I’m sincerely grateful to say I am now the father of 2 beautiful and healthy children since my wife gave birth to our second just a few short months ago. Fatherhood (and motherhood I guess) is the biggest learning experience you will ever undertake, I’m continually gaining and enhancing skills on a daily basis and I believe that will be the case for many years to come, probably forever.
It’s absolutely true to say that these skills are now in my armoury to be utilised in all aspects of my home and work life and, having looked back over the last few years since our first child was born I’m certain the skills below have made me a better link builder.
The ability to be creative in link building is probably the single most important attribute in my opinion. Whether it’s figuring out that killer content idea for link bait or finding the “in” for your outreach emails, thinking outside the box is going to make you stand out from the rest. Playing with and generally being around your children enables you to see past the adult sense of how things are. You can indulge yourself in a world where left over boxes can be a mighty castle and colourful plastic figures spring into life right before your eyes, the only limits are your imagination when you’re 2 years old.
Once you unlock this area of your brain and rediscover the ability to play, even when sitting in front of your laptop you are able to be less restricted in your thinking. Certainly some of my most creative tactics have been born out of this enhanced ability to think outside the box, and not be limited by my 30 something years. Not only that but having children demands you can completely shut off from work in order to enjoy your time with them. If you are working you may only get to see your children for a few hours (or less) per day and you want to give them your undivided attention. When you get back to work you are refreshed and read to go with a clear head, your mind opened to new ideas.
How can I put this so that those of you without children can understand? Having children is testing, very testing. Imagine the most trying situation you’ve ever been involved with and replaying that situation every day, add lack of sleep into the mix too. Got it?
As a father your patience is tested every single day, your children try to push the boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour in every conceivable situation, making even the simplest task somewhat “difficult” and you have to deal with it.
Patience however is another key attribute which is essential for the successful link builder. Crafting your content, sifting through hundreds of potential leads, researching competitors all these things are painstaking tasks which take up an extraordinary amount of time. Without patience you will cut corners, you’ll be sloppy and ultimately unsuccessful.
Being in charge of another human being is a super scary place to be in at first. You turn up at the hospital and just a few short hours later (sometimes long hours) you leave with a tiny little person being completely dependent on you for survival. There’s no training, no manual and even Google doesn’t give you all the answers. In time though you get the hang of things and your confidence begins to grow as you prove to yourself day by day that you can actually do what is easily the most difficult thing we will ever do in our entire lives. Once you have proven yourself as a father nothing is ever as scary again. If you previously weren’t able to make that call to the industry leader you wanted to, or couldn’t make your guest blogging pitch to your mentor, I promise you, it’ll be a piece of cake now.
(Case in point: I rather cheekly asked Paddy Moogan, one of my favorite SEO’s, to review this article for me, and he very kindly did. I’m not sure I’d have had the balls to ask a few years ago)
@paddymoogan if you’re bored mate I have one which needs a look over. Only 800 words
— Gaz Copeland (@StokedSEO) February 5, 2012
Children can be very much like clients at times, they demand instant gratification, throwing tantrum if they don’t get what they want. Like NOW! Sure, you could give them the lolly pop they want, let them watch that extra hour’s TV, buy that link, spin the content, it may keep them quiet this time. But what about next time? If you give in on your stance once then believe me it is much more difficult to say no again next time, and the time after that. You have to trust that you know what’s best for the long term and that even though they may be unhappy right now you have their best interests at heart. They’ll thank you for it in the end.
Children, especially babies need a routine in order to stay relaxed throughout the day and night, the more relaxed they are, inevitably the more relaxed you are too. My son’s bedtime routine is something we have been doing practically unchanged for almost 2 years and he’s so set in it that he is the one reminding me what happens next. It goes something like this….
Upstairs ->Undressed -> Bath -> PJ’s -> One (and only one!) episode of Peppa Pig on YouTube -> Book (Shopping with dad is his favorite at the moment) -> Kiss -> Sleep
Establishing a routine to your link building is essential to ensure that you are achieving your goals, whatever they might be. There are so many different ways you can build links, with new ideas being published daily that it’s incredibly easy to become distracted and lose focus on the final objective. Having a link building routine means you know exactly what you need to do, and when, which in turn will (hopefully) mean you are much more successful in your efforts.
So there you have it, if you want to be a better link builder, have kids! I hope those of you who already have kids will relate to what I’m talking about, having children is the most amazing journey and you will never be the same again, you will be better.
Want more? Whilst doing a bit of research for this article I came across a few others talking about fatherhood which I would highly recommend: