Tag Archives: Canada

Building My Retirement with Real Estate

Amina

Depending on whom you speak with there are many ideas of how to build a retirement nest egg. I have a specific plan for retirement that includes real estate. While many people still believe the stock market is the safer way to go, I decided long ago it was not for me.

For one, I did not want to invest and pay fees and for two I did not want to invest in the stock market, where I had relatively no control.

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It is no surprise that investing in real estate, is the safest (in most cases) investment there is and couple this with opportunities that abound in Canada, you have a recipe for success.

Long ago, before real estate and being a mortgage agent was a reality, I like everyone else invested in mutual funds, bonds and stocks. Unfortunately like so many other people, that all changed after the crash when almost my whole portfolio was decimated.

Thankfully I was youngish, and was able to start again. I took the reins and responsibility for my own retirement and investing goals and started to research everything that was available. At the time I was still working in film and television but slowly transitioning out to a new career in home staging. It was through home staging for real estate investors, that I was introduced to the wonderful world of real estate investing.

I researched everything from buy & hold, flipping and rent to own and in the end settled on rent to own, simply because I liked the idea of being able to help somebody become a homeowner and second I liked that the tenant was mostly responsible for the maintenance of the property – I was not interested in being a full-time landlord.

From rent to own I have moved again to a buy & hold four-plex with a JV partner and recently to lending my money. In addition, I have invested my RRSP’s into a syndicate product that will accrue for 5 years and pay annually 11% per year.

I must say that my favourite strategy by far is lending my money as it is bringing me similar or greater returns, however the risk is a bit higher. If you want the greater returns you need to be able to accept a modicum of risk…being a mortgage agent I know a good borrower when I see one – but even then things can go sideways in a minute, even with good planning!

I am in my upper 40’s and the crunch is on to make sure I have my retirement goals in check. My end goal is to purchase properties abroad that will provide me with cash flow and appreciation and one day a property when I am ready to retire, that I can move to.

Do you have a retirement plan? Is real estate a part of that plan? If not, are you perhaps interested in purchasing a rental property, lending your money or even investing in syndicate mortgages? If so, please reach out and have a discussion with me. There are many ways to invest in real estate that will provide you greater returns than what you will get through the stock market.

I can be reached at amina@aminas-ms.ca or 416 697-5443.
To Your Wealth! Amina

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Fixed Or Variable: Which Rate Is Best For You?

 

Amina

At present thousands of homeowners across Canada are eyeing their options with more than a little trepidation. The majority of Canadians after all, are risk averse and when it comes to our mortgage options many of us have traditionally chosen fixed rather than variable interest rates, in order to allow us to avoid sudden hikes in the Canadian Prime. In fact, even just the idea of being stuck on a variable rate after a hike in the prime leaves many of us on edge. Yes, we can lock the rate in if we think the prime is getting too high, but who is to say we’ll manage to do that right at the right moment? Rate hikes after all, can leave homeowners not just paying less off their principle, but them facing paying more interest over the long run.

All that said, recent studies have demonstrated that historically at least, homeowners on variable rates have actually saved more in the long term when compared to more risk averse homeowners opting for locked in rates. This being the case, between 2008 and the present, variable rate mortgage options have experienced something of a resurgence in popularity. Moreover, those who have been part of this resurgence have made significant savings. The Canadian prime has consistently fallen since 2008 in tandem with Central Bank instigated economic recovery measures. This being the case, those who elected for fixed rate mortgages back in the 2000-2008 (supposed) boom years, have been left feeling a little cheated to say the least.

The only question is: How low is too low? You see, a significant number of Canadians haven’t just opted for more variable rate mortgage options over the past decade. Rather, many Canadians have also risked incurring penalties in order to switch back on to variable rates in light of seemingly fantastic overall saving benefits. However, the variable rate party can’t last forever and the sense of this seems to get more tangible by the day.

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As of Sunday 11th of October 2015, the Canadian prime was standing at just 0.75%, that’s the lowest it’s been in over thirty years. Simple logic dictates then, that the rate can’t go much lower before being forced to rebound. Is this therefore the time to re-lock in variable rates? Expert economists who have been touting the virtues of variable rates have only been doing so after all, in light of a steadily declining prime rate going all the way back to 1979, and the reality is that the prime simply can’t get much lower. Or can it?

Whatever side of the fence you are on, you have to agree these are interesting times to say the least. One thing is for certain though, and that’s that now more than ever people need practical up to date mortgage advice, which they can trust over and above the usual sales pitches from all the big lenders. Being a completely independent mortgage agent, I can offer that advice. I make my business by building my reputation through my clients and if you need mortgage advice regarding the present rate fall and what it might mean for your future, I’d love to be able to help you in this regard.

 

To your Wealth!

Amina

Please “like” my facebook page here Please follow me on twitter here

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Why Your Business Model Needs to Evolve OR it will perish

Karima

 

When no risks are taken, there is no chance for a reward to be achieved. For a business model to continue seeing success, it needs to evolve over time because people evolve over time. Technologies are continually improving. If a business gets stuck in a world where they keep doing things because “that’s the way we’ve always done things,” then that is a journey which will inevitably lead to failure.

Target Canada is a prime example of this. In just two years of operation, the 133 store chain has decided to leave the Canadian market for good. It’s mistake? Assuming that operations in Canada would be similar to that of the United States. During the announcement, Brian Cornell stated that Target Canada had lost money every day.

More Marketing Doesn’t Save a Business

Many executives have a theory that goes something like this: maybe if we spend more money on marketing and make ourselves attractive to [fill in your favorite customer demographic], we’ll be more successful.

Unfortunately this thought rarely creates success. More marketing is not a substitute for ineffective business practices. If you’ve already got customers coming into stores like Target Canada had and they aren’t buying things, what will happen with more marketing? You’ll get more customers into a store that are still choosing not to purchase anything.

Sometimes going on social media is the approach. Engaging customers is a great tactic to use, but it also comes with a certain risk. People generally talk about the negative experiences they have with a business online and rarely talk about positive experiences. Businesses are expected to provide a positive experience. Engagement usually creates some feedback that is difficult to hear, which means it is ultimately ignored.

Social media must be part of a holistic approach. You’ve got to change the actual dynamic. You must choose to innovate. Once that happens, then you can begin a new marketing effort

Businesses Choose Whether or Not to Become Innovators

Change means risk. There is a chance that a risk may not pay off. Circuit City discovered that the hard way by losing over $100 million on their DivX product. Sometimes ideas are ahead of their time, like Microsoft’s tablets, which came out a decade before the iPad. Even looking at the struggles of McDonald’s right now show how quickly a company can begin to decline when changes aren’t received as well as expected.

Small businesses are not immune to the need to change. Failing to innovate and change is one of the top reasons why small businesses fail and die. Innovation has to be a component of change, which means change cannot happen without risk. It is a choice that every business makes, whether they realize it or not. Avoiding a risk is a choice to not evolve or challenge history, tradition, or the other roadblocks that might stand in the way.

How to identify places where innovation can thrive can sometimes be difficult. Adapting new technologies into traditional routines inevitably creates growing pains. Throwing more marketing at a problem, however, doesn’t make that problem go away. It just means more people become aware of it. This creates a negative spiral that inevitably ends in failure.

Evolving your business model can be uncomfortable, but it can also create enormous success. That’s why change, not more marketing, is so important.

Karima-Catherine is the co-founder of Red Dot Digital, a digital agency that strives to deliver top-notch solutions to various clients.  Red Dot Digital drives real, meaningful, quantifiable business outcomes for companies. Karima-Catherine is also the co-moderator of #MMchat, a Twitter weekly forum which focuses on business, marketing and social media.  

Connect with Karima-Catherine:

karima@reddotdigital.net

WebsiteTwitterLinkedInPinterest

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Cassandra Scully: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of June 2015

Cassandra Scully

Cassandra Scully, is the Owner and Event Stylist of Creative Elegance. Creative Elegance is a Toronto based event planning company with a niche for creating custom designs for special events.

In 2003, Cassandra became a Certified Wedding and Event Planner through The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, but not before becoming a professional Merchandiser at Seneca College in Toronto.  It was during her Merchandising course that Cassandra tapped into and became in sync with her creative flare and realized that she has a passion and desire to create beautiful and innovative pieces.

Creative Elegance is renowned for their custom bridal bouquets which meets, and at times, exceeds expectations, visions and within budgets.   As an extension to her bridal bouquets Cassandra has added the in-famous toss “Panty Bouquet” which adds a much needed uniqueness to the traditional rose and floral bouquets.  Instead of using typical flowers Cassandra takes the time and her creativity to transform undergarments into beautifully shaped roses and arrange them into a Bouquet… the catcher always gets a surprise!

With the growth of her company Cassandra plans, styles, and coordinates all types of special events and weddings, gearing towards all budgets, size and dynamics.

Cassandra didn’t stop there, she became a certified Stager in 2014 – you can now benefit from the luxury of having the Creative Elegance touch inside of your home whether you are buying or selling – moving or staying! Cassandra sets the stage for your sale and designs for your stay.

Cassandra prides herself on staying on top of current trends in all facets of the wedding, events and staging industry.
Cassandra will always give you an exclusive and custom Creative Elegance experience

Our Q & A with Cassandra:

*What inspires you?
My kids. I always try my hardest to lead by example. I want to show my girls how to be a strong women and show my son that its never too late to chase your dreams and that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
My proudest moment is definitely seeing my client’s reactions after I set up their vision. Seeing how happy they are that their special day is complete is the most rewarding feeling. I think that anyone with a business, big or small, can most certainly relate.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

The advice I would give to an upcoming individual with that creative flair is to be true to themselves, and to live their truth. Let your individuality shine through and do not comprise yourself to “fit in” for being a creative individual because you were born to stand out.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
My brand is expanding, and we are now offering new products and services, some of which are; custom/bridal TuTu Skirts, printed Bridal Tanks & Tees and gum ball necklaces/bracelets for kids events.  As well, my brand is now venturing into the staging industry both residential and commercial. One other thing you can look out for this is my collaboration with two other amazing event planners in Toronto (Heavenz Décor & Ki-Events), together we have formed an organization called CAKEvents. CAKEvents is an organization that focuses on the youths and brides on a budget as well giving back to our community

Connect with Cassandra

info@creativeelegance.ca
www.creativeelegance.ca
www.facebook.com/creativeelegance
Follow us on Twitter @creativelegance

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Why you should not download a legal template from the Internet

Karima

As a Canadian entrepreneur and small business owner, chances are you’ve downloaded, at least once, a legal document from the Internet. Whether for an employment contract, a partnership agreement, a finder’s fee, a non-disclosure agreement, a final invoice letter or a general agreement, you’ve probably turned to the Internet in the hope that a free template would help you cut costs. After all, the terminology looks complex enough, so we may think the document will be good to use.

Here enters Randy Ai, an employment lawyer I met through my professional networking group. A couple of weeks later, we sat down to learn more about each other and our businesses. While we chatted – him about employment law and me about how social media can help businesses establish their online presence and grow – it became clear to me that we had great synergies. Most entrepreneurs and small business owners are always looking for ways to sustain our business while keeping costs down and stay profitable. The Internet and Google is where most of us turn for responses to our questions and for free documents. One of the topics Randy Ai and I tackled was how entrepreneurs and small businesses download legal templates from the Internet, and the cases he frequently sees in his practice. The conclusion is, “don’t cheap out on legal by downloading templates from the Internet”, and here is why.

The legal document you are downloading from the Internet contains irrelevant or too much information. Chances are that the template you found on the Internet is not customized to your business and situation. In addition, most templates are American or have an American focus, so they likely won’t be valid in Canada. The document may contain a high volume of extra noise that does not apply to your business situation and just adds irrelevant information. Unless you are legally trained, you don’t know how to separate the “junk” and the part of the contract that applies. As an example, the notion of Employment at will exists in most employment contract templates you’ll find online, but as this is an American concept, it can’t be enforced in Canada. Thus, you are exposing yourself and your business to liability and in case of dispute, you will have to hire a lawyer because part of the contract is invalid.

The legal document you are downloading from the Internet is missing key clauses. When you’re using a template off the Internet, these documents are not customized for your situation, as we’ve established. That means it puts you and your business at risk of liability. In case of a dispute, this sort of template is not tailored to your needs and you might as well have no agreement. Having missing information is as bad as having too little information or inadequate clauses that don’t protect you. When you are a business owner entering into a legally binding relationship with someone else, you need a solid contract that will take into account the types of issues that may take place.

The legal document you are using is easily attacked. A template downloaded from the Internet easily falls apart, since it was not drafted specifically for you and your business. A defense lawyer could easily attack the integrity of the document and compromise its validity in court. Furthermore, as the law changes frequently, a contract is not a static document. Thus, the downloaded template you’re using may be obsolete and no longer applicable. In addition, the wording alone can make your document unenforceable and easily attackable in case of a dispute. The judge can look at your document and decide it does not make sense. By using one of these documents, you’re exposing yourself to liability.

Now that I’ve explained why using a legal document from the Internet is useless at best and, at worse, dangerous for you and your business, there a few ways you can protect yourself and what you’re working so hard for:

1 – Legal fees are typically seen as a cost instead of an investment. Spending two to three hours with a lawyer can prevent you from being sued, being dragged to court or simply having to settle and pay someone large amounts of money. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you still may seek some legal advice through Legal Aid or through the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lawyer Referral Service.

2 – If you still decide to download the template, we advise you to send it to a lawyer for review. This may cut down on costs. The industry standard is that entrepreneurs and small business owners should spend 5 to 8 percent of their initial capital on legal fees. As Randy Ai says, “If you’re not going to spend any money towards setting up your business, you are not doing your job as an entrepreneur.”

3 – Another reason to seek legal advice is that it brings credibility to your business and sends a strong signal to your ecosystem that you are serious about your success.

As an entrepreneur, I am aware that setting up a business requires lots of hard work and dedication. But there are areas where you can’t cut corners. Randy emphasized that legal advice is one of the cornerstones to setting up a successful and sustainable business. For any legal advice related to employment law, connect with Randy Ai by email (Randy@Randyai.com) or by telephone (416-716-2256).

Karima-Catherine is the co-founder of Red Dot Digital, a digital agency that strives to deliver top-notch solutions to various clients.  Red Dot Digital drives real, meaningful, quantifiable business outcomes for companies. Karima-Catherine is also the co-moderator of #MMchat, a Twitter weekly forum which focuses on business, marketing and social media.  

Connect with Karima-Catherine:

karima@reddotdigital.net

Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest

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Johanna Quinn: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of January 2015

Johanna (1x1)

Johanna Quinn is the founder of JQ Fitness and the creator of iluvthis Bootcamp.  She has helped shape and inspire the lives of thousands over 18 years in the fitness and health industry through group fitness, personal training and corporate wellness seminars.  As a fitness expert, Johanna has a unique connection with her audience and clients that stems from her own personal journey for wellness.  Coming from an overweight family and having gained over 80 pounds in her pregnancies, Johanna has the ability to understand and help those who need to get on the right track and lose weight.  Along with her passion to help people, she inspires and motivates those through her workshops and speaking opportunities.  Johanna is an Honours graduate from the University of Toronto.  She currently resides in Oakville, ON with her husband and three children aged 7, 4 and 4 months.

Johanna also shows interest in social responsibility by hosting an annual event, BE[CAUSE]-Workout for Freedom, that raises awareness and funds to abolish human trafficking in Canada. In the past 3 years.  Through this event, JQ Fitness has been able to raise over $32,000 to help rescue and support survivors through FREE-THEM.

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Come together on the morning of Family Day, February 16 in Oakville and sweat as one big happy family! Bring your friends, bring your family and yes, even your kids.

This morning is a blast… you choose what you want to do:

  • Form a team of 4 and compete for bragging rights and great prizes in the team challenge event
  • Come for our large bootcamp class where we get 150 people covered in sweat and fun with all our trainers!
  • Got kids? That’s sweet, they get their own bootcamp and we look after them while you workout!

This is open to all whether you’re in shape or out of shape! We have lots of fun things planned this morning and it’s all for a great cause! All the funds we raise go to the survivors of human trafficking right here in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton region.

Bonus time! If you’re one of the first 50 adults to register for the event, you get a fancy iluvthis Bootcamp performance t-shirt! On top of that, everyone that comes to the event gets free swag bags.

 

**For additional event info and to register, please click here**

Our Q & A with Johanna:

  1. What inspires you?
    Strong, mature women who have sown into the next generation through both raising their own children and making a difference in the world often sacrificially. They did so when it wasn’t the thing to do. This motivates me and inspires me to think big and act on it.2. As a small business owner what achievements make you most proud?
    Seeing a need in the fitness industry seven years ago and developing my own unique iluvthis Bootcamp program from the ground up. In addition, our annual charity event – iluvthis Bootcamp BE[CAUSE] – Workout for Freedom allows us to give back as a JQ Fitness community and help stop human trafficking in our own backyard which is a cause I am most passionate about.

3. What advice would you give to others aspiring small business owners?
Get your business on the ground before you have kids! Seriously though, your time becomes much less when kids appear on the scene. Don’t just create a job for yourself, trading time for money and without vacation pay, health benefits and savings programs. You need to create a business that doesn’t revolve around you and builds systems that you can replicate. Great book to read is “E-Myth Mastery” by Michael Gerber.

4. What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
This year I plan on simplifying things and really focus on the core business as it has grown so quickly. It’s time for me to regroup, seek business mentorship and get a great social media strategy in place.

Connect with Johanna
JQ Fitness: www.jqfitness.com
Twitter: @jqfitness
Facebook: iluvthis
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TIPS TO PAYING OFF YOUR MORTAGE FASTER!

Amina

 

I had a great meeting last week with a prospective client.  They wanted to know how to pay off their 25 year mortgage in 10 years.  It was a huge focus for them, as they wanted to take the money left over after paying off their mortgage and put it towards their retirement savings.  They are both in their 40’s and want to be debt free by their early 50’s.

hour glassThey, like many people did not take savings seriously and so now in their 40’s find themselves with a hefty mortgage and not much in the way of savings.  I assured them that to do so would mean making sacrifices, such as less traveling, which they both love to do and eating at home instead of eating out, which they also love doing.  They assured me they were committed.  Of course there were many more sacrifices they would have to make but these were two of the biggest in their particular scenario.

Paying off your mortgage is the single most important step towards financial independence and a healthy retirement. Owning a principal residence outright gives you the financial freedom to channel money that formerly went to your mortgage into your savings or to pursue lifelong dreams or to invest in real estate, which in my opinion is the thing to do as it provides one with extra cash flow, which is another form of retirement savings.

If paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible is your goal you want to make sure you pay attention to the following tips.

Tip #1. First you want to make sure you have a good credit rating.  You can pull your credit report from Equifax here: (http://www.equifax.com/equifax-credit-score/)

By pulling your own credit bureau, you will be sure that when you speak to your mortgage agent or broker, there won’t be any surprises and if there are, you have already taken care of them.  You want to make sure that there are no “monsters in the closet” and that you are aware of your past credit problems, so that you can be prepared to discuss them with your mortage broker.

A good mortgage broker, will make sure that they explain your past indiscretions to the lender and that it does not impact your ability to qualify. You also want to make sure that you are not behind on payments as these can impact your score. It can make the difference between getting a great interest rate and one that is not that great. This can also impact the amount of interest you are paying on your mortgage.

Tip #2. You should be pulling your credit bureau every six to twelve months before shopping for a mortgage, just to make sure everything is on the up and up and that you are not faced with disappointment when it comes time to shop for that mortgage.

Tip #3. Don’t quit or change jobs just before applying for a mortgage, as that can drastically affect your ability to qualify.  Lenders want to see at least 6 months on the job.

Tip #4. The next step is maximizing your down payment.  The minimum required for most mortgages in Canada is 5% (depending on your credit rating) but by paying at least 20% down upfront, you cut down on your principal and interest payments and also avoid having to pay CMHC fees. Remember CMHC insurance protects your lender and not you in case of default so why incur that extra cost?  Of course it’s not always easy to pay 20% down so what else can you do?

Tip #5. You can be mindful of the amortization period.  Many people confuse amortization with term.  Amortization is the life of your mortgage, while the tem can run from 1-10 years with a fixed-rate or variable-rate interest mortgage.  After each term expires, you renew for another term.  Amortization on the other hand, defines how much interest you will pay over the life of the loan.  For example, you might pay less monthly (Principal + Interest combined) with a longer amortization, but the interest portion will be higher. Amortization can run anywhere from 15 years to 35 years (with at least a 20% downpayment). Interest can be the killer.  It can amount to thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.  Imagine what you can do with that extra money?

Tip #6. When it comes time to get that mortgage, don’t just go to your bank.  It is understandable that people want to stay with the same institutions that they regularly bank with or have their credit cards and car loans with but it doesn’t always pay to get your mortgage there.  By speaking to a mortgage agent or broker, you can shop around or more importantly they can shop around on your behalf.   Your mortgage agent will get you the best product and rate that works for you.  They have access to more than 40 lenders with different solutions and products, while the bank only has one – themselves.  Furthermore, the bank will push you to insure your mortgage and just like CMHC, the beneficiary of this insurance is the bank not you.

I remember when my husband and I went to get our first mortgage more than ten years ago – just like most, we went to our bank, thinking that since we had all of our business with them, it would make sense to get our mortgage there.  We were shocked when they offered us a rate that was higher than prime at the time and would not even consider a rate reduction based on our years of patronage.

On the advice of a friend, I called a mortgage agent and he was able to negotiate a great rate that was 2% lower.  It saved us years of mortgage interest and was a less stressful expeience overall.

Tip #7. Furthemore, rate is not the only thing you should be concerned with; you want to know if the mortgage will be compounded monthly or semi-annually.  Again this comes down to how much interest you will be paying – the less often the interest is compounded the better—semi-annual compounding could save you hundreds of dollars or more in interest.

Tip #8. Make sure you understand the difference between the variable rate and the fixed rate products, but more importantly how the penalties could affect you if you were to break the mortgage beforfe the term ends.  A variable rate mortgage will cost you 3 months interest, but a fixed rate mortgage will cost you the IRD, which is the difference between the posted rate and the discounted rate, multiplied by the number of months left on the mortgage.  In some cases it can cost you thousands of dollars in fees.

Tip #9. You want to take advantage of any and all prepayment privileges.  This can also help you pay your mortgage off faster as you can make annual prepayments of 10% to 20%, which goes directly towards the principal.  Not all mortgages allow this option so make sure that your broker factors this in, if this is important to you.

Tip #10. Finally and maybe most importantly, as it also has to do with budgeting and savings, is your payment schedule.  Don’t choose something that you can’t stick to, as it will make your life and that of your budgeting very difficult.  By paying bi-weekly instead of monthly, you put more money towards the principal as you have two extra payments every year.  However, if get paid monthly and you are now paying bi-weekly, you may find yourself stretched too thin.  Ask your broker to run different scenarios for you so you know what you can and cannot afford.  The last thing you want to do is get into a mortgage that you can’t afford.

Paying off your mortgage early will take lots of sacrifice, great budgeting and keeping steadfast to your goal, but if you can follow these tips, the rewards will be aplenty!

To Your Wealth!

Amina

Please “like” my facebook page here
Please follow me on twitter here

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Networking Events and Vendor Opportunities

Upcoming-Events

Feb 3rd, 2015 7:30AM – 6:30PM

Ontario Science Centre

Slide1BUSINESS CONNECTS NETWORKING CONFERENCE TUES FEB 3 ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE

FOR INFO AND TICKETS, CLICK HERE

February 7th, 2015 @9:30AM

Workshops

NETWORKING AND VENDORS 1PM – 6PM

Canadian Small Business Women presents our Small Business Seminar

Various Workshops, Networking Opportunities and Vendors

FOR TICKETS AND INFO: CLICK HERE

February 16th, 2015

ILUVTHIS Bootcamp BE[CAUSE]

In support of rescuing victims of Human Trafficking in Canada

9am – 12:15pm

FOR ADMISSION AND INFO: CLICK HERE

February 20th, 2015

You Inspire Me Women

Quarterly Networking Event

FOR TICKETS AND INFO: CLICK HERE

March 6th & 7th, 2015 

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International Women Achiever’s Awards

Toronto Congress Centre

Summit, Awards Gala, Bazaar and much more

FOR INFORMATION AND TICKETS: CLICK HERE

April 26th, 2015 @11:00AM

VENDOR OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE!!

Toronto Caribbean Newspaper presents their Toronto Caribbean Expo

Various Workshops, Networking Opportunities and Vendors

FOR VENDOR SPACES, Email: info@canadiansmallbusinesswomen.ca or canadiansmallbusinesswomen@gmail.com

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Mentoring Girls

Sheralyn

 

You may have read two books that have received plenty of press: “Thrive” and “Lean In.” Both addressed the importance of creating space at the boardroom table for females in a leadership role. Programs and organizations like “Girls on the Run,” “Because I am a Girl,” The Girl Guides of Canada and even companies like General Mills (who together with Big Brothers and Big Sisters created the  “Go Girls” initiative) promote specific, forward thinking opportunities to include, mentor, support, engage and foster positive body image and the success of women and girls.  While we may wish it to be faster, women in politics, business and in positions of power are growing.  Yes, it’s about time but there is still significant room for improvement.  How can you play a role?

Get together with your favourite networking group and choose to support a charitable agency that promotes and educates women and girls.  Women lending a hand to other women will empower women around the world. Through The Leadership Forum, a group located in Caledon Ontario, I have been lucky enough to be involved in an initiative where empowerment is the long – term goal. Can you do the same? “Strength in numbers” as the saying goes, the more women working together toward the common goal of female success, the more likely we are to achieve it.

Steps such as these are important and necessary but true female empowerment starts at birth. Literally.  Parents need to read books to their daughters like “The Paper Bag Princess” and “The Princess Knight.”  Yes they are “princess” stories but these girls rock! They are empowered Princesses making their own choices and enabling their own future through determination and resolve.  Next, we have to educate our daughters. Sounds like a simple concept as we have access to free education in Canada and it’s a great system too.  But are we doing well enough?  Do we encourage our daughters to strive for success in fields like science and math? Do we encourage “non-traditional” careers in engineering, rocket science or technology? For that matter, why are we still referring to these careers as ‘non-traditional?”  Queen Rania, of Jordan (a somewhat traditional and male dominated society) is known for using her position to speak out about the empowerment of girls and women.  She states: “When you educate a girl, she becomes a woman who lifts herself and her family out of poverty.” So educate girls and you also empower them to choose WHATEVER direction they wish. If you are going to take the time to open one door, why not open ALL of them.

While educating your daughters, lift them up emotionally, nurture their inner strength and foster in them a spirit of confidence and “can do” ability – that they are capable of anything. Encourage healthy eating and healthy body image and expose them to appropriately sized role models, not the artificial “Barbie” doll airbrushed images that exist in media today. This means closely monitoring their access to social media and taking the time to discuss what they see while there.  Do you work for an organization that uses and promotes technology or work independently in that field?  If so, perhaps you could volunteer your time and talents to a local community organization that is working to support young women to use social media in a positive way. Help that organization to get their message out into the world.

From a career perspective Moms, it’s time to get real with your girls. By this I mean, establish clear and realistic goals for yourself so that you are modeling SMART goals for your daughters.  Women, it’s time we stopped trying to “do it all.”  If you are working outside of the home, you likely don’t also have time to be the perfect housekeeper, the chauffeur or the “Martha Stewart” of the kitchen.  In trying to be all things to all people you are setting yourself up for failure and sending a message to your girls that they too must strive to multi-task themselves to death.  You’re suggesting it isn’t just a career that defines them but their ability to be “perfect mom and wife” too.  It’s unrealistic. Admit it. Once you do so, figure out ways for everyone to share in the workload, establish daily routines where everyone contributes to the care and keeping of the house and your daughter will learn that SHE is important, her CONTRIBUTIONS are important but that EVERYONE is responsible for the successful operation of a smooth running home.

If you are working from home or support your family by staying at home, model that not as the “second choice,” “being stuck at home” or that “it doesn’t really count as a job” but treat this too with dignity, value and as having importance.  It IS the most important job in the world if it is done with care, consideration and with proper reverence attached to the “value add” you are bringing to your family.  Teach your daughter (and let’s face it ladies, each other) to respect and value the contributions of any choice a woman makes in helping this world run smoothly. We need the SAHM’s just as much as the work outside the home mother. Each makes a valuable contribution to our society and each, in a different way, acts as a role model.

So, whether you are a small, solo entrepreneur or working for a large company, join organizations that promote and foster girl empowerment.  In your community embrace opportunities to interact with young women, act as role models or contribute to causes that support them.  Bring your daughter to work and if you can’t, find places where they can be accommodated. If your daughter wants to be a firefighter, go find a female firefighter and ask her to walk your daughter through the station, talk about the challenges she faced and how she overcame them.  If you can contribute time to an organization that promotes girls, do so.  We all have different expertise, share some of yours with others. Join in the Junior Achievement “Economics of Staying in School” program and teach it at local elementary schools sending a strong message about staying in school and about women in business. If you belong to any networking or community organizations, use those too as an opportunity to get out into the community fostering and encouraging young women to be successful in whatever way they define it. BE the woman you want your daughter, niece or granddaughter to be. Respect the choice they make – then go out of your way to help them achieve it!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Don’t Leave Money On The Table!

Martina New

 

Leaving money on the table, as a businesswoman, seems almost as bad as throwing it out of the window. You wouldn’t intentionally throw money out, yet you may well be ignoring untapped revenue sources.

This past month I was reminded by two experts that many of us “leave money on the table” by not utilising accessible sources of revenue.

Business coach Odette Laurie, for example, explains that getting yourself ‘out there’ as a speaker and knowledge expert in your field gets you in front of greater numbers of people, and therefore far more potential prospects and clients than you would otherwise find in the same amount of time.

Naturally, you need to have a topic and a signature speech that you can present, and which is of interest to a broad range of small business owners. Many business coaches, including Odette, and skilled communications specialists can teach you just that: How to find a story that is unique to you, and blend it with the why and the how you are so good at what you’re doing, and how as a result you can bring many benefits to your clients. If you don’t want to become a paid public speaker, then this still is a good step to grow your local contact list and client base. Of course you may become so good that event organisers will start hiring you as paid keynote speaker, becoming another source of income for you.

Another way you are probably leaving money on the table – or rather on the web – is by not tapping into an array of online revenue streams you can generate from your website. Successful entrepreneur and TV host Lee Romanov is one of Canada’s top internet marketers and has been making money online since 1994. She shares her online success and experience through How-To seminars, as well as her book called Today’s Multi-Millionaires: What I Did & You Can Too. Also, starting December 2014, Lee will be hosting her new Rogers Cable TV show called Income Activator TV.

In the seminar I attended, Lee treated the audience to an eye opening show-and-tell on her Top 10 online tips and tricks on converting visitors into revenue. If you already have a website, this really seems like a no-brainer. As long as you have interesting and regularly updated content, and links to related good content, you can earn ‘passive’ income from pay per click ads, lead generation, selling or linking to affiliate products, and more.

In doing so, Lee created the largest online quoting service for car insurance in Canada, generating over $50,000 revenue per month through lead generation (and then sold the business to TorStar). You decide whether you really want to leave that kind of money on the table!

 

Sources:

Lee Romanov, www.incomeactivator.com

Odette Laurie, Business Women On Top, http://businesswomenontop.com

 

Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE co-working space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new start-ups. Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

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