For the first ten years of my career, I spent my days working on dozens of large brands in ad agencies and my nights trying to launch side project businesses. My agency work exposed me to bigger-picture business strategy thinking across various industries and some of the most brilliant and most interesting people I've ever met. My side hustles taught me scrappy growth hacking techniques entrepreneurial thinking and exposed me to cutting-edge marketing way before it became mainstream.
The mix of these two experiences practiced over an extended period ultimately led me to become an effective digital marketer, thanks to a 1-2 punch of strategic and tactical know-how. It also reaffirmed what I wanted to do career-wise, which has led me to truly love the craft of marketing.
I believe that at the beginning of a career, it's crucially essential to optimize for a diverse set of experiences. It does two things. It a) gives you a greater perspective of what you want to do in your career and b) allows you to speed up learning your craft - both leading to more opportunities and higher compensation faster.
Here are a few ideas on how to accomplish this.
- Work in an agency or consultant environment. This will allow you to be exposed to various clients and categories right from the get-go.
- Work in a startup. This will allow you to wear a variety of hats and perform a variety of roles from the get-go.
- Build something yourself. There is no faster way to learn than building a product yourself. Hard but highly recommended.
- Do some freelance on the side. Again, this will expose you to more problems more people while also building cash flow.
Regardless of how you get there, try to maximize the number and diversity of your career experiences when you first start.
40-year old you will thank you.
Schulzke Dot Com Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.