The SEO Freelancer
The SEO Freelancer
Bethan Vincent: I quite my marketing director job and doubled my income freelancing.

Bethan Vincent: I quite my marketing director job and doubled my income freelancing.

This month I talk with Bethan Vincent who doubled her income going freelance. She attributes a lot of her success to her personal brand which we discuss at length today

Introducing Bethan Vincent

Bethan Vincent is a freelance fractional CMO and owner of marketing strategy consultancy Open Velocity.

In today’s podcast, we talk with Bethan who left her full-time job and over doubled her earnings as a freelancer. One element that she attributes her success to is her personal brand which we discuss in detail.

Bethan’s people/resources to follow

How to connect with Bethan Vincent

Check out Bethan’s website

Check out Bethan’s podcast

Connect with Bethan on LinkedIn

Connect with Bethan on Twitter

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Podcast Transcription

Nick LeRoy  00:14

Hey, Ben, thank you again so much for joining me today.

Bethan Vincent  01:42

My pleasure, Nick, great to be here. Really excited to get kind of stuck in two of my favorite topics, money and personal branding.

Nick LeRoy  01:50

It doesn't get much better than that. So just to kick things off, I would love for you just to take a moment to tell us who is Bethan, you know? What is your experience? What are you doing your house freelance life? Give us a little bit of the one on one.

Bethan Vincent  02:04

Yeah, sure. So I mean, I've been in marketing, I'm giving my away my age a little bit here, but for about 12 years now. So too long, shall we say, grew my career from you know, go for a marketing assistant marketing manager, marketing director at a software consultancy. And that was my last kind of employee job. And really, during the pandemic, I was kind of thinking like, everyone really, I was reviewing the work, I was doing the impact I was making the work I wanted to be doing. And I also had a bunch of people come to me and say, Hey, we've seen how good you are at your in house job would you come and like help us out? We've got similar challenges. And those two things combined made me think maybe I could go and kind of freelance and be a freelance consultant. And that could be a thing for me. So I left my kind of last full time job in June 2021. So a year ago, actually, now, which is awesome. And yeah, thank you. Yeah, really, really. It's been a great year. It's been it's been challenging, but it's been really, really good. And yeah, kind of grown my consultancy ever since.

Nick LeRoy  03:08

That's fantastic. Oh, there's nothing more exciting. And you know, I give you a huge kudos because making the choice to leave the stability during the COVID pandemic, to go freelance is just fantastic, as people have heard before, and I'm probably just echoing now, you know, I was kind of forced into freelancing, I lost my job in COVID. So I have a lot of respect for individuals who made the choice because contrary to what some people might think, I made the choice when that without being pushed a little bit.

Bethan Vincent  03:45

But I think the thing is, you know, everyone thinks that pandemics or I mean, I hope we never have another one. But you know, recessions or these kind of market downturns or periods of kind of uncertainty, a bad time to launch a business. But actually, you know what, other people won't be thinking about doing it because there'll be scared off so there'll be less competition. And actually, as a freelancer, you know, a recession is a good opportunity for you because companies are looking to reduce headcount and you're flexible resource so that I, I'm a little bit kind of skeptical of the people who are like, this is a bad time to be freelancing. Don't do it. Don't use keep your in house job.

Nick LeRoy  04:21

I agree with you. 100%. And I would say if anything, I was very surprised, because I thought it would be difficult and that I'd be scraping up little odds and end projects. But you're right, if I think the thought of a freelancer has really changed during this pandemic, you know, going from Oh, it's a freelancer we don't kind of quote unquote, own them and their time to wow, now we're gonna skip. You don't having the full overhead of an in house or pay for the big fancy agencies that are going to take me out to steak dinner. It's like we're gonna go straight to you know, I hate this word more than anything, but we use the word experts. And we're just going to hire them, we're going to focus on doing the work doing it well. And that's really all that matters. And I think there's been a huge shift in marketing as a whole that way.

Bethan Vincent  05:14

Absolutely. And my model specifically is I do a lot of fractional cmo work, just because I've got that experience, as you know, marketing leader director on a on a board of directors. And that's a very kind of all it's not a new concept, but it's definitely one that's taking off more and more in this idea that you can have a fractional CMO or a fractional CFO, or even a fractional marketing manager. And I think that just ties into the points you're talking about, people are looking at how they resource teams, or how they resource their business a lot differently. And figuring out like, actually, someone sat in an office, you know, eight hours a day, five days a week, they're not working that full time, let's be I don't know what your office jobs were like, but like, you're chatting, you're having coffee, you know, you're faffing about, let's be honest, and you can be very effective. You know, I work with a lot of clients one day, a week or a couple of days a month, and you can actually get a lot of done in that time period. A lot of stuff to come. Sorry.

Nick LeRoy  06:08

Yeah, no, you're so right. And I'm really, really glad you brought up the idea of fractional positions. And the whole tone we haven't really talked about in the podcast yet. But it's actually how I position a lot of my roles as an SEO because I am not the cheapest SEO, a lot of agencies can be cheaper, but you're paying for my expertise. And I really do position it as kind of a fractional in House Director of SEO, I'm not going to necessarily be the one you want to pull or pay to pull all the spreadsheets, but you need someone to be building the strategy giving direction to weighing and measuring, you know, and there are other individuals, whether it be in house, or I even have one instance where they have a completely different SEO agency, that I am the fractional, you know, not a CMO, but a digital marketing leader that oversees that. So I think there's just a huge opportunity there. And it's amazing to see these companies really embracing that practical position.

Bethan Vincent  07:10

Yeah, absolutely. And part of it is also because, you know, we know there is a huge talent shortage in marketing in SEO, SEO actually, in particularly, I'd say SEO and PPC, I'm trying to hire for a lot of clients at the moment. And those are like the things I am struggling with massively, I don't know what it's like in the US. But in the UK, the labor markets are extremely tight. So you know, companies are being forced to look at other options, the only thing I'd say about that kind of fractional, if you're going in at that strategy, or that senior level role, the expectation from clients is very high, I'm sure you find this as well, like, they want you to come in and be a leader. So if you are positioning yourself as that and you are commanding those types of rates, clients, you need to deliver for your clients, essentially. And I think, you know, part of this podcast is talking about like growing your freelance revenue. And I very deliberately wanted to position myself like you at that kind of high end of the market. And that's, frankly, how I've managed to double my previous salary. And actually this year, I'm more tripling it. We're on track to triple it, I should say, yeah, and, you know, probably going to turn over in British pounds about 160 170k. If I play my cards, right, and, you know, keep my

Nick LeRoy  08:25

arms up right now.

Bethan Vincent  08:28

Yeah, and, you know, I like not cheap, but I deliver for clients, and that's what they're putting. That's okay.

Nick LeRoy  08:35

You know, and I think, you know, I am derailing quite a bit from some of the questions and we'll get these, but I think these are really important topics to talk about. And I would say, I always kind of joke about my freelance career year one was survive. Year two was thrive. And now that I'm in year three, I'm kind of calling it optimize. And one of the biggest decisions that I personally had to make, and it sounds like you're doing this as well, but then is you have to figure out how you're going to scale. And a lot of people assume, rightfully or wrongfully, that scaling means you have to take on more work. Whereas the reality is, is we have two options we can do about them. What I understand is the direction you're going and I'll talk to you more is partnering with more people and potentially even growing like your own agency. And then there's the opposite of where I'm going out where I'm very intentionally saying a solo consultant. And this kind of sounds arrogant, but it's like you raise your rates to the point where some people start saying no, but you have enough people saying yes, where I'm able to still maintain a small portfolio of work. That to your point I have to be very involved with, but I'm getting paid handsomely because of the level of work that I'm providing to them and the results that they're getting. So it's just very interesting that there's two approaches to it. One is not right or wrong. But now that I've already brought this question up, I'd love to just hear a little bit more about then what, what your thought is on that topic. And then maybe I'll try to go back to some of these other questions that I have for you.

Bethan Vincent  10:18

Of course, yeah. So I'm going the opposite route, as you allude to looking to bring on more consultants who, like me, at my level, building a kind of partnership based company, so people join us, you know, how you join a law firm as partner and you get profit share and all of that, that's what we're trying to build. Because in my head, you know, if you're a solo consultant doing pretty well, almost like, why would you go and join a consultancy? And I think, you know, it's to get the benefits of scale. That's what the bar, what people are kind of buying into, and then clients are buying into the fact you know, you've got a team of expertise around you, covering multiple different industries, I'm very much focused on kind of tech, b2b Tech is really my background. I do a bit of E commerce as well, just because that's a little bit of a passion project of mine. But yeah, so it is like kind of growing through building other people, or like you say, you can raise it. And you can do both. To be frank, you could pursue both, you know, and again, like, yeah, this sort of open velocity is what we're called, we're trying to sit in that high end of the market do very strategic work that delivers real real value for clients. So again, we're not the cheapest, but yeah, it's about finding what's right for you. And I really have to toy in my head. And I was like, I'm making decent money as a solar consultant. And like this client headaches are always quite headaches, let's be honest, we love our clients that some can be challenging. And some can be wonderful. And you get mixtures in between, but, you know, great, I could set the scale, and I have a great life. But I, I just wanted more, I guess. And I wanted that kind of thrill of building a company, but building a company. Oh, my gosh, it's hard. So you know, don't go into it with the wool over your eyes. It's really, really difficult. It's another step. You know, you get comfortable in consulting, you think that's difficult building businesses like that times 10.

Nick LeRoy  12:01

And I can only imagine that it's certainly I'm about as far away from an expert on that aspect. But essentially, a lot of people I do talk to find themselves at the passion that they used to have for the subject matter is what they end up turning into the building the the business and allowing a group of people to find that success and that level of passion before so I have a lot of respect to you know, where I'm going kind of in year three. But you know what, but I think the next time we talk, who knows, maybe things will be completely different. And you can tell us how to, you know, build a math of agency. Yeah,

Bethan Vincent  12:37

I mean, like I say, This is ridiculous. Like, I want to be the like McKinsey of marketing, strategy consulting. And that's a huge, huge, audacious goal. You do you do and like, if I get halfway there, 10% that I'll be super happy. But yeah, hopefully, if you're listening to this podcast, it's five years later, look me up. So you

Nick LeRoy  12:58

told her to it. I like it. Alright, cool. Let's rewind a little bit. I love where we're going with this. But I want to go back a little bit to your nine to five journey. You've already alluded that. You've doubled your you've tripled, you know, the money that you've been able to make, which is absolutely fantastic. But one of the things that people love most about this podcast is I asked all my guests about their first full time job and the salary that they made. Are you willing to share with Oh, yeah,

Bethan Vincent  13:27

it's it's. So my first full time non marketing job because I can talk about both actually, it might be interesting for people. So my first job out of school before I went to university was I worked for English heritage, which is a government body here in the UK, that looks after castles, historic monuments, and I was what was called a historic property steward. Essentially, I was a bit of a caretaker and Job's body, you did like everything served in the tea room, you did tickets worked in shop, and I earn 12,000 pounds a year. For that, that was the full time equivalent wage, and then my first marketing job after university, I was a marketing assistant in the education sector. And I was earning 16 grand a year. So though, you know, you've got to remember, this was quite a while ago. So you know, salaries have increased since then. But they were like, minimum minimum wage jobs.

Nick LeRoy  14:18

Sure. No, that's like saying, but and I'm gonna push even more, but now that you're out on your own, and go on there. I mean, someone who has picked up full as you are, and with an in house job. Do you mind sharing what you were making roughly before you made the leap in the freelance world?

Bethan Vincent  14:34

Yeah, so it was kind of in the 50k mark. Yeah, I think in hindsight, definitely wasn't renumerated for the value I bought, let's be honest. And yeah, so now like I said, I'm on track to turnover 160 170 Depends if some deals land. But yeah, so

Nick LeRoy  14:55

you're always having aspects. When you're involved. There's always a balance. Whoa, if this was gonna land, let me get your opinion real quick. So I just talked to Ryan duranie, an SEO in the UK and we sidebar on a conversation about us pay and UK pay, especially when it comes to SEO, there is a significant gap. And we kind of were talking about this a little bit, you know, why do we think that is, you know, for example, similar to where you were at, he had mentioned that he was making about 40,000 pounds as a leader in the SEO space, you know, in house. And he was fortunate enough, he's making 40,000 pounds per month now. So we kind of had a couple riffs talking about it, but without belaboring too much. What are your thoughts on us salaries and UK salaries? And what, you know, if does that go broader than just FBO? In your experience?

Bethan Vincent  15:57

Yeah, definitely. I mean, I can talk about kind of probably wider marketing salaries, especially marketing, generalist salaries, which range wildly here in the UK at the moment. And I think the landscape shifting the UK, obviously, historically used to be very underpaid compared with US counterparts. That's changing because of the labor market conditions I alluded to earlier. So I do think salaries are pushing up and up and up. But companies are also expecting a lot more from candidates as well. So you've kind of got that dual track side of things where yeah, they're willing to pay more, but you're gonna have to deliver. And I think, you know, obviously, I work in tech as well. So that inflates my view of salaries somewhat, but obviously, in the US, that tech sector has been that it's got a lot more longevity than it has within the UK. So I think that's part of the reason. And yeah, it's an interesting one, I think marketers Germany here are underpaid. But that's changing. I don't think the skill set necessarily has been valued as much as it should be. And now companies are like, Hmm, we need marketing, oh, we need people who are good at it. But also, I don't know what it's like in the UK in the US. But there's a lot of people who claim to be marketers here, who don't actually really know what they're doing. And that creates like a weird, like, commoditized kind of end of the market where people are already competing on price. But also not saying everyone whose price though is bad. I think lots of people under charge for what they do, but there's always someone who's gonna undercut you. But there's always a lot of people who are worse than you as well.

Nick LeRoy  17:26

Yeah, and I think that definitely plays a role here in the US as well, I think it's almost like you don't have to prove yourself as much. But I think the Asterix to that is really what you have said the market, at least in my role in the past, I've been an SEO for over 10 years. Now, as I've said many times on this podcast, I started 32,000 A lot of individuals in the US starting in SEO don't really know the first thing about or started like 50 grand. And I know people now that are five years into their SEO career that are making more money than when I was a director of an SEO team, you know, three years ago, even and it's insane. I think it truly comes down to the demand. And people that even know, I'll say some SEO, I won't even say they're great. I have been talking about I'm gonna say this on record is probably gonna be bad. But the plus people are making a plus dollars right now. And a plus, you know, people are still making c plus dollars, because they're not necessarily the one pushing for new jobs.

Bethan Vincent  18:33

Yeah, I know. I literally 100% agree with that. And also, like a plus people are probably not as motivated by money as well, because they're so like, into doing the job and they enjoy the job and love it. So yeah, and I think companies need to be really, really careful. Like, if you're listening and you've got SEOs, marketeers on your team that you're underpaying you're about to see a mass exodus because people are waking up and thinking I will just leave because I can get more money somewhere else. And wouldn't usually I do that? I mean, I did that. Let's be honest,

Nick LeRoy  19:01

though. Ya know, that's my biggest career mistake. You know, before I went freelances, I got comfortable of paying my bill. And a lot of times, I just kind of refuse to even challenge the status quo of what is somebody with my skill set making in this market because I didn't want to change. And you know, and I was getting cost of living raises. And but that's all I mean, I mean, I know some people that are, you know, really good at advocating for themselves and some aren't. But honestly, like, I think you are letting yourself down if you are not always at least looking and understanding what somebody with your skill sets are capable of making. And money doesn't need to be everything. But I'll speak for myself. That's right up there at about 97 and a half percent.

Bethan Vincent  19:51

Yeah, yeah. And like it's just about it's about being fairly rewarded for the value you bring. You know, ultimately, that's what it comes down to it and marketeers and revenue generators. And it always has bugged me that we don't get commission like sales. So you can be driving sales as pipeline, you're not gonna see any of that commission, you're just gonna get your salary, you might get bonus in some places if you're lucky.

Nick LeRoy  20:12

And you'll really appreciate the three before jumping on here I am in a private group of marketers that are talking then there's an agency side and one person was asking, if they've come up with a model to reward in house people or so I guess they'd be agency people for bringing in more work. Because I've been on agency side my entire career. And that was kind of the expectation of the job was like you upsell, you go to conferences, network, and you bring work in, and that's part of your job. But these individuals were actually supporting, providing a 10% of the retainer to the individuals that could bring a net new cold lead in that gets landed. And I was thinking to myself, like, what an amazing opportunity, especially right now, where the market is so hot, to be able to maintain your talent by sharing in the incremental revenue that they bring.

Bethan Vincent  21:05

Yeah, and that's what we're doing an open velocity. So you get your general bonus that comes out of kind of retained profit that's distributed evenly, and then we're doing a profit, but like a bonus pool that then gets allocated to those people who bring in work to incentivize and reward that behavior.

Nick LeRoy  21:22

And honestly, I think that is the direction you're like, here on the SEO freelancer, I'm obviously trying to push a lot of people to be open to freelancing, it doesn't necessarily mean they need to go full time. But for me, it was always an opportunity to like even if I made 100 bucks a month that I otherwise wouldn't make them a salary. Like, that's ice cream for my kids like four times. Yeah. And that was kind of why I wanted to do it. But I think this is the new quote unquote, solution for individuals that don't want to necessarily go 100% freelances. If these agencies, maybe in house, there's kind of an tin really push those individuals that don't want to be locked into just like a salary and maybe like a bonus. It's like, if you help the company make money, you share in that reward, because then you're not locked into the salary. It's kind of the ceiling of what you can make. And you get to continue to push yourself, but there's really no penalty if you don't, because your salary is reflective on like your day to day work. But I truly think that if more companies, you know, offer an equivalent to this, that that really could save them the headache of turnover, and people leaving to go build their own business.

Bethan Vincent  22:39

Absolutely agree. Yeah.

Nick LeRoy  22:43

So let's pivot. And one of the main reasons, Stefan that I wanted to have you on the the agency, or inside the the SEO Freelancer podcast is the idea of building a personal brand. I get a lot of messages from individuals that are excited about the idea of freelancing. They may or may not be skilled in SEO. But the first question I get over and over and over again, is how do I get clients? And it's natural. And it's hard because my responses. I personally, Nick Leroy have been building my brand. And I hate saying that way, I know you have a podcast episode that you guys are doing the same thing that I did. It's like you hate talking about the business. It is a brand, you know, Nick Leroy is a brand. But the reality is, is it sounds like from our conversations offline, that truly plays a significant role in how you're getting this work. And it may it takes the hardest part of freelancing, you know, the hardest part of it when you have that, so can you maybe walk us through a little bit of what you think the value of a personal brand is? And then a we can kind of riff on a couple of questions here about Yeah,

Bethan Vincent  24:01

of course. Yeah. I mean, you've you've kind of encapsulated a lot of it is it's that brand awareness, you know, what we build for clients is brand awareness, we could be aware, we've got to be building that brand awareness for ourselves. So I really started kind of building a personal brand of doing kind of flimsy air quotes here, for listeners. But I did that when I was in my in house role, actually, when I was a marketing manager kind of level. And I started speaking at local meetups. And I've always was like an OG blogger back in the way in the day as well. So I've always kind of had an internet presence and been quite comfortable with that. I started you know, speaking at things contributing guest posts to sites, and it really kind of snowballed from there. But I put that investment in for a couple of years. And it meant when I exited my full time job to freelance, if people knew about me, I had clients reach out to me and say, like, hey, like we've been waiting, literally someone's like, I've been waiting for this to happen. When can I get a discussion and so, you know, it's about kind of building the awareness in your market and There is no like, don't think, oh, just because I'm a junior, or, you know, earlier in my career, I can't be doing this, do it as soon as possible, because you're kind of building out investors, like any brand building, the sooner you do it, the sooner you're gonna see your return from it. So, yeah, it's been a big part of my my kind of business moving forward and gaining clients, what I will say, as I've worked hard to make sure I've got multiple kind of streams of clients. So actually, you know, for certain times, I rank very well in the UK. And that actually brings me like a lot of organic traffic and a lot of organic conversions. But my personal brand definitely helps in converting that traffic into clients, because they see I've got blog posts, I see I've got videos from conferences I've spoken at, I see I've won awards, and then you know, done my own PR, so it all kind of builds on each other, which is lovely.

Nick LeRoy  25:46

Again, I absolutely love that. Because that really is how I personally go about building my freelancing career. And you know, my business. And what I love most that you said, though, was not waiting, and I'm using heavy air quotes of when you become an expert. When you're Junior, you know, I remember writing blog posts, about SEO, you know, when I was 123 years into it. And I was never telling people how to do it at that point, because I wasn't confident, but it was more. This was my experience. I tried this, I'm sharing that. And better, you'll you'll probably appreciate this, I'll be curious to your thought I was so unhappy. Towards the end of my agency career, I ended up starting a lot of people listening to us know that I have an SEO newsletter called the SEO for lunch. And there was twofold One was very public that I used to say, you know, these are resources that I was sharing with my clients at agency sites all the time. So I wanted to be able to kind of streamline and forward an episode and say, Here you go, what the second one that I have not been vocal about until recently was it was kind of the back of my pocket. And I'm just gonna say the fuck new card. Because if you ever picked me up to the point where like, I don't want to work for you, I knew all I had to do was like, send an email out, you know, there's 5000 subscribers, you know, it's not a lot, but it's not a little. And when I did go freelance that was like, the first thing I did, all I did was send at the very top is like, Hey, guys, by the way, I'm freelance. So if you have projects, you know, let's talk. And that gets you in in the door. Yeah.

Bethan Vincent  27:28

I love the concept of an fu card. Like that's, that's literally like, I would advise anyone to do that. And that was always because I think I always wanted to have my own business as well. And that was something I've kind of realized. Throughout my career. I've tried different businesses as well, throughout my career, some, well, this one successful others, obviously not so successful. But I've always been like, you know, I need I need some kind of security and don't think I think this is like the fallacy of like, people sitting in jobs thinking they're super, super secure. You know, even in the UK, like your notice period can be a month, three months, that's not that long a time and a company can just drop you. So why not build that plan B like what can go wrong? Or this way, wouldn't you I know it's effort and time from your perspective. But you know, it's gonna kind of safeguard you. And it's that whole kind of like it is anti fragile barbell building blob of a you know, buzzword, buzzword. But it is about having a plan B and having a strategy for that.

Nick LeRoy  28:22

Yeah, and plan B is so important. And, you know, I wrote a post about I think I titled it the fallacy of the nine to five. And I really learned that, you know, I've been very public about losing my job during the pandemic. And I've always I've also been very open about not being an easy employee. But I've always thought that because I do great work that kind of makes up for being a difficult employee, which it did for a little while. I always thought SEO was such a progressive marketing space that nobody was ever going to just like, get rid of it, it'll change, budgets will change. But as soon as the pandemic launched, and we lost one client, that was a significant point of our, our revenue as a company, I was shocked, I absolutely was shocked that they were gonna let the lead of the team go, they just completely removed SEO from the service offering. And that was such a I'd see methods giving me the same look, I gave them I was like, Okay, you're not making a very good business right here. But so the reality is, I was now put in a situation where I had 30 days notice, the rest of my team didn't even get that notice. They were done that day. I had to, you know, do this, but it's just it shows that doing good work is not enough anymore. And that as long as you are working for somebody else, like they always have that control, which I realize is probably what I crave the most going out on my own. But the personal brand really helps. And you'll find that you might run into situations where you have a more success. For personal brands and your boss or other agencies, but I'd love to hear I believe you've kind of touched on this in your podcasts as well.

Bethan Vincent  30:08

Yeah, I mean, I kind of got to the point in a role where I did, I did have a bigger brand in some ways than the company and people knew me. And that was kind of a difficult position. And I got a lot of questions about that. And I think some businesses really see the value of that. So the podcast episode you're talking about, I talked to Steven camera, right from rise at seven amazing UK, PR SEO agency, and they empower their employees just build personal brands, because they only see it as a benefit to them. And then great, that person has an asset that when they leave, they can use, but some businesses really see it as a threat, which I've always felt is kind of so so stupid. So if you do have to be a bit careful, I guess, tread that line with your employer, but also like, it's your brand, like you own, you know, you're not a you're not an indentured servant, when you're an employee, you're not a slave, like you can always leave your rented brain at the end of the day. And I think the I love it now that employers are getting really kind of annoyed because they're like, employees treat workers really transactional. And you know, they're just here to collect the paycheck. And it's like, well, yeah, sure, because you created the environment where it is very transactional, because you've held all the cards for so long. And now you kind of don't,

Nick LeRoy  31:27

right? I think once you jump into like the freelance world, you tend to be a little bit more aggressive with people to remove that allegiance. And, you know, I'm all for being, you know, how do I even say, it's like, I want you to love your job, I want you to love who you work for. But as Bethany just said, like, you don't really owe them anything. And as I found out, and for whatever reason, my brain refused to accept it until it happened. Like, when it comes down to the end, they're going to look out for themselves before they look out for you. So you should not feel guilty looking out for yourself. Absolutely, totally fair.

Bethan Vincent  32:11

Yeah. The only other point I'd make on that is that are amazing employers out there. Who end if you find one of those diamonds, like I worked for a company that unfortunately got acquired, so that changed the dynamic, but they were like they would it was the most supportive place over work had an amazing boss, I probably would have stayed there for longer, you know, do kind of cherish and value those companies. Because, you know, I don't want to kind of talk everyone with the same brush, because there are some great employers, but I think if someone is treating you in a crappy way, you know, like I said, it's transactional, at the end of the day.

Nick LeRoy  32:46

And without the laboring exactly what you just said, I mean, that shows to while the market is hot, and if you're not significantly underpaid, and you're considering leaving desperately, like a 5%, jump, and don't, don't leave that amazing spot that you have that is full of like a good culture. It's really right now, in my opinion, it's like the people that are being underpaid. If you're in the US, and you're making 50 grand, and you have five to 10 years of experience, like you literally can go make 100 grand pretty much anywhere else. Those are the people that need to consider leaving the good atmospheres of good people, because there is a significant benefit to it. But don't sleep on great companies. And, you know, honestly, as much as I am a proponent of freelancing, like shout out to all those individuals that are building companies that support their company, or support their employees, you know, support mental health. And, you know, don't just try to squeeze out every penny from each individual.

Bethan Vincent  33:42

Yeah, absolutely agree with that.

Nick LeRoy  33:45

So but then to make this more tangible, we've talked about, I think everybody here understands the value of personal brands, pretend that I'm fairly new to my job a year or two in here. What are three things that you would recommend that I do for anybody listening to start building upon their personal brand.

Bethan Vincent  34:04

So the first thing would be to connect with communities that are interested in similar things with your work in similar disciplines as you so you don't joining newsletters, for example, is a great way of doing that. And you'll kind of find opportunities, and you'll see what other people are doing to build their personal brand. And also, that's kind of a safe space, especially if it's like a private slack or something to start throwing out your ideas and your thoughts. It's not on the public Internet, but you're kind of building brand awareness within a small community. The second thing is, is kind of work out what format works for you. So I as you probably can tell listeners, I love talking, I could talk all day, every day to anyone. And that's why a podcast was quite a good way of me getting my kind of boys out there and my thoughts out there. I also love writing as well. So that's another thing. Social media I find. I kind of find being quippy and witty quite difficult because I'm not Naturally, I'm a very precocious and as you probably can tell. So I really focused on what I think content I enjoyed creating, because that is what you know, that's what brands personal brands are, you're creating content useful content, normally informative content to be consumed by people within your kind of target audience target market. So yeah, work out what kind of content you enjoy creating, and almost kind of what what channel would be best for you. And you can kind of also be consistent in I think that's something people don't think about, like they'll start a newsletter or start a blog or start whatever, and then it will trail off after three episodes you do you have to be consistent. And maybe that's my third and final point is be consistent. You know, don't expect you're not going to go viral overnight. I'm sorry, it's not going to happen. I've been trying for like, you know, 10 years now, still waiting. I think the best I got was like 250 retweets, but that actually didn't, you know, it didn't really add much to like my bottom line from a business perspective. But you know, just take small steps, be consistent, do one thing every day. And I know, it's really scary, kind of put your thoughts out there that I really struggle with this still, you know, relatively senior in my career. And I still think, Oh, if I write about my approach to kind of, I've got an article in my head or and I really want to write about about kind of splitting your budget between demand capture and demand generation and how to kind of manage that. And I'm like, well, people care about what silly old me thinks. And, you know, do I have something new to say on this topic, because you I'm very influenced by like Mark Ritson and other kind of writers in this space. But you've got to do, you've got to put your thoughts out there, there's always an extra thing you can add in your individual perspective, because it's the accumulation of your own individual experiences that no one else has ever had. Because not as you is valuable to the world. So don't, don't think that like, you don't have something to add, and you don't have something to say because you always do.

Nick LeRoy  36:50

I think that is invaluable. Advice. Two, maybe three things I'll just add in real quick one, I want to validate your tweet statement. I've gotten the other 234 100 retweets and likes off of simple things. Like, don't be silly type your title tags, you know, it's like things that aren't like things that you're very intentional about, you know, never gets the traction, but they do say stuff that that is very obvious, and maybe even snarky as someone that goes, quote, unquote, viral. The other thing that I will say that I really enjoyed you saying, as well as putting your thoughts out there, it I'll be honest, like, it really puts you in a vulnerable state, you're sharing your thoughts, the internet inherently mean, feel free to turn off your top and to a safeguard, but push through those boundaries and embrace that. I mean, I went out and still to this day, my post sharing about my freelance story, I mean, literally going out and telling people that I got fired, while I'm trying to tell people that I'm also an expert in this space, and you should hire and pay a premium. It's hard. But there's a but there's a bigger story to that. And it was about, you know, having a really unfortunate situation and having a family to support and, you know, refusing to, you know, allow somebody else to tell me that I wasn't good enough, you know, and be able to just move forward. And, you know, that ends up being my my number one performing poll, by far. And you don't have to necessarily talk about money or things that are considered like taboo, but, you know, it all starts somewhere, you know, what are you thinking? Because I can almost guarantee you, other people are thinking that or asking questions, but they're not writing it. And they're searching for your thoughts.

Bethan Vincent  38:45

Yeah. And I think you alluded to it as well. They're like that authenticity is really important. Like we all have seen the state of LinkedIn, the account on Twitter, if you don't follow that, follow, it's hilarious. But you know, those kind of thought leaders and gurus on LinkedIn sharing, basically like crap, to gain attention. Like that's not building a personal brand that really honestly isn't like those. They'll get views. They'll get likes and whatever. But they're not building a brand because they don't stand for it. I think there's no like substance to it. So you don't have to shout the loudest. And you can just be you. And that's absolutely fine.

Nick LeRoy  39:22

Absolutely. And I'll just double down on that. Especially with Twitter. There's a big fad right now where people are using like a meme of like Johnny Depp, and were like him in conversing, and then like, they're leading people on and at the end, it's like we have a job available. It's like, yeah, don't be that person. Like, just be like, I just can't even say oh, that's a whole nother

Bethan Vincent  39:47

a whole podcast. I think we could do like how problematic that is.

Nick LeRoy  39:51

Absolutely. The one thing that I want us to care about this one point on personal branding specific to SEO, but I think you would admit this gonna be valuable as a whole. Please, please, please invest in building your own website doesn't have to necessarily be this full fledged blog. But use it as a resume. If you can get your exact match domain, you know, your, your Like, start there, specifically from an SEO, if you aren't Bob Anderson try to rank for your name, I still can't rank number one, because there's a doctor that is doing that. But you know, still, what you want is you want a spot where you can send people, you can highlight all the good stuff that you've been working on. Even more credit, if you're willing to do the blog or a newsletter, but have a single place where you can own your thoughts, and your brand. And a single spot. Yeah,

Bethan Vincent  40:51

I completely agree. And I was really like, Lucky. Or I want to say like, you know, I thought ahead and was super smart. But I got my domain, like my brand domain name, like 10 years ago. And it was just, yeah, and it was more because I was like blogging and stuff. But that was the best, like, you know, $10 a month I've ever spent in my life. To be frank. So yeah, like, do it and you know, don't be don't overthink, you know, how sophisticated the site's going to be maybe if you're a developer, and that's like your freelancing, like, that's fine. But we're, we're marketers where SEO is like, it doesn't have to be like, fully headless, like sitting on Jekyll, like all of that. Like, yeah.

Nick LeRoy  41:31

And I know, there's gonna be a lot of people that are creatives that think they want to be you know, you know, when I go, like, I'm serious, like, if this is the benefit, you want just your best have, you want your Nick No, unfortunately, if your name is Bobby Anderson, like, you're probably not going to be able to get it. But you know what, just find something that's close to you can be Nick Leroy, it could be Bethan Vincent, you know,, just honestly find one place that you can just continue. And that doesn't stop at just the website, too. And I'm not going to belabor the point here. But if you don't have your Twitter profile, you know, your Instagram, try to get those. And I have a story about my LinkedIn, but I have my Twitter, but I'm going to hold on that one that was about 10 years ago. That's a whole nother story. But we'll talk more about personal branding. I think this is truly the quote unquote, hack. If there's anything for hacking a freelance career, it's really building a brand that you can continue to leverage and just build upon every single day until we're retired. And then hopefully, we can disappear after the internet one day.

Bethan Vincent  42:44

Really, you want to go into on that forever, you know, it's always gonna be cached. You know, you never get to leave.

Nick LeRoy  42:53

It's very true. How about that? We don't have to update it.

Bethan Vincent  42:56

Wouldn't that be

Nick LeRoy  43:00

about this is like super awesome. I really appreciate you know, two questions real quick one. For people that are listening right now, what are the best books courses, individuals that you would recommend them following? You know, what has been instrumental in your career? Yeah, so

Bethan Vincent  43:17

I talked about Mark Ritson. I love his stuff. Some people kind of like Love him or hate him. I just think he's super on points and super kind of insightful and like he thinks about the craft and like, the art of marketing and that kind of like strategic stuff. So he's great. Also, I love Jason Bradwell on Twitter. He and I like we've done podcast episodes and stuff before he shares a lot of really interesting content around b2b marketing. And it's not just SEO, it's across the board. But he's well worth following has a great podcast. And I also love this is off the wall, maybe slightly, but the marketer units, who shares those kinds of great like almost marketing means. So if you ever feeling a bit down, and you know, the CEO has said, we're not going to invest in marketing, go and look at the marketing units, you'll feel better, you'll feel vindicated and better.

Nick LeRoy  44:08

about them. Thank you so much for your time today. This has been a fantastic conversation. There's nothing better than having two individuals that like to talk a lot. Let us know what is the best way for individuals to follow you just get in touch with you.

Bethan Vincent  44:21

Yeah, sure. So I'm Bethan and Vinson across all platforms. So search for that online, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all of that fun stuff. And then I also have a podcast and news articles, brave, slightly different topics to what we talked about today. It's about the people, companies, systems that are building a better future. So a bit of a kind of tech focus, but we delve into stuff like the future of work and, you know, remote working is that the future and how companies are going to make that work and company culture. So yeah, just find me anywhere on LinkedIn as well. I'm always happy to chat to people. As you probably can tell, as I said, I'm a talker. So come and talk to me. I'd love it.

Nick LeRoy  44:55

Fantastic. Everyone makes sure that you follow her at all of her are social handles, I will make sure to link all of the above plus things that we've talked about in the show notes about them. Thank you so much, everybody make sure to check the thought as the SEO And we'll see you next time. Thank you

The SEO Freelancer
The SEO Freelancer
Each month Nick LeRoy interviews a freelance consultant about their experience generating over six figures in annual income.