Today my guest blogger is Charlotte Davies, #21. I have much to be grateful to Charlotte for because she takes care of the SEO on my website and so if you found me by Googling, we may know each other because Charlotte exists in my life and business. Here she is in her own words and she’s about to get another accolade from me, bringing in her piece using the fewest words so far. Gorgeously pithy.
Judith Morgan, Small Business Coach and Mentor extraordinaire, has invited 52 people to write a blog about how they run their business in the way that works for them. Judith has been self-employed for 40 years and a coach for 15 and has recently published her first business book entitled Your Biz Your Way.
So here we go….
1. How and what do you do that counts as running Your Biz Your Way? What do you do differently in your work that illustrates that? Why did you make up your mind to do it like that?
So my business is that of an SEO/SEM Consultant, which in plain English means I help to drive organic and paid traffic from Google (and Bing) to my client’s websites to improve their sales. I work closely with my clients to achieve their goals and grow their businesses, with the intention of being more like a partner than a supplier.
Flexibility: One of the reasons I went self-employed nearly 5 years ago was to allow for flexibility, both in terms of working hours and where I work. As most of what I do is on a laptop I can literally work anywhere with a WiFi connection. Aside from that working better for family life, I might also decide one sunny day to go for a walk up the fells (I live in the Lake District), and make the time up in the evening instead.
Low Key Marketing: The start-up business courses advise that you must have a marketing plan, but aside from my website and a limited social media presence I’ve done very little. My instinct said that for what I do, meeting people and building trust would be more important. Instead, I have invested time in building up a network though the local Jelly co-working initiative that I host, plus people that I’ve met on courses and at other networking events. I’m fortunate in that there is a skills shortage in digital but so far, so good.
Learning and Personal Development: I love learning and believe that running a business also involves a lot of personal development. Attending SEO conferences, webinars, reading and keeping up-to-date with the industry are both inspiring and essential to what I do. But also attending business coaching programmes such as Google’s Elevator Programme and the LUMS Cumbria Forum and having a fabulous coach and mentor have been invaluable to me in terms of providing support and clarity.
2. How do you go against the grain or against the received wisdom in ways that make you happier in yourself, more productive and more abundant in your biz?
Time on my Terms: If I’m tired/lethargic one day I do the easier, more mechanical elements of my work. If I’m feeling energetic and enthused, I do the more creative side. I can take breaks when I need them, perhaps go for a walk, meet someone for coffee, go to a school event, attend a gig. Mixing up things that provide inspiration and energy with work. It’s more intuitive than structured and means I can work more productively in the periods that I do sit down and focus.
Keeping a Solo Business: Despite growth being the obvious choice and almost what is expected of me, after a lot of back-and-forth thinking, I have kept my business a one-woman band (for now). It means I can provide everything for my clients – all the communication, the implementation, the reporting and analysis. I do team up with other specialists as associates to provide complementary skills where relevant. But my clients get to benefit from my 18 years experience in the industry and I get to keep my flexibility and freedom.
You too can “Relax! You’ve got this”. Your calmness and professionalism are much appreciated in my world.