The “Psychology of the plate”

My son today used an interesting turn of phrase – he referred to the process of a sales up-sell that I was explaining to him as the “psychology of the plate”.

I thought he made a great point but I wanted to hear his perspective, so I asked him to tell me about this insight of his.  He pointed out that when I was growing up, supper plates were about 2/3 the size of the supper plates we use now. He reminded me that I had told him that when I was growing up, if I didn’t eat everything on my plate,  my parents used to tell me “There are people starving in the world”.   That drive still exists -fill up my plate and eat everything on it.  If I’m at a friend’s, it seems rude to my hosts if I only half fill my plate with food – even if I don’t need a lot of food or am not hungry.

(Of course we also discussed the implications on people’s health with the advent of these increased plate sizes and the drive to fill them up.)

Does any of this ring true for you?  When you grab that big supper plate, aren’t you subconsciously less satisfied if you don’t fill it up and aren’t you left with a feeling of wanting more if it isn’t filled?

My son rightly pointed out that by providing a bigger supper plate, people add more food to their plate as they are uncomfortable with the plate not being filled – thus the “psychology of the plate”.

Likewise, if you provide exceptional client service and give more to your clients than they paid for, you are increasing the ‘plate’ you provide and your client will buy more from you. There’s a balance of course as you absolutely deserve to be paid what you are worth.   One example from the way I approach my business is that I always do grammar and English edits for free when I’m helping someone with a web content issue.  If their content is unusable because of language issues, I tell them and suggest some new approaches.  If a tweak to a sentence or two will improve their sales conversion, I suggest it.  It’s always in the client’s rights to say no thanks, but mainly I’ve found that people are receptive to constructive suggestions.

The proof is in the pudding though right? Yes, I have been able to retain clients , get referral business, and have clients come back to me because they appreciated those little extras that I build in.

So, what about you? How can you increase the size of the plate you  are serving to your clients so that they want more from you?


What’s your exit strategy?

Call me strange but I firmly believe that we all need to have an exit strategy for a variety of situations in our lives.

Got a job or run a small business??  You need an exit strategy.  Thinking about retiring? You need an exit strategy. In a relationship that isn’t working and you aren’t willing to fix things – you definitely need an exit strategy.

Ok, so what do I mean by an “exit strategy”?  I mean simply that you need to know what would it take for you to make the decision to move on to something else. And to pre-plan at least some of the things that you will want to or need to do to move on (or worse, extricate yourself) from the situation.

We hear all over the place that many people are unhappy in their work and that many slog on for years, slowly crushing their souls and their potential by putting in time in workplaces that are toxic, or abusive, or boring, or etc.  But does it have to be that way?

What would it to for me to move on from this job I hate? For me to close my business and travel the world? For me to move to that other city?

I’ll give you an example from my own life.  When my son was around seven he expressed to me that he didn’t want me to do event planning anymore.  He didn’t like the long hours I would work, or how I would be away from him for days on end running the events.  Obviously I was (and still am) pretty darn proud of him for being that assertive and expressing himself to me at such a young age.  As I was already very clear that he was (and still is) the most important priority in my life, I realized that I needed an exit strategy from doing event planning.  I couldn’t stop immediately as I was a single mother and the money from that work was paying to support us. So, I kept my contracts and started to identify what I needed to be able to move on.

Some of this ‘getting clarity’ was going on in my subconscious, some of my personal work was talking to my friends, family and mentors about their perspectives on my possibilities, some of it was research, and some of it was goal setting.  Bottom line though, it came down to a list of principles, values, and material requirements that were the bare necessities of what I would need to have in any new situation.  Things like:

  • being available for my son first and foremost
  • work close to my home and my son’s school
  • at least as much salary as I was then making
  • regular hours, or at least very little overtime
  • work in an organization that takes serving people seriously
  • working with like-minded people
  • interesting work that challenged me in some way
  • learning opportunities

It took me almost a year to get everything clear in my head and then to plan and execute a search for a “job” instead of being self employed.   It worked.  I found a job that met my needs and that made it easy to make that decision to move on.  Then, a year into that “job”, I realized I was getting bored, so I started working on my exit strategy….but that’s a story for another day. I’ve used this same strategy now in a variety of aspects of my life, and it means that I can keep doing what I need to do in my current commitments, while also being open to the positive possibilities that exist around me.

There are three parts to this methodology

  1. Identify what you don’t want, what you want instead, and what you absolutely need to do to get started
  2. Make a commitment to yourself that you will keep working towards that exit and keep taking action
  3. Review your actions and adjust your activities and behaviours so that you keep tweaking towards what you want

Obviously you can approach these steps in different ways, but in general, I have found these to be the common requirements of implementing change in your life. I’d also like to add that I love helping people work through this kind of stuff, so if you want someone to help you keep focused and bringing you back to getting clarity, let me know.



Thoughts on Exploring internet security

A few things going on in my life and those of my clients – and no doubt others….. I’m not an expert but here’s what I’ve learned thus far

  • how to protect oneself on the internet….
  • how to remember all those passwords…..
  • how to recover from one’s digital life being compromised….
  • and for those of us in Canada, how to do business online without worrying about the USA’s legislation about data held there…

A – How to protect oneself on the internet:

  • only fill in forms with websites that you are sure you want to do business with.
  • only give information that you absolutely have to.
  • where possible, use a prepaid visa or mastercard for purchases rather than the credit card that is attached to your credit rating
  • have a primary email account that you use for your bona-fide transactions and a second email account that you use for your various info/exploring/newsletter signups
  • use an anti-virus/security software – something is better than nothing!!!!
  • use REALLY HARD passwords – combinations of capital letters, numbers and symbols
  • IF you own/run a website, please, please start using an SSL certificate on your website if you are collecting people’s contact information.  An online store MUST have an SSL certificate.  A website with and SSL shows as “https://” instead of “http://”

B- How to remember all those passwords:

  • do some research about the various options – there are desktop software options, cloud options, external usb drive options, combination options. here’s a list on wikipedia which may or may not be up-to-date.
  • use post-it notes ???? (you should see my home office wall!!!! – kidding)
  • keep a small notebook ????
  • use an excel spreadsheet that has a password and then keep it on an encrypted usb drive ???
  • sorry – i’m not so good at this one…I’ll update it when i learn some more 🙂

**Update – I have tried Keypass, Norton, Dashlane and 1Password. I’m very, very happy with 1Password and love that it’s a Canadian company. I am not affiliated with them and am not compensated for writing this statement.

C – How to recover from one’s digital life being compromised:

  • This is a hard one and there’s lots written on it so you can quickly find lots of advice on the internet
  • Let your financial institutions know that your accounts may have been compromised
  • Change your passwords at all of your financial institutions
  • Change your passwords for all of your email accounts
  • Start using 2 factor authentication for any service that offers it
  • Start using a strong password manager system so you can use hard passwords that you may not be able to remember but the password manager system will help you.
  • Every social media software has its own steps – yep you have to follow thru on each separately
  • Do a search for yourself using all of the search engines – ok, yes time consuming, and yes if you are a highly visible person this would be time consuming.
  • Hardware should also be addressed – you might even want to back up your data to a secure storage and then reset to factory settings and start fresh.
  • Look into and apply good anti-virus programs – or even use 2-3 online scans from reputable companies to see if one picks up something the other doesn’t

D – How to do business online in Canada without worrying about USA’s legislation about data held there

  • Thus far, I have found one service for secure cloud data storage in Canada – – I’m trialing it now and so far so good (trial started December 2016).  I really like that they encrypt my data so they can’t read it.  By the way, I’m not being paid to write this and they don’t know that I have.
  • Ask your service providers if their servers are in Canada. There are alot of great companies in Canada that recognize that people want their data kept in Canada. Many are starting to use this as a selling point.
  • I’ll write more on this as I go along.  This is an area of particular interest for me.

**Update – I now highly recommend – Secure cloud storage (This is now an affiliate link because I believe in their service and am comfortable doing business with them)

I know I am not an expert on these areas, and there is lots written out there.  I’m working on increasing my knowledge in this area though because I want to make sure that I do what I can to help my clients setup their websites in ways that meet their security needs.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

New Hosting Service

In order to make life easier for my clients, I am now offering domain registration and domain hosting directly to you. By offering these services, I can work on your designs, maintenance, editing and writing projects right in your websites without you having to share passwords or learn a whole new skill-set just to give me access to what I need to get your website live. The rates are comparable to other providers in Canada and you can choose a package of everything for you, or, one or the other.

Looking forward to supporting you more thoroughly!

Interested? Send me an email or give me a call 1-778-775-2702.

Where do I find images for my website?

One of the most interesting challenges I have working with clients, is sourcing and choosing images for websites.  Everyone is different in their tastes and styles.  Also, knowing some professional photographers, I understand that they deserve to be paid for their creative work so free photos are not always fair to the artists.

Whether you are putting together your first website, over-hauling your existing one, or writing an article or a section of a page, the right photo can elevate your piece to a new level.  I’ve compiled a list of a variety of websites that you can use to source your images.  The list is not exhaustive and I am not affiliated with any of them in any way.  Indeed, I make no guarantees about any website I link to, so do take the time to review each site on its own merit.

And please, just as you’d like to be credited for the work you do, if you use an artist’s work and they ask to be given credit, then please do so.


Potentially Free