On Thursday 17th November I will be doing a ‘lightning talk’ at Cardiff SEO Meet.
Why? Adrian Harvie – one of my clients (The Abbey Cleaning Service) – has been raising money for Climb via the Children’s Hospital Challenge, when he and a group of other cyclists rode around the UK delivering toys to children’s hospitals last year. During a recent catch-up meeting, I suddenly had an idea: I could raise money via a speaking gig. Yep… There’s a first for everything.
So how does it work? Well, the more money people donate, the harder/funnier/sillier my talk becomes: it becomes shorter, plus other ‘challenges’ get thrown into the mix. It’s already challenging enough, given that it’s a lightning talk (i.e. 20 slides that each auto-rotate every 15 seconds – see Ignite), but why not make it harder eh?
As I type this, I have already hit my target and have raised £200+. But I’d like to raise more…
If we hit £250, I’ll include 5 phrases in the talk from this SEO bingo card (ignoring the Brighton/conference-related ones)
If we hit £300, instead of 5 phrases chosen by me (see above), 5 SEOs will choose the 5 phrases, and I’ll have to say those instead
If we hit £350, I’ll wear my Halloween costume (Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord, from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) during the talk
If we hit £400+… Well, I guess we’ll have to see (and I’ll have to come up with more ideas!)
Because we’ve hit £200, my 5-minute talk is now 3 minutes (i.e. 9 seconds per slide instead of 15), and… I have to wear a Christmas hat during the whole thing. Hey, we’re in November now – it’s ok to talk about (finally). To be honest, I think it’d be funny to try and shoehorn in some random SEO buzzwords, so if we hit £250-300 then I’ll be absolutely delighted.
If you want to contribute then please donate here. Even if it’s just a couple of quid, I – along with Adrian and Climb – would really, really appreciate it.
If you’d like to come to event itself, here’s the link to all the details – we also have two other talks lined up as well as a live site review. Tickets (which are free) become available from 10am this Thursday. If you can’t make it, do not fret: I’ll be live-streaming the talk (via Periscope), so the magic will be viewable from afar and then retained forever… You lucky people you.
Hope to see you there. And once again – please donate!
UPDATE: You can watch the video here (I start introducing it around 3:40 in and the talk starts properly around 7:40 in) and see the slides here. I’m pleased to say that I raised over £300!
Way back in 2013, only a mere 3 months after taking the plunge, I wrote a post titled 3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Months Into Self-Employment. 33 months later, I wanted to pass on 3 more things I’ve discovered now that I have a longer-term view of freelancing life, and I also thought that it might be interesting to revisit the initial 3 things I blogged about – to see if they’re just as true/more true/less true – now that a whole bunch of time has passed…
3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Years On
Alrighty then… Let’s go.
1) You can’t say “yes” to everything
As you’ll see below (or here), the #1 of my original ‘3 Things’ was also about saying “yes” – but it was from the other person’s perspective. This time it’s about me saying yes.
You often hear the common wisdom that is to “say yes to everything.” A guy I know and look up to on the Cardiff entrepreneurship scene admitted to me that he follows this course, saying yes to absolutely everything/anything that comes his way and never turning anything down.
But you know what? That’s borderline foolish. (Sorry person-referenced-above-who-I-have-now-insulted…)
Because when you say yes to something, you could be saying “no” to something else.
So while you can say yes to everything, you probably shouldn’t. Our time is finite, so if you agree to do something and it takes x hours to do, you can’t save or reuse those hours on something else (unless you sacrifice time from something else, such as time spent on a hobby, with family/friends, or sleeping). What if you say yes to something good, but then something great comes along, and you can’t do the great thing because you’re busy doing the good thing? That would suck, wouldn’t it?
You have to be careful about what you choose to do and not just say yes to things willy-nilly. It may seem harsh and even cruel to say no to certain things, but you have to be careful and tactical with your time.
I certainly feel like I’m getting better at this, especially in the past year or so.
2) Do away with distractions
Early on in my freelancing career, I was a moderator for Inbound.org for a time. I took to the moderating quite obsessively, upsetting some people in the process (but that’s a whooole other story…!), before quitting for good. While I was doing it though, I noticed that I was doing it a lot. To touch upon the above point, our time is finite. I could’ve spent that time differently – especially in the early days of freelancing.
I don’t regret it too much though. The whole upsetting-people thing aside, I made a lot of great contacts and friends in the SEO industry while I was living and breathing Inbound.org, and it helped to get my name out there. Hell, I’ve not contributed on there for years and yet I’m still in their Top 50 all-time members as I type this, hah!
…But at the same time, it wouldn’t have helped with sales or client acquisition, at a time when that was absolutely crucial to focus on. Obviously I did ok in the end (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this!) but it might’ve been a much smoother ride if it’d been distraction-free.
So, if you’ve got any distractions in your life, try and put them to one side. (He says, still absolutely obsessed with Twitter… We’ve all gotta have at least one vice, right? Right.)
3) The community around you is so, so important
I harp on about them all the time (most likely to the point of causing boredom and sickness), but I love Welsh ICE more than I can explain. The coworking space and startup community just outside Cardiff has been pivotal to my freelancing success.
When I first looked into coworking, I thought it consisted of just three things: a desk, coffee, and WiFi. Oh and I knew that I’d go stir-crazy it I worked from home all day everyday, spending every waking minute talking to my cats. But there’s been much more to it than that: I’ve had support from members (whether it be dedicated mentoring sessions or a simple pick-your-brains moment with someone who’s been-there-and-done-it); I’ve networked with members; members have passed on referrals to prospective clients; members have become clients (including the space itself!); I’ve hired members to do things for me; we’ve collaborated on projects together; and so on. I’ve also made a bunch of friends up there (aww).
I’ve read (well, listened to) quite a few books recently, and most of them have said that you need to surround yourself with positive people and not negative people. Places like ICE aren’t perfect for sure, and I don’t get on with absolutely everyone (because life just ain’t that perfect), but there’s certainly more of the former than the latter. And their on-going support has been really important to me.
This April, SEOno (this very blog) turned 5-years-old.*
Since my very first post on 1st April 2011 – the innovatively titled “My previous posts for other blogs and sites“, which wasn’t an April Fool (despite the date) – I have published 141 posts totalling 144,481 words (whaaat?!), an average of 990 words per post.**
…I need to get out more.
In all seriousness though, I’ve enjoyed running this blog, which I always only ever considered a hobby (I still do), and yet it’s helped me to learn a more about SEO as I work on it, and has even helped me to win clients for Morgan Online Marketing (my SEO freelancing business).
Here’s to another 5 years! 🙂
* Hilariously (to me anyway), I thought my first post was on 30th April 2011, so I was going to post this on Saturday and say “I posted my first post five years ago today!”… only to realise that it was actually 1st April. Oops. So much for that plan. Numpty.
** Sorry, modelling industry! This was an April Fool. See my AF from 2014 here. **
The other day I announced the launch of Cardiff SEO Meet. It’s generated a bit of PR interest (due out next week), and in addition to being asked to pass on info about the meetup, I was asked to provide a photo. Rather than to simply pass on a picture of the logo and call it a day, I decided to get some proper photos done. Joe of Eyes Open Media kindly took some photos of me in Welsh ICE‘s courtyard.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate how I look in photos (this is one of the only photos I’ve ever liked, which is why it was my avatar on Twitter, LinkedIn and almost everything else for 5+ years…). Joe’s done an extraordinary job, but I’m a self-critical git who hates various facial features.
Uneven eyes? Check.
Crooked teeth? Check.
Horrendous bags under my eyes? CHECK.
But then… from out of nowhere… one photo bowled me over:
Let me just zoom in on that:
That look – that Zoolander-style pose – made me realise something. I can do this. I can do this for a living. No more keyword research. No more inbound link building strategising. No more 301s, 404s, canonicals or hreflang. I am a born model.
Just so long as I do that pose. And only that pose. Ever.
…But I’m confident that I can.
So here I am, making this announcement via blog post – just like Jonathan Colman did years ago when he announced his move from SEO to UX. I hope that you will support me in my journey to modelling stardom.
Last year I made the shortlist of PR, Media, Marketing & Comms blogs in the Individual (non-Company) section. I didn’t win, losing out to industry peer Matthew Barby… who I’ve noticed is up for it again this year. Game on… 😉
As it says on my profile, I think the blog’s old design let the side down, plus my writing style – and blog topics covered – have improved this year in my opinion. So who knows… maybe I’ll do better this time around! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
It takes less than 30 seconds to vote, so if you’re a fan of this blog or you’ve found some of its advice useful then I’d really appreciate a vote. Just go to my dedicated profile page (blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2016/my-entry/seono), scroll to the bottom, enter your name and email address, choose one or both* of the categories, and you’re done! You can even vote more than once (on different days) if you feel like it!
The first phase (the public vote) ends on Monday 25th January, so if you’re reading this before that date then please vote now!