How to have the confidence to deliver the results in digital marketing

Have you wondered how you will ever get the right skill set to become a digital marketing consultant? Perhaps it all seems very technical and complex – an intimidating minefield of algorithms and coding. Perhaps it seems like only the big established agencies have the expertise to operate in this space. Perhaps competing with those agencies feels like taking on a team of professionals by yourself.

But what if technical expertise wasn’t the determining factor of success in this particular game? What if it was never really the determining factor in any game?

The determining factor

When a group of industry professionals was asked about the biggest issues with being a social media manager the most common response was about having confidence. The confidence to do what? Or to be what? Well, it’s the confidence to step out from the shadows and be the person responsible. It’s the confidence to put yourself out there as the person that will do it. We all know people who shy away from responsibility and challenge; we’ve probably all done it ourselves at some point – it’s easier to make an excuse and not take a chance than to stick your neck out and suffer a humiliating failure.

But that confidence to take a risk and give it a go is the main determining factor in success. It is guaranteed that if you never try then you will never succeed. You won’t ever fail either, but honestly where is the fun in that? Basketball legend Michael Jordan famously talked about how often he failed, and how those failures made him the enormous success he became. It was only by learning those unique lessons that failure taught him that he was able to become the complete player he did. Trying and failing held no fear for him at all.

Now before you angrily observe that Michael Jordan was one of the most technically expert players of all time, you’re right, he was. But we have a chicken and egg situation here – did he only become so technically brilliant because of his willingness and confidence to try? Or did his technical expertise mean he was more prepared to take risks. I would argue that the secret of his success was much more in his mind than in his hands. The determining factor in his incredible success was his confidence to put himself out there and give it a go.

What are you worried about?

So then if we think about those digital marketers struggling with their confidence, it seems obvious that they are suffering from that most human of traits – fear of failure. It appears to be becoming less acceptable to fail these days. The world has been mostly discovered (with the exception of a few elements in the periodic table and the ingredients of the McDonalds secret sauce) and so there is less need for us to be risk-takers and pioneers.

Kids at school are herded towards attaining the exam board standards in order to successfully pass through the educational sausage machine, which spits them out as homogeneous brains programmed to stay in their comfort zone and do what they’re told. It’s actually pretty sad for mankind that our youth are not encouraged to think outside the box very often.

And the point is that this kind of quality – the ability to think differently and take chances is not really something that is taught or encouraged. Instead we’re taught to fear failure because life is so short that a failure can ruin you.

Well here’s my alternative view on life and failure…if you haven’t failed then you haven’t really lived.

The lessons that failure teaches us are incredible; they can dramatically alter our opinions and our world view, but we have to be open to them. Rather than closing ourselves down and licking our wounds we should embrace the opportunity and learn all we can. This is a function of our mindset. If we have a positive growth mindset then we are much more likely to accept failure as a learning experience and to grow stronger from it.

It’s all in the mind

Yes, this is the secret sauce recipe. This is the key to having the confidence to become the expert; to having the confidence to take responsibility for a campaign; to having the confidence to promote yourself as the person that will get it done. It’s simply a matter of accepting that failure is not the end of the world, and in fact it will make you stronger, and so you may as well give it a go.

Confidence comes from knowing, right? You’re confident in something when you know how it works, or how to do it. Well you’re never going to know unless you give it a go. Sure, you can learn lessons from other folks, and you should – they’re valuable too. But the single best way to have the confidence to be a player is to step onto the court and start taking shots. Michael Jordan didn’t get great by sitting on the sidelines endlessly planning his strategy; he got out there and took some chances.

So when you’re wondering how on earth you could possibly have the skills to compete with the professionals when it comes to digital marketing, the key thing to remember is that you just need to be in the game to score some points. You will miss some shots, for sure. But you will see that there are other shots to take, and as you gradually get warmed up you will make more and more of them.

So what gives you confidence to deliver results in digital marketing? Well, it’s taking action. Doing something. Doing anything. Once you start doing stuff you’ll start learning, and then you’re away. A great place to start is the Social Media Mafia Academy, where we create the conditions for you to safely learn and develop your digital marketing skills, and to succeed and fail as much as you need to. It’s how education should be – experiential and supportive.

Our alumni have benefited from the opportunity to toss the ball around and practice their shots before they head out onto the court, where they’re now shooting three pointers and making slam dunks and having the time of their lives. Are you ready to pull on a vest and start training? Sign up for the Academy and become part of the team.

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