What I Learned in 2015: A Career Reflection

This is the time when all the marketing blogs are are filled with Top 10 lists: the top 10 most successful campaigns, the top 10 most popular posts/stories/apps etc. As the aim of Tap Dancing Spiders is to coach, inform and educate, I want to share what I learned in 2015. Both the positive and the negative. The first version of this post turned into a snark at annual performance reviews (I gave myself a grade, then explained why it was unfair). Let’s see how this goes.

Whiteboard-2015-goalsWhat Were My 2015 Goals?

My new year’s resolution turned into a full campaign. Shush, stop laughing at me. It was read 48 books, write 48 blog posts (I gave myself four weeks’ vacation), complete two grad school classes and the Google Analytics exam.

What I Achieved in 2015

It started swimmingly. The tracker was on my whiteboard, creating a constant reminder. I was ready to go.

It lasted two weeks.

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia invited me to rejoin their team as Content Manager. This 20-hour contract freed up enough time to add in more grad school classes and finish the degree this year. In May, I completed Hootsuite’s new Podium course and Social Media Marketing certification. July was spent studying for and passing the Google AdWords certification in preparation for a live client in the final school semester.

As of December 28 (now), all will be done (this is blog post 48 and I have three books to read), except the Google Analytics certification. So the plan changed, in one sense I achieved more, despite not hitting the original goals. I’m not even going to try for the final certification this week.

What Did I Learn in 2015?

Studying with OwlyPlans Change
Yes, things change and we just need to run with it. All through the year, I felt like it was a waste. I was only working 20 hours per week, taking a financial hit, and most of the academic work was only revision. Looking back now I see the plans changing was good and I’m very thankful I could take an entire year off the degree and finish early.

Failure is OK
We constantly hear that failure is good, and it’s more important to try, and create. This can be hard to accept emotionally. From looking at my goals and what I achieved, I failed 2015. I am not Google Analytics certified. My Master of Communications degree was also not conferred with distinction. While the latter did upset me, I learned so much more in the process (about me, about balancing stress and workload, about other marketing practices) that I’m fine with it.

Making a Plan is Good
Using SMART goals for my resolution was useful, and embarrassingly nerdy. It did keep me focused. Blogging weekly gave a massive traffic jump. Surprisingly the traffic was more to older posts, but creating new posts definitely made an impact overall. My reading varied on different genres. Yes, there was a lot of marketing but bedtime reading for a four-year-old introduced me to some new picture story books, and I could relax with a novel. Much more productive than playing Two Dots.

2014-2015-traffic

Choose What You Enjoy Most
I hesitated to put this one in, but it was a massive learning. I like being a generalist, but in marketing what comes under the generalist umbrella keeps expanding. I love the community aspect of social media. I don’t like the restrictions and level of knowledge required for search engine marketing. I like looking at performance indicators, but don’t want to just be an analyst. Oh, and I’m terrible on the admin side of business. I definitely work better with the creativity and freedom of consulting but not with the paperwork. So I have learned to be picky with whom I work for and under which contracts.

What’s Happening in 2016?

What I learned this year is already reflecting in 2016. As of January 1 my title at the Diocese changes to Interim Communications Director. Interim because I know I’m not the best person for that role full-time. It needs to be someone from within the church. I’ll take six months to build the team and processes and then hand it over.

For my new year’s resolutions, I think I’ll keep the blogging and reading the same. Without school, I’ll probably exceed it, but it covers the weeks when I’m lacking inspiration. A friend in Australia is getting married in July and I’d prefer not to be planning blog posts while there.

I think I’ll put the Google Analytics certification back on the list. It’s not that arduous and I know Google Analytics is a lot more powerful than the functions I use. French lessons are being added as my fun spoil. My best friend’s family is French and I did study French for 5.5 years in high school, so it makes sense. I’d like to get to B1 or B2, but I’m not going as strict with that.

Did you have a New Year’s Resolution? What did you learn?

Oh, and my grade from the original version? It was a B on my intended plan, but an A accommodating the changes. After all, the Google Analytics exam wasn’t attempted.

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