Working in a marketing agency, we are always on the go. But I got to thinking the other day about how I got to be where I am today. I’m a well-respected marketer running a successful marketing agency, and the things I do today come second nature to me.
But it didn’t always used to be that way. What many people don’t know about me is that 25 years ago I was working in a bank and had no plans to run a business much less market it.
So how did I make the transition? To be honest most of my motivation was driven by necessity. I started as a freelance copywriter offering copywriting services, working from home so that I could look after my two young kids. But then I got busy as demand for my services grew and I ended up having to rent an office and hire extra staff. Suddenly I had a business I hadn’t even planned!
Marketing agency going just fine until the recession hit!
It was the realisation that I now had the responsibility of not only ensuring my own income each month but also my staffs’ that got me researching and learning about marketing. I had to make sure I was bringing in the business to cover expenses and then some. Things were going OK but I hadn’t long set up when the 1997 crash happened. Demand for my services seemed to dry up overnight. I was back to square one. I was so disappointed with myself in letting my staff down and I swore this would never happen again.
Knowledge is power
So I set about making sure it didn’t. I devoured books, I read all I could find on the Internet, I attended seminars, I made notes on what my clients were doing and I learned all I could about marketing. I hired people who knew things I didn’t and we expanded beyond just copywriting. As a team we became a one-stop marketing solution for our clients, from conceptualisation through to publication in print and online.
I set up multiple complementary services to add additional income streams aimed at making my business recession proof. The bonus was they also added value to some of my clients.
Continuous learning to keep up with the times
But despite the learning, I wasn’t keeping up with market trends. When I one day analysed the kinds of enquiries we were getting in from new leads, I realised that the demand had shifted. From getting mostly print based marketing enquiries and the occasional digital marketing enquiry, I realised that the demand had reversed and most of our enquiries were for online content.
So it was back to the learning again! What knowledge were we lacking? How do we fill the gap? Who do we add to the team? And each time Google or online platforms make changes that affect search results or content views, we have to learn again.
None of us were born with the knowledge we have today. We learned stuff along the way and we’ll keep learning because that’s how we get to be the best at what we do.