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Mind Readings: Startups, Brands, Agencies, and Professional Development

Looking to improve your skills in a dynamic working environment? Consider moving from a brand-side role to a startup or agency. These environments offer the opportunity to flex and grow your existing skills, learn new ones, and remain relevant in an ever-changing landscape. However, be prepared for the fast-paced, multi-faceted demands that can lead to burnout. Get ready to challenge yourself and expand your expertise in a new professional setting.

Mind Readings: Startups, Brands, Agencies, and Professional Development

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Christopher Penn 0:00
In today’s episode, let’s talk about the different kinds of working environments and the ones that are good for improving your skills.

So, when you work brand side at a regular company, where you are the marketing coordinator, marketing manager, marketing director, whatever the case may be, you’re going to be facing very specific problems that that company has that will require you for whatever their marketing plan is to really dig deep into your areas of specialty.

So, for example, I used to work at an email marketing company.

And one of the things that the company did was, of course, email marketing, sort of the do the thing to prove the thing.

And so I had to get really, really good at email marketing get better at it than I’ve ever had been in my career learn all about deliverability, spam, subject lines, you name it, every aspect of email marketing, I had to get really good at to be successful in that position.

The challenge with something brand side is that when you work at a brand side a specific kind of company, you kind of have to focus on that those company’s problems to keep sort of stay within the guardrails for that company’s problems.

You may think, hey, let’s do Tiktok.

But Tiktok maybe isn’t within that company’s purview of marketing channels that they want to invest a lot of time at.

Now, you could suggest it or you could pilot a program there.

But for the most part, within a single company, you’re going to have some restrictions on what things you can and cannot invest a lot of your time.

And contrast that with an environment like a startup or an environment like an agency.

Both of these have very similar skills, environments where, depending on the situation, the day, the client, you may have very, very wildly different asks for your skills, they may not necessarily be as deep asks, but they will be broad and varied.

When I worked at a PR agency, I was doing things from predictive analytics to helping people identify news publications using Google’s GDL database, all the way to going on sales pitches with the the PR teams to try and help them sell more of their stuff.

And so in that environment, was definitely using more of my skills, and then having to keep up with all the changes in the environment, at Trust Insights.

We are a startup, we’re, we’re five years old now.

But we are still a very small, very agile team that has to adapt to whatever is coming down the road.

You know, three months ago, six months ago, we were not talking about chat GPT-3.

Now we have a portfolio of things that work well within that particular ecosystem.

You know, two years ago, we weren’t really talking about deep analysis on Tiktok.

Of course, we are now any number of changes in the landscape, when you’re a startup or when you’re in an agency are things that you have to keep up on, if you want to continue to remain relevant, and you want to continue to provide value to clients.

So if you feel like you’re stuck in your career, if you feel like you’re not growing, one of the antidotes one of the antidotes to that may be to either go agency side, or to work in a startup environment, which is a bit more of a free for all, where you can flex a lot of your existing skills, you can dust off skills you have not used in a while, and you can acquire new skills that are tuned for the necessity that whatever happens to come about, for example, when I was working with this, this save Warrior Nun movement.

And the design team was busy that day, and we had a banner a billboard that was supposed to go up in in Times Square in New York City.

And we have a nice static image.

And the question was asked, Can we animate this can we make this the billboards a digital billboard? Can we animate this? I know enough to know that Adobe After Effects can do that kind of animation to make like the little things on the poster glow.

Never did it.

And so I hopped into YouTube and Google and said okay, I do this what what buttons do I push into After Effects to make it do this? And lo and behold, found a number of tutorials kind of amalgamated the advice together and was able to animate the billboard in a timely fashion and get it over to the production team.

And Now 1000s of people are seeing my Adobe After Effects hack job.

Because that volunteer movement is very much like the environment of a startup, there is a need.

If you have basic adult skills to search for information and follow directions, and know the kinds of questions to ask, you can pinch hit in a bunch of different areas that you normally would not necessarily be doing in, say, a more structured environment.

The flip side of environments like agencies and startups is that burnout is very common, because you are pulled in so many directions because you can’t focus too deeply on any one thing.

The environment does burn you out after a while, it can get very tiring to constantly be context switching.

First, you’re working on this client and this thing, and then you’re moving on to this client and this thing, and then you’re like, your brain just overloads after a while.

So if you are the kind of person who maybe doesn’t like barely controlled chaos, or you’ve been in that environment for awhile, you might want to flip back to brand side where again, you have those guardrails, you’re going to be constrained in the things that you’ll be asked to do the most of.

But if you want some more structure, that might be the way to do it.

So those are a couple of different ways to think about the kind of environment that you want to work in that will either let you broaden your skills or let you focus your skills and the kinds of things the conditions that will occur in each environment.

There’s no one right answer.

There’s no answer that says, This is the best place to work.

There is a best place to work for you right now, depending on where you are in your career, and that will change that it should change.

If it doesn’t change, you might not be growing enough or you might not be developing enough professionally.

So give that some thought.

Thanks for tuning in.

We’ll talk to you soon.

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