The Beginning of my Project Management Journey

The best thing you can do for your career is to take time to reflect on what you’ve learned

The beginning of my project management career began when I was managing a team of interns at a non-profit in 2016. We were tasked with building out the company’s digital marketing strategy, daily routines, and documenting the team’s processes. We were a small team of 6 people and even then, it felt impossible to manage all of the moving parts that seemed to creep in from our peripheral vision. I learned quickly that the first hurdle for new project managers is learning how to delegate tasks instead of doing them yourself.


In 2017 I became a freelance project manager at an agency, managing two departments that comprised of more than twenty media buyers and media planners. I was tasked with organizing all of the established workflows that they have been using and then streamlining them so that we can complete projects faster for our Fortune 500 client.


The honest truth is that for this specific project, our team discovered that my specific role wasn’t necessary for several reasons—primarily because the project was already being successfully managed by several other managers.


I learned a key lesson during those three months. That lesson being, the likelihood of you remaining as an essential part of any project relates to how early you entered the project and how much you can immediately contribute to that project. Also, taking your ego out of project management and work in general is essential to success.


Reflect from failures

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself whenever you’re taken off of a project, try to understand why you were removed. In most cases, the decision was made because the project takes priority. There should never be any hard feelings.


Now three years later I am managing several projects at once. I wouldn’t say that I am now fully traversing my project management journey just yet. I believe I’m still at the starting point.


Seeing as there are so many different styles of project management I still have to learn (Agile, Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Six Sigma, and PRINCE2) I am both excited and worried. In the coming years, there will be around 80 million new opportunities for project manager work. By doing my part, learning how to be a better project manager, I hope I can cut my “own slice of the pie” in the marketing industry.


Looking back at where I was and where I am now, I’m still in the tutorial phase and I’m okay with that. Part of the learning process is knowing how much you don’t know, right?


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Sometimes It Isn’t The Work That’s Got You Down

The missing piece could be a great team

If you’ve found your passion, stick with it. Sometimes things will get hard because of the people in your ecosystem, not because of the work itself.


Don’t believe me?


There will come a time when you either lose or gain a great team that just clicks—everyone is consistently in sync on a daily basis. When you encounter a team like this, with no drama and just a passion for serving each other and the customer, enjoy the moment. It’s rare to find a job where you love what you do and you mesh perfectly with the people that you work with.


No amount of money or “upward mobility” can replace a great team dynamic and culture. That’s irreplaceable.


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The Next Step After Completing The Course

Gaining the credentials is only the first step

If you want to help your clients manage a Youtube channel, try starting your own.


If you want to learn how to successfully generate a return of 150% from paid Facebook ads, save $1,000, and run your own campaign.


If you want to do anything for anyone, try doing it for yourself first. Tinkering and creating your own projects is a great way to bridge the gap from student to practitioner. It may be hard to find work when you’re fresh in the game, especially this year. So the only way to get started is to hire yourself first.


Patience, grit, and a clear plan of action will increase the odds. Yet, what will help you out the most is being able to showcase your usefulness.


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When You Lose A Client

You Lose More Than Just Money

Losing a client can sometimes come as a necessity. Perhaps the expectations at the beginning of the project weren’t set correctly, or the working relationship began to deteriorate because of miscommunication, or the client found another competitor to replace you.


Regardless of why it happens, it’s important for us to consider what happens after you lose a client.


When a client is lost, your bottom line isn’t the only thing that suffers. There’s an opportunity cost incurred when you lose a client, for they could have been a potential avenue to gain referrals to new clients. And when you lose a client, you miss out on all of the knowledge that would have been gained through future work with them.


Working with clients gives marketers the opportunity to consistently challenge themselves and grow their skillset—as new problems that need solving arise consistently in marketing. When you lost a client, you lose an opportunity to grow.


Again, sometimes you can actually benefit from losing a client if it is clear that much wouldn’t have been gained if the working relationship continued. Yet, when you lose a great client, it can be tough to recover from that loss.


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Close In On Success By Observing Your Habits

Positioning has a lot to do with how you condition yourself over time.

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion and if you are headed towards mediocrity—you will eventually arrive.


So it goes without saying that if you have dreams, the best way to convert those dreams into achievable goals is by creating a set of positive habits. The habits come first, then the specific action plan. Both are necessary, however, discipline is what is absolutely necessary so that you can sense opportunity when it arrives.


I think about this a lot, especially when I am thinking about how I’ve found work this year. From what I have seen so far, my income directly correlates not with my specific level of education given to me by an institution but, with how much I have learned on my own.


The skills I’ve gained from my own curiosity and life experiences has led to an increase in wealth and opportunities to help others. You can certainly learn from books and classes, but you have to immediately apply what you learn.


If you can get past the excuses and find a way to take a new idea, and challenge it with action and visual results, you will grow. It is the only way to know if what you are learning is legitimately going to make you money.


Positioning is therefore aligned with the positive habits we adopt over time. There is a reason leaders self-educate, the best sellers in the world constantly find opportunities to sell something, and in my case—this is why I try to always write.


Most of the hard work that leads to success at any level comes from repetition. What you say you want out of life has to tie directly to what you do every day. Let me repeat:


What you say you want out of life has to tie directly to what you do every day.


What are you using to challenge your thinking, to expand it? Think laterally, not just linearly. You can learn a lot about where you are headed by simply observing what you consistently do.


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