Choosing the wrong content provider can be a Buzz Killer!

Let’s Get to The Facts, Shall We?

As a freelance consultant and “hands-on” search engine optimization (SEO) content marketer, one of the biggest obstacles I face is challenging business owners and enterprise project managers to re-think how they currently manage content. There is a multitude of reasons for the reluctance. Great SEO takes time and quality content can be expensive. Experts charge anywhere from 25 to 100 US dollars per hour.

How much does quality content cost?

Here is the skinny.

An article of eight hundred words takes roughly four to six hours to create, depending on the amount of research needed. That means one piece at a twenty-five dollar rate will cost 100 dollars. It is the reason I always advocate for my clients to talk to a few people or agencies before hiring me if money is a concern. My fee is well within the market range, and I state how many hours I will need to complete the task from the onset. 

Generally speaking, my articles stay below the 200-dollar mark; if an article takes longer, I do not charge for the added time. I want my clients to have an educated point of view from which to make decisions. Yes, I am that confident in what I do.  

Remember, agencies help offer large-scale marketing and SEO. Still, they are sometimes less effective in providing content because they often have no choice but to sacrifice quality for quantity. The good news, with Google’s strict policies, things are improving. I am ecstatic; nothing is more frustrating than reading content that makes little or no sense. Don’t get me started on clickbait. If you want to know, read my recent article, “Clickbait is not a good marketing tactic, here’s why.” Google needs to address that problem in the future. That is a story for another day.

“You get what you pay for” when you cut corners.

Boutique SEO agencies often use a cookie-cutter system and need several people working on one client’s account; therefore, brand content may lack a consistent tone. The content can be disconnected because it lacks any “personal” touch or investment from the employee. A cookie-cutter system offers the same service or strategy to all clients. It is easier for the agency to manage but needs more to provide a unique voice to individual clients. 

I have been providing services under the moniker seosam2011 for the past 20 years. I have seen Google algorithms change animals from bears to penguins and even hummingbirds! Today, artificial intelligence and relevance are all the rage. Algorithms are the guidelines for ranking on search engine pages. Contrary to popular belief, there are many Google algorithms. Each of the algorithms addresses different aspects of the content, which is how experience plays a crucial role in managing content. New writers and SEO providers tend to believe there is only one. 

Here is why a personal touch matters.

A content agency wants to get the job done at the best price. Depending on the brand and the firm, this can be a good thing or bad, creating the risk of a negative campaign or loss of reputation.

An agency contacted me to work for them. They had one client with six different products and services running under one corporate brand that they wanted me to manage. My job was to provide content; it should have been easy for a seasoned professional like myself.

close up photo of woman biting her lower lip
Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

Let’s get down to why I decided not to take this offer.

Each product was closely related but different and sold in various industries. One industry blog was doing relatively well, the other, not so great. The firm asked me to focus on the one product with the best ROI and just “upkeep” the other. The assessment was that the site was not converting, and they did not want to invest much time in it because the “numbers” didn’t add up. Note that both websites had different products.  

Why create two websites if you only focus on one? Is your client aware that you are only trying to sell some of its products? Is it just for SEO purposes? Backlinks? My spidey senses took over, and I had to investigate.

Through asking questions and researching a little further, I realized the other site was not converting because they were using a very “selling” tone. This overselling approach was likely tuning people out. To make matters worse, the social media they implemented was not engaging and scheduled only “selling products” posts. How boring is that? 

SEO is only one aspect of content management, and it can be a natural buzz killer when the content is not engaging.

I explained that their client would have a much better ROI on the other side and could obtain a few more “followers” with a few adjustments to the content. He was trying to control the narrative, “If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, the clients that we are reaching for this product are large buying companies that only use keywords and search engines to find products, so we are just focusing on SEO for now. 

Their client is the only business in the world with one type of buyer and focuses on one product for a company selling six and expects a good ROI from organic search alone. Someone should have checked the memo on how important relevance and reputation are for ranking and how to build that through connecting with your target market. 

It did not matter to them the client was not getting the service they deserved, only that the numbers they provided to the client justified the means of the money they were spending. I could not be a part of this madness because my reputation matters. 

The worse part, it was an easy thing to fix.

Fixing this situation was a simple adjustment to the original plan to be more creative and flexible with the digital content. It would entail rewriting the content and crafting posts to attract potential clients. I did not think this was a difficult task, and felt it was thier obligation to do so, but there was not much convincing him; he said, “the marketing plan is solid, and we are moving forward with it. Can you do the job or not?”

person wearing red hoodie
Photo by Sebastiaan Stam on Pexels.com

On that note, Houston, I am getting out before getting stuck in this space capsule.

While it may sound arrogant on my part, sometimes you have to draw your line in the sand to remain loyal to yourself and your brand. 

I explained how his lack of caring for his client’s needs was disheartening to those of us who work hard to provide good services and cannot compete with the big agencies.

He needed to change direction. He did not want to. His response felt close to him, flipping me off in a friendly way. This happens alot to experts who challenge authority and is often perceived as being arrogrant and a “know-it-all.” Why is experience and intelligence considered to be a negative attribute? It should be considered an asset.

Marketing is a collaborative effort; even as a freelance, you are a team member and should be treated and respected as a trained professional. There was no point in considering the job in this situation because it would only frustrate me to work for someone with this outdated mindset.

Houston, my gasket is about to blow!

“Well, it doesn’t matter anymore. We proceed with all of our packages and clients this way. SEO content is all we provide. We offer a plan, and customers agree or not. You write that is your job it is not to question our methods.”

And on that note, I knew the job had imploded right before my eyes.  

If you accept a job knowing full well that you are providing “less than desirable” results regardless of the position that you are in, you are selling yourself short. Compromising your principles for money affects your brand and all brands associated with you. Protect and keep it clean and free from clients more interested in profits than success.  


Clickbait is not a good marketing tactic, here’s why.

To be a great marketer, you must think like the user.

I have seen it happen a great deal (and I am pretty sure I have done this myself); a marketer gets a great idea, pitches it to the team and runs with the campaign only to realize that while it works for them, it lacks appeal with the populous.

That is because they were not thinking like the user.

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A marketer’s job is to theorize what a user wants and needs, but sometimes that theory is based solely on the outcome or interests of the brand. I have often had to explain to management; it does not matter what you want; it only matters what the client does. It is a hard pill to swallow and can induce feelings of hurt and rejection, but the fact is, it is just business, not personal.

Clickbait is the best example of this. Users hate it!

Ask yourself, how annoying is it to ask a question only to be taken off on a twenty-minute tangent and then never get the response you need? Do you feel like you just wasted valuable time? Would you avoid asking this person in the future? This is what clickbait feels like to a user when they are taken on a clickbait journey that doesn’t provide an answer to the headline question. To be honest, it infuriates me.

Clickbait helps the SEO team show its worth. The number of clicks from clickbait can be impressive. What is the actual conversion rate of these click-based sales? To answer this, you need to know if there is click through.

Clickbait is a complex metric to measure because it is a method to improve SERP rankings and often doesn’t even have a conversion point to measure with. It is a basic understanding among professionals that content placed at the top of the rankings will eventually convert but is the effort worth the outcome?

In this trying time, relying solely on improving rankings and advertising is risky. It may produce quick sales results, but brand loyalty is the only accurate measure of success.

The ultimate goal of marketing is to convert and turn conversions into repeat sales (also known as customer retention). It can only happen when your customers love your brand.

Photo by Brent Keane on Pexels.com

Clickbait will not achieve this.

  1. Misleading headlines create distrust in the brand.
  2. People have limited time to waste. Clickbait is time-consuming. It is content written to impress Google, not the reader. It is modern-day SEO with good grammar and lots of digital media.
  3. It assumes the user is gullible. You want to educate a user about your brand, not assume they are “dumb”.

There will always be a certain level of clickbait.

Crafting headlines is an actual job that some consider a form of art. As a content writer, one of the most challenging parts of my job is coming up with a great headline to attract readers, but I have a set of standards to follow.

  1. The story needs to match the headline.
  2. If the headline asks a question, I will answer it.
  3. The story needs to help the reader in some way. Inform, persuade or entertain.
  4. I write for the user first and foremost. Yes, it is possible. It took me years of training.
  5. Last but most important, I try to put myself in the user’s shoes and not the shoes of the brand or industry.

I am not the norm in my industry because I often dispel popular money-generating myths. I truly believe that hard work will always yield better returns than quick profit-making SEO strategies that kill brands. Why would I want to propose something to my clients, that I would never do myself and knowing I may potentially lose them in the future to bad advice?

It truly is a question of clickbait. I can tell you what you need to hear, or I can tell you what you want to hear. I am not “that” marketer, and that makes me smile.


Online dating made me want to stay single

The best way that I can describe my journey into what I now consider the black pit hole of modern dating is to say that a few lonely nights got the better of me.

Compared to most people I would consider myself to be quite reserved when it comes to sharing information on the web and often I will provide false information when I have no other option. Needless to say, creating a “dating profile” did not come that easy for me but I managed to complete it, uploaded some pictures and waited to see what would happen.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

OMG. It was not even ten minutes before I got my first like.

I must admit I was somewhat surprised and flattered by the number of likes and requests that I received in such a short amount of time. If online dating is good for anything, it is the confidence boost it offers when someone validates your photos. Curious to see who liked me, I browsed my potential connections and “liked” a few profiles that interested me. Ding an instant message popped up, and just like that, a new world opened up for me. I was on my way to finding what I was looking for.

Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for. I was hoping to have a conversation and see what developed from there.

It didn’t take long before I started to feel like a fish out of water. Let’s meet Joe. Joe was my first connection, also known as the first person I responded to. In his profile, he stated he was Irish, liked camping, cooking, dancing and was seeking to find the love of his life. In the first few exchanges we had, I thought he seemed like a decent person. After the fifth text, he said, “I want to see you naked sends some pictures.” I replied, “You haven’t even asked me my name.” Block. Delete. Moving on. I was still optimistic at this point.

Meet Tyron. Tyron is a doctor from Canada living in Uganda and works for doctors without borders. Tyron’s first text, “I surgeon from the borders and will return home soon.” Sure, you are, NEXT! Tyron, if you are going to scam someone at least have the decency to make it seem somewhat realistic. And then I met the man of my dreams, Bradley Cooper. Yes, the Bradley Cooper. He was trying to find his true love and didn’t like Hollywood types. Did you know that Bradley Cooper is right here in Montreal filming for his next movie in the middle of Covid? Lastly, who can forget my personal favourite; a friend of a friend who I thought may have potential asks me why I am not responding to his texts. He has sent over twenty in the past few minutes and is getting angrier by the minute. Dude, you are not the center of my universe. Control freak, please go away!

I didn’t find a connection. What I did find was myself becoming increasingly annoyed by the fact that I couldn’t find one person who didn’t want to have sex within the first few minutes of our conversation. Doesn’t anyone talk anymore? Doesn’t anyone just want to go out to dinner or take a cruise and get to know someone? What happened to real connections, is this a thing of the past? If so, I think I will take a hard pass. I may not know exactly what I am looking for but it is not this. I would rather stay single than spend my life with someone who thinks that a conversation involves three texts and two words: send pics.


What about the indirect Covid-19 deaths no one talks about? Essential Workers.

May 21st of 2020 started off like any other day, with me waking up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee. It was a week after I celebrated my 55th birthday. My family bought me a laptop and I was parading it around the house preparing for an upcoming interview. The red dye in my hair was barely set when a knock came to my door that would change my life forever.

You can never really prepare for the feeling you get when you see a police officer at your door. A flood of emotions and “what if scenarios” play out in your mind and you barely have time to grasp the severity of the situation.

Your imagination is sometimes worse than reality. Sometimes.

I am not sure if I was in shock but when the officer explained to me that I needed to go to the hospital because my husband was in a serious car accident I replied, “I just dyed my hair.” Then, reality hit. The hospital was an hour away and I did not know a single person who could drive me. How can I drive when I am shaking and my sugar feels like it is going through the roof?

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Shocker – The police officer told me I would have to drive myself as it was not their responsibility. Let me get this straight. My husband could die while I am on the road, and I could cause an accident driving under duress, but it’s not the responsibility of the police to ensure my safety? My thought at that moment was, “Then, what exactly are you doing here? You could have saved a trip and called me instead.” There is something seriously wrong with this. This situation needs to be addressed. It will, but that is a story for another day.

Agitated, I did the only thing I could do, I washed the dye out of my hair, canceled my interview, and drove to the hospital to learn that my husband had died at the scene a few hours earlier. The doctor put it this way, “Your husband did a U-Turn, hit a truck and died.” I was shocked at the callousness in her voice and that she was quick to blame my husband. My daughter had a meltdown.

After hearing this devastating news I had to drive my truck once again to get it out of the hospital parking lot. When I think back, I realize how dangerous that actually was. My children could have lost both parents on that day.

If things were not bad enough what transpired in the next six months makes my skin crawl.

Who do I hold responsible for my husband’s death? Covid-19? Canada Post? The Postal Worker’s Union? Myself? You will have to decide for yourself.

This story does not start on the date of my husband’s death, it began in June of 2019 when my husband Ross was hired by Canada Post as a relief mail carrier. From June to mid-November he did not work a great deal but things started to pick up towards the end of November and continued well into the new year.

An RSMC’s job is stressful because you have to be on call, continuously learn new routes and deliver all parcels and flyers in order to meet the requirements of the no return to depot policy set by Canada Post.

My husband Ross was relentless in his pursuit to do a better job by mapping out his own routes, taking additional training, and even driving to the area beforehand to prepare. That was his personality, a perfectionist who took responsibility for his own part in making his job less stressful. As we drove along the routes he would proudly point out areas of interest such as local restaurants, beautiful homes and potential camping sites. We would often savour the local flavor. Despite the pitfalls, he loved his job and was proud to follow in the footsteps of his older brother who had recently retired from Canada Post.

He was finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable in performing his job when the Christmas season hit. CBC Canada describe it as “Unprecedented Canada Post demand means no guarantee parcels will be home for Christmas” in its article from December 20, 2020.

Christmas time was so hectic that he was often called to help deliver parcels on Sundays and during the week alongside the “posties” as they like to refer to themselves.

A small break just after the holidays was short-lived when the Coronavirus outbreak hit. An influx of online shopping made way for the perfect storm. The employees described the situation as similar or worse than a Christmas and boxing day together.

In the early stages of the virus, my husband noted that there were no gloves or hand sanitizer in the depot. He was worried about getting me sick because I have a list of auto-immune diseases. Luckily, we were prepared for this and had lots of it on hand.

It was not until a number of complaints from employees across Canada did Canada Post begin to implement Covid-19 measures. The first measure was to ring and drop parcels. It did not help alleviate the amount of parcels only the method of delivery.

By this time things were getting hectic and my husband was working almost everyday. Eventually, additional Coronavirus measures were put in place because an employee contracted the disease and it was this decision that changed everything.

Canada Post implemented a sort staggering policy to limit the number of employees in the depot at the same time. My husband was informed that because of his lack of seniority, he would only be allowed into the depot at 10:30 to start to sort his mail before heading on his route.

Let me explain – While the concept of sort staggering is a good safety measure, the way in which it was implemented was (in my opinion) a complete failure. If you are an experienced mail carrier, your mail sort probably takes an hour or two and then you are out of the depot on the road delivering your mail. If you arrive at the depot at 7:30 or 8:30 you are heading out in the morning with ample time to finish your route during the day. An inexperienced mail carrier will probably take two to three hours to do the mail sort which means if they don’t arrive to the depot before 10:30 am they will not be starting their route until mid-afternoon. A mail carrier cannot deliver all mail and parcels during the day if they are only starting out into the route in the afternoon. This was my husband’s case.

As a result of the new policy, Ross was working late into the night, exhausted and under constant stress to deliver every piece of mail as per the no return to depot policy.

Monday May 18th was a holiday and as you can imagine this created an additional backlog on Tuesday that he was unable to complete. By Wednesday evening he was extremely exhausted and clearly overwhelmed. Almost in tears he kept saying,” I cannot deliver everything if I have to leave the depot so late. I tried so many ways to do it, it just cannot be done. I am not experienced enough yet.” I told him to stop putting so much pressure on himself and that if his supervisor didn’t understand how hard he was trying then his only option was to quit. He said she was trying to help.

Against my advice he decided to ask her if he could go in early on Thursday to just deliver parcels and catch up on the deliveries he had failed to do earlier in the week. He would then do the sorting of the mail later in the day at the depot. She agreed. On May 21st, 2020 my husband went into work early and was fatally wounded when he missed his last parcel delivery stop, went to make a U-turn on Route 201, and was hit on the driver’s side by an 18 wheel truck. He died at the scene because emergency crews were unable to get to him in time. Initially, it was thought that he died on impact and that gave me some comfort. This was not the case and I am sorry if you are hearing this for the first time.

Ross wanted to stay home during the pandemic to protect me but he knew if he was to ever become full time he had to work to prove himself. I wish he would have decided to quit because I would have him here with me instead of telling this story.

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I have so many questions in my mind about why this happened. The one that I cannot seem to wrap my head around is how seniority overruled safety and why do we not care enough about relief workers in this country?

A typical day as a mail carrier means you do not necessarily work a full day, you get paid for the entire delivery route. It is well known fact that many rarely work past two in the afternoon.

In order to appease senior employees and maintain this “get home early idea” a decision was made to base the sort staggering on seniority. Most decisions in the union are made this way.

My husband was quite vocal to me about how unsafe this was, he said, “I am putting my life on the line everyday so that postal workers can get home before mid afternoon and I cannot even get home before dark let alone dinner time because by the time I finish my sort and leave the depot most of them are heading back to the depot to drive home. This makes no sense to me. Why can’t they work a full day and help out like the rest of the world? If they come back to the depot, why can’t they go back out and help deliver some parcels so we call all leave? I come in on my days off to help them. The rest of the world works a full day. Seniority should not mean that you endanger a colleague so you can get home early and still get a full day’s pay. We all have to do our part amid these circumstances. I put my life in danger so they can have sick days and take vacations yet they don’t seem to care about me.” I agreed.


During the months following this tragedy it became apparent to me how little value is placed on part time or relief workers as a general rule. These workers pay union and other dues even though they are not entitled to any of the benefits that a full time employee is offered. They are left out of the decision making process for policies and procedures that directly affect their jobs. Without replacement workers businesses would not be able to function when employees are sick or need time off. They should be considered vital employees but they rarely are.

Because my husband died while working I was able to file a claim for compensation. If you read my emails and speak to my notary you will likely be shocked to see how much effort and heartache I had to go through to make this claim. I cannot get into the details because I do not want to relive that nightmare or be sued for my opinion in the matter.

When the accident first happened, I was assigned a human resources person from Canada Post to help and was assured by the Quebec regional manager that they would do everything they could to help. It took two weeks to finally get through to her. She never called me back and when I was finally able to connect with her she made it clear that there was nothing they could do because while my husband was in the union and paying dues, he was just a relief worker.

In the end the compensation was based on the amounts provided by Canada Post. Canada Post calculated my husband’s yearly salary based on his part time earnings but at the end of his life he was working on a full time basis and would have made a lot more money in 2020 than he did the year before. As a result, I am getting half of the amount of money that I was quoted from CNESST initially. If I hear well your husband was only an on call relief worker one more time, I will have to scream.

A relief worker comes in when everyone else goes out.

Essential workers all across the world are doing their part. It angers me when I hear people complaining that parcels are not delivered on time or that they are left on the doorstep when my husband lost his life to make sure people actually got their packages.

I have written this post a million times in my head and finally decided to share it because I cannot find closure if I don’t make sure that my husband’s story is heard. Did my husband die of Covid-19, no but he did die as a result of it and I still think it needs to be counted.

I have hope – Maybe after reading this Canada Post can make better decisions that affect all of its employees and the union will start to consider than in some cases seniority is not the best answer.

Did Covid-19, Canada Post and the union play a part in my husband’s death? What do you think?

I personally do not blame anyone for his death but I do think there were litigating circumstances that may have contributed to the stress that he was under. He was exhausted, overwhelmed and the stress of it all caused him to make a fatal error while driving. He was the best driver I have ever known and I still cannot grasp the fact that he made that mistake.

When it first happened I went onto CJAD to tell the story, you can listen to the podcast here: https://www.iheartradio.ca/cjad/audio/canada-post-employees-are-overworked-and-her-husband-lost-his-life-while-on-the-job-1.12587308

In the aftermath of all of this I decided that my husband will not die in vain. I am working on creating a charity in his name to offer emergency rides to people in immediate distress so they never have to go through what I did.

The charity will include a community radio station and several live band shows to honor his love for music and to help raise funds to pay for gas, parking and administration costs involved in the project. You can donate by email transfer to fostermad45@live.ca. for the time being or on our website once it is complete. rossradio.ca. If you would like to become a Radio DJ, Podcaster or volunteer please feel free to email me at the address indicated above.


How do you know if your boss likes you?

Have you ever had a situation happen to you or a coworker that makes the hair on your back stand up? Have you ever wanted to just stop and say to your manager or colleague, “Really George?”

I am pretty certain that at some point in your career, you have. And, I am betting that if you did nothing about it because you feared the possibility of losing your job.

The truth of the matter is, not all managers are helping you succeed. They can be hindering you from moving forward because of their own incompetence or insecurity.

Most likely they are not even aware they are doing it, they just do not know how to communicate as effectively as they think they can and this can spell trouble for some employees.

10 Warning signs your boss probably doesn’t like you.

  1. He or she rolls their eyes every time you speak.
  2. He or she often contradicts what you say even if you are the SME.
  3. He or she cuts you out of important meetings and lacks transparency.
  4. They cut you off in mid-sentence and say what you just said in a different way.
  5. They consistently say things that make you feel uncomfortable in meetings (either about your or someone else) and often gossip.
  6. Whenever you try to talk about the situation the conversation always turns into something you did or he or she places you in a defensive position at the start of the conversation. Communication is a two-way responsibility.
  7. Do you often feel unappreciated and dismissed or confused about your roles and responsibilities?
  8. Do other team members seem to have preconceived views about your personality? If this is true, then it is likely your boss has spoken ill of you.
  9. Does your boss ask if you are sure that the answer you are providing is correct? This indicates they do not trust your judgment.
  10. Do you often feel like your being singled out?

These are sure signs that you may need to speak to your boss or Human Resources representative and you better do it quickly because if these things are something you experience on a daily basis, you will eventually quit or worse blow up at someone.

Do not let it get to this point! It is not worth the stress that it causes.

Most people do not know this but it is within your right to visit Human Resources to discuss this matter. If they cannot resolve it, then you really did not lose anything because clearly this is not the place for you.

In the end, what is the fear you have? Losing this job? There is life afterward.

Here is the hard part, if you don’t go to HR to explain the situation and things go bad you are likely to be out of a job either way. At least if you have made an attempt to rectify the situation you will have legal grounds for quitting. If you do nothing and explode then you have neither a job nor any ground to stand on.

Everyone needs a job, but you do not have to work in a toxic environment. There is life after work and sometimes you find yourself in a much better place where you never thought you would be.

Learn from my mistakes.

Go to HR and tell them. If for no other reason than it will make you feel better to tell someone how you feel.

Does grief cloud your judgement? You betcha.

Two years ago, my life was settled, peaceful and secure. One critical mistake, a terrible car crash, and everything changed.

When someone you love dies, you don’t really understand the trauma that grief causes. That is until you snap out of it and come to the realization that every major decision you make is based purely on emotion and not sound judgment. It’s terrifying.

Is it too late to go back?

While it might be too late to turn back the page, you can still come out on the right side of it.

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

For me, the fog rolled in two summers ago when my husband died in a terrible car accident.

I had PTSD for the longest time and was unaware of it until someone pointed it out. Acknowledging it was the first step to recovery.

Finding out I was adopted and losing my father at the same time, at a young age, caused abandonment issues and autophobia; losing my husband put them in code red. What is autophobia? The fear of being alone. I am absolutely terrified of it. When I first started working, I developed anxiety and panic attacks every time I had to take mass transit. This was autophobia on high alert. As a result, I took taxis to work so often that it almost cost me more than I got paid. This was the secret hell that I had been living with. Fear of abandonment and autophobia go hand in hand for adoptees.

“I could get hurt on my way to work, and no one would know.” These are the silly things people with autophobia think and fear. It can be debilitating. Oddly enough, when my husband died, I wanted nothing more than to be left alone. For the first time in my life, I wanted to be alone.

Grief has a funny way of rearing its ugly head.

The autophobia crept back in, and I did whatever I could to surround myself with people because I would break down whenever I found myself alone. Keeping busy meant I did not have to deal with my sadness.

Masking pain is not dealing with it.

What happened after that is disheartening and why I am writing this blog today. As I always say, writing is my own personal therapy.

I spent the past two years trying hard to create a legacy for my family, buying a trailer, running a restaurant, starting a liquidation business and renovating two houses. Everything kept failing because I wasn’t thinking it through I was just going with the flow. I was getting angrier and blaming others for my own mistakes. This is not a great way to invest. My daughter finally confronted me to remind me that I was running around in circles and not getting anywhere. It woke me to the realization that I nearly lost my savings and my mind. The legacy I was trying to create was at risk. I knew I had to do something to secure what I have left. My survival skills kicked in. I think that is one very positive aspect of being adopted, I have a unique ability to survive and I am really strong.

I finally turned things around.

Like every personal blog I write, what may start out as tragic usually ends on a positive note. I am going back to the moment before all this happened when I was happy and content. I restarted my freelance writing business, took some road trips and faced my fear head-on.

I was put in this situation to deal with my grief and my fears. My husband would be the first to say, you know you got this right? He had faith in me. I never did. I think somehow he was always preparing me for this moment. Pushing me to be independent and strong. I miss that.

Things have changed so much in the past two years. I guess because I had no choice but to accept my fate, my fears are diminishing. I am a whole new person. Now, I just want to be alone. I like the peace it affords me. In this new world, there is no drama and no compromise. Maybe it is selfish. I am ok with that. For the first time in my life, I choose to be selfish. Why not? I brought up my children, I was a great wife and mother and now it is my turn to live.

I do believe that once you stop feeling guilty for living, then you can truly begin to live. This is where I am now in my life. I choose to do it in peace and quiet. just have not figured out if this is just another step in the grieving process and what happens next? Stay along for the ride.

If a job offer sounds too good to be true; it is.

I was not going to share my experience with everyone for fear of being judged harshly. Anyone who knows me will say I do not shy away from the truth, regardless of how difficult it may be, and I want to stay true to myself. I have to share my experience. Besides, writing is good therapy and lets me put a positive spin on things that do not always go as planned.  

Everyone is wondering what I am referring to, so I will jump right in.  

I began looking for full-time remote positions to find a more stable working environment. Last week I received a message from an employer on the Indeed job board. If someone messaged me directly from my Indeed dashboard, it Is legitimate. Or, so I thought.

I am suspicious by nature, and as a marketer, the first thing I always do is research. I verified the company website, looked up the individual on LinkedIn and in my haste decided everything was good. I hate to admit it, but I made a mistake. I should have checked all the posts on my potential employer’s timeline. It would have saved me a great deal of time and embarrassment.

Things were moving quickly, but the employer explained that they were cramming and needed someone “yesterday.” My spidey senses were tingling, but I ignored them because the salary was in my target range and seemed to be my dream job. 

Losing this dream is the part that hurts the most. Jobs like this only come along once in a lifetime, and I thought it was my turn. After all, I deserve it. There is another one out there for me. Sadly, I passed on a real opportunity because I wanted to start working. I am taking my time going forward.


I woke up the next day bright and early, eager to start working. My employer came on late in the day. Again my spidey senses were tingling because we were in the same time zone, but he explained he was on a business trip. Sounds legit.

Here is where everything started to get ugly.

He asked me to complete a task. I wanted to show my eagerness, so I agreed even though it was late at night. Yep, you guessed it; I ignored my gut again!

He told me the task, and I finally knew my spidey senses were correct. I wanted to believe that my dream would not turn into a nightmare, but I knew it was too good to be true.    


He explained that he wanted to buy his two business partners a gift, and I would need to shop online for him. I would be the first person to tell my friends and family to run at this point. People as soon as someone says this. It is a scam!

Who would ask a new employee to buy a gift for someone they don’t know?

Intelligence in any job is required. There is a misconception that you should refrain from questioning a hire-up. There are situations where you need to, this being one of them.

I was heartbroken, but I wanted to trap the scammers. I needed proof of the scam, so I pretended to go along. I kept challenging him to see if he would realize I was already on to the fraud. In some ways, I wanted to prove that he was not that smart and that I was wiser.   

He asked which bank I dealt with (another red flag), and I told him I do not provide banking information via text. I was feeling quite clever at this point, a bit smug. 

A game of cat and mouse ensued until I finally got the proof I needed when he sent me a money order draft via email because I felt this was the safer option.

As you can see by the draft, it is a fake. Firstly, my employer said his company was in British Columbia, and this draft is from a Montreal office. Secondly, the amount is extremely high. Not to mention it looks like it came from the 1990’s.

I finally ran out of patience playing this game. I finally told him a few choice words and explained that while he was trying to scam me, I was reporting him. He told me he was disappointed in me and then blocked me. I laughed because he wanted to belittle me after all of this. 

I struggled with writing this story because looking for work makes you feel vulnerable. You constantly try to prove your worth and are placed under a microscope. Admitting I made a mistake may not bode well for a potential employer. I believe it is not the fact that you make a mistake its how you deal with it that matters.

I want to work for a company that understands that employees can never be perfect, but they can make the best out of a bad situation. My first day may not have started great, but on a positive note, I did not get scammed out of 2550. I trusted my instincts; it paid off.

I think it is disgraceful to prey on people looking for work. I am a freelancer, and I do have an income stream. What happens to the people who don’t? It was for this reason that I felt compelled to tell my story. If I can help one person, then I have done my job. I really am a good employee, and I know there is a dream job waiting for me.

How does the employment scam work?

The scam victim is convinced to deposit the check into their bank account and asked to purchase gifts online. Most often, these are in the form of gift certificates. When the bank finally discovers the check is fake, it will be returned to the victim’s account, along with penalty charges. The gift certificates will have already been turned into cash or assets.

How to avoid getting scammed?

  1.  When looking for a job, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  2. A Canadian money order limit is 999.99.
  3. If a task seems inappropriate, confusing or questionable, investigate.
  4. If the job onboarding process is going too fast, investigate.
  5. Always research a company and dig deep. Read their social media posts the answer may already be there.
  6. Documents and websites are easily faked, so it is sometimes difficult to see the fraud until it is too late. TRUST YOUR GUT! Email addresses that do not have the company name or seem fishy should be avoided. Ask an employer to call you from the company or call them if you need to be sure.
  7. Most employers will want a zoom or meeting interview to get to know you. No one hires simply by letter or text.

Looking back and reading my suggestions on how to avoid getting scammed, I now realize that I just wanted to believe it was real even though I knew it wasn’t. Yes, even I can fall victim to vulnerability from time to time. It won’t happen again.

Are Employment Agencies Working For or Against You?

As a marketer, I analyse everything that I do, this includes things that happen in my own personal life. I suppose in some ways it helps me to make sense of the world around me.

In my recent quest to find a full-time job, a very disturbing pattern emerged and I am baffled by the results. It has made me question whether or not employment agencies are a good idea?

You be the judge.

After taking a number of resume and employment readiness training programs and having my resume done by a professional (both online and in print) it is as close to or as professional as it needs to be. While I do understand that there are limitations to getting the job, such as experience, technologies, personality, age, distance and language, the jobs that I applied for certainly fell into what should have been “an easy door,” for me.

adult man working at home while wife knitting
Photo by Amina Filkins on Pexels.com

Let’s look at the numbers.

  • I sent out a total of 165 resumes over a two month period.
  • Of the 165, almost 90% (149) of them went to employment agencies.
  • The remaining 10% (16) went directly to employers and jobs suggested by friends and family.

The call backs that I received are as follows:

  • Of the 149 resumes that I sent to agencies, I only received one callback. She interviewed me on the phone and said, other than the fact that you do not speak French for this particular position – everything sounds good.  I spoke to her for over an hour which is a clear indication things are going well.  She assured me she would call back.  She never returned the call. 
  • My thoughts – Surely the agency has other positions to fill even if the language issue was a problem for this particular job?  At the very least, they should have asked me to come in and talk.  If my resume was good enough for a callback and it went well, there is no reason for not adding me to a potential candidate list, especially since agencies are constantly looking for qualified candidates.
  • Of the 16 direct submitted resumes, I received six callbacks and two interviews and was offered a position by one of them, which I turned down simply because of the location. I received a special request from the other employer telling me that they would like to keep my file close by just in case another position became available and that the final decision was literally between me and one other person.  
  • My thoughts – I am highly employable and there is no reason that once someone calls me back that I shouldn’t expect an interview.

My analytics mindset wonders how can this be accurate?  Statistically speaking it makes no sense.  Lets take a look at the numbers.

The call backs that I got from direct employers indicate that I should have gotten at least 57 (26%) calls from agencies.  Clearly something does not add up.

Employment agencies are not helping but hindering people from gaining employment, in my opinion, because:

  1. They create a huge bank of resumes that they never intend to use just so they can appear to employers that they have a large candidate base, when in fact, they do not.
  2. They have a select number of candidates that they send to employers and this creates a block for other people applying.  They literally send the same people to different companies until they are hired.  I think this has to do with the candidate asking for a lower salary so the agency makes more money on the hire.
  3. The recruiter is simply not that good enough at their job or do not understand the industry requirements that they are seeking candidates in.
  4. There is a great deal of competition in the agency because it is often commission based so recruiters do not share your resume with colleagues.
  5. There is a great deal of turn around therefore if you were considered a good candidate by a recruiter and they leave the company others may not even be aware.  In this instance you are starting over from scratch.
person holding white printer paper
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Headhunters charge a fee to the job seeker and this might be a safer option for you if they only get paid when you actually find a job.

I am going to continue to search for employment on my own because luckily I have the time and resources to do so.

I think it is time for employment agencies to be held accountable for helping get people back to work especially amid the current crisis. There are so many available jobs it should not be so difficult. Anyone can create an employment agency and seek out jobs for you but only a few ever truly deliver.  Perhaps, this may be a new career choice for me because I certainly would make sure that I built a huge candidate list and call every single one of them because I do not think a resume is a good judge of someone’s potential.  

If you choose to take the agency route, research and choose carefully because online job sites make money just for people logging into them.  In other words they make money regardless if you get a job or not.  Numbers matter but yours should count.  


Remote working is a matter of safety for some.

I admit I am a bit old school when it comes to working at the office because I like the comradery and social aspects of it. It makes me feel as though I belong to something bigger than myself.

Read the entire story on LinkedIn


6 Reasons I like to Use WordPress

With the simple introduction of a WordPress content management system or blog, you can take your digital marketing to a whole new level.  This one small technique makes a huge difference because it is a cost-effective means in which to display your products and services while providing engaging content to attract leads.  When digital marketing is applied properly you can target buyers and spread your brand’s message over a global marketplace with nothing more than a post on WordPress.

WordPress Design

WordPress can be used as both the main landing page for your customers and followers or as a doorway page to your main website. Used as a blog, it adds dynamic and fresh content to keep your brand relevant and up to date.

The content in a blog post can always be reused, re-targeted and recycled making it even more valuable.  I did it with this one.

The fact is you do not need to use WordPress for your blog. There are a number of other blogging platforms, however, it is my preferred platform because:

  1. It is the most flexible, stable, cheapest and easiest method in which to create a fully functioning content management system, social media platform, publishing tool, simple blog or E-commerce website.
  2. Anyone who can write an email can use it and your business can manage it on its own once it is launched.
  3. Maintenance is a breeze, you should only require assistance to update plugins, add new designs and fix any errors (which happen very infrequently) otherwise there is no need to have full-time dev support.
  4. It was designed to be highly responsive, which means your website can be viewed on a variety of different browsers in a number of screen resolution sizes and formats.
  5. You can do a complete overhaul of your current website or install a blog in a few hours with a simple theme.
  6. There are a number of valuable features, add-ons, plugins, and tools that can provide just about any functionality including e-commerce, crowdfunding, marketing, advertising, and social media.Seo-SocialMedia - Media - Web Design -RJ

Why should you use WordPress?

It is a cheap, stable and simple solution to improve your brand’s online presence. For startups, it is one of the best ways to create a proof of concept without having to invest heavily.   

It is a better option to try a small cheaper website and see if there is any interest in your product or service before you go spending thousands of dollars on a fully functioning website that may fail.  

Is Your Freelance Business Built on Passion or Profit?

There is a moment in every consulting business that has a major turnaround point, I commonly referred to this as an “A-Ha” moment.

Have you had yours? I did.

Mine happened during an online freelance business training session. The host of the webinar could or would not answer (I am not really certain which) any questions that I asked him.  To be honest, in some ways I truly doubted that he could.  Clearly, I was miles ahead of him in terms of knowledge and experience.  Not to embarrass him or myself any further, I smiled, found a reasonable excuse and existed the session as fast as I could.

It was during that webinar that I finally realized, the only thing that was stopping me from furthering my own career, was me.

I am glad I attended, it answered the only question that I really had which was, am I ready?

My  “A-Ha” moment was a welcome boost of confidence. Sometimes that is all you really need to get started.   

When I look back now, I realize why I had doubts.  My work is my passion and I was worried that I was only hoping I was going to be successful.  After all, it is not every day that you get to do the thing you love and get paid for it.

That moment of clarity made me realize that I already was successful and there was nothing stopping me from turning my passion into profit.  Twenty years later and I am still here writing.  

The same thing can be said about marketing and the way you manage your business.

A marketing turn around point takes a business from a negative flux state into a more positive and profitable one, unfortunately, it usually happens after a disappointing downswing. The survival of the business depends on being able to keep your head afloat and rebound.

The current COVID-19 crisis only further proves this point, we are at a moment in time when most businesses are on a downturn and many will not survive.

A turn around point in marketing is considered to be the proverbial difference between the success or failure of the business. It is during this period when business owners start to give up, lose faith or sell themselves short in order to regain the loss.

Don’t do it.  Hold on and do not give in, things will turn around otherwise you will no longer need to worry.


Businesses that are able to turn things around during this time usually emerge as industry leaders.

How your company adapts during this time is often what will decide its fate.

Business success literally happens in three stages:  Investing, Rebounding and Securing

  •  Investing takes a great deal of time and money and takes place during the initial start-up stage.

The risk factor is very high at this point because everything is new and unstable and it is likely that the business is still developing a model.  During this stage, things may change direction several times.

Ask – how useful and different is the business from everyone else and use this to create your model. 

If a business cannot answer the 5 W’s, it’s probably not ready to move forward.

When the model is developed and a plan of action is in place it is then that the business can move on to the next stage.

  • Rebounding to turn your business into a profitable one.

The turnaround point is what usually sets profit in motion, it can happen at any time but often it takes years.  This phase is determined mostly by a realization that either you’re heading in the right direction with your business and you need to continue on this path, or you need to make a huge change in the way you’re doing things.

It is here where most businesses fail, they did not analyze the data properly.

Confidence plays a huge role in this part, do you have what it takes to be a leader and take your business further?  Can you question the data and accept that things are not always positive?  People who cannot accept failure, fail.  

Digital Marketing consultants can help to find better solutions.  They help integrate SEO and Social Media into your website and mediate between the Web Developer and the client to help make sense of things.  

A good business owner knows when it is time to call on an expert.  

  • Securing your business so growth can begin.

When you finally have all of your plans in motion and are moving in a positive direction in terms of finances, you can begin to secure your future and create growth.

You cannot run before you learn to walk otherwise you will fall flat on your face when you run out of breath.  The same thing can happen to your freelance business, if you’re not making a profit and you try to grow too quickly, you will run out of steam and money too soon.  You may have to spend a few years doing things yourself or paying for cheap and not so great services that you can modify until you are able to expand.

You need to be making a reasonable profit before that can happen. This is a catch 22 phase because often the only way to make a profit is to grow.  Learning how to create a balance is what will help you to succeed during this time.

Remember, marketers do not view Key Performance Indicators (KPI) results as either negative or positive and you shouldn’t either. They use the information gained from a variety of different analyses to modify strategies in order to achieve results and it can take a very long time.

The fact is, no matter how much time or money you invest in your business or career, if there is no desire or passion for succeeding you will fail.  A positive attitude goes a long way to achieving success and sometimes this is the only way to move forward and ride the waves towards business and career success.

How successful are you going to be? That depends on you. 

 I can help lead you in the right direction to achieving your financial goals with a few tips and tricks I have learned since my A-HA moment, talk to me fostermad45@live.ca:  

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