2021 · comedy · friday feels · random stuff · weekly

Friday Feels #11

Well it’s been 3 months since we had a Friday Feels post…

Hope everyone is well, I’ve missed my CS-HQers!

So as you know, I went off to do a couple of shows at the Brighton Fringe. Then I ended up with not 1 but 2 comedy nights of my own!


I have returned to performing comedy although not as much as pre-pandemic and these are the ones coming up this month.

While this was going on, I returned to University for Postgraduate study which has been a struggle, I can’t lie.

After the Pandemic Restrictions, I think I can speak for many in saying it’s become quite strange to re-adjust back into a working routine.

There is still work going on behind the scenes regarding the Online Courses so watch this space for more on that shortly.

What have you been up to? Let me know in the Comments

Chat soon x

2021 · bloggers · comedy · community · education · friday feels · random stuff · weekly · writing

Friday Feels #10

Hello HQ-ers!

Hope you’re all well.

Another mad busy week here at CS HQ with a to-do list as long as your arm, feeling slightly overwhelmed most days to straight out frazzled!

So since we last got together, in case you missed the last post, I’m going to be performing on a Triple-Bill at the Brighton Fringe Festival! So I’ve been working on a set that I’m now refining for stage.

© WTF 2021

It’s been well over a year due to COVID restrictions that I’ve performed live and yes I’m extremely nervous. However, I’m very much looking forward to this experience and a little anxiety is a good motivator sometimes.

I’m back at Uni too, so my head is buried in reading and assignments for the next 2 years.

I also launched the Podcast finally! You can listen here: Intro Episode

While this is going on, I’m still working on Online Learning HQ and it’s impending launch.

Join me for a Virtual Coffee Date on Sunday morning where I’ll go into more detail about this.

Prioritising is hard when there’s so much to say and do, isn’t it?

The kettle will be on, see you on Sunday morning!

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

Instagram

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 · 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 · community · consulting

An interview with…

So today I welcome the first guest to appear on Beyond the CSHQ, as part of the Independent’s Project.

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.

Logo Reproduced with permission from Charlotte Gerrard

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. 

You can connect with Charlotte on her Facebook Page and via Instagram.

Huge thank you to Charlotte Gerrard for her time with CSHQ today.