The Beal Deal Interview Channel

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The Beal Deal with Joanna Lord (@JoannaLord)

We’re back with another Beal Deal interview.

joanna-lordWith this one, I’m going to have to insist that you grab a cup of your favorite coffee while you read along. Not that it matters to me, but our guest this week would likely be dismayed that you read her awesome answers without a cup of java in one hand. Of course, I am talking about SEOmoz’s evangelist and fashionista–heck, let’s just call her an evangelista–Joanna Lord.

So, let’s learn about her proudest moment, her biggest setback, how she likes to work, and…how she almost joined the circus!

Q1. What’s been your proudest moment in your career and what has been your biggest setback?

…I think my proudest moment will be coming in the next few months when SEOmoz executes on something we’ve been working on for a while.

Whoa. Look at you coming out of the gate swinging with this one. I’ll start with the setback, since there have been plenty of doozies to reference.

I think my biggest setback was when YourJobStop.com didn’t work out the way me and my partner had hoped. We put a lot of time and a hell of a lot of heart into that startup. We jumped in head first, and after just under two years, we called it.

A failed startup is never easy, you let people down, you let yourself down, and oftentimes you lose a lot of confidence along the way. I certainly had to gut check after that adventure. Low and behold I realized I still love startups and I wanted to find another one to commit to. My biggest setback taught me more in two years than I could have imagined and it’s all come in very useful these past 4 years.

My proudest moment? Probably right now. What the team at SEOmoz is doing is amazing. I’m really proud to be part of this team. I’m honored to work with these people, on this problem, in this industry, and I’m really proud of the way we do marketing. Its fun, it’s valuable, and it’s bold.

It might sound cliché, but I think my proudest moment will be coming in the next few months when SEOmoz executes on something we’ve been working on for a while. It was just a seed of an idea a year ago, and we are ready to throw it out there for the world to use. Can’t say anymore on that, stay tuned ;)

Q2. What’s something about you that people would be surprised to learn?

I was recruited for the circus as a kid. Yup, that’s true.

Uhmmm…hmm. I was recruited for the circus as a kid. Yup, that’s true. I was in this gymnastics show at the local college and a rep from Barnum & Bailey came by and talked to my parents, and gave us these pamphlets saying I’d be a good match for the circus. Uhmmmm. WTF?! My dad kept that pamphlet and brings up the story often. I guess if this whole search industry and startup thing didn’t work out I could take to the tents!

Q3. You’re currently the VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz. What does a typical day look like for you?

It changes so drastically from day to day. Some days I roll in and I’m wall to wall meetings about new products, new site experiences, and new campaigns to plan. Other days I spend sipping coffee with my awesome co-workers and brain sharing. I travel a lot to conferences to evangelize the Moz mission, and I still spend a great deal of time creating. It’s a great balance of tactical work and strategic work. Honestly, the most constant things you’ll find in a day at SEOmoz would be cupcakes, dogs in the office, lots of laughter and an email sent to all staff full of cat photos. I’m not even kidding on that.

Q4. When do you work at your best? When you’re alone or when you’re working in a team?

I think I do my best work in a team because big ideas never happen in a vacuum.

This is a great question. It was one that took me years to fully understand. I think I do my best work in a team because big ideas never happen in a vacuum. Team settings push you. They help you revisit your assumptions, they smack you at times, and they bring worlds of opinions to a common problem. I love it. I can go places in my brain with others I can’t get to alone.

With that said, I do love to execute independently. I like feeling accountability, and seeing head’s down progress. These days I try to keep a balance of the two. I set aside time for both team collaboration and “me-time.”

Q5. You entered the world of crowd-funding with ISITaYES. What lessons did you learn from that experience?

Crowd-funding is a really different beast.

This whole experience has been crazy. I’ve learned a ton. Crowd-funding is a really different beast. You have to set the right expectations, build a great story, reach out to influencers, gain traction, and then you might just have a chance at hitting your goal.

The funny part is only then does the real work start – the follow-through. I feel accountable to the 72 people that donated money to ISITaYES. Over the past six months there were times I was overwhelmed with other commitments, but the community of donators reminded me that I owed them this. They are excited about this app and it offers a whole new level of support. Beyond the money, the tweets, emails, and questions have been a huge help in keeping the momentum going.

This experience has also taught me just how “possible” any idea is. People out there want to invest in cool things. They want to support people. They want to contribute to the startup ecosystem, if only with a ten-dollar bill. It’s been really inspiring to be a part of.

Q6. You’re a coffee drinking fashionista. What would scare you the most? Going a week without coffee or going a week without a mirror? :-)

Ha! Definitely coffee. Just reading that gave me the chills. I have found myself lately thinking about my morning iced coffee…the night before as I fall asleep! What?! Yeah, it’s a little out of control.

Thank goodness I live in Seattle, I’m surrounded by coffee beans. It’s heaven up here.

Thanks Joanna! Barnum’s loss is SEOmoz’s gain!

  • Louis Thibault

    I knew or, met people who worked with Clyde Beatty Cole. Not, a pleasant job regardless of position. So, you have smarts. 2 for 2 is a good track record. Well done..

  • http://www.facebook.com/pia.iamgr8ful Pia Alves

    great article!!! I had a great time reading it… Thanks for sharing…

  • Brian Jensen

    I saw Joanna present at last year’s MozCon and was truly impressed. I can’t wait to see what the SEOmozers roll out in the next few months.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joanna.lord Joanna Lord

      hey Brian, thanks for the kind words! we are excited tooooo. #eeek!