• My Attitude Of Gratitude At Getting Being Sick This Week

    I’ve been thinking a lot about organising my workday this week.

    The only thing that makes this a bit odd is that I’ve been lying in bed with COVID as I think this. 

    Of course, COVID is nothing to be smiling about, and I know I’ve little to fear compared with other people who get it.

    My Gratitude to be alive these days

    One of the things I am most grateful for these days is how I see the world and my will to live.

    This is what Brene Brown calls “An attitude of gratitude!”

    If I could take you back a decade, you’d see a version of Bernie who was so stressed, so uncertain and riddled with anxiety he sometimes could not leave the house.

    There were weeks when I’d vomit every morning with stress and anxiety. 

    I always had a packet of fast-acting extra-strong Nurofen in my bag.

    I feel better about not feeling so good in 2022

    A decade ago, if I felt sick like I do this week, I’d think I’d be okay if I ended up dying in the night. 

    One day in 2012, I called my good mate Daniel, a Counsellor, to ask him if my thoughts of jumping in front of a train were thoughts everyone had or just me. 

    He paused and said he was so glad I’d brought it up because he’d been looking for a way to suggest I go and have a chat with a mental health professional.

    Going pro 

    So started a now decade long journey into undoing a whole load of coping mechanisms and letting go of stuff that I’d packed away. 

    Some of the stuff I’d packed away kept gently leaking out and messing with my everyday life. 

    Another ‘stuff’ was my incredibly low self-esteem around learning and education because of my time in the UK school system. 

    Luckily for me, fifteen years ago, when I was at University, I got diagnosed with dyslexia and got shown a whole new road map. 

    I felt like I’d gone pro. 

    I learned how to use a calendar and nearly grasp time. 

    These days I thrive with a combination of the 12 Week Year and Hero On A Mission to plan my time.


    After all the research I’ve done, I’m sure I’m ADHD positive too. 

    I’ve done several tests with a therapist where I scored high on the ADHD scale and will get officially tested later this year. 

    Sounds complicated, Bernie, is it?

    It has been tough shit, and for a long time, I was angry with the world in such a toxic and reactive way. 

    The frustration I’d built up over the years turned into some kind of backfiring self destruct button. 

    I’d hit this button whenever things were going well for me. 

    Gay Hendrix writes about this in The Big Leap

    His research shows how we are prone to self destruct when we rise above our self-imposed level, think of lottery winners. 

    Lottery winners are notorious for blowing all their winnings in a short time and even ending up worse off than they were before.

    But I learned to catch my self-destruct mode before the launch sequence was initiated.

    It took a long time and a group of hardcore friends and family to tell me what I was doing. 

    But life is better for different learning and working styles these days so I’m practicing gratitude

    We live in a great time now that neurodiversity is an active conversation in mainstream society and the workplace.

    People like my mate David, the founder of Nook, are constantly pushing this topic and helping people understand it more. 

    To call dyslexia a “disability” means saying a boat is broken because it cannot fly.

    Read David’s article here:

    When I am in a Nook, I do great work. 

    I feel safe and accepted, and something happens; I am sure part of it is because I know David builds them for people like me.

    How Saying No Will Make 2022 The Best Year Yet
    read it here.

    How my immediate outlook has changed with gratitude practice

    Every day I listen to a meditation that includes these lines below. 

    Because I’ve done this and other meditations in the morning so often, I have got to know and connect with myself in delighted times and tragic times. 

    So I am more skilled at seeing where my energy and feelings for the day are and what I need to do. 

    Of course, some days it’s a shit storm, and I have to go back to bed there and then. 

    Remember, this is a system – not a cure.

    It’s hard when so much is on my plate.

    I have always seemed to have a lot on my plate. 

    But these days, I DO HAVE LOT ON MY PLATE. 

    Between work roles:

    I’m got a big fat gratitude jar that these are all very closely connected and with the same people.

    Still, there are a lot of moving parts. 

    Being a husband to #Supercoolwife and father to #Supercoolson is so huge I’ll never see the edges; it is a fun, crazy everyday thing.

    At some point, it occurred to me that my ‘habit of living’ is thinking I have a lot on my plate and I need to be in a panic, but I don’t. 

    When I “took a chill pill” and took a few more minutes to be still my entire plate is a meal that gets eaten one bite at a time. 

    And some days I don’t finish all my food. 

    It’s hard to feel calm when so much is still uncertain. 

    Between all of the above, there is massive uncertainty. 

    • Will people come to the event?
    • Will we get the products made in time?
    • Will we sell them?
    • Will we get the money in our fund in time?
    • Will we be able to help these people?
    • Have I missed something?
    • Am I picking the boy up from school?
    • Is everyone going to be at work today? – COVID, power cuts, political unrest, hurricanes! (Our team is from all around the world in many languages.)

    Part of me believes I can’t feel calm until I know all the answers.

    I keep saying this to my teammate Sharmae that she does not have to have all the answers!

    Sharmae has a super hero passion for problem-solving that will run non-stop unless you give her permission to switch off. 

    Like Squirrel Girl, Sharmae could be a Marvel character that only die-hard fans know.

    Like me, she wants to take responsibility to slove everything and we both end up using a lot of valuable energy that could be deployed better elsewhere.

    No one EVER said to me, “Bernie, you have to all the answers!”

    But it has taken around two years of working here to believe that showing up at the meeting and ‘asking the audience’ is a better way forward than killing myself to find all the answers. 

    Collective intelligence is way healthier than trying to know everything. 

    And if I don’t know something, I know how to find out by the end of the day, with a call, or I can read a book or do other research.

    Part of me believes if I’m stressed, I’m not working hard enough. 

    “You can’t stress yourself towards a solution” – Jessica Ortner.

    I heard someone else say, “Stress is praying for things you don’t want to happen.”

    Before I get into this more, one of the questions that did not work for me when I was deep in depression was this one:

    “Bernie, why are you depressed?”


    “Do you know why you are depressed?”

    I’d always want to answer something hilarious like:

    “A sequence of unfortunate but unintentional episodes in my younger years. 

    Then combined to manufacture a defensive operating framework within my being. 

    That led to a particular release of naturally occurring chemicals in my brain.

    The chemicals were unbalanced and led to me initiating behaviour to over or under compensate in situations without realising the consequences.


    That is as close as I’ve got to know what made me depressed. 

    What about you?’

    I mention that because saying “stop being stressed” is equally as dumb, it takes a massive level of self-awareness to just stop anything.

    Being busy vs productive

    For me, the stress occurs like an act, and very few people pay attention to me.

    When I am stressed, I do less work, get more stressed, and work even more complex. 

    When I feel things getting on top of me, I’ll kick back in my chair and meditate for twenty minutes and come back and work even faster than if I’d pushed through. 

    I want to do everything at once, which does not work. 

    When I get busy, if I don’t watch it, I fall into some kind of fucked up multi-tasking void, and no one gets anything they need.

    Victim mentality

    Before I go, I want to shout out to the victim mentality and encourage you to see if you are there. 

    While I would NEVER have admitted to it at the time, I was stuck here for years. 

    You could say I was a victim of victim mentality! 

    I could give you a million books to read and examples of people who have overcome the odds to succeed, so we could too. 

    But I’ll go with this if you answer people with “I can’t” or “I’ll try” and sense you are lying to them and yourself. 

    Or if you automatically answer people with an excuse, why can’t you do something before you’ve even tried.

    Or you can’t help but drop into a conversation “all I could afford” or “all I could manage” – I’ve done ALL THESE THINGS!

    You need to consider if you are stuck in a victim mentality.

    There was one tragic, tragic day when I was so stuck that my wife took our child and went to stay with our mate Anna for the weekend. 

    I was so fucking stuck it was like having a Dementor in Harry Potter as your Dad and husband. 

    BTW Here is the definition of a Dementor:
    Dementors are dark creatures that consume human happiness, creating an ambience of coldness, darkness, misery and despair.

    Imagine being in a house with me acting like that, so they went.

    I watched a lot of Netflix that weekend. 

    By the end of the weekend, I’d started and was up to date with Person Of Interest.

    But I could have got off the sofa and gone for a walk. 

    Or making time to meditate, which is less effort and healthier than watching Person of Interest all weekend. 

    (That reminds me I never did watch the last season when it came out.)

    Of course, this is my experience, not professional medical advice.

    But walking around putting in the effort to stay unstuck has paid off in the end, and it is a slow hard step by step thing. 

    And as I lie here feeling shit with my face hurting and the inside of my bones aching with COVID, I’m grateful to be alive and to be surrounded by the people I spend time with every day.

    I have not always been lucky enough to feel this good when feeling bad.

  • Hey, if you are reading this, it is more likely I sent it to you directly than you found it on the web.

    I send this to everyone who hits me up via text, LinkedIn, email or another way to invite me to a call or pitch me a fantastic product or service.

    Instead of ignoring you or sending you Spam, I wrote this to help you understand how we work and how you can join in if it works for you.

    Also, I want to point out that I’m assuming you are proud of what you do and genuinely want to add value to the world.

    So this post is not a snarky attempt to rip your head off.

    About sales – you need to know this:

    Everyone lives by selling something.

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    ABC – Always Be Closing

    Business development is challenging, and very few people can do it well.

    I know, in my career, I’ve made thousands of sales calls and sent thousands of emails over the years.

    Years ago, I worked in a cold calling company; what a laugh!

    We got excellent Sandler sales training on how to seek out pain, money and decision, and I fucking LOVED it!

    You can listen to it all in this audiobook.

    The late founder David Sandler is hilarious!

    His workshop delivery is on par with a straight-talking stand-up comedian you’d find in New York in the 1970s.

    You’ll laugh hard, but it’s also full of excellent training for sales and the necessary self-discipline for life.

    I did this training a decade ago, and I still use it today.

    My best sales calls

    All my best sales calls came from looking the person up on LinkedIn and knowing who they were and where they’d been.

    I’d always be able to include something personal like – “I see you like ‘Trek Mountain bikes and Argentine food.”

    I’d be honest with them about looking them up before I called them, and most people were amazed I’d bothered.

    The few seconds of research gave me even better information to get something further booked, and I got very fucking fast at looking people up online.

    But the fact you did not look me up is not why I’m not buying your fantastic product or service today.

    Did you email me?

    Maybe you are reading this because you sent me an IN-Mail or whatever they are called via LinkedIn.

    Or perhaps you have got my email address from somewhere and emailed me cold.

    Often I get an email or LinkedIn message that goes right in with something like:

    Hello Bernie,

    I’d like to introduce our company. I am sure you’ll love us.
    We work with a range of people and we create our products based on what is needed by our clients with an eye to the future.

    Would you like to book a call so we can discuss your needs?

    The follow-up email

    That first email is not offensive, but it does not make sense.

    It could be to anyone for anything.

    As tempting as it is to explode into snarky email takedown, I’ll resist because next is the follow-up email!

    Follow up anything is the most underused business tool ever.

    I always send follow up emails, nudges, DM’s and anything I can – without being a dick about it.

    So many good things happen to me because I send highly personalised and direct messages to people, and I’ve been using Nimble CRM since its early days to help me.

    I’ve used Rebump for years and combined it with Nimble. I’ve done great things, so I know how good you can get with follow up emails.

    We also have used HubSpot for our company, and I’ve saved time and made money by using this follow up tech.

    Some people use this software for good, and others are just fucking lazy and impersonal.

    Marketers ruin everything

    Over the years I’ve heard many messages from email marketing companies, industry leaders like the folks at Copyblogger, StoryBrand and Impact Plus about email and sales.

    It is some form of, “you might get a result in the short term, but how many other people have you pissed off to get that result?”

    Short term gain does not build long term trust.

    I like the way people refer to this as a Scorched earth marketing policy; it does not matter what you take out, so long as you get a result.

    So when software arrived where you could hit up hundreds of people and be ‘efficient’ in contacting them and hope that a few would turn into leads, it seems like a no brainer!

    Marketers, like me, ruin everything.

    We ruined TV, email, social media, YouTube, SMS, WhatsApp and now we’ve ruined the follow-up email.

    So then there is the follow-up email that goes something like:

    Hello Bernie,

    I’m checking to see if you had a chance to read my last email.

    We’re a design studio helping businesses with all of their design requirements slightly differently.

    I’d be happy to schedule a call to discuss your design requirements pick a time here.

    ABC Company.

    Hey, look this will at least get a few people to do something.

    But your follow up emails are not why I’m not buying your fantastic product or service today.

    The speed of trust

    So this next bit might sound a bit more virtuous than you have the headspace for.

    But being able to look someone in the eye, say hire this person, and if they are crap, I’ll pay their fee is high trust, I do this a lot.

    Sometimes someone in our company comes back and has to tell me the person I recommended was shit, but often this is because I’ve miscommunicated the engagement.

    And of course, I know people who are wandering around who I have burned, don’t trust me, and I’ve dumped on.

    I’m a human, and I am always learning.

    I always seek to clear up any mess I make.

    In 2008 I read The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M R Covey – you can get it here.

    The core message in the book is “When trust is high, speed is high, and the cost is low”, or said another way, when people trust you, things move fast for everyone.

    You don’t need to do the bullshit business dance like two peacocks mating, you can get on with it.

    To be clear, no offence to peacocks; you are beautiful.

    Cold emails don’t build trust

    I know you get results from emails, we’ve had results in our company from hitting people up on LinkedIn in a very B2B way, but I question the depth of trust built in this way.

    It gets the job done and generates short term wins.

    But life and business are about relationships, and my deep gut feeling in 2022 is what works in the world now is even more relationships.

    Here at Velvet Community, we’re big on trust.

    We work with communities and Anti Money Laundering technology, Know Your Customer and Blockchain technology.

    So we have very meta conversations about earned trust, relationships and people need to pass an AMY/KYC check before we do anything with them.

    But the fact you have not done an AML/KYC check is not why I’m not buying your fantastic product or service today.

    The Honest Economy

    How Transparency Can Change the Economy and Inspire a New World

    In this moving talk, Marcus Sheridan shows how massive companies like McDonald’s and CarMax are destroying negative stigmas and inspiring a new way of doing businesses—all where “secret sauce” doesn’t exist—simply by embracing transparency as we’ve never seen it before.

    The TEDtalk is from 2014, and Marcus has kept growing both his Riverpools Swimming Pool Company and Impact Plus, the marketing and sales agency he is an active partner.

    Trust, openness and transparency are always core driving features in everything he and his teammates have built.

    About those other sales people

    I’ve worked with more than one salesperson who would sell their grandmother to close the sale.

    They’d go along with anything you said, however politically harmful, if they thought you’d even think about buying something from them.

    These people may look good on a spreadsheet, but how they are contributing to company culture is something I would question.

    But this is not why I’m not buying your fantastic product or service today.

    Our Team

    We have a ten person strong comms team that covers everything from PR to website comms, we work together every day, when we need something else we call on a handful of trusted freelancers, including UrbanMBA alumni.

    Within our family of companies are over fifty fin-tech, financial, legal and accounting specialists AND we build all our own tech in house.

    How we meet people other we trust and work with

    So the MAIN reason we won’t buy your product or service is this.

    We know a lot of people.

    Everyone we’ve ever hired for at least the last fifteen years has come from our network, we have been in around the coworking industry for well over a decade.

    We’ve been members of coworking spaces and we run coworking spaces, we just get to meet a lot of people without even trying.

    A 2015 Freelancers Union report found that 81% of freelancers who are members of a coworking space get all their referrals from the people sitting near them.

    This is how we find people when I was a freelancer I’d get hired for all sorts of things because I was there in the room!

    Our community of earned trust – our network of networks

    As well as being in the coworking ecosystem we are active in a whole load of communities that are all interlinked.

    Non-stop for five years, we’ve had a weekly call for the European Coworking Assembly, and every week this is where we ask does anyone know someone who?

    Most people find who they need to hire or how to get hired by asking in the community.

    When we need ANYONE from a graphic designer, videographer, programmer or website person we’ll ask here, and I’ve been in these communities for YEARS so I know who has deep knowledge and who is ‘having a go’.

    No pandas please

    Some people turn up to something, get what they need and fuck off, and that is fine, we are all grown-ups, and our core operating system is to help people and be there for them.

    These people are like a panda who eats, shoots and leaves.

    You are welcome to join in

    You are welcome to join in there is no secret membership club, or invite.

    Check out the websites come to a meetup or event and join in, or get in touch with me directly and ask for the best place to show up and start to be part of what happens.

    The people who join in and build relationships are the ones who get real ROI – return on involvement.

    Thanks for reading and I wish you well in your career.

  • How Saying No Will Make 2022 The Best Year Yet

    From the start of COVID in 2020 I’ve been through one of the most challenging times in my career.  

    The challenge was not the economic uncertainty, health risks, global pandemic or the stuff you would think.

    I went through my toughest emotional cycle of change yet. 

    And got kicked out the other side in the most exciting place I’ve ever been. 

    The journey took me from being a die-hard independent freelancer to taking up my first full-time job in twenty years. 

    Even writing that sentence feels a bit nuts. 

    What happened and this blog

    I made this WordPress website in 2008 and ever since then it has been a never-ending attempt to attract clients. 

    But I posted my first blog post in 2006 and, well blogging is what I am really in love with. 

    I am great at helping people work out their ‘business development’ but a bit crap at my own. 

    So what happened was I took a year to get my head around that I was now employed and did not have to go out in the wild every day hunting for food. 

    Instead, my attention turned to what I’ll call ‘making ideas happen’ – see more below about finally looking up what my job title needs me to do.

    Documenting the process

    For over a decade I’ve been sending a weekly newsletter you can join it here.

    It has had a few sabbaticals but has been coming out with an update every week, I’ve kind of written myself into existence and at the end of last year, I really got into it again.

    That will come out every week, and on this blog/website whatever you want to call it I’m going to post every week.

    I’ll document the process of growing our company and community Velvet Platform and Velvet Community.

    Along with all the other antics, our crew and I are involved like Urban MBA and London Coworking Assembly

    Overall I’ve had to develop an ability to prioritise and focus as I never had before, it has been painful and confusing.

    Right now it is going great, I am still learning and working it out.

    I’m reading a couple of books a week and asking more questions than ever, best of all everything I’ve learnt in the last decade is paying off at a hundred miles an hour every day. 

    About saying no

    There are a million things to update you on, but this week I want to share about saying no in 2022.

    The headline is we are not there yet, but every hour of every day our team is building the Velvet Platform Helicarrier more and more.

    We’re only three weeks into 2022, and already we’re in the best groove we’ve had yet.

    For the holidays we made a ‘no work and radio silence’ rule, of course, we messaged each other to say hello, but no sneaky work.

    When we got back my therapist did point out that I’d written 750 words every day.

    And mostly those words were goals and work-related, so I am not sure how well I did in the end.

    But this unplugging broke the ‘busy and urgent’ loop.

    I took on way too much at the end of last year and got stressed out from pulling in too many directions.

    Saying no would have saved me stress at that moment in time and given me this level of clarity earlier on.

    I took a few paid gigs, so I could make ends meet for the holidays.

    We’re a bootstrapped start-up not taking any money yet, so no one is flying first-class or crashing Lamborghinis in Dubai for fun.

    BTW being ‘bootstrapped’ is wildly important to me, I’ve watched so many people burn through investment money and fuck it all up in a year.

    But the end of last year got me plugged in hard to what focus means to me right now at this moment and why saying no is critical.

    Since I got back and said no to everything, the more real stuff is happening, and my focus is growing like a superpower.

    To get that focus, I need space and time to think, so things like swimming give me space and time.

    No one is going to WhatsApp me in the swimming pool.

    Walking and listening to books is where all my best ideas come from, so I require more of that.

    When I got back I ruthlessly blocked out all my morning and now only do calls and podcasts from 12 pm to 3 pm, then on Wednesdays, I’m not talking to anyone.

    In fact, Wednesdays we made a company-wide “deep work radio silence day” for everyone, so people have ‘permission’ not to be interrupted.

    Somehow I’m now even more available and having better conversations!

    Why is it not easy saying no?

    I am such a wimpy people pleaser.

    It has been like stopping an oil tanker at sea, but the end result, even just three weeks into 2022, is I can see more clearly where we are and what we need to do than ever before.

    Am I a Chief Operating Officer?

    Which led me to look up what a Chief Operating Officer does.

    Back in 2020, when I was “told” I was going to work at Velvet Platform, I was given the job title of Chief Operating Officer.

    It was on our Velvet Community WhatsApp and I watched Jeannine and Alex have a chat about it.

    I’m very anti-job titles, status symbols and all this shit, so I completely ignored the title,

    When I read the Mary Portas book, I took on Chief Creative Officer, but I did not connect with that.

    When I added COO to my LinkedIn, the number of pitches for business I got went through the roof.

    So this week I decided to look up the role rather than the title.

    I read a book called Chief Operating Officer: Improve Your Leadership, Management Strategies, Effective Communication Skills and Mindset to Make Great Your Company by Jeff Geary

    Podcasts come up with the goods again

    I found a few podcasts on the COO job role and by far the best one is Between two COO by Michael Koenig.

    This is where podcasting comes into its own, finding a super niche topic where you can listen to people geeking out and getting meta on a topic. 

    For me at this moment in time, this is an amazingly helpful podcast, way more helpful than all the top ten podcasts.

    Michael Koenig worked at Automatic back when there were 50 people, and he worked with Scott Berkun.

    Scott wrote “A Year Without Pants” back in 2014 one of the best books I’ve learnt from about running a remote team.

    I’ve followed WordPress and automatic for years, the community around WordPress, especially because of London Bloggers Meet Up.

    I’ve been listening to COO’s talk about their role, growing a team, fucking up and how they communicate.

    The best part for me was that most COO’s have degrees in Philosophy, English Lit and psychology and thrive on people and strategy.

    The overall role of a COO

    Overall their role is to be the right-hand person to the CEO and enable the team to execute the CEO’s vision.

    Also, the role of a COO in a start-up vs an enterprise-level firm, in a Start-up you need to be a ‘Swiss army knife’ when you are COO, of course, I love that idea.

    And there was me thinking it was all about spreadsheets and MBA’s, which I find very intimidating and confusing.

    Listening to Michael’s podcasts has shown me that I’m already doing what a lot of COO’s do which made my never-ending impostor syndrome evaporate in a day.

    I find it so fucking exhausting to automatically second guess myself all the time.

    So hearing other COO’s talk about the short and long term, strategy, taking care of the team, always connecting with people, making ideas happen – things I’m naturally obsessed with I was, quite frankly over the fucking moon.

    Why do I need to keep saying no?

    So, I’ve found more time – which is getting instantly filled with stuff from thinking to connecting. 

    The less I have in my schedule the deeper and clearer I get to see everything we are building and working on.

    I have the headspace to work on skills like listening, the quieter my head is the better I can listen. 

    Also, I have to make sure we are doing one or two things properly, rather than trying to ship everything at the same time.

    So I can’t turn up in our team meeting and bring a new thing, it breaks their trust and, one thing I know for sure is that execution – not new ideas and shiny things – is the number one killer app for building a profitable business.

    And that is how saying no will make 2022 the best year yet. 

  • Why is blogging more important than ever in 2021?

    Why do you need a blog in 2021?

    People have asked me a few times if they needed a blog in 2021.

    No, I am lying.

    No one ever asks me that.

    But I wish someone would ask me because I’m dying to start a conversation about why you needed a blog in 2021.

    You must know people who write they’ve been “asked about” rarely have been.

    It is easy to start writing about something and validate its need.

    Do I need a blog in 2021?

    It would be best if you had a blog in 2021.

    The world has never been more online, and words make things happen.

    Yes, the video is huge.

    And yes, you’d be crazy not to make a few videos.

    Lucky for you, we have left the age of T.V. and are now in the age of everyone being a content maker, yes, even you with that phone you stare at all day.

    Even with video, a blog on your website is a must, and you can do both simultaneously as we do here on Coworking I.D.E.A. Project.

    Sorry Bernie, why was blogging more critical than ever in 2021?

    In 2020 everyone went home and went online.

    Even the people who don’t do ‘online’ went online.

    And those who had words on our websites and could send email newsletters kept going.

    Many of us grew because people could read what we do and keep in touch even if we did not meet in person.

    Read more about this in Professor Scott Galloway’s Book Post Corna.

    Even before COVID and lockdown, 80% or more of the ‘buyer journey’ was done online, I don’t have a stat here, but I know it is higher all the time.

    I have known hundreds of examples of a sale happening after people reading a website had enough information and trust to put in their card details and hit the buy button.

    A solid digital footprint

    For the last decade, my main topic area has been coworking and shared workspaces, which is now in a gold rush.

    The people who run coworking spaces and have been blogging, emailing and sharing for years are doing great.

    Their strong digital footprint means they get found in search engines, and they don’t have to spend ages explaining what they do when people visit them.

    The best way to build trust and a sales funnel is:

    1. Regularly write good-quality words on your website.
    2. These words will supercharge your ability to be found in search engines AKA SEO.
    3. Have people join an email list or newsletter on your website.
    4. Send them more words that are helpful and not shit.
    5. Get a new customer, member or whatever your ‘conversion metric is.
    6. Listen to your email list.
    7. Repeat.

    When did blogging die?

    Around 2015 I started to feel blogging was dying; people I respect started to be adamant that you needed to have articles on your website, not a blog.

    A ‘blog’ is not a professional term, and who knows what that word means?

    Is a blog like a log you find in a bog?

    The ban on blogging meant we were writing articles, not blogs; I was ok with this.

    After all, ‘blog’ is an old stool term that means ‘web log’ where we share our thoughts or progression about something online.

    But it is 2021, and COVID has accelerated the future of work and digital literacy by ten years.

    In 2021 we were way past people scratching their heads about Twitter and a blog.

    London Bloggers Meet Up

    Even in London Bloggers Meet Up, we had an identity crisis in 2017.

    Andy and I started to do Meet Up’s on ‘Content’ and ‘Video’ — a vlog is like a blog but on video, right?

    It is worth considering if you’d read what people say in videos if they typed it on a web page.

    At one point, it was tempting to rename London Bloggers Meet-Up “London Content Meet-Up.”

    Content is a vast topic. How could we ever run out of things to talk about in our London Bloggers Meet Up?

    I could have gone for “London Content Creators Meet-Up” I can identify with this.

    For over a decade, I’ve posted a blog, podcast or video online every week, not to mention all my email newsletters and social media posts.

    Being a ‘content creator’ is what I constantly aspire to be.

    Why I create words and podcasts

    Right now, I’m in a cafe near my home, hacking this blog post out on my laptop while our son is with his maths tutor.

    I am in a rush, but I am happy.

    I always have a blast creating content.

    And being able to write my own words and put them on my website is a privilege.

    And I write even if no one reads it — more on this later.

    My main reason for blogging is to be able to listen to people when I meet them.

    Once upon a time, I was pro at mansplaining, and it had to stop.

    I started to write what I wanted to share, which meant people could click the link if interested.

    When I am nervous, I talk non-stop and don’t stop to breathe and end up being oblivious to where I’ve gone in the conversation.

    I’d leave you nodding at me politely while I go off on one about everything from Bowie to what app to use for writing.

    I have huge lists of things to share:

    • Apps
    • Songs
    • Movies about the people who wrote the songs
    • Books about the people who wrote the songs
    • Books about productivity
    • Books about education
    • Books about story and writing
    • Places to visit
    • Online courses you need to take
    • Coffee shops in London you HAVE to visit.
    • People you should meet
    • Blogs to read

    And there is every danger I’ll shout these at you with my wild enthusiasm, and then you’ll leave without knowing where to find them.

    Worst than that, my boundless enthusiasm means I’ll forget to ask you about you.

    I am writing to find out what I think.

    The other big one is that I write to find out what I think.

    When I put down in writing an opinion that I intend to publish, I always consider the following:

    “Would I say this out loud in a room full of my peers?”

    A big part of my writing is reading and researching books, research papers, Feedly and Pocket, Social Animal, podcast interviews and events.

    I love the research and go way too far on it, to the point where I know more than I’ll ever be able to use and share.

    Then my head falls off.

    Blogging vs articles

    But I am here to declare blogging is back.

    I am even up for declaring that it never went away.

    We did call blogging by other terms, not because we are dumb but because the web and what we do evolves.

    But there is a fine line between ‘cool for being cool sake’ and natural evolution.

    When I was a bartender at University, I worked in events and found out if I called myself a ‘mixologist,’ I could get another £20 an hour when working at events.

    I identified with the type of bartenders Brian and Tom in the movie Cocktail.

    Brian and Tom are tough, work hard and know how to make good drinks.

    Let’s be clear, I knew how to make good drinks and work hard, but even now, the tough bit is a work in progress.

    Being a Mixologist was a jumped-up term that made things sound better than they were.

    But I went with Mixologist and got paid more.

    More than once, I was working with someone older and more experienced than me who had been employed as a ‘bartender’ while I was a higher-paid ‘Mixologist’ — in marketing, we call this an aspirational identity.

    And when people read an ‘article,’ they feel like they are reading a higher-level piece of information than a blog, so they think it is worth more.

    Blogging is back again.

    I’ve been wildly nostalgic over the last month as we’ve rebooted London Bloggers Meet Up back to its’ former glory.

    I talked with Phil Szomszor and Andy Bargery about what blogging meant and where London Bloggers Meet Up could go next.

    The whole ‘naming’ issue played at the back of my head, and I allowed myself to procrastinate on it.

    Then I recalled the places I’d learnt from, back when no one knew what Instagram or an iPad were, yes, that long ago.

    I picked up my blogging D.N.A. from ProBlogger and CopyBlogger, and when I thought hard, my rose-tinted view of these two places got me into this.

    I liked that there was a site called ‘pro’ blogger back when

    I found it in 2008.

    I was screaming to be a ‘pro’ at anything, and writing my own words on my website was up to me.

    Write what you need to read.

    I’ve heard the writer and researcher Brene Brown say, ‘write what you need to read,’ and that is what I am doing here.

    In the same place, I heard Brene Brown say it takes her around an hour and a half to get into writing mode.

    I needed to hear this because I pace around for ages before committing to pressing the keys to write.

    Commit to writing to hit publish.

    And right now, I need to hear about how to overcome putting words on a website every week, to develop a writing and publishing habit.

    But I do have a rock-solid writing habit.

    I’ve been writing 750 Words every morning for years; inside that website are over two million words I’ve written.

    But writing and hitting publish?

    Fuck me that is hard.

    And the hard part is not what to write about; it is what not to write about!

    And for the next few weeks, inconveniently, right in the middle of this fucking 90-Day Content Challenge I keep signing up for, I’m going to write what I need to read.

    The purpose of my website changed in 2021

    For years, I’ve been kicking my website into shape.

    Like every website, it has gone through seasons of prospering and neglect.

    The primary purpose of my website was to get me hired as a freelancer, and as 98% of my work came via direct referral, I never got to the stage of ‘bleeding’ to make my website work.

    It was a state of mind you’ll find somewhere between complacency and confusion.

    In 2020, our European Coworking Assembly family started with a European Fin-tech called Velvet Platform.

    The collaboration grew fast and became full-time jobs for a group of us, so I gave up my freelancer stripes!

    It has taken me six months of a website identity crisis, not to mention the most overwhelming dose of impostor syndrome I’ve ever had to work out where to go.

    I’m aiming for something like Joel Spolsky in the early days.

    Even before he started Trello and Stack Overflow, Joel blogged about his company; the tech industry connected people and ideas.

    Joel’s is the kind of website I’ve always wanted for me.

    All the other good shit about traffic, sales and leads get deployed over at Velvet Platform, Cowork. tools and our new investment website.

    I’d blog even if nobody read it.

    One of the first podcasts I ever did was with Seth Godin when he published Linchpin in 2012.

    In it, we riffed on David Bowie, acting in an in-person sales call and blogging.

    What I was interested in was the blogging part.

    Seth said, ’I’d blog even if nobody read it and went on to detail how much you learn about yourself and the world by reading and writing.

    And I have found that the more curious I am, the better I connect with people, and the better I am at that, the more connections I can make between ideas and people.

    One more thing

    I am incredibly interested in revenue.

    If you dig deep here on my blog, you’ll find stories about when I was deeply depressed.

    Back then, I could not make it out of the house without having a panic attack.

    (Note to self – sort out that internal linking!)

    An empty bank account was one of the most mentally crushing things for my sense of self-worth.

    Then the bank charges come with having an empty bank account and the following spiral of debt.

    Are you reading this and thinking blogging does not drive revenue?

    You are missing one of the most simple things you can do to have yourself and your business thrive.

    It takes time, and I know people who have gone from zero to millions of revenue in the space of a decade.

    They showed up every week on their blog and answered customer questions.

    But I know even more people from the last ten years who never reached their potential.

    These people jumped on new fads or looked for the SEO shortcut rather than building a blogging habit.

    A solid personal and economic reward is available by blogging on your website once a week.

    We’d love to help you get started or keep going.

    Join our weekly Creator Write Club events in London coworking spaces.

  • So I was looking at my 90 Day Challenge workbook and getting all excited about the BiG FIVE.

    When I started this round last Challenge of 2021, it was to generate attraction for my workshops. 

    I’ve already sold one, so now I can rest up for a week. 

    The last ’12 Week Year’ of 2021

    On Monday 4th, the last ’12 Week Year’ of 2021 kicks in. 

    Those who read here often know that I’ve lived my life based on the book the 12 Week Year over the previous five years.

    More on that in this post here. 

    Having tracking and accountability is essential to my mental health and personal development. 

    As a freelancer, following a self-imposed structure kept me sane. 

    At 09:30 am every Monday for five years, my friend Karen and I have had an accountability call. 

    We both were super grateful we had this in place as the lockdown of 2020 took a grip. 

    Everything changed for me in the last eighteen months. 

    My main goal for the remaining few months of 2021 is to redefine myself and clarify my website. 

    Finding ways to review and reflect

    As I wound up ‘Q3’ as we grown-up business people call it (yawn), I got with reflection overwhelm! 

    Part of this is seeing people in person for the first time in eighteen months, and we all ask the same questions. 

    “How was lockdown?”

    “Have you travelled yet?”

    And I found myself saying, “this time last year, I was about to blow my brains out, and now I’m firing all cylinders!” 

    I use an app called Sunsama that combines your calendars, project tools, email. 

    The initial attraction was how Sunsama pulls information into one place. 

    Then I got into the daily and weekly review section, plus you can tag how you spend your time. 

    I was tracking this but in a half-arsed way. 

    Sunsama got me to review this every day and see where I was haemorrhaging my time. 

    I auto-post my daily plan and wrap up from Sunsama to our team slack to add more fun. 

    Now everyone could see how shit or amazing my day goes; this act alone got me to sharpen up. 

    Looking back to move forward

    Everything changed for me in the last eighteen months. 

    And while it felt like hell on the way through, it is working out better every day. 

    It all started as I got back from Nashville and the StoryBrand Guide training. 

    I was so fucking pumped and ready to go. I imagine this is how James Bond feels when he gets a new Aston Martin DB5. 

    Then COVID and lockdown hit. 

    My wife works for the NHS and is a secure ward for young people with severe mental health issues. 

    So immediately, all the childcare became my responsibility; we were already even. 

    As she is an NHS keyworker, our son still got to go to school; this worked amazing in a few ways. 

    1. I am so crap at homework; homeschooling would have been a shit storm for us all. 
    2. We have one child; being locked in a home with me all day would have been crap for him. 
    3. I had to leave the house with him every day, so we had to get out of bed. 
    4. We got our bikes fixed and rode like thunder. 

    So compared to this time last year, life can only be better. 

    The big COVID win

    Also, about this time last year, suddenly, from within our coworking community, a fintech company emerged, and a group of us started working in that. 

    It quickly gained traction, and I was getting used to it and the regular paycheck and then boom – we have a venture fund for tech in the coworking, co-living and fintech industries, and we’re writing mortgages for that sector too. 

    I know that sounds like THE win, but this is the REAL win. 

    The big COVID win for me was time. 

    I had more of it and knew how to use it. 

    The time is now.

    So because school and breakfast club shut, I did all the childcare, which I LOVE. 

    We stopped running to get our son to breakfast club and jumping on the tube. 

    Instead, my son and I walked or biked to school every day. 

    We left home later, went slower and talked shit all the way there and back; we still do. 

    There were hardly any cars on the road, so learning to cycle on the road was easy.

    My 15-minute city

    I have been a fan of Carlos Moreno’s 15 Minute City for a while, and the basic idea is that everything you need is a 15-minute walk or bike ride. 

    Going into town was no longer an option for me; while I was sure I was healthy enough not to get infected with COVID, I was anxious and uncertain about everything. 

    The contract was up for my room in the coworking space I was a member of, so I looked locally. 

    It was hard to find somewhere decent it’s hidden in plain sight in the end. I found Workhive and moved in with another mate who lives locally. 

    With this move my routine became