Diving in the deep end
Quitting my full-time job with no back up plan was one of the most exciting and most terrifying decisions I’ve ever made. With no real plan, I handed in my resignation knowing that I was walking out of agency life and into the unknown. I knew that I wanted to be self-employed but I had no real clue how to go about it. The skills that I’d learnt in my agency role meant that I knew how to run a successful digital marketing campaign, but my GPA 4 in Accounting from years before wasn’t filling me with confidence in my business-running abilities. Here’s what I’ve learnt after giving up my stable agency job in exchange for running my own business.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I’m really fortunate to have a great team of friends and family who have supported me and filled in my various knowledge gaps. The digital age is all about collaboration, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask people for help. Chances are, you’ll be able to offer something in return and support someone else’s journey. Join Facebook groups that share your interests and goals, attend networking events to find people with skills you may be lacking, and always be willing to listen and absorb information.
It’s all about confidence, baby
I can’t tell you enough how important being confident in your own abilities is. It’s easy to fall into a space of self-doubt and even feel like an imposter, especially when you’re first starting out. Sure, I’d been managing digital marketing campaigns for years, but what did I really know? What more did I have to offer than all of the exisiting digital marketing agencies?
- Passion. When I first started agency life, I was young, bright-eyed and keen to be able to work with so many different clients and make a real difference in their lives. I quickly came to love the technical side of marketing, particularly SEO and web design. As my client numbers grew though, I had less and less time to do the work that I loved. Now I have the freedom to focus on what I’m passionate about and what I’m good at, meaning my clients get the best outcome.
- Ethics. Working for myself means that I get to work with the clients I choose, on the campaigns that will work for them. I work with businesses to create custom digital marketing strategies that are going to work for my clients, not just for me.
- Care. My job doesn’t end after the website’s been built, or the ad has been published. My goal is to improve my clients’ businesses in the long term, and I truly care about doing great work and getting amazing results. I build relationships with my clients and work with them to ensure they’re getting the most out of their digital marketing campaign.
So it turns out that I had a couple of things to offer. Remember, every successful person probably felt self-doubt at some point too.
What I’ve learnt about digital marketing
I started my agency life in SEO without much experience. I had a degree in public relations and a few internships, but not a heap of practical skills. I was very much thrown in the deep end in my new role, but I picked things up quickly and became specialised in SEO. The agency environment allowed me to learn more about paid marketing and web development, and my skills have grown from there. What I’ve learnt is that digital marketing is a complex balance between creativity and technical skill. It’s constantly evolving and there is not one right approach for every business. I’m excited and grateful that I get to continue to learn about and work in this incredible industry every day.
What I’ve learnt about running a business
Running a business is so much more than selling a product or service. As a complete novice, there were so many things that I had never even considered when I quit my job, from accounting softwares to legal contracts. I’ve found the marketing industry to be such a supportive and collaborative space, and I continue to learn new things every day. There is also a podcast, an app, or a helpful guide for everything you could ever need.
What I’ve learnt about myself
Becoming self-employed has been an absolute ride. It’s been challenging, confronting, and at times it’s felt impossible, but more than anything it’s been so rewarding. I’m able to be more creative, focus more on the things I love doing, and feel proud as hell of myself and what I’ve accomplished.
The most important thing I’ve learnt is that I can do it.