge abundance in food, materials, energy, water etc.
Tracey [00:19:35] So that’s what you’re working on. Are you working on aid projects across Canada with any groups at the moment?
Douglas [00:19:39] We’ll get in touch with old friends from British Columbia where I lived for seven years and then I have First Nation friends from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.[00:19:57] And so we’re corresponding and working in that way.
Tracey [00:20:11] And then I guess those are the questions that I really wanted to talk to you about. Was there anything that you were hoping to mention before I get to my last question.
Douglas [00:20:20] Well, our website which is Indigenecommunity.info has had close to 20,000 different people come and visit it and 25,000 visits and they’ve read 39,500 pages.[00:20:47] So there we have 77 web sections on the website of different questions that people might ask about food production, about governance, about accounting, about all forms of living and so that people might find it useful.
Tracey [00:21:08] Yeah I link to that in show-notes. I know that when I was reading that I mean this is managing abundance for sure. There are several decades of information on that website. So it’s definitely the kind of thing where you need to take your time and just go through it slowly and can you tell me maybe your favorite article on there that you think people should definitely read?
Douglas [00:21:32] Well one of the things I found out from living amongst First Nations and being in First Nation areas and seeing the ancient poly-culture orchards that they grew. So when the Europeans came over they were looking for low plants. So corn made sense to them and beans made sense and squash and potatoes made sense to them.
But way way up 30, 40, 50 meters up in the sky were these trees that were producing huge amounts of nuts and fruit and greens.
And the trees changed the climate. Every tree is a heat pump. If you have a Montreal island with half a billion heat pumps, guess what happens to the climate? It gets warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
So with tree production, the roots are going down tens of metres and pumping water and mining minerals and developing nutrient colonies deep into the ground. The canopy of the tree is photosynthesizing. It’s a combination. When you look at photosynthesis of solar rays and also heat absorption, it’s clear that poly-culture orchards were using 92 to 98 per cent of the solar energy that was shining down in that area.
Tracey [00:23:04] S did they a planting system with trees like the systems that we just talked you the corn and bean and squash. Did they have a typical planting?
Douglas [00:23:13] Yeah, but the oak is core.
Right across the northern hemisphere—even in the southern hemisphere—the oak is a primary human food and it’s one that people don’t develop allergies to. It’s very nutritious. It has the old oak tree roots because they are the roots or are mining minerals they’re putting the foods are very mineralized means that we’re getting the minerals are really key for protein and starches and incorporation into the body and the use of all the cells really need that mineral component.
Tracey So what do you eat off oak?
Douglas The acorn. And so you see, Montreal was known for the wild acorn, the white acorn. You can actually eat it. The red and brown and black acorns, you have to soak those in water. But the white acorn you can eat directly.
Tracey OK so you eat it like a chestnut or something like it.
Douglas Like a nut, it can be cooked. It’s used a lot in Lebanese cooking. The flours are made so they make the pancakes.[00:24:31] So like we harvested 110 kilograms of butternuts last year from a local tree. [00:24:39] And that that came down to just 12 kilograms of nuts in the shell because people would eat the nuts as just nuts and making flour out of that. Yeah. So you can make flour or things but generally very highly nutritious protein and oils oils are excellent. The enzymes are just rich rich foods and so we have jars upon jars of butternuts. A butternut is a walnut. It’s a type of walnut. It’s called the white walnut.
Douglas OK. And so poly-culture orchards are more abundant than other systems.[00:25:26] I’ve done the comparisons. If you had an area the size of this the bottom floor of this townhouse say it’s 50 square meters. [00:25:41] If it was just a little bit longer so that would be about seven metres by seven metres and that could support say one tree and the 150 year old trees that used to be the average age of the oak could produce up to 10 ton of acorns in one mast year. Typically about 2 or 3 tons, but say 10 tons in a mast year. The same area. I also worked in agriculture. So I worked in wheat production. The same area of wheat could only produce 3 kilograms. Well compare three tons or ten tons in a mast year, say once every 7 years. Three kilograms compared to three tons.
Tracey [00:26:32] Now that’s what are you doing with that? That’s not for flour.
Douglas That’s the nut
Tracey With the wheat, we’re producing flour out of it.
Tracey And so what are you producing? Like when you’re saying three times is it just the nut itself three times or what would you produce out of it?
Douglas [00:26:47] Yeah. So the nut would have to be de-husked and the shell taken off but it’s nice because the tree is drying it so it’s a bit drier than the wheat that we’ve got.[00:27:01] The wheat has to be dried to be processed too. It has to be de-husked too. So both of them are being reduced down from the original harvest. But with butternut acorns, say the 3 tons of acorns coming off those old trees. Now you have to feed the tree because you can’t just take from nature. You have to give back.
Tracey So you’re producing a lot of compost pretty much all the stuff you’d take off of that.
Douglas That’s right. So whether you use your husks or the garden waste or kitchen cuttings or whatever you’ve got, you’re feeding that tree and it’s processing materials for you.
So we use the ratio of 100-fold that the poly-culture orchards in the same space, the same ground space, will produce about 100 times more. They will water themselves, they will fertilize themselves. They will handle everything so that there’s no work.
Tracey [00:28:19] Well there’s work to harvest to harvest and to actually produce something out of the nut. Now they like the Black walnut in that they’re really tough to open too. Or are they more like a chestnut where you can just put a hole in it and cook it and then it releases more easily.
Douglas [00:28:36] Yeah it’s more like the. The butternut that I’ve got can be very big and it can be easy, but that’s a matter of breeding and feeding.[00:28:47] So the the butternuts that my Russian neighbours give me from Moldova are rich and succulent and big and fat and actually fatter than our walnuts in the store. That’s because they’ve bred them over a thousand years say or 2000 years.
So all of these nuts whether it’s the Russian ones or the ones that I’ve got here, it would take a culture of people working with them too but they’re certainly delicious in the meantime. They are a little bit harder like the black walnut so it’s more more difficult to open. OK but the black walnut as well can be bred and fed to and serve it just in terms of like that.
Tracey [00:29:38] So you’re not selling the jars of walnuts or anything like that. What are you doing with the actual food?
Douglas [00:29:45] Oh I’m cracking them open with my vice-grips.
Tracey and then just eating them that way.
Douglas Yeah just eating them that way. I just consider it well you know…
Tracey I had to use a sledge hammer on my last black walnut. It was so impossible.
Douglas Vice-grips would be a bit easier.
Tracey I’ll have to try it. The vice-grip might be a bit easier.
Douglas [00:30:10] The problem is that the food from our grocery store is empty. It has practically no minerals.
Tracey Well these were black walnuts from a family farm.
Douglas Yeah yeah. No I mean what to explain why we work with what we’ve got that’s wild. It’s because when we go and buy green vegetables or things from the store, they have very very little to offer us in terms of vitamins, minerals, enzymes. They’re just empty foods. I mean there’s certainly more than packaged fast foods, but there they have very little in them compared with getting plants. Now we can work with those, and get both from them but we will we have to become a responsible people again.
Tracey [00:31:00] Well and that’s what we’re working towards. I know that at Eco2fest, there was an interesting company working on a little machine or a little tool that you could use to open black walnuts. [00:31:12] I’m really hoping that that works. That was really awesome.
All right so the poly-culture orchard that’s the one.
Douglas [00:31:26] You know we put it under orchard food production efficiencies. We’re comparing we’re using it as a comparative place of comparison with agriculture. The word agriculture comes from the Latin adjure. Adjure means field.[00:31:43] So from the Latin. So what we’ve got agriculture and what’s strange is that you know I’ve known many profs from McGill and they just throw up their hands because the agro business has so much control over McDonald College. [00:31:59] They’ve been there for decades and they can’t make a change in teaching. Well, they teach what they know. But all of the marking and all is according to what agribusiness is telling them to do.
Tracey [00:32:18] Well I guess people are looking for jobs too. So it’s those are the ones that are available.
Douglas [00:32:23] So even though even though the poly culture orchards would be 100 times more productive in inherent in any area including in the cities where they grow vertically next to her buildings right. That’s really important if we want to bring food security to to our our city areas are down.
Tracey [00:32:43] So we I was looking for recipes because if you have one recipe that people really want to have then they’re willing to get they’re willing to do a lot. Like for I know many people no longer eat currents but at our market when currents are available there’s a couple of people who come in because they’re making the jam that their grandmother has passed through the family and so just finding a good recipe. So if you have a good recipe for oak in particular or one or the other nuts, let me know and I’ll look specifically to that because I think that’s important.
Douglas [00:33:15] Yeah we can do it we can do that.[00:33:17] Before you go, I’ll crack open a couple of the white butternuts. You’ll see how easy it is with the vice-grips.
Tracey [00:33:31] Perfect. Actually I’ll take a video of you and we can put that in there shown us as well. Yeah awesome. All right. And now you know we get to the last question which I gave you ahead of time so you’ll be able to think about it do you consider yourself a Canadian? [00:33:42] And if so what does that mean to you?
Douglas [00:33:44] Well the word Canada comes from the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka people of the flint and the word Kaná:ta means village.[00:34:04] When Jacques Cartier came and he asked “what’s the name of this country” and they said, maybe not understanding the European concept of states and countries, said well this is Kaná:ta. So “we are people of the village.” [00:34:32] All our indigenous ancestors were whether they were Celtic people from Europe, from Africa, from Australia. from Asia. This was an international system. They were all using string-shell and living in villages. They were all living in hundred-person multi-home dwelling complexes because they considered that the intergenerational interaction between the grandparents and the children and the aunts and uncles and the different families having a critical mass and economies of scale. [00:35:09] What’s interesting today is that 70 per cent of our population’s live in multi-home dwellings. That’s the size that all our indigenous ancestors were looking for. Actually 100 people represents about 32 units. It turns out that the average size of our multi-home buildings is 32 units. So it’s just a very efficient unit. Even capitalism has rebuilt on that model.
So Kaná:ta. I’m a Kaná:tien, which means that I believe in redeveloping these fractals because we’re so dependent on the top so the trillionaire oligarchs at the top who control the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of International Settlements, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—they captured control of the top.[00:36:13] We don’t have that. So they’re just commanding and controlling whole populations. In fact they think that there’s probably about 10 times too many people on earth because they don’t know how to appreciate nature.
If every person just collected their poo and bio-digested their poo in a methonization chamber, we would have gas, we would have fertilizer, we would our trees would grow bigger, our butternuts would grow bigger.[00:36:45] Are all of our food would be very very easy just as it was.
Douglas You know people, researchers like Peter Kropotkin back in the 19th century, and Tolstoy and others, when they were looking at indigenous people they were describing that these people were working one hour per day.[00:37:05] Indigenous people worldwide were working one hour per day instead of ten hours per day.
Tracey [00:37:10] So that’s basically even better than Tim Ferris’ four-hour workweek.
Douglas [00:37:15] It’s based on nature and also human association.
Tracey So getting back to Canada you’re a person of the village
Tracey So what does that mean to you?
Douglas [00:37:28] Well we already live, 70% of us live in village complexes. Some kind of architecture that’s clustered where we’re sharing walls, ceilings, floors but we don’t know how to live together. And so the ancient string-shell, which was time-based accounting, that included the domestic, industrial and commercial work.
Today’s economy only accounts for commercial and industrial and doesn’t account for the domestic. So people who are doing the most important work of taking care of children and elders and looking after our very well-being, their work isn’t accounted for. It’s mostly in women but also some men too. And so redeveloping these economies right where we live already. We don’t have to move to some perfect community just where we are. So the software is designed that people will know each other. Will be able to associate with each other and trade with each other. Everything is accounted for just like it was with the string-shell.
So there were two aspects to indigenous life were the multi home and within the multi home they had the string-shell. The string-shell meant that everything was accounted for. All contributions were recognized. So celebrated and all. And then in time, when issues came up whether positive or negative they had council process so that people would sit down together and within the circle. So the circle was kind of like a recording device, a feedback machine and people would talk with each other with each given equal time according to the traditions. So bringing these two aspects together so that people can live together and work together again.
Tracey [00:39:27] All right well thank you very much I really appreciate your time. Great interview.
Speaking with Tsufit, the author of Step Into the Spotlight, is a ton of fun!
The long-time marketing coach and expert has tons of stories. We began with a hilarious little anecdote about an interview beginning on the wrong food and continued through discussions about how she’s helped entrepreneurs from all walks of life tell their stories with confidence to get more clients and a business they love.
Listen to my conversation with Tsufit
I knew this was going to be an enlightening conversation because I’ve read the inspiring emails and good conversation questions Tsufit offers group members and subscribers for years.
She didn’t disappoint.
If you’re a creator, entrepreneur or business owner, you’ve got to hear our conversation.
I’d love to know how you liked it in the comments below.
In the meantime, here are some of the resource links we mentioned:
The website of Heidy Lawrance, We Make Books.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation.
Tracey [00:00:13] And today we are speaking with Tsufit Actually, I should ask you. How do you see your first name? Only we’ve only been speaking to each other online, so I only ever get to see how it’s how it looks.
Tsufit [00:00:26] Well, and how does it look? It looks good. Well, it’s spelled TSUFIT and it’s pronounced two feet.
Tracey [00:00:27] Original and fascinating.
Tsufit [00:00:36] And I’ll tell you, I do a ton of radio interviews, podcasts, interviews in a few years ago, I was doing what they call terrestrial radio–what some people think of as real radio with a radio station.
Tsufit [00:00:47] But it was but it was done by my end by phone. And she asked me before the show the same question. You know, usually people ask me off the air as you did, and I said, save it because I have a story. So anyway, she asked me how you pronounce the name and I said she was calling me “too fit.” And I said, No, no. It’s two feet. Feet. Feet like feet. So she wrote down feet.
Tsufit [00:01:09] Right. So no, no, no. Listen. So. So that’s what she wrote down. So anyway. So we start the show. Hello, everybody, and welcome to the show. And today, our guest is award winning author Sue Foot. So she she remembered. And it was live, by the way. Because this is like radio. So she remembered the feet part, but she didn’t get it completely right.
Tracey [00:01:36] How beautiful. And so where does the name come from, what does it mean?
Tsufit [00:01:40] It’s a Hebrew, a Hebrew name and it means a hummingbird or sun bird. There was once an article in a Canadian newspaper in Ottawa that opened with something like “her name means hummingbird and it makes sense because her wings are flapping so quickly, you can’t even see them move.”
Tracey [00:02:06] And that’s because your specialty is actually getting people to shine brightly. It’s fabulous. Can you tell me a little bit about what got you into your specialty and how you actually became known basically worldwide? I mean, I didn’t even know you were a Canadian until you posted a recent email to your list, because I’ve been following you for years. And you just you said something about being in Toronto. And I’m like, wait a minute, she’s Canadian. I had no idea.
Tracey [00:02:38] Yeah. Yeah, you’re.
Tsufit [00:02:41] So, sure. Yeah. I grew up here. I’ve lived pretty much my whole life here. I was born overseas. I was born in Israel and went to the U.S. when I was about 3. My brother was born there and then came to Canada where my sister was born. And I’ve lived here ever since.
Tsufit [00:02:59] When I was a kid, I used to always to perform with neighborhood kids and then I was in the folk club at the high school Musical and then the city tent theater and musicals and then university and all that stuff. And eventually did a professional music C.D. and ended up on national TV in a Canadian sitcom for four years as the comedically-evil cafeteria lady. Her name was Ludmi Lacropitc. And so yeah, I did that.
And, you know, I had four baby daughters in four years. I had been a lawyer, a civil litigation lawyer before that when I had my kids. And then after that, I thought, you know what, now it’s time for me to go for it. For me to follow my dream. And so I did. Performing on stage and singing at festivals and TV and doing this music C.D.
But then I had four kids and 1500 CDs n my basement. So I had to learn how to market and how to get these CDs out into the world and how to get publicity. So I got a ton of publicity and I was able to sell a lot of the C.D.s and people start to ask me, how do you do that? How do you make top album lists on radio around the world? You know, the folks genre, in the world music genre. And so I slowly started coaching other people.
Tsufit [00:04:36] You know, I thought I would coach people in creative industries like music, whatever. But I ended up by more coaching entrepreneurs, maybe because they had the money to pay for it or were willing to pay for it because it was a business expense for them.
Tsufit [00:04:48] And so for the last, I don’t know, 17, 18 years, however long it is I have been coaching entrepreneurs for the first few few years to follow their dreams like I did. You know, I left law for the limelight. So I was coaching them to figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up. And, you know, often, very, very often a second career. You know, maybe an accountant wants to leave to be a skydiver. Who knows what it is.
Tsufit [00:05:15] Then it became very clear that, you know, it’s one thing to follow that dream, but it’s another thing to support for a little baby’s doing it right.
Tsufit [00:05:24] Jann Arden, another unapologetically Canadian person, very funny woman, actually, singer said that Canada is the only place where you can headline at Maple Leaf Gardens and still have to take the subway home.
Tracey [00:05:40] Exactly.
Tsufit [00:05:42] You have to explain that when I’m interviewed on American shows. But I think in Canada, we all get it. The Bare Naked Ladies, also Canadian, had to go to the US to get famous. I mean, you could have seen them any Monday night on Queen Street, but no, they had to go and be in the background on Melrose Place or whatever it is that they did to get famous. So. Blue Rodeo.
Tracey [00:06:00] The Blue Rodeo and Margueret Lawrence. I mean, everything.
Tsufit [00:06:04] Bobby Weitzman used to go to Fat Albert’s where I used to sing a little underground cafe in a church. Yeah. They say a lot of.
Tracey [00:06:11] Yeah, I used to live in Toronto, maybe I saw you sing there.
Tsufit [00:06:22] I did it for the first few years and then people said, well, can’t you just write a book? So I wrote a book called Step into the Spotlight A Guide to Getting Noticed. You know, I was recently overseas and I don’t usually check my my voicemail, my email, whatever when I’m overseas. But I had this voicemail from this very irate Canadian guy. And he said to me, you know, Tsufit. I’m a follower of your work. I’m a big fan and I’m in your Linked In group, whatever. But I have an issue with you.
Tsufit [00:06:49] Why are the spellings in your book, American Spellings? Like this is the issue.
Tsufit [00:06:55] And I had to explain to my brother why I’m calling long distance from Israel to this guy that I’ve never met. I don’t know. I personally called the guy and he was shocked that I called him. He I don’t think he even knew I was calling from overseas. He was shocked that I personally called him to explain why I used American spellings. And the reason I used American spellings is because not everybody in Canada is unapologetically Canadian. You kind of have to get known in the world like like you said, you know, you you thought I was worldwide.
Whatever I am, I do. I do think of myself as, you know, an international person. But you kind of have to get known elsewhere before people in Canada take you seriously. So the spelt color C O L O R. And it’s funny because when I post online, I do use the U. And then in brackets I always put, yeah, I’m Canadian. But in the book I thought, you know what? I want the book to be international and U.S. is kind of considered international.
Tracey [00:08:01] Yeah. Yeah. No. Well, actually, I’m working with a client on a book right now too, and we’ve decided to go with American spellings for the same reason because most of the world will accept American spellings, but Americans won’t accept other spellings. So it’s like it’s easier if you want to be global.
Tsufit [00:08:22] I when I was I was in the States in Grade 9 for a year. My dad was a–may he rest in peace–was a math professor. We were there for a year for his sabbatical. They didn’t know who our Prime minister was. I mean, there were times that I didn’t know who our prime minister were. I mean, I know every you know, I know the senators in the U.S. I watch the Democratic debates in the US. But Canadian, I just don’t know.
Tsufit [00:08:55] We had to have two Americans–I think it was Don Green and the I forget the other guys name, Michael Budman, define Canada for us with Maple Leafs and Beavers, whatever, with their Roots Company. Roots is like the Canadian company. People, they’re from Detroit. I mean, I think they went to camp here or something. Our Canadian identity is formed by, you know, Americans.
Tracey [00:09:15] I know it’s hilarius. I remember the Red Barn. I loved the Red Barn.
Tsufit [00:09:30] And it’s only very recently that I have come to appreciate that I’m Canadian, because when I was younger, I used to think of us as, you know, the baby brother of the U.S.. Like we didn’t have McDonald’s here. We had the Red Barn. But I used to say that when we got McDonald’s we became legit. When Starbucks came, when Wal-Mart came.
Tsufit [00:10:00] And now I’m thinking, wait a second. Now I embrace it. Now I look out I’m looking out as I’m speaking to you at the most gorgeous green trees. Everywhere I walk is green and big and beautiful. But you know what? This is really it’s interesting because your show is called Unapologetically Canadian. And my expertise is branding. And Canada had a bit of a branding issue.
And now I think we’re doing great at it. Right. Especially with this whole “not my president” thing. And I’m not going to I’m not going to get political, but and hopefully this will be an evergreen podcast and people will say who? And they will have no idea what we’re talking about. But. But, you know, Canada has recently upped itself on the international marketplace.
Tracey [00:10:31] Oh, yeah.
Tsufit [00:10:49] But when I was growing up, we were like Midge, not Barbie. You know, Midge was the best friend that nobody’s ever heard of. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. There was Ken and Barbie and Midge and Skipper. There was a Skipper.
Tracey [00:10:52] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tracey [00:10:59] I got made to it like. I got Midge too. I loved Midge.
Tracey [00:11:20] There was probably a sale on. Knowing my family, there was probably a sale on Midges and you could probably get them for cheaper.
Tsufit [00:11:33] Bonding over Midge.
Tracey [00:11:34] I’m in Quebec, too, so having a podcast called Unapologetically Canadian is particularly rebellious here. The last question is, as I think I warned you will be “do you consider yourself Canadian? And not everybody says yes. It always creates an interesting conversation. That’s the last question.
Tsufit [00:11:51] I’ll have to. I’ll have to. Thanks for the warning. I’ll have to come up with a good answer by then, but I’ll forget about it for so quick back. That’s right. Well, you know what, I have to tell you, when I was applying to law school, not law school before law school, when I was applying to undergrad, I got a nice scholarship offer from McGill and did not get initially I didn’t get a scholarship from UofT and my dad said, go to UofT.
Tracey [00:11:56] Yeah. Yeah.
Tracey [00:11:59] It is, and there isn’t there? And my my annoyance is when everyone says the rest of Canada here, I’m really quite annoyed. I’m like, what do you mean the rest of Canada?
Tracey [00:12:31] Yeah, yeah. It’s not unstable anymore. Well, actually, what I want to talk to you about is actually your specialty.
Tracey [00:12:46] Well, it’s fabulous. I do want to talk to you about your branding expertise because I learned about you because of your LinkIn Group, which has been going on for quite a while and isn’t as active now as it was then. But I just found it fascinating, some of the experiences that you talked about on that group. What are your three or maybe. Well, let’s start with your favorite solution that you’ve helped someone find when it comes to making their branding. I love that group. That’s why I think.
Tsufit [00:13:50] We’ve managed to attract the who’s who of Whoville to the group, not just people like you, but, you know, the entrepreneur, Entrepreneur Magazine Editor in chief, and, you know, the award winners. We are active. We you know, we’d like to be to get more notifications sent out.
Tracey [00:14:08] I’m one of those people who doesn’t yet know that’s what I’m one of those people who doesn’t see it often enough because it LinkedIn. I didn’t realize.
Tsufit [00:14:17] You know what our members do.
Tsufit [00:14:18] If any of your listeners who want to join our group go to Spotlight Group.biz. If you tell me you’re a friend of Tracey’s or if you had a Midge doll, you’re right away in. Anyway.
The group is very active. And people what they do is they keep that spotlight group dot biz forward on their desktop and they’re in there every single day. In fact, the Huffington Post business wrote about us as being one of the few LinkedIn tech groups that has not become a ghost town. In fact, LinkedIn itself has contacted me several people at linked to work for LinkedIn and interviewed me about how I keep the group so engaged.
Tsufit [00:15:03] And in fact, very recently one of them said that she was interviewed for a big US magazine and she mentioned our group as being one that embodies the, you know, the purpose of LinkedIn.
Tsufit [00:15:17] But anyway, to answer your question, you asked about solutions. What you want to just narrow in a little bit?
Tracey [00:15:23] Yeah, I want it. Yeah. Well, what I wanted to just talk about was you, because your specialty is helping people get attention on their brand and get the right kind of attention. And so I just wanted to talk about one of the solutions that you’ve come up with with people because you’re constantly.
I mean, the thing I love about your group is that everybody talks about personal stories all the time. And they talk about how they’ve solved something for themselves or for others. And you’re one of those people who always is mentioning an interesting story. So I thought it would be fun to talk about one of whatever one you think would be fun to talk about for right now.
Tracey [00:16:12] That’s perfect.
Tsufit [00:16:14] OK, so in general, if you want to get attention for yourself or your brand, obviously the things to do are get out there and speak, you know, speak to networking group, speak to business groups, speak at conferences, whatever, if you want to know how you get speaking engagements.[00:16:29] For me, I went to business networking events, did a really good 30 seconds. I thought of it like a 30 second show and people started asking me to speak, you know, paid engagements, not paid engagements, depending who the audience was. If it made sense, I did it. Even keynoted a bunch of conferences. Did it at a bunch of conferences. And many of those came from just going to the local Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, the DNI, whatever it is, let’s give and just do 30 seconds. So that’s one way.
The other way is to write a book, which, as you know, I did Step into the Spotlight, A Guide to Getting Noticed or start writing articles to get them on, you know, article distribution sites, get them on other people’s blogs, do it on LinkedIn. Be active in social media. Join groups. I’m a member of other groups as well, not only my own. And and maybe, you know, create your own platform like I did with the LinkedIn group.
So those are kind of general ways that you can get noticed and get known. Make sure when you open your mouth that there’s some that there is a story. You mentioned story, that there is a story to it, that there is some color, some flavor, some humor or something, you know, that makes it stand out.
Tsufit [00:17:37] I have so many clients who are like coaches or financial advisors and the saying the same old boy or boring stuff as everybody else. I’m not gonna get you noticed to get a little more particular. Give you a couple examples of how I help my clients do exactly that.
Tsufit [00:17:50] I had a client who came to me because she had a speaking bureau, but she was not a professional speaker herself. Speaker’s bureau. But she was invited by one of the professional speaker’s associations to come give a speech because she ran this bureau. She came to me because she said Tsufit. I don’t want to look bad in front of these people. And my speech was kind of dry and boring.
And I said her, well, yeah, you’re right. Your speech is dry and boring. Let’s see what we can do about it. I’m not very good at tying up the truth in a pretty red ribbon. I just tell it like it is.
So what we did was I asked her about, you know, her story. I asked her, you know, tell me about you. Tell me about you as a kid. What did you do? How was your childhood?
And she said, well, she grew up on a tomato farm and she used to help her dad pick tomatoes and take them to market. And I said, well, that’s interesting. And that can help us out some color because tomatoes are colorful. Right? The red, you can visualize them. And so we made this analogy between tomatoes and speakers.
And we said in her speech that some speakers are just seedlings and they’re not ready for market. They’re just growing. Others are still too green to go to market. Others are ripe and plump and juicy and ready for market. And other tomatoes are just plain rot. Just like some speakers. So she used that and she used that analogy. We dressed or up in some red gingham or whatever it was. She went to this thing and she was a hit. She said there was a lineup of people waiting to speak to her afterwards. So any one of us can do this.
Tsufit [00:19:26] I had another client who used to go to the networking events and she’d do her 30 seconds and she’d say, hi, I’m so and so. I have a graphic design company. So for all your graphic design needs, whether it’s a web site or a book or a brochure or, you know, we can help you buy our business cards, we can help you. And so finally, one of her friends pushed her to come to me, which took her about two years to get around to doing it.
And when she finally did, I said to her, what’s the matter for you? Every buddy has an uncle or a neighbor or a, you know, a friend who is a graphic designer. Everybody. Nobody needs your silly little web sites because everybody’s got some nephew. I mean, my first Web site was made by somebody nephew for a few hundred bucks, right. It was a young kid in high school. OK. And that was then. Right? That was like 20 years ago now. Are you kidding me? I do. You’re all right. So that’s not going to do it. But I said books. Not everybody does books.
So she changed the name of her business to we make books, DOT c.a., she made a plaque for her because she had a brick and mortar business as well. She made a plaque that said we made books .ca for the front door. So that was part of it getting narrow in particular. But the other part of it was telling her story. So I did the same thing with her.
Tsufit [00:20:47] I said, OK, tell me your story. Tell me, where did you grow up? Where were you born? Well, she told me a very interesting story, that she was born in the Swiss Alps. She grew up in a 600 year-old-farm house at the top of the hill and or mountain or whatever it was. It just used to have to go. She loved books, used love to read. She used to have to go down all the way down to the valley to get books from the library because that’s where it was. And I said, you know, wouldn’t be cool if we said that your favorite book was Heidi. And she said Tsufit. It was.
The reason I suggested that way. It would be cool to say that other than the Swiss Alps thing is because her name was Heidi also. Although Heidi with a y. Yes, this is true. You can’t make this stuff up. But the only difference is she was, Heidi, with a Y instead of with an eye like the story. Anyway, so we tell this story. She starts telling it at networking meetings.
Tracey [00:21:29] No, you’ve gotta be kidding me.
Tsufit [00:21:41] It changed everything.
Tsufit [00:21:44] All of a sudden, she wasn’t shy and talking into her lap, you know, when she she she held her head high and she started talking only about books. She started getting known for books. Well, so much that to the point that when I taught the book creation workshop, which I teach people how to write books. I brought her on as a guest for, you know, the part about actually getting it published or self publishing a book. Because she got a lot more confident about speaking. And that came because she was telling a good story that people were interested to hear. She could, she could have gone for the rest of her life telling the same old boring story.
Tracey [00:22:27] Yeah, I know, and That’s fabulous. Those are exactly the kind of examples that I saw you speaking about in the Linkedln Group continually and actually your email list is fabulous too, because you’ve taken to I don’t know what gave you this idea, but lately you’re sending us different ads that you really like and why you like them.
Tracey [00:22:48] And that is a part of why I love it. It’s a spot of brilliance. And I’ll put him in the show notes, too, by the way. Oh, I will put all of this in the show notes.
Tsufit [00:22:49] Yeah, I’ll I’ll tell you why, actually. I’ll tell you why. First of all, for any of your listeners who want in on this, if you go to WWW dot spotlight secrets with an S at the end, dot com spotlight secrets dot com. Put your name, your full name and your email address. A second form will pop up thanks to the Canadian government with anti spam regulations. A second form will pop up and you’ll have to put your name and email again and your country. Once you do that, you’re confirmed and you will get the same series that Traecy is speaking about.
Tsufit [00:23:22] Now how that came about was I decided 13 years ago to share a few tips. It was eleven spotlight secrets. That’s all it was gonna be. It was 11 when I was done. I was done. I wasn’t gonna bug people. I’m Canadian. We’re polite. We’re not aggressive marketers. I wasn’t gonna bug people for the rest of their lives. OK. So eleven tips. And it was over, right?
So I go to this conference in Dallas and one of the loyal people on my list, which has been going for 13 years now. One of the people on the list said to me, Tsufit, how come you stopped sending me emails? And I said, well, there 11 tips. You got them over 11 weeks or so. You know, it wasn’t exactly 11 weeks sometimes or a few days apart, sometimes a week, sometimes ten days. But you got all eleven. I’m done. I don’t want to bug you.
She goes, Oh, don’t bug me. I love your stuff, right? So I came home and wrote a 12th one which said I went to a conference in Dallas. I met this woman. She told me, how come you stopped it? Like I just told you the same on the 12th e-mail, I just told the same story I just told you right now, which was the truth. Right. So that was the 12th e-mail. And I said, OK, I’m going to keep sending you guys stuff. Right. And I thought, well, what am I going to say? Because the first eleven were about, you know, how you stand out in 30 seconds.
But after that, I thought, OK, what else can I share? So if I saw an interesting ad or if I maybe reasons to write a book or I forget what I’ve added over it, but now there’s like nine hundred days now they don’t come every day. I think they come more or less once a week. Now the first few days are more like three in a week, and then they’re down to every seven to 10 days. But I’ve got almost two and a half soon to be three years worth of that.
And you know what? I’ve had people on there for 13 years. So when they’re done, they just go back to the beginning and start again because, you know, you don’t get it all at once. Just like I’ve had a woman who told me she’s read my book thirty five times because you see stuff that you didn’t see the first time that you read it.[00:25:21] Now, I’m feeling a little bit of pressure that I have to keep adding because I’m thinking, you know what? Like, I know that a lot of the people are at a certain point where soon they’re going to run out. So I keep thinking, OK, what can I add? What can I add? And so whenever I see something cool, I just, you know, take a few minutes and add another to the series. It works on an auto responder. So I don’t physically send it out because it means that people get it wherever they are in the sequence.
Tsufit [00:25:49] So if you if you start today on day one, you’re not going to get the note that Tracey got today. You’re gonna get the day one note.
Tracey [00:25:56] Yeah. Which is the. But those 11 tips are worthwhile, too. So it’s a worthwhile signing up regardless of when you sign up. I mean, it’s a. Yeah, well, because what you specialize in is important to everybody, regardless of where they are on their entrepreneurial journey. You still need to be standing out for, you know, whatever you’re trying to do. You can’t do anything unless you start with standing out. It’s true, it’s like I read those thoughts that we all have.
Tsufit [00:26:03] Well, thank you, and I’ll just tell you that I’ve had more than one and more than two and more than three, I don’t even know how many people ask for permission to syndicate those first eleven tips on their web site or to put them in their newsletter or in an article because people do want to share them.
Tsufit [00:26:32] That’s well, you know, that’s so true because I was actually watching the tape of the Democratic convention last night because I missed it when it aired, and it really struck me how some people understand the concept of sound bites or 30 seconds or or giving an answer that has an end to it and other people just ramble on until somebody says, OK, that’s enough, we’re moving to the next person. They just don’t get it. The concept that if you know your time is limited. Like if you’re on.
I mean, this podcast is, you know, a long form podcast. So I can, you know, speak a little bit more at length. But when I do radio interviews, if you’re on drive time radio, it could be a five minute spot. It could be an eight minute spot. I’ve done TV where it’s like eight minutes. That goes in a blink of an eye. Like you just open your mouth and it’s done and you’re thinking, seriously, we’re done. You have to learn how to be effective and stand out in such a short period of time. And also to make what you say remarkable enough that people will repeat it, that people will remember you by it.
Tsufit [00:27:46] They may not remember my name. Tsufit is not the easiest name for people in Canada to remember. T.S. U. F I T is not something that you see very often here. But even if they don’t remember the name, I remember I was at a networking meeting once and I gave a business card to the woman in charge of the meeting and she didn’t remember my name, but the card stood out and what it said on the card stood out. And she was telling people about it, even if she couldn’t remember the name. And sometimes now if people forget my name, they say, oh, you know that woman that, you know, talks about stepping into the spotlight or even before I had step into the spotlight, you know, that woman that teaches you how to stand out in public and she’s always and she’s funny. And people would come up with my name. So you have to figure out what is your branding, what do you stand for?
Tsufit [00:28:31] And you know who’s really terrible about this? Coaches are really bad at this. Financial advisors are really bad at this. Realtors are really bad at this because realtors will say, you know, now’s a good time to buy or sell a house because mortgage rates are low. And what realtor doesn’t say that. And like the graphic designers, everybody has a next door neighbor and an uncle and, you know, a coworker who’s a realtor. So if you don’t do something to stand out, you’re forgotten.
Tsufit [00:29:06] I was speaking at a coaching conference in Las Vegas and I met probably a thousand coaches and 999 of them probably said the identical thing. They all said more or less some version of I helped my clients break through the barriers and I helped them, you know. Is he a bigger vision, a blob above. Above? Well, I don’t remember any of them, but there was one woman, one coach, who said, I help bosses that are have been identified as aggressive.
Tracey [00:29:40] Oh, my God. That’s fabulous. Oh, you’ve got to remember that and you know, to refer them to.
Tsufit [00:29:47] Exactly. And and, you know, there are some issues that are more obscure, like there was a guy in my LinkedIn group who coached or taught trained anger management for physicians. OK, so he had two specialties. One is the anger management specialty and the second is for physicians. OK, so that’s double narrowing. That one is to narrow on topic and the second to narrow on audience. You’ve got to do one or the other or you know, ideally to do you should do both.
Most financial advisors don’t do that. Most coaches don’t do that. You know, I saw another I think he was actually a psychiatrist or psychologist. But let’s say it was a coach who coached people who fell in love with inmates. OK. That is not an everyday occurrence. You’re not going to go to your local BNI or your local networking meeting and stand and do your 30 seconds. And they’re gonna say, oh, I fell in love with an inmate. Right.
Tsufit [00:30:45] But but, but, but, but but there are a lot of there are thousands and probably many more than that in the world. And if you can get articles written about you, the word will spread in that small group and you will be the guy. You’ll be the person in that group.
Tsufit [00:31:03] When when my music C.D. came out, it was independently done. There was a graphic designer who wasn’t stupid, like a lot of I should use the word stupid, but he wasn’t like most graphic designers and said, you know, I’m a graphic designer for all your Web site. You. No, no. He specialized in the music industry. So, you know, like my client who specializes in books. This guy made the covers for music C.Ds. Right.
So I would go to music conferences. He would not only be onstage introducing people, but he did the little side things where you get, you know, five free minutes with the thing. So when I went to do my music, C.D., he was the first guy I called. No, I didn’t end up using him, because the truth is, I didn’t love his designs. I used somebody else. And I actually drew the first picture and then had an artist, you know, draw it, design it.
Tracey [00:31:40] Cora.
Tsufit [00:31:51] But he was the first guy I called because he had made a niche for himself, a brand.
Tracey [00:31:52] Right. Yeah.
Tracey [00:31:57] That’s great advice. And and now when your book. When does your book get published? Because now you are.
Tsufit [00:32:04] It came out a while ago, but people are still buying it, they’re buying it by the case and it is spreading to places like, you know, pair. It’s bringing me clients from New Zealand and Hong Kong and France. You know, the good thing about a book is it’s got the pass along value. Right. So, you know, it’s one thing for me to get my message out there. But some of my clients, I’ve never met. They met my book somewhere, you know, they ran it. One of them. He doesn’t even know who told him about the book. But he’s been my client for many years.
Tracey [00:32:41] No way. What I was going to say is the kind of thing that you would actually give out at conferences and things. So that’s why I was asking when it when it came out, because it is the perfect version of what I think of when you think of a book and a brand message all in one, because your brand message is the cover of your book.
Tsufit [00:33:01] The truth is, I don’t recommend that authors necessarily give them out at conferences unless you’ve made some arrangement with the person who asked you to speak at the conference and they bought them from you, or it’s part of your fee. When it first came out, I did give some to a conference of bloggers. Because that made sense, right? Every person there is a blog, especially at that time, it was a form of media. So, you know, I did that.
But generally when I go to a conference, I do something else. I make sure that the store in the hotel has my book on the counter for the week that I’m there. Which I arrange a month or two ahead of time. People show up at the conference. They see my book there. They think I’m super famous. Right. Then they meet me in person. They go, oh, my God, I just saw your book, right. They don’t know that. I arranged for it to be there. They just think it’s everywhere in the whole U.S. and the whole continent. Right. Because they happen to see it. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to arrange, I will tell you that, and I don’t share that very often, actually.
But there is our little secret with you and it because if everybody does it, it won’t be effective. But there is a little you know, I do a lot of podcasts, as you know, I told you I’m doing 4 today. You’re the third of four today. And yours is the first today that I’ve divulged that secret on. Because like I said, if everybody does it, it won’t be effective for me anymore. But there you go. You got a golden nugget that most people don’t get.
Tracey [00:33:40] Oh, that’s brilliant. I love that idea.
Tracey [00:34:01] Oh, I’m going to take that on as a mission for. Actually, I have a conference next month. I’m going to phone the hotel bookstores right away. I mean, that’s brilliant.
Tracey [00:34:15] Now, you shared it publicly, but I love it.
Tracey [00:34:37] Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that. We are coming to the end of our conversation. So as you know, the last question in my series is do you consider yourself a Canadian? And if and what does that mean to you, regardless of the answer.
Tsufit [00:34:55] You know, I I totally forgot that you were gonna spring this on me, even though you warned me again. And it’s interesting because I guess the answer is yes and no.
Tsufit [00:35:08] I’m a lot prouder and happier to be a Canadian now than I was growing up. I mean, growing up, I thought it was you know, we were the no name brand of the U.S. I mean, that’s how it kind of felt, right? Generic. I I now feel we have a stronger, better brand. It’s green, it’s beautiful, it’s clean. And I really do identify with it many ways. So in that sense, yes.
And I remember after 9/11 going to my kid’s school and they played, oh, Canada, it was just like a few days later or the week after, I almost started crying just hearing, Oh, Canada. It just felt so great to be here.
And and I just recently saw the movie based on Come from Away. And you know what happened, out there. It’s very powerful. So, yes, I mean, I love the fact that I’m Canadian. It feels it feels refreshing to travel in the world and and say we’re Canadian, which which is very exciting to me now. And the Roots thing did help. I mean, this identity of being green and clean and beautiful and natural and and polite and nice and all those things are great. So in that sense, yes. And I’m very proudly Canadian.
Tracey [00:35:53] Yeah.
Tsufit [00:36:21] In another sense, I really feel international. I mean, I am a citizen of another country. I was born in another country. That’s one thing. But so I’m a citizen of both.
Tsufit [00:36:32] But the other thing is, I really don’t think of my identity as to do with where I am.
Tsufit [00:36:40] I think of my identity as me, wherever I happen to be. So I do feel like I am international.
Tsufit [00:36:46] That said, this is a great place to call home.
Tracey [00:36:51] That’s it. I don’t. It’s interesting because regardless of whether you grew up here or not, the answer to that question is so diverse. It’s perfect for the person that I’m speaking to. And I cannot believe that you ended on global, when I started with thinking of you as a global brand person. It just gets a little bit deeper about how people really are.
People who are good at being themselves are themselves no matter what they are doing, including answering the question about nationalism, which, you know, people can be uncomfortable. Are you a Canadian is actually a very uncomfortable question. So I appreciate your honesty.
Tsufit [00:37:34] Well, you know, I brag about it now, though, online, I brag about all the time because like I said, I deliberately when I’m posting, I very often use the Canadian spellings and that always in brackets. I say, yeah, I’m Canadian or yes, I’m from Igloo country or, you know, whatever something because again, that makes us stand out.
And and I love the title of your show, Unapologetically Canadian, because the truth is, when I grew up, we were kind of apologetic about it, like we were, you know, kind of the. And now I feel like we’re the superior brand. That’s really flipped for me at least.
Tracey [00:38:11] Well, the extraordinary thing is we are known around the world for saying sorry. Too often. Often. I mean, that’s why I used unapologetically Canadian. So often people say, oh, you say sorry to often, you must be Canadian.
Tsufit [00:38:18] Yeah. Not me, not me.
Tsufit [00:38:26] You know, it’s so funny, you know, it’s so funny. I just got back from overseas a few weeks ago and I was in the grocery store and I said, I don’t know if I bumped into a woman or she bumped into me. This woman apologized to me for something which it made no sense to me at all that she should be apologizing to me. And I kind of joked with her and I said, back in Canada, right. Like you’re apologing. Anywhere else, you’re pushing, you’re doing whatever, but here, like you’re apologizing for that. Like, I must be back in Canada. And we both laughed about it.
Tracey [00:39:03] That’s true. Well, thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it.