With too many things happening around us, reflecting on our journey ground us in the present. It keeps our focus on our goals. It’s how I’m able to cope with the taxing effects of uncertainty.
So, let’s go back to five years ago, revisit those wins and losses, appreciate and learn from them. And then develop a new plan on the best way to move forward in this competitive landscape no matter how unpredictable our situation may be.
Here’s what we’ll cover today.
- Go back five years ago and take a look at the contributions of your old job in your career
- Review the contributions of your former work to your current profession
- Get ready to take the next steps
- The challenge in having a team
- What were the steps I took to solve my team’s challenges?
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Go back to your previous job five years ago
What were the contributions of your old job in your career?
I was a Regional Account Associate at the leading TV broadcasting company in the Philippines when I decided to venture out. It was the perfect time to pursue my agency dream because of my background in various fields in marketing. Without any capital, I jump-started my career as an online freelancer hunting for digital marketing projects through on-demand job marketplaces. I bid, pitched, and sent cold emails and proposals to at least 100 different businesses until I landed my first batch of projects. Within two months after I left my regular employment, I earned more than my salary from my previous job.
Review the contributions of your former work to your current profession
How did your previous job propel your career?
When I was a regional account associate, I handled multiple accounts from several regions in our company. I managed marketing communications projects from Europe, Middle East, Australia, and the Asia Pacific. And it meant taking creative and marketing job orders from countries where the flagship international broadcasting network was available. Those long hours of managing different projects provided the training I needed to manage client projects independently. I wore many hats to make things work. I divided my time among many functions. I hunted for new projects early in the morning, worked on existing projects until lunch, and held client meetings in the evening. And my routine lasted for about two months until things started picking up. My hustle boosted my skills in project management and design and digital marketing analytics. I learned to create a marketing plan, design social media posts and stay on top of my invoices to get paid. But I didn’t know everything about creating a marketing plan and graphic design. I had to learn those skill sets to work on a multitude of projects. Fortunately for you, there are many great resources to learn a new skill or enhance what you already know. Check out Scribd, my favorite ebook and audiobook subscription service, and learn about any topic.
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What were the next steps you took?
It didn’t take long until I got used to my new work setup. Our dining table was my meeting room in the evening, and my bedroom was where I bid-range on projects. After a few months, I was ready to take more projects under my wing. But, I also recognized the challenge of having a lot on my plate. This is where my account management skills came in handy. With the help of an external team, I recruited other freelancers to share the nitty-gritty work demands of freelance digital marketing professionals. But I saved them from the admin work and client meetings because I know it isn’t everyone’s dream job anyway. Everyone gets to work on the tasks that they are good at; everybody wins!
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Every journey has its ups and downs
What were the challenges you faced with having a small team?
Having a team speed up our productivity rate. We were producing work on time which allowed our team to get a few more clients. As we expand our digital marketing services, I realized the importance of upskilling to meet the needs of our growing portfolio. However, payments from clients have become unpredictable, which was typical to all small businesses. There were late payments for more than two months. And while I was okay with late payments as a solo freelancer, having a small team was a different situation. I could not afford late payments early into the business. And late fees were unfair to any team. I compensated by paying my team first, which worked for a short while but was not sustainable unless I make the necessary changes.
What were the steps I took to solve my team’s challenges?
The most obvious solution was to get to the bottom of the issue as to why late payments were happening in the first place. In the beginning, I suspected that clients weren’t getting the ROI from the marketing initiative. And so I offered to optimize our services to meet the needs of their business without extra charges. It appeared that the issue was on the system level, which, unfortunately, I had no control. Slowly, I started looking for other opportunities to support my small team to avoid suffering from the consequences of putting all of the eggs in one basket.
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