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

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2021 · community · consulting · education · friday feels

Friday Feels #7

Hello HQ-ers,

It’s been a crazy busy week here at CSHQ and I HAVE to share why with you!

I was the victim of a crime a few years ago and through official referral went on two programmes to aid my recovery and mental well-being.
I found it brilliant yet I found some flaws that didn’t sit right with me.

It kept niggling at me for years then over the last few months I had an epiphany:

I’m a qualified tutor!

So after the pandemic hit, and I’d graduated from University, the live comedy stopped and I started job-hunting. The job search proved to be fruitless, I thought right, you won’t employ me? Screw you! Your loss I’ll employ MYSELF!

I have been working all week creating content loosely based on those 2 programmes but:

  • Accessible to all
  • No official referral needed
  • Suitable for all situations not just that specific situation the original training I did pertained to.

Basically, I’m here creating course content on the principles of empathy and supporting others, while providing strategies of coping methods and mindset shifting to build confidence and assertion.
My aims are to raise awareness of the impact on each of us within mis-aligned interpersonal relationships and to provide tools that encourage safer and more informed choices in our lives going forward.

For more information, click HERE

Have a fabulous weekend!

2021 · bloggers · blogging101 · community · friday feels · weekly

Friday Feels #6

Hi HQ-ers,

Hope you had a wonderful Easter break!

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!

Join me Sunday morning for a virtual coffee date.

Until then, have a great weekend!

2021 · blogging101 · daily · education · everyday inspiration

Everyday Inspiration: Day 7

Today’s lesson provides five Tweets as a blog post prompt. The idea is to choose one that elicits a response. I’m not on Twitter anymore nor do I intend to return to it, however this is the tweet I chose from the lesson:

Koh’s tweet is very simple yet incredibly powerful.

We’ve all wondered why certain things are taught in schools when other things aren’t. There’s so many memes and posts that state as much. Here is a great example:

Original Credit: Unknown

Whilst I can’t be 100% certain of the original context Koh tweeted that post, my take on it is that you can be academic but not streetwise or you can be resourceful in many ways, yet not academic.

Original credit unknown. Found via Google Search: Pinterest.com/themetapicture

In the U.K. the Curriculum hasn’t evolved much from when I left school to now as I watch my son homeschooling. Yes the tasks are more relevant and fun than what I remember and are certainly more engaging. Yet still I wonder if English is a core subject, why aren’t we learning in school how to write a CV and cover letter? Maths is a core subject, why aren’t we learning basic book-keeping and budgeting/bill management in school? Science is a core subject so why aren’t we learning about reducing our carbon footprint for example.

PSHE/PSE, Science and Religious Studies touch on Reproduction and Sexual Education yet don’t touch on subjects like all forms of contraception, dealing with emotions, how to protect yourself from Domestic Abuse, how much weddings cost, the implications of divorce…

Geography doesn’t touch on entry requirements to other lands, vaccinations needed in certain countries, currency converting. Even booking a holiday, applying for passports etc. All that are things we do as adults that we never learned to do as young people. Why doesn’t PE cover eating disorders and body dysmorphia? Why doesn’t Home Economics & Food cover household matters, menu planning, shopping and budget?

For a minimum of 13 years, you’re in school and when you leave what have you really learned? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below

Thanks for reading!

consulting

Missed opportunity or Blessing in disguise?

Warning: It’s a long one!

I look at my 12 year old and I love watching him learn, helping him understand, encouraging him to try his best when suddenly, I’m hurled back in my minds eye to being his age.

I remember the influences I had growing up, those who cared, those who didn’t.

I remember mostly draconian teachers, all the school bullies, the countless times I was promised “dad will help you with your maths homework after dinner” just to eat dinner and wait for dad who’d ask “what do you need to do?”

I’d look at him wide-eyed, jubilant!

Finally, some time with dad… just for him to say “work it out yourself.”

Well if I knew how to work it out, I wouldn’t be asking for help now, would I?

And typical teenager me, would say “forget it” and stomp off to my room frustrated with GCSE maths which may as well have been Heiroglyphic writing.

To be honest, I’d probably have understood hieroglyphs better!

In just a few years, my 12 year old will be studying for his GCSE’s. He will be using whatever careers advice services are in place in his school just like I did.

The difference is, he’s going into it sort of knowing what he’d like to do one day and he has a realistic back-up in case he doesn’t make it.

I haven’t pushed him, I just knew if he was going to stand any chance of leaving education with any career goal he needed a lot more positive input than I was ever afforded.

I’ll give you an example of a conversation with him when he was 5:

Son: mummy, I’m going to be a racing driver

Me: (I know how much this costs, God help me) oh right, well you’ll be a really good racing driver if you learn to like the loud engine noises

Son: can I have a quiet engine?

Me: I’m not sure, but if you be really good in school and learn maths and science and design especially, one day you could build one!

Son: I like maths

Me: You certainly didn’t get that from me

A couple of years later…

Son: mum, do you think I could win the Monaco GP?

Me: with the right training and car I probably could! Listen mate, I’m not going to say yes or no because no one knows what the future holds.

Realistically, your fear of loud noises has stopped you practicing in Go-Karts but it’s ok. It doesn’t mean it’s too late. The best advice I can give you is if you want to do something that badly but for whatever reason you can’t? Do the next best thing to it…

Without the financial backing to enrol him into competitions where he could indeed find a way into F1, let’s face it: it’s not going to happen.

But there’s nothing stopping him now, getting good enough grades to progress onto mechanical engineering.

There’s nothing stopping him now to get his head down, and become qualified and experienced enough to apply to F1 teams to become part of their team.

Even if you’re given an apprenticeship or internship that’s a way in where you can be part of something you adore. You may not be the next Sebastian Vettel (his hero) but you could be part of the next generation of F1 in some capacity.

Will you win the Monaco GP?

Maybe not directly, maybe not at all or maybe the next time you’re in Monte Carlo you’ll not be the 7 year old in a taxi with your mum who negotiated with a fabulous taxi driver that was willing to drive the circuit in a possibly-maybe-very-slightlyover-thespeedlimitty way whilst pretending to race and declaring you the winner.

And when you get there, don’t forget your ol’ mum!