Operations

Getting health insurance with Renee Sylvestre-Williams

Renee shares how Canadian freelancers can better protect themselves by getting insurance coverage that's right for them.

December 1, 2020

Renee Sylvestre-Williams is a finance and culture writer who got interested in the topic of money when she bought her home and realized she no longer had disposable income.

Having worked as a journalist for more than 10 years, Renee has covered what it's like to rebuild a heart, women in mining, B corps and why women need to invest in women entrepreneurs. Her work has been published in the Globe and Mail, Flare, MoneySense, the Toronto Star and Forbes.

In this episode, Renee and Mohammed talk about how Canadian freelancers can better protect themselves by getting insurance coverage that's right for them.

Short on time? Skip to the parts you're most interested in.

[01:03] Getting started as a freelancer

[03:29] Types of health insurance

[06:29] Breakdown of Renee's annual health expenses

[15:01] Determining which health insurance to get

[16:47] Finding a health insurance provider

[18:31] Who can get health insurance

[20:29] Who shouldn't get health insurance

[26:01] Renee's tips for Canadian freelancers

If you enjoyed the conversation, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe to Freelance Canada on Apple Podcasts or listen to it wherever you get your podcast. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the episode.

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Mohammed: Maybe we can take a few minutes to get a better understanding of your freelancing experience, like when did you get [into] freelancing, what made you decide to become a freelancer, and I suppose like how long it’s been since you’ve been freelancing?

Renee: August of 2020 will be my 10-year anniversary of seriously freelancing. Yeah, I started [in] August 2010 because I got laid off from Yahoo. I was a senior lifestyle editor there and I got laid off. I was part of a whole bunch of layoffs that happened, and I remember I had put out a post on Facebook explaining what had happened, you know, I got laid off, etc., etc., if you hear anything, please let me know, and then a friend of mine, Liz, reached out to me and she said, “Hey — I’m paraphrasing, “Hey, do you wanna write about personal finance for this website called WalletPop which was part of AOL?” I said sure, why not, because it was money, you know, I was gonna get paid, and I started writing for her.

From there, somebody else at Huffington Post reached out and said, “Hey, we just lost our autos editor and we just need somebody who can take sort of the US content, Canadianize the number so like miles to kilometres and all that and just transfer over photo galleries and we’ll pay you for that, just give us what your daily rate is,” so I had those two jobs and they were pretty good and I was getting EI and I was focusing on looking for a full-time job.

Another incident that stood out to me was a friend of mine, Steve Tustin, and we had met when I was at the Toronto Star, he reached out to me on Facebook and said, “How come you never reached out to me?” so I was feeling a little more confident in myself so I said, “Well, your last name begins with T and I haven’t reached that far down the alphabet yet,” and he said, “Well, how do you feel about branded content?” and I said, “Well, will I get paid?”

He goes, “Yeah, you’ll get paid.” I said, “Yeah, then I’m fine with that,” and that’s how I started doing a lot of branded content for the Globe Content Studio and how I got into branded and native and sponsored content really early. From there, it’s, you know, it’s been 10 years. I have not freelanced full time for the full 10 years. I have taken jobs and taken contracts. I got laid off a couple [of] times. Some contracts ended. Some contracts, I just said nope and just walked away from it, but it’s been a very interesting decade.

Mohammed: Geez. Well, congrats on a decade of freelancing or, should I say seriously freelancing. I think I should probably just change the name of the podcast to that, but it’s interesting about a few things you mentioned, specifically laying off. I feel that worked so well given our topic of discussion which is insurance ’cause, for most people, at least those who are full-time employed, we receive insurance from our employer.

However, for freelancing, most of us don’t even know where to start, you know, on our journey to get insurance. For example, I’m very privileged in the sense that my partner has a full-time job and, as a result, I’m able to be on her insurance package or premium. I guess I’ve always wondered what happens when I don’t have a partner who has insurance and I need to go get insurance as a self-employed professional in Canada. Maybe we can even start to understand first what types of insurance exist. 

Renee: Okay, well, first, we’ve got universal healthcare. I love me my OHIP. I will cut anyone that suggests that we get rid of universal healthcare; like I will be like first in line — I will cut you. I love me my OHIP. It could be better. I mean, I wish they hadn’t delisted eye exams because I wear glasses but, you know what, love me some OHIP, don’t ever take it away from me.

And apart from that, the only non-work insurance that I carry is disability insurance and critical illness insurance. So, what those both do is if I am disabled, I’m in an accident, or I become critically ill, they will cover my bills for a set period of time. Now, I don’t — because knock wood, I am healthy, relatively healthy, I don’t carry any other form of health insurance at this point, so I don’t need to cover — I don’t need to have a regular prescription or anything like that so I can pay out of pocket.

What I do try to do is I have a little fund where I put a bit of money every month or I put like 500 bucks a year or something like that that will cover just in case I need like antibiotics or something. In terms of dental, I also don’t carry dental insurance because I’ve got good teeth. At the most, I think I pay, if you consider cleaning, x-rays once a year which doesn’t cost that much and cleaning twice a year, I’m paying $400 for the year.

If you don’t have insurance, tell your dentist, tell your service provider and my dentist knocks off like 10 percent.

Mohammed: Yeah.

Renee: Which isn’t bad and I’ve been going to my dentist forever. What’s really nice about it and you can ask for this, this is my one piece of advice, if you don’t have insurance, tell your dentist, tell your service provider and my dentist knocks off like 10 percent. A couple of my freelancing friends say they do that as well.

He knocks off 10 percent and what’s really nice about him is, you know, he will say, “Okay, well, you need to get this done,” like I grind my teeth so I paid to get a mouthguard. I mean, I could go to the drugstore and get one but I get a mouthguard and that’s about $400 and he’ll let me know and then I can do that and I can budget for that and pay for it.

Mohammed: First, the discount thing is amazing because that is such a thing that I would do and tell people to do but to hear somebody else tell me that you can get a discount from your dentist is awesome. The second thing that I’m a little frustrated [with] is that mouthguards are so expensive and I get that that’s a separate tangent, but I find it interesting that you’re spending about $400 on dental care, so if I just do quick math here on my laptop, $400 divided by 12, so about $33 per month you’re setting aside.

Renee: That’s for dental, so I slap in about 500 bucks.

Mohammed: Per month?

Renee: No, no, no. For the year.

Mohammed: Oh, okay, okay, you’re setting aside —

Renee: Setting aside. Now, if we’re talking about eyes, that’s a whole different story. I wear glasses. My eyesight is not great. It’s not terrible but it’s not great, so every couple [of] years, I go in for an eye exam so the place that I go to, they do like — they are a little expensive but they do the full whole hog, they do pressure tests and everything, and that’s about $230.

Mohammed: Whoa. Where are you going? $230?

Renee: I won’t name names —

Mohammed: Yeah.

Renee: They are a little expensive —

Mohammed: Yes.

Renee: — but, I know, I am looking for another provider ’cause — I mean, granted, there is a huge difference between going to someone who checks your eyes for 60 bucks and then what they did.

Mohammed: Right, right, yes. That’s something I totally agree with, that when people go for the eye exam, I really think they should go for the full eye exam, not just like, “Hey, can you read this? And here is your prescription,” but more so like looking at your peripherals, see if you have any cataract — I think I saw a cataract in your —

Renee: It’s cataract, yeah.

So, it’s about $230. So, was it expensive? Yes. Would I do it every single year? No. Did I mind paying the money? I was a little shocked at the price of it but I’m like, "Okay, fine, it’s like the first thorough test I’ve had in a while."

Mohammed: Yeah, so essentially going through that ’cause it really helps you understand and, for me being a visual person, like I value — I mean, I value all of my senses but it would be scary to ever not know, you know, just because you didn’t spend another 50 bucks or so, you didn’t realize that there was something developing that you could have prevented.

Renee: Exactly, and then there are other diseases that can affect your eyesight like diabetes and then, you know, there’s glaucoma, I’m not saying I have all of those, I don’t, but I’m just saying it’s always good to be preventative. So, it’s about $230. So, was it expensive? Yes.

Mohammed: Yes.

Renee: Would I do it every single year? No. Did I mind paying the money? I was a little shocked at the price of it but I’m like, "Okay, fine, it’s like the first thorough test I’ve had in a while." I mean, I get my eyes checked every couple [of] years anyway, but I didn’t mind it as much but that’s not something that I wanna pay out of pocket every single year.

Mohammed: Exactly, right.

Renee: And then on top of that, last year, I had contacts because I needed Baby Progressives and contacts are expensive. So, last year, and last year was an outlier, I spent, if I had to total up everything from my vision and I got a new pair of glasses, I spent about $2,000, which was something I had not planned for but I had the money, but on the positive side, I rolled all of that up in taxes because I did actually need them.

Mohammed: Sorry, you said rolled them up into taxes?

Renee: Yeah. I got the receipts and I put them towards my taxes as medical deductions.

Mohammed: Come on. So that’s great too ’cause a lot of people don’t know that they can write off some of these items or I guess most of these items as deductions.

Renee: Well, it’s a percentage so I’m obviously not an accountant so anybody who’s listening to this, please talk to your financial advisor or your accountant, but it has to be a certain percentage of your yearly earnings. I don’t know off the top of my head. This is why I have an accountant who I love dearly and I pay her to do this for me —

Mohammed: Yeah.

Renee: — ’cause I’ve just like here’s all my bills and all of that stuff and then like last — so when I did my 2018 taxes, that year, I had gone to Bali. I took part in a trip for Intrepid Travel. They were looking to kind of renew their marketing materials so I got a trip and then they’ve used my image everywhere in all that. It was very fun. Loved that trip, it was great, but I also had to get — I chose to get a lot of vaccines. A lot of vaccines.

I think the only vaccine I didn’t get was rabies, and that cost me, ’cause I went to a travel clinic, I didn’t go to my doctor, I went to a travel clinic because it was an extremely short turnaround time and I knew they would have everything. You pay for everything at the travel clinic. I think the only thing I didn’t get at the travel clinic was the flu shot because the travel clinic was gonna charge me $45, going to Shoppers with my health card cost me nothing.

Mohammed: Right.

Renee: But I spent about a thousand dollars [on] vaccines. Vaccines, antidiarrheal medication, nausea medication, that was over-the-counter, so, yeah. All those things I gave to my accountant and I’m like, well, it’s medical, I needed it, and to be honest I’ve never asked her if she successfully wrote them off but, you know, try. You can try.

Mohammed: I guess I was also thinking in my head, it’s like, well, technically, that travel was for work and because it’s for work, shouldn’t you be able to like write-off work-related expenses?

Renee: Well, I also write some travel. So I do have a history, this isn’t a case of me trying to sneak it in under the radar —

Mohammed: Right, right.

Renee: — but I can show, “Oh, look, I have written articles for various travel publications.”

Mohammed: Yes, yes. I was in no way insinuating —

Renee: Oh, no, no, no.

Mohammed: Okay.

Renee: I know that. I know that. It’s cool.

Mohammed: So, clearly, you know, preventative healthcare can be expensive. I mean, $2,000 for looking after your eyes, about $500 per year for dental, I get that $2,000 was a result of lenses, contact lenses, getting glasses, eye exam, but something you mentioned about checking your eyes every 2 years so that is typically what opticians and what’s the other one? Optometrist?

Renee: Optometrist, yeah.

Mohammed: Yes. They recommend that you should get your eyes tested every 2 years. The one that I go to which is on King and Dufferin, charges me about $130, $150 there.

Renee: That’s really good —

Mohammed: Yes.

Renee: — and do you get all the machines?

Mohammed: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They put all these dyes in my eyes as well and make sure everything is working well and they kinda break everything down which I think is good. I think the scary thing is just always that when they’re checking I guess your — I don’t know if it’s your reflexes or — oh, it’s the pressure, it’s the pressure when the air comes out quickly and —

Renee: Yes.

Mohammed: It’s just kinda scary for that second, it’s like am I going to — like what’s gonna happen but — so, yeah, they do the whole thing and my optometrist, she’s awesome, so just putting that out there for you. The other thing that I also wanted to understand is that for glasses, did you go to I guess like a fancy eyewear store or did you go to Warby Parker?

Renee: I go to a guy called Joe and he owns The Optic Zone so he’s down at Front and Lower Jarvis and I love going there because he has the best frames. The best frames. I’ve always been of the — if I’m going to wear glasses, they’re going to be amazing glasses.

Mohammed: Right.

Renee: So — and he’s the guy, when I first went there, I went there because I went with a friend who had been going there. When it was my turn to get frames, I was looking at just regular black frames and he’s like no and he pulled out this really cool blue and green cross-hatch frames which I wore for a couple [of] years and then my next frames were tortoiseshell frames with these big crystals on them, crystals on the side, and now I’m wearing purple frames with gold arms so I do spend money on frames but, again, I’m also wearing them 7 days a week so like cost per wear on my glasses is like, yeah, and then when I get my lenses, my lenses are not necessarily as expensive as my frames but like I think the pair of glasses that I’m currently wearing, which are the purple and gold ones, ran me about $600?

Mohammed: Okay.

Renee: For everything.

Mohammed: You mentioned you got Progressives so that plus the frame itself, about 600 bucks. Okay. Alright.

Renee: Yeah. So I get high-density, high-index lenses, all those things.

Mohammed: All the fancy upgrades.

Renee: All the fancies.

Mohammed: Sounds good. So, we’ve got quite a good breakdown of things that you’re paying for, how much you’re paying for, and also what type of insurance you have ’cause you mentioned you have disability and critical illness.

I guess I’m curious to understand is that when other Canadian freelancers are thinking about, “Hey, I should get insurance coverage now that I’m freelancing,” and most of us probably don’t even think about it right off the bat, but then as you start doing it and something happens, you get [the] flu and you’re like, “Oh, should I get insurance?” —

Renee: Yeah.

You have to look at the pros and cons like how much money are you paying out. And then when you get insurance, what you need to do is make sure that insurance covers what you need and how much of it that it covers.

Mohammed: — and what suggestions or how would you even recommend someone consider getting insurance and what type of insurance they should think about getting maybe in terms of [the] order of priority that you believe would make sense?

Renee: I don’t think there’s a specific priority list that everybody needs to follow. For example, I don’t have children so I don’t have life insurance. I don’t need to leave anything to anyone, so that’s why I have [the] disability and critical illness insurance, right, because I need to look after [myself] in this situation and obviously I put money away for retirement.

Now, for example, like I don’t have dental insurance but say, for example, you know, you got a family and you may not have insurance or you and your partner may not have insurance because you’re both running businesses, whatever the situation. Let’s just say you don’t have employer insurance.

What you can do in that situation, if the cost of the premiums is lower than what you’d pay out of pocket for dental insurance or prescriptions, then it makes sense to have — to consider getting health and dental insurance if that makes sense. So you have to look at the pros and cons like how much money are you paying out. And then when you get insurance, what you need to do is make sure that insurance covers what you need and how much of it that it covers.

Mohammed: Got it. And for your disability and critical illness insurances, did you just Google it and you went with the first website that looked nice or…

Renee: No. There are multiple sites that you can go in there and then you can type in “I’m looking for health insurance, I’m looking for dental insurance,” and they’ll do a comparison after they ask you a bunch of questions, but what I did is, again, and this is why it’s always good to have sort of a team of people you can trust, is my financial advisor/accountant, Shannon Lee Simmons, shout out, hey, girl, love you, she’s amazing.

I said, “Hey, I am looking for this,” and she’s like, “Okay, these are the two people that I send everyone to.” She goes, “I don’t get any kickbacks, I trust them and I work with this guy called David,” and I told David, “Look, this is my situation, this is what I’m looking for,” and he brought back options for disability and critical illness. I remember we were meeting at a Starbucks on University Avenue in Toronto.

He’s like, “Okay, so this is what I have.” We’re talking about critical illness and like the name suggests, critical illness is pretty much any critical illness. And we were talking about it and he was like, “This is what the cost is,” and then he goes, “Okay, but for a few dollars more, you can be covered for — I don’t know how many diseases he said but it was a shockingly high number, like 20 something diseases, so I think — I don’t have the numbers off the top of my head, my disability and my critical illness together cost me about $160 a month in premiums but I’m pretty solidly covered.

Mohammed: Right.

Renee: I don’t have my documents in front of me so I can’t tell you exactly what I’m covered for but I’m pretty confident in the coverage that I have.

Mohammed: So typically when people are like I’m going to get insurance and they get insurance, there could be times where there are things like you have to wait I guess like 90 days or even a year sometimes to like claim certain things or if you have previous conditions then you can’t qualify or at least maybe I’m influenced by the TV shows I watch that are mostly US-based, but in Canada, what has been your experience so far with that?

Renee: It depends. Like, for example, most people can get insurance now. That being said, what is happening is the demand for convenience is changing to an extent the kind of insurance that you can get. So, what happens is if you want insurance under a certain amount, you don’t have to take a medical exam, right? If you are of a certain age and you want insurance over a certain amount, they would ask you [to] take a medical exam.

But what’s been happening is people are like, “I don’t have time to take a medical exam, I don’t wanna take it, I don’t have time, I’m doing things,” and more and more people are choosing to do that and what happens is you can get insurance, you don’t need a medical exam to get insurance. Now, in some cases, you might be paying a higher premium ’cause they look at, you know, the various charts and risk charts and be like, okay, this, this, this, this, here’s what your premium is, but you can still get coverage. Even if you’ve got previous conditions.

Mohammed: Got it.

Renee: And, again, I’m generalizing so obviously talk to —

Mohammed: David.

Renee: Yeah, talk to David. Talk to [the] insurance guy, your insurance person and all that stuff but most people can get insurance. I mean, it all depends on what kind of premiums you wanna pay and what kind of coverage you get with that.

Mohammed: Got it.

I’m clearly learning quite a bit here ’cause this is a topic that I’ve always thought about but never fully I guess wrapped my head around so this has been [a] good learning for me. I suppose it’s also worth asking who shouldn’t get insurance coverage or is there, someone, where it doesn’t make sense to not get insurance coverage?

Renee: You know what, that’s a very good question and I’ve never actually thought about that. I think everybody needs insurance of some kind, if we’re talking about medical insurance, because, you know, life happens, right?

I mean, you can get no medical, it’s called like no medical life insurance as well, like we’re just talking life insurance, right, and then, you know, [as] the name says, it is life insurance you can get without having to go through a medical exam. So, for example, if you do have a preexisting medical condition, you can get it. Now, I can go into the different types but there is something called no medical life insurance. If you have a preexisting condition, it is something that somebody can look into.

Mohammed: That’s quite helpful to keep in mind. Interesting. So, I suppose — I feel so privileged to live, at least in Ontario where we have our OHIP and should something go wrong, I can go into the doctor and be able to get myself checked out, but, as you’ve also outlined, is that something like disability and critical illness, those things aren’t covered by OHIP —

Renee: No.

Mohammed: — and should something happen to you, especially in times of COVID where a lot of uncertainty exists, that kind of insurance can protect you. Yes, you’re paying a bit per month but that — you’re essentially paying for your protection.

Renee: Yeah. So what it kind of gives you payments to let you focus on getting better.

Most insurance plans have a cap on the benefits anyway, so it depends on what your plan lays out. If you’re willing to kind of pay for that.

Mohammed: And is it like a hundred percent of what you were making in the last 3 months or 12 months? Is the structure something like that or is it just like, “We’re gonna give you a fixed fee,” or “We’re gonna give you back that $160 each month”?

Renee: Well, it depends. Like, for example, most insurance plans have a cap on the benefits anyway, so it depends on what your plan lays out. If you’re willing to kind of pay for that.

Mohammed: And just to go back to a question I was trying to understand earlier is that with your disability and critical illness, there weren’t any conditions to be like, “Hey, you cannot claim something in like 12 months, so like you cannot get critically ill in 12 months ’cause we have to get paid for a year before we can, you know, cover you back” kinda thing.

Renee: I don’t remember if that was the case.

Mohammed: Okay.

Renee: Again, that’s something to check the policy before you sign for it, but I got — I know. I’m putting a lot of caveats here but I am not an insurance expert and everybody’s insurance policy should be tailored to their needs.

Mohammed: Do you remember David’s last name? I feel like we should bring in David.

Renee: Okay, hold on. Let me look up David’s last name. Lipkus. David Lipkus.

Mohammed: L-I-P-K-U-S?

Renee: Yes.

Mohammed: I’ll look him up and reach out to him ’cause that will be pretty cool to chat with somebody who can like give us even more thorough breakdown ’cause I think the amount of detail you’ve gone into is amazing —

Renee: Oh, thank you.

Mohammed: — even having or providing people the benchmark to see what they can expect in terms of dental or eye exam costs or even something as — like I like Warby Parker, I like, you know, not all their frames are amazing but the few frames that I do find there, 150 bucks and that’s just kinda it, which I think is super awesome.

Renee: Exactly. Like I like Warby — I know we’re a little off the record here so cut this. I like Warby Parker’s ethos, I just don’t really like their glasses.

Mohammed: Yes.

Renee: I find their glasses a little plain for me. Like, for example, like actually I needed a pair of computer glasses so more close-up reading and I had an old pair of frames which were still in good shape and I took those frames in and I said, okay, put the lenses in here because I knew I wasn’t gonna wear them, they weren’t my primary pair of glasses and they weren’t really gonna leave the house. I would use Warby Parker in that way but like the glasses that are on my face that I get photographed in and all that stuff, I want glamorous frames. 

Mohammed: Right.

Renee: I’m wearing purple and gold glasses.

Mohammed: I thought you were wearing them.

Renee: Yeah.

Mohammed: Okay. I used the photo that you sent me. Is that the one with gold and purple? Did you send me a photo? Actually, I should —

Renee: I don’t know. I don’t think I sent you a photo. A lot of my portfolio photos tend to be without glasses, just because, again, because of my prescription, depending on how it’s angled, my eyes look very small, just like [the] eye socket area looks — it looks weird just because of the parabola of the lens. So I’m just like, here’s me without glasses.

Mohammed: Got it, okay. Well, maybe we could just get a photo of the glasses afterwards —

Renee: Yeah.

Mohammed: — when you get a chance and we can include that.

Renee: Oh, absolutely. I will send you a picture. I will send you a picture of these glasses.

Mohammed: Yeah, okay. Wait, actually, you know what, I’m very curious, how many glasses do you have in total?

Renee: I only have two pairs.

Mohammed: Oh, okay.

Renee: Three if you consider prescription sunglasses.

Mohammed: Prescription sunglasses? Oh, okay. Are they also glamorous?

Renee: They are a pair of Miu Miu sunglasses, yes.

Always comparison shop. There are multiple really good insurance providers out there that are offering fundamentally the same kind of insurance coverage depending on what you’re looking at.

Mohammed: Awesome. Okay. I’m very curious to see these photos. What I would like to understand is that for people that are interested in getting insurance and to protect themselves, whether it’s getting dental and eye or just focusing specifically on disability and critical illness, I don’t wanna use the word “hacks” but maybe like what tactics or what sort of — like I am a person who is always on the look-out for the best bang for your buck, like how can I get value out of everything I do and sometimes that includes, you know, going onto Ebates first before I go to the store that I wanna buy something or using cashback on my credit card.

What sort of suggestions or tips do you have for people that are looking to get insurance and how they can maximize on that?

Renee: Okay, well, [a] couple [of] things I will suggest is always comparison shop. Always comparison shop. There are multiple really good insurance providers out there that are offering fundamentally the same kind of insurance coverage depending on what you’re looking at, and always comparison shop. Two, make sure that you’re fully covered. Like, don’t go for the cheapest option just because it’s the cheapest option and then, you know, you realize you’re not covered for what you actually need.

Third, you know, you can always consider bundling all your insurance with one insurance company and see if you’ll get a discount that way. Four, I would also suggest going through your alumni or any professional associations that you may be involved with. They aren’t necessarily the cheapest but it’s something to look at. You might be able to get a professional or an associate discount.

And then, five, what I talked about sort of at the beginning of this podcast is, you know what, you know, ask for [a] discount. Especially if you don’t have insurance, say, “Listen, I don’t have insurance, I am paying for this out of pocket,” right? “You know, if I pay cash or with my debit card right here, do you have a discount?”

Mohammed: Right.

Renee: And don’t feel — and I want people to realize this. Yes, it can feel awkward to ask for a discount but ask for the discount. You’d be surprised at how many people will be like, “Yeah, okay, I’ll knock off 10 percent.”

Mohammed: Yes. My approach for asking for discounts, so a lot of people is like, “Hey, do you have a discount?” where for me I’d be like, “Hey, what discounts do you have or what promotions are going on?” ’cause this way, it’s never like, “Hey, do you have discounts? Yes? No?”

It’s always like, what discounts do you have or what promotions do you have running that I can take advantage of and at that point, they have to think and then it’s like, “Oh, no, we don’t have any promotions running,” or actually, “Yeah, we have this discount available” or “I’ll be happy to provide the discount this way.”

Renee: Yeah, exactly. Or — and this is just a general shopping tip for everybody. You know, sometimes, you’ll be like, “Listen, can I get 10 percent off if I pay in cash?” 

Mohammed: Right, right.

Renee: Now, this may or may not work because a lot of places are going cashless but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask, especially I would say small businesses because they understand what it’s like to be a small business. If you’re freelancing, you are a small business.

Mohammed: Yes. I like that you have like five points broken down and I wrote them all down even though we’re recording all of this. So, I was gonna ask for advice you had for Canadian freelancers but it seems like this was the advice/tips so that’s great. We’ve sort of covered that all well. I would be interested to learn where can people find out more about you and [the] work that you’re doing?

Renee: Oh, well, I am everywhere on the internet. In all honesty, if people are looking to find me, they can just Google my name.

Mohammed: Yeah.

Renee: I’m the only Renee Sylvestre-Williams on the planet. No, literally, I’m the only Renee Sylvestre-Williams on the planet, like with the spelling, I’m the only one.

Mohammed: I don’t know where to go from here other than to just wrap up because I’m super excited by all of the content we have and all the questions we’ve gone into. Thank you.

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