Interview with Brent Jones from Brent Jones Online.

Brent Jones For a lot of you this man needs little introduction.  Brent is a Freelancer who shares tips and tricks on how to become a Freelancer.  Arriving on the blogging scene in 2014.  Knocking on doors, creating his brand and becoming known as an expert in his field. 

His journey is remarkable.  Brent walks the talk.  Sharing practical advice.  Interviewing others who give us insight into their Freelance journey.  His professionalism is second to none.  Throughout his work there are traces of his quirky side.  Leaving a joke, a picture or video that gives us a giggle.  One of my favourites is in his post ‘How to Deal with Trolls, Bullies & Jerks’.

The first time Brent came to my attention was when I saw a post he wrote called ’39 Top Bloggers Reveal How They Get More Traffic’. I was curious as he had mentioned a few people I was connected with.  Checking out the content I was immediately taken in my how this one post spoke to me.  I had discovered him just in time.  I linked his work to my next post called ‘New Bloggers; The Statistics are Against Us’.  What he did not know at the time was I printed that post.  Dissected and highlighted it, wrote my own notes around it and have been referring to it ever since.   

So without any further ado, I would like introduce Brent Jones from Brent Jones Online

Brent you decided to leave your place of employment and a secure income on 6th September 2014. Your boss was shocked, he did not see it coming. It’s a lot to go out and move from a well-paying job to working on your own. In your post ‘Should You Quit Your Job?’ you sound prepared and ready to move into the new phase of Freelancer. What truths did you face? How did you calculate risk into the factor? What key skills were you relying on?

A lot of successful freelancers start out building their online, service-based businesses as a side project. A sort of side hustle around their day job… for me, I knew that wasn’t a possibility. I don’t do well when I split my focus between multiple objectives.

That said, I also wanted to mitigate risk as much as possible.

In the post you are referencing, wherein I described quitting my job the same day I got the keys to my new house, I failed to mention that it was actually a calculated risk. My wife and I bought our first house in the small town of Fort Erie, a couple of hours away from Toronto. Our monthly mortgage payment was actually a fraction of what we used to spend on rent in Toronto.

Yes, we wanted to buy a house with a yard and plenty of space — but it was also a move to financially mitigate risk, as well, as we both intended to freelance full-time from home.

My wife (Andréa Jones from http://onlinedrea.com) had already been successfully freelancing for several months. I wasn’t sure if I had skills that could be marketed online, but it was worth a try. If things went awry, our monthly expenses were low enough that even a low-paying job would keep the bills paid.

It wasn’t an outcome I wanted to have to explore, but it was good to know that — in a worst case scenario — we wouldn’t end up destitute.

Fortunately, it never came down to that.

I wasn't sure if I had skills that could be marketed online, but it was worth a try. Click To Tweet

You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little side bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play you can’t win. – Judith McNaught

RELATED:  An Intense Ready-Made Schedule for Freelancers and The Quick Start Guide to Freelancing.

This is an example of planning and execution.  There was no rash decisions here.  Deciding to go it on his own was a massive project.  He worked out the sums, quit his job, moved house and got to work.  He did not go into this unprepared. 

Brent calculated risk.  He had a strategy in place for the worst case scenario.  This was not a preferred option yet he was able to live with it if his dreams weren’t reachable.  See my post on ‘Risk Analysis – A Practiced Part of Project Management’.

He worked with what he knew about himself.  He did not want to split his focus on multiple objectives.  Knowing ourselves is a strength and gives us a better window of opportunity for success.

This message is reiterated in the interview ‘Position Yourself for Success with Brent Galloway’.  Brent Galloway worked in Web design for a year to find it was not for him.  He remained in design although he…  You will have to watch the interview to find out the answer. 

You buzz around the internet. A real go-getter. It’s evident you exercise a huge amount of discipline. In your post, ‘We Are Made to be Awesome‘ you talk about making decision, going the extra mile. Choosing between exercise or a sleep in. What do you do on low vibe days? What perks you up?

I try to remind newer freelancers that the early days are meant for hard work. Whether you are a freelance writer, web designer, or illustrator, you will almost always have to take some jobs below your pay grade when first starting out. It isn’t that you lack the talent or the skills to do the bigger jobs… you simply lack the evidence. It takes time to build up contacts, experience, portfolio pieces, and endorsements.

A lot of people start freelancing because they like the idea of being their own boss… you know, freedom and flexibility and all that jazz.

But flexibility doesn’t mean you can take a day off whenever you want. At least not at first. Flexibility simply means you get to choose when you work. And for me, I chose to work around the clock when I was new. A lot of my days when I started out were 15 and even 18 hours long. Minimal sleep. Poor eating habits. Very little exercise.

It might not have been the smartest choice on my part, but I was determined not to let “lack of effort” be my reason for failure.

It paid off, as it only took me 3-4 months to ramp up my earnings close to what they were prior to freelancing.

Now that I am a bit more established, I have hired help. I can travel more. I can take (planned) days off. I can enjoy a bit more freedom and flexibility now that I have my financial independence in place. Some of the things I enjoy doing when I am not serving clients include cycling, traveling, reading, video games, and occasionally playing guitar.

It isn't that you lack the talent or the skills to do the bigger jobs... you simply lack the evidence. It takes time… Click To Tweet

Your Instagram account highlights your bike adventures, is this what you do to unwind?

I only recently created that Instagram account (@brentjonesonline) to keep a sort of visual diary of my cycling adventures. Cycling is a bit of a new found passion for me. I’ve always loved riding a bike, but it was only this year that I thought about improving my performance. I am currently training to do a multiple day tour of Northern Ontario on my bike this fall.

If all goes well, perhaps I’ll look at doing a coast-to-coast ride in the Southern United States this winter when the weather gets too cold to ride in Canada. After all, my freelance career allows me to work from anywhere.

And yes, cycling definitely helps me to unwind. Whether it’s the start, the middle, or the end of the day, cycling is a bit of an escape for me to get some exercise, fresh air, and enjoy a bit of alone time to clear my mind. It’s a welcome change from the nonstop chiming of my phone, inbox, and various messaging services throughout the day.

Working for someone else we’re more inclined to take breaks. It’s just as important when we’re self-employed. However time gets away from us, we have a thousand things to get done, there never seems to be enough time. Do you take morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea breaks? Do you work to a set routine? How do you ensure that you maintain a steady pace yet keep yourself refreshed?

This is a tough question for me to answer, as I don’t follow an extremely structured routine each day — at least, not anymore.

I take periodic breaks throughout the day to grab a drink, a snack, or to stretch my legs and give my eyes a rest.

Generally speaking, I plan my day-to-day activities for the following week every Friday… a sort of daily to-do list. I often include things on that daily list such as cycling or reading, to ensure I get to do them almost every day.

I once heard that if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. And that’s because busy people plan everything — otherwise, they just don’t happen.

When I get up in the morning, I put on the coffee pot, and then I get to work. This is generally around 7 am. I work steadily on my to-do list until everything is crossed off. Sometimes that takes just 3-4 hours — sometimes it takes 12-15. But the bottom line is that the day isn’t over until everything on my list is crossed off. I rarely stop for longer than 15 minutes during the day. I enjoy some downtime with my wife once everything on my list has been completed.

Freelancing gives us freedom of choice. Yet not all tasks are enjoyable. We accept these chores and get on with it. What is your method for facing part of the workload that isn’t something you want to do?

I suppose doing tasks we don’t always enjoy is just part of being an adult. I must admit that I find tedious tasks somewhat less tedious when they are a part of running my own business rather than working for someone else. I suck it up and do the things I don’t enjoy doing today so I can enjoy the lifestyle I am building for myself tomorrow.

Then again, I made a point to focus my business on doing tasks that I — for the most part — enjoy. That isn’t to say, however, that I love every single task that has to get done every day.

So as my business has grown, I have hired help and I am now able to outsource a number of my daily tasks to well qualified people. This certainly has freed up my time to work on more exciting, bigger picture projects.

You plan your day to day activities on Friday. Say Monday comes around and a potential new client wants to come on board. Your day is packed. You have a system in place that works for you. How do you deal with the unexpected? 

I handle unexpected events by adding them to my schedule for a later date. When a new week begins, it’s very unusual that I will deviate from the schedule I have created for myself. Let’s be honest — and I know other solopreneurs will be able to relate — if we really wanted to, we could work 24/7, couldn’t we?

When it comes to bringing a new client on board, I set expectations with new potential clients early in terms of when I will be available to begin serving them. Monday is always a no-go. With nearly 20 social media clients to schedule for, creating their content always has to be done at least a week in advance.

The key word you used is “systems” — I’m a firm believer in having systems and processes in place to ensure everything gets done on time and properly. And one of those systems, for me, is ensuring I don’t deviate (much) from the daily tasks I set out for myself.

Organize, don’t agonize. – Nancy Pelosi

Brent is there anything else you would like to share with us?

An entire Canadian city of 100,000 was burned to the ground this week. People lost everything. Their homes. Their jobs. I’m trying to raise awareness/money from people outside of Canada, and obviously you’re connected to people in Australia that I am not.  Help Those In Fort McMurray.

Do you know how lucky we are?  Brent has just shared his professional blue print with us.  This is what he does to plan, action and move forward.  A practical step by step formula that has made his brand an outstanding name. 

I couldn’t wait to get this interview published.  Brent’s answers highlight a self-awareness and professional integrity required to get ahead in life.  Not just in the blogging world, but anywhere.  He doesn’t mess about with how he represents himself, yet we’re able to enjoy humour throughout his posts and interviews.  Showing a healthy balance of taking his work seriously but wanting to lighten it with his own style. 

It’s been a joy to work with Brent.  An inside look at the man behind Brent Jones Online.  I’d like to thank him very much his time. 

To find more out about the services Brent offers hit this link ‘hirebrentjones.com’. He can be found on Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus, Facebook and Instagram link above.

Posted in Behaviour, Self Development and tagged , , , .

43 Comments

  1. Rachel ma’am, great to read Brent’s interview. You’ve asked him all the right questions. I enjoy his style and it has been a pleasure knowing him. We’ve collaborated in massively successful roundups. He is outstanding at what he does. I always find him making smart moves and try to learn from him. 🙂

    I closely follow him on instagram; love the theme of his account – “Cycling adventures”.

    Wishing you both MASSIVE success. I admire you both! 😀

    Rohan.
    Rohan Chaubey recently posted…It’s My Birthday Today. Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far.My Profile

    • Hey Rohan,

      It was a great collaboration. Brent’s answers are filled with value. While it is his own blue print and we all have to find our own, there is certainly a lot we can all take from Brent’s actions.

      I certainly have seen you both in a number of round ups. I agree Rohan he is outstanding, that is why an interview with him was a must and the results speak for themselves.

      Rohan are you thinking of getting a bicycle? Thanks for your wonderful comments.

      Rachel.

    • Hey Rohan,

      I had to lookup what tachophobic was. I have dozen questions that pop into my mind.

      Good luck with your examines and for going for your licence.

      Rachel.

    • Hey Brent,

      It really should be me thanking you. Your detailed answers will help many people. I see anyone who is sitting on the fence when it comes to making decisions will get a heck of a lot out of this interview.

      As per your usual flare you have delivered a wonderful interview. Thank you.

      Rachel.

  2. A very interesting interview with my friend Brent! You brought out a lot of information from him that I didn’t know. His work ethic is unmatched! I am lucky to have him as a friend and blogging mentor. He has helped me a lot, as he has helped others. A generous person. Thanks for this interview!

    • Hey Dr Rin,

      It’s your first time to my blog so welcome.

      You have made my day. You have discovered things about Brent you did not know, this confirms I have asked the right questions.

      Brent has been a big influence on my blogging journey, I agree he generously shares his knowledge. I knew at some stage I was going to interview Brent. Never has he skimped on detail in any of his work. So that mean any questions I asked he was going share his experience in his own style. Creating a sensational interview with heaps of tips on organisation, discipline and starting something from the beginning. This interview is filled with in depth information.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

  3. Fabulous interview! Thanks for the little shout out, Brent. 🙂 Also, I love how indepth you go with our choice to freelance full-time. It definitely wasn’t random or unplanned. It’s very, very important to have fail-safes in place for those just-in-case moments, especially if you have a family.

    • Hey Andrea,

      It’s your first time to my blog, so welcome.

      Brent really came through on the detail. The hard work and planning are highlights. This interview will benefit anyone who is seriously considering moving from full time work to Freelancing.

      I agree Andrea it’s of the up most importance to have back up plans for a number of reasons. There will always be days where uncertainty can consume us, when we have fails safe in place it can lighten the stress levels.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

  4. Hi, Rachel

    Fantastic interview, Rachel. I noticed that Brent gave out the blue print of success for any professional. We should credit your skill of interviewing people who will have no resistant to give out valuable information for you.

    He reminded us that we need to work hard (18 hours a day or 24/7) before we can enjoy freedom,flexibility, and money. I like his seriousness about follow his “system” – never derivate too much from it. His statement, “day is not over until everything is cross off”, is one of solutions for my time management problems.

    Love the post! will share!
    Stella Chiu recently posted…The Mystery of the Law of AttractionMy Profile

    • Hey Stella,

      Interviews are a wonderful way to dig a little deeper into what people specialise in. I was thrilled at Brent’s answers, although I was not surprised. He never skimps on detail and is generous with his knowledge.

      I agree it is a blue print for success. A well thought out plan and he narrowed his focus as soon as he took action. Meaning he prioritised getting his business off the ground and everything else had to wait a while. What I really took from the interview was as soon as he started to see progress he got back to living. Bike riding and travel with his partner Andrea. Great supportive team.

      Thanks for your comments, so glad you’re taking away the tips about the ‘to do list’.

      Rachel.

    • Hi Stella,

      Thanks for your kind words!

      You know, my strategy in terms of crossing everything off my list has been criticized by productivity coaches in the past.

      I’ve been told that successful people don’t create to-do lists.

      But as far as I can tell, I’m doing alright.

      I think it really comes down to figuring out which system(s) work best for us.

      And you are correct — Rachel asks excellent questions. Plus, I’m always happy to chat with other online content creators.

      Best,

      Brent
      Brent Jones recently posted…Quit Your Day Job to Freelance with Gina HorkeyMy Profile

  5. Hey Rachel,

    I’m glad you decided to interview Brent for your blog because he’s one of my favorite people online. 🙂

    He sure walks the talk. He knows how to hustle. I also love his witty ways to use social media and other channels to grab the attention of his audience.

    The thought of going out on your own without first getting your feet wet takes a lot of courage. However, in your situation, everything seems very well thought out.

    You lived frugally with your wife, which is probably one the smartest decisions you can make and something I heard many big entrepreneurs mention on podcasts: live below your means.

    I’ve told Brent that I’d peek on his Instagram even though I don’t have one. It’s enjoyable to get an inside look on one of his cycling adventures. Bummer that fresh cut fries pitstop was closed 3 weeks ago 😉 I truly love those.

    “I must admit that I find tedious tasks somewhat less tedious when they are a part of running my own business rather than working for someone else.” – this quote certainly resonates with me, Brent.

    Lastly, I think it’s great that you mentioned the Fort McCurray here. After reading your post, I have made several people in my personal circle aware of this as well which have also supported this cause.

    Just goes to show how a little adds up to become a whole lot. Every single bit of help matters.

    Thank you for this wonderful interview, Brent. And Rachel, you asked fantastic questions. It’s great to be on your blog for the first time 🙂

    – Jasper

    • Hey Jasper,

      I decided to interview Brent as he is thorough in detail. That’s evident in his posts. I knew with what I had read there was a real story behind Brent’s journey into Freelancing. As a curious interviewer I want to get to the nitty gritty of it all. And wall-ah, the answers speak for themselves.

      Lots of people are drawn to Brent, so I’m not surprised that he is one of your favorite people on line.

      I agree going from full time work to freelancer does take courage. Yet I see something of Brent rising to the challenge. Not allowing any barriers to become walls just obstacles that were yet to be jumped. His determination and discipline saw to that.

      It was great getting to know Brent a little better, I’m always entertained by his little quirky side represented in his posts. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

      Rachel.

    • Hi Jasper,

      What a great comment. Glad to hear I’m one of your favorite online people! I’m not so bad in real life, either… 😉

      I once failed to win a prospective client because he looked at my social profiles and noted how little activity there was. This was over a year ago.

      Not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me, but if I were going to market myself as a freelance social media manager, the least I could do is make an effort with my own social profiles. So I stepped my game up — glad to see it’s working.

      I’m on a bit of a health binge at the moment, Jasper. Cycling almost daily and eating well. I’ve dropped 8-9 pounds in the last two weeks, for instance. So as much as I love fresh cut fries, I wouldn’t have indulged anyway. But thanks for following my cycling adventures!

      I’m really grateful that you helped to spread the word about what’s happening in Fort Mac. As you said, every little bit helps.

      I’m pleased you and Rachel connected, too! Thanks for commenting.

      Best,

      Brent
      Brent Jones recently posted…Quit Your Day Job to Freelance with Gina HorkeyMy Profile

  6. You sound like you know your stuff, Brent! Glad that I came across this blog as I am going to take a look at your stuff so I can learn from it. I am still newer to blogging and with the ever-changing rules, styles, trends, I need someone to follow that can keep me up-to-date on everything going on!

  7. Loved this Rachel.

    Awesome job.

    And Brent, I find your story inspiring.

    To me, you’re both people I respect. This isn’t an easy thing to get into, but you both have such talent, but even more than that, you’re both authentic.

    The world is changing rapidly and our so-called “security” is disappearing. You offer such valuable tools for those looking to make it on their own. I know I’m not the only one who is grateful for this.

    I may not have gotten into the video interviews yet, but I have something up my sleeve that I’m working on.

    Thank-you both for putting this together 🙂
    Dana recently posted…“I’m Stuck In A Rut – Now What?”My Profile

    • Hey Dana,

      Brent does have a great story. As the interview was unfolding I pictured Brent in my mind like the HULK. Not angry but not afraid of ripping down every obstacle in his path. Leaving no stone uncovered. His motivation to start something from nothing gets me all the time. And I was lucky enough to get the interview, which I really appreciated.

      Brent certainly does offer valuable tools to succeed as a Freelancer. His own step by step formula. Thanks for your amazing comment.

      Rachel.

        • Ha ha ha Brent,

          I was wondering if the Hulk example would get any attention. At the time of writing, it was the first thing that popped in my mind that could best describe your determination.

          When you say shy, introverted and reserved, I would not have picked it yet I’m not surprised. Two different roles play out in our personal and professional lives. Its like a performer. Say for instance Michael Jackson. What a stage presence. He had the moves, the voice. However personally he was softly spoken and shy in his face to face interviews.

          It was great having you Brent, I knew there was a great story behind the blogging guy who is generous with sharing his info.

          Rachel.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Dana.

      I appreciate you recently including me in your post on people you admire… that’s quite the compliment. 🙂

      It took me a while to figure it out, but authenticity is often very attractive. At the very least, when we’re our genuine selves, we attract the right sorts of followers. And that’s very important when building an audience.

      Brent
      Brent Jones recently posted…Charge What You’re Worth with Brennan DunnMy Profile

    • Hey Nehakha,

      Thanks for giving this blog post the amount of time you did. Let that inspiration drive you to your own blue print of a successful business.

      Rachel.

    • Hey Rishabh,

      Glad you took something from this interview. Brent certainly does detail his steps to creating a success online business.

      Rachel.

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