Brush With Failure: A Story of Finding Mentors and Learning Life Lessons

Recently, I was invited by Melanie Crissey to speak at the Atlanta Tech Village Startup Chicks circle.

The topic of my presentation was “The Power of Having Mentors.

 

In case you don’t have time to review the videos, check out the slides below:

 

The Backstory: The Brush With Failure That Made Me Think

 

Solving The Problem: How I Realized I Needed Mentors

 

Choosing A Mentor: What Qualities I Looked For In A Mentor

 

Finding A Mentor: Networks, Twitter and LinkedIn 

 

Making The Ask: “Will You Be My Mentor?”

 

All About Results: What Happened After I Acquired Mentors?

 

Lessons Learned: What Can You Take Away From My Mentorship Experience

 

I really enjoyed this experience and huge thanks again to Melanie Crissey for inviting me to speak!

Do you have additional questions or thoughts? Leave them in the comments below or email me.

Studying for GMAT… Is it worth the time?

I’ve decided to press pause on my blog for the some time because I’m studying for the GMAT exam. When I share this with people, I normally get a variety of reactions that range from “Oh that’s awesome!” to “That’s a waste of your time!”

I’ll give some quick background as to why I chose to do this and why I believe it’s a good use of my time. And then I’m signing off for a while to focus on crushing the goal. 🙂

About two years ago, I was blessed to have a roommate who was doing his MBA at Georgia Tech and who still serves a great friend and mentor to me today. I was early on in my undergrad days when we started talking about the GMAT. I asked him one question that helped shape my decision today. That question was “If you could go back in time, would you have taken the GMAT right after you graduated or would you have waited until you saw what the future held for you?” His answer was that he would have taken it right after graduation. His reasoning for the answer was that he felt it would have been much easier to take it right after graduation because the material was still fresh in the brain. He also said it was much harder to get motivated after being out of school for several years. At that moment, I decided that I would take the GMAT soon after I graduated.

If you’d have asked me two years ago if I thought I’d be where I am today, I’d have said no way. There’s no way back then that I could have predicted that I’d be working in my dream job in the fastest growing startup in Atlanta. I didn’t even know what a Marketing Technologist was back then and the company I ultimately ended up working for was just a “newborn” back then. Don’t get me wrong… there’s no place I’d rather be than where I am today and I believe that it’s exactly where I’m meant to be.

Likewise, while my goal is to be the best marketing technologist in the world, there’s no way I can predict where I’ll be in five years. The tech and marketing worlds change rapidly and so does life for that matter.

With that, I believe taking the GMAT is an excellent way to prepare myself should I decide to go to grad school. Maybe I will… Maybe I won’t… Either way, I’ll have the option and I’ll be prepared to jump on the opportunity if it arises. Even if I don’t, I must say that brushing up on math skills will be hugely valuable as I continue along my technical journey in the marketing world.

I’ll be back in some time and I’m sure I’ll have lots of awesomeness to share when I do. #SigningOff

-Nikki Nixon

Three Ways MarTech Drives Marketing & Sales Alignment

Marketing and sales alignment in B2B marketing is one of my favorite subjects. It’s something that’s so crucial and yet so often overlooked. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Advances in marketing technology have enabled marketing and sales teams to come together like never before.

Here are three ways this is now possible:

1) Data

One key benefit of marketing technology is that it often collects an enormous amount of data. This enables marketing to not only deliver more qualified leads… but more qualified leads with data! This data can be gold to a sales team member. When armed with intel about a prospect, the sales team member is able to customize the conversation in a way that it more relevant and meaningful to the prospect.

2) Automation

Time is a valuable resource for both marketers and sales. Through the power of marketing automation, sales teams can get insights on a prospect and know the perfect time to have the conversation with them. It also helps ensure that the leads that are delivered to sales are actually ready to talk to them. Often, just downloading a white paper isn’t enough to warrant a sales call. But reading that white paper, clicks on links in nurture emails, attending a webinar and engaging in social activity might raise the prospect’s lead score high enough that the prospect will be ready and willing to hear what the sales team member has to say when they call.

3) Lead Assignment

Marketing automation can ensure that leads are distributed to sales in a fair manner. By setting lead assignment rules in the marketing automation platform, marketing doesn’t have to worry about how and when leads will get passed over to sales. They can also build trust with the sales team by ensuring that only leads which meet strict criteria are fed into the sales pipeline by the marketing automation platform.

Marketing technology, when used properly and strategically, can be hugely beneficial to both sales and marketing.

And everyone can now be friends. 🙂

-Nikki Nixon

 

Three Things to Remember When Building a Marketing App

Last week was a big week. I finished and shipped my first marketing app as a MarTech!

This particular app was an ROI calculator. The goal was to show the was to show the value of our product in terms of the amount of revenue that could be generated for the customer. It was a fun and challenging assignment that taught me tons of important lessons. I’ll share three of them with you today and hope you’ll keep them in mind when you go to build your first (or many) marketing apps.

1) Know your target audience

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it is worth mentioning. Especially in the case of an ROI calculator, it is important to know what they find value in and how can you communicate that value in an engaging, compelling way. One way to think about this is through buyer personas. Knowing the target audience will enable you to make sure that all variables that matter to them are included.

2) Make a prototype

Prototyping is key before you ever lay down the first line of code. It helps you think through what exactly you want the app to look like and it helps communicate that to the team and any stakeholders in the project. It helps to start with a flow chart and then create a design mockup from there. One of my favorite design mockup tools is LucidChart. It’s a SaaS-based tool and is extremely user-friendly.

Once the mockup is complete, creating a prototype of the app in a Google Doc is helpful. In interactive apps, prototyping can help think through the flow of the user experience. In the case of an ROI calculator, building the prototype can help one think through the formulas and ensure that the mathematical calculations are correct. Creating in Google docs allows for shareability across the organization and allows for real-time feedback.

3) Make friends with the dev team

As a marketing technology manager in a small start-up, I code my own work and then participate in code review sessions with my dev team. In a larger organization, the dev team might be the ones actually coding and it will be up to the MarTech to project manage the app. In either case, having a good relationship with the development team can be a key success factor. One of the lessons I learned while building this app is the difference between coding and coding smartly. It’s a lesson that I might have never learned in the absence of my dev team. 🙂

Building a marketing app can be a highly complex process, but it can made easier if you keep these three things in mind. Happy coding and development!

Climbing to the Top – The One Question You Must Ask Yourself

Some time ago, one of my mentors once sent me this article called “The Most Important Question of Your Life” and the premise is that the underlying key to success lies in the answer to this question:

“How much pain do you want?”

At first, it sounded a bit crazy. After pondering on this one for some time, it made absolute sense to me. Anything worth having requires some pain. One of my favorite sports is gymnastics and I often watch it when I need a dose of motivation. The reason I love this sport is that I can relate to the amount of work, effort, sacrifice, and pain it takes to reach the top of the sport. Any lofty goal requires exactly the same things.

So how do you fight through the pain to reach the top?

Here’s a few suggestions I have:

1) Know that it’s going to happen, it’s temporary and that you must keep pushing.

Growth is hard and doesn’t always feel warm and fuzzy. Most growth happens when we step beyond our comfort zone — that place where we know everything and can breeze through life with ease. All of the great successful people will attest to that. Gymnasts know that when they try a new uneven bar routine that there’s a chance they could miss the bar on a skill and fall flat on their face. They also know that once they do — it’s important to get back up and finish the routine.

Knowing this when embarking on the road to the top will make it less of a shock when the proverbial “wind gets knocked out of you.” There are times when reaching a goal will feel impossible and the pain of getting there will be so intense that you’ll want to throw in the towel. You might even actually throw the towel, but once you do… go pick it up, dust it off and keep climbing.

2) Find a mentor – but not one to hold your hand

The best athletes have strong coaches. Ones that will push them beyond what they believe they are capable of. Often, we try to find a mentor to make us feel better about ourselves. This doesn’t do much in those painful growth moments. Mentoring should definitely be a positive experience, but you’ll also want a mentor who can give constructive feedback positively and who has your best interests in mind to help you grow. At the end of the day, you are on the same team.

Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman’s coach said it best in this video (start at 26:21 and watch until 27:21):

Often, pain in pursuit of a goal is caused by road blocks and sometimes those road blocks are ones we bring on ourselves. Having a mentor who knows you well can be very helpful in bringing to light some of those truths that we don’t always want to admit to ourselves. Perhaps we really want to reach that goal, but our fear of failing is keeping us from working as hard as we could be or making the leaps that we need to make. Or maybe we said we’ll do something this month to work toward our goal and we got lazy and procrastinated. We’ve all been there and it happens to the best of us. Having a strong mentor can help with accountability and enable us to “get out of our own way.”

3) Have a game plan

The best athletes have a training schedule and know what they’re working on. Often we set huge goals for ourselves only to never have a plan for reaching them. Having a goal without a plan is just a dream… something we hope will come true one day will zero effort on our part. For me, this ties into my second point. I create a plan of action each month and I send it to my mentors. Along with that plan, I send a list of what I accomplished from the previous month and any potential roadblocks to success this month. This really helps me for several reasons:

  • It forces me to think about what steps are necessary to reach the goal. Even in long term goals, what can you do today that will put your closer to achieving your goal in one month?
  • It builds in accountability. If I send that email saying I’m going to do x, y and z for the month, then I’ve committed to it and the last thing I want to do is tell my mentors I haven’t done those things.
  • It allows you to anticipate the pain (which ties into point #1). By anticipating what could potentially go wrong or what could get in your way before it actually does, you can lessen the pain of getting there.
  • It forces me to be honest with myself. One of my mentors is great at saying “You’re smart.. Figure it out.” Because (in some cases), I know the answer to the problem or the “pain-killer” for the pain and am just not being honest with myself.

Pain in climbing to the top and chasing a big goal is inevitable. It strengthens your resolve and tests your commitment to greatness. Knowing it will be part of the journey allows you to embrace it and learn from it without letting it completely derail you from success. I wish you all the best in whatever goal your working toward and hope these tips can help you get there.

– Nikki Nixon

Preparing to be a MarTech: What You Can Do Today Embrace the Martech Revolution of Tomorrow

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend with friends and family. The extended weekend got me thinking about a subject that doesn’t often get written about in the MarTech world. That is: How does a marketer of today prepare themselves to take advantage of the rapidly growing field of marketing technology? I came up with five ideas to get you started (though I’m sure there are many more):

1. Learn to Code

There is a lot of hype around this lately, but the bottom line is: a MarTech must learn how to code. Some of the best marketers I’ve met were trained engineers who converted to marketing later on. In a world where marketing technology solutions rarely integrate seamlessly with each other, a marketer should know how to manually string together the Frankenstack. Additionally, knowing the language of code will enable you to make friends with your IT professionals who will often be your best friends when implementing a new solution. The language you decide to learn will depend on your needs. My best advice is to just get started on one. Once you learn the foundation of programming, it is much easier to pick up additional languages later.

2. Follow People Who are Already There

There are several prominent thought leaders in the space who share their knowledge freely in their social media accounts and on the web. All are great resources to stay in the know about what is happening in the industry. In a world where new technology emerges every day, a marketing technologist must be able to keep up and stay on top of new developments.

3. Find a Developer Mentor

I’m a huge fan of mentoring in general and this topic is no exception to the that. Working with technology can be very complex and challenging. It is helpful to have someone who can help you navigate the waters and make the best decisions from a technical standpoint. As you start to code your own apps or write code to connect solutions together, having an expert who can review your code or talk through the steps of implementation with you is worth its weight in gold.

H/T: bradyhahn.com

4. Attend Technical Meetups

This is one of the best ways to accomplish my previous point of finding a developer mentor. Those who attend meetup events are often very passionate about what they do and are willing to share their knowledge. Many of these events will either have a speaker in the field present on a relevant topic or will allow participants to work on a team to tackle a problem that one of the members is trying to solve. In either case, they are highly beneficial and great opportunities to network and hone skills.

5. Learn the Art of Selling Your Ideas

Though this point is a softer one, it is still equally important. Many technology initiatives are so new that they might not have a track record of reliability to sell to your leadership team. The best way, in my opinion, to work with this is through testing. When testing a new technology, the risk is lower and positive results make for a much easier sell for full implementation. Additionally, groups like Toastmasters can help develop the skills necessary to craft the right words and deliver the perfect presentation.

The world of marketing technology can be a challenging one, but it is one that excites me to the core. I firmly believe that, within five years, the demand for marketing technologists will far exceed supply and that is why I felt this post was so important to share. Marketers who prepare for this revolution today will be the best ones to take advantage of it tomorrow.

What are your thoughts? Anything you would add to this list?

Five Marketing Tech Experts You Should Start Following Today

There’s never been a better time to be a marketer than now. And especially if you are a marketing technology geek like me!  I’ve been on a mission for some time now to find the best and brightest in this exciting, innovative field. To help you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in marketing technology, I’d like to share these five people who are thought leaders in the space and are well worth following.

Without further delay, here they are:

1) Scott Vaughan

Scott is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of Integrate and was recently named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by
Online Marketing Institute.

One of my favorite blogs written by him is “Creating a Marketing Tech Blueprint to Drive Performance“, which was his keynote presentation from Marketing Prof’s Marketing Technology conference. This piece is great because it helps marketers think about how they market in a totally different way. It also provides good framework for those who might not be as familiar with the concept of marketing tech and the value it can bring to their organization.

Follow him on Twitter @ScottAVaughan for more insight on how marketing technology can benefit your business.

2) Mayur Gupta

Mayur Gupta

Mayur is a seasoned marketer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is currently serving as Global Head, Marketing Technology & Operations, at Kimberly-Clark.

He once said “Technology has dramatically and radically transformed marketing where now technology is the interface of marketing.” This couldn’t be more true and is a key reason why I believe every organization will need a marketing technologist within five years. Mayur currently blogs on inspiremartech.com where he shares executive-level insights on how businesses can be strategic when integrating marketing technology into their current operations.

Follow him on Twitter @inspiremartech for an executive perspective on marketing technology integration.

3) Dave Birckhead

dave birckhead

Dave is author of the e-book “The Epic Collision of Marketing and Data” and Partner at GreenFrog, a specialized marketing services consulting firm.

His passion is data-driven marketing and helping marketers find ways to leverage consumer data to reach their objectives. As the data tsunami continues to churn and make waves, Dave provides a sense of calm by helping to explain concepts in a way that the average marketer can understand.

Follow him on Twitter @DaveBirckhead to learn more about how to utilize data in your marketing initiatives.

4) Will Davis

will davis

Will is the Chief Marketing Technology Officer at Right Source Marketing, a strategic marketing consulting firm.

He is a content marketing advocate turned CMTO. My favorite blog from Will is “5 Marketing Technology Must-Haves for the Modern Marketer.” In this blog, he writes about how the game of marketing is changing. Not only does the marketer have a seat at the CXO table, but they now are inching closer to the CEO. He attributes this shift to the fact that “marketing is no longer being viewed as a cost center, but as a revenue driver.”

Follow him on Twitter @willdavis for insights on mastering the marketing technology wave of the future.

5) Scott Brinker

scott brinker

Scott is Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer at Ion Interactive, a digital marketing platform.

Scott is author of Chief Marketing Technologist blog and creator of the Marketing Technology Landscape. This “super-graphic” has grown from 100 companies when it was first produced in 2011 to over 950 companies in 2014. If there’s anyone who know’s the marketing technology stack, it’s Scott. He continues to provide insight on key topics for the modern Chief Marketing Technologist and is currently organizing the 2014 Marketing Tech Conference in Boston, MA.

Follow him on Twitter @chiefmartech to stay up-to-date on the latest editions to the marketing technology.

 

Who would you add to this list? I’d love to know. Drop me a line in the comments.

-Nikki Nixon

Photo credits: Twitter.com

A MarTech Dream Inspired by Becky Blalock

The Dream

As a recent college grad, I found myself giving a lot of thought into what I wanted to do with my life and what direction I wanted to go. After several weeks of deliberation (and some sleepless nights… to be quite honest), the answer became very clear to me. Not only did I want to be a marketing technologist, but I wanted to be the best marketing technologist in the world.

I’ll admit that it is quite a lofty goal to pursue but it is one that fills me with passion and excitement. Throughout my thought process, I kept coming back to the two things I loved: marketing and technology. I also took a look into my crystal ball and thought about the field of marketing over the next five years. What I saw (and what quickly became my belief) was that, within five years, every business will need a marketing technologist. And when that day happens, I want to be the person that immediately pops into their mind and is called on for expertise in the field.

There are two key things that excite me about this challenge:

  1. I have a tremendous opportunity to blaze a new trail and to lead the way in the field of marketing technology.
  2. I have the opportunity to succeed as a woman in technology at a time when girls are shying away from the field.

Getting There

So how am I going to get there? Great question!

Last night, I started reading Becky Blalock’s book “DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage and Career for Women in Charge.” I’m only one chapter in, but I have to say that the book is incredible. In the first chapter, Becky talks about daring to write a personal vision statement. The key here is in the writing. She says in the book:

“Two-thirds of your brain are involved in processing visual information, such that writing something down is the closest equivalent to using a zoom lens for your brain. Shifting your vision from idea to object makes it more real. It allows you to reflect on it and develop it — and, perhaps most important, to share it.”

I stopped to think about this for a moment and realized I had already put this into action without realizing how powerful it could be in helping me to reach my goals. Several months back, I decided to start creating a monthly report that answered three questions:

  1. What did I accomplish in the previous month?
  2. What do I plan to accomplish in the current month?
  3. What roadblocks could get in my way of success?

After I complete my report, I share it with my mentors who can help me work through roadblocks and help me stay accountable to my plan. The value in this is that it forces me to think through a plan of action. Each item on the plan is intended to lead back to the overall goal of becoming the best marketing technologist in the world.

Every week, usually on Sunday nights, I take that monthly plan and hand write a to-do list of what things I want to accomplish for the upcoming week. As I complete them, I cross them off and the goal is to have all items crossed off by the following Sunday (another hat tip to my mentors for suggesting this idea).

Admittedly, the goal of being the best marketing technologist in the world is a ginourmous one. However, taking this vision, writing it down, and breaking it into smaller chunks makes it much more manageable and more attainable. I know that every day of completing my action items brings me one step closer to achieving the goal and making my vision a reality. And that’s honestly the best anyone can hope for!

-Nikki Nixon

 

So Many Landing Page Tools, So Little Time

Last week, I found myself investigating landing page tools for a project I was working on. My requirements were somewhat complex in that it had to offer ease of use, yet allow me to modify the code if I needed to. It also had to integrate with my third-party marketing automation tool. What I learned along the way was that not all tools are created equal.

So how does one decide which one is right for them? In short, it depends on your goals and requirements. With that, I’d like to offer up some points to consider and a couple common scenarios to help.

Here are three questions one might ask if they are looking for a landing page tool:

1) What is the purpose of the landing page?

Landing pages are typically created for a single purpose and are used to capture visitor information via a form. Usually, there is some sort of content offering (either at the time or at a later date). To expand on that, you’ll want to consider the type of content you are offering and what you’ll do with the leads once they are collected.

2) How flexible is the design capability?

Some software options come with standard templates that can be minimally modified to match brand colors and logo insertion. Other options allow much more flexibility in the form of a WYSIWYG tool where the user can drag, drop and modify elements however they might choose.

3) How well does the tool connect with marketing technologies already in use?

In the age of the frankenstack marketing cloud, this is an important point to consider. You’ll want to consider what marketing technologies you are currently using and how well they integrate with the tool you are investigating. Some tools will integrate smoothly with a single click. Others must be hacked to meet the needs of the user. And even still, some tools won’t allow the flexibility to change much. You’ll be tied to the integrations offered.

Let’s consider two examples and how they might proceed:

Company A:

You are a new start-up and want to create a landing page preparing for an upcoming product launch. You’re super scrappy. Perhaps even a one person operation. You’re focus is on building the product, but you also realize the value in getting your name out there. At this stage, you probably won’t have much implemented in the way of marketing technology. At most, you might have a newsletter that you’ll want to send out a regular basis to keep your prospective customers updated.

For this purpose, you can most likely get away with a basic landing page tool that offers standardized templates. This will allow you to get the landing page up quickly and begin collecting prospect information. In some cases, these tools will allow you to integrate with popular email service providers such as MailChimp or Constant Contact. If not, the tool should allow you to manually download your leads and you can add them to your email tool yourself.

Company B:

You are a more established business and are creating multiple landing pages for content downloads, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Once a prospect fills out the form on your landing page, you’ll want to put them into your marketing automation tool where you can further nurture them through the buying cycle. You also have an established brand and want the flexibility of design for various purposes.

In this case, you’ll want to choose a tool that allows ultimate flexibility in design and connects with your marketing automation tool. Because you have an established brand, you will want to be able to customize the landing page to your liking. This might include adding and removing different elements, and dropping in JavaScript tracking codes for analytics purposes. Additionally, your lead volume may be high, so you won’t want to worry with having to manually push prospect information into a third-party marketing technology. Finally, if there are any completion actions that might follow a form fill such as an auto-responder, lead score adjustment or content delivery, then you’ll want these things to happen automatically.

At the end of the day, it is best for a company to choose the tool that meets their objectives. There’s no right or wrong tool, but some will meet your needs better than others.

What do you think? Is there anything you might add to this list?

-Nikki Nixon

Lessons I Learned from My College Career that Didn’t Come from a Textbook

A few months ago, I read a thought provoking article by Barry Salzberg, Global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tomhatsu Limited,titled “A Crash Course in Leadership for 20-Something CEOS.” While reading this article, I was in the midst of my final semester of completing my Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University. To rewind a bit, I decided back in mid-2012 that I wanted to graduate with my first degree by May 2014 (I am currently working on a dual major in both CIS and marketing).  To accomplish this feat, I took between 6-7 classes for the last three semesters to be able to graduate by my target date. In addition to that, I held an internship every semester and was involved in leading a rapidly growing student organization. Many people told me I was crazy (professors and academic advisers included) and that this couldn’t be done successfully.Some of the very lessons Mr. Salzberg noted were ones that I had learned during the last part of my college career. With that, I’d like to offer my own take on those lessons.

1) Listen to the right people. Ignore the rest.

In the article, Mr. Salzberg says “Mentors will never be more important in your career than they are right now. Mentors help us look at problems differently, and see things in us that we can’t see ourselves.”  If there was one key thing that contributed to my success, this was it. There were times where I questioned if the goal would be reached and if I was capable of reaching it. Having a team of mentors who will help you see the big picture, keep you motivated, and hold you accountable to excellence is key when trying to accomplish a huge goal. There are times when the mission will feel impossible and you’ll need support to stay the course and reach the finish line. You’ll need people who genuinely believe in you and your goals and can remind you that you are fully capable of achieving the goal when you start to doubt yourself.

2) Be tough on problems.

Mr. Salzberg says “CEOs need to be resilient and have the courage to make difficult decisions.” The same could be said of anyone who is attempting to reach a challenging goal. Being resilient is a key quality that contributes to success. There no question that taking on the schedule that I did would wear me down. There would be some disappointments. Having the ability to regroup after those disappointments and not losing sight of the big picture was a key factor in reaching the goal. In fact, on December 1, 2012, after I had already committed to the goal (but just before getting started), I had a devastating blow that could have been a major setback. A lady who was a mother to me throughout much of my life passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. I could have easily given up on the goal and succumbed to the overwhelming grief. Instead, I let this be my motivator. It was a difficult decision to continue forward, but I’m thankful that I did and I know she would be proud. She was the toughest lady I knew and her battle gave me perspective. It made my challenges seem insignificant to the ones she had faced. I used her strength and spirit to carry forward with the goal and I’m so thankful that I did. 

3) Continue to take measured risks, even as the stakes get higher.

In January 2013, I was offered a chance to get my start in the world of tech marketing at an IT infrastructure company with some of the smartest marketers in the world. Let’s stop to think about this for a moment… I had just lost someone who was very much a mother to me and was about to embark on a 21-credit semester. Now, I was about to add more complexity into the mix by taking on a 20 hour per week internship. It was a huge risk. I could have been a huge failure. But it was also the opportunity to get my start in reaching the ultimate goal of becoming a tech marketer.

In the article, Mr. Salzberg quotes his son that said “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps from a plane without a parachute, and figures out how to build one on the way down.” In essence, that’s exactly what I did. I remember calling my Dad after getting the offer for the internship and saying “Dad.. I don’t know I’m going to make this work, but I know that I will.” I jumped from the proverbial plane and built the parachute on the way down. I knew this internship would be a great opportunity and it was. I met people who are still my mentors today and learned how to be a revenue driven marketer. It honestly couldn’t have been a better experience. I also learned what I was capable of and that I truly could do anything I set my mind to. 

4) Evolve as a leader even while you swing for the fences.

Mr. Salzberg started this section with “Be ready to adapt your approach, style and strategy throughout your company’s lifecycle.” I would totally agree to this and believe that this can also apply to a goal lifecycle as well. There were many adjustments that had to be made in pursuit of this goal. One was my schedule. I quickly learned that coming home after a long day and trying to do homework was not going to work. So I adjusted my schedule. I started getting up at 3 am. (I’ll pause for the gasp here). Truthfully, it wasn’t that bad once my body adjusted. I came to enjoy it and learned that those were some of my most productive hours. In my last semester, I learned that my personal organization strategy, Google Calendar, was no longer going to work. A mentor suggested that I switch to a pen and paper list. The techie in me was a bit resistant to this strategy, but after trying it for a couple weeks, I became a believer and found it to be quite useful. 

5) Plan in quarters, but think in years.

In my case, this was adapted into “plan in semesters, but think in years.” I knew that every semester I conquered would bring me one step closer to graduation and the ultimate goal of becoming a tech marketer. I knew that every test, paper, presentation and assignment was important in bringing me to the finish line, but I also tried to think about why the finish line was important. I carefully calculated every semester to ensure that I’d be setting myself up for success. I constantly reminded myself why I was doing what I was doing (and thankfully had some great mentors who also reminded me when I forgot).

This past weekend, I graduated with my Bachelor in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems with Honors and Cum Laude from Georgia State University. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t have changed a thing because of the lessons I’ve learned and the people I’ve had the privilege to meet.

Nikki Nixon

To my mentors, family, friends, professors, managers, colleagues, and anyone else who has been a part of this incredible journey, I thank you. I wouldn’t be writing this blog today if you weren’t a part of this journey. I took some incredible risks and my hope in writing this is that you’ll find inspiration to do the same in your own journey wherever the path your are on may lead.

Finally, what are your thoughts? Do you agree with Mr. Salzberg’s lessons?

– Nikki Nixon

 

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