This is part two of my brief history of my five year professional journey in the digital marketing industry. Read part one if you haven’t already, enjoy.
Timeline: Early Spring 2012 to Early Spring 2015
“Less is more” – Dieter Rams
Aaah, my bitter sweet journey begins. I gave myself some time away from the agency environment after experiencing for the first time all the negativity in the work place, I still remember being afraid applying again at any agency. You see, if you do a quick google search of the ‘top marketing agencies’ in Orange County, CA you won’t find a lot of minorities in their meet our team page; don’t believe me? Give it a try.
So I ventured out, I began offering my “skills” as a freelancer and to my surprise I got my first client in Orange, CA. The client sold third party ID printers, I was hired to migrate their e-commerce platform from Magento to Volusion not an easy task at the time especially with over 15,000 SKU’s. Somehow, I managed to pulled it off thanks to stack overflow and google search, ha. After my freelance contract expired they did offered me a full time position there, I said no. The office was dark, no windows, cubicles, no inspiration. I politely declined the offer.
I gave my “freelance skills” one last chance, I was hired by a company in Aliso Viejo, CA, my stint there was also brief. The client was a small business who offers an e-commerce platform for small to mid size businesses. They seemed pretty legit I mean the owner was a former Apple, Inc. product manager (Newton Team) in the early 90’s, and most of the web articles laud their engineering talent. I was given the task to work along side with their engineers to provide Search Engine Optimization tools to their CMS. Everything seemed going great until they couldn’t keep up with payroll. Ha. Yeap, they had nice offices the owner drove a sports car but my payroll checks bounced twice. So I fired myself and I was pretty bummed about it.
My career as a freelancer was short, three months to be exact. I remember encouraging myself at that time to give the marketing agency environment another try. So I did.
In late June, 2012 I replied to a simple and not exciting craigslist ad. My replied was answered in a couple of days and I was scheduled for a phone interview. I remember the days leading to the phone interview I researched the small agency and I was surprised to find that their site was still stuck in 2008, flash carousel, dull colors and no blog. So I began to think it was a boiler room. My phone interview arrived and I aced it, a few days later I got a call again and I was scheduled for an in person interview. I remember driving to Downtown Huntington Beach, CA and entering an office as big as my loft. Ha. The interview was pretty straight forward, no bs, just technical questions. I answered them truthfully as I could, and if I didn’t know the answer I wasn’t afraid to say it. During this time local SEO was not that big, but I made it clear that local SEO was going to be a big part moving forward. After the interview was over I felt pretty confident.
A week passed by and I got a call, I was offered the full time position. I accepted, my best and worst professional journey began.
I spent close to three years at the agency, I was employee number three, I was promoted twice and at one point we achieved 75% minority (50% Asian, 25% Hispanic & 25% White); a rare feat in Orange County, CA. There, I did my most creative work and also my worst.
It’s pretty hard to admit when you’re not happy with the work you’ve done! Won’t get in the details but I learned; the hard way. I will always be thankful that my employer was patient, understanding, supportive and provided the openness for me to be creative. I worked with some of the smartest and loyal co-workers. We all did our part to build the agency and our client list:
- Olea Kiosks, Inc.
- First National Bank of Northern California
- Friar Tux Shop
We had no ping pong tables, no video game consoles, no loud music in the office, just the sounds of creative work. So what happened? The agency closed it’s doors in early Spring of 2015. I stayed working from home on some client projects, and I had the opportunity to interview at other small marketing boutiques but I quickly realized it was just all smoke and mirrors. My close to three year journey there is one that I won’t regret, not one bit!
After spending some quality time with myself, and taking long beach walks near the shore. It became apparent that moving forward with a long term career in the digital marketing agency world was no longer in my future. After spending close to five years in the industry not once was our team or I invited to the Christmas parties or award ceremonies for the award-wining work that we accomplished for the “bigger” agencies around California.
I decided to begin a new professional journey, one that I put on hold back in early Spring of 2010; my developer career. In early Spring of 2010 I was hired by a small agricultural data company in Laguna Niguel, CA to create a ‘code base’ of their software (Windows) and port it to OS X. It was my first ever professional project and somehow I managed to pull it off.
Now, as I finish typing this I currently hold the lead web developer position at a small engineering manufacturer in Santa Ana, CA. And let me finish by saying; it feels good to be at home again!