I've been in a reflective mood recently. Plenty of things have been changing (all for the better) but it makes you think about the steps you've taken in the past to get to where you are now.
I've been working in the world of online marketing for over 4.5 years now. Not a long period of time to some - but when it comes to the changes that have taken place since 2010, it makes you realize how rapidly the industry has been evolving.
Back then it was an era where Instagram, Google+ and the Panda update still didn't exist. Twitter was still new to me and I'd just about given up using MSN Messenger. Those were the days.
But before I launched into this career path there were a bunch of things I wish I could have told my younger self. So here they are. If you agree, disagree or just have a thought you're just dying to share then stick them on the comments below.
The Goalposts move - a lot.
The way in which the online world is shifting is scary. It's amazing - but it's scary too.
With so many things transforming in the digital world, from technical SEO updates to the latest viral trends it's been really hard to keep up with what I feel I should know.
I spend at least a couple of hours a week sifting through posts finding new things to read about. But you don't learn. You develop. The reason being that what you 'learn' might not actually be correct. From crappy experts dishing out the wrong advice, to the lack of formal qualifications out there you can never be 100% sure that what you're learning is right in everyone's eyes. And even if what you've learnt is 'correct' it still might provide the best solution. And then 6 months later everything has changed again. So you develop instead.
So be prepared to do some serious reading to keep up to date with everything that's happening.
It's REALLY dull (sometimes).
The devil is in the detail with marketing. Aside from needing to be super organised there is a lot of mindless research and number crunching that is at the foundation of everything you do.
And producing it is sometimes really dull. Hours of copying and pasting, sifting through websites or getting Excel formulas to work is part and parcel of the job. (Sometimes though it's kinda fun when you can just plug in some decent music and go on autopilot to get the job done.)
But the best bit for me though is seeing the results this kind of data provides. Seeing a sale, conversion of an increase in traffic is always my star moment when all those long hours have been instrumental in making that action happen.
So, make sure you have a decent Itunes collection and a tolerance for boredom.
It's hard to switch off.
As the online world takes up such a large part of my day-to-day life, it's hard to switch from thinking of it as work one minute and not work the next.
So, when I'm not working I still find myself occasionally flicking through backlink profiles to see why a site is ranking. Or trying to understand how why I keep being offered weird ads on Facebook. Or why Vine is just so popular (something which continues to perplex me). The list goes on.
But the reason I do this is that I enjoy it. The downside is that it makes it hard to actually stop thinking about all things digital when you should be concentrating on other things. You need time to wind down. So because of this I try to make an active effort to switch off.
I don't tweet on the weekends and make an effort to turn off my computer by the same time each night. As well as helping to keep the distinction between work and not work, it gives me time to focus, relax and often acts as good source of inspiration for online ideas.
So by setting boundaries and making down time for yourself massively helps.