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
It is a little uncomfortable when it has been neglected, as I collect what I can into a McDonald’s paper bag destined for the bin. The seatbelt restricts me no matter what height level it is set at and I notice it’s always worse when the weather is warmer. The gentle breeze slips in through the window as I wait, engine off in the car park. Ooh peace.
As I wait enjoying the silence before the schoolyard screams as the concrete block releases its people, before the stereotypical dad comes swerving in, in his souped-up tinpot of a car that’s unnecessary to rev as much when he lives within walking distance of the school. As I wait for his glare which I meet confidently every day until he looks down defeated again. I laugh inwardly, remembering the only time he mouths off is when he drives away. Ooh big man.
The field surrounding the greying concrete block pops its greenery, birds flocking looking for worms or dropped crusts from packed lunches. The gauge reads 17 Degrees Celsius yet it feels warmer. Ooh it’s hot.
We texted earlier, I know how his day went up until lunchtime. I’m nervous now, silently praying nothing happened in the last hour.
The heavy black metal doors swing open and out pour the uniformed souls of varying ages, heights, genders, races, creeds. Some race to their parent’s cars with big smiles, some skulk off to the bus stop. Some just mill around looking lost while others play fight and chase each other. Ooh banter.
The minutes pass by, where is he?
We’re all looking for our kids, but what do we really see? Do other parents feel the pang of nostalgia at their bygone schooldays? Do they look at other parents in silent judgement? Does anyone notice the irony in a big girl calling an even bigger girl “a fat bitch” for no apparent reason? Why doesn’t anyone call out that sly little sod tripping people over? Am I parallel parked in a parallel universe here ? Ooh it makes me mad!
And then, I see him. His eyes meet mine over his mask through my windshield. I see him. Tall, smart, purposeful in his stride. Wary of crossing moving cars to get to me. His discreet wave. He opens the passenger door, greets me cheerfully and puts his bag in the footwell. I greet him back and we hug in the car. I don’t want to let him go but I can’t sit there all night. He fills me in on the blanks of his day, as people drive off towards home for the evening. Ooh what’s for dinner?
Course, I haven’t seen them… I was too focused on him. It’s only evident it people left as we are the last car in the car park.
I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.
Ms. Dietrich was absolutely correct. There is a feeling of some ancient wisdom behind quotes. Like students of wise sages, we like, share, screenshot and use quotes every day especially on social media.
Instagram alone, is full of great accounts dedicated to quotes about love, motivational quotes, sadness quotes and so on. Before I share my favourite quote with you, I’d love to know what yours is in the comments below.
One of my favourite quotes which I often find comfort in is below. I first heard it at the start of an episode of Criminal Minds (a great show). It affected me so deeply at that time (circa 2015).
It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time – the mind, protecting its sanity – covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.
Today’s task is finding inspiration from one word, there’s a list of words to pick from so I’ll start at the beginning and work through the others in due course.
Definitively, hope is “a feeling of expectation and a desire for a particular thing to happen”. My interpretation of that raises two questions:
What do I want?
What am I waiting for?
Though these questions are way too generalised. Right now, I want another coffee and I’m waiting for the kettle to boil!
There are so many contexts to which these questions apply. I could answer them professionally, materialistically, personally, wistfully, emotionally and even spiritually. I could answer them for myself or in regard to my family and friends.
I think hope in the definitive sense, is ever-evolving. What we hoped Santa would bring us at age 6, we’d probably laugh at as adults. Although at 43 I’m still open to Santa bringing me a Mr. Frosty set!
We may have hoped that a relationship would be happy ever after yet it ended badly. We may have hoped to get to the top of a career ladder yet made redundant after only a couple of years. We may have hoped for children yet never had them, hoped to pass a driving test yet fail the first few times.
In terms of what I want, I’ve noticed that since I became a parent and as I get older my wants have shifted from frivolous to more secure and stable things.
On my 40th birthday, I had a few friends round and after a good takeaway and a few drinks we set about writing bucket lists for a laugh. Each with a sheet of paper and a pen listing “Things to do before I die” and after we compared them to see if we had any the same which strangely, the four of us had many, so the more realistic ones, we did together over the next year. And these weren’t outrageous really, mostly places we dreamed of visiting, concerts we’d have loved to have gone to, that type of thing. And it was a beautiful, fun, enriching year.
In terms of what I’m waiting for, I’ve learnt to expect nothing. Then, you can’t be disappointed.