I got my start on MySpace... oh, good ol' MySpace.com. This is my story of how I went from a serious MySpace lover to digital marketing professional!
Back in the day (a decade ago), I was all about that pink, glittery and customizable profile! In order to add just about anything onto your MySpace profile, you had to know basic HTML - it was a no brainer. There were no easy profiles with boring designs (ahem... Facebook!) or drag & drop, plugin functionality.
Nowadays, this is not a requirement. We have sites like Squarespace (which I adore) that help us create effortless, 21st century-inspired websites at the click of a button, and social media platforms that allow us to share a video of what we're doing in that moment with a single tap.
IT'S SIMILAR TO THE EXPERIENCE OF SOMEONE TELLING YOU THAT THEY DON'T REMEMBER DIAL-UP INTERNET OR VHS PLAYERS!
This next generation (just a mere few years after me) will have absolutely no concept of dial-up, much less MySpace and HTML coding unless they make it their mission.
After MySpace, Facebook began its takeover and soon enough, whether we thought the platform was aesthetically displeasing or not, everyone was on Facebook. I still remember the archaic "Events" event calendar display. Oh boy...
Then came Twitter. Anyone remember Lisa Nova's video about it? Twitter Whore! I was more excited for Twitter than I had been about other new platforms in the past - I was on the waitlist before they even launched! Twitter used to be a place where you could tell your friends what cereal you were having for breakfast, but now it has changed our political (and business) landscape and made activists and professionals out of everyday people. I love this aspect.
However, Twitter is now sinking and is struggling to stay afloat. Periscope helped its case a little bit, but once Facebook and Instagram Live came along, it started tanking again.
The story of MySpace, Twitter and so many others remind us of how fragile the Internet truly is and how much of a risk it is to start your own social media network. It also reminds us of how important it is to be an ever-changing, ever-learning professional in the digital field.
In my job, everything is constantly changing. What's the newest hashtag technique? The newest opinion on sharing posts with rich media? Short URLs? The list goes on and on.
EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION ABOUT EVERYTHING & YOU HAVE TO BE CRITICAL ABOUT WHO YOU TRUST.
So let's get into that: my job. I started with an interest in blogging at the age of 13 when I launched a diary-like blog that helped me document the progress I had made in my figure skating classes and my online homeschooling. I had no concept of what enticing content was, or what "writing for your audience" meant. It was all me, me, me! But at this point in the blogosphere, that's what most people were doing. I mean, just look at Karen Cheng. She's built an empire around sharing her own life musings and struggles/triumphs.
These days, we utilize the medium of blogging to connect with our clients and customers as business owners and corporations.
BLOGGING, EVEN ON LIFESTYLE BLOGS LIKE MINE, HAS MORPHED INTO AUDIENCE-CENTERED CONTENT AND YOU BETTER KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHIC OR YOU'RE SCREWED.
Every blog has a Google Analytics account and you bet it's monitored weekly!
I learned a great deal of this knowledge during college when I was studying to become a psychologist. I was entrenched in the world of social and positive psychology and was fascinated by the human mind - how we influence people to buy, like, follow. Reciprocity, anyone? By studying in the psychology field, I was led even further into studying marketing and all the complexities that come along with it.
By the time I got through my sophomore year in college, I recognized just how much I truly loved digital marketing and the power I had to bring brands together with their ideal customers. I had already been serving on a board of directors for a local nonprofit organization and operating their social media for many years. It was time that I took the initiative to get internships under my belt and go after my ideal career path. So I did two two-quarter internships - one at a local children's museum, another at my local tourism bureau.
Along the way, I met many influential mentors. While embarking on my second internship, I decided to launch my business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. I was taking a business class and working on a business plan for a hypothetical business when I realized: hey, why not actually make this a real thing!? I had already determined my ideal customer segments, my mission statement, my trade name and much more.
WHY WAS I HOLDING BACK?
The real push came when I met Jennifer, my biggest mentor and source of inspiration. Jennifer runs her own digital marketing business out of San Diego, California. I found her on Twitter and recognized that she was doing exactly what I dreamt of. I direct messaged her and asked if she wouldn't mind answering a few questions for a quick, digital informational interview. Within 15 email exchanges (yep, I counted), she offered me a position with her business. I've worked for her (contracting through my business) for a year now.
By mid-quarter in my business class, I had registered with the Department of Revenue and "opened my doors" for business. Along with Jennifer, other clients quickly followed and after attending a variety of networking events and putting myself out there (past my comfort zone), I was making a name for myself in local circles. Both locations of internship hired me in some manner after my internships completed and the extra experience I gained there was perfect.
Constant self-teaching, business and leadership classes through my college and regular Twitter Chats set me up for future success.
One of my first mentors shared the following quote with me that is so, so important to keep with you as you journey through your career:
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear."
IF YOU DON'T TAKE ANYTHING ELSE FROM THIS POST, TAKE THIS:
Go after your dreams, even the scariest ones... and don't be afraid to push yourself, girl. Don't be afraid to ask for what you're worth (yes, I mean respect and $$$) and think twice before you accept less. Don't allow people who are far too entrenched in their ways to discourage you or shame you into feeling less intelligent or capable, because you so are.
As a young, female entrepreneur, distaste and disapproval is thrown my way always (surprisingly, most often from fellow females). I've come to embrace the very real sensation of "imposter syndrome" and run with it, beat it down and do it all over again.
How did you find the career that's the best fit for you?
I'd love to hear your story!
IF YOU ENJOY THIS POST,
YOU MAY ENJOY THESE, TOO!
BLOGGER: KATHRYN COFFMAN
Kathryn is the lead contributor + founder at FashionablyFrank.com. Obsessed with leading a life of balance, she started the blog in 2013. Since graduating from The Evergreen State College (Washington) in 2016, she is now a digital marketing specialist through her business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. She believes a cup of coffee is the answer to all of life's problems + that all women should strive to embrace a #girlboss mantra.