Marketers have to be Jack of All Trades
I met a couple of ex-colleagues who were attending an Intel internal conference at the same time that I was speaking in Las Vegas last week. It was wonderful to see them; they were all curious about how I was doing as an independent.
I summarized in two F-words: freaking hard and fabulously awesome.
Freaking hard: In general, nothing works the first time…
As an independent, I need to be a jack-of-all-trades. I am sales, marketing, accounting, and customer service. For speaking engagements, I have to book my own travel, hotel, promote my own session or event, create and ‘sexify’ my own presentation.
I customize my presentation for different conferences and different topics, which is time-consuming to do. For one small consulting project, it turned out that they prefer to pay via credit card. Suddenly, I had to figure out how to accept credit card payments. That was 20-hours of tedious work to source payment vendors and work with tech support (on the phone for hours) to set things up. For marketing promotion, that’s even worse. I have tried several different promotional methods. I have bought a few different marketing promotional and analytical tools (Buzzsumo, Sumome, MailChimp, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads etc.).
The reality: most of the promotional tactics require continuous refinement. Some just simply don’t work for me.
Day-to-day is hard. That’s the way it is!
Fabulously awesome: Learn something every day. Oh yes, yoga!
The flip side of hardship is learning something new every day. The way we do business and marketing has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Many SaaS tools have been developed to help small businesses do social media, e-mail and make other marketing efforts easier. To complicated things further, there are also a lot of add-ons, which integrate different SaaS tools to ensure they talk to each other, e.g. using Zapier (a tool to connect different apps) to integrate Mailchimp and Nimble or WordPress and Evernote and other apps.
As a marketer, I really need to know what I want to accomplish so that I can proactively search, try and use different tools.
Trial-and-error is the normal part of each day. It’s exciting and overwhelming.
Another fabulously awesome aspect of being independent is flexibility. I can do yoga 5-7 times a week. Hot Yoga helps me sweat, while Iyengar Yoga improves the precision of my postures. I’d love to be able to do all three inversion postures: headstand, handstand and forearm stand. So far two down, one to go.
Like small businesses and start-ups, I have good days and bad days. The key thing is to keep a positive attitude on the bad days and count small wins on good days.