by WILLIAM SMITH
Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve developed a specific view of marketing that revolves around being useful, being surprising, being early and being original. Maybe you’d rather start from the beginning instead of follow someone else’s formula or best practice. Maybe you’re a heretic?
And perhaps, if you’re like me, you’ve struggled to just get started working on your own projects. Agonized about what your website looks like, what your podcast should sound like, or questioned whether you were experienced enough to speak on your profession, publicly. Maybe you haven’t feel good enough to contribute.
I’ve been a marketer my entire career, and that means that ultimately, people want me to help them sell products Sometimes they are physical products and some are services. I’ve designed websites to sell products, paid for search and social ads, and really, spent most of my time marketing to a spreadsheet.
Its had its ups and downs in terms of my personal fulfillment.
My current specialities are:
Coming up with ideas, and seeing how an idea can influence someone else. I love to see ideas grow.
Communicating and articulating complex concepts (typically marketing related) into easy to understand language for non-marketers. I just love teaching and thinking about marketing.
And finally, recording, editing and packaging content – this can be a podcast interview, a video interview, or some mash up of the two, into a compelling story that helps sell something, either a product or a concept.
I can do other things, but these are the three that make me happy and pay my bills (in that order).
I’m also a marketing generalist, and I’m pretty damn proud of that.
I think generalist get a bum rap sometimes. We are who you go to as a last resort, or when you don’t have money (or resources).
That’s curious to me, because more often than not, we are actually the most flexible, adaptable, accountable and fastest. I happily carry the banner for those generalists who have dedicated themselves to learning something about all of the various aspects of their profession. This took me a long time to recognize as a strength. For years I have wondered “what if?”
What if I kept playing my violin through college? Could I have become a professional musician?
What if I had learned coding, would I be more marketable today?
What if I stuck with podcasting just a little longer, would I have a show with a large subscriber base today?
I’m a true believer in learning through failure. Failing is the only way you get better, so I’ve decided that this ride I’m on will present many challenges, and I’ll probably fail spectacularly. Maybe the reason my attention flows like water is that its following some path that I can’t see just yet. Maybe this river leads somewhere great!
I have helped hundreds of people start their own projects (this sounds douchey, and I know that), but I’ve always had a hard time starting my own.
I had a podcast called Studio which I did about 20 episodes of before I had a bout of crippling self-doubt that I was good enough at podcasting to offer advice to other people.
I’ve had websites that were designed and just ready to launch only to throw the entire project into the trash because I couldn’t find the right font, or the right colors, or the right post-grid to display my content in a specific, pixel-perfect way.
Maybe you’re like me, and you have doubted yourself. Maybe you’ve been told not to, but you don’t believe it.
I have been here for years
If you know me, you know I’m the first to offer you advice.
“You need to have a website, a portfolio and a blog where you share your ideas and help solve problems.”
“Really, I think you should start a podcast! I’d even edit it for you, for free! I just want the experience.”
“Record a video every day sharing some insight. Let people see your personality!”
Where the hell is my website? Podcast? YouTube channel? I can create them, I’ve got boundless ideas for content, things I can share that are interesting from other places and an uncommon perspective on marketing.
I just never got started. But now I have.
My site isn’t going to be perfect. My podcast will start off scripted and probably lame. I’ll probably be really embarrased by my first video. But that’s literally how I imagine every single person who has ever created something new for the first time feels when they get started.
This time feels different. I want to find my tribe. I want to ship something and I want to get on with helping people and forging my identity in my field. If you feel the same way, let’s figure out a way to help each other.