Episode 170: Live Interview With Joy Hawkins

John: My guest today is Joy Hawkins. She’s the owner of Local Search Forum and Sterling Sky Joy is a Google top contributor and has been certified in Google search and display. She’s also the author of the experts guide to local SEO, a guide for anyone who wants a detailed manual to succeed in the local SEO space. Thank you for coming on a show Joy.

Joy: Thanks for having me.

John: Perfect so before we get into some of the questions, I wanted to just get the audience to know a little bit about yourself. How did you come about getting into this local SEO world and space.

Joy: Yeah, so back in 2006 I was in university for marketing so I was going to school for advertising marketing and it wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with the degree whatever but I got a job as a summer student for doing sales and worked for a company that sold Google ads at the time so I kind of started in sales doing telemarketing which is you know, not really a job anyone wants to keep long term. But I found as I was doing that job I became really interested in the world of search and I’ve taught myself almost everything I know about the industry that I work in.

John: So back in 2006, when you were in school did you always want to be in sales or do you go to school as a marketer? Is that something that you wanted to pursue.

Joy: No I just, I knew I liked advertising and marketing. I wasn’t sure what type I wanted to do. We were taught like pretty much stuff that I don’t do at all. It’s a lot of what I learned in school has almost no application to my real life but it was a lot of like you know print ads and like TV advertising and traditional media we didn’t learn anything about digital marketing, but I was just looking in like newspaper and things for anything related to marketing I was like I’m just gonna get some experience in my field called a bunch of places in Jude a lot of what people call marketing is really sales like it’s just an opinion see or word that people use for it so I ended up doing sales but for a internet marketing company. So it was just a way to get my foot in the door basically.

John: Gotcha, so how long did you work before you started your own agency and maybe walk through that entire process.

Joy: Yeah, so I worked from 2006 to 2009 there so three years at that company they were not a great company honestly had a pretty terrible reputation and I got the more I worked there the longer I realized that so I left there and went to another company in 2009 and I stayed there for eight years almost nine and then I just started my own company back in 2017 so three years ago. So I guess total if I combine those I guess I was like eleven about eleven years that I worked for other agencies before starting my own.

John: So your second gig was it also in sales and marketing or were you also in the SEO space?

Johy: Yeah, so a little bit of both when I started there the goal was okay I’m going to do what I love which was not sales sales was always something I was good at but honestly hated it didn’t drive me, it wasn’t what I wanted to do a long term I really wanted to be like the person that figured out how to get a business ranked on Google and I wanted to do more of like the analysis and the technical stuff so when I started at the the company in 2009, my goal was to run the whole department and like they put me in charge there I was a director so as the company involved however and got new owners and things changed some of the new owners really want to be in sales. So there was always this conflict cuz they’re like they wanted to make money and I didn’t care necessarily about them making money I wanted to do what I wanted to do and what I was good at. So there was definitely a conflict there and I want to say that this change in management that happened at that company was not a good thing. They actually shut down the office that I worked at about a year after I left. So a lot of a lot of stuff transpired there but it was good that I got out when I did.

John: Amazing, so did you always want to be your own boss as an entrepreneur these are things that people dreamt of. So with all your marketing and sales experience and understanding this whole digital space how did you transition to become starting Sterling Skye.

Joy: Yeah, so no I definitely never wanted to own a company in fact when I made the jump from when coming to another from in 2009 we actually did that on my sister both who worked the company were like we don’t want our own businesses like that sounds scary, I don’t want anything to do with that the only thing that made me start on that path honestly was when I realized that I had really high standards for how I wanted things to be done and the longer that I worked at Precio that was the name of the company that I worked at for eight years, I realized these are my standards and not the company’s standards and that was a big problem for me because I wanted them to be the company standards but they just had different goals than I did and it made me realize if I want to have really super high standards the only way to really dictate that was to start my own company and be able to kind of influence a team to have the same standards that I had. But it was never it was never a plan if you told me this like 10 years ago it would have been like no way.

John: That’s amazing, so you know three years ago you started your company and congratulations because of course not a lot of people can get past the first two, three or even further. So what really transpired since then, since you started. Has has your focus, has your passion and drive still you know is it still that burning desire to dominate the world, like because by the sounds I know your altra successful and you know for me I just wanted to find out like what keeps you going.
Joy: Yeah, so I mean it’s definitely way different now than when I first started when I started it was me, I was doing all the work. You know, I’d sign up a client and I would be the one working on them but I almost right away I hired two part-time people because I realized trying to do everything myself is not a great idea. I’m not good at everything and there were certain parts of what you need to be done that I knew that somebody else would enjoy more and do better and I could do so right away I started part-time these two people and then I hired my first full-time person, I want to say like six months later which was a lot sooner than inspected expected and to be honest I thought it was just going to be me and him like for the longest time and it just we started getting a high demand for clients and there was just a part of me that was like well if I have these high standards and you know we’re able to really get good results for the clients that we work with why wouldn’t we want to help more so we have a hard time turning people away. So that kind of led to the growth that you’ll kind of see with the company today so currently we have 16 people including myself and I’m not setting any goals like I don’t want to be like, oh I need to have 25 employees by next year but we’re just kind of seeing as things go like if there’s a really some personel out there that I would be a great fit here that I want to hire them and that’s kind of how we make our hiring decisions.

John: That’s amazing and I love the fact that early days you hired four people that you knew you didn’t want to continue doing that work right and that’s what a successful entrepreneur does. So through all these years did you have like a mentor or someone that really pushed you like a coach that you can turn to because a lot of entrepreneurs like even myself I kind of didn’t have a mentor I wish I did, was there anyone that really pushed you to become who you are today.
Joy: Absolutely, I mean I can’t even say it’s just one person. All right the industry I work in is very niche which you work in as well so I mean we have. I go to a lot of conferences usually about six or so a year and you get to know people and build relationships there and I started going to conferences while I was an employee in my previous company so a lot of them were encouraging me to start my own company and I thought they were nuts at the time. But like I mean a lot of them were giving me tips and advice and telling me it’s like you know you should do it you’re in a good position you have branding already you have people that would want to have you already that’s the hardest thing to get as a business owner since you already have that you’ll probably have a pretty smooth transition. So I mean I want to say like their encouragement really helped me to take that leap because I was terrified like I had no idea what was coming and if I would even be able to make it work and I’m like I have this mortgage if I kept paying my mortgage and yeah but so I mean several people I’m fortunate enough and a lot of them are people I do pretty regularly in slack groups and you know favorite groups and things like that it’s a very very very warm welcoming community.

John: That’s amazing, that’s amazing, so do you still stay in a really good connection with these people that really help you guide you through early stages of your career?

Joy: Absolutely yeah I mean we’re always talking and now I’m like you know we go back and forth and how are things with you and you know vice versa and stuff but yeah it’s been good like I have no complaints at all I’m fortunate to have the relationships that I do with these people.

John: That’s amazing, so I wanted to just go back a little bit and ask you a couple questions regarding how did you determine to get into like this SEO space because not a lot of people understand it in the first place, was it because you started your career in advertising and marketing and that’s where you kind of stuck and wanted to gravitate towards? Because you saw like a trend and a lot of people were consuming content by a search?

Joy: Yeah, to be honest I can’t say that I back all those years ago looked at this and said ooh this is going to be a really awesome industry. I should get in on this like I had no idea I would n’t think that way. For me it was just basically I’ve always loved puzzles right so it was like a perfect combination of all my hobbies and interests honestly I feel like I kind of hit the jackpot of the career that I love, I’m good at and that although is booming right like I mean it is a well-sought-out industry there is a lot of demand and I would say almost a lack of talent so it’s a good spot to be in but I had no idea was gonna be like that that wasn’t what drove me into it. I just loved solving puzzles and it was just a good fit. Before I wanted to be a marketer, I wanted to do computer programming so I was like oh internet marketing perfect mix.

John: That’s amazing and I know you mentioned a couple good points even when you had mentors before you start your company so you were already in demand so there were people that were willing to pay for services with you and that’s the one thing a lot entrepreneurs need to understand like the hardest thing is to get sales to get real customers paying you to see if you’re successful or not to see if you can quit as a side hustle or if there’s a part-time gig, to take that next step to do it on your own you need to have people willing to pay for your services. So early days when you first started, how did you not only get them to sign up but keep them because that’s the biggest challenge in every single industry, what drives you to make them sticky.

Joy: Yeah, so when I first started, I found like a lot of the things that I was using to self teach myself were also eventually turned into ways to get clients so I didn’t kind of do it to get clients but it just happened to be that way so I posted a lot on online forums. One of the forums I got heavily involved in early on was Google’s forum, so they have a forum for every product so I got really heavily involved in the Google my business forum which took me to the kind of place I am today where I’m a moderator on the forum which gives you all these extra perks and stuff which definitely helped career-wise but that’s not why I started a nice because wanted to learn I was like asking questions on the forum right and then I went from the person asking to be the person answering so that kind of got me a following and then I got really active on Twitter which is very big in our industry, I pushed against it for a long time I’m like Oh Twitter stupid but honestly getting on Twitter was I think a pretty pivotal move because I started to gain followers and people that watched my stuff I started writing so blogging was a big and I would publish things that I discovered I would basically just share all my secrets like I would go out there and I would find something that worked and then I talk about it and publish it and then people started picking up and they’re like oh this person knows what they’re doing so that started getting leads and people would contact the company that I worked for looking for me specifically so that’s kind of like my own personal branding being built up there, but what made them stay was my high standards like I wanted them, you know being an SEO so getting websites ranked on Google I wanted to get these businesses more business themselves and I would you know if the company that I was working for wasn’t doing enough I would be I was annoying as an employee like I was like guys we need to do better like why isn’t this happening and this happening like I’m sure it’s my boss that’s probably the biggest pain in the neck because again we had a difference in levels of like what we wanted but I think that’s why the clients stay with me cuz they knew that I was like on their side and I actually cared about their better interest.

John: You know that’s amazing, so I know you mentioned you were contributing and doing a lot of this form activity, was it a lot of like just volunteer work and really just you know asking questions and like talk people through like what really went on because people have to understand like businesses just doesn’t happen you have to invest a lot of time before you start your own company. So can you walk through what that aspect of like becoming now a Google expert and etc.

Joy: Yeah, so Google all kind of for those that are familiar Google product experts are volunteers, so I’m not paid by Google they don’t pay me for any of their hours that I contribute but all of their online forums are moderated by Google product experts. So people that don’t work for Google but that know a lot about the Google product, so that’s kind of important someone asked me recently what does it take to be a Google product expert and I was like literally hours of your life every week for the rest of your life I’m like so just because you get in doesn’t mean you’ll stay there right like if I was just to stop helping people on the forum I’d eventually get kicked out like or you know they would put me as an alumni. So it is literally a lifetime commitment but you have to like it, if you’re doing it for the perks of you know some of the perks for examples we have weekly meetings with Google we have NDA’s they tell us things that maybe aren’t public to the rest of the world like there are definitely perks but if that’s the only reason why you’re getting into it you’ll probably be like holy crap this is a lot of work for those perks and is it really worth it so you have to have a passion for helping people I think in order to to really get the most out of it and to kind of answer a question like time why like when I first started this industry, I work all the time like this was pretty having kids so like what else was there to do right I just worked all the time and seeing my Facebook post from back then like and they show up in my memories and I’m like oh I worked like 12 hours today or 10 hours today no I do not do that anymore but like that was when I first started I worked a lot.

John: And this was working for another company right? And it’s not even your own company so you don’t have to put in the time.

Joy: Yes

John: And as a business owner or entrepreneur or anyone that wants to become like you’re a business owner and become successful you have to really put in time and be passionate and enjoy what you’re doing. Can you talk to us about some of the challenges that you kind of faced over your career not even your business but more about some of the challenges before you start your business

Joy: Yeah well I mean I want to say I learned a lot from failures of the company that I worked for and I also I think like if I had it worked there for so long I don’t think I would have actually been a successful starting my agency because I feel like as a person I worked at a lot of my weaknesses while I was there so I used to be a lot more emotional than I am today like a lot more and I used to get worked up about things and not be as calm or level-headed and I feel like you know a lot of that was because I was young but I don’t have that anymore to the level that I did there, so I think you know starting this later in my life was a good thing if I had started this when I was 21 or a lot like I think it was 21 when I went between those two companies it would’ve been a disaster. I do not think it worked out well I don’t think I would have been a good boss so I think that was that was good that I waited that time, I’m glad I had my kids whom before I started this company because as a woman being pregnant and running a company probably not a good combination so I’m kind of glad I got those things out of the way before starting but the biggest the biggest thing that I saw or witnessed that I really hit home for me was was turnover like I couldn’t handle all the good people that that company lost and calling one of my colleagues worked with me and in Precio he was that first full time person that I mentioned earlier, when he left it was like the nail in the coffin for me because I was like he’s gone I don’t want to be here anymore because I feel like the people you work with are everything and I think that was the biggest thing that I learned and I was like however I do this my agency I want to make sure people never leave and they never have a reason to leave there’s nothing they hate about their job, I pay them well you know they have the luxuries that they want they can have a personal life not work all the time like I just wanted to make sure I don’t know the stats rather but there’s some stats to talk about like, how expensive it is to hire any person versus just keep a person. So I learned that while there because I watched they had a bad turnover process so

John: You know that’s amazing because you know I I know how you know what you went through and I went through something similar but working at a large company really open your eyes to reality and you know dealing with customers is one thing, but your colleagues and people that you actually get to know the relationships and the social aspect and you know all that really matters. So that’s great that you’re sharing this so in terms of motivation, what motivates you to do what you do because I know you mentioned like passion and you know you really want to help people but is there like a really ultimate motivator for you to really want to be the best out there, what pushes you?

Joy: Yeah one very competitive so I would definitely say that I want to be the best like that time in almost every aspect of my life I’m like I have that thing on there, actually someone was laughing at me the other day because the conference we put on one of our sponsors did this poll and they’re like you can win a prize and me as the person that’s putting on the conference, I’m like entering I’m like sending them stuff because I’m like I want to win and then people like “really joy? come on like you’re running the conference and you’re like entering” but it’s just my nature like I’m very very competitive so I think it’s just that comes out in all angles there. But again with the puzzle and the problem solving there is such a I don’t know like it’s it’s just so exciting when you solve a problem I play I have a business that you know has some weird ranking issue or they’re not showing up properly on Google and they don’t know why and I could solve that for them that is like so exciting so yeah I like that, the challenge of problem solving.

John: Yeah and that’s what we’re in, like this little SEO world there’s so many different factors and each company each campaign is unique to its own world. Different competitors, different problems, challenges so that’s amazing, in terms of mistakes can you share some of the mistakes that you’ve had over the last couple years as a business owner because even myself I’ve been doing this for seven years and I still make mistakes they’re not as big as they once were but I still make though. Can you share some more of them with the audience members?

Joy: Yeah, so one that comes to mind my husband actually advised me he said when I start he said one of the biggest things that small business owners do wrong when they start companies is they don’t price themselves high enough, they said you know you can always lower pricing raising pricing is a lot harder to do so I took that in mind and I was like okay we’re not going to be the cheapest SEO company out there that was not my goal but I was like well we’ll have a cheaper ish ads package where you know people just want to manage their Google ads and all I’ll price it low that was a horrible idea like right from the get-go because it didn’t fit within my model at all we found that you know people that for example paid $300 a month have the same expectations as people that pay 3,000 and I knew that but still thought somehow it was like a good idea so we came back that pretty quickly after realizing that again it’s just you attract like the wrong customers or not the customers I brought in anyways because we weren’t looking to be the cheapest, we wanted to be the best you know. Bose headphones aren’t cheap, they’re expensive because they’re awesome so we want it to be like Bose.

John: Definitely and then how did you overcome back then did you just drop that product line completely or like what did you do?

Joy: We phase it out so for some of them we were just like alright we saw right away that these people had up their flaky they had a high cancellation rate like not at all like our other clients who are buying SEO you know again in the thousands of month range, so we’re like we’ll just wait for these people to, we did actually have to fire one client where I was just like we can’t work on this anymore but for the rest of them I was like I knew that if I just let it go for a couple months and we stopped selling it that we’d lose the few that we had. Because they were just that type of customer so it just faded out we never offered it again. John: That’s amazing, so outside of price was there any other major, even operational problems that you encountered or mistakes that you kind of ran into?

Joy: yeah, I mean a big one that I would say that we’ve been working on a lot in the last like six months but as we grew our team I want to say like our processes were not aligned very well so everyone’s kind of like doing different things and that’s fine when you have three people but when you start growing beyond that it can get really challenging, if not everyone is doing the same thing so I think organization wise, keeping us all organized and on the same page has been one of the challenges that we’ve run into when we started growing, so we’ve been spending a lot of time trying to get our processes nailed down and then processes I wish I’d started that earlier I think it would have been easier if I’d started that with less people.
John: Yeah so definitely that’s something to consider because especially every unique personnel employee has their go to software or organizational way to set their daily tasks. So that’s what we ran into early days as well and we’ve tried so many different softwares as well I’m sure you have it as well. But just trying to centralize it, make it consistent so that everyone knows what’s going on and everyone can actually communicate in a very efficient manner, especially in this digital age right and especially you run an agency that’s all home base as well similar to us. So there’s pros and cons that, of course regarding some of the advice that you can give I know there’s a lot of listeners that are just starting off or thinking of starting off to become their own boss. Can you give some words of wisdom or some advice to some of the listeners here.

Joy: Yeah, this is kind of interesting I would say you know when I first started actually was I didn’t know if like I thought maybe I’d have like a couple part-timers whatever but I definitely didn’t envision like what I have now but looking back I think the people that actually have the hardest time in this industry are people that try to do it all themselves, like I really think something to think in mind you know keep in mind like there’s several aspects to running a business you know there’s taxes, accounting there’s this and that if you try and do it all yourself you would likely burn out and you also won’t be happy because I can’t think of a situation where there’s a type of business where every part of it the person loves. Like as much as you can find the things you don’t love and delegate them the better, I knew I hated taxes and found an awesome accountant, I don’t care what he costs, you could probably double my bill and I would keep him. Don’t tell him that, but he just relieves so many headaches for me because that was one of the big things that scared me from owning a business. I didn’t want to have to deal with the CRA or now I also deal with the IRS because US companies do well so I’m like terrifying. So yeah like just having the ability to delegate I think I’ve actually hired a lot of people who had their own companies before they actually make awesome employees like if you hire someone that has already tried it on their own and decided they don’t like it they are amazing employees they are so dedicated and they have such great work ethic and most of them I think all of them actually work solo entrepreneurs, so they love having a team and I just cannot imagine life without having a team.

John: Yeah, it’s hard, like a lot of these entrepreneurs are thinking of starting they think they have to do everything themselves because their standards are so high right like yourself. But the sooner you let go, the sooner you focus on what your passions are and what you love doing the easier it is and the hardest thing is to give up responsibility and hold them accountable, but that’s leadership when you become your own boss you need to understand, delegate and the power of you know doing less but like other people who are very passionate with what they love they’re gonna do it far better than you will and you just really have to you know make sure that they’re on task like just do what they’re supposed to do.

Joy: Yeah

John: So that’s awesome in terms of I know you already talked about advice and tips about how running a small business changed for you, with the advancements of like technology because I know we live in this world of like very quick instant messaging, communication and a lot of this software in this SEO industry. But how has that changed for you and how have you adapted to it,for your customers, your team and yourself.

John: Well I mean I think it makes the work from home a lot more manageable, I mean you and I right now we’re talking via zoom and that’s how I meet with my team members and my employees are literally all over Canada in the US so some of us live within an hour distance from each other and some of us you know don’t. I think the furthest away from me is though are the ones in California but that would not be possible without technology. So we use slack,we use the sauna, we zoom, we use all these different technologies to keep in contact so I think I’m a fan, obviously it helped but I really I’m a big fan of the work from home mindset because I think that it allows people to prioritize their families and the things that matter in life and one of my guy hires from last year, he’s moved up he’s a director now in the company and he is one of the people I hired that I was most surprised by he has just been so like exceeded every expectation I’ve had and when I hired him he was working for a company that had a three hour commute so an hour and a half each way and he hated it it was draining, it was like just exhausted him time away from his family like not having that commute has made him like the most loyal excited employee like and I can do that without technology right so I think yeah, I owe a lot to technology.

John: So how have you found like you know working from home is not for everyone right no and and your employees as well like did they have to adapt from that social environment adapt from that social environment because a lot of people actually look forward that alone time of a commute or that time that they’re at the office where they can go for coffee or lunch with their colleagues that are now really good friends of theirs right like how did you you know hire or find people that are very comfortable with home-based yes so like some of the people I hired had worked from home in the past some of them really really wanted work from home like the one I was talking about that was like the biggest thing he wanted cuz he just couldn’t take his commute it was exhausting but I think it is important to know that like some people adapt to work from home a lot better than others so like one of our plays um I would say he’s had that biggest challenge working home because they didn’t work from home before and they’re extremely extroverted so I’ve noticed like some of the things that come natural to everybody else don’t necessarily come natural to them and so I’ve we did these personality tests I really highly recommend it we did a disc test with crystal crystal nose I think was the website and it was really enlightening because one of the things that came back for their personality was just they don’t like having like communication over things like slack they prefer like phone calls and so I started doing more like every time I needed something scheduling phone calls and it was really great so I think keeping that in mind and I mean normally we try to hire people that would naturally be great at working from home or really want to but it’s definitely not for everyone and that’s a great thing you’re mentioning which is personality test because you want to focus on their strengths right and if they’re really good hire and a great employee you just have to adapt to some times adapt to them and don’t try to get them to adapt to your process and your systems because they may want to leave right like you’re gonna push them out the door, so that’s an amazing thing that you’re mentioning. Another thing I wanted to ask you is in terms of like these events I know you’ve been focused a lot on speaking and going to these networking events, have you noticed a difference like when you first started did you attend a lot of them and do you continue doing it to pursue and gain some traction in terms of like leads and customers.

Joy: Yeah, so I definitely limit the number I do per year which is more of a personal thing I just don’t want to be away from my family all the time. But I think I think it’s I think it’s necessary and good for like my company’s branding for us to constantly have a presence that like a lot of the industry events and I wouldn’t just say it’s like it there’s like several different benefits one of them would be networking right like I meet so many great people some of them are mentors but then honestly I’ve been also finding employees, so it’s a great way to scout out talent and our our recruiting strategy is a little different than most I have right from the beginning gone after expensive talent people that are talented and on the top of their game I have no desire to train people from the bottom up and honestly is worked phenomenally like I realized a lot of people they want to hire people straight out of college and kind of teach them and I don’t do that. I can’t stand actually doing that so being at conferences is a great way to meet our next hire.

John: That’s amazing because very similar to yourself, I hate starting off like someone straight from school like no experience I’d rather take someone like 5-10 years pay them and let them do what they do and the passion and love it because you know to try to figure out if it’s a good fit or if they actually enjoy this industry or this you know environment you know you’re gonna be hiring and firing a lot and it’s gonna waste your time and time is valuable for every business exactly. So what drove you to become who you are, what drives you today like is there a purpose behind what you’re doing like what are some of the goals for you.

Joy: Yeah belonging so like from a strictly business perspective I would say you know the goals are literally – we want to be at the top like we want to be known as like the best local search agency in North America you know that circle and as far as branding goes you know there’s lots of agencies they’re like oh I just deal with lawyers are you still with dentists we deal with anything as long as it’s local SEO I mean personally we have I don’t know if these are our websites yet but we have these kind of core beliefs or whatever that we put on there of like hey we want to excel we want to do this and that I’m personally I’m a Christian so you know my beliefs in God and all that really do have a huge influence on the way that I run my business. So that I think I feel like your personal beliefs always come into play, as a business owner so we worked those into the core values as well oh yeah I just say like have really good high expectations, higher than what customers expecting you should be good.

John : Awesome just a couple of last questions, so aside from business I know you’re talking about like you know some of your personal stuff but what are some of the other pillars that have really moated you to become who you are because, you know you being a business owner that’s all people see you being that speaker you being that owner but can you let people in on like some of the other pillars are very important in your life.

Joy: Yeah so first would definitely be God I mean honestly I I don’t think I would be where I am today without God and I think that like if you had asked me back in 2014 was when I think I hit like bottom at the company that I was at and I was I remember getting a call I just had a bit of my second child and he was week old so I was pumping full of hormones and very tired and stressed out and they had told me on that call a week after I had my baby that they were gonna be cutting my salary for the third time that year which is not legal. But anyways I was really devastated I already knew I wanted to leave but that was like holy crap I can’t handle this, I remember at the time thinking like it’s really frustrated or whatever but looking back I feel like that really paved the way to where I’m at today like I feel like if i they had just treated me great and everything I’ve been peachy there that I wouldn’t be where I’m at now so I do believe like God had a plan there. My husband I would say, is huge you know having you’re not married or whatever having somebody in your life that can really encourage you and you know lift you up on things that you’re weak but so he was great for the whole transition somebody to talk to you and my kids are obviously a huge part of my life too as well I’ve three little kids so they’re eight and younger and that you know I want to be able to spend more time with them and you know I I can do that now I don’t have to work the crazy hours that I that I used to I I stick my nine-to-five, so yeah I would say probably you know family, god those would be my main pillars.

John: That’s amazing, I know you also contribute back to some of the good causes. So is that big pillar in your life as well like giving back?

Joy: Yes, so we have a couple of them listed. It’s one of those things I don’t necessarily like putting out there because I never want people to get the idea that like we give to charities because I want recognition for it you know like that’s not the driving factor. So I would say my beliefs in God factored into that more than anything else but I do really want to – my goal for sterling sky is basically to if we do grow the company and the revenues increase we want to donate a good chunk of that. So we’ve been doing that one of the organizations that we don’t need to is in Uganda and they help people that were victims from the war there so the civil war that happened in Uganda there’s a lot of like child slaves soldiers and things like that and I think it’s just important to keep in mind like we are so entitled and lucky to be in North America and most of the world is not in the same position that we are so anything we can do to you know give back to people that have had awful lives is great and they do trauma counseling with these people they actually teach them how to run businesses which are basically farms they give them loans relocate them back home they can now run their farm and feed their families and like they have a purpose in life. It’s an amazing organization I want to I told them I’m like eventually I want to fund their entire organization I’m like I just want I want you to not have to look for donors and spend your time coming back to Canada all the time to try and raise money and I’d love to just be your donor, that’s yeah so more stuff like that I think it’s great to have the opportunity to be able to give to them.

John: Yeah that’s the best part of being in a really good position in your life and knowing that you know as a business you can control that and understanding that there are less fortunate people because we are privileged here in North America like myself like I went back to Vietnam last year with my mom and I saw a lot of like the children and you know just looking at a third world country or people that just don’t even have the luxuries of food on a daily basis being able to provide for them that’s amazing privilege that you have so I all hats off to you because that’s amazing thing you’re doing right now. So that’s the end of the questions I had I wanted to maybe you can share to the listeners where some of the listeners can get a hold of you and maybe check you out in terms of some of the websites that you own.

Joy: Yep so I’m very active on twitter my twitter handle is Joanne Hawkins so you can find you there and I’m pretty diligent about responding to anyone that tweets to me my company site is sterlingsky.ca we also run a free forum. I actually ended up purchasing one of the folks that I started learning on earlier in my career which is the local search forum. So it’s localsearchforum.com but yeah any questions you know I welcome, If you want to reach out.

John: That’s awesome well thanks a lot so much for all your time and insights Joy it’s been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit more and hopefully you had fun.

Joy: Yes I did thank you for having me.