A Day In The Life Of An Independent SEO Consultant

Being an independent consultant definitely has it’s perks. The most appealing may be having the freedom to set your own schedule. However, one could be treading dangerous waters if thy lack the oh-so-important time management gene.

I’ll have to admit that I was all over the place when I first started out. Some days I’d find myself working for 16 hours straight without eating. As starved as I was, I couldn’t pry myself away from my laptop. I’d settle into these grooves where I’ll get this anxiety if I’m away from the computer. More, more, more! I need to do more!

Other days I’d fall out of that groove and settle into a different one where I didn’t want to see my computers unless it was for social networking.

I went independent at the end of June, then went to Chicago for most of July, all of August, and half of September… so, I’ve been independent at home for about two months now, and for about the past month I’ve felt like I’ve been able to settle into a schedule that works for me.

A few weeks ago, Rebecca Kelley wrote about her typical day at SEOmoz and my buddy, John Jones, followed up with his own day in the life of an SEO addict. I thought these were both fun and interesting posts, each in their own way; and ever since Marrissa Mayer gave us a peek into what a typical day for a Google exec looks like, I’ve wanted to do the same.

Well, not as a Google exec, of course… but now that I’m not tied to a 9-to-5, I think my schedule is pretty unique:

8:00a – 9:30a

  • Wake up.
  • Walk the dogs.
  • Make the bed.
  • Eat breakfast.
    • Usually two bowls of plain cereal (Cheerios/Corn Flakes/Rice Krispies/Chex).
  • While eating, go online.
    • Log into various accounts to get ready for the day.
    • Check emails and messages from social networks and other various accounts.
  • Throw cereal bowl in dishwasher.
  • Brush my teeth.

9:30a – 11:00a

  • Read and respond to emails.
  • Browse through and participate in forums.
  • Browse through Feedreader.

11:00a – 12:30p

  • Work out.
    • Either run 3-5 miles or hit the weights.
      • Alternate running and weights over a two-week, Monday-Friday cycle.

12:30p – 2:00p

  • Shower up.
  • Make and eat lunch.
    • Usually a toasted ham and turkey sandwich with pepper jack cheese, thousand island, lettuce, tomato, onions, peppers, and jalapenos.
      • Chips and pickle spear on the side.
    • Sometimes a discostyle grilled chicken salad.
    • Glass of Tang.
  • Watch TV while eating.
    • Usually Sportscenter, local news, or a syndicated show.
  • Walk the dogs.

2:00p – 6:00p

  • Kick ass on client work.
  • Kick ass on partnership work.
  • Eat a snack.
    • Usually fruit.
    • Sometimes, beef jerky.
    • Other times, chips.

6:00p – 7:00p

  • Make and eat dinner.
    • Anything goes.
    • Glass of Tang.
  • Walk the dogs.
  • Chillax.

7:00p – 10:00p

  • Work on whatever needs to be worked on.
    • Usually my own projects or partnership work.
    • Sometimes client work, if need be.

10:00p – 2:00a

  • Eat a snack.
    • Usually fruit.
    • Other times, chips.
  • Walk the dogs.
  • Usually unwind and watch the Sopranos (just finished the 2nd season), watch my DVR’d TV shows, or play Wii.
  • Sometimes work on whatever needs to be worked on.
  • Sometimes drink a beer.
  • Mosttimes drink a glass of Tang.
  • Brush my teeth.
  • Pass out.

Wow, that was probably more than you ever wanted to know.

Going by this schedule, it looks like I put in around 7-11 hours of work, 4-7 hours of play, and 6 hours of sleep during the day… and that does sound pretty accurate. Now, this isn’t a schedule that I’m trying to stick to… It’s just how my days are panning out and it’s working for me.

I like to try to save the weekends to do absolutely whatever I want to… and Fridays tend to fall under “weekends” for me. With that said, on some weekends, you may find me on the computer doing work all day long. Sometimes I need to get work done, and other times I just want to. Oftentimes, however, I get to just Chillax… Lately, this has consisted of watching football all day long.

One thing you may have noted about me after checking out my schedule is that I like Tang. I go through at least two quarts a day. I only use half the amount of scoops that they tell you to, because I think it’s the perfect amount for my tasting. That stuff is delicious. It’s not all I drink though. I have a bowl’s worth of milk with my cereal in the morning and I also go through a gallon of water throughout the day.

I also like to walk the dogs. My pups, Stryker and Beckham, are awesome. They like going on walks and I like taking them. It’s nice to take a break and get outside periodically throughout the day. We circle around our block, which is almost a perfect quarter-mile.

I’m also very much a night person. This is just how it’s been since as long as I can remember. I can go to bed earlier at night and get up earlier in the morning, if I needed to, and I’d be totally fine… but I’ve just never wanted to. I’m a night person. Even so, I still try to get up at a reasonable hour because I don’t like to sleep in and miss out on the sun.

Anyway, it’s getting to be that time and I’m just rambling… Hopefully, this was of some interest to someone else. If any of you reading this posts your schedule, please feel free to drop a link to it in the comments… I think it’s fun to see how other peeps spend their days.

—kid disco

P.S. It’s 1:30a right now and I’m kind of on schedule. I’m finishing this up… watching Riding Giants (holy awesome!) on DiscoveryHD… and I’m about to close up shop and pop open a Hite.

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8 pimp-style comments, so far... »

  1. mike b. searchbuzz

    November 21 2007 @ 10:55 pm

    I was watching Riding Giants too…Never gets old!

    Laird @ Teachpoo — SICK!

  2. g1smd

    November 22 2007 @ 7:27 am

    Most of the web people that I know seem to live in this time-shifted environment.

    Heck, there was a survey here in the UK only about a month ago that showed how the average evening mealtime had already shifted from about 5 pm to about 7 pm in only a decade or so.

  3. BrettFromTibet

    November 22 2007 @ 5:22 pm

    I just finished watching ‘Riding Giants’ in my hammock on Thanksgiving Day.. awesome movie!

  4. Longview web guy

    November 27 2007 @ 10:51 pm

    Funny stuff.

    Your Tang = My green tea

    I haven’t been working out or walking the dog. My gut is getting soft.

    1am-3am Man Vs. Wild and Myth busters reruns :)

  5. Zak Nicola

    November 29 2007 @ 4:10 pm

    I too am more of an after noon to late night/early morning person.
    Tang? I thought that had been removed from the market shelfs. Then again I did see 12 packs of Tab the other day, and I thought that had followed the same fate.

  6. Terry Reeves - Mr Unkie to you

    December 4 2007 @ 2:32 pm

    So I guess your decision to become your own boss was a good one? I prefer that situation myself.

  7. Shell Harris

    December 10 2007 @ 7:47 am

    I had a life similar to yours about 3 years ago. I didn’t drink Tang and had only one dog, but otherwise very similar. Starting out as an independent SEO can lead into running your own SEO company in a short time if you are good at it. Before I knew it I had employees, office space and a growing client list.

    Turns out the most difficult part of my job was trying to keep my business small.

    Cherish the independent work life while you have it, one day soon you might be picking insurance packages and 401(k) plans for your employees. ;-)

  8. Wes McDermott

    June 9 2009 @ 12:21 am

    Man you like walking your dogs!

    I tend to get to the computer around the same time and do the same sort of things in the morning as you. After that I tend to work straight through with little breaks in between. Just wish I could stay up till 2, but a kid and a girlfriend sap my attention too :-)

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