When I first heard about digital marketing I was at a stage in my life (I was around 18 years old) where I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in terms of career. And this I believe is a very common issue in our generation. I had three options at the time – either get a full-time job, go to uni or look for an apprenticeship.
I knew was that I wanted a real career where I can progress and “climb the ladder”. It had to be something exciting, interesting and definitely something I could build a passion for because if you want to do something every day, for several hours per day, it cannot bore you – and the only way to avoid that is by having a true passion for what you do.
I didn’t want to study at the uni because I wasn’t 100% on the course I wanted to take. All I knew is that I was into sports, and did well in my A level business (I really don’t know how because I did awful with my GCSEs lol). It would have to be something in these two categories. So the only realistic option I had left is to get any job while I think of a career path I want to progress in.
So I got a job!
I worked as a lifeguard and a boxing instructor at a health club which has just re-opened in my local area after being closed down for 4 years. I thought it was a great opportunity to show my face and interest.
Why a lifeguard and a boxing instructor?
I was always into sports. I was an active kid. A little chubby in my younger days, but always active. I had 3 years of amateur boxing experience behind me so I thought working in that kind of environment was best for me at that particular time.
Two years later a friend of mine told me about his new apprenticeship in digital marketing.
He told me that the digital industry, the internet, technology, etc is growing. And growing fast! Wasn’t long after that when I sat down at home and did some research on the topic. Not just about what it was and what it meant, but also how it’s changing the overall marketing and businesses altogether.
What was the thing that really caught my eye about digital marketing?
It was the search engine optimisation (SEO) that really caught my eye and there are lots of positive things I could list here but the main one was the fact that by applying your SEO skills into a business website, you are pretty much growing their company and contributing towards their revenue.
To me, that sounded like you are important. Like you are in charge of something. You have a huge responsibility on your hands and it just felt good thinking about it. It’s up to you to make your clients’ business grow. It’s challenging and exciting. And that! – sounded really interesting.
Other benefits of working as an SEO
- Exciting career and forever changing industry.
- You never get bored – there is so much to do!
- Working on your laptop; from home or anywhere in the world really.
- High demand – EVERY business needs it if the owner cares about organic growth.
The opportunities are endless if you think about it. There are over 190 MILLION companies in the world – and the number is growing every month. Imagine how much work is involved in this. How many client possibilities; different businesses, different sectors. It is literally never-ending.
And there is so much to learn. Because the search engine algorithm is always changing, you need to keep on top of your games (which makes it even more exciting) and change your tactics and strategies as Google changes its algo.
So I started to take steps into looking for apprenticeships in digital marketing. It took me a VERY LONG time. Almost a year. But I’ve learned from that and in the end, I got what I wanted.
I quit my lifeguarding job after 3 and a half years. And this was the moment when I knew – this is what I wanted to do.
Looking back – It wasn’t the best apprenticeship experience, to be honest, but at the time it didn’t really matter. It was my foot in the door and I just knew that it’s going to get better and better each year as I grow my experience. It was an in-house position at a Law firm. I didn’t get much help because I was the only person doing any kind of marketing. So nobody really knew what I was doing on a daily basis.
It was tough but because I was so into it, I taught myself most of it. I was watching videos on youtube; tutorial videos, how-to videos, case studies, etc. Learned all kinds of different tools and software, read books, and listened to audiobooks and podcasts. It was very intense. Almost like a driving crash course. Intense training in a short amount of time.
I didn’t see it as “work” because I really enjoyed it. After 12 months, I passed my apprenticeship but unfortunately, I had to leave the firm because it wasn’t the best environment for me to excel in what I do.
Finding another SEO job was really difficult because I only had 12 months of experience in an in-house environment with limited knowledge and skill set. When I did my research – most companies required 2 years of experience. I was stuck with a digital marketing diploma, but not enough experience to be employed.
Advice – if you’re new to SEO, try not to leave a company until you have solid experience otherwise you’ll struggle to find anything. If you do leave after a year like I did, for whatever reason, try to volunteer to work at an agency. Show them that you’re capable and they’ll no doubt hire you.
I was down. I was depressed. I had no money. Living at my mother’s house. With no job and very low chances of even getting a job in what I wanted to do.
It took me 8 months to find something. I was interviewing everywhere. And they all said the same thing; not enough experience.
Although I was inexperienced, I was still able to educate myself every single day, pretty much 8 hours per day. All I needed was an opportunity to actually “show” my skills. I was never good at talking. I was quite nervous – and the experience and negative feedback I’ve had from all my previous job interviews had made me feel even worse.
Sooooo…I decided to work for free.
I volunteered to work at a local digital marketing agency as an email and content executive – I have never done email marketing before, but I did SEO which was 80% of the work they wanted me to do.
I worked there for a month.
At the end of the month, they offered me a full-time position. I was over the moon.
But I did expect it, kind of. Because I really do believe I’m more of a hands-on person. When it came to interviewing, speaking, and explaining things – I wasn’t great at it, but if I was given an opportunity to “show”, I was very confident.
From there, I only grew. I stayed at that agency for around 12 months doing work for three / four clients. But I wanted more. I wanted to be extra busy. I wanted to progress. I wanted to grow. And they couldn’t offer me that, so I moved on.
I landed myself an AMAZING opportunity at another digital marketing agency as an SEO Marketer. Soon after that, I moved onto being an SEO Specialist. I am in such an amazing position in my life right now and I haven’t even reached that far yet. I am only just getting started. With the experience that I have, I have so many possibilities and opportunities. And it’s growing by the day. I am learning so much here and not just about marketing/ SEO but about business too. Meeting and building strong relationships with people who have their own stories to tell and own ideas to share. That kind of experience and information is priceless.
All I am focused on right now is being the best in what I do. I’ve always been very competitive, and SEO is exactly that. I don’t just want to rank a web page on Google. I want to bring VALUE to each and every business/ company/ client I work with.
What’s the real reason I wrote this article?
I wrote this article 1 year ago. And today I came back to read over it to remind myself how much I’ve learned since then. And I realise that it’s quite astonishing what I’ve managed to do and learn in the space of 2 years. But that’s not the point. The point is, is that a lot of companies will take you for granted – especially big companies. You’re pretty much just a number to them. And as difficult it is for companies to find the right candidate, it’s just as hard to find the right company for you.
You don’t want to be working for someone who treats you like a number. And make you feel like you’re worthless. Countless times I’ve walked into an interview and instantly had the urge to just walk out. A lot of the times they ask you to perform a mini audit on their site and expect you to come back with gold. I’ve seen these kinds of site audits being sold to clients for 10,000 US Dollars – and you’re literally giving it to them for free.
That’s just the reality of it. I’m saying all of this so that you’re aware. With 0 to little experience in this industry, you have to bite your tongue and make sacrifices. Once you have the experience – you have more control and are able to set boundaries. Do not accept offers from employees you feel you won’t get on with. This is very important! Regardless of the salary. I think the overall well being and satisfaction is far more important. If you’re relaxed and comfortable, you will actually learn a lot more and no doubt drive better results and generate better ideas.
Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve learned something from this. Please drop me an email if you want to discuss anything.