The Journey from Web Designer to marketer, to programmer, then back to marketer

There had been some major shift in my career direction the past few months (actually what seemed and felt like a major shift, but underlying goal is same), and I wanted to write something to reflect back on where I’m heading, where I had been, and why I’m going where I’m going, all tied in together for my life’s goal.

2012

I started my working life, stumbling into web design. Learned everything from scratch, and if I do say so myself, became a pretty decent web designer.

2013

Then I started helping my web design company with marketing and sales, because we were getting enough clients :/ Which was good news for me though, cause I got to learn all the online marketing stuff that helped me get a huge headstart in my marketing career now. One of my most successful accomplishments there, is setting up their SEM system.

Google Adwords practically help drive majority of their business now, even long after my departure, getting over 1k visits and 100-200 inquiries, resulting in HK$100k+ monthly revenue.

From a web designer standpoint though, I wanted to improve, so I wanted to get in programming as well, and left the web design company. I also wanted to start my own business, and from what I knew, starting a tech business is a pretty good way to go…?

May 2016

Fast forward a year after leaving my first company, I had interned half year at a tech-startup, spent another half year building my own dating app, and if I do say so myself, got a pretty good hang of it.

Somewhere in 2015, I also started learning stuff by a guy named Patrick McKenzie, a successful software entrepreneur, who happens to live in Japan, the country where it’s my dream to move there. He was a programmer, and he made a living off writing and selling his own program. What a dream life!

Patrick did a over-the-top, wonderful ‘memoir’ on his blog, of how he had created small software businesses, made a reasonable enough living to quit his job, and outlined step-by-step how he did it. Since I found his stuff last year, it’s been a great inspiration to my entire career (which is also why I wrote this blog, first as a diary of which I can look back, but also maybe one day could be an inspiration to another aspiring entrepreneur too!)

So I decided, I want to do what he does, and I need to start my own software business now.

June 2016

So one of the things he emphasized on which he drove his success was SEO. I worked in web design so I had always had a ‘friendly relationship’ with SEO. But I never actually studied it or did any SEO work. I decided I need to learn.

As I looked deeply into SEO, I realized, heck this stuff is amazing! Thinking about my always-been goal, which is ‘be a successful entrepreneur, making a successful business’? The best skills I could possibly have is online marketing, hands down. And I’d met a lot of small business owners with my web design business, and business networking. These things could absolutely be a game changer for many of them.

I started getting to know and following some top SEO / internet marketers in the world, like neil patel and rand fishkin. I started learning everything I could about SEO, content marketing, and everything internet marketing. Then I stumbled into a thing, which i’ll call ‘professional blogging’.

July 2016

Another big thing was stumbling on a guy named Jon Morrow of smartblogger. In short, he teaches bloggers how to make a living by blogging. Before running into his work, I had always known people made a living by blogging. I sort of even know how they are doing it, but the mystery for me was, how they DID it. How someone start from zero, a nobody, invisible potato, to thousands, tens of thousands, and hundred of thousands of subscribers, fans, and facebook likes.

Now I think I really see it. Jon outlines the SUPER-HARD, sweat and blood reality of what it takes to become a successful blogger. It’s not pretty, but it’s doable!!

And heck I’m thinking, I wanted to help other small business owners do online marketing. And a big key of that is content marketing. And what better way to do it than, starting my own blog, successfully market it so I can make a living off it, and show how businesses can use blogging/content marketing to achieve results?

August 2016

I had an idea for a dating blog, which I wrote a post about. However, I figured I need to have huge passion for the topic of my blog, which for dating I don’t strongly.

I wanted to teach content marketing, but I felt like without a successful blog to start with, I’m going to be a fraud for teaching it.

Nevertheless, I changed my mind. Sort of. I settled on teaching, ‘marketing for small business’ in Hong Kong.

I’d talk not only about content marketing, but facebook, google ads, website, wordpress, etc. Which a good portion of those things I have expertise and experience on. And as this blog develops, I’m going to have high expertise and experience on content marketing itself as well, which is where I want to get business owners in HK to realize in.

Moving forward

I have big hopes for this blog. I’m going to spend most of my working hours now, perfecting the art of blogging, content marketing, marketing my blog, and getting it rolling.

Being able to help thousands, tens of thousands of small business owners with my teaching, and also meanwhile make a decent living from that? That’ll make me really happy and fulfilled.

Lessons in ‘Professional Blogging’

Oh I’ve learned so much in the past 1-2 months, I could probably write 10 thousand words. Let me try to summarize a few major things I’ve learned:

  1. As a beginner, don’t focus on writing content. This was a surprise for me, but after learning it, it makes sense. Nobody is going to read my shit, even if it’s good shit. Because nobody knows me. I need to do promotion.
  2. A big part of blogging is about making relationships. Another sort-of surprise for me, but again, makes perfect sense. People that are already influential can help me with promoting my content, of course given I can somehow contribute in the relationship and give back. huge topic in itself.
  3. Another big part of blogging is about psychology. Not surprising here, but not something I’m great at. Even with free articles, you still have to ‘sell’ someone to spend time reading it. Hopefully he’ll think it’s more than worth it to have spent the time reading it, but without great headline, images, subheadings, he won’t even read it.
  4. Paid ads will (probably) do wonder. Pay to promote a free post, sounds super scary! But with the right tactics, paying to get subscribers and fans, and properly utilizing remarketing along with content marketing, it seems can really help drive business in a way no traditional marketing could. Plus this tactic is all about numbers, analytics, testing, which is perfectly right up my avenue.

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