TOP 12 Things I Learned Working in Magazines

Here are the top 12 things I learned working in magazines & how they can help you today!

I was in my early twenties. I didn’t know much about business except that I looooved magazines. I had come from working in an international advertising agency and I was looking for something more stable, more human. When an agency wins a contract it hires, and when it loses an account it fires! I loved the idea generation side of agencies, the dreamy side, but the rest just really wasn’t me.

I already knew I loved communication in all its forms: brainstorming to find ideas, promoting great products, thinking of promotions, public relations, finding new angles to get our editors media invitations, pitching, negotiating, and coaching the editors & journalists so they would excel once they were on air.

The world of magazines has changed a lot. Many magazines no longer exist, but I still use what I learned in the industry every day. It really was the best school for me – it has built my foundation as a communications expert, sometimes I even say as a communications addict!

Here are the top 12 things I learned while working in magazines:

1. Put your best content on the cover:

Put your best content on the cover where everyone can see it – this may seem like common sense, but it’s one of the most important things I learned in the magazine industry. My father, who was an amazing entrepreneur, used to say “If you want to sell something put it in the front window for everyone to see, don’t keep it in the back store”.  This tip is based on the same idea. Today the best medias are on the web, so show your products off with great pictures, videos & content!

2. Innovate, don’t follow:

As a matter a fact, the motto at the fashion magazine I was working on was ‘Dare’. We were ‘avant-garde’. Our editor Dominique was an ex-international model. She was simultaneously gorgeous, innovative & daring. She would test the waters with people in the building & then she would ‘jump’! We were the first magazine to have a pink ribbon on the cover for breast cancer. We had naked models saying how 90% of women did not like their bodies, including models! It was always done with taste – never tacky & very classy. If you want to attract attention you need to dare, take a chance, stand out.  This applies on social media & beyond!

3. One success does not last for ever:

When one issue of the magazine sold out, we were so excited we would jump up & down in the hallways, but we still had to work on the next one. We had to win over our readers & buyers with each issue, every three weeks! This is a great reminder that applies to magazines and other businesses as well.

4. Success is rarely the product of one person alone:

Yes, our editor Dominique was amazing. Her energy and her passion were catchy & invigorating.  You could almost say it was all her… almost. She still needed inspiration and would often get it from chatting with the rest of us in the office. She had an amazing editing team behind her – the graphic designers, the photographer, the journalists & columnist, the proofreaders, the promotion & PR team that would give her visibility. The production of a magazine is similar to that of a movie – when a film wins an Oscar, it’s usually the product of many passionate people.  This also goes to show that if you work alone, you shouldn’t hesitate to hire experts to help you out!

5. If you fail, learn from it & move on:

Sometimes, we had issues of the magazine that were great successes. Other times, they were not so well received. There were some hard hits. On these occasions we discussed what happened, tried to figure out what went wrong & did used this information to do better on the next issue. Learn from your mistakes and failures, but never forget! 

6. Competition is good:

We would always check what our competition was doing. I truly believe that if we hadn’t had such fierce competition, we wouldn’t have worked as hard. We wanted to be first & more often than not, we were. It’s not always good to compare yourself with others but sometimes it’s necessary to get to your destination faster! One thing that always pays is to be one step ahead of the competition, no matter what your product or service!

7. Stars attract attention & help you sell:

It’s no secret that when we would put an international celebrity on the cover, we did very well.  It’s always good to have a star or the modern take on one – an influencer talking about you or your product. People will think to themselves, ‘They like it, I trust their opinion, it must be good’ & this leads them to buy! Influencers are the new stars today. Get them to use your products & talk about it – this is one of the best ways to attract attention and help you sell, no matter what industry you’re in or media you’re using.

8. You need more than one media talking about you:

When I would negotiate interviews with different medias, I had a list of more than 20 TV shows, radio station & print outlets to call. If we wanted to be sold out, I needed to make all those phone calls & get many positive returns! You don’t know who is going to say yes, so you need to cast your line out for all sorts of fish. When you want to be seen on social media, you need to be present on more than just one platform and post often. When it comes to social media especially, consistency is key!

9. Content is king:

The cover of the magazine advertises what’s on the inside. When you open the magazine up though, the content has to be excellent. If not, people will just stop buying it. If you want to be present in the medias & have an impact, you absolutely need to have good content.  If you use social networks or use video, make certain the content has value for the people watching.

10. Listen & understand what people want:

When I was working in magazines, we often did surveys where readers would write to us. We took their feedback and kept it – and them! – in mind every time we worked on a new issue. If you don’t show an interest in your audience, you will lose them. On a psychological level, people want to know they matter. If you do a video don’t just talk about yourself – be sure to address your audience specifically.

11. Know your raison d’être:

I spent a lot of time working on a daring fashion magazine. Whenever we hesitated in doing something ‘grand’ we remembered why we started and what our message was. Before you create your website, flesh out branding or work on being more visible, make sure you know exactly why you started. Along the way we often forget this, but it’s essential to know your raison d’être and keep sight of it along your journey.

12. When you are not challenged, move on:

I honestly had so much fun working in the magazine business. I saw so many different sides to the industry – I worked on promotion, public relations, event planning & magazine launching. I learned so much but eventually it became routine and I wasn’t having fun anymore. So, I left. I loved magazines but it was time to discover new things & take on new challenges. I can wholeheartedly say I did this – the challenge of working for myself is an ongoing adventure! I love working with small businesses, entrepreneurs & solopreneurs to help them find their essence & see them transform from lamb to lion!

I wanted to share these lessons with you because the experiences I had are always alive inside me. When I work with clients, when I coach them to find their essence & create videos, these are the rules that I follow. These lessons are also alive & well every day as foundations of the communication & marketing world.

If you need assistance with your marketing foundation, whether it be finding your essence, producing your videos, or finding your elevator pitch & that 2-minute message that will attract your next clients, please contact me. I would love to speak to you and see how my services can help!



The Secret of Successful Entrepreneurs

Prior to February 2020 I, like many of you, saw my husband before the work day began and after he’d come back from the office, with no first-hand knowledge of what went on in between.

Now that we spend all day working out of the same home office, I get a unique window into his life at work and a company other than my own. I can see him going through several emotions in one day. He is alone at his computer but is rarely really ‘alone’ – long live Zoom! No matter what may be going on in the world, he is in constant contact with his team. Watching them, it became clear to me that there is a certain energy, a force and synchronicity that emanates throughout a good team. When people work with a shared goal, they are often stronger and more effective than if they were working alone.

Whether you are 400 employees across the globe or 2 employees working from home, the rule is the same.  You have to know how to surround yourself with people who have the same values, passion, and who care about the success of the company.

When you’re an entrepreneur, you think you have to do everything yourself.

The truth is that as human beings, we are rarely good at everything. Disney was amazing at drawing, telling stories and had an amazing vision for the future, but he was really bad at accounting and business. Thankfully, he had his older brother Roy. John F. Kennedy had his brother Robert, his assistant Kenneth Patrick O’Donnell and many close advisers. Oprah Winfrey didn’t run a show or television network alone, she had her producer Sheri Salata, her chief of staff, her assistant & a mega team. Celine had Rene & many collaborators. Mandy from ‘Mandy’s Salads’ (my favorite restaurant in Montreal!) works with her sister Rebecca,…

We often think that there is such a thing as a ‘strong man’ or a ‘strong woman’, but I prefer to say that we are all as strong as our support system. In many cases, we think that someone is doing it all themselves, but that’s usually because their ally or associate just doesn’t want attention and stays out of the Spotlight.

Who can be part of your support system?  It can be a partner, a coach, an effective assistant – someone who has your interests in the foreground, with a healthy enough distance to help you make the right choices.

If you need help, ask!  We live in a world so technologically advanced that you can find the perfect expert at a click. Use the resources available to you! Ask around in Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups. Become a member of an RFAQ (Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec) or a BNI (Business Networking International) chapter. Look to your local Chamber of Commerce, PME Montreal, YES Montreal. You’d be amazed at how many people will offer help, especially in these difficult times.

The business world is not so different from our everyday lives. To be happy in life, you need a good support system. A  wife, a husband, a parent, a child, a good friend, a brother, a sister, a friendly neighbour… someone you can talk to, someone who believes in you without judgment and who can lend an ear and offer advice.

Batman had Alfred and Robin. Superman had Lois Lane.  Iron Man has Pepper. Obama had Michelle and Joe. Kennedy had his brothers and his team of consultants.

Who do you have?

We’re really stronger together.

If you need help with your message, your story, your videos, or your marketing, please feel free to send me a message. It will be my pleasure to see how I can help you!

If you need help with your website, social networks, graphics, sales figures, or accounting, I’m definitely not the right person but I’ll happily refer you to an expert or colleague who excels in the field.

Don’t be a stranger. 

Stay safe,


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My Father’s “Why” – Integrity, business and fathers

Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

This is the story of a passionate man. Passionate about work, family and life. What drove this passion? His clear purpose to avenge his father and be a great dad.

This is the story of my father and the events that made him the man he was and me the person that I am.

Born in 1918, he would have been 100 years old this November.

My father was a protector. Probably because of what was once taken from his family. You see, he was very close with his own father, Henri, who tragically passed away when my father

was just 17.

Henri was an entrepreneur with integrity and passion. Peladeau Lumber was his business.

In the 1920’s, when hardly anyone was travelling abroad, Henri imported the latest technology – a machine to make his business run faster and better. He was very avant-garde, always staying one step ahead. Nothing could stop him. At a time when business was monopolized by the English, my French-Canadian grandfather stormed the gates of entrepreneurship in Quebec.

And he made his mark. He went to mass every night, had a golden tongue, lived with integrity and suffered one fatal flaw – that he believed everyone else was honorable, like him.

My grandmother tried to warn him with the wise words, “There are no friends in business.” Sadly, she was right.

My grandfather did business with two people he believed to be friends. People he believed lived with integrity, spoke the truth and were honorable. They were not. And he lost everything as a result.

Shortly after that devastating loss, he died of throat cancer.

My father suffered greatly from the loss of his father, a man he admired, respected and considered his “buddy”.

Henri was generous to a fault, happy to treat the neighborhood children to ice cream while his wife waited anxiously at home for the groceries he had been sent out to buy. In the eyes of my father, Henri was everything he wanted to be. A good person, a good father and a good businessman

When Henri died, many of his so-called “friends” disappeared. When my grandfather had been a rich and healthy man, the family was very popular. When he lost his company and was diagnosed with cancer, it was as if people thought his downfall was contagious. A whole community disappeared.

Sadly, cancer and poverty bring the best and the worst in people.

That experience became the foundation of my father’s character. He became very careful about who he associated with and never granted time to superficial people.

He once said to me, “The most beautiful inheritance is to receive nothing because it gives you the motivation to want to get back what you lost.”

The house in Outremont, the cottage on the waterfront in St-Eustache, the business, his name. My grandfather lost everything except for the love and admiration of his son.

My father started his revenge plan young and followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps. He went to war and, during his stay in England, studied to be an accountant in order to understand figures and ensure nobody ever played him. Then he took a long distance course to learn everything about lumber (this was long before the internet!).

He started work at a leading lumber company, working his way up the ladder to become vice president. Working almost day and night, he ended up in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. When the doctors ordered him to rest, he decided it was the perfect time to open his own business. Against, of course, the advice of the doctor and my mother!

My father’s priority was to put his plan into action; to build his new company from scratch and reclaim his father’s honor. He made a name for himself in the lumber industry and his business thrived because it was built on solid values.

When he turned 86 years old, after living a good life and achieving his purpose, my father left to join his father. But his company continues after more than 60 years, thriving on the same values of commitment and, above all, integrity.

My father’s “why” was to build a company and a life that would have filled his father with pride, as much in family, as in business, as in life.

He wanted more than anything in the world to finish his father’s work of being a great dad and building a great business, both based on solid grounds.

100 years after his birth, the legacy lives on. His why, his purpose, is in Bois Peladeau and in my family’s household. His business partner is now 88 years old and still goes to work everyday because he enjoys what he built with my father so much and now continues to build the future with his son.

In my own business, I keep the legacy strong as well, surrounding myself with people like him and searching out only clients, partners, suppliers and friends with integrity and authenticity. My father was often described as the lion of the family, and I have even infused that into my business. Lions resonate with courage and integrity – the cornerstones of Lionzest. To live with integrity is my grandfather’s inheritance and it is the best inheritance!

Aside from always living with integrity, the greatest lesson my father and grandfather taught me is that a successful business starts with understanding your “why”. Your passion, your purpose is what drives you forward and empowers you to connect with your audience.

This is why, before each video (since the camera does not lie) I ask my clients to be fiercely authentic. That authenticity is what I find most attractive in business and in life, and it’s what resonates with your customers.

What is your “why”? Don’t worry if you’re not clear on it. That’s where I come in. Contact me today. Together, we’ll uncover your “why” and make you shine!

Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Grandfather. Happy Father’s Day, wherever you are!







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Do you believe in miracles?

You know in fairy tales how there are genies, magic wands, fairy godmothers and any number of beings and items that can make whatever you want magically appear in an instant? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had one of those in real life?

But, of course, we all know life doesn’t happen that way… or do we?

When clients contact me, they want success. They want clients calling them from everywhere, ready to buy. They are looking for the quick fix. The magic wand. The miracle worker.

And I don’t blame them… because I am the same way!

I am always looking for that magic, quick result. Part of my brain knows it doesn’t make sense, but another part wants to believe.

I start a diet and after one day of salad, I jump on the scale anticipating the number will have dropped. I start a workout and when my muscles are sore the next day, I have a quick 10 seconds of believing I have transformed. I try a new mascara full of promises and before looking in the mirror, I am convinced I’m going to look like Meghan Markle or better!!!

We all do this, so… why would our brains be any different in business?

I once had a client who believed in “magicians”.  He had a great store with great products, but those products were expensive, his location was terrible and he had no consistent messaging.

His brain was also stuck on the “Big Wow”. He had everything to succeed but right there in his store, but kept looking for outside solutions. He wanted magic, THE quick fix.  Continuity takes time. Who has time?

It seemed every occasion I saw him he was hiring a new person. Each time it was, “THIS is it. HE is THE one.”

Every new hire seemed to have their own magic wand.

One was a PR person. She was going to make him famous because she was so well connected. She organised a beautiful event full of beautiful people. Some bought products, some discovered the store and came back, but there was no big “Hoopla”.

Next, it was a marketing guy who was going to make him famous by building him a fantastic website. This guy was “the best”. He had worked for big designers in Paris such as Burberry and Gucci. A few months later, my client had spent $25,000 on a website. The website was nice, but very slow. My client was happy at first. It was such a beautiful website, full of bells and whistles! But after a few days of people saying they could not find him on Google and the site was too slow, he was very unhappy. The magic bullet had missed its mark.

Then he associated himself with a fashion icon. Now, she was going to put the store on the map. She had great clients and would share that clientele. But, once again, the result did not meet his high expectations.

Finally, he hired a new rep. This woman was great at selling. The best. She was going to bring her clients from her previous store. It was going to be big! She did bring in some business, but it was far from the tidal wave my client was expecting.

What was missing every time? Consistency. Also, reasonable expectations. But consistency was the big one.

You will hire people. They might not bring the big parade you were expecting, but good people will continually bring you closer to the next level, step by step.

Be wary of big promises. A true expert has the experience and wisdom to know that there is no “big bang”. There are no miracles. There is patience and there is consistency.

Learn from each step forward. Take notes and keep going. Keep hustling!

Success is built on hard work, not miracles.

There is no magic. There are no saviors. You have to do the work yourself. You have to hustle, every day. An Olympic medalist doesn’t simply show up and win gold. They work at it, hard, every day. Great musicians don’t just pick up a guitar. They practice and experiment every single day.

If there is any magic bullet, it is routine. Repetitiveness, consistency and patience are what create “miracles”. As the championship golfer, Gary Player, once said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Funny how that works, no?

I like to think that I bring a bit of magic to what I do. I help people bring out the “why” of their business and shine that light, brilliantly, through incredible videos. But I also work hard, work consistently and coach my clients on how to consistently get their brilliant, amazing message out there, continuously. Even pixie dust needs someone working hard to spread it around.

Do the work to ensure your message gets out there, every day. Be visible. Post pictures, quotes or better yet have a video series. Be present every day and the miracle will happen!

Barbara Eden

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The REAL Paradise Hotel

I love people. Mostly, I love learning about what drives them; what they’re passionate about. I believe that it is knowing each other’s purpose that truly connects us and helps us all learn, grow and be better. That passion is why I started Lionzestto help others find their “why” and share it with the world by video.

A few weeks ago, I travelled to Cambodia with my family. What an experience! Before the trip, I knew very little about the country. I knew only that they had experienced a horrible genocide in the 70’s and that the country is home to the temple of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.

I was excited to learn more as I am fascinated by countries that have been to hell and back, to meet the people and witness their extraordinary and deeply inspiring resilience.

On this trip, I discovered paradise. And it was not the temple. Rather, it was a small boutique hotel called Jaya House. A jewel I will never forget!

Jaya House Hotel


The REAL Paradise Hotel

Family excursion at the temple

Located along a riverside, this small, 36-room hotel is all about making a big impact on the world. They have a ‘no plastic, no waste’ rule and have turned this eco conscious mindset into a truly peaceful, welcoming and life changing experience for guests.

The moment you enter the hotel, you feel peace. You are welcomed with a glass of fresh mango juice and gifted a reusable water bottle to encourage you to avoid the disposable ones

The REAL Paradise Hotel

The REAL Paradise Hotel

In your private bathroom, where most hotels provide small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion, everything is instead in refillable ceramic pots. It feels more like home than a hotel!

In your room are glass bottles filled with filtered water for you to enjoy and refill your new bottle to take on excursions. Instead of individually wrapped tea bags, there is a glass pot of locally sourced moringa tea. What a discovery!


Lotus Flowers

Lotus Flowers

The REAL Paradise Hotel Jaya House

After exploring the surrounding sights and experiences we were always greeted with warm hand towels that smelled of lemongrass and given a glass of homemade lemonade with reusable bamboo straws. No disposable wet wipes or plastic straws here!

One day, I decided to take full advantage of the great tasting local food by taking a cooking class with one of the hotel chefs. The chef took me to the local market. Wow! I could scarcely believe the diversity of colours, scents and tastes. It was like nothing else I had ever experienced.


Cambodia Cooking


As the chef went about making his purchases for the hotel, he insisted on only using the eco bags he had with him. No plastic! No waste! Even outside the hotel, he was continuing to spread the message of love and respect for the planet. He said that if he could educate people as he went about his day, even just one person at a time, that it was worth it. This was beyond a hotel policy. It was something he truly believed in!

I learned that members of the staff also co-started the Refill Not Landfill campaign, which has saved approximately 1.2 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfills. I also discovered that the entire hotel staff just yesterday planted an additional 17 more trees & helped clean up the nearby lake in support of the community.

I asked my new friend what made him excited to go to work each day. He answered, “I simply love my job. I love Khmer people. I want to make a difference and reduce the abuse of plastic. It is amazing to be able to make a sincere difference on a daily basis.”


The result of this passion is a hotel so amazing that Town & Country just listed them in their TOP Worldwide Hotels. Proof that it pays to have purpose!



Jaya House Hotel River Park

Town & Country Mag lists Jaya House Hotel in their TOP

Although there is so much to discover, learn and experience in Cambodia, the hotel was the highlight of my trip.

Because of their passion, I am now consciously working harder to be better. I shop local, buy eco friendly products from Montreal’s The Unscented Company, make my own fragrant water and have started a vegetable garden.

By sharing their “why”, by sharing how far they have come, how far they still have to go, and how motivated they are to continue, they have inspired me. And after an experience like that, I can’t believe that I am the only guest to come away changed. They are spreading their message, person by person, and changing the world along the way.

That is the power of your “why”, your passion. By getting your message out there, in every way you can, to as many people as possible, in a way that truly connects… you can do incredible things.

Do you know your “why”? Do you know how to get your message out there, to connect with and inspire people? Contact me. Let’s build your paradise.



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What’s Your Story?

Why are stories important?

As a child, what did you want to hear most before going to bed or to help you understand something? A story!

Why would it be any different when we grow up? I don’t think most of us want to grow up. Deep inside each of us is still a child who loves hearing a good story.

A good story is captivating. Engaging. It draws you into a new world, letting you explore new possibilities and adventures through your imagination.

When people ask you what you do for a living, usually what they’re really asking is, “What’s your story?”

They will ask things like, “Where did you study? What do you do from 9 to 5? Where do you live? Are you married? What are your hobbies and interests?”

It all translates to, “Tell me a story.”

Story is how we learn about each other, understand each other and find common ground. It’s how we answer important questions that we usually can’t ask outright. Questions like, “What are your values? Do we have anything in common? Can I relate to you? Do I want to be your friend and encourage your business? Can I trust you?”

Stories are what being human is all about! From the beginning of time, long before writing (let alone video) existed, we have been telling each other stories.

It is how we connect. 

We all have a beginning, a development and an end. A life story. When we know someone’s story, we connect with them. We understand them and relate to them.

When choosing to buy a product or engage a service, don’t you feel better about your choice when you know something about the company, the brand or even the business owner? Would you feel at ease buying from a company you knew nothing about? Unless you’re a robot, your answer is probably no!

How often do you meet someone and almost immediately ask yourself, “I wonder what her story is?” You may even make one up in your mind if they don’t tell you right away. Story is that powerful! But even then, we want to know the real story. We want to know if we should stick with the person or not. Invest more time with them or not. We want to know what we have in common with them, if we can trust them and if they are likely to understand us!
Business is ultimately about relationships. Those relationships start with a story. Customers, clients and even partners want to know your story because your story is your identity. Your story tells them if you’re on the same wavelength in business and in life. If you’re someone who can understand their needs and wants. If you’re someone they can trust.

Story is the best way to get to know you and decide if they want to have a relationship with you or not.

Here is a good example:

I recently met this great businessman in Vietnam: Let’s call him Mr. Liem for the purpose of the story My friend in Montreal had been doing business with his company for three years, but because of the distance, he had not had the chance to see him face to face often enough. So, to make business easier, my friend decided to pay him a visit.

Since I was in Vietnam with my friend, Mr. Liem insisted that I come along for dinner. He told us about his childhood during the war when they had nothing to eat, how his village had vanished and how he was planning to build a new one by the ocean. He even invited us to visit in 2020 and, just like that, we were part of his story!

He told us how he had wanted to become a lawyer and an artist, but that he ended up being an entrepreneur. He told us of the beginnings of the business that was started 20 years ago, how they started with just five employees and had grown to over 2000 with clients across the globe. And now, he was so happy his son was on board.

What a nice success story!

Mr. Liem was captivating and had charisma. There’s no question that he was charming. But what I really fell in love with were his stories.

His stories bore his humanity. In our minds, we saw the narrative of his life unfolding. His character, his strength and his business.

It was only one short dinner, but because of his stories, it was enough to learn that we shared similar values and were all on the same wavelength. My friend was even more excited to be visiting his business the next day.

By sharing his story, freely and with authenticity, we felt he had opened up to us. We had connected. Even I wanted to do business with him!

Throughout my career, I have met many business owners and entrepreneurs. Not all of them stay in my memory. But those with a story, who share their story, are the ones I never forget. It is because of Mr. Liem’s story that I will always remember him.

When someone dares to open up to you, you want to have a relationship with them. You want to support them, be their friend, connect with them.

When you have a story to tell, people relate to you. It is the start of a relationship.

If we were not human, we would probably be satisfied simply with a product or service. But, as humans, we are always hungry for a good narrative. We want to buy a product, but we want a story behind it too. We want something that makes it human. Something we can relate to. Something to captivate us.

If you want to be remembered, tell your story.

Now, you probably don’t have the time (or budget) to invite everyone to your favourite restaurant.

But you do have time for a two minute video.

How do you tell a captivating, engaging story that draws people in with just two minutes? That’s where I come in 😉

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First Impressions Matter More Than You Think!


Are we that superficial? Yes we are!

When you watch the Oscars or flip through magazines at the grocery store, is your first instinct to check out (and comment on) the clothes, hair and makeup? Of course! We all do it.

So… why would it be any different when people visit your company’s website

Let’s make one thing clear: the most powerful marketing and sales tool available today is video.

But if you put that video on a website from 2012, that video alone will not convince anyone to buy from you. Your favourite celebrity can have their hair and makeup on point, but if their dress looks like a #ThrowbackThursday post come to life? Nobody’s buying what they’re selling.

Why? Because first impressions matter. Once you have someone hooked, of course they want to dig deeper and find out more.

But feeding that first, superficial impression is critical.


Your website is your storefront.

Because as they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

So take care of your image. As strongly as I believe in the power of video, video is not magic. Nothing is. You need to address the whole package.

Here’s an example. A friend of mine owns a dessert store that is heavenly on the eyes and stomach. I love everything he makes and have been a happy customer for 10 years!

A while back, he told me he was closing his downtown store to open an exclusively online store. That sounded great! As long as I could still buy the goodies I love, I was happy.

So one day, I start craving something decadent. I do a search and find both his website and Facebook page.

“Oh no!” was my first thought, “That can’t be him. That is not the product and company I love.”

What happened??? Turns out, he had recently spent $3000 on a website with tons of text… and no pictures. SO what….The French and English text were all cluttered on the same page and there were no tempting images of the delicious desserts I remembered.

Looking at it, I wanted to pull my hair out!  Totally LOST opportunity for anybody who lands on this website. It is life and death for his business. It is thousands of dollars, it is PR opportunities. Or people who would call him for a “cupcake wars” show…

Yes, we, as customers, are that superficial. First impressions count, even for customers who know your product. They can have doubts if what they see doesn’t reflect the quality they expect or remember. The last thing you want your POTENTIAL clients to have…is any doubts…they are already analyzing if they want to give you their money or not…and there are other people who can help them solve their problem, put EVERYTHING on your side.   Your image is the equivalent of your product. When you can not be present in person, your website, social networks and videos do the work for you. If you don’t look good, sales won’t look good either.

Your website is your storefront!

Life moves fast, fast, fast. People’s eyes move even faster. What you present to the world has to be visually attractive and has to make people want to buy from you in that moment.

Here’s my advice to you: Yes, your client is that superficial. Accept it. Cater to it. Put your best foot forward on your website and social media profiles. Show off! Don’t be shy to look your best or make the mistake of thinking it doesn’t matter that much. It matters SO much!

Invest in some amazing images, reduce the amount of text on your homepage, use a nice font, put some thought into your colour scheme and post some engaging, quality videos that make your company come ALIVE!

Sometimes when you are “in it” it’s difficult to see from the outside. That’s normal. That’s why people like me exist! 😉 With 25 years of PR experience, having been responsible for cultivating that critical first impression for clients to show the world, I know what to look for and I know how to make you shine.

On our first meeting, I listen closely to what you have to say about yourself, your business and your goals. I take a good look at your image: website, social networks, elevator pitch… all of it.

From this deep dive, I create a video concept to present to you. Something that truly makes you shine. But it’s more than a video. It’s a basis for your image, your first impression. Once you are happy with your image, I coach you to be the best that you can be on camera

The end result is a powerful tool to boost your visibility and attract your next clients. It’s a fast and easy process where you sit back and I do all the work!

Don’t put your business’s image in the hands of someone just because they are family, friends or have done a few websites in the past. Do what you have to do to make certain your product and company look their best!

Tell your story, use video as a way to stand out & do the selling when you are not there!

We are superficial. We will run to your store if you show it off and make it shine. But we will also turn away if we aren’t drawn to what we see. Call me. Let’s make you shine!


Cupcake image

image is everything







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As a PR veteran I am often asked for my top PR tips. This is the one that my experience has shown to be most impactful: The Invisible Factor.

Wait. Isn’t PR all about… visibility???

Let me tell you a story.

A while back, I was worried about my precious dog, Kayla. She had a lump. I took her to my local vet who is very close by. It’s a nice place, convenient to get to, very professional and everyone there seems to know what they are doing.

Any time I take my dog there, she jumps on me like a scared little kid, “Don’t leave me here pleeeease! I am soooo scared!”

But my dog has never had any major issues, and I have never had to leave her with the vet, so this place did the job just fine.

But now Kayla had this lump, and it had grown. I started out scared enough, but when we got to the vet I got even more scared as the vet started listing off all the alarming possibilities.

The vet wanted me to leave my dog with her immediately and agree to have her operated on with all the extras, of course.

My gut was telling me no.

If you’re not a dog person, at this point you probably think I’m a crazy woman. But if you know dogs, you know they are more intelligent than many people think. So it was, in part, my dog’s scared reaction to this vet that gave me pause. But also something else. I could not put my finger on it, but I knew I did not feel 100% confident in this vet who is literally just 3 minutes from my house. Maybe it was because the last time they called to check on Kayla’s wellbeing, they spent most of the call telling me about all the (expensive) vaccines she should come get, ASAP!

I listened to my gut.

I decided to take Kayla to a vet that is nearly an hour away from my house.

Many years ago, I went to school with this vet’s wife, Caroline, who is a vet herself.

As kids, going to her house was like going to a farm. You never knew if her mom or a duck would answer the door! When she told me she wanted to become a vet, I thought how well that suited her. In fact, she gave my dog her very first checkup! I never went back only because of the distance.

But now we had an emergency.

Caroline had once told me that her husband was more of a veterinary surgeon, so I made the 50 minute drive out to see him.

We had a quick chat where he told me that he had grown up in a house much like Caroline’s, except they also had ostriches! He had told me about his passion for animals and I could see Kayla feeling comfortable with him.

He had the invisible factor.

He had built his veterinary hospital and staffed it with wonderful people who all had the invisible factor too. I felt confident leaving my dog in their care.

I felt that she could be operated on and everything would be alright.

My husband thought I was crazy to drive so far when a perfectly good vet was just 3 minutes away. But when he came with me on surgery day, he got it. He felt it.

You see, this vet, nearly an hour away, loves what he does and so does everyone who works with him. He took the time to find solutions for me that the other vet never told me about. Kayla was confident with him and never tried to jump on me as I left her to be operated on.

Before and after the surgery, he called to answer all my questions and explain exactly what was happening.

My husband, my dog and I could all feel just how much he cared. And that’s it. That’s the invisible factor. Caring.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a vet, a restaurant, a retail store or even a bank. When you care, when you truly, deeply care about what you do, and you bring that passion to every interaction, people feel it. They can’t see it. You can’t put it on a billboard. But it can be felt, and people know, instinctively, when it is genuine.

Look for people who care and be someone who cares.

When looking for help or guidance, seek out people with that invisible factor. You won’t see it, but you’ll feel it.

When thinking about your own PR, aim for the invisible factor to shine through, not just in marketing or advertising, but in every interaction with clients and your audience. It’s this factor that makes video testimonials so powerful. The camera does not lie. When someone speaks from the heart, their words come to life!


So my best PR advice to you is this: Care about your clients. Care about what you do. And don’t be shy about letting that care shine through. It may be invisible, but some of the most powerful things in life are.

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I am a fast paced person. I like when things are exciting and dynamic. It’s why I love working with video. You can create this super short, but super impactful piece of media that delivers facts and feelings quickly and has an immediate impact on the viewer.

But in life and business, it can be good to switch gears from time to time. It helps you get a new perspective, gain clarity and be at your best.

For me, I like to “get away from it all” by doing something really slow, once a year. I try to cut out all electronics and do something that takes patience and time. This activity is something that really isn’t… ‘me’.

I do puzzles.

Yes, you read that right. Me. The woman who can never pass up a party, who loves to take on exciting new challenges, who moves at the speed of light… I do puzzles.

This year, I chose a 1000 piece Beatles puzzle.

Now hear me out, because you would not believe how eye opening puzzles can be! Working on puzzles allows me to explore a part of my brain that I don’t use often and to exercise my patience muscles. I almost feel like I’m using a different set of eyes. Just by putting a puzzle together, I begin to see life and business with a whole new perspective.

Here are 10 lessons from puzzles that have made me better at life and business:

1. When things look chaotic, take a deep breath and just start

When I first dumped 1000 puzzle pieces on the table, my sister, husband and son all quickly reminded me that it was “too much”.

In my own head, I was thinking, “Maybe they’re right! What was I thinking? OMG! Can I return it? Where do I even start??”

But then I just started. I flipped all the pieces right side up and began sorting edges with edges, blue with blue, white with white… pretty quickly that big mess started looking more manageable. More possible. And most importantly, I was doing it. Slowly, and literally piece by piece, I could see my small, deliberate actions having an impact.
I remember once coming out of a meeting with a potential client thinking how much I wanted that client. But the project came with so many challenges: the story, the décor, the coaching… where would I even start? I got every idea on paper, organised it piece by piece, and it quickly became manageable.

In puzzles, life and business, just dive in and get organised!

2. Success = timing + patience

Ok, so there’s more to success than that. But timing and patience are a big part of it.

Sometimes I would get into a “groove” of finding and connecting pieces amazingly fast. Other times the groove slowed down. It is so exhilarating to have one success after another, but when it slows down it is not as easy to continue.

Don’t give up. Sometimes I would try a piece so sure that it would not fit, but to my biggest surprise it did. Try things. Take chances. Have patience. The pieces will come together if you stick with it.

3. Sometimes you have to let the pieces go and keep your eye on the big picture

I had been working on the puzzle for a while. I was almost finished. But the last pieces were hard. There were no more colors, just black and white. I had gone from rapid success, finding one piece after another, to finding nothing. I was discouraged.

So I let it go. I left my project on the table and avoided it for a few days.

But I knew I had to finish. I did not want to hear, “I told you it was too big!” So I took a walk in front of it. No pressure. No commitment. Just looking at it from a distance. No more sitting in front of it.

To my surprise, I could see things from a distance that I could not see up close. I started to find new matching pieces. I was on a roll again!

At work, when I get a creative block, I go for a walk or a workout (or chocolate!). When I come back and can see things from a distance, my creative flow is back again. When you feel stuck, you are not stuck. You just need to step back and see the big picture. Let the pieces go. Step away. Take a walk.

4. Sometimes it’s the big picture, other times it’s the pieces

Not surprisingly, John and Paul’s heads were pretty easy to put together. As were all the other “big picture” parts – the colours, the tickets, the edges, the Fab Four… it all came together nicely.

It was at the very end, when I was left with a large white space to complete, that I struggled. The pieces all looked the same at first. When I started to look more closely at the unique shapes, to see that some were more rounded, others heart shaped and so on, it helped so much.

In business, we often say the details will kill you. I usually start my videos with a storyboard. I put it aside then come back and add to it, bit by bit. I constantly add details to ensure nothing is overlooked. Promotional text can be rewritten, but it is expensive and time consuming to redo a video. The details are critical.

Details will only kill you if you do not pay attention to them. Hurray for details!

5. The right partner can complete you (or your project)

When you’ve done the biggest part of a project yourself, sometimes you need someone with a different eye. You get tired of seeing the problem and the more you look, the bigger it seems. Or maybe you are a big picture person and need someone detail oriented to step in.

One part of the puzzle had an image of green and orange tickets. And I was stuck. My husband walked by to see how I was coming along. He can be a bit competitive and happened to pass at just the right time to help with the orange tickets. I welcomed his help and competitive mind. It was exactly what I needed in that moment!

A while ago I met a guy at a business event. He introduced himself saying he did video. I almost left, thinking he was competition. Good thing I listened to his elevator pitch because we have been working together ever since! We each bring unique perspectives and strengths and complete each other so well. We end up producing amazing videos together!

Embrace partnerships. The right mindset can complement your own in incredible ways.

6. You can’t be #1 ALL the time

I love being at the top of my game. Sometimes I would get on a roll, fitting so many pieces together, feeling like nothing could stop me. Other times, it would take an hour just to get one piece.

But it’s ok.

When you’re on a winning streak, you’re on adrenaline. It doesn’t matter if it’s a puzzle, a marathon, or a business deal. It’s like a drug. And you cannot be on it ALL the time. Just accept that that is the way life goes. When things slow down, you get to appreciate your little successes a lot more and take time to plan for your next winning streak.

Appreciate your winnings, learn from your losses and make the most of the slow downs.

7. Go ahead… try the weird thing!

I sometimes found myself ready to give up. So much time would pass without finding a piece that fit. Then, all of a sudden, success!

All it took was trying that weird piece that looked like there was no way it would fit anywhere.

Take chances. So what if the piece doesn’t fit? At least you tried. Sometimes “the weird thing” will surprise you by just how well it fits.

I like to go to networking events to meet new clients. Certain events have such great branding, I get excited just thinking about going. Once there, the potential clients are nothing like I imagined. Yet, we fit perfectly! They need a video, I make video, and when we start working together, I realize their business is so much more interesting that I expected, and we end up making amazing things!

8. Have a vision

I once tried a puzzle without a picture to reference. You had to guess what the image would be as you assembled it. Pas evident! Needless to say, I never finished it.

With my Beatles puzzle, I could always look at the picture on the box to see if I was on the right track. It’s essential!

In life, as in business, you have to have an image in mind of what you want to accomplish. A goal. An objective. An end result you can visualize. The clearer you see it, the better your chances of achieving it. It could be a house, a job, a trip, anything. Have a clear vision to reference as you work towards it.

9. Take things one piece at a time

Too often, we look for quick fixes or magic wands. People start a Facebook business page and expect clients to pour in. They make one video and expect huge, instant results.

Life and business do not work that way. It’s consistency that creates results. It’s picking up one piece at a time, trying each one on its own, and not giving up. You cannot attack 1000 pieces at once. There is no secret technique to instantly sort them all into place.

It’s like I tell clients. You cannot create one video and expect it to solve everything. Create a series. Publish them at intervals. Post to different outlets. Try different approaches. Take it one piece at a time, consistently. If there is any “secret”, that’s it.

10. Dream big and shut out negativity

When I first started the puzzle, I had doubts. I was in love with the image and the colours (and the Beatles, of course), but was reminded again and again by those around me, and myself, that this was not a 300 or 500 piece puzzle. This was 1000 pieces!

For someone who only does one puzzle a year, that’s a lot. But who cares? I did it!

I am someone who dreams big, in all aspects of life and business. I visualize success a lot and I am an idealist. Why was I letting negativity give me doubts? Well, I shut out all that negativity – both outside and in – and I finished my puzzle.

Now? Now I have big plans for Lionzest. I know the mind works in mysterious ways. When I set my mind to something, really believe it, my mind and I make it happen. Don’t let negativity hold you back from your big dreams.


I strongly believe that different experiences and activities can help you gain new perspectives and see your life and your business in a refreshing way. It allows you to approach problems with fresh eyes and tackle challenges with new motivation. What do you do that opens your eyes?

Are you ready for the world to see your business with fresh eyes? Contact Lionzest to discuss how we can energize your business and make you shine.