Posts Tagged Career

What’s your ROI?

Posted by on Tuesday, 11 March, 2014

What's your ROIMy first marketing lecturer, Dr Mario Miranda, taught me the relationship between price and quality. His example was a Waterman pen versus a Bic disposable. While my tastes are more Mont Blanc, the premise stands. Why do we choose Apple, Nordstrom and Mercedes Benz?

Why don’t we apply the same premise to ourselves? What’s your ROI? Does your price equal your quality?

I was chatting with a colleague last night about clients wanting expert work done at junior rates. We’ve all encountered it, “I’d love to hire you but [insert name] is $500 cheaper.” On eLance, I’m asked to pitch for work at hourly rates lower than the minimum wage in that country. The RFPs are filled with “expert” and “top performing”.

As marketers, we have a choice to make. We can take the work and discount our rates, or we can walk away. We can decide if we see ourselves as a Kia or a Mercedes Benz. In other words, what’s your ROI?

I know you’re thinking, “There’s more to the job than money, Bianca”, and I agree. Sometimes it’s a job title, resume points, or brand names that make up the difference. I’m doing some work currently that gives me studio photography experience. But that’s part of the ROI calculation. I gain experience and a small amount of cash; they get product photography.

It’s when the returns don’t equal or exceed investment (in this case you) it harms the entire industry. Precedents get set, your price goes down and you turn from Apple to Samsung. It’s hard to recover from this, and near impossible if it’s across the industry.

Yes, this was written as a vent over a recent situation, but also because walking away from a particular project was one of the hardest things I’ve done. The ROI figure just wasn’t a good result and saying yes now will mean it gets pushed further and further with each contract renewal. I hope I’m never in this situation again.

Book Review: Promote Yourself – The new rules for career success

Posted by on Saturday, 2 November, 2013

Promote Yourself Dan SchawbelIt’s hard to work out exactly why I don’t like Promote Yourself by Dan Schawbel. I’ve written many introductions and deleted them, all trying to find an objective reason.

I think it’s because there’s no clear audience identified.

There are many other reasons too, but they’re all subjective. The focus on millennials, the “it’s all about me” attitude, the instructions to do A and B to receive C. But these are disagreements, not reasons for it to be a bad book.

I know Dan Schawbel intends this book to be a career guide for millennials. I’m not convinced that’s who’ll get the most out of it.

I see the primary audience as early gen X and baby boomers who are struggling to relate to the younger members of their teams. The secondary is audience is millennials, but those who do well on tests, but struggle to make friends. The ones who want to be rich, famous and have an MBA, but lack an understanding of creativity or how.

Let me explain.

The first half of the book focuses on building your personal brand at work with the aim of getting promoted. Dan explains the need to network with the right people. He also explains how being a social media guru will make you indispensable, because no one older than “you” understands or can use the internet and computers. You can help them learn. But he also feels the need to explain what Twitter and Facebook are. By his reckoning, shouldn’t millennials already know that?

All through the book are to-do items. Take on an extra project, promote your wins, set up a personal website and you’ll be promoted. Sure there are caveats about over doing it and looking like a jerk, but I think the book (and its readers) would benefit from being told how and why. It’s there on a surface level, but reading this brought back memories of some jerks I’ve worked with. They knew how to tick boxes, but lacked the understanding to know which boxes should be ticked. One thing these jerks had in common was an MBA, giving them a great theoretical knowledge, but not the wisdom to apply it.

Which made me laugh at page 229: Should I Get an MBA? It’s probably the page I agreed with the most. No, an MBA isn’t mandatory, and is more useful in some companies than others. However, I’m not sure the entrepreneurs Dan used as examples of successful people without MBAs were the best to use. They each built their fortunes by making ideas happen, not by playing the game for a promotion large companies.

Promote Yourself isn’t all bad. Pointing out need to excel in your current job first is essential advice, dealing with job hopping and self-directed learning were other gems.

I’d love to give recommendations of alternative career books to read instead of this one, but it’s a sub-genre I tend not to read, so cannot. If anyone can, please add it to the comments. In the mean time, I’m sending this book to a millennial for his perspective.

How Can I Get A Job With No Marketing Experience

Posted by on Sunday, 14 July, 2013

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It’s a common lament with so many new grads around. How can I get experience if you won’t give me a job?

You don’t need a job to get experience.

I’m moving house and re-found this t-shirt. The team behind this event had minimal experience and most were at university studying things other than event planning. The event was one of the things that prompted me to study PR at grad school.

None of the team were paid. They did it for experience and fun.

They, myself included, have been rewarded a hundred times over. Ally Hallam was told her volunteer work was a large factor in gaining a retail job through university. Courtney Bezzina put it in her resume when applying for her first primary teaching role. It helped Rhianna Bezzina get into a film production course. I could go on.

So for all the new graduates, I congratulate you and ask how are you going to put experience on your résumé?

Apologies for the crazy formatting. I still don’t have wifi in my new apartment so this is via my phone.

Freelancer is back – my next career move

Posted by on Monday, 25 March, 2013

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After a particularly trying day several months ago, a dear friend challenged me to follow my career dreams. She meant to monetize my side projects and stay part of the Expedia team. But I don’t do things by halves.

So on Friday I’ll be handing in my IATA card and leaving the world of full-time employment.

Am I scared? A little. Am I excited? Absolutely.

I’m looking forward to working with a range of clients, starting with the BuzzBee and MS Exchange teams. Follow the MS Exchange ambassador, Squeaky Lobster, on twitter to see what we’re up to.

Do you have any freelancing tips and advice?

Also, if you need a hand with your marketing or PR give me a call. It would be great to see how we can work together, or just grab a coffee and chat.

The best career advice I’ve ever heard

Posted by on Saturday, 15 October, 2011

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On Wednesday evening Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst, taught an IABC/Seattle audience the best piece of career advice and a tool to make it actionable.

We’ve all heard the advice to do what you love, but how do you work out exactly what that is? As Curt said, many of us love travel, but all for different reasons. Just accepting a job in travel may not make you happy.

The fist step is to make a list of the things we love (this is where the travel generalization came in).

Next, we asked ourselves why do we love these things and why do we love those ‘whys’. Curt recommended taking this down four levels, but with his clients he takes it as far as it can go.

These final things are what we’re really passionate about – the motivators that really drive us.

Mine came down to ‘new things/experiences’ and ‘making a difference’. Which really translates to me having a short attention-span but using that to constantly improve what needs to be improved. Yes, my weaknesses are also great strengths.

How can this help us in our careers? From this exercise what really motivates us an use it as a measure for any career opportunities. Does the job have the variety and learning opportunities to keep me active, along with the freedom to improve processes or results to make it worthwhile? If not, it’s not a good fit for me long term.

I recommend you do this exercise and discover your passions, motivators and strengths.

Want to learn more? Visit Curt Rosengren’s website for his ebooks and his coaching sessions.
Thanks to Nicole Allard for her notes on the session. Photography is mine. Even the photo of Nicole’s notes.