I bring to the table over 19 years experience in sales, customer service and business management as a self-employed contractor in the residential renovations industry (1987-2006). I’m not a trades-person and did not work day to day on my sites. Rather, I was responsible for all aspects of sales and customer service, including estimating, proposal writing, negotiating, project planning, budgeting, post project follow-up, and so on. My primary role in the company was to create positive experiences for and build enduring relationships with my customers to ensure repeat and referral business. My strong interpersonal and communication skills along with my organizational acumen played a vital role in the success of my company.
In 2003, I volunteered to help edit a small quarterly newsletter for a professional association of home inspectors. With the backing of the association board of directors, I was afforded carte blanche to spearhead a cover-to-cover revamp of the newsletter. I quickly developed fresh ideas to grow it into a professional trade magazine. Within one year our newsletter had been completely transformed. The improved format has seen advertising revenue increase by over 70% in the two years that followed. Because of my creative vision, resourcefulness and hard work, I was promoted to the paid position of Editor in Chief. I now have three associate editors working under me, and the magazine has become a huge success. While working on the magazine is certainly rewarding, it is only a part-time position.
ENERGY AUDITING EXPERIENCE:
In 2007 I was hired by an home energy conservation company and trained to become an NRCan Certified EcoEnergy Auditor. My job was to help homeowners determine energy inefficiencies within their home and provide solutions that would save them money and reduce their carbon footprint. This role involved blower door testing, investigating, report writing, in-home consultations and up-selling of energy efficient products and services. To succeed, I had to be passionate, personable, an excellent communicator, and highly organized. Fortunately, my contracting experience prepared me for the challenge.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE:
In the late 1980s I, with a partner, purchased a small 19 unit apartment building that had survived a major fire. Together, we gutted the building and undertook a complete renovation, ending up with 12 substantially larger apartments. For the next year or so I lived in the building as landlord and superintendent. We later sold the building for a tidy profit. During my time as landlord, I had to solve various problems, learn the ins and outs of rental property management, draft various rental documents, interview prospective tenants, and deal with the day-to-day operation of a small apartment building. Skills required include communications, problem solving, organization, administration and so on.
INSIDE SALES EXPERIENCE:
For the past 13 months I was employed as an inside sales and customer service representative for a large promotional product company in Toronto. In this role I sold to retail dealers, event management companies, agricultural societies, equestrian shows, and a variety of other businesses and consumers across Canada. To succeed I had to be highly organized and efficient, have excellent time management skills, be able to offer good advice and provide creative solutions, draft quotes and contracts, engage and sell to customers in the showroom, employ excellent communication skills, and more.
RETAIL SALES EXPERIENCE:
In the late-1980s I was afforded an opportunity to sell office furniture to businesses in downtown Toronto. With no previous sales experience, I have to admit I was concerned about my chances of success. After four months on the job, I placed first in month-long sales contest between five outlets. To be successful, I had to develop strong relationships with a diverse range of customers and confidence in our company and its products and services. Although my time at the company was brief, it was an amazing and enlightening experience. Up until that point I had no idea I could sell. When I left to start my own business, I was one of their top salespeople. Without that experience, I don’t think I would have had the courage to go out on my own.
I collaborated on the revamp of a national home inspection association website as copywriter/editor. I helped revamp the home inspection association Code of Ethics and Guidelines with the Ethics Committee Workgroup. I attended a three-day strategic planning session at the invitation of the home inspection association president to develop multi-year plan for the association. I worked as an assistant moderator for a private home inspectors online bulletin board — an online educational resource for home inspectors with over 150 members across the country.