My Story and Why I Do What I Do
September 19th is a very memorable date for me. It’s a date that changed the course of my life… twice.
The first time was in 1989 and the second time in 2011.
In 1989, I was 20 and lived in Sidmouth where I was working in one of the hotels as a chef. On September 19th, I’d gone out with some friends for a few drinks and some games of pool. It was a weeknight so I was only drinking soft drinks – pints of orange juice and lemonade as I recall!
A life-changing accident
Later in the evening, a friend and I decided to go for a drive. On our way back from Exmouth, as we drove up Four Elms Hill and rounded the bend at the top near the Bowd Inn, we were suddenly faced with an oncoming car travelling at speed on our side of the road. The last thing I remember is the headlights.
I learned afterwards that my friend had swerved our car to the other side of the road but didn’t get there in time. The oncoming car was travelling at 100mph and we collided head-on on the passenger side. Sadly, the passenger in the other car died on impact and I was left fighting for my life. The drivers escaped with minor injuries.
Putting the pieces back together
I died as they cut me out of the car and twice more in the ambulance. My injuries were extensive.
My left femur had snapped and was sticking out my leg, my left hip and ankle were badly broken, my lower legs both broken, my left elbow shattered, my left forearm, heel and lower back were broken and a couple of ribs too.
I was in a critical condition for some time and had many operations to pin and plate my bones.
Prognosis was poor.
As I began to recover and piece my memories and my body back together, I was dealt further bad news – my right arm, initially my only limb to remain intact, was also found to be broken.
My future mobility wasn’t very promising. I was told that I might never walk without a limp and that I was likely to end up back in a wheelchair by the time I was 40. Doctors also warned me that I might never have children.
It was a bleak time. I largely dealt with it by burying my head in the sand and refusing to believe the doctors.
They have since praised my determination, attitude and perseverance.
Back to life
While still in plaster, I tried weight-bearing and, as soon as the plaster came off, I slowly learned to walk again – it took time and was very painful. But I did it. And I don’t limp.
I eventually went back to work, although I could no longer chef as I was considered an insurance risk. This was all I ever wanted to do, so I was absolutely gutted. I began waitressing at the same hotel and, after a short while, got promoted to head waitress. I still had a lot of operations during this time and also suffered post-traumatic stress.
Slowly though, I began to get on with life.
I did all the usual stuff that 20-somethings do. I travelled, I got married and had my beautiful daughters – the doctors got that wrong too.
And so life unfolded in a more normal kind of way. While my daughters were young, I completed a couple of diplomas in computer applications and web design and picked up freelance work for local web companies.
A new journey into SEO
As a result of this, I was asked in for an interview by a then well-known local web company and so began my journey into the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Twenty years ago, a lot of businesses didn’t even have a website; SEO was very new and also very easy! (Fast forward to today and that’s no longer the case.)
I worked for this web company for a number of years as their SEO consultant. I loved working with a huge variety of businesses to improve their online presence and increase their conversions. I wrote SEO blogs for the company and continually improved my SEO knowledge and skills.
And every September 19th, I would celebrate the fact that my legs still worked by going out dancing with friends!
An unexpected phone call on holiday
In the July of 2011, I took my daughters away for a long weekend in Bude. My marriage had broken down by this point so it was just the three of us.
We had a lot of fun – exploring beaches, flying kites, horse riding, playing beach volleyball and doing all the fun things you do on holiday.
But I received a phone call from a colleague on our second day to say that the web company had gone bust and I had no job to go back to. I eventually managed to speak to my boss who confirmed the bad news.
What was I going to do? I was a single parent and we needed my wages.
We stayed for the remaining day of the holiday and made the most of being away; we even bagged ourselves a free surf lesson!
On the drive home I decided to set up on my own because I was good at what I did, after all.
SEO+ is born
Setting up and running a business brought about its own challenges and it was a very tough couple of months. But, on September 19th, 2011, SEO+ was born. It was a huge coincidence that it was exactly 22 years to the day after my accident! But absolutely fabulous and life-affirming too.
Anyway, September 19th, 2019 is a date I never thought would happen – I turned 50 earlier in the year, it’s 30 years since that accident and SEO+ turned 8 years old!!
I’m fit and healthy and not only still walk but have recently started running again too.
And SEO+ is a multi-award-winning SEO company helping more and more businesses as it continues to grow.
Truly, life is good and I feel blessed.
It’s been a real journey and, on reflection, this might seem strange but I actually feel thankful for what I’ve been through and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m tougher than I ever thought possible and it’s apparent that I have the attitude and the determination to fight back and win against the odds.
My story, wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to all the people I met along the way that have inspired, supported, and empowered me, from my parents, my friends, the doctors, and the physios to the many business owners and various experts I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with and learning from.
So where next?
During my 20-year career, I’ve worked with a wide variety of businesses globally, but my real passion lies in supporting fellow entrepreneurs, small biz owners, and freelancers.
I’m in my zone of genius when I’m working on SEO and I love helping and guiding business owners, like you, so you can learn to do it yourself and reap the incredible benefits.
Join the SEO Accelerator
To celebrate September 19th in 2019 I created and launched the SEO Accelerator
In many ways, it reflects my journey over the past 30 years. The SEO Accelerator is an SEO program for freelancers, entrepreneurs and business owners who have the passion and determination to go it alone but who recognise that sometimes you need well-timed support.
It’s also my way of helping as many ambitious business owners as possible, even ones who are just starting out the way I was eight years ago.
The SEO Accelerator is for you if you want to:
- Naturally rank at the top of Google
- Improve brand recognition and trust so you attract cold leads
- Convert web traffic into customers
- Get in front of your perfect customers at the exact moment they need your products and services
- Grow your business
It is possible to accelerate your SEO, skyrocket your Google rankings and increase your sales without sacrificing your sanity or spending a fortune every single month.
The SEO Accelerator is your step-by-step program to implement my SEO strategy, where you’ll have your own SEO consultant taking you through it.
Grab the SEO Accelerator for a one-off payment of £247.
If you’re quick, there’s an Earlybird offer – grab the whole program for just £209.95
(Earlybird discount code to add at checkout: “special”)
The SEO Accelerator is a 12-week program. We will be working together to implement the SEO Strategy I have used so successfully with my clients. You will have your own SEO consultant without the price tag of one.
There are limited spaces, so if you want to be sure of getting in, you’ll need to act as soon as I open the doors
I look forward to getting to know you and seeing the results of applying SEO to your business.
Julia Bramble: “Hazel is the real deal when it comes to SEO. She has enough positive reviews to wrap around the world (ish) and always has a waiting list to work with her. So buying her course will be a great investment!”
Sarah Crofts: I can vouch for Hazel’s SEO Accelerator program – I’m already seeing results and I haven’t even implemented the big changes yet!”
Martin Huntback: “Hazel is outstanding at what she does. She knows exactly what will work for your website and gets first page Google results.”
Paul Ireland: “The great thing about this course is not just the content, it’s that Hazel is with you in the trenches. You have a question, she answers with thought and clarity, you feel she is on your side! If you care about your business and its growth then joining this course is an absolute must.”