Interview with Silvia Del Corso, SEO and digital marketing freelancer

Find out why Silvia Del Corso and her family moved from Tuscany to the UK, and how the Mums Enterprise Roadshow reignited her freelance SEO and digital marketing career.

What’s your career background?

My career background, actually, began in quite a different way. Until one year ago, I used to live in Italy, in a seaside town in Tuscany.

Given the high touristic demand of the setting and my natural language learning skills, I studied Foreign Languages & Literatures at the university (I still could have a conversation in German and Spanish… and I’d love to!)

For two incredible years, I worked for a touristic promotion not for profit organisation which let me travel all over Europe. When you’re a 20-something years old, being paid to visit the capital cities looks too good to be true… that’s why it didn’t last much.

The not for profit had strong bonds to the city’s political party and when the other party won the elections, the dream finished.

Straight after, I found my life-long employment in an incoming local tour operator. For 10 years I worked there, when my kids were born I changed the employment thereinto a part-time role.. until they started struggling with finances and to pay their employees.

What happened next?

It was time to move on.

And this time, it was the Big Career Change. My husband, the real-geeky web developer, was working freelance and told me about this booming digital marketing industry.

He told some of his clients would have wanted support. I approached it with the caution of a not-very-tech person, getting closer and closer as I noticed it wasn’t (just) scary bits of tech stuff, but also ideas and connections. Bingo. It became love at first sight.

I took (actually, I tend to keep taking, to be honest…) each and every course, webinar and in-depth session until I felt I could give it a try myself. One of my husband’s clients had a country house in need of tourist marketing strategies.

This was the ideal bridge between my previous and my new career, so – scared to death – I met them the first time. I started talking and passion took me over. So I started telling them the ideas I had from the experience in the touristic industry. They were impressed and we started.

What was your learning curve like?

If I look back to those days, seven years ago, I judge naive and inexperienced so many of those techniques and decisions of mine, things I did or didn’t do, didn’t know about.

I learnt how to better price my services and my time the hard way and too late. We ended up with our most important stuff packed up in 20 boxes (how can you ever pack in 20 boxes four people’s most important stuff??) and off we went to London. Italian taxation and chronic unpaid bills had killed our business (and mental balance).

It took me time to understand where did I want to go from here. My husband had his amazing employment, I helped the kids in living the expatriation the less stressful as possible, but I needed to earn as well and I felt suddenly fed up – and incompetent – with digital marketing.

When did you decide to go freelance again?

I tried other stuff and I hated it. I knew I was kind of good in doing my job. So I applied for some (dozens and dozens of) positions and finally, I found a part-time in a digital marketer role. But – there’s always a but, isn’t there? –  at Mums Enterprise the desire to restart freelancing just exploded.

I was good. I had to try again.

So now I’ve rebuilt my site, Pink SEO, and it’s targeting freelancers and small business mainly, as I’ve been assisting many clients of those categories in the past and I know now how to bite-size the activities in different packages, making them affordable to anyone.

I’m a very sociable person, so I consider it particularly pleasant to engage on social media, to network and to outreach people: being connected to others, feels so good!

This time, I’m stressing out particularly my effort in SEO in the marketing program of my own site, also because, being it my own “playground”, I can use it for A/B testing and for those many crazy digital marketing strategies I wanted so much to try out (like that #cartoonswisdom teaser on social media), but not on my clients expenses!

What do you do now?

I help small businesses and freelancers with digital marketing (SEO, social media management, PPC and email marketing). In 2018 Im launching modular online courses on the different sectors of digital marketing with recorded videos, followed by in-depth interactive Skype live lessons with exercises.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in business?

The biggest obstacle I have now is to find out how to balance time for family, job, the house and for this new project (child) of mine. I am just not sleeping enough, that is not good, but I promised myself some good nights of sleep after the site will be online on 31 October!

How do you balance your work and family?

How to balance business and kids is something I still need to understand. I am taking out time from them, and I feel the worst mum in the world, telling myself that they will only be young now and that I am wasting precious moments that will never come back.

Why is work important to you?

I find this work so important because I want to demonstrate to the others and to myself that I can succeed and get some kind of “payback” after the bitter disappointment had with the failure of the same business in Italy, which I have recently realised has been for me a very painful choice.

What’s been your proudest moment?

But this is actually also my proudest moment so far because I am working so much, with so much passion that I’m impressed and full of self-admiration.

This morning I also had a second interview for a big, important client… I’m keeping fingers and toes crossed, they seemed ready to begin, and it would be the most important client I’ve had so far, the perfect beginning of this new phase!

What are your top three pieces of advice for someone wanting to freelancing in digital marketing

The three top pieces of advice I would give to someone wanting to freelance in SEO and Digital Marketing are:

  1. Realise how passionate you are, because there is always some new research, study, test and releases to read… If you find yourself spending your commuting time or at the school gates, browsing and reading online guides on the most recent research on SEO, spontaneously and with pleasure as a hobby, you’re in the right mindset!
  2. Analyse how much time you spend on each project and if it’s paid enough. When we do something we love, sometimes we don’t realize we may have spent so many hours on a low-budget project.
  3. Take notes everywhere. Ideas usually pop up in the most unexpected times and situations. Write them down as soon as they appear, to be studied then later.

You can find out more about Silvia Del Corso on her website Pink SEO.