Get to know Rebekah Baggs & Chris Corak
Oct 18, 2021
Meet Rebekah Baggs & Chris Corak
Up next in our Meet the Author series, we’re getting to know Rebekah Baggs & Chris Corak—authors of SEO for Everyone. They talk about starting their days with a hike and a careful cup of coffee, and jumpstarting a creative rut by experiencing nature and creating quiet space.
ABA: What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
Rebekah Baggs: I work from home, and I love my home. My house is filled with plants, natural light, and artwork that inspires me. It’s nice to have my old beagle pal, Pomar Jackson, around to keep me company, too. But mostly, I like the silence. I am very sensitive to sounds and music when I’m trying to focus (even wordless classical music can hijack my train of thought), so I love that this space is quiet and I can work uninterrupted.
Chris Corak: It has to be the stereo! It helps bring some life into my space when I need it—and sets a positive and creative work vibe. Sound quality is fairly important to me, so we’ve elected to go with a full stereo at our house. Our setup is mostly vintage gear with a touch of modern tech—a turntable when I’m not feeling pressed for time and a Bluetooth adapter running through the receiver when I want to be hands free.
ABA: What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?
RB: I try to start most mornings with a sunrise walk; there’s nothing better than witnessing first light and hearing all the birds. There’s an ass-kicking mountain a short drive from my house, and in cooler months I like to head out there at dawn for a short hike. Walk or no walk, I always do a little reading and meditation to help set my intentions for the day. First things first! While none of that is work related, it does feel like the most important thing I do to set myself up for a productive day. When it comes to actually doing the work, my good days always start with a list of what’s on deck for the day so I can prioritize and plan my day around the tasks I need to accomplish.
CC: I try my best to make my wife and myself a solid cup of coffee. I need one cup and I don’t feel like a real person until I’m halfway through it. My wife and I LOVE the smooth taste of a pour over. I don’t mind the few additional minutes it takes each morning to make it. I actually enjoy it as it gives me space to think about my day and do something nice for my wife. Making coffee does get a little nerdy over here (checking water temperature, weighing beans, etc.) but I have found each optimization has improved our user experience.
ABA: In your opinion, what should someone consider before starting out in web design / development?
RB: The web is a giant never-done, iterative, ever-evolving thing that belongs to everyone. Web design/dev takes constant learning of new things, next-level collaboration, and a penchant for understanding the folks who will actually be using the things you design. I guess if you’re cool with all that, then what the hell are you even waiting for. Get in here. We need you.
ABA: Is there anyone you’re following the work of right now, who you’d recommend others pay attention to?
- Candi Williams @candiwrites is the Content Design Lead at Bumble. She’s reflective, bold, and incisive. (I’m dazzled by her, really.) I’m also excited to follow her work in content design for inclusivity and safety.
- Antionette Carrol @acarrolldesign is the founder / CEO of CreativeReactionLab and a leading voice in social justice design. I had the immense pleasure of meeting her in person when she was the keynote speaker at Phoenix Design Week in 2016, and I’ve been captivated by her spirit and inspired by her work in redesigning systems of inequity ever since.
- Areej AbuAli @areej_abuali founder of @TechSEOWomen and in-house head of SEO at Papier. SEO is such a typically male-dominated field, and it’s so inspiring to see a strong female voice in that discipline! I love her focus on the technical side of SEO. I follow her because she elevates the voices of other women working in SEO and highlights important diversity and inclusion issues for digital workers in general.
RB: Less artificial intelligence. More actual intelligence. Less moving fast and breaking things. More prioritizing the right things so you can get them done in a sustainable way.
ABA: What is your go-to source of inspiration when you’re trying to get out of a creative rut?
RB: Nature. Getting outside and getting a little lost in the beauty of the outdoors always helps me reshape my perspective and see things anew. Talking to people I admire (in any field) about their work and the challenges they’re facing. Hearing how other people approach life and solve problems always sparks something in me. I nearly always leave seeing something that I just didn’t see before.
CC: I feel like I’m at my creative best with a relaxed and open mind—creating the space to let something come to me. When I’m feeling blocked, I’m usually either not giving myself enough space (time + the right environment) to be creative, or I’m not in that productive mental state. Setting aside time in a quiet space, free of talking or visual distractions is an important first step for me. If my mental state is what’s blocking me, sometimes stepping away from what I’m doing and taking a walk can help me reset and find that productive mental state free of constraints. When all else fails, brainstorming with a trusted someone usually gets me to a better place, a place I could never have got to on my own. I feel fortunate to be able to lean on Rebekah this way all time. She always thinks of something I wouldn’t have.
ABA: Is there a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night? What is it?
RB: Honestly, not much keeps me up at night these days. I’ve learned the very hard way that today’s work is enough for today. I can pause and take a rest and come back to it tomorrow, the world won’t stop turning and the best answers will come to me when I’m rested and refreshed.
ABA: What characteristic do you most admire in other driven/creative people?
RB & CC: Humility.
ABA: What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to do the work you do?
RB & CC: The need for security. In our agency days, we had regular paychecks and free health insurance and project managers and all the nice things that come with being a part of a company. The temptation to follow financial rewards of moving in-house or getting a big fancy tech job are always there, too. But we love the freedom of running our own consultancy—it suits us. We love getting to focus on what we’re best at every day. We love the variety of clients we work for and all the different teams we get to be a part of, it’s truly fulfilling. We’re never bored. It keeps us on our toes.
Learn more about all our authors—check out the rest of our Meet the Author series!
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