Episode 6: Aleyda Solis

Most of us have a fear of public speaking, but imagine speaking to a crowd of over a thousand people in your second language.

That was the situation that faced Aleyda Solis in 2012, when the folks at Moz invited her to share one of the biggest and most coveted stages in marketing at Mozcon…

But let’s rewind a little bit first.

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Early opportunities created many career options

They say timing is everything, but sometimes there is a little luck involved as well.

Aleyda Solis left her native Nicaragua to attend school in Spain. While studying engineering, she also took an interest in HTML on her own time.

Self study worked well for Aleyda, because she soon won an HTML contest at the University, without even taking a class!

Soon, she became interested in an Internet based career, working full time while attending university. Not many 19 year olds have that type of opportunity, but Aleyda was fortunate to be able to do both. It is tough to work full time in college, while also going to school and socializing… but that type of experience is priceless.

Leaving college and surrounding yourself with successful people

After college, Aleyda went to work for a company lead by a successful entrepreneur. Learning directly from a successful entrepreneur would create opportunities for years to come.

As Aleyda puts it:

Surround yourself with successful people - sage wisdom from @aleyda Click to Tweet

If you surround yourself with enough successful people, you will become successful yourself.

Location independence and building relationships

Although Aleyda credits her move to Spain as a linchpin moment of her professional development, she also believes that it is not where you are located that determines success, but rather the relationships you build over time.

In person interaction is a big part of forming relationships, but you don’t have to be in a specific location to make it happen. You can form relationships at conferences and even online through Twitter.

After learning paid media, e-commerce, web development and SEO, Aleyda soon recognized that there was one area where she really excelled.

A word from our unofficial podcast sponsor

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Finding an unexpected audience

Back to the beginning. Have you ever given a speech and imagined that a talent scout was in the audience?

You know, the type of rags to riches story about being plucked from a crowd and placed on the path to success?

Then we wake up from that dream. Of course, these stories only happen in the movies.

Or when the Moz crew goes on vacation.

After speaking several years at Spanish language events, conferences and meet-ups, Aleyda decided that she would also like to speak at English language conferences in the future. But who would give her a chance?

Then it happened. Mozcation Barcelona. Aleyda was speaking in Spanish about SEO and caught the attention of two audience members.

Jen Lopez and Rand Fishkin from Moz liked her presentation so much that they invited her to speak in English at Mozcon.

You’ll have to listen to hear the rest

Aleyda Solis has gone from systems engineering student, to an international speaking phenomenon with tens of thousands of fans across the world. She has also become an entrepreneur and is running a successful company.

Listen to the podcast to learn how it all got started. Aleyda gives tons of valuable advice, including my favorite quotes.

On becoming an entrepreneur:

Aleyda Solis has gone from systems engineering student, to an international SEO consultant & popular speaker with tens of thousands of followers across the world. She has also become an entrepreneur and is running a successful company.

On finding the confidence to start a company:

Many people start their own companies without as much experience as Aleyda had, and without the reputation. Seeing others successfully doing it made her decision easy. Inspire yourself with the success of others.

On getting your first customers:

When she went independent she published a post and contacted her network to let them know she was now available for business.

On staying true to your instincts:

After announcing her independence, the job offers started rolling in. “We want to hire you!” Aleyda realized that people were just trying to hire her personal brand. That was when she knew that she made the right move.

On taking risks:

By a certain point, Aleyda was so well regarded in the community, she wondered “really what is the risk at this point if I go independent?”

I will always be able to go back and work for someone else - @aleyda on being an entrepreneur Click to Tweet

“If you rationalize it, or analyze things, you will see that the risk is minimal. But the potential of learning and gaining experience and being your boss and having flexibility is invaluable.”

The potential of learning and gaining experience and being your boss and having flexibility is invaluable. - @aleyda on entrepreneurship Click to Tweet

On getting speaking gigs:

People ask Aleyda to speak for two reasons:

1) they have seen her speak before and know her capabilities
2) they have read her articles and understand what she is capable of there too

“You can’t go into speaking thinking that you will get 10 clients out of the session or that everything will lead to something. Sometimes it does, but the overall business is more organic than that. It’s important that you speak because you enjoy the experience and sharing with the audience.”

On finding good clients:

The best clients are former clients or word of mouth business opportunities. - @aleyda Click to Tweet

On growing a business:

It is important to grow your business carefully, to choose wisely, to advance little by little. - @aleyda Click to Tweet

Aleyda’s advice to marketers:

Be Proactive. Learn to code. Try new platforms. Get your own experience - advice from @aleyda marketers Click to Tweet
A really good digital marketing professional is always learning, always digging to find answers. Click to Tweet
Always be hungry, curious, passionate about marketing. - @aleyda Click to Tweet
Read a lot. Test always. - @aleyda Click to Tweet

Get to know Aleyda better

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About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.