I told Jonathan during our 1:1 yesterday morning that I am beginning to feel like I am in a rhythm with my work. It hasn’t happened overnight and takes meticulous tweaking, but for now I feel comfortable.
Maybe we should never feel comfortable working?
Maybe I’m just overthinking it now?
I don’t want to be manic, but the pendulum of emotions can swing dramatically working for a pre-launch company trying to fire on all cylinders.
For now, part of the comfort is structure that I've instituted around my weekly schedule. It's these 3 major priorities that shape my week:
It’s hard to simplify and build categories around your work. I think it’s even harder for marketers to do. We like to think creatively and dream of opportunities to swing for the fences for our customers, but also are required to spend time in the weeds and ship. It’s a fine balance and the best marketers that I know are excellent at running both plays simultaneously.
Take Kyle Lacy, Chief Marketing Officer, at Lessonly for example. Kyle is the ultimate executor and leader. A day doesn’t go by without Kyle publishing something on his social accounts promoting the work of his team or someone from his team talking about how much they enjoy at Lessonly. His leadership trickles down to the entire Lessonly team and anyone who opens their Twitter feed knows their people believe in what they are doing.
It’s all about trying to strike that balance of execution and leadership. It doesn’t have to be just about leading people. It can be taking ownership and leading in your role at your company regardless of titles.
Did I ever think that I would be trying to help a company build a brand from nothing to something before the product was launched?
Am I a better marketer for it?
Today, marketing that cuts through the noise and messages that people actually read come from the people behind the company. That’s why companies like Lessonly are winning. I don’t need to know what they’re product does because I know how much their people believe in what the company stands for. You can see it every day on social media.
Last week I met with a future guest of the 3C Podcast and 15 minutes into the call he remarked, “I like you. I can tell you are a doer”. A few minutes later Brian Rants of Cordial posted a conversation that we had together where the topic of being a “doer” came up.
Is there even another option?
I’ve always been one who likes to pull up the hood and get my hands dirty. I’m in my happy place determining what works and what doesn’t. I want to go deeper in areas that I think are worth spending time on and flush things that don’t work down the toilet. If this is what a doer does then go ahead and call me one.
I've stepped into a marketing leadership position over the past 5 years of my life, but this doesn’t mean that I quit doing what got me here. This isn’t an option at an early stage, pre-launch company.
Do the work is my motto and I believe the more that you do the more that you will learn. This will help inform company direction, hiring decisions, metrics, and all of those other topics that I thought were decided on behind closed doors earlier on in my career.
I don’t care what size company that you work for and role that you are in. We all need to wake up our functional superpowers and be doers to help push our companies forward.
Speaking of Kyle, pre-Covid he asked me to do a workshop for the Indianapolis Chapter of the Revenue Collective. I chose the topic of, How to Do More with Less as a First Time Go to Market Leader. The punchline of the presentation is to not forget your roots and always be a doer!
It doesn’t matter if you are in a functional role or in a leadership position. These core principles are what I take with me every day that I wake up to try to push The Juice business forward.
Of course this is a play on the famous Ice Cube track and the REQ represents “job requisition” here. Ever try to hire your way out of a problem? Typically, it doesn’t work and this results in setting your new teammate up for failure.
The doer philosophy suggests that you get your hands dirty and spend time in several different disciplines to validate where your company should invest more resources.
Content? Demand Gen? Customer marketing? Operations?
Proving out what works and what doesn’t is critical for hiring in early stage companies. I am paying close attention to things that don’t work and pausing them. Also, I’m mindful of what is working and ways we can pour gasoline on those things with more resources down the road.
The easiest piece of advice that I can offer to ignite the doer in you is to talk to your customers. If you are in a marketing position and work in a company that doesn’t give you direct access to your customers, find out how to start.
Your customers and future customers bring out the doers mentality in the best of us. Start with what you want and reverse engineer your way back to that item through customers conversations.
New campaign idea?
Theme for a company podcast?
Topics for a blog post series?
The answers to these questions are in the minds of your customers and doers help not only bring them out, but bring them to life.
Dedicate time to your customers and the market. Their words make for the best copy.
All great doers never leave behind what got them there to begin with. We become subject matter experts from working in different functional disciplines. These experiences can help set a course for our careers and we should never outsource our knowledge around those skills too soon.
I’ve found that leaning into the areas where I have experiences and asking for help in areas where I don’t has made me a better marketer over the years. I know I can contribute to the growth of The Juice by focusing on what I am good at, but it’s also important to make myself vulnerable and ask for help in areas I’m not.
Change is inevitable and something that we can’t always control. Attempting to create structure around your work to avoid the feeling of just doing “stuff” is important. You can take it to the next level by finding the right balance of leading and shipping. Any great marketer or sales pro that I’ve ever met has a system in place that allows them to perform and make others around them better.
Spend time finding your balance. You’ll be better for it. It’s worked for me.