Fascinating Women

Joanne Ruston - Biz owner - Traveler - Leader - glass ceiling breaker

March 17, 2021 Joanne Ruston Season 2 Episode 5
Fascinating Women
Joanne Ruston - Biz owner - Traveler - Leader - glass ceiling breaker
Chapters
Fascinating Women
Joanne Ruston - Biz owner - Traveler - Leader - glass ceiling breaker
Mar 17, 2021 Season 2 Episode 5
Joanne Ruston

Joanne Ruston's smile is constantly coming on. She just naturally  a comfortable person to be around. The biggest force that shaped her we discovered was being the first born. It was fascinating to see how that nurturing, inclusive leadership roll shaped her journey. At the high school job search Travel Agent seemed to fit her future vision. It was a perfect fit, she was amazing at, loved to travel, still does. Then suddenly she took a leap into basically an all male industry she knew nothing about. Feet first as a franchise owner. It was a struggle the first year but her makeup is one to succeed,

She shaped her little company into on that not only shattered glass ceilings but broke records, a lot. Her belief in giving back with leadership roles on boards, perfecting the life work balance.  It is all here. I think you will enjoy Joanne Ruston's chat with me.

Joanne Ruston Bio
Speedpro Signs, Calgary NE
www.speedpronorth.com  *  403 239 2169

After working in the Corporate Travel Industry for over 20 years, Joanne opened the Speedpro Calgary NE franchise in in 2001, the week of 9/11 to be exact. 

With no background in the sign industry, Joanne applied her customer service and sales experience and adapted it to the Sign Industry. 

Being a mostly male dominated industry at the time, it was a work in progress. Fast forward almost 20 years, and many awards later, Joanne has grown the business into one of the top producing stores in the Speedpro Franchise.

*Speedpro Sales & Marketing Achievement Award – 2007

 *Awarded Business in Calgary Magazine’s “Leader of Tomorrow” – in 2009

(This award recognizes individuals who are leading their respective industries and are positioned by    attitude, desire and accomplishments to lead into the future. This award is nominated by customers, business associates and staff as firms that will lead their sector and the city in the future.)

*Awarded Speedpro Signs Franchise of the Year -5 times

*Awarded Speedpro’s Al Crowe Memorial Cup Award for highest sales in Canada – 4 times

*Named 3 Best Sign Companies in Calgary by “Three Best Rated” – 5 years in a row                                                                  (This is awarded after checking extensive customer reviews, ratings, history, complaints, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence.)

*2021 – written up in the Canadian Franchise Association Magazine – as a “Female Franchise  Leader” in Canada amongst Canadian Franchises

About Mark Laurie - Host.
Mark has been transforming how women see themselves, enlarging their sense of sexy, expanding their confidence in an exciting adventure that is transformational photography.
http://innerspiritphotography.com

Sound Production by:
Lee Ellis  - myofficemedia@gmail.com
Reach out to Lee for your Sound Production

Show Notes Transcript

Joanne Ruston's smile is constantly coming on. She just naturally  a comfortable person to be around. The biggest force that shaped her we discovered was being the first born. It was fascinating to see how that nurturing, inclusive leadership roll shaped her journey. At the high school job search Travel Agent seemed to fit her future vision. It was a perfect fit, she was amazing at, loved to travel, still does. Then suddenly she took a leap into basically an all male industry she knew nothing about. Feet first as a franchise owner. It was a struggle the first year but her makeup is one to succeed,

She shaped her little company into on that not only shattered glass ceilings but broke records, a lot. Her belief in giving back with leadership roles on boards, perfecting the life work balance.  It is all here. I think you will enjoy Joanne Ruston's chat with me.

Joanne Ruston Bio
Speedpro Signs, Calgary NE
www.speedpronorth.com  *  403 239 2169

After working in the Corporate Travel Industry for over 20 years, Joanne opened the Speedpro Calgary NE franchise in in 2001, the week of 9/11 to be exact. 

With no background in the sign industry, Joanne applied her customer service and sales experience and adapted it to the Sign Industry. 

Being a mostly male dominated industry at the time, it was a work in progress. Fast forward almost 20 years, and many awards later, Joanne has grown the business into one of the top producing stores in the Speedpro Franchise.

*Speedpro Sales & Marketing Achievement Award – 2007

 *Awarded Business in Calgary Magazine’s “Leader of Tomorrow” – in 2009

(This award recognizes individuals who are leading their respective industries and are positioned by    attitude, desire and accomplishments to lead into the future. This award is nominated by customers, business associates and staff as firms that will lead their sector and the city in the future.)

*Awarded Speedpro Signs Franchise of the Year -5 times

*Awarded Speedpro’s Al Crowe Memorial Cup Award for highest sales in Canada – 4 times

*Named 3 Best Sign Companies in Calgary by “Three Best Rated” – 5 years in a row                                                                  (This is awarded after checking extensive customer reviews, ratings, history, complaints, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence.)

*2021 – written up in the Canadian Franchise Association Magazine – as a “Female Franchise  Leader” in Canada amongst Canadian Franchises

About Mark Laurie - Host.
Mark has been transforming how women see themselves, enlarging their sense of sexy, expanding their confidence in an exciting adventure that is transformational photography.
http://innerspiritphotography.com

Sound Production by:
Lee Ellis  - myofficemedia@gmail.com
Reach out to Lee for your Sound Production

introduction:

You're listening to fascinating women with Mark Laurie. And now, Mark Laurie.

Mark Laurie:

Hello, everyone. And welcome back to fascinating women. I'm Mark Laurie, your host. Usually, as I mentioned before, I am behind a camera photographing these incredible women and hearing their story, I thought these stories should be shared. So we created fascinating women so that we can share their stories. I'm a host at this point, and I get to draw out these cool things today. I've got Joanne Rustin now, she is a vibrant light, you might say, which is amazing because she's in a real man's world of sign making but how she gets got there. And this is a number one sign making place. This is not some frivolous thing in the corner they have she's growing this business now leaps and bounds, an interesting story, we're gonna take a deeper look at the forces that brought her to this. So thank you for joining us, Joanne.

Joanne Ruston:

Thank you for inviting me.

Mark Laurie:

It's gonna be so much fun. So before we get into your massive success as a as a small sign shop owner, small is probably inappropriate word for but what kind of, you're definitely an entrepreneur,like you're you're one of the shining light breaking the glass window kind of women? What kind of stuff shaped your childhood that that gave you the skills to become who you are today?

Joanne Ruston:

shaped my childhood? Oh, I don't know. Well, I mean, I was the oldest of four children. So of course, being the oldest and having two working parents. I was in charge. Sometimes that was good. Sometimes it was tense if you talk to my brother or not. Right. So I guess that probably is where it started. And then I always did work for a company. And then there was a turning point in my career that I was fed up with the bureaucracy and, and lack of being able to make decisions and control customer service and quality and things like that, because I was selling a service, not a tangible. I thought I'm just gonna, you know, start my own business, and then I'll have control over everything. So I guess I was a little on a tangent. And that's kind of where I went.

Mark Laurie:

So being an entrepreneur or start your own business that is not for the majority of people. And so I'm guessing somebody must have given you the strength of the viewpoint as a young person to believe that was possible.

Joanne Ruston:

Well, I think probably, you know, my background working for national companies looking after operations for head office for a national company, starting up a branch office.

Mark Laurie:

So your evolved into it.

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah, just kind of I think over the years, because I mean, I was in the industry for over 20 years before I took this step. So if one years prior, if you had said that I wouldn't there's no way I wouldn't allow.

Mark Laurie:

So how old were you? If I could be so bold? What was your age point when you made the leap from employee to owner?

Joanne Ruston:

In my 40s, in my 40s, I don't know exactly. But yeah, in my 40s

Mark Laurie:

You're pretty young then. I must be like your first. First job of employment?

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah, I I started what my role

Mark Laurie:

Yes in this industry? in the

Joanne Ruston:

industry? Yes, yes. I identified that was the industry I wanted to be in. When I was in high school, you know, you do your projects you interview. So I interviewed a local company. And I determined that that was the industry that I wanted to be in.

Mark Laurie:

So what made you decide this? Because it's an unusual industry for me to choose what made you decide that was a place to go towards your path?

Joanne Ruston:

You're talking the sign industry?

Mark Laurie:

Yeah, way back when you're like 20 something go? This is it. This is my future.

Joanne Ruston:

all the travel industry that I went into

Mark Laurie:

the industry first I misunderstood. Sorry. Did you Sorry, just to be clear, you were in the travel industry, and then you moved into your own printing company, or you went travel printing firms. And then

Joanne Ruston:

no note travel was the 20 years, right, starting off as a travel agent and then working my way up from there. And then from there, I took the leap into an industry that I had no idea what signmaking was all about

Mark Laurie:

my future here, because I've learned so much over here and this is really kind of

Joanne Ruston:

like oh, well I mean, I'll learn the ropes. You know, how hard can it be

Mark Laurie:

love that. I think every businessperson who starts kind of at some point goes, how hard can that be? It looks pretty simple to me. I get into it, and then you're into it too deep to go back out and go, Well, this isn't what I thought

Joanne Ruston:

I'd have asked me the first couple years, I mean, I went from, you know, wearing a suit every day. And you know, dealing with presidents and vice presidents and you know, boardrooms and things like that to wearing jeans and a logo, you know, shirt every day to work and working with a whole different demographics went from, you know, working in a company where I have many co workers to, initially there was just two of us when I started out. Wow, did you find any of your connections for your past? helped you? mentored you? gave you? Yes, yes. And no, I mean, it was two totally different worlds. I mean, they keep popping up, because, you know, they wanted to support me. And if they ever do need anything, they prefer people. But as far as mentoring or whatever, no, I just think the lessons learnt in business in general over the years and my different roles held.

Mark Laurie:

Good. So if you're going to sit back and juggle all your values, what would be the top three values that you see drive you?

Joanne Ruston:

Um, I would say, honesty. Working for a large corporation, sometimes, you know, you kind of have to listen to what they're saying. And then, and then kind of go like this and go, Okay, so when I filter through it, what they're really saying. So, honesty, for sure. I mean, I love working with people I love, you know, the relationships, I love solving problems. So, that kind of goes hand in hand,

Mark Laurie:

that's a style what values like you've got this, like integrity, and honesty, there's

Joanne Ruston:

Oh, yeah, absolutely integrity, absolutely integrity. I wanted people to feel comfortable, and to trust us when they came into the shop, and to know that we had their best interests at heart. So integrity, definitely. professionalism. You know, our industry, when I got into, it wasn't necessarily the most professional. In fact, we got a lot of business just because we actually got back to them. Whereas a lot of you know, people wouldn't, and ask questions, and again, cared about it, or what do they need? So, professionalism, for sure. And that was actually one of my biggest things, because coming from, you know, an industry where you had to be professional, I wasn't going to lower myself to be, you know, a different standard of, Oh, that is, was another one. And I mean, obviously, happiness, and health are important to me. Which kind of go hand in hand, if you're running your business with integrity, you feel good about yourself, you know, you're being honest, you know, people look at you that way. You know, that makes you happy. I mean, if you've got your personal side, too, but it kind of fulfills it.

Mark Laurie:

Yeah, yeah, I found that when you, when you have to try remember what stories you were telling the last person, if you don't want to have the one story to prove that it's the real one, it makes you be able to sleep at night very easily. Because no matter what happens in the course of the day, you've got this, this core and temporary person that kind of kind of waves through it. And it's interesting, because a lot of people equate professionalism with suits and ties, like you're like that's almost seen as the uniform of a professional person at the name that those professional services, you know, that does not include blue collar. And yet, professional is more of a way of life way of doing things than the attire is that is that.

Joanne Ruston:

And that that's a good way to put it, Mark. I mean, I went from, you know, the white collar to the blue collar and it was really different at the beginning, are very different. But I still wasn't going to let go the professionalism and integrity in that. So but yeah, that is a huge difference. And I think maybe I just felt at the beginning that people kind of, you know, looked at you that way, in maybe different settings, but I mean, I'm over that. That was

Mark Laurie:

Yeah, why don't you establish who we are much of our people, so Okay, well, that's, that's dependable. That's the professionals i think is more that the job gets done gets done right? And gets done with the least amount of fuss. And Pocketful kind of things that work. Who inspires you? What kind of person to look at and go? Oh, I want to follow that path.

Joanne Ruston:

strong women. Yeah. Yeah. strong women. Again,

Mark Laurie:

that, that is what a strong when you say strong, what's the definition of a strong woman for you?

Joanne Ruston:

That has, that has a lot of confidence that is able to tackle, you know, they have the decision making, they don't get flustered. Right. So they carry themselves professionally, they're strong. Almost like someone you look up to that could maybe mentor you, you know, they're not floundering. I've always admired women like that. Because I mean, 20 years or 30 years ago, women were not taken as seriously in the boardroom as men. Right. So therefore, a lot of them did have maybe weren't as confident as say their counterpart that was male. So I always looked up to the the strong women going, you know what I want? I admire her, I respect her and I want to be like her.

Mark Laurie:

Of course, the popular brain. popular media, I guess it does seem powerful women being effective in the boardroom, on TV or in the movies, push things forward for women in the real world to be to be successful, Bernard mica is at break mental barriers, or is it? Is it just sort of sides left for the, for the media?

Joanne Ruston:

I think it does. Because, you know, you're you're everybody gets caught up in their TV series programs, you know, whatever it is they're into, right? And if that's how they're portraying life, you know, whether it's in the courtroom or or, you know, detectives or whatever the things that I'm talking noncom comedies, it does help people believe that this is the norm. This is doable. It's not like a far fetched story.

Mark Laurie:

Yeah. We've seen like, watch a lot of watches and the Hallmark romances, and they're so interesting, because going back like say 20 years ago, and you come across a show that's got women's interest into it. The success was always there's a guy get the guy you're really good. And the jobs are always like soft filler kind of jobs. You know, she's a babysitter, she's whatever. No one's in. There's this these variety of odium companies like there. Were always some architects, photographers, florist shop owners like like, there, none of them are, are these secretaries anymore? It's moved up. That's, that's really kind of fascinating. What would be some of the highlights of the early life before you started the job? Before we started working out what kind of highlighted you havegrowing up.

Joanne Ruston:

before I started working?

Mark Laurie:

Before we started working when you're this little kid kicking around the world, and you have highlights to look back and say if I had a highlight reel that flasher from my life when I was 20 years old, but when I see

Joanne Ruston:

her, that's a hard one. I grew up in a small town, or just outside a small town. So more rule, you know, went to a country school. And public school and high school went to a small town High School. What would be my highlights? Well, I mean, I enjoyed enjoys sports. So I thrived on sports, playing hockey. I was a goalie in the women's hockey team and playing baseball, I was the catcher in baseball. And I really really thrived on sports. So that went through from school and after school and in social life.

Mark Laurie:

So what was it was it was it the competition, the organization, the commodity, what be the key thing that drew you to sports?

Joanne Ruston:

Well, all the sports that I play world team sports, right, which which is interesting, right? Because some some sports are you know, all all sports are competitive. Yeah. So I can't say it wasn't competitive because I was.

Mark Laurie:

I still are looking at the words I know you required.

Joanne Ruston:

competitiveness is there but yeah, when I look back on my sports that I played, we're always team sports and I always thrive To be you know, maybe not the best player but one of the best players I always gave it my all.

Mark Laurie:

Were you like a leader in those roles roles.

Joanne Ruston:

In some instances, you know, I was Captain or, you know, boss. Yeah, yeah. In other instances, I was just one of the main players, you know? But yeah, no, I would say sports was huge.

Mark Laurie:

Yeah, that's what I did you did you go to university thing for education, you just go from high school,

Joanne Ruston:

I went to college, because in high school in my grade 13 you know, we did this project, I think it was great 13 did this project as to you know, what you want to do for a career and that's when I had decided that you know, being a travel agent is what I want to do. So there was a college for Ross Academy in London, Ontario that and I did go to college for for travel, travel.

Mark Laurie:

Wow. I mean, travels appealing, did you actually get to travel? Are you one of the office people?

Joanne Ruston:

No, I did. I mean, as as a travel agent, they they have like, what they call fam trips, familiarization trips, that you, you know, whether it's the airline or the tour operator, whatever send you on, so that you can better sell the destination, the hotels, the attractions, that type of thing. So no, I did, I did a fair amount of travel before I did get out of the industry. So I did get to see a lot of part of the world. So it was fun.

Mark Laurie:

And that's what that must have been a really good training ground for the customer experience. Oh, it was, that's really what the my impression of travel agents are, is there is they're not necessarily needed. Because the the the, here's the person with the boat, and here's the person wants to go in, there's an easy connection. But if you want a really good experience, that person is critical to it. And so you've got to have a really good customer journey for people saying, I'm going to take this route, because it's gonna be so much better you

Joanne Ruston:

really do because you're not selling a tangible product. Like you're not saying, hey, my, you know, bushel of apples are better and better quality better, sweeter, or whatever. It's like, you're you're good at your job, you're you're researching, you're servicing properly, and guiding them in the right direction as to what they want to their budget and their needs and their adventure or whatever their priorities were. Yeah, otherwise they could, you know, go somewhere else, or way back when there wasn't really the internet. But you, you know, you can look at brochures, but that doesn't tell you everything right. So yeah, customers. So that's, I mean, that's always been in my life in my working life. Because I first started working when I was 13. front end, it was in the local bakery. I work Saturdays in a Dutch bakery. I never wanted any more milk or anything anymore after that.

Mark Laurie:

They say sometimes if you go into like a sweet shop or a bakery, that takes like two years and some people say no, that that is a never food.

Joanne Ruston:

Oh, yes, yes. But I mean, that was that was customer service. You're you're serving customers. And then I worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken and another small town, and that was customer service. And then I worked retail in a clothing store in a small town and that was customer service. So it always, you know, I don't think I realized that. But those were the jobs that attracted me. We're all that way. You're dealing with people.

Mark Laurie:

Yeah, I just thinking that putting it together that you were the oldest and the class the caretaker. And that seems to have from an outsider looking in seems to have carried on through that that your role remains the same that you're you're shepherding people on you're looking after you making the that you make all the grown up decisions. And that so you've almost become through everyone that you encounter every group or is almost like your new family that you're that you're still shepherd. Is that make sense?

Unknown:

Yeah, it does. I never really thought of it that way. But yeah, it does. It does. And same in the organizations that I belong to over the years. I've always sat on the boards. I pretty well all of them been president, vice president at one time or another. And it's just rewarding, right? Again, you're helping

Mark Laurie:

To serve as. a part of this whole thing is that people can look at and go, that's a role model moment. So if a person's going to be going to see a person who's like 20 years old is listening to us and kind of goes also what should what things should I do? It sounds Like being deeply involved, like you're on, on boards and different groups, is that like a good path for women to take

Unknown:

that is I if I can say anything, definitely participate. I remember the first time I was I was actually working in the hotel industry, right? And my boss said, Okay, so there's a Marketing Association of hotel Marketing Association, I was still young. And I want you to join, and I'm like, What? So what am I supposed to do? No, no, no, I want you to be on the board, but wasn't just joined, I want you to be on the board, I want you to take my finger finger. I have never done that before. I was so nervous. But you know, it was very rewarding. And that kind of was that got me into it. And then when I left the industry, and moved to Calgary, then there was a Canadian travel business association. So I was on that board. And I was president, I was this and I was that, and I gave that a lot of years. And then, you know, getting into the sign industry, we have a franchise Association, within our company, and I have been president of that. So, but it's very rewarding. And it just adds to life. You know, like it, and you learn so much and the people that you meet and that you work with, and it's always always learning, because

Mark Laurie:

you're with an organization. EWI is that right?

Joanne Ruston:

Right? Yeah. Executive women International.

Mark Laurie:

And that's Korean organization of powerful women, like are confident with her. I haven't been to one of their meetings or two and, and they are a very force be reckoned with group that people.

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah, it's, it's a great organization, because it's bringing, you know, women from diverse backgrounds together, professional woman, there is an educational component to it. And there's a charity component to it. So, you know, some people are more into charity, some people are more into networking, some people are more into the education. It's really it gives you a little bit of everything. And it's really I've been a member since well, while I was in the travel industry, right? Wow. Yeah. And then I had to to quit when I left the travel industry. And then six months later, I joined again, as my sign company. So

Mark Laurie:

let's go. So looking back, what is what activity or anything has given you the biggest rush has been the most exciting, adrenaline driven, wow moment that you've had, either in your personal life, helicopter flying or parachuting or whatever, or your professional anything. It's so bad go, What's the rush?

Joanne Ruston:

Well, there's been a lot professionally, you know, what the awards that I've won in that and that definitely was a huge rush. We I was the we were the first company in our franchise, our first franchise in store to reach a billion in sales of a million in sales. We're now now there's, I think four of us, but we were a few years ago, the very first one to hit that. So that was a rush, because everybody's like, oh, why did you do it? You know, and I'm going well, that was a rush. But on the personal side, I'm going to Costa Rica, and doing the canopy tours were great. was a huge rush

Mark Laurie:

is like one of the canopy tours.

Joanne Ruston:

Because you were 1000s of feet

Mark Laurie:

as a plane thing,

Joanne Ruston:

zip line. Yes. over the mountains and waterfalls, and it was I mean, your stomach was in you know, it was it was scary. But at the end of it, you were like whoa, so because we were really

Mark Laurie:

we did that ourselves and we're up there. It's so clear that we're this guy's looking up. He's looking kind of swoop like like this, but we're off the truck wrap on the top of this because we're actually like you're saying you go over these these mountain ranges. When we had I think there was like 37 or 52 different

Joanne Ruston:

Yes.

Mark Laurie:

And the scans like offices are a problem because yeah, storms coming in. He says if these cables get wet, you can't slow it down. So we've got to get down pretty quickly or else you everyone's gonna die. You're just gonna hit threes and fall off and everything so if we don't get past point x, then we're gonna have to climb down the mountain because it'll be too well. So we had one guy did something stupid. He run a broken break in his legs and be sliding down the thing for you got to we got windows are so safe that you've really got to work hard to do something that that kind of kind of came down to it. Yeah. So that's, that's an amazing experience. There's nothing like that. It's

Unknown:

through the rain forest. It's great. I mean, I've zip lined in Dominican, and places like that. But the rain forest is the ultimate. It was just really cool. Yeah.

Mark Laurie:

And we love them. Because it's so long. We like that we just kept on like, sometimes it's like 20 feet long and other ones on. It's great. We're down slow, because this is so the perspective. It's like you're in a helicopter, but it's quiet.

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah.

Mark Laurie:

I can see that being been an amazing ride. Where's your favorite place to vacation now right to visit?

Joanne Ruston:

We like traveling to different places, right? So the point the types of books so we go somewhere and check it out? And do we like to have more of an adventure type holiday? I would venture holiday for you. Hiking, kayaking. I don't think we'll do the playing game because my husband really is terrified of heights. He was a trooper in Costa Rica. But he he I can't get him to do that anymore. So hats off. But yeah, the hiking and the kayaking and stuff like that. Is Yeah, amazing. Like we, you know, we went to Hawaii, and we did a lot of that. And then Costa Rica, we were supposed to go to Peru twice. Once my husband broke his leg. And then the second time COVID we were going to do much pizza, we're going to four day Trek. But I don't know if that's gonna happen now. So well, just going places that we're not just sitting on a beach. Yeah. You know, the

Mark Laurie:

concept from a lady where we run up as well as you go to dinner theater. And they say, Oh, great. Here's your dinner companion now. And so we were sitting with them. And they were just on the verge of the retirement stuff that they came up with three. They are activities they want to consider fell into three categories. There's go fast, go slow and no go. And so she says right now we're active. We're healthy. We're good. We're on go fast. Anything is go fast. Will the aliens go slow? Like, say museums?

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah,

Mark Laurie:

we'll wait till later. And anything that involves sitting down flat, that's a no go. So she says so right now. That's our filter. This is this is go fast stuff. He says we're hitting age. We're go fast isn't quite as enjoyable. They can come to with dangerous. They'll go slow. But we're going to go slow stage anything so fast. We won't do anything. And still we want to because that's that stage is coming. And that's how they've mapped their life out. I thought that was a really good stage. Yeah, it's time to welcome still mobile, I can still go fast. All said, Well, you know, thats a long walk up there I think we will take a cab.

Joanne Ruston:

and do it while you can.

Mark Laurie:

Yeah. You've got a cabin as well, don't you?

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah, we have a it's a it's a park model. It's at gleniffer Lake. And that's our escape. Sorry,

Mark Laurie:

what's a park model? Park model is?

Joanne Ruston:

So you have like a travel trailer on wheels. Okay, a park model is in between a travel trailer and a mobile home. On Wheels. It's insulated. It's got the high ropes, you know, I think so. Yeah. So we have, we have that. And that is especially during COVID. Our sanity You know, we've been going up almost every weekend and it just gets us out of the city and it's like pushing the recharge button and then you come back and you tackle work for the next week and you're fresh, fresh to go. And we can do snowshoeing up there and walking and in this in the summer kayaking, but so yeah, it's it's our mental break.

Mark Laurie:

So we've talked to your successes, what have you failed at what have you looked at and go Whoa, that was a blazing failure.

Joanne Ruston:

What am I so I'm sure I feel that that is a very good question. What have I failed that? Well, I feel the first year of my business starting to sign company that I failed in my eyes anyways, because it was very, very slow that first year. And I felt that I just there was something missing in me to to pick up the pace, right to attract more business. You So I really did the first year, probably year and a half, I was thinking, Oh, I failed, like, I shouldn't have done this, you know, I was a little too cocky and myself thinking that like this, right. And I think part of that, too, was like, I knew nothing about making signs. I mean, yes, you went for training and not, but if I was out of my element, it wasn't something that I was an expert on. You know, it took years to learn that. So initially, you don't have the confidence. And then as time goes on you do you get the confidence. And you know, you learn by your mistakes. And if you don't know, you're not afraid to say, you know, I don't know, but let me look into that. And I'm sure that we can come up with some solution for what you want, that kind of thing. So that would be one in my mind failure, because I really do feel it was.

Mark Laurie:

That's pretty good. thing I kind of gathered is that it was a knock you down failure, sat back and said, Okay, so we're gonna improve on this, we're gonna get back up again.

Joanne Ruston:

Right? Because it's gonna work. This is going to work. But you know, been the other side is like, I'm failing at it. Like, you know,

Mark Laurie:

so did you have a moment I happened with me my photography, where we had had shifted to full time photography, a couple of months were just miserable as my 20s. And we had, it was just horrible. And I remember driving down this July day, and it was just like this, I'm not responsible for the dollars the house. And then I came up the stop sign on 77. This is so clear on 72nd Avenue there on the trail. And it was like, kind of went green, I go, this, I have to make this work. Like, I can't do anything else. Like, this is all I can do. And then I dug back in and we became successful, and you have that kind of, there's something that you some moments you go, this has to work, I will make this work. Did you have that moment?

Joanne Ruston:

I did, because I left, you know, a career of over 20 years, something that I knew, and all of a sudden, I wasn't making a goal with this, you know, like, and not only that the money, I was into it for my pride, right? Like it, I think it was like, I felt I was failing, but it was like I have to like I'm doing it. Like if I have to I can't, I can't shut it down. I can't be out this money. I can't you know, walk away with my tail between my legs. It's almost like you kind of give yourself a little talking to and, you know, give you how to shake and get up. And then the next day is a different day. But

Mark Laurie:

what about your business fills you with the most pride

Joanne Ruston:

are the feedback that we get from our customers? Like, we've got a lot of Google reviews, like I think we're one of the most reviewed sign companies. If I'm not mistaken. We were I don't know if we still are in Calgary. With the most reviews, and it's just it's really touching is really touching like we It feels good. We just did a graphics on the helicopter. And they wanted it done on a Sunday. Well, we work Monday to Friday. wanted to know, can you please do it on a Sunday and work into it, come to the hangar and work into our schedule better, whatever. So, you know, I talked with our guys and said, Are you willing to do this? And they said, Sure, no problem. So we did. Monday morning, I got a phone call saying we were so happy with the service. I want you dad $100 tip to the bill. So it's like No, I said no, that's not necessary. I'm just you know, we're just glad they said no, seriously, like, the job was great that the product like it turned out wonderful. And you were willing to come on a Sunday. And so, so that made me feel good. I mean, not for the $100 to two minutes dollar but you know, it's nice, right?

Mark Laurie:

Yeah, it's a it's amazing show. It's really impressive. So we've you've got a whole rack of these awards. What are they? Are they mostly based on volume? Or what are your awards for?

Joanne Ruston:

Four of them are for top sales in Canada. The five franchise of the years are for there's a there's a number of criteria, you know, customer satisfaction, quality, product, integrity, you know, all of that. And then the franchise of the decade, which was just the one that we won for last year was pretty

Mark Laurie:

cool. Finally,

Joanne Ruston:

is he talking about it? I know that one was really It's nice to share that with the staff, right? Like, they're proud of that too.

Mark Laurie:

And they're the ones that really set the stage, but they're the your team's the guys that really are in that

Joanne Ruston:

we're a team, you can't do it on your own.

Mark Laurie:

They have this best in sales, what are the are the key things that you believe make your sales so effective?

Joanne Ruston:

Um, I would say the way we look after our customers, because a lot of our business is our referrals, right? You know, from existing customers that, you know, people will ask, and they'll say, Oh, no, go here. You know, they'll look after you. They're, they're honest, you know, you don't know what you want, they'll help you figure out what you want that type of thing. So I would say that

Mark Laurie:

going to the people that aren't referrals, that, that you've got to do more persuading, with that command kind of off the street or seeing your ad or something. What's your best technique with them? Just,

Joanne Ruston:

I'm just like, the best technique is what do you want? That is so funny, you would think of somebody is coming in to buy a sign, they know what they want things a lot people that don't, they come in, they want to sign. They don't know what kind of sign but they determined that they need to sign so then we take the time to say, Okay, so what's the purpose of the sign? Because you would think people want to sign to advertise or To be or not always right. Okay, what's the purpose? where, like, what are you wanting to get out of it? In some cases, it's just like, Well, I have to have it for for my job, I have to have the, the identification there others are, well, nobody knows, you know, what we do. I just want my brand out there. Or you know, where nobody can find, you know, there's, there's always different, but they have no idea what materials, so we take the time to understand what it is they're trying to achieve. And then we always offer them the most economical, and then we go from there. And they really appreciate that. Because a lot of places don't do that. They say, Well, what kind you want, What size do you want? What material Do you want, here's the price. So they appreciate that, even if they don't buy, a lot of times, they'll come back and they'll say, you know, you were so helpful. And so I want to go ahead with it. So I've got some calls in to check prices and other places, but I haven't heard back from them yet. But you know what, I just want to go with you guys because you seem to care to make sure I get what I need. So may is how many businesses don't return phone calls, though. It blows my mind we get thank yous from turning calls or or, or per return. Thank you for getting back to me, you know, via email, it's like, well, you reach them to me,

Mark Laurie:

especially the last two days, we're going to a website project we're working on and there's a lot of other stuff that has to happen. And I'm telling my sister, I feel like a ghost. I'm putting this stuff out these people know we're about to spend money. And no one's getting back to me, like, zero gets back to me. I think, like, Am I invisible? Like I my phone still working? Because you know, it's I can dialogue?

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah.

Mark Laurie:

I don't get it, even to the length of it. Like we're with our website we're putting together which is really kind of a cool thing. But so we're researching other websites, right? We hit these websites, you of course, the web, we would definitely, if you do a web search for a particular service. It could be anywhere in the world that comes up. It's maybe kind of logo but so these things come up. And there's nothing to tell you where they are like what city anything, there's no address, there's no phone number, you've got one link like you email me your thing. And that's it, you have no idea. Like it's, it's your honor. And what we hit one website and friend went through because you want something from them. She went through it, I think you spent 20 minutes she could not find any contact. Oh, that's like there's no farmer there's no email thing through it's like nothing that you could do to reach out to this person. And thinking well, we tracked it down I think there on one of the other social medias was was there was where their product activity was. Like how Why would you have something versus to convince someone to buy or sell or something so it's really it's really kind of a wild wild thing for it.

Joanne Ruston:

now I don't get it either.

Mark Laurie:

But I can tell that the service the it permeates your life like you as we have this conversation in your business caring for people, finding the need that they have that you can serve us provide. When you get into your your family stuff is like you know the choices we make are based on mutual purposes. It's just like, Well, yeah, he ended up but I don't care. I'm gonna do it anyway. And then in In your volunteerism, it's the same thing. You you find the role that seems to be of service. Like that seems to be the writing light of the Is that a fair statement? Yeah. And again, I

Joanne Ruston:

never looked at it that way. But yes, I mean, that's what I get enjoyment out of right? Like it's, and I guess that's where I get my not my kicks. But my, it energizes me, I get a lot out of it. So

Mark Laurie:

it's amazing how that works. It's like, the more you provide for people, I feel a lot with the stuff that I do, the more energy you get back more opportunities you get back. So it's just like, the more you give out on yourself, the more that you put out there, the more that winds up this car, my guess is the CES back watches. Oh, yeah, you deserve a penny or two.

Joanne Ruston:

Yeah. And I think it's, it's our mindset to, right, because we're in a positive mindset, we're meeting and we're working alongside different people, you have more opportunity have experiences, you know, and it's rewarding, and therefore your mind gets changes your whole mindset.

Mark Laurie:

That is so cool. I just love that do you find with your marketing approach, that you actually attract a certain type of clientele. You don't get the problem people you often hear about it other stores.

Joanne Ruston:

We do get some every once in a while, you know, but for the most part, you know, the people that our customers that come in or contact us are normal, they're there, their expectations are reasonable. You know, we've been lucky that way. We haven't had

Mark Laurie:

a lot of I would, I would submit that it's not like at all I think the energy that your company gives, and the way you promote yourselves attracts like minded person. And I think that the vibe or the whatever it is that you put out there dissuades people who would be problematic, like they're looking for a place that's not going to solve the problem in some cases. And, and so they are going to come to you because they want to yell at something. And yeah, I'm sorry, I would say I would suspect if you look carefully at your marketing approach, you discover that you are actually soliciting a certain type of clientele business, a very thin, narrow, broad based in terms of what industry they're in, but I suspect there's a certain type of person that you design stuff to attract to you.

Joanne Ruston:

Well, that's good, because 99.9% it we've really enjoyed so

Mark Laurie:

it's pretty amazing. is really, really wild. So what would be your unique talents or somewhere sit back and say, Oh, this is the talent that you rise? If I'm what would that be?

Joanne Ruston:

Boy, my unique talent?

Mark Laurie:

Oh,

Joanne Ruston:

I think I'm very talented. Like, I don't play any musical instruments or you know, anything

Mark Laurie:

like that, like, a talent can be you're a good people person, a talent can be the thing that that you're known for.

Joanne Ruston:

I would say more my enthusiasm. I've had a lot of people's even on the phone say Wow, you sound so up and you know, whatever. And it's like, oh, I'm just answering phones. So I probably that, right. Because whether it's a personal you know, because people you know, people on personal level are always, you know, making fun of me because I'm so animated. You know, like, Oh, yeah, don't get hurt going, you know, that kind of thing. Or in business too. You know, people are they enjoy it because they feel that I'm up and I think it generates energy in the room. And so, since

Mark Laurie:

this has been delightful, can't leave our time's up already. It's been great. So if you've listened in you enjoy Joanne as much as I have and you really would like to do get to know more about her or even do business with her in our in the bio below portions. We've got some links for you. So you can contact your speedpro signs in Calgary, Alberta. And she is a charmer and her staff is amazing, as you probably gathered and thank you so much for joining us today, Joanne.

Joanne Ruston:

Well, thank you, Mark. I really appreciate it. And I enjoyed it. Thank

Mark Laurie:

you. That's good. And for the rest of you out there. We'll see you next week. This is Mark Laurie from their spirit photography now hosting app. Fascinating. Thank you.

introduction:

This has been fascinating. Women with Mark Laurie. Join us on our website and subscribe at fascinating women dossier fascinating women has been sponsored by inner spirit photography of Calgary, Alberta and is produced in Calgary by Lee Ellis and my office media.