My career started when I joined the marketing team at Ace Medical doing market research.
I loved that job. Not only did I get to work with dynamic and outgoing marketing and salespeople who represented everything I wanted to be, but I got to hang out in my comfort zone while doing it – crunching numbers, pouring over data, making sense of the market and our competition in my own quiet way.
I later transitioned into the high-tech world using the same skills with different applications. But, over time I began to feel that something was missing. The social side of marketing (that had attracted me in the first place) was absent from my job. Oops!
It’s not that I wasn’t engaging with other humans at all. I had great relationships with my co-workers. But I felt largely disconnected from the end-product and our customers.
Now, granted, this was partly by design. I’m the type of person who prefers to think before I speak and my role allowed me to do that. Face-to-face or phone-to-phone dealings with potentially hostile customers was never appealing to me, until social media.
Social media bridges the gap between introverts and extroverts. It allows those of us who are a little slower to warm up the time we need to do so – making it easier to build and nurture relationships.
I decided that the next chapter of my career would involve social media, but how? I had already worked my way through college once to earn my undergrad degree. Returning to the slow drip of formal education was not a compelling concept. I wanted to do this now.
So, I embarked on a self-created learning program and took the approach of full immersion. It worked! Now I am working as a digital marketing freelancer, taking on projects that let me flex my social muscles in my own way!
These are the tools that made it possible:
lynda.com (now, LinkedIn Learning) is an online learning site where (for a very reasonable cost) you can explore a multitude of business-related topics. From high level “how-to” videos for beginners to deep, topic-specific material for advanced learners, lynda.com was exactly what I was looking for.
I began consuming material thinking I would be through with it in a couple of months, but the more I learned the more I craved so I will warn you, it’s a bit addictive. I developed a routine of watching learning videos while at the gym – exercising my body and brain at the same time. For technical topics where simple absorption wasn’t enough, I watched the videos a second time at home while practicing the concepts first hand.
When I first started using lynda.com, it was a local company that I was thrilled to support. But, LinkedIn just purchased the organization and now I’m excited to see what develops in the coming months.
Logic dictates that if you are going to practice digital marketing, you must develop a strong online presence. Twitter was the channel I felt the most resistance to, so I figured that if I could master Twitter I could master anything social media. I rolled up my sleeves and jumped in – changing my handle to @SocialAmyW to represent my new alter-ego and improved attitude. I introduced myself to the social media community and started sharing, interacting, and participating in chats.
Yes, at first it was hard, scary and a bit like drinking from a firehose but it got easier and I have really come to depend on it. I learn something new every day from my amazing online community.
There are a wealth of articles, podcasts, and eBooks that provide up-to-date information on this ever-changing industry. Digital marketers are a chatty bunch and (thankfully) they are happy to share their knowledge. They inspired me to create this blog so I can give back to those that I have come to value so much.
By drinking in the knowledge I found on lynda.com, Twitter, and other websites I have been able to completely refresh my career. My analytical background is now an invaluable asset in my digital marketing toolkit, which I can use to prove the value of what I am doing. By embracing my past and adding social media, community building, content marketing, and SEO know-how I have created a fresh start for myself and I face each workday with excitement and energy.
I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who has been nothing but supportive to me in my quest. He is my mentor, my sounding board, and my biggest champion so I cannot close this post without thanking him for his amazing patience.
I do not proclaim to know everything about this field and I think it would be foolish for anyone to do so. The landscape changes constantly and it’s not within my control – any good digital marketer knows this. So I embrace an attitude of lifelong learning and pursue new knowledge every single day. That, my friends, is what keeps things exciting.