I truly believe that every individual should work at a start up company at some point in his or her lifetime. The lessons learned from start up culture are so far beyond what any corporate job can teach you.
In a start up atmosphere, each individual is given the opportunity to grow with the company, both personally and professionally. I took the ‘Social Media Guru’ position at Blayze, not knowing I would delve into sales, management, business development and editorial. The experience was incredibly rewarding.
I learned how to sell a product that doesn’t exist, and develop lasting relationships with potential clients, users, and influencers in the YouTube space. After many failures, I finally found a sales approach that works well for myself that has improved my communication in all aspects of life. Here’s my approach: genuine flattery (people know when you’re full of bull shit), short emails, and always, always try to get someone on the phone or meet in person — that’s a closer.
I learned how to focus on numbers instead of just content. I created and tracked sales and outreach funnels. I A/B tested like nobodies business. I tracked social numbers, growth and engagement. This allowed me to create a strategy that would drive the most traffic possible to Blayze.com. Ultimately, I built a dream job for myself: I was doing outreach, writing, working on creatives, managing content calendars, developing lasting relationships, and promoting talented individuals who deserved more attention in the YouTube space. These skills and passion will follow me anywhere as I look for a leadership role in digital marketing.
I learned how to dream big and build small. Even if I want to build the next company to compete with Burton, I know that goal is not obtainable overnight. You can’t ever assume you know what your customers might want. Will they pay $200 for a jacket, or endorse your brand all season if you keep sending them new sticks to tear up on the mountain? You’ll never know until you try it out a few times, doing all of the grunt work manually, looking for a successful model. Then, and only then, do you begin scaling projects, dumping extra money into product production and web design.
Popular companies and brands rely on two things: innovation and word of mouth marketing. Surround yourself with young people who are immersed in the lifestyle of your brand and never stop learning. Build loyal customers that are excited about your brand, and find new approaches to generate a lot of buzz around your brand. Get people talking.
Finally, I learned that you can never fail, ever. (Unless you stop trying.) I’ve spent entire weeks working on a project only to throw it out the window the next Monday. Literally. I never viewed those discarded projects as failures, but viewed throwing them out as opportunities to try something new, and hopefully better. I know someday, somehow, our CEO will run YouTube and the online video industry. He just can’t fail. And, now I know that I’ll never fail either as I pursue my Cali dreams.