It’s safe to say we’ve arrived in the digital economy. So too it’s meant an end to the traditional way many of us see our working lives. The standard 9 to 5, Monday to Friday grind is a thing of the past, as well as the thought that you need to scale the corporate ladder to expand your career opportunities.
There are a number of examples of how digital has disrupted and reinvented many industries and it’s also been fundamental in disrupting our future careers…for the better.
By it’s very nature, grasping a digital skill-set requires a never ending learning discipline as well as giving many of us new ways, opportunities and channels to create value to organisations as well as ourselves.
I caught up with Andrew Isidoro, who by day is an SEO manager for an organisation and by night is one of the growing numbers of digital marketing freelancers.
Tell us a little about Andrew
I’m Andrew Isidoro and by day I’m the SEO Manager at Gocompare.com, by night I’m a digital marketing freelancer. I’ve been in digital for around 6 years now across a number of roles both in-house and agency before finding a niche in organic search.
What do you offer in freelancing?
Most of my work tends to be more technical SEO audits and strategy as that is my specialty although I do work across a range of services from SEO to paid search to social media.
You manage to have a full time digital marketing job as well as offer freelancing – what was the motivation to seek freelancing?
If I’m honest it wasn’t an overly conscious effort. I was approached by an old employer two years ago about doing some work for his travel business. After that project, a few more people asked if I was available for work and I jumped at the chance. It’s been a great way of advancing my skills not only in digital but also in areas like finance, project management and just general people skills.
Are there any secrets you could show in terms of finding time outside your normal day job to freelancing?
Not really. This year I’ve managed to manage my day job with a busy freelancing schedule, as well as studying for my Masters Degree and having our first baby. I think we often kid ourselves that we are too busy but most of the time we aren’t. I think the main thing is to remind yourself that no-one is making you freelance on the side; you’re doing it for yourself to learn, grow and earn some pocket money so just turn off the telly and get on with it J
How do you go about creating a pipeline of leads to service for your freelancing
I think it helps that I’ve kept quite a number of friends in the digital community who have been kind enough to introduce me to new projects. I’ve had some success driving leads from my speaking gigs. Last year I spoke at BrightonSEO and the Digital Marketing Show which brought in a number of new possibilities as well as an influx of new speaking opportunities. It’s scary at first but definitely worth it.
Working for yourself requires personal motivation – how do you go about doing this?
I’m generally a pretty driven person so it’s not much of a problem for me. I guess it helps that I know the businesses I’m working with really well. I’m generally good friends with the people who’ll benefit or suffer depending on how our project works out so I can’t bear to let them down. I’d much rather turn a project down than risk that.
Do you see the opportunity for the digital industry to see more people opt for a full-time/freelancing mix?
Most definitely. The role of an in-house digital marketer is vastly different than it was 3-4 years ago, and new channels and specialisms require additional skills that can only come cost effectively from freelance workers. I think as more talented digital professionals see this we’ll see many more freelance/employed hybrids popping up.
Does your organisation you work for see the added benefit you bring back to them from allowing you to apply your digital marketing skills in a freelancing role?
I think so. I know if any of my subordinates wanted to freelance I’d be all for it. It’s the best form of training I’ve ever had teaching not only job related skills but also self-sufficiency and strategic thinking that are skills that are exceptionally hard to find.
Are there any digital marketing tools you use for your freelancing that you would recommend to other freelancers to help manage your time and support the services offered?
For me there are only two tools that I use on a regular basis. The first being Trello to help me keep on top of what tasks I need to complete and also gives clients an indication of what progress is being made.
The second is Shoeboxed to help manage my receipts and invoicing. It’s saved me so much time when it comes to the financial side of freelancing.
What piece of advice would you offer people entering the world of digital marketing in order to succeed and develop their career?
I think the main thing this industry requires is a passion and a desire to succeed. The digital marketing industry is both fast growing and incredibly competitive. Those that genuinely have the willingness to learn will be the ones who grow fastest, provide the most value to their organisations and move up the career ladder before their peers.
What’s on your reading list?
My all-time favourites would have to be:
- Webs of Influence – Nathalie Nahai
- Future Shock – Alvin Tofler
- Digital Adaptation – Paul Boag
- Creative Mischief – Dave Trott