There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.
We are all flesh and blood, yet we are all different. We all carry our load differently. Our shoulders can’t handle the same mountains.
That’s why life chooses the bravest ones to give the toughest shoulders to.
Shoulders to carry mountains, hills and whole worlds.
People kind enough not to let the world spoil them but also strong enough not to be broken down easily.
I am fortunate enough to work with many such people.
And, yes, I consider myself very lucky to have such a chance.
Among these people is my content COO – Vera, a person that has been with me through thick and thin through so many years.
I am not exaggerating when I say that she is my right hand, my advisor, one of the people I trust the most.
I believe that we all have what it takes to allow greatness in our lives. It’s a thing we all have in common.
We just need resilience and determination.
Luckily for me, Vera has all that.
She has achieved levels of success because she has conditioned herself with the right mindset.
It took her some work, sure. I suppose it wasn’t easy on her, too, and she must have struggled much of the time.
That’s why I wanted you to hear her story and see for yourselves how truly amazing she is.
1. So who is Vera? Please tell us a bit more about yourself!
I’m just a girl, standing in front of the CEO, waiting to be interviewed. Joking aside, first of all, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this. As a matter of fact, there are so many things I should thank you for, but let’s not jump ahead. At the moment, as the title points out, I’m the Content COO at BizzBee Solutions, and I’m loving almost every minute of it. Being an avid reader and also an MA in personality psychology and counselling, taking an interest in people and stories comes as no surprise.
I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to work with such amazing colleagues and clients and help them get their voices heard. Talking about making voices heard, I’m also the proud landlady (dog owner doesn’t feel like the right word) of a 12-year-old rescue. The number of animals in the streets, especially in this part of the world, is just devastating, so I think we should use each and every opportunity (especially with the holiday season approaching) to get the message out there: adopt, don’t shop.
2. What does a typical day of a Content COO look like?
Well, there’s hardly a typical day, actually. It often starts with me having some magnificent plans to conquer the day, if not the world. But once I get the computer running, somewhere before 8 o’clock, things start to get complicated. Most of the time, there are things that come out of nowhere that need my immediate attention, so a lot of reprioritising is involved.
Nevertheless, I assume that you wanted to hear more about my day to day activities. Most of my workday is split between planning, organising and revising content. From personal social media posts aimed at increasing thought leadership (primarily on LinkedIn), blog outlines, blog posts, company social media posts, to newsletters, there are a lot of types of content for me to take care of. Since these efforts require my full creative capacity and concentration, I prefer to do the more content-heavy activities in the first half of the day, whenever possible. The rest of the day is split between team and client meetings, as well as some more design prone activities.
3. What would you say are the key things for running and managing a successful content strategy for a B2B business?
First of all, it’s crucial to differentiate the B2B and B2C content. Especially for high-ticket service providers, which is our niche. You can’t possibly use the same content strategy for a 5€ product and a 5.000€ service. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things each type of content has in common, but the strategy is mostly different.
While B2C less pricy products can focus on writing creative copy for FB ads, B2B high-ticket service providers need to work on establishing their thought authority. Establishing solid credibility can mean make it or break it for most of them. At first, it might not seem important how many and what types of posts a B2B owner has on their LinkedIn profile, but it can greatly impact the sales. We’ve witnessed numerous outreach campaigns that were less successful simply because of the owners’ lack of credibility and authority. Even if you have an extremely innovative and useful solution, people need to get to know the people behind. That gives them comfort. I’m so glad that we are living in the era of authenticity and diversity. Crafting and sharing authentic content is one of the best ways for businesspeople to get themselves in front of their audience and boost their sales.
4. What’s your content experience? Is there a particular type of content you excel at?
Pretty diverse, actually. If I must choose one type of content I’m most confident with, I think that I’ll go with the LinkedIn thought leadership posts as mine and BizzBee’s speciality. As a psychologist, I love listening to people and indulging in their stories. It’s a real honour having the opportunity to do in-depth interviews with successful businesspeople and extract all the stories that the LinkedIn audience will love to hear and engage with. Being empathetic by nature but also having extensive training in active listening helps me put myself in both the client and audiences’ shoes. It feels like choosing the right shade of yarn, intertwining it so we can make one inspiring masterpiece. Like being the instrument that can let the words do their magic dance on the LinkedIn canvas.
5. Is there a content piece that you are especially proud of?
Hmm, tough one. Each successful LinkedIn post, blog or newsletter makes my heart skip a beat. I’m particularly fond of the posts that I share similar views with. I especially adore posts about pets and books, as you might imagine. A couple of days ago, we published a book-related post for a client that had some fantastic engagement. I was ecstatic not just because our client had a great chance of networking but also because it confirmed that people are still in love with books and stories.
6. You started as a business analyst at BizzBee, and now you are the Content COO. Can you describe us that journey and the transition to marketing? What’s the secret to your constant progress?
It’s been an eventful ride for me, that’s for sure. I don’t think that a lot of people are lucky enough to find a great place to work at on their first significant try. The business analyst role was not much to my liking, but I instead loved being part of the BizzBee team. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great stepping stone but wasn’t challenging and creative enough for me. As luck would have it, you, Dancho, were developing a new solution – ZZack at the moment, and my manager back then – Nikolina put me up for the job.
Changing the team and working on a brand new solution was challenging, but that was a great way to get a foot in the door in the marketing world. A large portion of my job was screening the web for IT opportunities, laying them down in MailChimp, and sending a daily campaign to subscribers. Since I was responsible for Mailchimp, I started working on ZZack’s marketing campaigns as well. So when you, Dancho, decided to put ZZack on hold, you kindly gave me a choice – to get back to my previous team and the business analyst job or to try a brand new marketing role. As an introvert, I was a bit anxious about switching teams once more, but I was eager to grow as a marketer and start learning and working on new, exciting things.
My marketing journey wasn’t a smooth ride, but it was a blast. Starting things from scratch and having the chance to incorporate my personality into BizzBee’s tone of voice was an honour. Becoming the marketing manager and recruiting, training and developing a team for the first time was a triumphant voyage worth remembering. I’m thrilled that my marketing team still stands strong and can do a great job without my guidance. There’s something exhilarating about steering people in the right direction (but that’s the psychologist in me, I suppose).
7. Back to the content. You constantly deal with a lot of clients. Is it difficult to juggle so many tasks and people at once?
I’d be lying if I said it’s a walk in the park. Our time and working hours are limited, and there is just so much we can do. Having the affinity to understand and please everyone and working from home, I tend to overstep the line and steal some of my me-time. But I think it will be worth it in the long run. Each aspect of the job has its pros and cons, and I’m constantly learning how to deal with the cons better and focus more on all the pros.
8. Working at an agency, we’re well aware there are different types of clients. What kinds of clients do you enjoy working with the most? Which ones do you find challenging?
Well, the thing is, we are all different. I know it sounds like something undeniable but a lot of people disregard this fact. I do my best to have this in mind constantly so that I can be more understanding and empathetic. We can’t treat and act the same way towards everyone, which is especially true for clients. Some clients want to be more involved in the process; they want to have a bigger input, impact and control. That requires more time on my side but also makes for better content.
On the other hand, some clients want to focus on their core and have a professional do everything in their stead. That means spending less time on calls and more research for my team to get quality content for our clients. Like every relationship, client relationships are a two-way street. So if I must point out a specific type of client I enjoy working with, I’d go for the kind ones. I am a huge fan of kind people, both personally and professionally. Tackling obstacles and having different opinions is normal, but treating people kindly will bloom any communication and relationship.
9. You are also responsible of electing the content interns and employees as well. What’s most important when choosing a suitable candidate?
I’m afraid I’ll sound like a cliché, but in the long run, it’s all about personality. It’s not that skills and experience are not important. I’m trying to point out that particular personality traits are associated with the chances of us being successful at a particular job or role. For instance, if someone has an affinity for reading books, they enjoy a good story and are better suited to write one.
Research shows that reading fantasy books like Harry Potter is associated with increased empathy in people, and I think empathy is crucial when dealing with content, clients, and people in general. So, even tiny, seemingly trivial practises can make a difference in the hiring process for me. If I have to choose some characteristics that I look for in future team members, I’ll go with passion for stories, kindness, and empathy. There are so many variables that are part of the equation, but these would be my top 3.
10. What’s the worst and what’s the best part of being the Content COO?
Wow, I haven’t really thought about this subject. We get so caught up in our professional roles that we rarely take a step back to think and reflect. I believe that the best part for me is two-fold. One aspect is being thrown into situations that stimulate my growth as a person and as a professional. The other is having the opportunity to meet so many fascinating people, hear and share their stories.
I’d say that the worst part for me is entirely up to me. Let me explain. I’m a perfectionist. That means that I can hardly deal with half-done jobs. I want to do my best and provide our clients with flawless content. That usually results in putting in long hours to make sure everything is on track, but also a bit of anxiety. No matter how proud of the content I am, it’s always up to the client to decide if it is up their street. And the hours until we receive their feedback can be quite a nervous experience for me. Luckily, it all ends well, most of the time. On the other hand, it means that we care, and in my opinion, that’s always a plus for our clients and us.
11. What do you do to unwind after a busy day? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you enjoy doing?
Since most days can be pretty stressful or just too eventful, I find working on my physical health improves my mental health. As Joe Wicks – The Body Coach would put it: You’ll never regret a workout. When we shift our focus to working out for our mental wellbeing, the physical results will follow. For me, it’s much more important to feel better than to look better, and the serotonin rush that we get from exercising always does the trick.
I tend to spend the rest of the day with my family (my husband and dog), watching a TV show or reading an excellent book. My book and TV preferences are almost identical. I love stories with good character development and just the right amount of humour. My all-time favourite series is Doctor Who since it allows us to perceive ourselves, the human race, from a completely different perspective. It’s such an enlightening story about kindness, teaching us there’s always hope, no matter how dark the present is. No matter the mess we create, we can always try to make things up and come out victorious without referring to violence.
12. Is there anything you would like to add?
I think I said too much, actually. I just wanted to add that the time we spend enjoying things we love is never wasted. We can gain so much, only if we analyse our preferences on a deeper scale. Reflection can do wonders. There are reasons that we have those particular proclivities. Finding them makes us wiser. Embracing them makes us unique, authentic individuals with stories worth sharing.
And that was our content COO’s story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we all at BizzBee do.
I have to say, I am not surprised by her success at all. We all saw the potential she had, the sparkle in her eyes and the passion in her work from the very beginning.
And believe me, I didn’t make things easy on her. I’ve always given her heavy mountains to carry.
I tested her shoulders, her patience and her resilience many, many times.
But like the real champ that she is, she has always managed to play the ball right.
An ability only a few have.
But what amazes me the most about her, is her kindness and patience.
No matter how dark things get, or how demanding a client may be, she is always full of understanding.
Sometimes I think that she’s even too kind. And people can take that and use it against her.
Not all are fair players like she is.
This company and this world in general needs more people like Vera.
Kind, compassionate and determined.
Vera, thank you for sticking for so many years!
Here’s to many more!
In case you missed: A Day With An Outreach COO
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 3-year-old and a burger enthusiast. He is inspired by growth and goes above and beyond to make it possible – whether it comes to his 300+ clients or his people. Eager to learn more? Follow Danco on LinkedIn and Facebook.