Aaron Hoos: More than you need to know about me (plus 8 random facts)

Hey, I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while and am finally working up the nerve to do it. I’ve wanted to write something to introduce me a little more — just to give a human face to what can sometimes be a very business-focused website. I’m a very private person but I also love the open, connected, and highly social world of today’s web and I help other business owners achieve it. So this blog is about me but it’s really to help push me outside of my comfort zone… and if clients or potential clients learn something about me, that’s great too.

My name is Aaron Hoos. You already knew that.


That’s me on a trip to England. I’m standing in a stone circle
(think Stonehenge, but bigger and less famous).

MY HISTORY

I was born in Oshawa, Ontario Canada (that’s near Toronto). I spent several years in Oshawa (and I spent a few years in a slightly more rural setting outside of Oshawa… although I definitely prefer city life to country life).

For as long as I can remember (and probably longer), I’ve know that I wanted to be a writer. I wrote a lot when I was a kid. (You’re going to think of an amount and define it as “a lot” but I assure you that it was probably double what you are estimating). Although I went through the same phases as every other kid (I wanted to be a pirate or cowboy… and some days I still do), the need to write has always been there. (Hypergraphia is the compulsive need to write, and I wouldn’t call it that, but writing is right up there with oxygen for me. There was a time in my life when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to write for a living and that was the darkest period of my life). My first experience as a professional writer (not just scribbling down ideas in a notebook) was as a reporter for a daily newspaper when I was 17 years old. It was a crazy experience: I learned a lot. I also learned that I did not want to be a journalist as a career.

I also was fascinated by business from a very early age. I had a drop-shipping company when I was in elementary school. My dad did a lot of freelance home renovation work. My family came *this close* to starting a restaurant. My aunt owned several hair salons. One of my best friends and his family owned a computer store and another friend and his family owned a home renovation business. Even before I went to college, I spent a lot of time thinking about businesses and looking for businesses to start.

I left Oshawa at the age of 19 (but I still have family and friends there and I try to get back there from time to time) and moved to Regina Saskatchewan (it’s the big rectangular province). I lived there for seven very significant years: I got my undergrad degree, got married (her name is Janelle), started my first writing company (it was called Inkling Writing Services — I still have a business card), published my first paid piece of freelance writing in The Globe and Mail (one of Canada’s national newspapers), helped my wife start her business, failed in my writing business, worked briefly for a couple of finance and real estate firms, then got a job in sales.

Here’s Janelle and I in London
(same trip to England as in the above picture).

That sales job filled in many of the missing gaps that had caused my first business failure — primarily, how to sell, how to manage people, how to collect money. That job also sent my wife and I to Kenora Ontario — a place we had visited a couple of times on road trips. Kenora is a nice place to visit but (in my opinion) it’s horrible to live there. We lived there for 2.5 years but it felt like ten years! Like me, my wife prefers city life to rural/small town life!

Fortunately, a promotion in my sales management position had us move to Winnipeg Manitoba, which is basically at the longitudinal center of North America, and we’ve lived here ever since. For those who don’t know: Winnipeg is the butt of a lot of jokes in Canada, but my wife and I stubbornly love this city.

Shortly after our move to Winnipeg, I left my sales management position and acquired my stock broker/investment advisor’s license (the Canadian equivalent to the series 66 and series 7 licenses).

However, I found myself at a crossroads — do I pursue a career as a stockbroker or go back to writing, the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do? At the time, my wife was working at an office in downtown Winnipeg and I met her for lunch and we talked about what I wanted to do. In fact, we met right at the tables you see to the right (which are on the 2nd storey roof of a downtown mall) and at the end of lunch we decided that I should go back to writing.

So, on the first Monday in August (this is several years ago now), I “hung out my shingle” as a writer and never looked back.

We took a risk to start this business again (considering the first failure a few years earlier) so you can imagine how happy I was just three months later when I called up my wife at her job and told her that I was making enough money that she could quit and do whatever she wanted. It was awesome. Every single day since that first Monday in August several years ago has been the best day(s) of my life. Since starting up my writing business, helping businesses with their content and sales funnels, I’ve earned my MBA, I’ve travelled with Janelle, and I’ve met a lot of great people. I love what I do because I love to write and I love to help business owners grow their businesses.

(Update: In 2016, my wife and I moved back to Regina Saskatchewan. We always loved Regina and missed it, we have some family and friends in the city too, and we reached a point in our lives that we realized we could live anywhere. Winnipeg had less keeping us there than Regina had drawing us back. So we packed up and moved back! It’s been an AMAZING choice for us. You can read more about it in this blog post: Go West! Life Is Peaceful There.)

From time to time, I wonder how my life might have been different if I had done one thing instead of another — if I had taken a route different from the one I took. But I love my life! I’m happy with where I am in life, I love what I do, and I’m proud of what I achieved.

WHAT I DO WHEN I’M NOT WRITING

When I’m not writing, I probably reading. Janelle and I love to read (is there a book-version of hypergraphia?). I’m also probably drinking coffee or beer. I’m not at the “prosumer” level in either of those two fields but I know enough about both to enjoy them and to know why I enjoy them.

I also love to play poker. My grandfather taught me to play poker when I was very young and, in turn, I taught my school friends to play. (We’d play every afternoon after school with Monopoly money). I’ve played regularly ever since. I’m a serious player (to Janelle’s occasional chagrin!) and if I ever gave up writing it would be to become a professional poker player. One of these days I’m going to join an online poker tournament, but I’m afraid that once I start, I won’t be able to stop… and then I’ll never get any work done.

And now you know quite a bit about me!

8 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I’m allergic to dust, dogs and cats, pollen, and cigarette smoke. So the painting of Dogs Playing Poker is awesome (because poker is awesome) but the pet dander and cigar smoke would be too much for me if it happened in real life.
  2. I love bacon. But doesn’t everybody?
  3. My wife and I love to travel, but we’ve only traveled (together) throughout Canada, to several US states, and to England and Switzerland. We hate camping. It’s all about hotels for us.
  4. My favorite fictions books are Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (it’s a classic Canadian book), Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and Terror by Dan Simmons (it’s a historical-horror novel — a unique genre!). I also own nearly every book written by John D. Macdonald.
  5. I hate science fiction movies but people often think that I love the genre. I’m not sure why. I must give off a vibe. My favorite movies are highly dialogue-driven: Glengarry Glen Ross, Wag the Dog, and Oceans 11. I have a weakness for capers and heist movies.
  6. I sometimes dream of owning a restaurant… and then I wake up and realize that I have NO desire to actually work in the food services industry. I do much better as a writer than I would as a restaurateur.
  7. I once owned the same pair of hiking shoes from 1992 to 2006. The company guaranteed them “for as long as I own my feet” and they honored that guarantee by resoling my boots several times… until they went out of business.  Those boots were awesome.
  8. I have a jar of Cheez Whiz with a best before date of April 24 1983. Yes, you read that correctly. The jar hasn’t been opened since 1992… even then, it shouldn’t have been opened. It sits on my desk and reminds me of great memories of my youth. I’m laughing about them as I write this. I’m sure I’ll regret admitting this at some point.

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