The FCDC was at BrightonSEO in September, and we had a fun and insightful conversation with Myriam Jessier.
In this episode, Myriam discusses;
Name: Myriam Jessier
What She Does: SEO consultant and Corporate Trainer
Noteworthy: Myriam Jessier is a consultant and trainer. They have more than 15 years of experience in the industry. They work with international clients, training technical teams and agencies but also help clients handle prickly SEO problems.
Connect with Myriam
💡 Myriam’s Experience with Being Neurodivergent
Myriam shared her experience as a neurodivergent individual, specifically with ADHD. She creatively addressed her stage fright by incorporating an octopus hand puppet named Olga, turning a personal challenge into a unique branding strategy.
Myriam also advocates for normalizing neurodivergence and differences. She encourages open conversations about mental health and aims to dispel stereotypes, fostering an environment where individuals can embrace their uniqueness without apology.
💡Advice for Working with Developers
In her role at a development center, Myriam learned valuable lessons about working with developers. She highlighted the necessity of understanding developers’ perspectives, acknowledging their priorities, and effectively communicating the importance of SEO without imposing.
💡How to Make a Case for Promotion
Addressing the challenge of making a case for promotion within the same company, Myriam advocates for taking on projects that allow showcasing diverse skills. She emphasizes the need to communicate effectively, use the right language, and gradually position oneself as an expert in the desired field. The goal is to change the perception of colleagues and become the go-to person for specific areas.
Career Longevity in SEO Agencies
Myriam shares insights into the typical tenure of individuals in SEO agencies, emphasizing that it’s common for people to last around a year to a year and a half. She highlights the burnout factor built into the system and advises against staying in a job solely for personal relationships or comfort.
Recognizing Obstacles to Progress
Myriam delves into the importance of recognizing when personal progress is hindered by external factors. Using her own experience, she shares a scenario where her promotion was hindered due to budget constraints within the company. Her advice is to assess whether the hierarchy has the resources to support individual growth and to be prepared to move on if obstacles persist.
Chima Mmeje 0:03
How do I pronounce your last name? Myriam.
Myriam Jessier 0:04
Give it a try,
Chima Mmeje 0:06
Myriam Jessier 0:06
that’s very good. So if you were French, you would say just you but Jessier is Perfect.
Chima Mmeje 0:11
Okay, so Jessier, yes. Myriam, Jessier. Ah, that sounds so fancy. Beautiful.
Myriam Jessier 0:17
Great branding for me
Chima Mmeje 0:18
Beautiful myriam? First of all before I even start asking the typical questions I asked people, I just want to go straight. And that’s what I’ve always been interested in, tell us the story of the octopus.
Myriam Jessier 0:29
So this is a brand new octopus, actually. So I will introduce her first. This is Olga. And Olga really helps me on stage. So I, I have ADHD, and I hyper focus on things. So I have like passing interest. And this has been a lifelong interest of mine. I love octopuses. You can also say octopi. But the more proper ways octopuses, and I’m fascinated with them. There’s a lot of applications for robotics, like they’re, they’re incredible animals. So anytime I can fit in a little tentacle anywhere I will. And that’s why my decks are like this.
That’s why my website was like this. But the problem that I have is a lot of people telling me you’re great on stage. And I’m terrified on stage. So the first conference I ever did, my knees were shaking so bad that I fell down like Bambi as soon as I was done, and people had to pick me up. And what most people don’t see is that I have tremors like I shake. So instead of trying to stop shaking, what I decided to do is get a hand puppet, it was gifted to me and octopus hand puppet that actually, this is the mini version of the singer puppet, but I have a big one.
And whenever I get nervous, I put it on, and I integrate it. So I’m shaking. And then the octopus is distracting people. It’s a fun thing I can talk about and love it. And once I feel confident and calm or on stage, I take off the octopus put it on the podium, and I get on with my stuff and I get nerdy. So that’s how it worked out. But what’s been unusual for me is that people come back to me and go, amazing branding. Everyone talked about it
Chima Mmeje 2:03
Yeah, that was the first thing I told you. When I saw you last year was like oh okay? This is your brand. octopus are your brand cool. I didn’t even know that there was like, a backstory to it or that you needed to get more comfortable on stage. I just thought was a branding thing.
Myriam Jessier 2:15
And it’s not. And that’s the fun part about being neurodivergent is that instead of trying to hide, why am I worked it in I went, I have this problem. Let me overcome the issue in a way that suits me. Instead of fighting me, I work with me
Chima Mmeje 2:28
love that. I love that. I love that. I’m trying. I am trying. I’m trying to make sure that we can normalise, I don’t want to say mental health issues. But we can normalise differences. I hate to use this “normal” but not everybody is the same.
So I think it’s very important for us to have conversations. And for us to bring in more people like Myriam, who have visual aids like this that helped them to get comfortable on stage. I still get the message across.
Myriam Jessier 2:55
And one of the things that I like I know this sounds strange, but having something on my hands. This has been so really helpful
Chima Mmeje 3:01
ya noticed when I touched it And
Myriam Jessier 3:04
the thing is I get told now. Now I get told, Oh, the fact that you were public about your ADHD is great branding. I’m like, No,
Chima Mmeje 3:11
it’s not branding.
Myriam Jessier 3:12
it’s not branding. It’s me trying to explain to people how they can better relate to me and how I relate to people. And my business partner was like, you are going to do a talk about ADHD and public what our clients going to think like you’re explaining that you don’t work, right. And I was like, No, I’m attracting people that think like me or think that they could benefit from a brain like mine.
And I’m tired of apologizing or saying that people have to accommodate me, I accommodate me, I am fine. Like let me go out into the world and do my thing. So and I I realised there’s a lot of us in that industry, because if you have a brain that seeks novelty, and that always looks into stuff like how does it work? Why is this problem here? Oh, there’s the other problem that ties it. Most neurotypical people cannot do it as fast as I would or other people who are neurodivergent would so let’s embrace this.
Chima Mmeje 4:05
I love that. I love that. Alright, now that I’ve gotten beyond my question, let’s go back and start the conversation like we usually do. What was the first job you ever did that put money in your pockets?
Myriam Jessier 4:15
I was 13 years old when I got my first job. And I was a librarian assistant. So I would go to school. And down from the school, there was a public library and I would go there and I would basically reorder books and I would organize everything and I would tell people how to use the catalog to find things and I would help them navigate the library to figure out where the books were. Doesn’t that sound familiar? So once I
Chima Mmeje 4:42
So you were a baby librarian. Let’s use the word baby.
Myriam Jessier 4:46
But they did something that was not really fun because my first job was in Hawaii as a teenager
Chima Mmeje 4:51
What? you lived in America?
Myriam Jessier 4:53
Yeah, that’s why I speak English so well.
Chima Mmeje 4:55
Oh, okay. That makes sense.
Myriam Jessier 4:56
Makes sense and the put me to action We reorganise magazines. But in Hawaii, it’s a mix of cultures. So you would have Korean magazines, Japanese magazines and multiple, like magazines from different parts of China. Okay, and they put me to reorganise these. So now what I can tell you is that like Korean has little bubbles in the letters.
And that’s how I knew where to put the magazines back. And I had to find patterns. Because I couldn’t read I couldn’t do it properly if I didn’t. So I, I learned how to identify things in that environment. And that’s how I got good at picking out patterns and going into what, this doesn’t quite fit into the system. But let me understand the system better and I will know where to put it back.
Chima Mmeje 5:39
I love that. I love that. So You’re doing this first job. Is it paid? Are they putting are they giving you anything at all? Are you just volunteering?
Myriam Jessier 5:48
Did you think I wanted to volunteer at 13?
Chima Mmeje 5:51 I don’t know, maybe one night maybe a little girl who was so happy to have a job? I didn’t know tell me?
Myriam Jessier 5:58 No.
Chima Mmeje 5:58
Myriam Jessier 5:59
I was raised by parents that had a very different point of view on money. Very, very, very different. And the way I think
Chima Mmeje 6:09
I can relate as a Nigerian, who comes from the Igbo tribe, everybody who’s Nigerian watching this, you know what I mean? We love money where I come from.
Myriam Jessier 6:16
So I have to ask you something as a nigerian And I do this whenever I can. Yeah. So do you know any princes? Oh,
Chima Mmeje 6:23
Oh Fucking Hell.
Myriam Jessier 6:26
The last time I asked this at a tech conference,
Chima Mmeje 6:29
Nigerian, for instance, okay. You know what, I blame the scammers for this. This is the fault of the scammers, but it’s also a stereotype because we do have princes in Nigeria, we have a lot of royalties, we have a lot of tribes, and all of these tribes have their own traditional way of living. And that involves what I like to call local royalties or small king’s and the rest
Myriam Jessier 6:51
so because I met one
Chima Mmeje 6:52
Yes, we do have a lot of princes hundreds of real, real actual princes
Myriam Jessier 6:57
i do dream of marrying a prince forget those emails. go to Nigeria.
Chima Mmeje 7:01
Yeah, we do have another phrase is digital that even if you go to Nigeria, you can’t even find them. A lot of them are really I would say, you can’t even have access to them for being on there. So
Myriam Jessier 7:09
I met one at a conference. He’s like, do I know what I am one? I’m like, please tell me more. And then he showed me the whole family. And I was like, Nah, can we talk about the emails? Can we improve them? Because I know there’s a method to this.
Chima Mmeje 7:22
I love that he loved that he was very chill about that. Alright, let’s get back on track. You’ve done this job. How long do you do this job for?
Myriam Jessier 7:29
At the librarian job?
Chima Mmeje 7:30
Myriam Jessier 7:31 Oh a few years, I think I started like 16.
Chima Mmeje 7:33 Okay, so do you? Did you ever interface with people have interactions with people or anything like that, while you were doing the library job?
Myriam Jessier 7:41 All the time.
Chima Mmeje 7:42 All the time.
Myriam Jessier 7:41
That’s how I got really good at dealing with creeps. Because I had men grown men following me in the library with my little bag and then trying to talk to me,
Chima Mmeje 7:49
how did you even navigate that? Just like, how did you navigate that as a 13-year-old who you got? I feel like at that scene, you’re coming into that age, where you can start recognizing when men are giving you that creepy look. Yes. Nobody teaches you, you just start to realize that okay, this is not how a grown man should be looking at a child. How did you navigate that while working at a very young age,
Myriam Jessier 8:10
I asked him to modify a rule where I could actually bring headphones to work because I was not meant to interact with the public there to just put things back and I could be nice and guide people I was allowed to, but that was not my job. So what I asked is, can we wear headphones, because that way, I’m signalling them focused on putting things back. And then people cannot interact with me. And if I have to move my headphones, I can just tell them, I’m sorry, this person can help you at the counter.
Chima Mmeje 8:35
And you don’t have to move.
Myriam Jessier 8:36
Yep. And then when that didn’t work, because I worked for a few months, and then somebody complained and I had to take them out. They put the roll back in. I asked them to switch me from the adult department to the children’s department. Okay. And that helped signal that, like, I may be a child in the trial.
I’ve been doing this Yeah. And it still didn’t deter some people, some men from following me around. So then I just got really good at doing what you made a comment about, which is I have the resting bitch face with the stare that goes with it.
Chima Mmeje 9:10
Myriam Jessier 9:10
So I will just go.
Chima Mmeje 9:13
Oh, that’s good. That’s good. And I realised
Myriam Jessier 9:16
very early on despite the fact I talk a lot. Silence is very good when people expect you to talk because they put pressure on you and they’re very silent and then you feel like you have to explain yourself when you shouldn’t. I would just stay silent and go during the wrong spot. Silence
Chima Mmeje 9:33
Good. Good. I love that. All right, you finish this job at 16 What do you do next?
Myriam Jessier 9:41
I ended up at a sea life Park.
Chima Mmeje 9:45
Oh love that. Oh my god. That sounds like a dream job.
Myriam Jessier 9:48
Chima Mmeje 9:48
What were you doing?
Myriam Jessier 9:49
Chima Mmeje 9:49
Were You like playing with the dolphins? Sitting with dolphins? routines?
Myriam Jessier 9:52
Chima Mmeje 9:52
What were you doing
Myriam Jessier 9:53
I was actually serving ice cream and making fast food. But all day I had to hear children In what sounded like children screaming, they were not children. They were I don’t remember what the word is in English, but they were not ceilings that they were, you know the ones that go like this.
Chima Mmeje 10:11
Oh oh oh
Myriam Jessier 10:15
you know the ones that do tricks?
Chima Mmeje 10:18
Is that not Dolphins?
Myriam Jessier 10:19
No, no, no, no, no, no, it is. It seems like a moment where you should charge up this like high church up. What is this animal that?
Chima Mmeje 10:26
That’s that is that not a sea lion.
Myriam Jessier 10:27
No, it’s not a sea lion.
Myriam Jessier 10:29
It’s a seal.
Chima Mmeje 10:30 It’s a seal. Okay, a seal a seal. Okay? Yes.
Myriam Jessier 10:33 Seal sometimes when they scream sound like really upset children.
Chima Mmeje 10:36 Can you imitate a sound of a seal?
Myriam Jessier 10:38 NO till this day, it still haunts me. It was like, it’s like things like I was like, what? Like, can can the parents feed the child like what’s going on? Like? So? So yes, that was my I never and I was happy because I didn’t have to interface with too many people. Yeah, rich tourists. Yeah. And I never want to do that. Again. I’m not made for service.
Chima Mmeje 11:00 Okay, cool. Cool. Cool. Now you work at sea life? How many years do you do that?
Myriam Jessier 11:06 Oh, years? no, six months? I was done with this.
Chima Mmeje 11:08 You did that for six months? And then what do you do next?
Myriam Jessier 11:11 Next, it was a bit complicated. I started doing a few side hustles because I had built my first website. And I think in 97, like I was like, eight, nine years old, something like that. Like I had a 56k modem and I was doing a few things. And then as soon as I could leave where I was Hawaii at 18, I went back into my first love working in libraries. Okay, because I liked it. It was quiet. I liked the books, I could discover new things. My brain was always engaged. And I didn’t have to deal with people as much.
Chima Mmeje 11:44 Alright, so you go back to working for library again? How long do you last this time around?
Myriam Jessier 11:48 Oh, until I finished my studies like 25? 26?.
Chima Mmeje 11:51 Oh Okay, so what did you study?
Myriam Jessier 11:54
I’m an ex-librarian
Chima Mmeje 11:54
What did you study?
Myriam Jessier 11:55
Um, so I actually have two master’s degrees,
Chima Mmeje 11:58
your first university degree? Yes,
Myriam Jessier 12:01
I have. So I have a first degree in sociology.
Chima Mmeje 12:05
Okay, master’s degrees in?
Myriam Jessier 12:07
Chima Mmeje 12:10
Myriam Jessier 12:10 And the next one is international relations. So it’s more like of the economic side like, Okay, if you wanted to study to be a diplomat, that would be the type of thing where you slowly ease in
Chima Mmeje 12:22 And I just want to note that someone, who did all of all these studies went for two masters now works in SEO? I don’t know. You have to explain to me, I’m trying to understand how you did this degrees. And
Myriam Jessier 12:35 let me explain
Chima Mmeje 12:36 what did you do with them? Why did you do two masters degrees
Myriam Jessier 12:39 To decorate my fridge at best. But here’s, here’s why I did the first diploma. I did the first diploma because in France, they will tell you, we love you. We You’re perfect for the role. However, we had some educational requirements, and we still want to hire you. But not at the price that we advertised or not at the price that you’re asking because you don’t have a diploma. And I swore to myself that I would stay poor, and hustled my way through until I finished that diploma. Because then nobody would ever come back to me and say, Oh, we love you, but you don’t have the education. So we’re gonna pay you less. Okay. And that did help me quite a few times. Like I had a few HR people trying to downplay me. And I’m like, No, I actually do have my diplomas. So they like that. And you could see that this was an excuse.
Chima Mmeje 13:22 Yes.
Myriam Jessier 13:22 So I knew the game. So that’s why I got the first one. The second one, I’m not gonna lie. Don’t go for a second diploma. Please don’t. I got it. Because I was not ready to move yet. As soon as I finished my studies, I was working and going to school. But as soon as I finished, I went to Canada. Have you ever tried to rent an apartment in Paris?As a student?
Chima Mmeje 13:45 Wow, that sounds very expensive.
Myriam Jessier 13:47 So when I was in that master’s situation, I basically got the state to pay for me.
Chima Mmeje 13:57 Explain. How did that happen?
Myriam Jessier 13:59 They gave me a scholarship and they were helping me find a rent controlled place. And if I was not a student, I could not do it. Continue having the apartment. So I did an entire year of to finish my master’s just to keep the apartment in Paris.
Chima Mmeje 14:15 Wow. How did you like living in Paris while you’re a student at Maximus question, because by such an expensive city, and it is ridiculously expensive. So how what did you do to survive living in Paris as a student?
Myriam Jessier 14:28 I worked with, for example, the main French TV channel, they hired me to do social media work. And as a freelancer, and some SEO work. I was also working at Gizmodo back in the day as a tech writer and
Chima Mmeje 14:44 hold on, I think was key to how did you Was this your first role in technical SEO?
Myriam Jessier 14:50 Yeah, pretty much. So I know actually, my first official job not as a technical SEO but as an overall as
Chima Mmeje 14:56 yeah working in SEO Marketing.
Myriam Jessier 14:59 An online love of store.
Chima Mmeje 15:01 An online love stores
Myriam Jessier 15:02 So If you meet people, many of them back in the day got started with SEO by working in online sex stores or in porn. Because that’s where the money is. That’s where the traffic matters. And there’s a joke. So this is a real joke.
Chima Mmeje 15:16 look on my face just glaring.
Myriam Jessier 15:18 No, but hold on.
Chima Mmeje 15:19 I’m listening. I’m piqued. My interest is piqued.
Myriam Jessier 15:22 you can check if somebody has actually worked in the online sex toy world. Okay, you look at them and you go, so do you know about the gnome? Do you know about the gnome?
Chima Mmeje 15:31 I don’t know about the gnome. What is the gnome?
Myriam Jessier 15:33 The Gnome is a sex toy that is like a garden gnome and latex real size. And it is the most ridiculous product I have ever seen. But it’s great for link building, because it’s so funny and unusual that the news will talk about it. So you get links. So I’ve, I’ve gotten to do a lot of like, technical and like very competitive content work because that industry, you cannot really advertise.
Chima Mmeje 15:57
Myriam Jessier 15:57
Back in the day it was complicated to advertise on PPC.
Chima Mmeje 15:59
Myriam Jessier 16:00
You had to do SEO for this.
Chima Mmeje 16:02
Myriam Jessier 16:04
I have some friends that used to work at Pornhub. And they’re like, if I make a technical change, and it doesn’t get me 2 million visits a day Extra. I’m not doing it.
Chima Mmeje 16:12
Myriam Jessier 16:13
That’s the scale your work at
Chima Mmeje 16:14
Damn. Damn. I mean, they I’m trying to Okay, do you know what I never even thought about the fact that Pornhub had SEO
Myriam Jessier 16:22
Oh, it’s huge. , there are entire teams. I did an interview with them just because I wanted to see like, Oh, we don’t offer you that much vacation. You know, I’m like, I’m a Parisian poodle with a pedigree and you’re asking me to come work in Porn. And you don’t even have a good offer for me. Call me back when you leave. I told the person interviewing me, call me back when you leave your job. I’ll take it. And we’re still friends to this day.
Chima Mmeje 16:48
All right. So let’s move on to your very first role do you do about did you ever walk in house? It is aside as a technical issue. Yes. So talk us through the different roles you’ve done.
Myriam Jessier 16:59
I was. So I was in house for the sex toy love store company. I then went to an SEO agency. And I worked as a technical SEO because I have to tell you something. This is real for people working in agencies. I was a revenge hire. So the head of SEO, technical SEO was being moved in as tech, head of link building. And she didn’t want to, she did not want to touch links. She was very upset. So she hired me thinking I was going to be useless as a fuck you gift for the person following getting her job. And I was not treated well.
They did not specify with my brain wiring, you have to explain things to me in a way that I understand. So they kept being angry at me because they thought I was useless. And once they started asking me things properly, they realised I was a very good technical SEO because I had experience. And then they were like, Oh, we see great things for you and your future. I’m like, No, you already give me two months of hell. I’m going to wait for the rest. And I’m going to leave and I did. And that’s it. So I moved on to a development centre.
Chima Mmeje 18:10
Myriam Jessier 18:11
so I was the Tech SEO for Development Centre. And that’s a different vibe. That’s not an agency. Developers surround you and you’re like, but why? No, I could do this. And that works. I’m like, Yes, it works. But that means you don’t end up in Google. And they’re like, but it works. Like, okay, so you, you learn to fight. You learn to communicate differently, you learn to communicate with humans in a way that you tell them, hey, it’s either pain. Like, if you don’t do this, there will be pain, or its reward. But you learn to handle that.
Yes. And that’s why a lot of people think like, Oh, my God, technical SEO is so stressful. There’s so many things. And once you do it long enough, you realise that the key problems exist between the chair and the keyboard, it’s the human okay, even when you have tech stuff, or like, why is it this way? There is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution. That’s why technical SEO is complicated. Many tech choices have been made,
Chima Mmeje 19:10
there is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution.
Myriam Jessier 19:13
Chima Mmeje 19:14
Myriam Jessier 19:17
If you audit enough websites, you know, every time you like, why did you do this? Well, back then it was a good workaround. And Google was happy you’re like, and now Google is not happy. I’m not happy. Why is it still here?
Chima Mmeje 19:27
That’s true. That’s true. That’s true. So you worked at the agency that didn’t treat you well, you worked with a development centre, surrounded by developers? What is the one advice you would give on working with developers when it’s your full time role? And you spend like half your day explaining straight to developers?
Myriam Jessier 19:46
Listen to me very carefully. Developers do not care about you. They do not care about SEO. They have their own agenda. Okay. They are trying to do an The entire backlog and here you’re in there er going this thing you don’t know anything about is super important. And you’re like, Well, if I have never heard of it, why is it that important? Why is it a priority? So I have another confession to make. And I’m making that one in the name of someone else. But Martin split from Google doesn’t care how good you are at technical SEO either.
He is a developer, he thinks he thinks about this going, will that make the web better? Can I do this in the allotted amount of time? Okay, am I going to have to spend a weekend doing this thing for this person? And if the answer is yes, they will tell you no. So you have to understand that not everything is about SEO. And if you don’t, you will get very frustrated that nobody ever takes you seriously, and you will complain with other SEOs and nothing will keep moving. So go out there and understand other people’s jobs and how it relates to yours. If you cannot anchor yourself in their reality, nothing is ever going to change for you.
Chima Mmeje 21:02
Oh, that is incredible advice. Thank you so much for that, quite honestly. That is incredible advice. All right. I want to move forward to when you decided to start doing your own thing. One, why do you decide to start doing your own thing? Two? How has it been doing your own thing? Three, how are you finding clients? How are you finding the work life balance? So it’s four questions actually, why you decided to do your own thing? How, why okay, yes, why you’re doing your own thing. How you’re finding clients, how you’re finding work life balance.
Myriam Jessier 21:35
Okay, so, number one, I’m an accidental freelancer. So I realised that words have a lot of meanings. So when I say freelancer to you, you have to understand that most people think of me as a trainer and a consultant. Isn’t that what you are? Yes. But a freelancer makes it sound like I’m by myself trying to figure out my life and I’m maybe one contract away from starvation. I’m not.
Okay. So when I first got started, I had a director job in Berlin, and I was not treated well. I had to fight a lot to get things done. The role I was hired for was not materialising, the team I was promised was not happening. I made the executive decision to leave. I don’t have time to waste.
Chima Mmeje 22:15
Okay, this is the why now.
Myriam Jessier 22:17
So no, by the way, I normally the person with a plan, okay, I quit a job, I have another one lined up. And this time I did not. I just knew I’m not staying here. So here I am on my couch. And I’m calling a friend of mine that I met at a developer conference to ask him for advice. I’m like, Hey, I just quit my job. And for once, I don’t have a backup. And he’s like, oh, so what I am hearing is that you’re available for mandates. And I went, He’s not wrong. I am available for mandates.
I still am, by the way, if you want to hire me. So then the second piece of advice that I got is tell everyone that you are available. So please do the same, okay. And I went to a developer conference a few days later. And I had a lineup of three to four people looking to actually hire me. Not only that, but I went to meet my friend who said, Oh, you’re available for mandates. I meet him up at his office, I get in, I see that his boss has like a moz.com bookmark on his browser. And then if you I see a few more, and I’m like, whatever you’re reading here, I think I should be talking to you, because you’re going to be wasting a lot of time reading through this
Chima Mmeje 23:29
when I can just give you that information straight up.
Myriam Jessier 23:31
So that was my first mandate. I got hired and my friend was like, you have been with my boss for an hour, and I’m really worried about you what’s going on? What is he doing? And I’m like, he’s hiring me. I’m your new colleague temporarily. And because this sounds like already enough of a telenovela. Do you know who my friend was?
Chima Mmeje 23:50
I’m almost scared to ask but who?
Myriam Jessier 23:52
Martin Split. So I’m the first person who was like, Martin, we have to talk about Google. And he was fascinated. He was one of the few developers that was really curious about how these things work
Chima Mmeje 24:03 was he at Google at the time?
Myriam Jessier 24:05
Chima Mmeje 24:05
Where was he then? Somebody else?
Myriam Jessier 24:07
He was working for a Zurich startup doing really interesting work with like 3d models. So you can send
Chima Mmeje 24:12
Okay. All right. That’s amazing. That is amazing. And,
Myriam Jessier 24:17
How do I get clients?
Chima Mmeje 24:18
yes. How do you get clients?
Myriam Jessier 24:20
my reputation so I started helping people in the community. And people started talking and when people like you where you are, they don’t want to help you. So stop spending time trying to impress other SEOs. They don’t pay the bills. Okay. For some of you, they may, but for me, I go where people who do complementary work to what I do happen to hang out.
So I will go to UX conferences. I will go to dev conferences. I will go to Content conferences and talk to people who may need me. I’m not here to impress other people just so they like me. I’m here to work with people to make fun things and pay my bills.
Chima Mmeje 24:58
That’s a very good one And how do you find work life balance?
Myriam Jessier 25:03
When I find it, I’ll let you know. But like concretely, it’s all about taking the time to tell yourself my time is valuable. I know what my hourly wage is not the one you charge clients like the one where you’re like, I would not do this, I would hire someone else to paint my house, if it meant that I’m working for $2 an hour for days. So for me, it’s work life balance, what it means right now is, I do not take meetings on Mondays and Fridays, Mondays for admin day, and I will schedule my emails to go out on Tuesday, I don’t want the clients to reply on Monday and get used to me being there on Monday, no Fridays more for r&d, having fun, because everybody drops off the last minute thing your client goes.
And before I go on vacation, or for the weekend, here’s this, no, do not dump it in my lap, I am training you not to do that. Okay, and I’m adding the buffer of Monday to so. So that really helped. Work life balance for me also works with having better clients, clients that do not respect your time and your expertise will not respect any boundary at the end of the day. Good. So getting better clients is very important, because they will already know they come built in like this.
Chima Mmeje 26:11
So how do you get those better clients? That’s the real question. So where are you getting them? Are you going to conferences? What are you doing to get those better clients,
Myriam Jessier 26:19
some conferences, but also a lot of genuinely helping people and answering some questions online, but not necessarily in the SEO space, just being there for people that need something. And the problem was people thinking that you can just start freelancing. No, I spent years building a network by being in the dev centres by working in agencies by being in meetups where I was. So of course, word of mouth happens and you pull it off every time you do good work. Of course, it’s gonna be great.
And I do have to give you a piece of advice that people don’t seem to realise. You don’t have to be the perfect agency. At first, I used to collect on Pinterest, my blazers, like I had beautiful tailored lace didn’t look good on me, I have the shoulders of like a linebacker, it doesn’t look good. So I used to think that I had to dress like the dudes that I saw. Some of my friends are really good, but they come with shirts suits like they present well.
What the clients liked about me is that I had neon blue hair, they thought it was fun, because their kid liked that. And I got to basically be myself and build something that is an alternative to what people think an SEO expert should look like should sound like. And the way I do SEO is also very different. I aim to deliver what is actionable, not just saying I did a great SEO audit, if another SEO reads my audit, he’s gonna be proud.
No, I do this because it helps a holistic presence online, like I want shit to matter, not to me, but to the people who hire me. And if I just do it for myself, I’m not doing it for the client. So by focusing on this, I get a lot of feedback from clients going, you made me change my mind about SEO, I hated it at first or like when I come in, I asked, have you had the pleasure or displeasure of working with an SEO? Tell me how it went. So I already know how to handle the client. Have they been burned before? Is this brand new for them, or the hiring me because they need to go the extra mile. They’ve already done all their homework, and they need to take it further. And that’s how you build a reputation where people want to recommend you you’re the first they think about
Chima Mmeje 28:28
because recommendations are always better than anything else. The quality of clients you get when it’s recommended is better than anything you can find out there
Myriam Jessier 28:36
being number one in Google for like SEO agency Plus, your location will bring you a lot of clients who don’t want, just letting you know, if you are there, that’s great if you have a lot of employees. But for me, I don’t even necessarily rank on all the things that I offer as a service. I do rank for some but not all.
And that’s fine, because I know I have my brand and my reputation. So whenever I get those emails, oh, we we found your website, you could do SEO to improve your website’s. I tell them, if you found me on Google, then it’s already working. So why are you talking?
Chima Mmeje 29:07
Yep, yep. Yep, that’s good one. All right. Final question. This is advice for people who have started their SEO career. They are feeling stuck in the first job. They want to take the next step but they don’t know what to do. I feel like that’s always tricky. Getting in is always the hardest part. But once you get in then what next?
Myriam Jessier 29:27
Okay, so um, you should know that there are like unofficial stats on when you’re in an SEO agency for your first job or your second or your third
Chima Mmeje 29:34
This is how most people start.
Myriam Jessier 29:36
Yeah, you’re going to last a year to a year and a half. It’s built by design, you’re going to get burned out. That’s how it works sadly, and do not stay in that job just to please people or because you like your colleagues, nobody stays or nobody should stay in a job just because they like the people. So always look for okay, what’s my next step? What do I want to do? Am I like a generalist and I really want to go into tech To because there’s more money because it’s more fun because whatever, go and start talking about yourself presenting yourself giving advice in public for what you want to be doing.
And then when you come in and try to get that new job, you’re much more confident. Okay? That’s the first thing. The second thing is do not change jobs if you’re not getting a nice salary boost. Okay, so just saying, Do not never ever quit a job without having another job lined up if you’re a junior or intermediate, because then people will go, but why did you quit? Why is no one hiring you? Should I hire you. And the other thing is, never ever think that you’re going to work so well that your boss is going to realise that you’re amazing and give you that promotion. Now, very often the best way to evolve in life is to actually get a new job, because then you don’t have to convince people, they wanted you to do this.
Chima Mmeje 30:51
There’s a lot of there’s a lot of dividing opinion on this. By it. I’m trying to I’m trying to be diplomatic with my response. Many people will say that, yes, the best way to evolve is to switch jobs. And that is why we have so many people just going through jobs these days, one year, six months, they’re moving on to the next year because it comes with more money. But there has to be a way to stay at your current job. make a case for why you deserve a permission, it will send it out law anomalies.
And that is actually very difficult to do to get your current job to give you a risk the kind of race that you would get if you were switching roles. So Myriam’s advice works for me, and what about those who want to because, okay, out of all the guests I’ve interviewed, everybody who has switched roles, maybe accept a leader today has said that they switched roles, because they were bored, it wasn’t even about money. The switch was because they were bored. If you want to do the next thing, and let’s say you want to switch specialties, how do you how does that what does that look like for a person if you want to make a case for a promotion and more money, while you’re still in the same company? What does that look like?
Myriam Jessier 32:03
So I’m going to give advice based on on what I have, because I straddle two things. And most people don’t realise this, I also do analytics. And when I say doing analytics, like I teach it, I do it like I do it. I’m not afraid to open GFR I complain about it, but I’m not afraid like I know my way around. So concretely, it’s all about also seeing opportunities. So you have to be smart with your career and go, if I take that project, can I like stretch it a little bit and showcase that I do something else, and then you get the right lingo and you start talking about and then all of a sudden people see you differently within the company, the person, the perception has to change, you have to market yourself internally.
So people know. And people come to you with these questions. And little bit by little bit, you’re like, Hey, I’m the go to for this at the end. And this is not something that is going to happen overnight. It’s not something that will happen because you said you wanted it to happen. You have to be very proactive in it, you have to really try at every corner. Do not stay in your comfort zone. Because it’s very easy when you want to do something new to stay in your comfort zone and go oh, it’s so complicated.
I don’t understand it’s a no start doing it. Little bit by little bit. It doesn’t matter. If you’re in content, for example, and you want to go into SEO. I’m pretty sure that you can explain it quite well how that thing? Did you just wake up one day and go okay, I want people to take no, you started doing things. Yep. And little by little you look up and you’re like, wait, I became the thing I want it to be now. And it didn’t happen in a day but, your brain will not
Chima Mmeje 33:37
implement out measures.
Myriam Jessier 33:39
Little bit. Be iterative, like nobody wakes up one day and ends up VP Okay, little steps. But if you see that your little steps are being hampered by someone else move on. Because if you cannot convince them, some people, they don’t want to hear you.
So for example, okay, hear me I know this is not changing roles. Exactly. But I want you to become a manager in the Development Centre. Okay. And I still have that performance review. They told me that if I smiled more, I would get a promotion. Don’t worry, I had a new job lined up already. So I smiled
Chima Mmeje 34:11
because they don’t ever tell men to smile more,
Myriam Jessier 34:14
oh they wrote it down for me, they signed it.
Chima Mmeje 34:15
It is always woman.
Myriam Jessier 34:17
And and when you want to move up, you have to realise that maybe there’s reasons why people don’t want you to move up. So if you’re a technical SEO, and you’re one of the few ones in your town that know how to do this thing, specifically the way the dev centre like we had open source CMS is we had different practices like different stacks. So it was a pretty big one didn’t have SEOs that could come in and like pick this up like this.
So promoting me would have cost them money. So I knew that I had to make a case for it, but I also had to convince them to hire someone else and explain that I would be training the person to level them up. up. So that’s also something that you have to consider.
Does your boss or does a hierarchy have money to lose by giving you what you want? And if that’s the case, maybe it has nothing to do with your abilities. It has nothing to do with your career. It’s just better to keep you in that spot.
Chima Mmeje 35:19
Wow, that is deep.
Myriam Jessier 35:22
I always wonder where’s the money? Follow the money. Whether it’d be like Google algorithm updates or jobs. I’m like, where’s the money at? Why? Why are people not giving me what I want? Why can’t I negotiate? Where are we going? Follow the money.
Chima Mmeje 35:37
Okay, that’s easier said than done. Honestly. It’s easier said than done. split the money. I think every situation is unique. But definitely good advice.
Myriam Jessier 35:45
But You get a nose for it. You’re like, I see you. I see what you’re trying to do. Like SG we all have open bets on how money is gonna be made.
Chima Mmeje 35:51
Yeah, true. True. True.
Myriam Jessier 35:54
Ah, I have one last piece of advice. Okay. You know how people always tell you like, you have to trust your gut. And like, we’re performance people. We have data.
Chima Mmeje 36:02
Myriam Jessier 36:03
And then you’re telling me to trust my gut? What is that? So I will give you that advice as well like everyone does. But the gut that you have is the sum of all of your previous experiences. So whether it be conscious or unconscious, your your mind is telling you, I’ve been there, I see the patterns.
I know something’s up. So you don’t necessarily have to rely on it. 100%. But think of it as like an autocorrect for where you’re going and really examine why do I feel this way? What’s behind this? So at the end of the day, you will guide you and then you will really start trusting your gut.
Chima Mmeje 36:39
Thank you so much. That’s really good advice. And that is the end of our FCDC Brighton SEO Story series. Thank you.
Myriam Jessier 36:48
That’s alot of S’s
Chima Mmeje 36:48
Yes. FCDC brighton SEO Story series, September 2023 edition. Myriam, thank you so much for doing this.
That was incredible. I really hope that everybody who’s watching this has gotten all the takeaways from people like Aleyda to thierry to Sarah, and now to Myriam, thank you. Bye bye
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