2021 · bloggers · community · consulting · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Special Edition: Virtual Coffee Date #4

25.04.21

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 Hackers approach 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.” 

I agree with Yker, it was a risk though I 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.

Photo credit © Yker Valerio

“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

You can also connect via:

Facebook

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Pinterest

LinkedIn

2021 · at home with lu · blogging101 · community · random stuff · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Virtual Coffee Date #3

18.04.21

Good morning HQ-ers,

Mmm, nothing hits the spot like the first gulp of coffee in the morning.

Hope you all had a great week! So what have you been up to? Please do share with me here

Been a very strange week, weather-wise. Since I had my son, I’ve not been able to stand wearing things like turtle-neck sweaters. Used to love them! Now, I feel like I’m being strangled if I wear anything like that around my neck. Weird, eh? Quite hardy to the cold however I’m cold!

The sudden realisation that I’m getting old is depressing.

Back to school for everyone last week, some sense of normality is returning and I’m seeing more events planned, more people out and more road traffic. Which means more assholes out and about.

Your car is equipped with an indicator light as standard. Yes YOUR car too. I’m not psychic, shouldn’t have to play “guess which way the dickhead is going”.

I have really missed kiddo, yet it wasn’t as grim as I suspected. Because I have been thankfully distracted by many resources available, such as masterclasses and webinars. In fact this coming week, I’m double booked all week on two free training workshops! Luckily one is recorded so I can access it after I’m done with the other.

These are specific to Online Learning HQ so I can ensure its success as we’re nearing the launch of our first digital course.

Smashing my way through every resource available right now as from May, I’ll be even busier with University. Going back as a postgraduate, working towards a Master’s Degree.

Why do I do this to myself?

In terms of Comedy, it’s too soon to say yes I’m going back on stage because venues still haven’t fully re-opened. I’m seeing people booking nights, selling tickets, advertising their gigs and yeah it’s great, but: not while there’s a pandemic.

The amount of work that they’ve done to get that gig ready would be wasted if for any reason we’re plunged back into another National Lockdown.

Of course, I understand their desire to perform! Their passion and enthusiasm? Yeah totally get that, as I’m the same! But: to a point, regarding comedy. I’m not in a rush to perform in a venue full of strangers after we’ve been told for over a year to stay home away from everyone.

My ego just isn’t big enough to want to put anyone at risk.

I’d hate the disappointment of having to reschedule all over again.

So now, I’m concentrating on CSHQ as a whole, via this website and building the online learning branch.

Join me again next week for a virtual coffee date!

Have a great week.

2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Virtual Coffee Date #1

28.03.21

Good morning HQ-ers,

Kettle’s just boiled, so grab a brew!

I’m on the Nescafé 3 in 1’s, I know! It’s not good, I mean I like them, they are convenient yet they can’t be that good for you really especially at the amount I consume daily.

Actually I don’t like them… I’m not a fan since they fixed what wasn’t broke and their “fresher and richer” recipe tastes like pond water. I’m addicted to them. I have a box a day habit and I get rather antsy if I run out.

I did tweet Nestle once to ask if they contained crack however they never replied.

I’m digressing here, I’m aware it’s a problem and I have taken the first step by admitting my ‘fake-coffee’ addiction so let’s move on.

During the night, Daylight Savings Time kicked in here in the U.K. here’s to those warmer evenings, epic sunsets and hopefully a decent summer.

I’ve been very mindful to not say one word on this site, I want to avoid it as much as I can because it’s all we hear daily on the news. I was immensely disgusted at only very recently finding out the Sarah Everard story because the C-word dominates every news broadcast and after a year, I personally got sick of hearing the same reports over and over.

I will address the Sarah Everard story eventually. I’m still processing it and the aftershocks it has caused. Every time I try to finish my drafted thoughts on it, I just can’t finish it because you can’t finish a story like that. How do you just write ‘The End’ to such a tragic story? I’ll figure it out no doubt, just not right now. However, please do get in touch if you feel you’ve something to add or just want to vent your thoughts.

Its the Bahrain Grand Prix today, so we’ll be watching here. And we are on Easter Half Term too so I’m hoping the clocks going forward an hour will bring better weather to be able to get out more as restrictions lift.

I’d love to know your plans for the Easter break so please do comment below.

Do join me again the Sunday morning after Easter for another #VirtualCoffeeDate and if you’re bringing biscuits, tell me which ones you’re a fan of!

Have a great week.

2021 · bloggers · community · random stuff · writing

A-Z of Awards

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…

Credit: Unknown

I is for…

Credit: Rising Star

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“.

Rising Star

L is for…

Continue reading “A-Z of Awards”
2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · random stuff · writing

Fall in love with: more blogs I follow!

The following list is not an in-depth review of the mentioned blogs, nor is CSHQ in anyway affiliated with them.

From the original post here, here are more great blogs I’m discovering. If you have any recommendations, please do link them in the comments below and share the blogloving!

The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them.

Jeff Jarvis

The following list is not an in-depth review of the mentioned blogs, nor is CSHQ in anyway affiliated with them.

In no particular order, I love all these blogs for various reasons so go give them a follow and tell them I sent you!

Blogs I’m loving right now:

Grace Fifteen Ten

Perfect Manifesto

Pretty Plus and Proud

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · education · friday feels · random stuff · series · writing

Friday Feels #1

Hiya HQ-ers,

As this site is just 13 days old, let’s kick off this series with a look back over its time on the Bloggersphere.

My Insights Map

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)!

Where my readers are.

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.

Continue reading “Friday Feels #1”
2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · random stuff · series · writing

The ‘Friday Feels’ Weekly

Hello HQ-ers,

In this Series; each, Friday I’ll endeavour to tell you about my week on the Bloggersphere!

Having been a loyal WordPress user, it made sense to edit my account and rebrand myself on WordPress. I’m no expert on it mind, though I know the basics of creating a site, customising, editing etc so after a long hiatus from life in general due to a global pandemic, I began to emerge from under my rock and plan my Blogging future.

This time around though, I am approaching my site with clearer goals than I ever had before.


  • Create a brand for CSHQ
  • Advertise myself as a Consultant
  • Promote my writing
  • Return to stand-up comedy
  • Have fun
  • Be creative
  • Grow my network and following

How did I do towards reaching said goals in the last 2 weeks? The following links might help answer that.


My Homepage

My Consulting page

My Writing page

My Comedy page

Having fun

Creating

You

Til the next time…

2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · random stuff · writing

Fall in love with blogs I follow!

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.

Zoella

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!

Blogs I’m loving right now:

The Lighthouse

A Cup of Jo

Boys Don’t Cry

The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them.

Jeff Jarvis