My resistance to school and the fact that I never took a computer class while attending begins this tale with a bit of irony. I was pressured into college after graduating high school because I couldn’t get a job without it and I guess the irony lies within the fact of while I was attending college, the job and skill set I’ve now acquired didn’t even really exist.
Post high school graduation, everybody geared up to leave for college and to appease my mother, I agreed to attend classes at a local community college―essentially 13th grade. While attending community college, I would walk into some classes, raise my hand for attendance and when the teacher turned to the chalkboard, I would sneak out the back door and go to work. At that time, I had a commissioned sales job so it made more sense to me to go make money. I would pay the kid next to me for his notes and try to pull off a C average―true story.
What Do I Do?
Often I am asked, “What do you actually do?” The question in its true form may be short however the explanation is not. I’ve been referred to as by others: Digital Marketer, SEO Expert, Social Media Guru, Digital Content Master, Exquisite Gentleman, and might as well also throw in, The Most Interesting Pat in the World. All of these are merely titles though, vague ones at that, and I seem to encompass everything.
What People think I Do:
My friends and family think I simply play on Facebook all day long and get paid to do so. In the broadest of terms, I am a marketer. My weapon of choice, the internet. I intuitively quit drinking pop (soda) after graduating high school. Nothing pushed me to do so, I just knew that nothing positive would come of drinking it all of the time. I tend to follow my intuition without question or reason and I attribute my intuition for leading me down the path to where I’ve ended up.
How I got to Here:
Previous to True Merchant, I was a partner in an entertainment company responsible for hosting numerous events throughout the year, parties at night clubs, charity events, concerts, etc. The perceived illusion was that all I did was get paid to party as that was the what the public got to see. Often ignored was the weeks and sometimes even months of preparation leading up to an event.
Seeing early on the opportunity that lied within social, I immediately went to work. Once MySpace came on to the scene in the mid 2000’s, I knew I had to start a business and very quickly found myself involved with an entertainment company called Faded Industry Entertainment. For 8 years, Faded Industry hosted events all throughout the city of Pittsburgh. Only about a year into Faded Industry, we were approached by a spirits importing business, Premier Innovations Group, and later began importing and marketing Clique Vodka.
Those businesses thrived off of our social presence and my title at the time was Vice President of Social Media. My job was to implement the social strategies that would attract the masses―and a lot of those strategies worked. Faded Industry’s Facebook network grew to 20,000+ and Clique Vodka‘s grew to about 16,000+. A single post from Faded’s Facebook page was seen by 10,000,000+ people. Blog posts I’ve written have reached the front page of Reddit ultimately resulting in a crash to our servers due to too much traffic all at once. Upon my departure from Faded Industry, I took the website from nothing in January 2013 to amassing traffic almost totaling 400,000 hits per month by March of 2014. I haven’t really even touched the website since then and FadedIndustry.com is still receiving traffic totaling 5.8+ Million page views.
What I Actually Do:
To accumulate those kinds of numbers in a short amount of time does not happen by luck nor happenstance. Realizing that social was only one small piece of the puzzle, I taught myself the complex and wonderful world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and soon began to reap the benefits. No classes, no schooling, just a lot of dedicated hours reading articles that were way over my head along with countless hours of trial and error. I developed a core understanding of how social works and matched that with my newfound knowledge of SEO and put a plan into motion. Also must mention some friends who shared their SEO wisdom along the way: Bud Adams, Shannon Baldridge, Josh Bobrowsky, and Bob Buskirk.
Every part of my day involves work in some way. As a digital strategist in today’s world, I must constantly be on my game. If I am awake, I can be learning. I do this by trading in music for podcasts during my commutes or workouts, scheduling time in my day to read books, I’ve curated lists on my social networks to feed me relevant content, I network with people who are smarter than I, and much more. Obtaining the ever-changing knowledge is only one small portion of the battle, I too must implement strict disciplines into my life and stick to them. When you have the freedom to work from wherever, you better take advantage of that by always working whenever you can.
Now-a-days, I consult and help businesses create or refine their online strategy to help attract new business. If you have a business, implementing some form of an online strategy is crucial if you’re looking to grow even just maintain. I help businesses attract new business via the internet. Like moths to those blue zappy things, I bring new eyes to people’s business. (Are you reading this? See it’s working!)
Both a blessing and a curse is having the freedom and ability to work from where ever, whenever. As long as there is wifi and I have my phone or laptop, I can work. The work life balance with this career choice just becomes WorkLife. It can sometimes be really hard to separate the two, like going on vacations but always having to allocate time for work. It’s true what they say though, when you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work at all. I’d honestly have it no other way.
Here at True Merchant:
My role is the Director of Marketing. I worked along side Jimi Romanus (Vice President of True Merchant) for seven years while involved with Premier Innovations Group and constantly pestered him for a chance to help grow his website. From nothing to something, I sat parallel in Premier watching True Merchant grow to where it is today. I saw the opportunity Jimi built and just wanted to get involved. After some months of hard core negotiations and having to impress his partners, I finally got my shot.
So, more than simply writing blogs, my job is to grow this website and help spread the word of this awesome company. If you made it this far into the read, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to do so. Seriously, thank you. And if you own a business, let’s talk so I can give you something that makes you say thank you back to me.