Career advice is a tough topic. Plus, we often get it from people who don’t follow their own advice.
I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. It’s a pretty common part of building a career.
Among all the advice I’ve ever received in my life, the worst 2 pieces of career advice were:
- “Don’t put yourself out there”
- “If work isn’t paying for you to learn it, you don’t have to do it”
“Don’t Put Yourself Out There”
This was the hardest piece of advice to ignore. I didn’t want to be all over social media rambling about my thoughts and views, yet here I am.
I’d rather be judged by the things I set out to achieve, than the things I never tried.
This piece of advice came to me while I was still in university. I was encouraged to be a “good employee”. To not complain, not ask questions, to keep my head down, and do my job.
“That’s the real secret to getting ahead in life” I was told.
5 years later, that advice holds a different meaning for me.
If you want to work for someone else and have no work aspirations, this is a GOOD piece of advice.
If you’re like me and have a larger vision of what you want to achieve in life, this is BAD advice.
The reality is your workplace likely won’t give you the projects that will build your career how you want. You might not have access to YouTube projects, rapidly growing an Instagram account, etc.
If you put yourself out there and work on projects YOU want to do, you’ll learn faster, grow faster, and reach success faster. Plus, you’ll position yourself for your niche and industry.
I wanted to do YouTube projects, but my workplaces didn’t have the budget or bandwidth to do them. So I started my own channels and, you guessed it, put myself out there.
I experimented with marketing videos, fitness vlogs, gaming videos, etc.
By putting myself out there, I was able to collect experience, know-how, and expertise on YouTube marketing. Then I was able to use that experience to find work in that field. One lucky case was working with a former pro athlete to improve their YouTube Channel after they walked away from being a world champion of tennis.
But here’s the next big piece of advice – reinvest in yourself and projects.
Helping people with YouTube wasn’t my ultimate passion project, but it gave me the cashflow to reinvest into other projects.
When you put yourself out there, you will grow. Even if the process is messy, you will still grow. When you experience failure or feel embarrassed, you keep growing.
At the very worst, you learn what you’re interested in, good at, and bad at.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to avoid unkind judgments of your decisions.
For example, when I proclaimed myself as a YouTube Marketer, people immediately jump to the question “well how many subscribers do you have?”. When I tell people I have a marketing blog, they ask “well how many readers do you get a month?”. While my own personal numbers aren’t excellent, my clients and former employers are. I just point to their work.
Fail your way forward, my friends. Even if you’re at your 20th failure, 30th failure, or even 5th year of failures, your experience will carry you to greater and better things. Remember this.
At the end of the day, all that matter is whether or not you gave it your best.
“If work isn’t paying for you to learn something, you don’t have to do it.”
My family never let this behaviour fly.
I remember telling my mother how I could help her with marketing.
“Well are you trained in marketing? Do you have experience helping other businesses grow? Do you carry certifications to showcase your expertise? Show me your portfolio”.
No, I didn’t have everything my mother requested.
My parents gave me a taste of the obstacles and judgments I would face in life.
My way around these objections was to keep investing in myself; to continue learning and doing challenging work.
I taught myself how to build websites. I learned photoshop. I learned how to create, edit, and publish videos. I learned how to run a blog that people actually read.
I encourage you to do the same – to dive in and learn.
These little investments did cost me money.
At first, I spent more money than I earned. But as I learned new skills, my debts disappeared and my salary grew.
Here’s how it all came together:
Where I started blogging, I learned SEO. Where people paid me for SEO, I learned video SEO. Where people paid me for video SEO, I learned analytics. Where people hired me to read analytics, I started experimenting with marketing strategies. Where people currently hire me for marketing strategy, more people started reaching out to me for help and advice.
Dividends pay off. Invest in yourself to grow, learn, and earn. Reinvest and improve your talents. This is a simple process that continuously builds on itself.
The end result is a life with more friends, more freedom, more flexibility, and more happiness.