04 Mar My Journey to Social Media Marketing World
I remember it like it was yesterday; I was housesitting at Peta’s house in Vancouver, BC in the middle of a hot July while she was on a family road trip through the US with her family. We had agreed that I’d take care of business while she was on vacation and we’d check in every few days. Little did I know that in less than a year I’d be on my way to Social Media Marketing World 2018.
I had been trolling freelance websites for potential new contracts and bid on a job that looked interesting to me. The project was to develop an online business management solution to keep track of one component of a big conference utilizing a SaaS (service as a software) platform, Capsule CRM, that I knew and loved.
The next morning I woke up and noticed a notification on my phone from the freelance website about the contract I had bid on the day before. Upon opening the app and reading the message, it was revealed that the client of the project was none other than Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner.
I had first learned of Social Media Examiner back in 2010 when I launched my first company, a local community event website/digital publication for families in my region. I had even purchased a virtual ticket to their Social Media Success Summit event in 2012 to learn as much as I could about reaching parents in my area.
I almost dropped the phone when I discovered who my next potential client might be. Mike wanted to meet with us on a call to discuss the details of the project so I frantically messaged my partner and hoped that she’d be able to take time out of her travels to meet with the two of us. Luckily, I caught her while they weren’t driving and was able to get the three of us on a call. I, at her house in Vancouver, and her sitting in a parking lot at the Grand Canyon.
Fast forward to a few more discovery sessions (one week later with me running around the resort town of Osoyoos, BC looking for a restaurant or café to sit down and meet with Mike and his team for an impromptu Skype chat – remote work ftw!), and we were awarded the project. I think there may have been some jumping up and down and dancing like giddy children.
We spent the next eight months working with the most fantastic team of people building and implementing a speaker onboarding/management system using our favourite business management tool, Podio. Social Media Examiner does have a head office in San Diego, but the majority of staff are scattered across the continent. This meant they were incredibly adept at working with people remotely using video conferencing and Google Drive. This made our job much simpler.
As we worked through the various stages of the contract, it became clear that we wanted to attend the conference ourselves and hopefully meet the team of people we’d so enjoyed working with.
We discovered that it was possible to volunteer at the event and, when we approached our project lead, Nicole, the Operations Manager for Social Media Examiner, she enthusiastically said yes! They’d love to meet us.
Peta and I saw it as a great way to give back as a thank you for the opportunity they had afforded us. Besides, who doesn’t love a trip to San Diego in the middle of a Canadian winter?! We were thrilled (and a bit nervous!) to be assigned the role of Speaker Concierge for the event and counted down the days until our departure. Peta has published an excellent piece about our experience volunteering at the event.
I sit here now, on our flight back to Vancouver, reflecting on my top takeaways from this past week. Although there is much to reflect on and be thankful for, these are the two of the biggest takeaways for me.
Hard Work Will Pay Off
We want more for ourselves. We want to be better, do more and maybe most importantly, make some sort of impact in our world. Thousands of passionate people come to this event. Some come to share their knowledge and wisdom with others. Some come to learn new skills to help achieve their own goals and dreams; others to give back by volunteering or by meeting new people and sharing ideas. In Social Media Examiner’s case, they strive to be the vehicle that makes all of the above possible.
This takes an immense amount of hard work and perseverance. Each and every one of the speakers who came to present has worked hard for what they have. All the attendees worked hard to be able to invest in attending the conference and are eager to learn how they can grow their businesses. Volunteers invest their own time and money into coming to the conference to give back and help make it an unforgettable event and Social Media Examiner has an amazing team of staff that work tirelessly all year to bring you the best social media marketing conference in the world.
It’s so easy to feel down at times, as though progress can seem like walking through mud. But having your goals at the forefront of your mind will help move you forward and surrounding yourself with inspiring people can help you keep perspective.
I really do love business strategy and operations
There have been times when I’ve wondered if I’m really that passionate about operations. This week has reaffirmed my love for the ‘inner workings’ of all things related to business and event operations. I love the strategy involved with planning events and finding ways to help businesses streamline their operations so that people like Mike can focus on what he does best which is thought leadership and researching the latest trends in social media and disseminating the information to the masses.
In his closing keynote on the last day, Pat Flynn talked about building super fans – I can say without a doubt that I am a super fan of Social Media Examiner. This developed slowly over a period of months while we worked with the team and was set in stone during my week of service at Social Media Marketing World.
I am excited about what the future will bring and cannot wait to attend Social Media Marketing World 2019!