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:

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2021 · at home with lu · community

One Scrapbooking Idea

I’ve always liked journalling and collecting little things that remind me of good times and travelling.

Having accumulated a lot of books and stationary over the years, I was having a really good clear out and found a empty red covered photo album that was almost falling apart.

Red…

I also found my collection of tickets from various events (mostly football matches)

Red…

In addition I found a sheet of stickers that came from a kid’s pack that came with a meal that my son hadn’t used much.

Now it’s no secret I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler BUT I’ll always try and give it a go, so a Google search of “football doodles” threw up some images I just copied out from my phone onto paper as accurately as I could.

These pictures are a little walkthrough of my favourite pages that have come from this hour of wasting my time while I was bored the other day.

Collage of scrapbook pages
Collage of scrapbook pages

It’s not brilliant, it’s not artistic, it’s not even that aesthetically pleasing BUT I get to keep my tickets stored safely, I can thumb through it like a photo album and relive the good moments and it brings me a warm fuzzy feeling.

I’d love to know if you have a similar collection or keep a scrapbook journal, so drop me a comment

All I used was:

Old photo album/display folder
My tickets
Pencil & Grid paper
Clear tape
Scissors and eraser
An hour of my day

at home with lu · community · random stuff · writing

Forza Italia

Many years ago, when I first got into writing online I had a very short stint as a contributor here

As I’d just became a mum at the time I had to stop as I just couldn’t commit to the extra writing I needed to do, however I found the articles I’d written and while they appear to be more recent, I know they are over 12 years old!

It’s incredible to search up and still find my articles even though it was a little harder as they were published under the completely wrong pen name 🤦🏻‍♀️ 😂

I’m still incredibly grateful to site author Paolo Nascimbeni for the opportunity to write for a professional and thriving online magazine and for keeping my articles on the site after all this time.

If you’re heading to the Campania region of Italy check this post out for a beautiful historical landmark you can visit:

Castello Di Arechi

Superstitious? Check out this post:

Italian Superstitions

As always, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!

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 · 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