Good to be back with you all after an extended break from Blogging.
Thought I’d fill you all in with what’s been going on.
So, at the end of May I joined two comedians down in Brighton for the Fringe Festival where I performed as part of a triple-bill over 3 nights.
Unfortunately, I had to bail the last show because of personal matters at home however the first 2 shows were really fun and I’m glad I did it.
It was never an intention to ever do a festival however after well over a year of no gigging, I needed to see if I was going to quit comedy or continue and being back on stage behind the mic made me realise just how much I love it and that I had missed it.
I had a week out as it was a school holiday when I returned home to rest and sort myself out and then I had so much uni work to do as well so I’ve not actually had much of a chance to really talk about the experience, now it seems so long ago it’s almost pointless talking about, you know?
So moving on from that and heavily into June, I’m now running a regular night every other Thursday after a success trial night Thursday just gone. Here’s the poster for it:
I’m so pleased at how it went and genuinely eternally grateful to the venue owners for this opportunity.
The next one will be on Thursday 8th July 2021. Details TBC
Still on the Comedy subject, I also have a Trial Night on Wednesday 21st July 2021.
Again I’m so excited to have such a great opportunity for local live comedy.
Today, I’m joined by Yker Valerio, Founder/Editor of Bon Vivant Caffè. Which makes perfect sense as this is a virtual coffee date! It is almost impossible to not smile when you talk to Yker because he is such a passionate character.
This is his story:
“When the Pandemic began, I was working for a consulting firm. I’d been there almost ten years. I was teaming up with another consultant and a client’s Project Manager. Although it was an exciting project, something felt a bit, ‘off’. I couldn’t put my finger on why though.
Leading up to this, I’d been directing my energy into some freelancing projects, mostly translations and writing. I didn’t realise at the time but I’d found my calling.
Writing is a lifelong passion for me, and I just felt it was time to write more. So in 2020, I made my mind up and decided to start my own business as a freelance writer and entrepreneur”
Yker’s next move is great advice to any budding entrepreneurs out there.
“Well, I decided to start my niche research right away, was a coffee blog a good idea? I took Authority Hackersapproach to advance and started working on my coffee blog in July.
Curiously enough, the quarantine helped me to focus and my productivity rose very quickly. Commuting time and small-talk at the office suddenly transformed into productive time and made a huge difference for me.
Then, I realised that I needed some time to work alone. So, I prepared to launch my blog and took a part-time contract as a writer, so I could transition away from my full-time job”.
So as the World rolled down its shutters, Yker was able to reflect on his place and purpose in this world.
“All of my career I’d been around HR-related consulting, with some hints of innovation, transformation, and change.
From my standpoint, I was working in supportive roles most of the time, which was essential to me.
I felt worried about the people around me, but something made me think I would be better working on my own. So, when the crisis was becoming overwhelming for most people, I felt liberated actually.
It sounds terrible, and self-centred, but my experience as a remote freelancer and entrepreneur have given me so much autonomy and productivity I can barely understand how I functioned before this.
It still worries me the current status of the people around, but I can’t think about returning to work the way I did it before. I wouldn’t do it, as I know how I can be a lot more productive now.
With the support of my wife of course, she has always been very supportive. I was a bit afraid of my parents’ response, but without my wife I don’t think I’d have progressed as well as I have.
Fortunately, my whole family and friends have been at my side at every step. I can’t thank them enough for the encouragement and good vibes.
I think it’s key to have a supportive circle of people around to sort the hard times, and I am lucky enough to have a beautiful family and good friends around me”.
See? It’s impossible to not smile…
“I can’t ignore the huge pain the Pandemic has inflicted on so many people.
Still, it has forced many organisations, institutions, and individuals to be more open about remote working, engaging in chats, social media, and all-sorts of new conversations.
I have enjoyed many online events during this year, including some coffee-related stuff like High Density, which was completely mind-blowing. I still watch the replays and learn from them.
E-learning was another huge part of my year, since I developed lots of new skills through online learning. I worked, and studied, and researched, and wrote, round the clock. I can’t imagine how difficult it’s for people without access to the internet to face this pandemic.
Every time I hear the story about people struggling because they don’t speak English, or don’t have access to the Internet it saddens me.
I honestly wish more people could have more opportunities to thrive, even in these challenging times.
Many people are afraid and anxious. Others are optimistic. Still, I think the major difference between them is those want to return to the old normal opposed to those who want something different.
As I touched on before, when I realised I was more productive and energetic working on my own, I chose to take the entrepreneurial path.
It’s risky, but no one is safe during a crisis like this one. So I took the bold step.”
Iagree with Yker, itwasa riskthoughI understand the motivation behind it.
“Energy or lack of, was the biggest reason that compelled me to take action. I felt tired after a meeting as a consultant, but could write the whole Saturday for my blog!
When I noticed I could focus for 10 hours in a row on my writing, I decided that I needed to take it seriously.”
I asked Yker to reflect on the decisions he made, here’s what he said.
“I have had my ups and downs, but I feel confident that I took the best decision.
It’s challenging to deal with financial instability, but I didn’t have any guarantee it was going to be any different as a full-time employee anyway.
I have a lot more mental stamina than before. The Pandemic put everything in perspective and it’s easier for me to see petty obstacles, just as they are.
Additionally, I am more creative and productive than I was. On the downside, I am more sedentary!”
Yeah, you and most of us now!
“I care more about impact than perceptions now. Working as a full-time employee I did my best to contribute to my employer’s bottom line, while presenting myself as an expert consultant.
Today as a freelancer and business owner, I can only see clients, providers, and partners as people. It’s incredible how alienated I was from this simple idea, but as I see human beings in business, my decisions are better grounded and easier to make.”
And that’s not all Yker learnt from this experience…
“Process and results are equally important. We tend to focus so much on goals that we forget that they come from our effort, energy, time, and skills. The pandemic has made me think about my fragility.
My advice is don’t overthink about your purpose, and put top. skills to work instead. I tried to convince myself about my purpose. Yet, my goals and skillset are evolving, day after day. Looking for a purpose can be exhausting and confusing. Since I found that out, I do my best to put my skills to work whenever I can.”
And last piece of advice?
“Love. Sounds cheesy, because we’re so blind that we’re afraid of loving and even say the word. It’s the most powerful thing we have, so sharing love with everyone has become crucial for me”.
Yker drives home a great point here.
“There’s no magic solution or a Eureka moment that deals with lack of purpose or an odd feeling about your job or your business. It’s easier to find good things in what we have, than waiting for dreams to come true.
I just prefer to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. And I honestly believe everyone can do that as well”.
And as that concludes our interview, readers can connect online with Yker.
“My passion in hobby and business is coffee and writing about coffee, so the easiest way to know more about me and engage with me is on the Website
Back on the 3 in 1’s just for convenience… I ain’t judging you!
Since the last coffee together, we had the Easter Break, some of Europe went back into Lockdown as the U.K. is starting to come out of it.
There’s been a couple of high profile and celebrity deaths, it’s also snowed here for the first time in April since 1984! I remember the day well as I was going to hospital to have my tonsils removed.
Schools reopen tomorrow and boy, will I miss my child terribly. Many people are so happy for their kids to return having gone stir-crazy yet my son really is my best mate so I’m going to really feel his absence.
It does feel strange, venturing back to some semblance of normalcy after a year of restrictions. And if I’m really honest, I’m not looking forward to it. I noticed my local shop getting busier and people not keeping 2 metres away in the queue and it unsettles me. I realise just how much I dislike anyone in my personal space, now and it can be quite anxiety-inducing.
Having already been through such an emotional rollercoaster of a time, I’m taking stock just how much my mental health has been tested.
On the plus side, I live in the hope that soon my wingman and I can travel again. I’d love to know your holiday plans, so please do tell me in the comments!
Join me again next week for a virtual coffee date!
Finally, every WP BloggingU course is complete, I’m just working through the Photography ones now in between preparing to launch another aspect of CSHQ.
Hope you’re enjoying the content so far, please do let me know in the comments below.
I’m really excited to share with you all that I’m going to be launching a digital course! Do stay tuned over the next few days to find out more about this. In the meantime, give CSHQ a follow on here and on social media channels and you can even subscribe via email to be in the know!
An honour to introduce to you, Winner of the 2019 Beauty Therapist of the Year award and all-round babe; Charlotte Gerrard, Owner and Beauty Therapist at Charlotte Gerrard Beauty.
As the Pandemic is over a year old, I asked Charlotte to describe where she was at, career-wise when the Prime Minister announced the first National Lockdown.
She says, “I had been Assistant Manager at The Beauty Room in Ellesmere Port for nearly 6 years. I had decided to leave my position there as my boss (and friend) had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Brain Cancer. I was running the salon and working by myself whilst she was in hospital and I just couldn’t do it anymore. The business was running at a loss as I was the only member of staff working because we also had a therapist out on maternity leave. I didn’t want to leave the salon. I adored my job but I knew it wasn’t going to last the way it was going so I handed my resignation to my boss’s husband a month before lockdown was announced and arranged to start renting a room in another local salon to begin on April 1st but Lockdown started March 23rd.”
Charlotte really does adore her job so it must have been difficult to detach emotionally with everything going on. She is extremely passionate about the beauty industry and keeps up to date with career development at every opportunity. Yet evidently, she saw where she needed to take action as The Beauty Room couldn’t continue to operate.
I asked for her first thoughts when non-essential business had to cease operations, she replied,
“I was heartbroken! I was meant to start my own business on April 1st and obviously that didn’t happen. I had left my job and then the salon was sold so I wasn’t entitled to redundancy. I wasn’t entitled to furlough either because obviously the business no longer existed as it was. I wasn’t entitled to Universal Credit or JSA. My boss’s husband had figured out my final wage for March and I had used more holidays than I had accrued thanks to going on a 3 week holiday in January 2020; So I had holidays deducted from my final pay. I had no income for 5 months. ZERO. And I only got £800 as my final pay.”
Like many people, the financial implications of the Lockdowns affected Charlotte yet from those challenges she adds, “I learned that I’ll always be ok thanks to that time of no income.”
Charlotte is one of many people who had to adjust income with expenditure so to come away with such a positive statement there is refreshing to hear. “My family and friends were gutted for me! Everyone’s lives were thrown up in the air though and all you can do is try to get through it.”
Charlotte goes on to say, “My marriage fared much better than I ever thought it would! When lockdown was announced, I honestly thought it would break us. It’s not normal to spend so much time together. Lee was off work too for the whole of the first lockdown. We got on unbelievably well. I realised he is actually my best mate and I love being around him. I think the weather helped too though! We weren’t locked in the house 24/7.”
Charlotte reflects on how she feels she has changed in a year, “I’m so much more chilled. I used to be very stressed all the time. It’s taught me that everything will always be ok and that my husband and I really are a good team. I’ve learned that I’ve wasted a lot of my life doing stupid things and not making the most of every day. My ex-boss absolutely LOVED life. If there was a party, she was at it. And if there was a karaoke machine there, then she was on it! She’ll never get the chance to do all the things she loved again so I’m going to do things for her. Life is so precious. It just took everything I’ve been through to realise it.”
When I asked her how has this experience impacted on the decisions she makes today, she answers, “I’m calmer. I’m a lot more rational. I try to be less judgmental. I think things through a bit more before I make a final decision.”
Charlotte’s advice to anyone in a similar situation:
Everything will always be ok.
Friendships mean everything.
Stay calm! And work your arse off every chance you get.
As I’ve been wandering around the Bloggersphere, I’ve stumbled across ‘awards’ that have been created and distributed on WordPress.
There’s so many! So, I’ve looked at what appear to be the most popular ones and share them with you.
Firstly, I’d like to apologise that my research skills just couldn’t yield the creators of some awards in this list. Please don’t hesitate to alert me to the original creators so I can attribute correctly.
Secondly, each award comes with a set of rules however some rules read like a chain letter so don’t be afraid to change the rules up should you not be able to nominate over 3 bloggers for whatever reason. It’s no longer fun, if you’re stressing over 11 names or more which is counterproductive, isn’t it?
Thirdly, feel free to recommend any awards I’ve missed out in the comments below!
B is for…
I is for…
Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award is a non-official Award to the bloggers as a reward of wonderful work on their blogs. Moreover, it is just as important because it really reflects the good impact we can have on other people’s lives. Awards are important for the inspiration, towards the success of our fellow bloggers and especially newbie’s to become future “Stars“.
As this site is just 13 days old, let’s kick off this series with a look back over its time on the Bloggersphere.
Its been a productive fortnight here at CS HQ as well as surprising.
Firstly, I’m in awe of how far around the World my visitors are. My site has been viewed in countries I’ve not even visited (yet)!
I’ve never achieved this with any other WordPress site I’ve had in such a short timeframe!
Genuinely fascinated with the power of the Interwebs and truly humbled at the Reach that Beyond the CSHQ has achieved. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for visiting the site and reading the blog.
Now; in terms of my WordPress proficiency, I’m completely self-taught. Only through actually using the platform and learning from other bloggers, reading their advice, tips and tricks, researching help topics, subscribing to other’s email lists and (gratefully) utilising their free/downloadable content, did I actually become au fait with WordPress and blogging.
Every time you post something online, you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.
Not too long ago, I was avidly using the Bloglovin app to save all the wonderful/helpful/useful online content I’d found either by recommendation, by mistake or off the back of other stuff I was Googling.
I recently discovered Bloglovin in its original form is no longer with us so tried various others. I preferred Bloglovin for its ease of use and original features and trying to import the sheer amount I was following into a new reader wasn’t easy and way more laborious than necessary!
That, and the fact that many blogs had ceased to exist. I’m actually still going through the list to see if they still exist and are WordPress ones, that I can follow here and enjoy through the Reader.
Anyway, the next bit of this post is going to be the bit that will be edited often, as I find those blogs that I believe should be storming ahead with thousands of followers. Of course, if you have any recommendations, please do link them in the comments below and share the blogloving!
The following list is not an in-depth review of the mentioned blogs, nor is CSHQ in anyway affiliated with them.
I love all these blogs for various reasons so go give them a follow and tell them I sent you!