Ask anyone what they think of Tim Soulo and they’ll most likely say he’s one of the most helpful people in marketing, always there to listen, respond, learn and share.
Staying true to his values, Tim chooses to engage each time there’s an opportunity to explore and teach (even though I’m sure he’d be too modest to assume this role). Accepting my invitation is proof.
Having him on the podcast is one more reason to appreciate and seek out the generous people in marketing who excel at their job and guide others to do so themselves. This is a wonderful community to be part of because of you!
Tim Soulo is CMO at Ahrefs, the best SEO tool I’ve ever used (and a goldmine for content marketers!), and one of the people who leads by example in this field.
He’s a skilled marketer, with one foot in the product world but countless other responsibilities. He hires people in the marketing team at Ahrefs and he also recruits for the company’s design team, and even for the data science team.
He’s invested in is personal development and in Ahref’s growth, allowing his character to influence his work as much as his work shapes his character.
“When doing things on your own, you can see what works and what doesn’t and learn the fastest.”
Tim’s always been invested in something. After spending 5 years in his first job – a tech support role for a hosting company in Ukraine – he launched his own electronic music blog to build a community around the music he loved and created as a DJ.
A natural-born content creator, he soon realized that there was more he could do to build a following. That’s when he started cultivating an interest in marketing, specifically content marketing, and SEO.
Anyone who’s been doing it for a while knows that this is the fastest way to master anything in marketing (and plenty other disciplines). As he calls it, Tim:
“Created more opportunities for luck to kick in.”
Only a year later, he landed his first job as a junior SEO specialist and everything he knows is the result of self-education.
One thing led to another and Tim moved from Ukraine to Singapore, where he initially was the only marketing person in the Ahrefs team, then 16 strong. Now at 36 people, Ahrefs is stronger than ever and my guest played a huge role in this.
We talked a lot about how he copes with FOMO, the huge number of decisions he makes on a daily basis and how he improves them.
One aspect is choosing the right people to be on the team.
“Smart people with strong opinions who challenge your opinions saves you from making poor choices.”
Another aspect we kept coming back to in our conversation was the habit of reflecting on past decisions. I’d never considered things like this until Tim shared this nugget of wisdom:
“A bad decision is fixed with another decision.
Bad decisions push you to make more decisions and add more work to your plate.”
Neglecting the way you make your choices isn’t going to make them better. Admitting this to yourself is how you override your ego’s default settings and start building towards a different mindset.
“Get to know yourself.
Who do you want to be?
Which goals really matter to you?
Answering these difficult questions periodically has led Tim to achieve a great deal (and that’s not just my perspective).
He’s the type of person who follows through consistently and he credits one book with a major perspective shift. Tim says Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell helped him realize how big of a role luck plays in our lives.
Alas, you don’t become one of the best in your field by leaving it all to fortune. Tim also understood you can forge your own luck by putting in the work and creating those “opportunities for luck to kick in”.
During our conversation, Tim also revealed some of his vulnerabilities, such as taking everything too close to his heart or the fact that he works like boxers train, in sprints.
“Boxers don’t perform at their peak all year round. Around 3 months before a competition they start training lightly and a few weeks before the match they go all in.”
Tim too works in cycles and he embraces them, reminding us that we can’t always do the right thing and keep up an intense schedule and that’s okay. However, we can use these opportunities to reflect on our decisions and catch yourself before making these poor choices again.
Bit by bit, it adds up to this:
“Build a map of where you’re going, don’t just sail where the wind blows.”
These are just some of the things we explored during this podcast episode and it doesn’t stop there! Tim’s ideas provide the much-needed context for understanding why he does things and how.
Listen to the episode to get his productivity tips and his advice on how to make decisions that propel your forward.