Just a fair warning, this article is long. Read at your discretion as I cover a LOT in this. Huge thanks to Alexander Cortes for inspiring me to write this post. Follow him on Twitter or buy one of his workout programs, you won't regret it.
49 Ways You Can Build A Career (mostly in marketing, but applies to other contexts too).
I've gotten to the point in my career where people are constantly asking me about how to move their careers forward.
"How do I negotiate a raise?"
"How do I get where I want to go?"
"Can you help me with _____?" (This is the most common question I get)
The questions come often. With the value of traditional college in question, and floods of graduates hitting the market more unprepared than ever, it's no wonder that people are looking for answers as to how to establish a career. Not many of those questions get answered over the course of a 4-year degree. Sure, you might learn how to drink, or watch sports, or waste time, or hit on girls that aren't as pretty in the morning, but when it comes to learning skills that put money in your pockets, college seems to come up short.
I think that college as we know it won't exist for much longer. Actually, the other day Dr. Ricks (a unique follow on Twitter, tweeted about how Internet Trade Schools could be the future (actually I think he bought a domain associated with it...this is what winners do btw). I legitimately think this could happen. No one is talking about this.
Typically trade schools have been reserved for things like woodworking, plumbing, electrical, etc. BUT, I think Dr. Ricks is on to something. For the professions that can be learned digitally, Internet Trade Schools might be just what the doctor ordered. Instead of going to listen to a professor (who hasn't worked in marketing in decades) drone on about marketing and management, students will enroll in online courses (for a fraction of the price of tuition) where startup founders and actual practitioners will teach materials that are timely and practical.
We have so many generalists entering the work force. Students that go to school for "business" or "marketing" are great because they are malleable, but they are then forced into a career that may or may not suit them. The majority of the time...it doesn't suit them long-term, but they go along with it anyway because it's all they know and it provides a paycheck. They end up as generalists, but it takes them far too long to realize that no one pays generalists. They pay specialists.
There are more ways to learn than ever. More college dropouts are becoming successful in the real world than ever. Steve Jobs was just the beginning.
There can be endless debates on career paths, specializations, and how people should live their lives.
Ultimately, those decisions lie with you. It's your life. It's your career.
In researching this list, I dug through a fair amount of research paired with my personal experiences and those of the people I've met over the last few years. I want to do everything I can to help people who are in the same shoes I was in years ago. I want you to become self-aware quickly so you can decipher the type of career and work that will best suit you for decades to come.
Your quality of life is in your hands.
What will you do with it?
I've done my best to be as specific as possible while also creating things that can apply to people who aren't in marketing.
There are a few bullets listed that offer additional resources. Rest assured that I HAVE done my research. Any recommendation I make does not come lightly and I trust the people I'm referring you to. Whether it's a twitter account, online course, digital download, or video series...just know that I have done my research and I believe any or all of these resources will help you go further faster.
I have no interest in arguing this list with you. I'm sure you, or anyone, can pick apart various pieces as unimportant or offer better resources that are available, but this disregards the overarching goal of helping you get better. Your life is your life. It's your experiment to run tests. It's all on you to determine what's best for you, and produce results.
The following list will help you go further faster. Whether you cherry pick a few or follow all of them, I believe that you can and will be better off for utilizing this list.
Let's move forward.
I would say I've divided these into categories, but I didn't. Just find what works for you.
If I had to reduce these down to just a handful, I would say make sure to see 4, 33, 37, and 49. But to make the biggest impact, it would serve you well to consider each and every one.
- Ignore 99% of the Advice You Hear - I recognize the irony of me giving you advice to ignore advice, but hang with me. Most people don't want you to succeed. They will say they want you to succeed, but when it comes to actually helping you, they are more likely to sabotage you than actually help. It's not their fault. Most of it is subconscious. They think they want you to succeed, but really they don't want you to be more successful than them. So be careful who you trust and listen to. It could mean the difference between being like everyone else and having a career you can be proud of.
- People will tell you to "hustle". People will also tell you to "enjoy your life." - Figure out which one works best for you. Gary Vaynerchuk will tell you to hustle 24/7. People like DHH will tell you to enjoy your life and limit your work week to 40 hours. Neither side is right and neither side is wrong. It's not about right or wrong (which is where most people go wrong). The sooner you get that through your head, the better. It's about what works best for you. I love working so I don't mind putting in 60+ hours/week. Other people might want to put in their 40 hours and then go out and enjoy the world. Figure out what works best for you and go for it full speed.
- The only thing standing between you and success is a pop of character (or color) - When I was hunting for jobs I followed the advice I was given to make my resume stand out. I got a couple interviews here and there. Then I decided, screw that. I'll do this my way. I changed my resume around to better reflect my personality and temperament. This included changing the structure and adding color to what was previously a cookie-cutter resume. Within a week of making those changes and submitting applications, I went from 2-3 interviews/month to 3-5 interviews/week. Sometimes you have to let your character and personality shine through. The world will tell you to fit in like everyone else. That's total bullshit. Employers don't want you to be like everyone else. They want you to stand out with your unique contributions. Don't be afraid to give them what they want (even if they won't tell you what that is)!
- Selling is the #1 Skill You Can Cultivate - Everything is sales. Dating is sales. Customer service is sales. Marketing is sales. Religion is sales (that'll rub some of you the wrong way, but that doesn't mean it's not true). Name something and I'll show you how it all comes back to sales. Sales is how we justify ANYTHING. Without sales, a business has to shut down. Therefore, the ultimate skill is being able to sell. If you can sell, you will ALWAYS have work.
- Learn How to Write - Seriously. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling matter. I used to make fun of my best friend in college because he would want to have "meatings" with people. That's seriously how he spelled it. Do that in the business world and you'll get dinged for sexual harrassment 😂. This same friend has now come to realize through his mentor that his advancement opportunities in corporate America have been limited by his writing and communicating abilities. His boss told him, "if I could trust you to write a simple email to a potential client without misspellings and grammar errors, I'd give you a raise." DAAAAAAAAAMN. Harsh, right? But it's the truth. Learn to write. In high school and college ALL of my teachers told me I wasn't a good writer. They said I was "too conversational." And yet, in the business world that is a desireable skill. It's why I've been able to generate tens of thousands of qualified leads AND thousands and thousands in revenue. My writing is relatable and conversational. That's all it takes to succeed. Get on my level.
- It's okay to not be your own boss - Yikes. This is an unpopular opinion. Everyone wants to be a "creator" or their own boss. I Tweeted a thread that got some great responses on this exact topic. It's okay to not be your own boss. Being your own boss is hard and it isn't for everyone. Just figure out where you thrive. The sooner you figure this out, the better.
- Role Playing😉 - This directly relates to #6, not some freaky thing I'm into...Not everyone can be their own boss. Most people won't be good at being their own boss. We NEED role players. The WORLD needs role players. Not everyone can be Lebron James or Michael Jordan or Russell Westbrook or Kobe Bryant or Steph Curry. The world needs Shaun Livingston, Kyle Korver, Al Horford, and Pau Gasol. These are the guys that make the clock tick. They allow the superstars to do what they do best and win championships in the process. These guys all specialize in something and help the team dynamic. It's okay to be a role player. Those guys get paid too!
- It's okay to play the villain. They have stories too. - Occasionally you're going to have to be the bad guy. It's not the end of the world. In fact, I think villains are underrated and underappreciated. They tend to have more conviction than the heroes we know and love and they get stuff done. Heroes are often emotional, vulnerable, and wishy-washy (ie Captain America). It can be nauseating. Villains stick to their convictions and do what they said they would do (ie Thanos). We need more of that in the world. More people who will follow through on their promises regardless of the personal cost.
- Increase Your Capacity - When you are young, new, and naive you can't handle very much stress. The only way to increase your capacity is by gradually taking on more and more. When I first graduated college all I could handle was working my full-time job and coming home to my new wife. That was more than enough for me at the time. As time progressed, I started taking on more and more. Freelance clients. Writing jobs. Video gigs. Marketing consulting. Web development. The list goes on and on. Now I laugh at how little I was able to handle at the beginning because of how much I can handle now. But I realize that it takes time, intentionality, and effort to be able to take on as much as I do. Don't overload yourself. Gradually take on more and more and you'll be amazed at where you find yourself in 5-10 years.
- Time = Money, but Time > Money? - This one is tricky. We've been told our whole lives that time IS money. I think it's a bigger conversation. As you get into the business world and post-school life you'll realize that your time is worth something and that something is worth more than money. You'll then experience the dissonance of figuring out just how much your time is worth. Spoiler alert: You're going to undervalue yourself. You'll think it's worth very little, then you'll realize it's worth a lot as your experience grows. Then you'll reach the stage where you realize that your time is MORE valuable than money. Your time is your freedom and there isn't a price for that.
- Have an Elon Musk Plan - Elon Musk's plan for Tesla is inspiring. It started with the Roadster. The goal was to create a high-end product that would finance a more affordable product (Model S/Model X) that would finance a MORE affordable product (Model 3) that would finance future developments (Tesla Semi, Tesla Pick-Up Truck, etc). The idea is that you build something that finances something bigger, that finances something even bigger. I think all careers should follow a similar trajectory. When you're young, the temptation is to think short-term. What will set you apart is having a vision for your future. Have a vision for the long-term. Something to aspire to. Almost no one in their 20s is doing this. Stand out from the crowd. "Without vision, the people perish."
- Making promises is fun and easy. Keeping them sets you apart - In the south where I live, you hear it ALL THE TIME, "I'll be praying for you," "Hey, it's been too long, let's get together soon," "I'm gonna get in the gym soon too!" None of it ever happens. It's easy to say and easier to ignore. Stick to your word. Do what you say you're going to do. You will quickly find yourself in the minority and standing out among the crowd. If you're sick of being mediocre, start following through on the things you tell yourself and others you're going to do. Commit to working out every day for one month. DO NOT take a day off. Your body can handle it. You won't die. You'll be sore. But you'll be better. Isn't that the point?
- What You've Done Doesn't Have to Define You - Just because you spent 2 years as a social media manager does not mean you can't make the transition to being a Paid Media Manager or a copywriter. Just because you've been a videographer for five years doesn't mean you can't become a line cook in a high end restaurant. You can always redefine yourself and move forward. You can reinvent yourself on a daily basis. No one and nothing is holding you back except yourself. Just DO something.
- Be Consistent - No one is 100% consistent. It's an impossible ideal to achieve. But if you can be consistent even 75% of the time you will be ahead of 99% of your peers. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping your word and promises. If you're consistent at work and in your personal life you will easily stand out and attract attention. Keep going.
- When You Have One Eye on the Goal, You Only Have One Eye on the Path - Most of us spend years (even decades) not being present because we're focused on the future (the path). We miss enormous opportunities because our focus is split. You can't dream and yearn for money and freedom, and then be upset it's not happening because you're just dreaming and not actually doing anything to get there. Focus on now. Enjoy the journey. Do work that matters. Your path will lead you where you want to be. Keep both eyes focused on the path. The goals will come.
- Parkinson's Law - Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. That means if you allot 3 months for a project then the project will take 3 months. If you allot 3 weeks for the same project, it will likely be completed in 3 weeks. Peter Thiel says something similar. If a project is slated to take 12 weeks, he asks why can't it be done in 12 days? Push yourself. ANYTHING is possible.
- People will take as much of your time as you allow - Similar to Parkinson's law, people will take up as much of your time as you allow. They will take it all if you let them. The amount is up to you. The older you get the more you're going to value your time. Your time is your freedom and people want to take that from you. You have to do whatever it takes to protect that.
- Never Assume You're on the Same Page - Assuming you are on the same page or level as another professional is arrogant and presumptuous. You're better off assuming that you have something to learn from everyone you meet. To say that you're learning the same thing as someone else is to presume that you are having identical experiences which is NEVER the case. There will always be nuances to every scenario. Analyze, learn and grow.
- Discounts are a Disease - The quickest way to give your customers a virus is to offer a discount. Offering discounts is the same as conditioning your customers to expect lower prices all the time. You are injecting them with a virus. There is no cure other than time. You're better off utilizing scarcity or bonuses as a sales tactic rather than discounts. Discounts attract lower quality customers marked by fickleness.
- Being on Time is a Superpower - I learned very quickly in the professional world that being on time (or being early) is not commonplace. Most people are late. Whether it's 5 minutes or 15 minutes, being late is a commonly accepted practice. Being on time is a superpower reserved for the elite. Do yourself a favor and just be an elite by being on time (or early) every time. It's not hard.
- What Would Break You? - Have you ever asked yourself this question? Chances are you have student loan debt or credit card debt. So what would happen if you were saddled with an unexpected medical bill? Or you got in a car accident that was your fault? Would an unexpected $2,000 cost break you? What can you do today to ensure that this isn't an issue for you? When the sky falls, how you will be prepared? Invest in passive income = Invest in your future.
- Everything Has a Price - Every action and thought has a consequence. A price you are willing to pay. You pay a price and get something in return. The return is how you judge the efficacy of the price you paid. How about when I decide to meet up with a stranger for coffee? I spend $3 on cup of iced coffee with sugar-free vanilla and 1 hour of my time (worth >$100) so I'm investing >$103 in that time. Is that meeting going to make me $103? Probably not. The only way to make money off of this investment of time is to sell something (or send a freelance proposal - yes, I've done this after what felt like a worthless meeting😂). Sure, there may be an indirect payback if I'm meeting about starting a business or developing a skill that could make me money, but for the most part coffee meetings have a negative ROI. What can you do to ensure that you have a positive ROI more than a negative ROI?
- Learn to Freelance - I've talked about this before on my blog and in an email to my list. The ability to freelance gives you freedom and flexibility while developing all sorts of skills. You're not only improving whatever skill people are paying you for, you're also developing the ability to sell and talk and negotiate. Plus extra income is rarely a bad thing. My friend Ryan has a GREAT post on how to freelance. Do this. You won't regret it. Without Ryan, I wouldn't be where I am today.
- No one cares. Make people care and you win (see #4) - No one cares about you or what you can do. They only care about themselves and the results generated for them. If you can make people care about you and care about the results you provide, then you will always win. This comes back to #4 and learning how to sell. If you can learn how to sell anything to anyone, you will NEVER have to look for work again. Sell them a story.
- Have Standards and Don't Compromise - This seems intuitive, but you would be amazed at how quickly and how often people compromise their personal standards. Walter White on Breaking Bad had to make money for his family so they didn't have to worry about his cancer diagnosis. So he compromised a little and it led him to becoming a money laundering drug lord. Obviously, that's a bit hyperbolic and (probably) won't happen to you. But compromising your standards for someone else's results or desires will leave you empty and bitter. Stick to your guns. You're far less likely to regret that than if you compromise. Even slightly.
- Learn How to Learn - You could argue that this is more important than learning to sell. You would be wrong, but only by a marginal amount. Learning how to learn is paramount to your success. Children learn incredibly slow and while adults learn faster, it still takes time. The more you're able to reduce the amount of time it takes you to learn something, the better off you will be in the long run. If you want to get better at learning, here's the perfect place to start. A thread on Twitter from Joe Luger (@WesternMastery) about this exact topic. It'll move you in the right direction.
- Master the Fundamentals - There's a reason we know the names Kobe Bryant and Lebron James (among many others). It's because they are (were in Kobe's case) amazing at their jobs. They spent countless hours mastering the fundamentals of basketball. I'd argue that for these guys dribbling a ball is as close to automatic as it is to fill their lungs with oxygen when they breath. It is part of who they are. If you want to build your career into something bigger than you, spend time mastering the fundamentals of whatever area you're in. Make your job fundamentals second nature and the accolades will follow.
- .1 Mile Further - If you run 0.1 mile today and increase the distance by 0.1 mile every day (which is doable) so that tomorrow's run is 0.2 miles, the next day is 0.3, and so on, then in one year you would have worked up to running 30+ miles at a time. Think about the areas you want to get better and where you could be in a year if you committed to make small improvements every day. Fractional improvements move mountains, make fat people skinny (I'm down 20+ pounds since January 1 🤷🏻♂️), and lead to life changing moments.
- Be Useful - I'm sure you've heard this in one form or another. Offer value whenever you can and where ever you can. Help people more successful than you get results and there will be rewards.
- Expert in a Year - This is just an inspiring idea. What if you practiced something every day for a year? Where would you be one year from now? If you wrote daily? Or ran ads? Or engaged on social media? Or had one meeting a day with someone smarter than you? Where would you be? This post (with a video) might be just the inspiration you need.
- Learn to Surf - There are trends in everything. Especially something like digital advertising. You need to learn how to ride the trends as soon as you see them and ride them until the wave gives out. Rinse. Repeat. You'll undoubtedly face plant and wipe out as you're beginning, but eventually you'll learn to recognize them before they get much momentum so you can ride them from start to finish.
- Advertising is more than Facebook and Google - There is so much more to advertising than Facebook or Google Ads. Those get the most plugs because they are popular and people are pouring money into them. But that doesn't negate the efficacy of platforms like LinkedIn which can be incredibly effective for reaching business professionals or if you need detailed targeting for specific job roles. Your ad spend might be higher on LinkedIn for "less" results, but if your leads from LinkedIn convert at 5:1 ratio to FB or Google Ad leads...then it's obvious where you should be spending your money. Beyond picking the right platform you need to do market research to get in the shoes of you potential customers. You need to know what they want to see. Where they like to hang out. What kind of stories resonate with them. You have to learn how to write effective, succinct copy. You have to put together a compelling offer. Advertising is a nuanced art. It's much more than picking a platform and throwing money at a problem. Spend time on the details and you'll be ahead of 50% of people who are running ads right now.
- Content Marketing - This is a relatively new term, but it's hard to go wrong with it. Produce content. It's such simple advice and severely underutilized. Tweet. Instagram. Post videos. Write. Whatever it is, just create content. It can be as simple as sharing something you're learning in the form of a blog post or an email or a 3 minute video. The way to establish yourself as an expert is to create content. The way to get people to notice you is to have a library of content you've created. The way to legitimize yourself is through creating content. I cannot emphasize this enough. You have a unique perspective on things that no one else in the world has. It is nuanced and it is valuable. I've been trying to convince some friends of this for months but I can't do it for them. I think creating content is the only thing standing in the way of them getting what they want, but they're convinced they can arrive via another route. Content will get you where you want to go. Try it.
- Social Media: A Blessing & A Curse - It can suck the life and vitality from your bones. Or it can help amplify your platform and content. Use it or it will use you. Social media burnout is PURELY a result of people being used by the platforms. Instead of curating their feeds to be useful people do things of obligation (which is toxic) and they just consume, consume, consume. They get fat off of other people's content and then get upset when they realize how gluttonous they've become. Instead of consuming, create and curate. It's the equivalent of working out. I used to follow hundreds of people on twitter and I just didn't care what they had to say. Now I follow less than 100 and I learn something new from the people I follow every. single. day. In fact, Twitter is largely the catalyst behind my daily emails and renewing my focus on writing and creating content. I wouldn't be where I am right now without taking control and using my social media as a tool. It was a curse and it has now become a blessing.
- The Sooner Your Learn Analytics The Better - Oh baby. If you want to get ahead in your career early on, become analytics driven. You can still retain your creativity while leveraging analytics to analyze performance and make decisions/course corrections. I'm just now getting into this world and I wish someone had forced it on me in my first job. The earlier you're able to learn UTM parameters, and become comfortable tracking data, the better. Start learning now.
- The More Code You Know The Better - This is another one I wish I had recognized back in college when I was learning HTML and CSS. I spent an entire semester in college building HTML sites and now I wish I'd kept at it and dug deeper. I can still read and do some basic HTML stuff, but I'm so far behind the curve now. I'm a firm believer that coding (or at least being able to read it/talk about it competently) will become a core skill of being in marketing in the next decade or so. Be on the right side of history. Not to mention, everything is data and code driven in our world and that trend isn't going away. Technology develops at accelerating speeds and the more you know, the less you'll be left behind. Start simple and work forward. Code Academy is a free place to get started.
- Be A Generalist, Then Specialize - Everyone wants a generalist, but they only want to pay specialists. So be a specialist. I've found this out the hard way since starting my career. People get really excited when they realize they've found a generalist. Someone who can do copywriting, email marketing, advertising, event marketing, database management, website development, social media and whatever else they throw on your plate (like bookkeeping 🤦🏻♂️, yes I've done that). They're excited because a generalist has a little bit of knowledge in a lot of areas and can get stuff done. They're usually pretty cheap too. And because they feel they don't know much, they feel they can't charge much. So they underprice themselves. AND, generalists are a dime a dozen so pricing is competitive (which means LOW). But what employers won't tell you is that they are much more willing to pay a specialist: A Digital Ad Specialist, a copywriter, a web developer, a designer, a field marketing manager, etc. These roles can command higher salaries because they are specialized and they go deep in one area. And they help businesses GROW. It's okay to be a generalist for a little while. But figure out where you want to specialize and go deep as soon as possible. You won't regret it and your bank account will reflect that.
- Be Social - This does not come naturally for everyone. Me included. I'm an introvert by nature and I have to force myself to be social both in-person and online. But like a muscle you can flex and workout, you can get better at being social and having conversations. The better you get at it, the more likely you are to get opportunities that might otherwise elude you. The more social I am, the more the universe seems to reward those efforts.
- Get Comfortable Speaking/Presenting - Similar to #38 above get comfortable speaking in group settings and presenting to people. The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will become. It will take time and effort. It will take even more time and effort for the majority of you who do not come by these skills naturally. It will be awkward and forced, but with time and intentional effort you can put yourself in the top tier of speakers. This is what sets you apart from the crowd, enables you to demand more money, and gives you the freedom you desire.
- Say Yes, Then Learn to Say No - Early on in my career, I said yes to everything that came my way. I was a yes man. Saying yes led me to some amazing opportunities...like managing a 6-figure ad budget...starting a large conference...publishing a book...doubling company revenue...generating tens of thousands of leads...the list goes on and on. As I worked my butt off and more opportunities began to present themselves to me, I couldn't keep saying yes. So I had to learn how to evaluate the opportunities in front of me, decide which ones helped me move forward in the ways I desired and then say no to everything else. It's hard. You will screw up. But saying yes is not a bad thing early on. You just have to learn to break that habit when the snowball starts rolling.
- Surround Yourself With Smarter People - This might be one of the most difficult items on this list. There is a high likelihood that your friends are losers. Just plain and simple. You are the sum of the people you hang out with. If no one you know is working to level up and get better, then it's time to find a new circle to run with. Find people you look up to and try to spend as much time as you can with them. Make friends with people smarter and more successful than you. It will rub off and help you grow. I've let friendships fade over the years or stop putting in any effort because I knew our lives were headed in different directions. I'd be thrilled if that changed for some, but for most of them that isn't the reality. The sooner you come to terms with this, the better. It's okay to move on and leave some people behind. It's better for everyone involved. Time to level up.
- Get a Mentor - A mentor in your life at the right time can 10x your results at work and in life. A mentor is someone who has been where you are and made a ton of mistakes. They should help you avoid making the same mistakes they did so that you can go further faster and make different mistakes. The learning compounds and there will come a day in the future when you can help someone else in need of a mentor go further faster by pouring into their life from your experiences. Find someone who is where you want to be in 10-30 years and provide them value. Spend time with them. Learn from them. Ask a ton of questions.
- Develop ONE Skill You Can Monetize - This goes back to learning how to freelance. You have a skill you can monetize whether you recognize it or not. If you don't then pick a skill you'd like to have, start working on improving and monetize it. Have a drone and love flying it? Go shoot some footage of a nature preserve or of your city's downtown area. Then upload it to a stock footage website and sell it. Contract out to realtors or construction companies for flyover footage. Want to be a Facebook Ad Expert? Facebook Blueprint is a free training program where you can learn everything you need to know about Facebook ads. Then offer to run ads for a local business to drive traffic. Know how to run a Twitter account in a way that engages customers and potential leads? Offer to run social media for someone for a small management fee. Just start somewhere and constantly improve. Charge for it. You can figure out the rest later.
- Share What You Learn - This relates back to content marketing. If you're on the right path, you'll learn something new almost every single day. Share what you learn and how it is impacting you. Other people will be intrigued by your unique perspective. Even if it feels like no one is listening, keep going. It takes time to develop a following. Even when no one is listening...sharing what you learns help you to better process it all and internalize the lessons learned. Create, create, create. Share, share, share.
- Give Back - It is never too early to start giving back. Despite what people will tell you, you can give back whenever and where ever you want. Money, time, labor. Whatever it is, you can give back today. I've been sponsoring a child in Africa since before I had a full-time job...what's your excuse?
- Hope is Not a Strategy - This is one of my first memories from entering the professional world. My first job was working as the go-to-man for a guy who had an incredibly successful career as a serial entrepreneur (sold more than half of his businesses for a profit). He repeatedly told me two things that will stick with me forever. 1) Hope is not a strategy. It speaks for itself. You cannot hope or wish or guess for something and have it come to fruition. Everything happens because of plans, goals, and actions. Execute, learn, repeat. 2) It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. You know it's true. Think about when you got in trouble as a kid. Or the thing you wanted to do, but knew your parents wouldn't go for. It was much easier to ask for their forgiveness than it was to get their permission. Business is no different. Take risks. Be aggressive. Ask for forgiveness later (within the law).
- Take Care of Yourself - I cannot overstate the important of this. There was a time early in my career when I didn't take care of myself. I didn't work out. I ate poorly. I didn't get out of the house. I didn't see friends and saw minimal amounts of family. It was a hard season of life. What I've discovered is that when you take care of yourself, you make things easier even if life is treating you like 💩. Even if you're handed a crap sandwich, you can deal with it if you are taking care of yourself. Go to the gym. Eat healthy. Go out with friends. Go to a movie. Go to a concert. Spend a little extra at a restaurant. Just take care of yourself now and you'll reap the benefits later.
- Invest in Yourself - I am a cheapskate. I always have been. My family was very frugal growing up. We did whatever we could to save money. As a result, I've always been competitive and scrappy. I compulsively clean my plate (and do it faster than almost everyone else). I look for the best deal on everything and compare prices until my eyeballs bleed. But one thing I've never been comfortable with (until recently) is investing in myself. And leveraging the tools at my disposal to invest in myself. Twitter is the best free tool (in my opinion) for investing in myself. If you use it as a tool (as it was intended to be) you can follow only the people that add immense value to your life and 10x everything you're doing). Without Twitter, I would not be where I am today. The rest of this idea manifests itself in the form of education. I don't know if traditional education (K-12, college, etc) made me skeptical or if that would have happened naturally, but I've taken a few online courses in the last year that have been well worth the money. It's not that these courses are going to help you make a million dollars or do all the work for you...it's the inspiration and the community that they provide. That's where the value lies. The value of feeling empowered to get shit done and make a ton of money in tandem with a community of other people taking the course and making big moves is the real difference maker. Don't be afraid to invest in yourself. You aren't investing in now, you are investing the future. How much is that worth to you?
- Stop Undervaluing Yourself - I wish someone had drilled this final, important piece of advice into my brain as a teenager. I started a lawn care business in middle school and I charged a flat rate of $25 per yard/per week in my neighborhood (the average lot was less than an acre in size). When I got to high school, I realized many of my local competitors were charging $50-$100 per yard/per week. And professionals charged even more than that. When I started freelancing, I charged $35-$40/hour because I couldn't fathom who would pay someone like me to do anything. That's missing the point entirely. It's not about who you are or what you do. It is purely about the value you can provide a client. If you can generate $15,000 worth of revenue with a couple social media posts, or a logo design, or a sales call, or by building a landing page, then most clients will pay you $5,000+ to get those kind of results. Expand your mind and be open to the possibilities. It is not about you. It is about the value you can provide. Don't make me say it a third time. You are worth more than you think and you should be charging more. People WILL pay it. Go out and get what you deserve.
There you have it.
If you can apply 1, 2, 3, or 10 of these things to help move your career forward then this post was a success.
49 ways to build a career worth having. Make use of it!