Last year, I decided to resigned from Oncrawl to embrace new challenges outside the SEO world. I started my career in 2014 as a Traffic Manager in a web agency, dealing with both organic and paid acquisition. Soon enough, I decided to specialized in SEO mostly because I loved (and still do) working with uncertainty. I then headed to Oncrawl to specialize even more into SEO and data science. All along, I knew something was missing and I resigned to eventually embrace the puzzle in its entirety.
I joined Pictarine in November 2020 to manage both the paid and organic acquisition for the websites as well as the mobile applications. Back then, I didn’t have a clue about mobile app growth.
Stepping into growth, here are my learnings:
- Get out of your comfort zone.
- Learn new things.
- More interactions with more people.
- More challenging environment and higher risk-taking.
- Taking decisions from a bigger picture.
- Embrace more responsibilities.
- Accept not to be a specialist.
- Learn to hire specialists.
Get out of your comfort zone
As long as you have the opportunity to scare yourself, do it! We are one of the happy few, working in an industry where we can easily move from a company to another one. Back in 2020, that is the reason why I decided to move forward with my career and to quit my comfort zone. This is quite stressful and intimidating at first but you get the opportunity to learn a lot about yourself and all the self boundaries you can push forward.
Learn new things
Once you quit your comfort zone, you accept to embrace new challenges. As new challenges come to you, you will start learning a lot of new things and expand your reflection. You actually discover new communities, new methodologies and among all, you discover new ways to reflect on your data and on the business.
More interactions with more people
You meet with new people as well as new disciplines and their own reflections, metrics and acronyms. This is probably one of the hardest yet most interesting part when moving forward with your role. This is part of your daily “going out of my comfort zone” when presenting yourself, the reason behind your recent move and your legitimacy of being where you are now.
More challenging environment and higher risk-taking
The job description you applied for is no more ultra specialised; you are now embracing a broader scope. You get challenged at every level you have interactions with someone. And by challenge, I mean people are expecting answers from you as well as some sorts of leadership, depending on your role and position. You also get prompt to higher risk-taking as you are involved in now multiple disciplines and discussions.
Taking decisions from a bigger picture
Here we are; certainly one of the most rewarding takeaway. You have now stepped outside the SEO (or any other specialised job actually) and you are considering and taking care of other acquisition channels or other tasks within the marketing department. You get a bigger picture now. One of the questions that comes back often is: “what should I do that will have the best impact on the business?”. So, you don’t only think about your orphan pages or redirects as you need to embrace and understand the full picture. And you learn to (really) prioritise your actions, plan your roadmap and pair with the right teammates to get results.
Embrace more responsibilities
Back in November 2020, I didn’t even asked for the paid acquisition budget. Turns out today, I’m glad I forgot to ask the question. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have felt ready for it. I spent more than $5 million in paid marketing this year. During my very first days, I was shaking every time I needed to update a campaign budget or bid: “is it the best decision? Am I sure? 100% sure?”. I learned to trust myself along the way; until the day I didn’t ask this question anymore. It also came with learning to make choices. I learned to not think about my 6K orphan pages waiting for internal links; and focused on other topics that were more interesting and lucrative for the business at this moment.
Accept not to be a specialist
You are not a specialist anymore. Wow. The hardest part you had to deal with.
Still, people know it. And they won’t expect from you that you got all the answers. Your job is to understand the big picture well enough to be able to say “I don’t know but I understand the point, so I will ask someone who has the answer”. It’s pretty difficult to admit that sometimes, you just don’t know. Or that you don’t know well enough to be the better problem-solving person.
Learn to hire specialists
Know that you are not a specialist anymore and know that you know it, you are ready to hire smarter people than you. It’s difficult as well. How do you get enough legitimacy to hire someone for a position you are not an expert in? Well, here’s a hint: talk to people holding this position outside your company. Ask people how they do it in their own company. You will understand all the operational intricacies of the job; and you will perceive the right candidate for the position.
Last but not least, if you want to know more on this “career progression” topic, you should subscribe to Tom Critchlow’s newsletter. He has began a series of super interesting articles about SEO careers; the first one being “Why there are no VP SEO jobs”.