new-years-eve-951750_1920Each year around this time, LinkedIn reminds my connections that it’s the anniversary of “Trafalgar Communications.” What this really means: Thirty-one years ago I quit my job as a senior systems analyst at an insurance company, gave up the salary, benefits and dental plan, and decided to become a freelance writer. My then-husband thought I was nuts (and he may have been right). But grief can do that to you. After my mother had died suddenly a few months before at 52, the reality of mortality slapped me in the face and I knew I could not stay at my job and be a happy person.

Fortunately I had the presence of mind to enroll in the Magazine Journalism certificate program at Ryerson University (then a Polytechnic), since my only professional writing experience at that point consisted of reports, manuals and technical specs. I actually showed up on the last day of registration and begged Wendy Dennis to let me in the (full) program. “Are you going to be a pain in the ass?” she asked. “No, I promise!” True story. Thank you, Wendy.

While I was still in the program, I snagged several freelance gigs with Canadian and American magazines, and then eventually moved into corporate and government work. Over the years my business evolved and today I spend most of my time consulting, teaching, leading workshops (including my latest, Blogging for Fun and Profit), and producing podcasts for clients.

Yesterday I had coffee with someone I had met through the Toronto Board of Trade. She said: “You are so lucky. You get to do work you love every day.” Well, “every day” is not always true, but I know I am fortunate. Starting my own independent business might have been folly, since I had no business plan and really no clue at all, but it has worked out and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

To all my clients, colleagues, friends and family, I say, thank you for being a part of this adventure.


  1. Thanks to all of you for the kind comments. Of course nowadays when I talk to people starting out on their own, I recommend they do some of the things I did NOT do — like write a business plan!


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