Bullion Dealer! Pretty Interesting “Job”

Ever since I was young I was fascinated with the different jobs and careers that some people were engaged in. I would often drive in remote areas of the countryside and see people living in houses on otherwise deserted backroads and wondered to myself what could that person possibly do for a living that allows them to live way out here in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t you ever think about that? For example, one time I was driving on a backroad up near Tweed Ontario. I think we drove for 20 km on this road as a sort of a short cut between two primary roads. During the entire distance of 20 km I think I saw two houses. And of course it occurred to me what to those people possibly do for a living. Again, this is always been the fascination of mine.

Sometimes when I am in a store, for example, I will start inquiring to the owner of the store how they got started in what they do and what kind of other jobs or businesses they may have had in their life. If any of my friends are with me they always give me a funny look as if to say “ you know some people are going to think you’re a damned spy”. I don’t really care what they think. Most people like to talk about themselves and are very forthcoming when you ask questions about their life. So I just ask. Call me nosy!

So I was out driving east of the city recently and stumbled on to a little store in Bowmanville. It was one of those cash for gold places with a bright yellow and black sign in front. Not very original but something was different about this place. It seemed kind of quaint and not as flashy and showy as some other similar stores I have seen in this industry in the past.

I knew I had an old ring from a past flame of mine buried in my purse somewhere so I thought it going to see if I can get a few bucks for it and get it off my conscience once and for all. I wandered into this little store expecting the usual razzle-dazzle did you get from a cash for gold place. It’s not like I haven’t been in one before.

To my surprise, this place was somewhat unique. It turned out it wasn’t really a Cash4Gold place specifically but more of a Gold and silver dealership. The cash for gold aspect was just a sideline the owners Took advantage of since it was related to their primary industry which is a bullion dealer.

The woman running the store, Virginia,  who it turned out was partial owner was a really nice lady. So, of course, I started into my usual routine of 20 questions while she took the time to do the testing necessary to verify the ring that I was trying to sell. It turned out her and her husband Tom started this business on a bit of a whim. They have been Silver and gold buyers for a number of years. On one occasion from a trip back from Toronto when they were there to purchase some metals a conversation arose between the two of them. The conversation was “why isn’t there someone doing this I where we live” and “ why not us? “

It was quite a fascinating story she told about how they just started asking the simple question “ how can we get involved in the gold and silver bullion industry? “ without going into all the details that Virginia told me it was a fascinating story with a tremendous amount of serendipity. She explained that there were so many subtle little things that seem to happen that were so metaphysical in nature that conspired to allow two people with zero experience in this industry to build what is now two years later a pretty decent business.

Of course, Virginia didn’t go into great detail about how much income the store made or anything of personal nature, but I could tell that these guys were doing pretty well. She told me that the brains of the outfit what’s your husband Tom. Apparently, he had some fairly intimate knowledge of the silver and gold trade from being a participant and also doing a lot of historical research on the subject and keeping abreast of current news within the industry. She said that the rest they just made up as they went along and fumbled their way to success.

Part way into the conversation her partner/ husband Tom showed up on the scene cancel the conversation and the plot thickened. Tom talked a lot about why there was such a big demand and move towards the buying of precious metals in recent years. In particular, it turns out that silver is the most popular of the two metals due to some sort of manipulation of the futures market that was suppressing the price. Sounded kind of fantastical but the man made a pretty good case which, without having any knowledge to the contrary was very convincing.

All in all, it was quite an interesting conversation needless to say. Another “job” to add to the list of interesting and somewhat “classified” jobs.

Anyway, here’s a link to their website and if you want hear what the owner Tom has to say check out his many videos on their YouTube channel. I admit this is one of the more fascinating teams of people I had run into, so I listen to a few of the videos later on when I got home.

Was some pretty convincing stuff. I’m not sure I’m ready to become a gold and silver buyer in the near future but I can understand why others might.

At least I got a few bucks for the ring. $27.50

BTW. Here is a good video with Tom talking.

Toronto SEO as a Classified Job

If ever there was a job that could be considered classified in Toronto, it would be online marketing. Mind you, no-one in their right mind would call any online marketing work a job in the traditional sense, since online marketing is more of an entrepreneurial pursuit.

But job is a catchall phrase so you will have to cut me some slack.

There is one online marketing skill that seems to be dominating the competition for Google first page space today and that is Search Engine Optimization. The sheer numbers of people that are trying to compete for a top ranking is so high that the sites number 20 pages deep here in Toronto.

A friend of a friend of mine is trying to make his mark in this scene here in recent years so I talked to him about how competitive it really is and why. I will reprint that conversation as a question and answer session.

Q) Why the big competition for SEO all of a sudden?

A) I think there are several factors. It’s partially the economy today. More jobs are being outsourced and people are generally more focussed on what’s happening through the internet. This seems to create an interconnectedness that moves the totality of trending ideas much closer together.  Take Youtube for example. There are a billion uploads from users every day. People are turning away from TV and tuning in online. In doing so they are exposed to an ever evolving landscape of new ideas as the search results deliver suggestion after suggestion of inter-related ideas.

Q) How did you get involved?

A) Just about the way I described in my first answer. I was looking through some offers that had come into my email inbox from various things I had signed up for online. One of them was a series of free videos outlining an online course that taught the subject. I watched the whole series on

ver the next en days and decided that it might be a good idea to opt for a high end paid course for a change since I had often heard from other internet gurus that this is how they got their start.

Q) What is SEO

A) Ha ha. That is the million dollar question. It is a real complicated thing to answer in a way that makes sense to Jane Q Public.  Essentially it is finding out through testing what the search engines seem to favor in terms of the structure of a website’s code, languaging and inbound/outbound linking structure. By making the correct changes using online search data and influencing inbound and outbound linking structures you can give the search engines a reason to rank you higher.

Q) Can this be done DIY

A) In some cases, if the person has a modicum of code development background they could probably influence a website to rank some less competitive search term. Anything difficult, mind you, would be almost impossible and you could do more harm than good in the process. It’s very finicky and requires some really good research software to even begin to get into the more competitive material.

Q)What is the advantage of SEO for business?

A) The advantage is targeting. Most advertising takes the scattergun approach. It is throw at a mass audience and you hope for it to reach those of interest.  Online search is a scene. We can easily access data which indicates how many people are looking for a service or product via search terms. This is a steady stream of potential customers that we can simply dip our cup into if we perform the proper strategies and do this slightly better than the next guy in the game.

Q) How does SEO compare to PPC?

A)  PPC is great for certain business and product types. It can be useful as a companion approach to SEO in many cases. It has the same targeting component that SEO does. The downside is that it requires constant capital input and people are more resistant to ads than organic search.

Q) What is the cost of an SEO campaign?

A)  It varies from $500 a month for small local business to as high as $50,000 a month for a Reputation Management campaign.

Q) What is reputation management?

A) Tough question. It is the same as SEO but instead of ranking one website higher on page one we are often trying to rank 10 competitors websites to drive a negative piece of press off of page one. That’s the reason for the high ticket. It would have to be something really damaging and someone with very deep pockets to need this type of service.

Q) Do you do social media.?

A) Yes and no. It is better farmed out to a specialist that do nothing else but social media. If I take on a social media campaign as part of client strategy then I farm it out to a White Label fulfillment company who is super well set up to handle it

Q) How can people contact you about your service.

A)  I can be found at this web address http://greengenieseo/toronto-seo-expert or through my Facebook page with a PM here. https://www.facebook.com/greengenieseo/

Q) Any last piece of advice for someone looking for your type of service.

A) Yes. Make sure to get several video analysis quotes from several people in the industry if you are seeking SEO. You will get a good sense of  what they are capable from the analysis.  There should be well-documented competitor analysis that really illustrates where you stand and how much new business you stand to gain.

A Unique Way to Judge a Good Home Builder.

Written by Paul Sharpe

Reposted by Kayla

I have what one might call a classified job. I inspect a lot of other people’s work in secret!

New home builders generally tend to look the same. They have flowery names for their subdivisions such as “Wuthering Heights” and “On the Lagoon” and nonsense like that. Pretty names do not a homebuilder make. Proper construction technique starting with the foundation and the framing do.

So here are a few suggestions if you want to pick out a well-built home. Put on your rubber boots and Go snoop around one of their current subdivision lots when they’re cranking out foundations. Have a look at what type of foundation forms they are using to pour the foundations. Are they using a really good quality form boards or beat up old 2 x 4 and plywood frames. Of course, this is not a definitive example of what would engender good work but it is somewhat of a clue. It’s difficult to do a really good job with lousy materials.

The next thing I would do is have a good look at a finished foundation before it’s backfilled. Have a look for large cracks. Look up with one eye down the top edges of the foundation and have a look at how straight they are along the horizontal top. Look for large dips in the top surface as this will lead to a lot of compression in the framing substrate later on. The foundation that isn’t straight will inevitably lead to sagging over time in the walls and some floors leaving cracks and nail pops.

We’ve heard the term” foundational principles” and the other colloquial type expressions based on the term foundation for a good reason. Foundations are everything. Whatever we place upon them is affected by them and in terms of housing, much of what occurs in the building of a foundation gets hidden after backfill and framing. It gets hidden in its entirety if you happen to have a finished basement. At this point, it becomes impossible to judge whether or not I house has a good foundation. So as I have suggested you will need to get out to the job site at the time they are actually pouring foundations.

Sure this may seem a bit extreme but that’s a lot of money you’re spending especially nowadays. Another aspect of foundations that is critical to examine is the fact that they are so difficult to fix once they are poured in hardened. What usually ends up happening when a foundation is uneven is the framing crews well pound small wooden shims in the low spots to prop up these areas. This is not a proper substitute for a straight foundation. It’s better than nothing, of course, but it’s a pale substitute.

Generally most of the aspects of the foundation that building inspectors will look at revolve around drainage. So in this regard they are all pretty much equal give-and-take. You can’t really count on building inspectors to judge straightness. Believe it or not they really don’t care and in fact, it’s not in the code. The foundation would have to be pretty out of whack for a building inspector to raise an eyebrow. In all my years I’ve never seen it and I doubt I ever will.

I know it’s a bit unorthodox but it’s damn good advice to get out to her subdivision in its early stages and check out some foundations. Like I said the foundation is everything.

Check this list of builders I have worked with at this Facebook Page.

My Job Experiences

When I was 16 years old, our public school system and the school for the blind in the state cooperated to hold a “career weekend” for blind students in the region. The weekend was one of those defining moments in my life, a kind of moment that happens very seldom throughout life and that, in this case, was very positive.

During the weekend, I met and/or heard from successful blind adults. Their successes were as lawyers, judges, vending stand operators, computer programmers, piano tuners, teachers, rehabilitation counsellors, even a town mayor. All these people created for us, as students, what was undeniably the single most inspiring event of my adolescent education. It was a “Yes we can” experience of the time. It proved beyond doubt the possibility of having a career and gainful employment as a blind adult. If others could be so successful, I would be as well.

For me, that success has been chequered with indecision, doubt and redirection over the years. This is not an easy era for the career-oriented individual. In fact, careerism is no longer well rewarded or, in my opinion anyway, something to which a person can safely aspire to achieve. With this comes inherent difficulties but significant freedom as well. Most importantly, whatever my doubts and moments of indecision, I put these things aside, made decision, and did not let my doubts override my faith in being able to succeed. I recommend this approach as a starting place.

Despite the changing environment, I have been able to steer a course that has done well for me thus far. Through my undergraduate years, my indecision exhibited itself by first an inability to choose a major. Finally, I settled on history. But, soon I changed to music in order to take advantage of free music lessons from graduate students. At the 11th hour, I settled on Political Science with an idea of going to law school. But then, I began thinking about how stereotypical it would be to go into a career as a blind lawyer and ignored my professors who insisted I had an unusual talent for understanding the law and chose to go into graduate school in the field of Public Administration. That decision has done well by me, but today I wish I had a law degree. Not every decision we make in life is 100% right on, but in order to be successful, decide we must!

In the meantime, my parents were not able to finance my college education after the first year and I had to leave the university and find a way to make some money. People find this hard to believe, but I took a job at the close of the Spring semester at the local Lighthouse for the Blind, a factory, and became more expert than I ever wanted to be about every type and configuration of hose in a Peterbilt truck you could imagine. I could wrap them, blow waste out of them, cut them with a variety of saws, and put innumerable types of fittings and caps on them. It was awful work, but it paid. And, so much for avoiding stereotypical work as a blind person!

Later, I would find work in a taping service and radio reading service. Ultimately, I got back to school and then went on to graduate school to obtain an MPA degree. There, I worked for a stipend as the disabled student advocate coordinator. I also researched and wrote on the topic of school desegregation methodology with the research being published by my university in a compendium with similar work.

Graduate school was undoubtedly one of the most difficult experiences of my life. But, my competitiveness and desire to succeed led me to graduate with a 3.85 GPA, far better than my undergraduate GPA, and as academically published. Also, I interned with a city counselman for 6 months, learning a lot about the political ropes of city politics. These things could be leveraged into becoming 1 of 250 outstanding graduates of that year from around the country in public policy programs and accepted into an initiative of the Federal government called the Presidential Management Intern Program. I had every reason to feel fulfilled and happy.

Within two years, I knew that I had made a terrible mistake. Working in the huge Federal bureaucracy just was not for me! I loved the rough and tumble of city politics, and I loved being able to feel that something was happening based on my research and work. Federal work was, for me, a numbing, deadening experience. It didn’t help that a new President made my agency a campaign issue and target.

So, what do you do in such a case? My answer is: You survive and you pursue every option you can imagine. In this situation, I did so with a complete career transition to TeleSensory Systems. This took two years to accomplish. It was the first of many transitions.

Does the information presented so far give you a sense of my philosophy and strategies about employment? I hope so, but so far, I’ve only taken you on the first steps of my personal journey. You may say “that’s really enough, thank you”. And, we are heading toward the 1,000 word count on this post, far longer than I like to write in any single post. Then too, this is not meant to be some sort of mini-biography either.

So, let’s leave the story here and get some dialog going. What is your philosophy about job hunting and job acquisition? What education and career options have you chosen thus far? What has worked and not worked in your employment history? Not employed yet? What do you want to know about strategies and techniques that can be expanded on for future posts?And at 980 words, I’m going to give this post a rest. Please respond and let’s get into some good discussion.