You won’t hear this from your parents, but there are many smart reasons to quit your 9 to 5 job.
Let’s first talk about your day job.
Is it everything you dreamed it would be? Odds are it’s far from it.
Sure you must have been excited in the early moments, like the day you received the job offer, got your first paycheck, and received a promotion. That’s normal.
Now that you’re settled in, how do you feel about it?
If you’re like many adults, your work leaves a lot to be desired. For example, 72% of millennials want to be their own boss.
Why? And why is this number so high?
Studies show, and I believe, it’s because when you’re the boss you have the freedom to work on what you want. That’s highly desirable compared to being force-fed work projects from a supervisor.
You also gain greater flexibility in your lifestyle to do things you can’t do as an employee. The boss can work, network, and vacation whenever they want, as long as they produce results.
These two factors, freedom and flexibility, are priceless.
However it’s not a coincidence that a 9 to 5 job often limits both of these desirable qualities.
If you’re hired for a specific job description—like website maintenance—it’s your job to manage the website each and every day.
There’s no freedom to work on an app or a side project you’re both passionate about and think could benefit the company.
And the flexibility is also not there in many 9 to 5 jobs. For example, good luck taking a month off—and keeping your job—if your wife just had a baby and needs help at home.
At that point, you have to let down your employer or family.
Speaking for myself, just knowing that I have the freedom and flexibility empowers me to do my best work.
I also have the time of my life making progress and learning new business lessons since I’m free to try new things.
And failure doesn’t put me at risk of being out of a job because I’m my own boss.
It’s interesting to read what Leah Busque had to say about working for yourself, “Swapping out the nine-to-five for a more agile, independent working life brings with it one other huge benefit – a channel for self-actualization.”
What she calls self-actualization I call self-awareness, and this blog post describes why it’s critical to your success.
Specifically, I’ve found that your happiness, health, wealth, relationships, and life can improve when you hang up the corporate career.
Reasons To Quit Your 9-5 Job
Reason 1: Job security is dying
Your grandparents had a period of job security like none other after World War II. And your parents job security wasn’t bad either.
But things are different in 2017 with new technology, the Internet, and a different way of doing business.
For example, the World Economic Forum explained that the top 15 global economies might lose more than 5 million jobs in the next five years because of robotics and other trends. That’s a ton of workers who will be unemployed if this comes true.
And companies across the board are shifting from hiring full-time workers to hiring part-timers and freelancers.
Advisor Perspective finds that 18% of workers are part-time in 2017, which is close to the record high of 20% in 2010.
I’m confident this is a trend that will continue and employees won’t ever have as much job security as they did after World War II.
So if you build skills and provide enough value to others to work for yourself, you don’t have to worry about a changing economy where big companies are laying off their staff. You control your own destiny.
But if you stay on the big corporation wagon, you’re at the will of your boss, their boss, and their boss all the way up the ladder.
That’s a dangerous proposition going forward.
Reason 2: Stress is awful for your body
Remember when millions of people thought smoking cigarettes wasn’t bad for you? That’s a joke.
And by now people understand that eating unhealthy junk food and processed fast food is a serious threat to their body.
But do you really understand what stress does to your health? I’ll help you out.
Here are a few of its terrible effects:
- Puts you in a negative mood
- Damages friendships and family relationships
- Leads to high blood pressure
- Can cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and a heart attack
- Interferes with your sex hormones
- Advances aging
- Poor decision making or addictions
If you work 45 hours a week and you’re stressed during every second, that’s clearly a dangerous way to live and you’ll face the consequences.
And we all know that work stress doesn’t stop at work. People bring it home and suffer on the weekend too.
To lower your stress it’s smart to get enough sleep, eat healthy, work out, and meditate. Though it’s wiser to still do all of that, and more importantly find a job that doesn’t drown you in anxiety.
Consider finding a job that not only doesn’t stress you out but it doesn’t feel like work for the sake of your health.
I promise you that these jobs exist if you put in the work to find them.
Reason 3: A 9 to 5 will never make you rich
I admit this is probably the least important reason on the list.
Because money is not a top priority for finding work you enjoy, you shouldn’t make a career decision solely for the income or you’ll be disappointed.
But if you’re looking to become wealthy or mega-wealthy, you won’t achieve it as an employee.
Take a look at this map from Forbes that highlights the richest person in every state.
Do you see business owners or employees? I don’t see any account executives or assistant managers on that map.
They didn’t make their fortune climbing the corporate ladder. They built their own ladder.
And technically my claim that a 9 to 5 won’t make you rich depends on your definition of rich. Though you have to admit an Amazon employee’s net worth doesn’t come close to founder Jeff Bezos’ fortune.
This isn’t to say that you can’t end up with millions of dollars at the end of your career through investing your salary and compound interest, you 100% can as I show in this video.
Though if you want tens of millions or hundreds of millions, my advice is don’t be an employee for long. In this case, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow goes to who you work for, not you.
Reason 4: Work destroys your relationships
If work gets so out of control that it starts destroying your personal relationships, you may need to switch up where you go to work.
For example, one of my best guy friends worked as an accountant for a Big Four accounting firm. He made excellent money and enjoyed the job for the most part.
But he was always gone on work trips, which took a toll on his marriage with his wife.
And he didn’t want to be in a terrible marriage, get divorced, or end up like the miserable senior partners at his company with wrecked families.
So what did my friend do to protect his marriage and his future happiness?
Despite his manager’s warning that he was making “the biggest mistake of his life,” he quit the accounting job he studied endless hours for in undergrad and to get his CPA.
Then he pursued a passion of his, coding, through free online classes at MIT and practicing.
Turns out he loves coding far more than accounting. And with his new knowledge, he went on to co-found a software startup that is highly profitable.
It worked out beautifully for him and his wife because he now has greater freedom and flexibility to navigate his work.
Reason 5: You don’t love what you do
Where money is the weakest reason on this list, doing what you love is the strongest motive to quit your 9 to 5 job.
Legendary songwriter Bob Dylan said it best,
What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
First, just consider how much time is actually devoted to work.
After you subtract the time spent working (40 hours at the minimum), commuting to work (5-10 hours at the minimum), and the time spent sleeping and doing day-to-day responsibilities—there’s not a lot of free time left to enjoy yourself.
And if you’re miserable at your job, then it’s no wonder you’re unhappy in general.
Most of the week you’re at a place that makes you unhappy. This agony can stick with you after you leave work like a stinky odor.
Plus, you’re not going to reach your potential if you’re not inspired by what you’re doing. Knowing you have more to give but not doing it also doesn’t feel good.
Mainly, life is too short to go through it depressed for most of the week at your job.
Your time on this earth is limited. You only live one life.
So you owe it to yourself to give it all you got doing what you love.
Someday your dreams will catch up to you and it will be too late to try what you always wanted.
Please do it now while you can. Aligning my passion with my work has been the best choice I’ve ever made!
If you want to truly get a kick in the butt, read this: 101 Do What You Love Quotes.
You Can’t Let Regret Own You
Regret can come from both inaction and action. It stings both ways, but usually more so when you didn’t take action.
According to 30 diverse professionals in a Harvard Business Review article, here are the top 5 career regrets…
- I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money.
- I wish I had quit earlier.
- I wish I had the confidence to start my own business.
- I wish I had used my time at school more productively.
- I wish I had acted on my career hunches.
I’ve highlighted the two most applicable regrets—I wish I had quit earlier and I wish I had acted on my career hunches—because I believe many of you will also face these regrets if you don’t take action soon.
The worst thing about regret is you can’t go back in time to change it. You have to live with it whether you like it or not.
That is unless you live with no regrets by doing what you want when you feel the desire to.
And that’s why I mean by not letting regret own you. Don’t let it get the best of you.
You need to own your life and make decisions for your happiness or eventually it’ll be too late.
It’s a sad, depressing scenario when your time has passed to make a career transition, start that company, or own your own restaurant with your best friends.
You and your friends only have a small window to start a taco joint one street off the beach, before you have spouses and kids that need a more stable income and environment.
You can’t start the clothing line you’ve dreamed about since you were 8 years old, if you’re 88 in a nursing home.
Eventually you’re going to be old and gray. Do what you can now to ensure you’re not saying “what if” later.
That’s how you become a satisfied old man or lady.
Please don’t misunderstand this article’s message.
It’s not a blanket statement that you should quit your 9 to 5 job, or any job, if it’s not perfect—no occupation is without its faults.
And it’s not even a pro-entrepreneur article where I’m trying to convert 9 to 5 people to become business owners.
Even though I tried not to, maybe I wrote this entire article with a bias considering I quit my 9 to 5 job last year and have never been happier with work.
Although choosing the entrepreneur route has pad off for me I know some people who would be miserable doing what I’m doing. Their happiest at a 9 to 5 position.
So the purpose of this blog post is to push you to reflect on what you do and look for ways to improve it. Find another job that works better with who you are and what you desire. Or start a side hustle you’ve been dying to try.
Remember if you hate Monday mornings then it’s not Monday you’re mad at—it’s your job.
So you can continue to head into the office with a bad attitude and crippling anxiety, or you can find work that gives you freedom and flexibility.
(Know what job you want but need help getting it? Learn more about my dream job course.)
I won’t decide for you because I don’t know all of the details. And even if I did, it’s not right to allow another person to impose a major decision on you.
You have to decide based on your individual case and the context.
Trust your gut when it comes to staying at your job, taking another one, or working for yourself.
What will you decide?
5 Things Successful Freelancers Do At Networking Events
As an independent contractor or self-employed freelancer, your level of success depends on your ability to create and sustain relationships. The number of clients you have, the stream of work you produce and the revenue you earn are all contingent on the scope of your business network.
The more dedicated and intentional you are about forming quality connections, the more professional growth, impact and advancement you’ll experience. “By growing your network, opportunities arise, business partners appear, connections are made and trust is garnered in the local community,” says Sharon Schweitzer, best-selling author and consultant.
And in the freelance and entrepreneur world, the service you’re promoting is ultimately yourself—which makes it even harder. If you’ve ever tried to write a personal bio, you know what I mean. Promoting yourself can be challenging, but successful business owners and freelancers know it’s necessary.
As you attend various networking events to grow your network of potential client and those who can support your efforts, keep these tips in mind.
Come Equipped with Business Cards
Every networking event is a chance to gain new clients. As such, you need to present the most professional version of yourself. That version doesn’t just dress well and act polite—that version of yourself always has business cards too. This gives everyone you meet something to remember you by, while showing that you take your work seriously.
Remember that the design of your cards should not only be polished, with readable text and all the right information. It should reflect your brand and personality as well. Check out these interesting business card ideas to find inspiration and a unique style that matches who you are and the work you do.
Pro tip: Find a way to make your business card actionable or helpful. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you could include a workout on the back of your business card. Not only is this more memorable, but you’re already helping the person who you just met—and you haven’t even done anything yet.
For some people, attending a networking event is stressful. Not only do you have to talk to people you don’t know—but you have to show them that you’re successful and worth connecting with. This is where the fear of personal failure, which was the number one fear among 1,000 Americans polled, can slow you down.
Successful freelancers push this fear aside to present a confident, successful person. To release any personal fears holding you back, use these tips from The Muse:
- Choose “non-lame” events and stick with events you’re excited to attend
- Stop saying “networking,” which makes it feel intimidating
- Volunteer at the event instead of going as an attendee
- Research the roster ahead of time so you know who will be there
- Reward yourself afterward, I.E. “If I give away all my business cards, I’ll…”
- Have conversation starters prepared
- Approach people in pairs, which may feel less intimidating
Pro tip: Practice your power poses before going to a networking event to boost your confidence. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, suggests that standing in these power postures, and using similar body language, boosts your confidence, even when you don’t feel confident. Learn the different power poses in her Ted Talk.
Seek Contacts to Fulfill Specific Needs
One of the many advantages going to a networking event is that it attracts different people with varying degrees of experience, interest and expertise to one place. As a freelancer, this means there are chances to meet a wide variety of people who could help you, from developers for your website to potential business clients.
Successful freelancers define what they’re looking for before they step foot through the door. I.E. a mentor, client, partner, or even just a fellow creative to bounce ideas off. Keep these goals in mind as you build connections at the event and afterward. Global entrepreneur Ted Rollins suggests:
“As these relationships grow, consider how they fit into that burgeoning ‘why.’ Someone could be more valuable in expanding your business, while another person might serve you best in a mentorship role.”
Pro tip: Stay in touch with everyone, even if you don’t need their help right now. This is one of the best times to be in touch with someone because it gives you a chance to help them instead. When the time comes to reach out for a request, you’ve done the work to maintain that relationship over time.
Use the Skill of Active Listening
This interpersonal skill is highly regarded in professional settings because it shows other people that you want to form a reciprocal relationship instead of just a self-serving one. Mind Tools describes an active listener as someone who makes a “conscious effort to hear not only the words another person is saying but, more importantly, to understand the complete message being sent.”
To practice this at a networking event, approach people with an open stance, hold eye contact, remember to smile and use receptive body language—freshen up on receptive body language with this guide from Skills You Need.
Don’t forget to ask questions that start with “Who?” “What?” “How?” and “Why?” The more attentive you are toward someone, the more they’ll trust your motives.
Pro tip: Practice active listening in every area of your life—with your friends, your family and your spouse. Work toward being an active listener, even in the simplest of conversations, so it comes easier to you when it matters most, like when you’re meeting a potential investor or business partner.
Send a Follow-Up Message Promptly
Communication is critical to solidifying your new potential relationships and successful freelancers follow-up within 24 hours. When you do, express your gratitude for their assistance, offer any other relevant information that wasn’t shared in person, and reiterate what a pleasure it was to meet them.
Not only does prompt correspondence keep your name fresh in people’s minds, it establishes you as a genuine individual whom others feel secure doing business with. If the context is appropriate, you can even add personal touches like inquiring about a recent vacation they took or mentioning a common interest you share to express that you’re invested in them relationally.
Feeling uninspired? Check out these follow-up email templates.
Pro tip: After following up via email, connect with anyone that stood out to you on LinkedIn. This is a second chance to remind them of who you are, and once connected, you can casually interact via “liking” posts and commenting. This ensures you stay top of mind and makes it even easier for them to reconnect with you at any point.
Step Into the Networking Arena
Learning how to network effectively is an asset you can take straight to the bank. Move outside your comfort zone, engage with other professionals, and use these pointers to maximize your efforts and form connections that will provide value for many years to come.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time freelance writer and self-employed content marketing consultant. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for Virgin, Glassdoor, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect LinkedIn.
Why Your Salary Is Costing You Millions In Earned Income
The average person craves a salaried job the for comfort, security, and the guarantee they can pay their bills.
But a salary will cost countless people millions of dollars in earned income throughout their career.
It’s ironic that we want a guaranteed income so we can live comfortably leading up to and through retirement.
That’s what society promises, at least, until things become uncomfortable.
Once something bad happens—you get fired, laid off, don’t save enough, salary increase doesn’t keep pace with inflation, make bad financial choices, have expensive kids, get divorced—and now you’re far away from a comfortable retirement nest egg plus have less skills and determination to go make your own money.
The salaried gig looks great on the outside, until you dive deeper to see that it’s often the single biggest demotivator and limiting factor to earning more money.
Your Salary Kills Urgency And Entices Laziness
Though not entirely similar, a salary shares some common characteristics of communism.
You get the same paycheck every month regardless of your performance—pretty close to communism.
At many jobs, a guy like Bill will voluntarily show up at 6 AM every work morning and leave at 8 PM, while slacker Johnny over there shows up at 8 AM and leaves at 6 PM and is paid the exact same wage as Bill.
The paycheck doesn’t reflect the reality that Bill worked 20 plus more hours than Johnny and got a heck of a lot more done than Johnny.
Talk about unfair? The salary gig is cruel, I’m telling you.
And since that situation isn’t fair, human nature will get Bill to think, “Stop working so hard. Why bother to put in the extra hours if I’m not rewarded? I’m going to start acting like Johnny because he’s doing just what’s asked of him and the boss doesn’t notice my performance.”
Now I’m not naive to think that bonuses, raises, and promotions aren’t a thing in the workforce—a differentiator from communism.
However, those are just too much out of your control to count on and you’re not rewarded until months or years later. And they often require smart salary negotiation, which is difficult if you’re not practiced, on top of luck.
Plus, in the example above, if Bill decides to work less and deliver less value then he won’t get the bonus or raise even if there’s one available.
The idea is that a salary often persuades workers to do the bare minimum to keep their job and keep getting paid.
It doesn’t entice individuals to give their all each and every day to not only make themselves double the income, but the company double the return on investment in them as well.
Knowing a paycheck is coming has a cocaine effect where you’re addicted to that monthly guaranteed income even though it’s not in your best interest to rely on it.
What’s worse is the damage it does to your overall net worth.
Guaranteed Income Costs You Millions Of Dollars
The addiction of needing a salary will costs millions of people, millions of dollars in lost income.
Let’s take a look at the multiple reasons why a salary sets you up to fail in the chase towards wealth.
For one, the average salary increase in the US doesn’t match the potential of a hustler who gets to decide their own income based on their work ethic.
A May 2017 forecast from WorldatWork predicts that salary increase budgets for U.S. employers will grow 3 percent on average in 2018 across most employee categories.
Say you make $50,000 a year at your 9 to 5 job you despise. Are you going to bust your butt for 261 work days in the year for a 3% salary increase? I’m not. We’re only talking about $1,500 at that rate.
The work compared to the payoff doesn’t add up to a good deal. It’s not motivating to me. It shouldn’t motivate you.
I could work at McDonald’s and come out with more dollars per hour than that thievery.
You’ll drag your feet for a 3% salary increase (+$1,500), but perform like a workhorse if you have a definite opportunity to double your current income (+$50,000).
That’s a difference in $48,600 between the two of them for the year and this is just the beginning. The difference is exponential over the lifetime of a career.
Second, when your income is entirely in your hands—be it as a beginner entrepreneur, commission sales rep, recruiter, or other job—your butt is on the hot seat from the get go to perform.
There’s no room to take it easy if you want to eat that week and keep your business alive.
Plus, you’ll be motivated to save extra money since this can turn into the business’ emergency fund or a payroll account to hire some contractors or full-time employees.
Meaning each dollar you earn has a higher purpose than eating expensive meals and treating yourself to materialistic clothing purchases.
And by investing in your business, your company and you personally will take home more profits than if your income was tied down by a normal 9 to 5 job.
I’m not surprised when I look at the richest people in each state only to find that none of them are salaried works but entrepreneurs and business owners.
Now you don’t have to be an entrepreneur, but you do need a job with no ceiling on your income if you want to get maximum performance out of yourself and the rewards that come with it.
Third, the rate of your learning is immensely sped up when you have to rely on your own work ethic to make money and pay the bills. You can’t afford to be out of the know in your industry if you want to compete with your competitors.
This is the pressure that forces you to gain knowledge and then use that experience to win more deals for yourself.
Plus, you can compound your knowledge to make more money in the future or consult others on the keys to success based on your experience. These opportunities aren’t there in the corporate world.
By getting off the addicting salary drug and choosing your own medicine, you force yourself to provide value to others so you can ultimately get paid what you’re worth.
And the more patient and skilled you become, the greater this income increases over years then decades.
That’s how your income grows by hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, which adds up to millions, instead of 3% and $1,500 (if that) every year.
Work Like You’re Not On Salary
You only get to do this thing called life once.
Why take the safe and boring road with a salaried job that is like driving a minivan straight on a flat road until retirement, when you can take the thrilling road in a sports car up a mountain with jagged cliffs and unbelievable views?
Bet on yourself. Work your face off. And work like you’re not on salary.
By mixing things up, you’ll discover if your company rewards you for going above and beyond what’s asked of you.
And if they do incentivize your efforts then you don’t need to find a different job. Maybe it doesn’t though and you see the writing on the wall: you’re worth millions more than you will ever earn here so you find a better job you love.
It’s like any pursuit in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone to truly push yourself, grow, and become the best version of yourself.
Happiness comes from personal growth. So take the jump and make the most of it.
Millions of dollars are nice, but the feeling of personal satisfaction from working incredibly hard and getting rewarded for it will far trump the money—every time.
What You Should Know If You Start A Career In Marketing
Silvia Li, young hustler and marketer extraordinaire, contributed this one of a kind article.
When college students majoring in marketing graduate, they expect to land a job in which they can apply all the skills they learned during their four years in school.
When I was a freshman, that’s what I thought. Looking back, I was naive to think that way.
Marketing strategies are changing every day. Consumers are behaving differently every day. Generations are shifting. And textbooks, unfortunately, haven’t changed in years.
Simultaneously, competition for marketing jobs is insane.
You have to stand out among many other graduates to land a job where you can make enough to pay your bills and loans, while having enough to travel and enjoy personal life post-graduation.
So what should you know before diving into a career in marketing?
What does it take to get a job in marketing?
What do you actually need to know to enter the real world of marketing?
Without real marketing experience or projects, there’s a lot you can learn ahead of time to maximize your chance of landing a marketing job.
In my career working with the world’s top entrepreneurs on marketing, I have learned a number of lessons that I wished I knew on my first day as a marketer.
To all of you starting a career in marketing, here’s a list of lessons and things you can do to prepare before starting your first job.
The list is a collection of advice from all the lessons I’ve learned – including my experience launching the largest startup publication on Medium to trending globally on top storytelling sites to working on digital campaigns that have trended internationally and creating global movements.
It takes more than a resume to work with the best talent in marketing
When I set my sights on becoming the best marketer in the world, I knew I had to surround myself with the best.
I started by providing value.
I reached out to one of the best entrepreneurs in Los Angeles who ran an education technology nonprofit called Yang Camp. And I sent her a list of ideas that I thought would help her grow her organization.
I didn’t know if the ideas were any good, but they certainly got her attention. I didn’t need a resume to get the job.
Don’t get me wrong. My resume was helpful but at the time, but other people might have looked more qualified in paper.
I had told myself and told others that I would find the best ways to provide value and that my resume didn’t completely reflect who I was.
I created partnerships all across Los Angeles with schools and nonprofits to ensure our curriculum was being taught in different schools and afterschool programs across the city.
We worked with Microsoft and Girls in Tech Inc. to bring together over 100 young students to learn about STEAM.
I created campaigns that everyone in the Los Angeles area saw.
Little did I know at the time that in order to work with the best, it wasn’t about my resume. It was about being resourceful, strategic, and resilient.
Since then, I’ve signed up for a lifetime of tackling complex problems and working with the best talent in the United States.
Most of you have had a summer internship somewhere, perhaps a startup or famous marketing agency or well-known organization or nonprofit.
Guess what? So do hundreds of people in your school. The fact that you had an internship helps, but it doesn’t necessarily help you stand out and show that you’re the best candidate.
It might get you an interview but it’s still not enough to show who you really are and what you can accomplish.
Companies are seeking folks who can come up with new things so extracurriculars or projects that show you were a key asset are always a plus.
To show real impact in marketing, you need to show that you’re up-to-date with the latest trends.
As mentioned earlier, marketing is changing every day. Own your resume – show your uniqueness, your value, and your impact.
Find a team that will empower you to learn – Teamwork makes the dream work
To maximize your satisfaction at work, find a marketing gig where collaboration is part of the culture.
Trust me, this will reduce misunderstanding. It’ll establish a well-connected community with ample opportunities for you to grow and learn from executives and other managers.
While companies that let you do your own thing will be fun and allow you to tackle new challenges, working directly with a team will provide you a lot more mentorship and guide you in the early phases of your marketing career.
During the interview process, make sure that they have open communication channels and continuously boost employee engagement.
During your interview, ask your interviewer if the organization encourages everyone to regularly report their likes and dislikes.
Do they help employees feel like an integral part of the company’s grand vision? If their answer doesn’t make you happy, make sure to ask more questions to understand where they are coming from. If you completely disagree, maybe it’s not worth working for that organization.
Corporations with pre-set hierarchies make it tough for employees to give feedback or learn new skills. That’s why you need to find the best fit and balance. Read the job descriptions well and find a place where you feel comfortable.
When I worked at Startup Grind powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, the largest independent startup publication in the world inspiring and connecting 1,000,000 entrepreneurs, I immediately knew that my boss was a leader.
Since day one, he encouraged me to own projects and try new things. I could sense it during the first interview call that he was someone to trust and who would empower me to dream more.
Throughout my time at Startup Grind, I learned all things about marketing including public relations, content marketing, SEO, social media, and influencer marketing.
Crazy thing is that I learned by example and by doing my own research.
Because my team trusted me and worked with me, I was able to grow and launch the largest startup publication on Medium.
Early in anyone’s career, you’ll have multiple ideas to make your organization grow. Write them out on a list and share them with your supervisor. She’ll have feedback.
If my boss, hadn’t given me an opportunity to try this new project, I wouldn’t have grown this publication, which at this point, has been read by millions of people.
The content of the publication has now been syndicated to large media outlets including BBC, The New York Times, and more. It has even surpassed the White House’s Medium publication, which is pretty incredible.
As a marketer, I’ve been lucky to work with the smartest people on Earth. I’ve been able to work with serial entrepreneurs and New York Times Best Sellers.
But none of these collaborations would have happened if I didn’t work with a team that trust me and empower me to grow.
Make sure you find that early in your career.
Marketing isn’t all about brand awareness and viral campaigns. It’s about business impact.
Marketing innovation has made huge leaps and shifts in the last few decades but there’s something that hasn’t changed.
Marketing strategies need to be tied to creating revenue or reaching a goal in the short-term and long-term.
When you launch a new strategy, you need to ensure that you have an overall vision on how each thing you create leads to a greater impact in the organization. Your video went viral! Great!
But did the right audience see it? Did they share it with other people that are interested in buying your product? Make sure it does!
During my time as Head of Marketing at Hostfully, a venture-backed startup focused on the vacation rental space based in San Francisco, I built a marketing infrastructure that ensured that every single marketing stream would lead to possible sales.
To do so, we needed to figure out where our users were and where they spent the most time.
I spent days researching and building the different personas of vacation rentals. I created a content strategy that would promote our brand without mentioning our name.
Instead, our main goal was to provide value to customers, which would ultimately lead to more people referring others to our blog. Our blog became a large percentage of our traffic and led to more active and paid users. In a few months, we brought tens of thousands of users.
Business impact needs both quantitative data and qualitative data. They will both show you what’s effective, what’s not effective, and whether your hypotheses made sense.
Effective marketing campaigns focus on creating content that users get value from and eventually will convert to paid users.
You need to be ready to think critically and understand who your users truly are. How can your company serve them to be better?
Make sure you know this in every organization you work at.
Mentorship and freelancing – Learning outside of work
Early in my career, I learned the importance of mentors. From day one, I found people who I looked up to and wanted to learn things from them.
I found Twitter to be one of the best tools to network. Twitter, in fact, changed the face of my career as a marketer. I met the best talent in Silicon Valley through this social platform.
I followed their conversations and engaged with them on a daily basis. Little did I know that I would get to know them in person. Because of these initial Twitter conversations, I had the privilege of working with them to launch the first Startup Weekend focused in the Latinx community.
This event held in Oakland brought together entrepreneurs in the Bay Area who were eager to build products.
Do you know what else has helped me to become a marketer? Freelancing. As you see, I’ve worked with all sorts of organizations throughout my career.
How did I find these? By building a brand online.
People have read my blog for years and have seen my thought process and experience. This has led to getting cold emails from founders and venture capitalists reaching out to work with them.
Last year, I worked as a content marketer with devAcademy, a tech company in Peru where I developed the company’s first content marketing strategy that led to ten thousands of unique views in just a few weeks.
I also revamped their website content to improve their user experience and conversion rates.
This job was very fulfilling because I got to work with an entrepreneur who is a hustler. Not only did I learn about the tech ecosystem in Peru, but I also learned more technical skills and what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
If you’re a marketer, you need to learn multiple skills. Go learn outside of work – network, read a book, freelance, and volunteer on projects that you’re passionate about.
These are all of the things I wished I had known before I started my marketing career. If I could go back in time, I’d try to accomplish all these things earlier in life.
I hope you found this list beneficial in planning a successful marketing career.
Make us proud!