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Greetings Readers! As always, this week’s PPChat session was hosted by Julie F Bacchini who sought PPCers views on their PPC career path, what has their career journey looked like? did they struggle at any point in their PPC career? and more. Here is the screencap of the entire discussion.

Q1: Are you on what you would consider your desired PPC career path?

Yes? I can’t say I have a particularly clear career path and I haven’t ever really. I am on a path that serves my goals, preferences, and lifestyle, but I wouldn’t say I have a specific roadmap. @JuliaVyse

Absolutely. Would never have expected to be where we’re at even a few years ago. We were broke 27-year-olds when we started Discosloth! @gilgildner

I don’t see a strict end goal for my career. This industry is so dynamic and has changed so much over the years that I’d like to think I embraced the change with my career path. @_GilHong

Yes, getting to combine my lifelong dream of entrepreneurship with PPC work is the perfect combination for me. Sometimes I get tired of the business owner side but just have to remember the benefits I get by working for myself. @selley2134

Yes, I am. I have been deliberate in my choices. @NeptuneMoon

I’m currently the Paid Media Team Lead and on a track for more management/leadership roles. Personally, I’d like to be less client-facing and more focused on building a team/culture in the near future, so my trajectory aligns with that as of right now! @adclarke10

Hell yeah Did I think I’d be here 1 year ago? No way. I took some time to rethink my path after being laid off. Very happy now. Big mindset shift—going from accounts w/ smaller budgets & data to a large, global client—been a blast analyzing data to predict trends. @rory_mg

I would yes! I started agency side, moved to direct and now I am working for a tech solution that allows a lot of variety. love it! @TheMarketingAnu

Yes. Optimize for being happy and realized years ago that some of the best clients don’t spend $500K/month. @duanebrown

Yes. It’s never been a path with lots of long-term vision, but I like where I’m at. @robert_brady

I’m getting there! At a really good agency at the moment and learning more about management side of things. @PPC_Fraser

Yes and no, I kind of go where life takes me. I enjoy where I am right now and what I get to do. I work with some amazing brands doing some really cool stuff. @lchasse

Yup!! Finally! Started a legal advertising agency a year and a half ago and living the dream and having fun most of the time. @AnthonyHigman

Q2: If you are on your desired PPC career path, how did you know it was the right path for you? And if you’re not on your desired path, how did you figure that out?

Now here I can help. My current role is amazing, and I’m hoping to grow in the company I’m in. In prior years I worked in organizations that were great, but not a great fit for me. I knew it wasn’t right and made changes. @JuliaVyse

I find long-term fulfilment in what I do. sure – not every day is a stress-free day. but I understand how I am bringing value to my clients and company and every part of what I do compliments each other. @TheMarketingAnu

I have said this many times before, but I often joke that I had to start my own thing to keep a job. It’s not totally untrue! For me, it has absolutely been the right path. Will be 23 years in July. I love being in charge of my workload and who I work with. @NeptuneMoon

How to know if your path is not right vs just a tough time. Do you see your future where you are? Can you build on your success? Do you find yourself constantly blindsided or bored? knowing what’s right for you is key. @JuliaVyse

I have always wanted to work for myself (as a kid my dream job was owning a surf shop – not ideal for Denver). Growing at my previous agency but somewhat hitting a ceiling was the push I needed to take that uncomfortable first step. @selley2134

I knew that management was the route I wanted to go after feeling super burnt out at the end of 2020 / start of 2021. Once I was exposed to more leadership opportunities and strategic, big-picture tasks, the nitty-gritty tactical pieces weren’t as fulfilling for me. @adclarke10

I try to base my career path on where I find the most fulfilment. Right now that’s focused more on helping my teammates, providing higher-level strategy for clients, and teaching others. @_GilHong

One really key component of getting on YOUR right career path is to quiet voices that are not your own while you think about what you want your career to be/look like. Also, life circumstances change! It’s ok for what you want to change too! @NeptuneMoon

I’m happy, get regular sleep and make money. Plus my personal and business life are bliss. I have some stress sure… my personal life is not falling apart to work in this industry. @duanebrown

I tried managing people at one point but was more interested in being in accounts, doing the work. So I’ve kept myself in that role and made it work for me. @robert_brady

I’ve been known to get bored easily. This industry is many things, but it’s never boring. PPC’s an important piece but it’s still just a piece. I’d say I’m an integrated marketer first. @timmhalloran

I had a really bad experience at my first agency which whilst bad helped me understand my boundaries better. I now know a lot more what falls under my remit and what doesn’t. @PPC_Fraser

Marketing is all about bringing the right message to the right audience at the right time. It is the ultimate game to try and merge everything together. If we do it right, we are serving both the customer and the brand and both are happy. The challenge. @lchasse

Definitely on MY path! Fell in love with PPC/SEO and search while working at a law firm. I have found that it incorporates all of@my talents/passions in different ways. Art/journalism/politics/analytics & more! @AnthonyHigman

Q3: What has your career journey looked like? Have the steps you took all been part of the path you wanted? Let’s talk agency, in-house, freelance, niche, generalist, etc. Which steps were most key for you? And if there were steps you took that helped you realized what you did NOT want, please share that too!

Little known fact, I was actually a media producer for NGOs before getting into PPC. Travelled to 50+ countries, I was one of 12 photojournalists who went through Ebola units in hazmat suits in Liberia in 2014…so this career path is pretty chill. @gilgildner

I started Neptune Moon when I was laid off from a staff position (graphic design & marketing – the web was just taking off!). I had been thinking about going out on my own and thought “I guess today is the day…” When I found PPC, I fell in love! @NeptuneMoon

Um, chaos! I started as an SEO writer for an affiliate shop. no tech, just writing. Then I went to an agency as a copywriter, started supporting on search and went to search full-time. hopped to the left coast (for LOVE) and started to consult on digital/omni. @JuliaVyse

I know I have always needed variety in my career. which is why I have moved through agency, in-house and tech. With my job being between client work and event organising right now, I am confident of the steps I have taken to lead me here. I am! @TheMarketingAnu

I started in-house in a general marketing role but knew I wanted to be PPC-specific & didn’t like looking at the same account every day. I switched to the agency side & immediately felt at home & was able to grow at that agency & learn from very smart like minded people. @selley2134

The best lesson I ever got was leaving a group that wasn’t a good fit. I thought a small, startup culture would be good for me. Turns out I like infrastructure! It’s not a knock on them, they’re a great group! but moving on helped me and them. @JuliaVyse

My path has been off-road, long shots and sometimes just jumping out that plane and praying I don’t break any bones while I stick my landing. @duanebrown

A key piece for me was my marketing internship back in 2011 – it shifted the way I thought about marketing a lot. Expanded it. Before that, I thought it was learning Adobe & doing what you’re told. Seeing everyone in that agency work alongside the CEO I knew. Agency. @timmhalloran

I was fortunate in my first agency gig to be a one-man PPC department. That meant I did sales calls and handled some of the admin side too. That built a lot of confidence when it was time to go out on my own. @robert_brady

An honest & slightly painful yes! I’ve been let go a few times. I’ve been made to feel less than my worth, thought I’d made a wrong career move, and even asked a previous boss for my job back. @TheMarketingAnu

Our agency, I started as a Jr Paid Media Consultant & was promoted to PM Consultant a few months later. After 2 years I became PM Team Lead, which I’ve been doing for ~2 years now as well. Definitely feel that I followed the path I wanted. @adclarke10

Some key steps along the way were: 1) Learning the PPC fundamentals as a Junior 2) Sharpening my skills as a Consultant, such as learning new tactics, being more strategic, setting better client expectations, etc 3) Getting comfortable delegating tasks as Team Lead. @adclarke10

My path was pretty straightforward, electronics technician on nuclear submarines and now I own my own marketing company. Straight line right? lol. @lchasse

Q4: Did you struggle at any point along the way in your PPC career journey? If so, how? And how did you get past that point?

For sure! Like any industry, PPC has its share of “breaking in” to do. It makes me strive really hard to accept new folks and impart as much wisdom as possible. In the long term, helping others helps yourself! @_GilHong

I was inspired by @PronouncedAhndy, he was at Merkle at the time. We created a project code named MoE (Merkle of Europe) to think about what would happen if we got serious about bringing more data to client conversations. Still a big part of what I do. @mikeryanretail

I’ve been in business for myself through some rough economic times. I had to really learn to tune in to what clients needed/kept them up at night. Then figure out what I could do in those times that people would pay for. Being flexible has turned out to be huge. @NeptuneMoon

Many times. Although my path has been somewhat linear it can be tough to next that next step. Changing your day-to-day can be scary but my thought was always it’s better to take the step & then revert if you don’t like it rather than not going for it. @selley2134

Um, all the time! every so often I look at my life and think, what am I doing? my brain cells are in use memorizing the Facebook backend. I could be doing something else with my days. and my different shops over the years contribute in various ways to that. @JuliaVyse

An honest & slightly painful yes! I’ve been let go a few times. I’ve been made to feel less than my worth, thought I’d made a wrong career move, and even asked a previous boss for my job back. almost left the industry even. But I found my ppl & regained my confidence. @TheMarketingAnu

It definitely took a bit of patience and a lot of being kind to myself. and realising that when you hit a bottom, the only way is up! @TheMarketingAnu

It is so easy to fall into the “I should do X” thinking! There is hardly ever only one answer to anything. So, I encourage you all to think about what you want and not what you think you “should” want. It is so freeing! @NeptuneMoon

I believe finding the right fit can always be a challenge (especially in an agency) since there are factors outside your control (client assignments, support, etc). For me, finding the right place that supported and validated my struggles was key. @_GilHong

But then I pause and look at my life and what my days look like. I look at small businesses I’ve supported, artists I’ve advised, government safety campaigns I’ve run, and local communities I’ve helped. @JuliaVyse

Finally, my current role is pretty corporate. But giving direct feedback to Google, to Microsoft, to platforms just developing their product like Reddit or Pinterest, it’s amazing. it’s very cool. and I work with the best people I know! @JuliaVyse

Yes. 2020 was tough for my mental health, particularly because I felt so burnt out at work. STRs, writing ad copy, etc. had me dreading getting out of bed every day. By moving into more of a leadership role I was able to shift to more fulfilling tasks like mentoring. @adclarke10

I still struggle sometimes. One of your brands gets a new CEO, the market changes, and platforms make big changes. Even the best of us has to shift gears, test, learn and take a new path from time to time. @lchasse

In 2012 I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in paid ads. I wasn’t 100% sure why but things felt meh a bit in life. Glad I stuck with it. My first time freelancing was a REAL struggle. @duanebrown

Considering am from Kenya, getting remote contract jobs was a big issue. Another one is that and still is, finding a mentor to guide you in this PPC journey. @HowIMetUrMata12

The times I’ve struggled the most, I also grew the most (professionally). I feel like I’m in that right now. Felt like it during Covid. Felt like it in 2014 when I bombed my first big client meeting and decided to start improv comedy. Felt like it my first yr doing PPC. @timmhalloran

Yes! As director of PPC/SEO, I realized that I really enjoyed teaching others, but I HATED being a manager. I love the details of search but not managing people. At that position, I took steps to take that off me and learned a valuable lesson for this time around. @AnthonyHigman

Q5: What is the best piece of career advice you’ve received? Or is there advice you wished you had received or received sooner?

Optimize for happiness and learning/knowledge growth in your career. Those are the best two ways to get ahead. Beyond that, never assume and always read ad platform support docs. People will often tell you the wrong information and they don’t know better. @duanebrown

“The marketing industry is a lot smaller than you think. Don’t burn bridges.” – My boss, 2012. @timmhalloran

When I started out on my own, another agency owner told me that if I didn’t think I could live with being 6 months away from having no work, doing my own thing might not be for me. It’s proven true! Not everyone is wired to be their own boss and that is OK. @NeptuneMoon

Things won’t always make sense and when they don’t – go back to your Why’s. Why are you in this industry, why are you with your current company. Are you getting out of both what you want to be getting out of them. Also, there is so much help in the #PPCChat community. Use it! @TheMarketingAnu

For agency-side: Don’t feel pigeon-holed into following a linear career progression. Advocate for yourself or find a place that will support what you are passionate about and what will drive you to do your best work. @_GilHong

I’m sure I have been given a lot of great advice but the thing that has stuck with me the longest was how my grandpa ran has business – less advice more role model – It always stuck with me and what I have always tried to strive for. @selley2134

Do what makes you happy. If that means you only work in a few platforms, then be an expert in those platforms. If it means starting your own company, work towards that. If you are happy with 5 figures, that is great. If you fall down, get up. @lchasse

Me: I’m not in the habit of turning down money My boss: I’m not in the habit of working for free. That was the best convo about hours and scope of work in my life. @JuliaVyse

This is advice that I give – you can change your mind. What you want for your career today might not be what you want next year or 5 yrs from now. Grant yourself the freedom of thought to change your path. Life circumstances can change what you want and that’s ok! @NeptuneMoon

“Trust but verify.” Not sure how career-specific this is, but as a consultant this simple rule has saved us countless times & helps keep our client relationships strong. @adclarke10

Empathy is another big one. For example: if a client suddenly has an attitude, there’s a good chance they’re getting some kind of pressure internally. Learning to recognize those kinds of things & not take it personally will make work a lot less stressful. @adclarke10

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