The Squiggly Career – Podcast

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Agility and non-linear career paths are key to success in today's world!  Hear some tips on navigating your way through your career — whether it be as an entrepreneur, corporate job, or a mixture of both of these at different times through your career.

Overview – The Squiggly Career

[00:00:00] The Squiggly Career
[00:26:38] SEO Weekly Tip – KGR Keywords

Links and Resources Mentioned

Amazon Book – The Squiggly Career
KGR Keyword Packs – Human Proof Designs

Transcript

Bryon Brewer: Hello and welcome! I am Bryon Brewer in today's podcast we're going to be covering a topic I read a book about recently called The Squiggly Career and a very timely as most of you know nowadays careers aren't so linear. They are increasingly becoming squiggly. You know, the typical staying with just one organization, thru retirement, being rewarded with a gold watch and a generous pension just rarely exist anymore. So today that's what we're going to be talking about and learning a little bit about how to navigate your way through this environment really kind of solo entrepreneurs who jump around between different careers jobs either for companies or for themselves.

The book is actually available on Amazon. I have the Kindle version here. You can see it is a $10 a book and it's from Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis. And lots of good tips here that we'll talk about. So a couple of stats here -throughout our lifetimes most of us are going to spend an average of 90,000 hours working.

So what we do and how we spend that time is important. As mentioned, careers are not so linear anymore. They've become increasingly squiggly lots of different twists and turns as you go through that path of your career. One thing though, that this does give us is it gives us a lot of freedom to decide what we're going do and how we're going to spend that time.

Used to careers would progress really through internal corporate structures and through various promotions you would get at your company. That's increasingly outdated. We see people are more dedicated to specific skills and roles within a company and not necessarily moving up or down and the average tenure at a company continues to drop.

So compared to previous generations, we have a lot more freedom to decide how our careers play out and what we want to do. According to a study from the management consulting firm, McKinsey and company as many as 375 million people will have to change their careers in the next 10 years. You know, especially with the pandemic and COVID this accelerated some of the change in industries worldwide.

So learning really to adapt to new technologies and industries to ensure that you have opportunity in the future is really important. And these changes are really leading to a lot more flexibility in how we work. A study that the Yuca did you know, indicated things like flexible working hours increased employee productivity by 72%.

We've seen that a lot, a lot over the last couple of years. But that flexibility brings its own challenge. Being remote can be lonely you know, lack of human interaction and then just getting plugged into an organization as well. And we experienced that too, kind of in, in the, in the world of entrepreneurship where a lot of the work is done independently.

And how do we keep ourselves moving forward? So we're going to identify some practical changes you can make to kind of squiggle your way through a rewarding career, whether it's working for you on your own or working at a company. So first kind of tips here, identify your strengths and focus on what you're good at.

One thing to note is you can't be good at everything, so you don't want to spread yourself too thin. You know, be honest with yourself and try to determine what are the skills that I'm really good at. You know, what, what are the, what are the things that I like to do, and then focus on developing and mastering those strengths.

And, and really your, your strengths are going to be a combination of talent experience your attitude and your behavior. So it's more than just your kind of built in talent. Your strengths can also play into the experience that you've, that you've had in the past. The Arthur in this squiggly book recommends that people spend about 80% of their time enhancing their strengths.

And so that just leaves 20% of your time to identify and tackle the weaknesses. That get in the way of your performance. So really we're spending nearly all the time, all of our time increasing and working on our strengths and just 20% on those weaknesses that we have in this book interesting calls out what they call super which super strengths are those qualities that your friends, your family, your colleagues would associate you with when you're not in the room? What, what do people generally think you're really good at? You're not just good at them. You're, you're really good at them. And these super strength should be used frequently visibily throughout your career.

And you want to let people, you know, know what you're good at. And make sure that your current work is harnessing those super strengths you have. You know, my background, I have always been good at technology and figuring out how to make things work if it's programming code or debugging application software and then also around project management and operations.

So those are really been my super You know has his marketing or networking those, those things my strengths? No. So I have to play into what I'm really good at and then work a bit on those things that I can improve and then build a network around me that compliments those weaknesses that I have.

You also want to think about, as you navigate through your career is integrating your values into your work. Is the work meaningful and interesting to you? You know, sometimes I get questions from potential clients who are looking to start up a business. You know, do I need to be passionate about the work?

Do I need to like the niche that I'm going into? And I always tell people, well, it's going to make it a whole lot easier if it's meaningful or interesting to you, not to say that you can't be successful in a niche that you're not interested in, but it certainly is going to make it easier for you to be successful.

And really those who go into something where they have passionate interest in tend to be the most successful. So I, I recommend, and just like this book says is, you know, integrate really your interests your values into the work that you're planning to do. Does it align with your values and goals for life?

You know, if you're looking for you know, where you can stay home with your kids involved in local sports or activities. Yet the job you're looking at involves lots of travel. That's not going to integrate well with your value. So all of those components need to be taken into consideration.

You know, the, the, the book here breaks out three different phases of life values, the imprint, which is birth to seven years as we kind of learn what our values are. From our parents then copycat eight to 13 where we kind of mimic or model a lot of the values that we see around us. And then the rebel phase, teenage years, where we questioned those values, we've learned and try to integrate the differences that we believe with what we have learned.

So it's probably a good exercise to kind of spend a little bit of time and understanding what your values are and what you're looking for in your career. Now, you know, it's, as you, as you look at a squiggly career, one thing is it takes, it takes a lot of confidence to move around to a new job.

You're you, you have to kind of reprove yourself. You, you need to you've got a whole nother set of, of peers that you're working with and clients and supervisors that don't know you. So it can be hard in this kind of new environment that we work in to have confidence, especially if that doesn't come natural to you.

We we all do have moments of self doubt, so that's not going to be unusual. I think everybody experiences that, but you know, one thing some people believe is that confidence is something that is just built into you. That some people are confident. Some people are not the truth is, is that confidence can be learned.

And improve through practice. You know, when I when I first started my career I went into I worked at a number of different jobs in the technology field. And eventually I decided I wanted to go into consulting. And mainly because I wanted to get over my fear of speaking publicly in front of a group.

And kind of doing presentations in front of executives and, and colleagues. And so I felt like, you know, consulting is going to force me to get in front of a group of folks and do a presentation to do a proposal to do all those things that I was kind of scared to do. And so when I was in my mid twenties, I left the job that I was working at, went into a consulting firm, doing it consulting and you know, immediately the first the first job I had was in Oklahoma city working with a nationwide florist company and had to do presentations on how to revamp some of their processes and systems.

And over time, I was able to increase my confidence and did that for 15 years and became very, very good at that. So confidence can be learned. You have to practice it, practice it though. So you want to think about what are, you know, what are the, the fears that are stifling your potential? What gremlins do you have that are holding you back?

And you want to challenge. Figure out how you can integrate some of those gremlins into your daily work and address them, and then, you know, treat yourself when you do that. You know, make it a positive experience, reward yourself when you do face those gremlins and make some progress.

 Networking kind of in this new world, super important.

You know, it's not necessarily the number of people in your network. It's the quality of your network. Connections is super important. According to some research indicated in this book we can have a maximum of 150 casual friends 50 close friends and confidence and supporters. 50 close friends and then 15 confident confidence and supporters, and then five best friends.

So see the numbers can be low. Sometimes you go to LinkedIn, you see someone's connected to, you know, 5,000 people. Well the reality is, is that our network that's going to be valuable to us is going to be much smaller. And you don't necessarily need to be an extravert to be able to create and nurture a good networking in good relationships.

I've certainly would be considered more of an introvert but I'm able to develop those relationships over time and my own way and build up that network of different folks in different skills, in different industries that I've encountered that can help me. You know, the job I'm at for three years, I decided to move on and do something else.

Or if I'm looking at starting up a new venture who has some experience in that field that could help me in your network becomes super valuable for that. One other thing to know is if you do, if you are looking especially if you're looking to expand your skills into other industries and other areas, maybe that your career hasn't taken you yet.

And looking for a mentor to help you is rather than vaguely asking someone to mentor you in that industry or that field is be specific in your requests. Let them know what you need help with and you know, where, what you're trying to do and you'll get a lot better help from a mentor when you're more specific.

We, we also want to change our mindset – we want to focus more on possibilities on the future possibilities. You know, the classic you know, education and then work and then retirement is rapidly going extinct. So when we want to look at what are other jobs or professions that you could see yourself taking on and you want to think about, of course you're super super strengths.

What are those other jobs or professions that also could benefit from those same super strengths that you have? And there's a few possibilities you could have your pivot possibility. Those you use your same skill set and super strengths, but just in a fresh way. So you pivot from, from one industry or career to another that's similar.

You also have your ambitious possibility. So something you've always considered but have decided against, for some reason. Maybe you have it, there's certain educational requirements or certain experience required. And so it's difficult to move in to that field. You know, one thing that I did w back when I graduated college is I thought, cause I had always been involved in it and technology even through college.

And I had some jobs through college doing that. But when I graduated college, I had a finance degree and I said, I want to be a stockbroker. I want to help people with their finances. And so I interviewed with Edward Jones investments and I was offered a position with them as a stock broker. And with that model, you will move and open up your own office.

And it's kind of like an independent entrepreneur you're responsible for opening that office, building your business and and you get paid a hundred percent commission. So there's no salary there except for the first year. So I did that. I moved from Texas to Virginia Beach and opened up an Edward Jones office.

And I quickly realized that it wasn't something that I liked. You know, I liked the consultative aspect of helping people plan for their retirement and their finances. But I didn't like the sales aspect of it, which is a big part of that. And so so it wasn't for me. I just, you know, made a, a a big, you know move across the country and opened up an Edward Jones office.

And within months decided that I didn't like it. And I was just. Like, you know, 22, 23 years old, right out of college. So I just pivoted back into it and picked up from there where I left off, basically. So so that was an ambitious possibility and something that I tried, but didn't necessarily want to do.

And then you have your, your dream possibility. So if you had nothing holding you back. What would you do? So keep, you know, kind of plan. What, what are the pivots that you could do in your career? What are the kind of more ambitious paths you could take? What does that dream possibility look like as well?

And then decide what's important to you and why, and that's going to help you navigate kind of your career compass and figuring out as opportunity is around. How do you move across these different possibilities and making the right choices?

So curiosity, feedback and grit, important qualities to have as you navigate through your career. You know, curiosity is staying current on new trends and opportunities. Folks jumping around and moving to new careers and jobs every few years or more frequently. You need to stay up to date on what the current trends and the current opportunities are out there.

And, and, and, you know, enhance your skills to be able to use those trends that may be coming up see seek feedback from your current employers on what you can do better. And realize too, that natural talent, isn't everything. You know, I have a client yesterday that what is, is buying a new age domain site.

And they you know, they really want to, you know, make a success out of this. They've had. Some previous business to online businesses in the past that they never panned out. So it really working hard to make this one, a success. But you know, comment was, well, I see all these people on Facebook and they're, you know, they create this site or they do this or that, and they write.

Thousands of visitors are ranking high and they're making a thousand dollars a day on this and they've got this e-commerce product or this drop ship product, and all these things. I see all these people saying all these success they have. And you know, it gets you to kind of doubt your own confidence and your abilities and thinking, well, these people are, are, you know, they just do it and they naturally have talent for this, but by and large, that's simply not true. These people have worked for many years sometimes. Sometimes they, you know, especially our industry, they may not really be successful, but you know, we've got a lot of fakes. But those that are it's not necessarily natural talent, it's, it's hard work that they have put into it.

And so, you know, we use the word grit, the amount of effort you put into something, which is really a better gauge of success is, you know, how bad do you want it? How much work are you going to put into, into that effort. So grit is super important. I would say, you know, recognize what really fascinates you, what really interests you.

If you're going to put lots of effort into something, then you know, it needs to be something that's going to keep your interest in the head. You're really interested in and that's not to say that, you know, if you're going to create starting online business in the affiliate, That you need to love writing.

You may not you know, affiliate sites are all about content, so but you can outsource that. Maybe your thing is, is you love research. You love, you know, identifying what trends are happening in a niche or industry. So you can direct writers towards the right content that's going to rank. But you're not going to be the writer.

So that's. You know, deliberate practice every day to advance your skills. So things that you don't know watch podcasts join webinars take online courses do what you can to advance your skills and become norm more knowledgeable. You want your skills, your understanding, your education to continue to develop every week you know, identify a greater purpose for your goal.

So this will help you keep that effort going when you can see, you know, what is that long range goal you have is that goal to replace income from a current job? Is it to pay for college for your kids? Is it, you know, what is that goal? That's going to keep you moving. And then always adopt a growth mindset.

Don't be happy with just where you're at. You know, figure out what do I do need to do to take it to the next level? What am I going to do to grow this? If you're not growing it, then it's going to slowly die away. Alright. So examine your options as you move through. And you have opportunities that come up.

Maybe the opportunity you're at right now is just, is perfect. Is the grass really greener on the other side? Do you need to make a move? Okay. You want to consider, are you happy and still learning a lot at the current endeavor? If it's a, if it's a business you're running or a car, you know, a job you have are you learning, are you growing?

There will a new role use your super strengths and help you live your values. Yeah, we talked about an IBM study says that folks are 12 times more likely to quit if they were not growing their skills and experience. So if you feel stagnant you're not going to be very productive and 12 times more likely to quit, get into something that you like and that you're growing inside projects to you can, you know, not necessarily leave your current opportunity.

But start up a side project that may be, can provide you with valuable experience and an outlet to explore and grow your skills while still keeping your existing opportunity that you have.

So I'm summarizing here identify and employ your strengths. 80% of the time you're working, working on growing your strengths and 20% on your weaknesses build mutually beneficial networks. These are going to help you kind of, as we go through this crazy, you know career of, of, you know, many, many different jobs or businesses that you may be running throughout your career work on boosting your confidence which can be done through training and practice, and then make sure to integrate your value.

So advice for this week and kind of from this book that I got was kind of actionable advice you can take is document your successes each week. Or you can try reflecting on what are the steps forward that I took. What are things that I learned if I did better you know, things that went well.

And then what were the steps. What were the things that didn't go well and then, you know, look at it. Are you moving forward? Are you taking, taking more steps forward? Then you are taking steps backward. We want to make sure we're moving forward. All right. So get, you know, I think this this book has you know, especially in today's times is very valuable and has some great tips here.

So hopefully giving you some of those. And if not you can get the book and read the full thing. So let's move on.

[00:26:38] Weekly SEO Tip – KGR Keywords

Bryon Brewer: We're going to talk about our weekly SEO tip. And this week we're tapping about KGR keywords, which stands for keyword golden ratio. And what this is, is this is a data-driven method for finding keywords that rank high in Google.

And usually very quickly sometimes the same day or just a few days, we can have an article ranking by using the KGR method. These keywords are typically underserved on the internet, so there's not a lot of content out there. And so Google is going to reward you for providing quality content on that topic.

So let's look at the formula here. So the KGR formula is the number of Google results that have the keyword phrase in the page title. So if your keyword phrase is best kayaks for teenagers, then that would be in the page title. Okay. So we're looking for results that have that full keyword phrase in the page title, and then divided by the monthly search volume.

Where that search volume is less than two 50. So we're really just looking for keywords that have search volumes of two 50 or less. And then that keyword phrases in the page title. So you can see the formula here is KGR equals the number of all entitled results. So how do you get. A, a search result where that keyword is in the page title.

Cause otherwise you can just do a regular search is going to return back all kinds of results where it's maybe in that in, in the first paragraph or somewhere in the body of the text or wherever it could be anywhere. But we want to end the title. So if you used this qualifier all in title, Results are all entitled then.

And then the key word is Google is going to give you those keywords that are only in the title. So we're going to take that, that result. Let's say we best kayaks for teenagers and we get back 200 results. Okay. And then we're going to divide that by the search volume. How much search volume does that have?

So let's say that there's a hundred search volume. So it would be divide 200 by a hundred. Okay. Now that ratio that comes up, if it is less than 0.25, then that is KGR compliant. And that's great. If it's between 0.2, five and one, then it's not quite KGR compliant. It might work. It might be good. But you're getting farther away from it being great.

Okay. So you could consider, especially if you're getting very few. That are 0.2, five or below, then you could consider going up a little bit. And then if it's above one ratio, then it's not KGR compliant. It's not going to be, you know, low competition. So you should stay away from that and focus on those that have the lower ratios.

So that's the KGR ratio there and I will show you how to do this here. So let's pull up Google.

All right. So we've got our screen up here and let's go to Google. And what we're going to do is do all in title and then let's do best kayaks for teenagers. Okay. Okay, so you see there's none in there. Let's try like fishing, that's kayaks for fishing. All right. So we do have some where that's in the title.

So best fishing kayaks is in there and could see best fishing, kayak best fishing, kayaks, the, all of these have that best fishing kayak within the title. Okay. So now that came back 670 results here. So what we're going to do is we're going to look at the six 70, going back to the formula here.

Let's go back to that formula.

Okay, is all entitled results. So that's going to be six 70 divided by the search volume of this, which you could get from SemRush from Ahrefs from a number of tools to get the search volume for a particular keyword. And then that'll give us our ratio. Okay. Now you had to do that for each keyword phrase that you're wanting to research.

So. You know, 200 keyword phrases and you want to see which ones are KGR compliant. You'll need to do that. All entitled search for each one. Best way to create your spreadsheet. Put, put each keyword in there. Yeah. And then run you a search and just record all the results, the number of results, and then the search volume for each, and then do a calculated column there to get your ratio.

And then you can sort by that to see which ones are compliant. It is you know, we use KGR on a lot of our sites that we build and it it's, it's very successful. In most all cases. So here's a good example here of a site that started out on January with you know, very low traffic 5,000 in traffic.

And then over the period of a year of adding articles slowly each month using just the KGR method on this site and that's. We identified this key words, ran through the jar and got those ratios and focused on those. You can see that we had an 800% traffic increase from 5,000 to 42,000 in the period of 12 months.

So so we know it works and you'll find lots of research from other folks in the industry as well that this. Now, if you, if you are interested in doing KGR certainly can do it manual. You can also check out humanproofdesigns.com under the menu option, grow your site. We do have a KGR package.

You can order there, we take a thousand keywords in your niche and calculate the KGR ratio for all 1000 of them. And then we sort that give you all of the results. And then we guarantee that at least 50 of the. We'll be gate KGR compliant. If they're not, then we'll go find more keywords until we get you at least 50, typically in a batch of a thousand that we analyze, we'll find about 200 to 250.

They're going to be KGR compliance is going to vary per niche. But that's pretty typical of the number you'll get. And so you could consider getting the KGR pack from human proof designs. I was saying to you lots and lots of. All right. So that is it for this week. We will talk to you next week.

Thank you.

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