In my ideal world, doing home decor, traveling, spiritual experiences and then documenting it all would've paid for itself. In fact, had I taken the route of travel and home decor blogging a bit more seriously back in 2007 when I actually started on a journey of traveling across the world and getting to do up my spaces and intermittently blogging about it, I could've actually turned it into a lucrative profession by way of being a content creator or the much-vaunted "Influencer' in 2023. But this was not be. For your girl might Martha Stewart a broken cup into a mosaic table, have a million plus words of content published across the internet, and travel to 30-countries-by-30 before this was a thing, but she could never turn her many many bit interests and passion into a paying career. Heck, leave alone this blogging thing paying a dime, it's actually eaten up a fair amount of dough every year just to host this website and own the domain name.
This is especially curious as one of my professional expertise(s?) lies in SEO which entails building content and paying other bloggers to write and host content!
So why is that I suck at marketing myself or being a "content creator" to keep things relevant. For one, I'm actually pretty lazy. I've lost count of the websites I've started in the last decade only to have them lapse after a year because either I got too lazy or busy doing a "real job" to want to renew my domain and keep at it. Desinomadness, homeelf, bohoatheart, etc - word soups that were once homes of passionate accounts of travels, living and everything in between. I was shooting DSLR pics and posting content for the brand I was leading in 2014, but started my own Instagram in 2016. My first reel was posted in 2021, years after people had gained thousands of followers from it. You get it. I'm the last to pick up on trends for myself, after doing it for the companies I work with.
Secondly, I hate the rat race and doing things for the sake of doing them. Look, I'll do a trip first and write/tweet/vlog about it, maybe after coming back, if that. But I cannot do a trip to write about it. I can't be a content creator to create content! That's kinda my approach towards blogging, social media et al. Massive props to content creators who can belt out content at an industrial level for it takes a certain amount of consistency, dedication and discipline that I perhaps lack.
But enough going down the rabbit role of self-pity, dissecting the dodgy field of content creation, and ruing a dichotomy between marketing yourself and being in marketing.
So what is it that I do do in marketing, one may wonder?
For those who're new here which would be pretty much everyone (I'm looking at you "returning audience rate"), I'm a digital marketing girl and have been so for the past 12 or so years.
I've been consistently employed (save for the last 3 months of a self-induced sabbatical) by companies looking to grow their businesses and bottom lines with my marketing expertise. Even though I was always interested in copywriting and wrote ad scripts even in my dreams, getting a job at Google straight out of college propeled me into digital marketing from the get go. I did eventually look past the free food and post-Google went on to work at many smaller companies over the last 12 years. I've headed marketing - either fully or one function of it at firms like EY, Ola, Aditya Birla, but also a couple of non-so-well-known-ones like Trendia and Hustler Marketing. (Here I've written at length about my experience of working at the latter.) but here's a para from that post that really puts things in perspective.
I have't had it easy. After Google, I suffered more rejections I can count which hurt my ego more than my wallet. I applied to Uber, Facebook, Amazon and many smaller companies but without as much as an acknowledgement. Was I not good enough even for an interview or my inability to put myself out there, network, and make valuable connections come in the way of my career? Jury's out on that one. I'm still struggling to put together a portfolio of my work which many well-meaning people have told me to. "You have such a large body of work! You're good at so many things, why don't you showcase it properly?", they lament. Little do they know that I've designed and put together a 100-page website for my last employer but I can't get myself to make a 2-page marketing portfolio for my own work. Heck, I've been procrastinating about updating my resume on various job portals for months now, but one thing or the other keeps me from it. (Last time, it was because I didn't remember my password.)
Influence or not, to be honest, I've really enjoyed my marketing career for the most part. I may not crush Excel sheets and the damn the latest Analytics G4 much but god damn, the thrill of bringing business to a business from just a combination of words + images + numbers is some heady shit! No? Come to think of it, when you break it all down, all marketing boils down to a combination of words and numbers and using them in the right amount, at the right place, at the right time and with the right amount of money (or in my chase for organic content, none at all). In fact, the way I look at the marketing spectrum at a very basic level is kinda like this:
Other than the satisfaction of growing a (even if another person's) business from your skills alone, I've enjoyed the relative location-independence, having been pretty much WFH for the last 5 years, which has allowed me to travel and of course focus on my home decor projects, including the biggest one of buying my own place with my savings and doing it up from scratch.
I've been on a break from a full-time job for the last few months during which time I did a yoga teacher training course, a couple of treks in the Himalayas, and I've been low-key looking around for an interesting full-time position which hasn't been forthcoming, but to be honest, I'm not complaining. I don't know if it's got to do with being in your mid 30's, feeling "settled" in conventional ways, but I don't feel the drive to go after fancy titles, a barrage of "likes" and followers, and yeah "big CTCs" anymore or I guess I never did. I swear I'm not trying to be holier-than-thou but I do seek work that fulfils me emotionally, ethically and not just financially. Grabbing some brand deals and side cash as an 'influencer' is still a far cry (oh hello, 2100-instagram followers!), but I get by.
As for the content creation part, I feel like whatever I do have to say will get lost in the noise and capital letter posts and 30-second reels all around. Even though I'm blogging more actively on here, albeit a decade too late, ChatGPT might make this redundant soon enough. (But hey, I'm old school. I still prefer drumming up a 2000-word ruminative monologue on a career journey spanning 12 years over a 30-second reel with life lessons.) On that note, may I continue creating content and in a Howard Roark-ish way enjoying the process of documenting stuff in ways I know the best - unfiltered, non-PC, and almost without caring too much about the audience -- which trust me isn't the case when I do it for a job.