3 months ago I was about to quit marketing for good…
It was a strange day towards the end of winter, it stopped raining but.. I digress..
What really happened was that I just lost all of my social media clients and didn’t know what to do next. I thought I was good at marketing but I was quickly beginning to doubt my own abilities.
A long career in the coffee shop awaited me… aaah.. The smell of espresso every morning (and minimum wages).
So what was I doing wrong?
I realized that I lost focus and was trying to do too much at once. Here are three things that were dragging me down:
– I was managing social media and running marketing campaigns in too many industries
– I wore too many hats, did too many roles
– I had no time to learn best practices and get better
So I had to regroup, look for a way out, and finally I found the beautiful company that I am working in now (eClincher). But what is different? Why am I doing better now than I was before?
Yes it’s true that I now only do one position and focus on one industry. But how did I identify the bad habits that were bringing me down and how did I change them?
Here is my breakdown of the top 3 things that helped me focus and finally excel at my job:
1) I turned off all my social feeds
Most of us spend hours on social media, usually mindlessly scrolling through our feeds. For me it was Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
We all think, “a few minutes won’t hurt my day” or “if I do it outside of my work hours it’s fine”. For me it was clear that even if I was reading work-related LinkedIn articles, my mind was going 100 directions at once and I wasn’t able to focus on my job.
Now every time I go on a social network I don’t start getting lost in the noise and am able to do what I need to for work.
2) Incremental learning – stop comparing yourself to others
Once I turned off my feeds I still had a serious problem. I was still obsessed about learning new things, and not in the good way.
I kept looking people up on Linkedin and trying to find what I was missing.
I kept asking myself: what skills do I have to learn? What achievements do I have to get? How much experience should I have with each particular aspect of my job?
What I realized is that in order to be able to improve in my current role I could only learn one new thing at a time. That means that I had to figure out which area I wanted to improve on.
For example, being an inbound marketer I could learn more about SEO to get more traffic and higher conversions on our site. I could also learn growth marketing to help me quickly scale our membership.
So did I need to look at other successful people’s’ profiles to get ideas? Absolutely.
But I knew that I could only learn one thing at a time.
If you keep in mind what Gary Vaynerchuk says, that you should think of your career as a marathon, then we’re all better off learning one new skill and not trying to be superstars in our respective fields overnight.
3) Learn from your competitors
If you are ever stuck with a company initiative or campaign and don’t know where to go with it, how to improve, then just look at the top companies and how they do business.
We have a homepage redesign that’s long overdue, and I was totally stuck.
I don’t have the design knowledge or the coding skills to do it myself. So I knew we had to change some things but I didn’t know what directions to go in.
So I did 3 things:
1. I looked at the top competitor’s sites in my industry and compared each aspect of the page – margin size, text color and size, number of elements in each section, etc.
2. I looked up the best homepage templates and examples out there
3. I looked up bids on 99designs to see what has been done before and how much it would cost
If you feel scattered and unable to focus on your job then you’ve got some thinking to do. What are you trying to achieve? What are you afraid of?
Once you clear out the mental fog, and put down the tubs of ice cream you’ve been stuffing your face with, I urge you to try my three simple ways to get back on track.
Turn off your social feeds – yes, that includes those hilariously entertaining Trump tweets, and the cat memes.
Learn one new skill at a time – don’t try to sit on many chairs at once, do one thing at a time. Once you choose the skill you want to learn stop reading about all the other ones.
Learn from the competition – whether it’s a site redesign or a conversion strategy you can always learn best practices from your competitors. Remember – you can always do an A/B test before making the changes permanent.
Ben Kazinik (@eclincherrocks) is an inbound marketer for eClincher, the world’s most powerful social media management platform. He enjoys hiking, cooking, soccer, and visiting his family around the world. Email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org