2021 Wrap Up

Another year is coming to an end. This one is a bit more bizarre than most with lots of job updates and still being affected by COVID-19.

Starting the Year at Nexcess

At the start of the year I was still working at Nexcess. And in February of that year they restructured and let me go. 👋

If you're thinking “oh no“. Don't.

As with many bad things in life, they often turn out to be blessings in disguise. And this one is similar. I learned a lot at Nexcess and it was an incredible experience that I will keep with me for years to come.

Going Back to Education

After leaving Nexcess it was time to put all of those learnings into action.
I wrote, created, and released WordPress: Speeding Up Your Site.

And it was a welcome break. Something to keep me busy while also shifting gears and turning off my marketing brain for a few months.

While I love creating online courses it is a little lonely. Especially in a pandemic. Not jumping on Slack to chat to colleagues can be really isolating and after a while I started to realize it's not for me. That's when I put out this tweet:

Joining Paid Memberships Pro

In June I joined Paid Memberships Pro as Brand Manager. We started off on the right foot with a trial. I insisted because I wanted to make sure we had good chemistry.

Trial For PMPro

I worked with Kim Coleman, Co-founder of Paid Memberships Pro, to create a trial that delivers value to PMPro (even if the working dynamics don't work) and gives us both the chance to uncover any working incompatibilities.
We decided to create an email onboarding process.

They already had a simple email sequence setup in MailChimp. We updated it to a 11-part email sequence including conditional logic, customer tagging, and a more enticing offer at the end of the sequence.

After this process Kim and I had a solid working relationship and I knew I could add value to the PMPro team. It was time to officially join the team.

Creating a Hiring Process

The brand manager is a leadership position. That means I get to build my own marketing team.

So one of the first big projects is to build that team. And PMPro being a small company means we don't have a defined process. So that means that I get to write the job description, interview the candidates, and choose how we select the final candidate.

I had a few priorities:

  • Public salaries –  I always hated applying for jobs where I expected let's say $50k and once I get past the first round I find out it's $25k. Instead it makes sense to post the salary range and negotiate based on their experience. Some company hide this so they can pay employees as little as possible. We can do better. We don't have to perpetuate bad ideas.
  • Paid Trials – You can only learn so much researching something. Sometimes you have to go through the process to learn how it really works. That's why I'm a huge fan of trials. I just went through my own and want to make sure that I find people that mesh with the team. I also want to compensate people for their time. With a paid trial we get a piece of content, they get a few hundred bucks, and both of us get to learn about each other. It's a win-win.
  • Evaluated on work – Finally, I wanted to evaluate everyone on the actual work they do. Not necessarily how well written their cover letter is (although for a marketing position that is more relevant). So I removed all personal information and shared the works with the broader team for review.

While I'm really happy with the process we created it was a failure, ahem, learning opportunity.

We sent an offer letter to someone and they turned us down citing that they wanted to work on an office. 🤯

After this we had to start the process over again and add an additional interview step where we bring in additional team members and let the applicant ask us as many questions as they want. It should prevent these sorts of issues moving forward. And it's a good time to narrow the candidate pool down to 2 and after this step select 1 to move forward.

(Psssst. We did end up hiring a great candidate. 👇)

Managing

Its been an incredibly fun and challenging time learning how to manage people. Instead of focusing on tasks  I focus on objectives and clarity.

There's a lot of time spent setting expectations and planning a set of tasks and checking in (without interrupting).

I've only dipped my toe into this so far. And I can't wait to learn more.

Black Friday Scheduling

My first big challenge was Black Friday. I wanted to impress my company and also put my strategy to the test.
To make the situation a little more complex we were just coming down from the COVID bump. And I expected our Black Friday sales to drop. 📉

With some automation magic we setup:

  • Social media every day (props to my colleague Sam)
  • Emails every day
  • Affiliates with sale information
  • Blog content to warm up the audience
  • And onsite banners

And with this strategy we did great. Besides checking sales numbers a few times just for fun all of this was automated so no one had to work. 🤖

And we exceeded expectations having double digit growth year-over-year. 📈

Not gonna lie. I'm really proud of my team to work smart and grow the business. 💪

Next year

I'm really happy with where this year ended up. As is typical with life you have no idea where it will take you. But if you're okay with a few bumps the ride can be incredibly pleasant.

We start the year out welcoming a new team member, we have some big web site updates, and I have some new marketing strategies which PMPro has never tried before. I can't wait to see what happens.

2 thoughts on “2021 Wrap Up

  1. This is very inspiring… Going through the same thing since the pandemic started, but haven’t had any luck so far. I hope to have the same experience with the positive plot twist in your career!

    • The job market is pretty hot right now. I encourage you to apply to any application where you meet many (not all) of the requirements.

      Let me know if I can help in another way. 🙂

      Good luck!

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