MTM Ep#9: How to get your foot in the door in the marketing industry using personal development with Will Chou

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Welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. I’m looking forward to this one.

I’m your host Arsham Mirshah. I’m here with Will Chou today. True to the name of More Than Marketing, we’ll talk about some marketing stuff but Will here, I got a lot of respect for him. He’s a young, hungry guy, and he’s into success and personal development. We’ll talk about how to get your foot in the door in the digital marketing industry and how to use personal development to succeed.


– [Will] Successful people do things differently than unsuccessful people. There’s usually patterns that they follow that unsuccessful people don’t. You can study the successful people

– [Arsham] Yeah.

– [Will] and figure out what they’re doing differently

– [Arsham] Yeah.

– [Will] and improve that category of your life.

– Welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. Looking forward to this one. I’m your host Arsham Mirshah here with Will Chou today. And looking forward to it because true to the name of More Than Marketing we’ll talk about some marketing stuff but Will here, I got a lot of respect for him. He’s a young hungry guy and he’s into success and personal development. Personal development I think is the best. Am I putting it right?

– Yes, yes.

– Personal development.

– That’s what I’m saying. Yeah.

– Like yeah. ‘Cause success can be defined in so many different ways.

– Absolutely yes.

– Will’s into this personal development thing. He reads a ton. He’s always coming up with good suggestions not just for the agency here, WebMechanix agency. But for me as a CEO he’ll be like hey, I read this book and I want to give you my 15 minute synopsis of it. And I love that. I think that’s super cool ’cause I think of myself as open-minded. So I appreciate someone like you coming in and saying hey, will you listen to me? And then hopefully you appreciate that I’m like yes.

– For sure, sure.

– You know? So–

– Yeah.

– So, Will, what do you do here at WebMechanix? Explain to the people.

– Yeah so when I first came on WebMechanix I was working client side and helping other clients succeed. I was known as the SEO guy. So that was my main focus. And I also helped support them in other areas like Facebook ads and AdWords and so forth. And then–

– Before WebMechanix we somehow, I guess you applied to us or we found you or something like that. You were doing something, your own site? Still are obviously.

– Mm-hmm. Yes.

– your own kind of experience right?

– Yeah so I was really into digital marketing as a hobby. So I had my own site, I bought some really expensive courses, followed Gary Vaynerchuk.

– All the other people you’re aware of that you may have heard of. Tim Schmoyer, Neil Patel, Bryan Dean. And it was more of like a hobby. And I actually majored in biology so–

– Hey me too.

– It was a-

– Oh.

– I didn’t really even consider it. Yeah you were like a bio?

– Bioinformatics.

– Bioinformatics that’s awesome.

– And com-side but ’cause they go together, yeah.

– Yeah but I didn’t really even consider it as like a possible career. It was just like maybe this would be really fun to do and potentially turn into a career. But it was like way off in the distance and yeah long story short I kinda lucked out and found this place. And it’s a lot more fun than I would have had doing research at some pharmacy.

– That’s what I say, yeah research at some pharmacy. Me too, that was kind my path. Either that or med school and it was like I, like you, kinda fell into this. And very happy that I did ’cause this industry’s a lot of fun. You get to see the results of your work. It’s fast-paced, it’s always changing so there’s always something new. If you like that then it’s fun. Also you’re able to kinda persuade and influence people. I think that’s really cool. I think that’s really powerful and attractive for digital marketing. Or digital marketing school you get feedback in real time. You get real time analytics, you’re gonna see it. What your campaigns are doing. So I think that this is a great field and I know you think this is a great field. How ’bout for the young, I’m gonna say young or maybe even career transitionsers out there who are like hey I wanna get my hand into digital marketing. What do you suggest? How can they get in? They don’t have any marketing experience. So even people who maybe have a marketing degree it’s like what should they do?

– Yeah so I think digital marketing is a fantastic industry to get into even if your degree wasn’t in that field.

– Yeah.

– It’s something where you can work you way up to a great income doing something that’s really cool. Cutting edge. And learn it yourself or get up to speed in a year or less. So it’s something that’s, I’m a living example of that. And a lot of people have, and really getting into and finding out sometimes on accident and it’s really helped them find a career that’s–

– Yeah I think that’s

– on the cutting edge.

– cool as far as finding the career, ’cause it’s a career. But how do you start a career?

– Yeah so I think the first step if you want to get into this field is get an internship or start learning. Whether that’s on your own or with other people.

– Yes.

– A lot of people downplay the internship because they don’t wanna work for free or they don’t wanna work for minimum wage. But it’s a hard industry to get your foot in the door in. But once you do it’s so much easier.

– It’s rewarding.

– Yeah.

– And I wanna go even back if I may. I agree with you first and foremost wholeheartedly on the internship. I agree definitely that’s kinda step one. But computer science will say there’s a step before that, step zero. But I think step zero, you also alluded to it and said it which is learn on your own. So you may or may not, I may have or may not told you this but I’ll say it here is that when Chris and I interview people, especially not so much today somewhat today also but in the past people didn’t necessarily have experience in digital marketing. Well we needed help. So what did we look for, right? And we didn’t have much to pay either. So I couldn’t go out and get someone who actually had experience. So what we looked for was, we call it evidence of hustle. And we saw that in you too big time because you had your own site and you were like I think you said, kinda in the interview you were like hey I have this site about this niche. And I noticed that if I wrote on these topics I would get this traffic. And now I’m thinking about how to monetize it. That’s hustle. You weren’t getting paid for that. You were just doing it on your own. So people from my perspective, like if you’re in college or if you wanna create a transition there’s no barrier to entry. Would you agree with that?

– Absolutely, yeah.

– You can set up your own blog, free. Set up your own blog, go do some Google searching around on like what is SEO best practices. Moz has a great guide, right?

– Mm-hmm yeah.

– You know what I’m talking about? That way you’re not getting paid, don’t expect to get paid. But you are learning.

– Yeah this is a very exciting time to be alive because right now the entertainment and media industry is just being splintered. And the barrier to entry has just gone to close to zero.

– If you have a smartphone you can get in the game. Which makes it very very interesting. I think it’ll never be the same as before where Oprah was one of four TV networks. And when she aired something that was your only choice to watch. Now there’s thousands of people–

– So much content.

– But it also means that you yourself can really become the master of your own niche. Let’s say you’re a fisher or a fisherman of some sort and you sell this unique niche fishing thing you can become the expert in that field.

– The authority on that right niche.

– And the authority. And you can plouw through the masses and just pick out those people who are like red-hot prospects to follow you on social–

– Well they’ll want to.

– Mm-hmm.

– Yeah

– Or advertise on Facebook.

– Right yeah, no I completely agree. Actually I know some, this is some people from UMBC that are doing this channel Senkoskipper. Shoot out to them. They go fishing and they videotape it, it was really cool. It’s actually really interesting. You learn about fish and how to fish and all that so.

– Oh wow.

– I dunno how they’re doing it, or if they’re monetizing it. But they’re still posting, so they’re still at it. That’s good you know.

– Yeah for sure.

– So okay. So I’m hustling, I’m writing. Maybe you bought one of these guides and you think you’re going to set up a Shopify store and get-rich-quick doing drop-shipping. Don’t do that, it’s a bad idea. Butmy opinion. But okay so I’m doing that in the internship. Gets your foot in the door, right? Most internships are paid these days. And then I don’t know, what else?

– Well I think the big thing is getting your foot in the door for that job or that internship. I think that’s really the big pivot point where you have to beat the competition who are also applying. I’m going to give you a few tips that you can use right now. And I think it’ll really help you do that. They’re simple tips and the thing is most people don’t do them which is why they just kinda fail at this. But it’s just about, first thing is start forming relationships. Relationships are how you get your foot in the door. Go to networking events–

– Never too early

– Yeah.

– to go to a networking event.

– Or if you’re still in college you’ll meet with your marketing directors or your professors and really get to know them, ask them if they know anyone.

– Get involved with like the AMA. American Marketing Association. They’re at every college, you know?

– Yeah I used to be a doubter of this concept. I thought it was all meritocracy. I thought if you have the skills you don’t need to know anyone. You should get your way in. But then I started interviewing a bunch of people on LinkedIn. And then I went to a bunch of conferences with people who got into really tough jobs and they all said it’s kinda sad but I got there because I knew the right person.

– Who you know not necessarily what you know.

– And that doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have to have the skills or that it’s a unfair world. You just kind of have to change your perspective and say okay this is a important part of succeeding. How can I develop this skill as well to start networking and forming relationships with people who are in industries that I want to be a part of?

– It’s a combo of who you know and what you know.

– Exactly.

– You know? ‘Cause it’s not just

– If you don’t have the skills

– then you–

– But it’s not just one or the other.

– Exactly.

– Right, so it’s not hey meritocracy, I know, I know. I know everything, I’m the best. But maybe you’re not good with people or you don’t have relationships, not gonna work. Or I have relationships, I’m great with people. But then you get in and you’re expected to perform and then so you gotta have that balance I think is–

– Yeah yeah yeah, I would say it’s even more of a meritocracy in this industry because everything you need to learn you can learn for free online. You can’t really do that when you can’t pay for law school or med school.

– Or med school. Yeah I would agree.

– Yeah.

– That’s a good point.

– So that’s the first tip, get to know someone. And second tip would be go above and beyond, go the extra mile. I think a lot of people just they do the bare minimum. Like everyone applies online with they online PDF resume. And they go through the steps on the web form online. And they do the bare minimum to answer the questions. No, I haven’t seen a single person come to this office and deliver some flowers or show that they’re willing to work for free. They show up at the front door. Do anything extra. But those little things really open people’s eyes especially for a smaller agency. Now for large corporations I tried like one time I tried showing up in a suit there and the security guard wouldn’t

– let me in. So maybe not for large corporations–

– But at the same time those are people too. I mean if you know who you would work with you connect with them on LinkedIn, maybe say can I buy you a coffee?

– Absolutely yes.

– I want to just learn more.

– That works, yeah.

– Can you mentor me or something like that. To get into the larger ones for instance. Admittedly, yeah, you’re right. If you show up unannounced and all that you might get kicked out by the security guard.

– Yeah but for small businesses they’re just a 30 person or 10 person shop. They’re gonna value that–

– They’re gonna pay attention. Yeah.

– Yeah when you show up at the door.

– Did you know Jared, six years ago now he made a music video.

– So for context Jared is our director of–

– Yeah sales.

– Of marketing.

– Yeah so six years ago or so, or maybe seven now, time flies. He made a music video ’cause he played guitar. So he made a music video as part of his application. More recently, Anthony works under director of operations the operations strategist. He does a lot of recruiting here. He animated our logo, so our logo has a little like a gear, what looks like a gear in it. He animated that!

– Oh wow.

– He’s not an animator, that’s not his like that’s well he didn’t learn that in school. He just Googled around, figured it out. But those little touches did go a long way. Seven years ago and just one year ago with Anthony. So I agree with you and I think that’s again back to an evidence of hustle. That’s what Chris and I call it. ‘Cause evidence of hustle was hey look I’m willing to go outside of my comfort zone and do something different to get attention. Isn’t that what marketing is?

– Mm-hmm.

– It’s attention. I mean part of it at least, right?

– Yeah attention, creativity.

– Yeah.

– I actually heard about the animated thing and I ranted and raved about it to Bryan.

– You did?

– Yeah. I think you know–

– Thanks for making that happen.

– Yeah.

– No that’s awesome.

– That matters.

– Yeah.

– So I got two more tips for you.

– Bring it on.

– When you’re being interviewed for a job interview it’s not just a time to tell your life story and just give information. I’ve sat in on a few job interviews and intern applications and sometimes they just will go–

– Going on.

– We’ll ask them a question and they’ll just talk about stuff. And it doesn’t relate at all to positioning them as a better candidate for the position at hand. So realize that you’re there to actually present value. So when you’re being asked a question like what do you like to do for fun? or what’s your favorite holiday plans? they’re not just asking it to ask it. Sometimes they’re there to ask you for personality or so forth. But most of the time they’re asking it for a reason. So don’t just give an answer like I like to watch Netflix. That doesn’t give any value to positioning you better. And sure you might like Netflix. You might like 20, 50 things. Most people do. But in that short amount of time you’re given at least do something. Have some intent to position yourself to be a desirable candidate. And–

– Whoa, what else should they say though? ‘Cause like if Netflix is the answer what else- like Netflix but like-

– Well you should definitely be honest with your answer. But usually everyone has something that they can say that’s honest that can position them better. So it might be like okay you like Netflix and you also like watching YouTube and videos–

– Well what about Netflix?

– on youtube.

– And specifically like you might watch whatever’s categorized as junk TV. Or you might watch that but you might also watch documentaries. You’re gonna say hey I like documentaries. Most recently I learned about, I watched Forks Over Knives and I learned that maybe I should change my diet or something like that.

– Great yeah and that shows that they’re learning and that you can

– You’re learning that’s

– help yourselves.

– what shows that yeah.

– And most people–

– ‘Cause that’s what employers would want. Employers want to see that, right? They want to see that you’re open-minded. They want to see that you’re a learning and trainable and coachable, you know?

– Yeah or if you really are just someone who’s like average and you really just like watching Netflix and Stranger Things and YouTube you could say that’s I like YouTube a lot. I watch a lot of YouTube so I’m very well-versed in the marketing aspect of it because–

– That’s platform.

– I’ve been shot as so I know the interface, whereas someone a generation older doesn’t ’cause they don’t watch YouTube–

– Yeah that’s a good point.

– as much.

– So like that’s relating it?

– Relating it to the–

– I’ll add one more thing to your thing, to your interview thing. It’s like okay if you’re coming in and you’re being interviewed of course you’re going to be asked a lot of questions. But please, please, please come with questions yourself. That shows that you care.

– Absolutely yes.

– The best candidates that I interview they ask they interview me, you know? I really appreciate that. That shows that they did their research. They did their homework and they’re curious. They’re curious about something. They need to know something. Because at the end of the day a job is a relationship too. It’s gotta be mutually beneficial. It has to be a win-win. If you have all the skills and I hire you but you hate the job you’re gonna be gone soon. And that’s not good for anyone you know? And maybe it’s good for short term but I don’t know. I think long term so. So that’s why the interview should in my opinion be a two-way street.

– Would you say a turnoff is when you ask them do you have any–

– Yes.

– questions left and they say no?

– And they say no? Yes.

– Interesting.

– Yeah. I mean if they don’t have any left and they’ve already asked some it’s not a turnoff right?

– Uh-huh.

– But if it’s hey what questions do you have for us? Ah, I don’t have any. And they don’t have any at all ever? You don’t have anything you want to know about? The company you’re about to work for? For a third of your day everyday? How does that make sense?

– Yeah.

– Anyway. So that’s just, don’t get me started.

– Yeah but that’s very interesting ’cause when I was younger I assumed maybe I shouldn’t ask questions ’cause like…

– Yep.

– I don’t want to seem like I don’t know something. But now that I know better–

– It’s, yeah.

– it’s all there.

– It’s okay to ask questions that you’re genuinely curious about. Like don’t ask them oh can you show me the Google Ads interface? ‘Cause I’ve never been in it. Like that doesn’t make sense. But ask what is the culture like here? Or are the people friendly? I don’t know. Or what kind of clients do you work with? You know I’m just thinking random. It’s like you might want to be interested in you know? But if you spend any time on our website or any company’s website you’ll come up with questions.

– Yeah. Yeah so I got one last tip–

– One last tip, yep.

– for you on this hot topic. When you’re at a job fair or a career fair or something like that or you’re just talking to someone in general don’t be too canned in your responses. I’ve heard Anthony and other people from operations have this issue when they are at a job fair and they have a booth. A lot of people come in with their canned elevator pitch and everything they say is very robotic. And sometimes the employer just wants to know you as a person. So you sometimes have to, of course you can say that elevator pitch but then follow it up with something like real ’cause it’s–

– ‘Cause it’s real in person. Correct.

– It has to be a human-to-human interaction.

– Sure.

– And not just one thing after the other.

– Completely agree with you. Completely agree with you. And on that human interaction I want to move on. ‘Cause I, at the beginning of this episode I said I have respect for you ’cause you’re very personal-development-driven. You’re goal-oriented and always looking to improve. And so I appreciate that about you. And Chris and I are like that as well. And you know I’m into NLP?

– NLP yes.

– Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Law of attraction, that kind of stuff. I know you’re into like science-backed performance personal development, right?

– Yes, yes.

– So let’s talk about that a little bit. ‘Cause I have a bunch of books I wanna talk about. You have some books?

– Yeah yeah so we take it from different approaches. I’m more science-backed, you’re more law of attraction.

– I’m open-minded too so I’ve been dabbling in law of attraction as well. And so this is something that is a huge hobby of mine. And I’m just reading books like nonstop

– And I’m sorry, well let me

– and that.

– frame this up because we talked about digital marketing being a fast-paced world. It changes all the time so you gotta be learning. You gotta be open-minded, you gotta be curious. I think in this arena. So this personal development, if you’re into personal development, you’re basically training yourself to always be getting better. And whether you’re doing that for soft skills such as like I don’t know. Time management or personal relationships. Even if you’re only doing it for soft skills you’re training your mind to always be adapting and growing and learning. So that when the hard skills change as well you’re quickly able to adapt, right?

– Yeah.

– So that’s why when I, that’s coming back to the evidence of hustle, I think that when we see people who are just kinda go-getters and they get after it, and maybe they some people show it in different ways. Some people are on sports. You know I love people who play sports because it’s like an extracurricular. I love people who play instruments. It’s an extracurricular. It’s not just I go to school and then I come home and I, I don’t know, play video games. Video games are great too but do some ah you get, you know what I’m saying? Now I’m gonna get flamed for talking about video games.

– A lot of people here play video games.

– Hey I play video games toookay? But I also read and other activities so. But yeah so I wanted to frame that up because I think this is really important for, whether you’re a web developer or a designer, or a marketer or a copywriter to always be learning.

– Yeah yeah so successful people do things differently than unsuccessful people. There’s usually patterns that they follow that unsuccessful people don’t. So whatever you’re trying to do and get better at in life, most people want more income, wealth

– more happiness

– Happiness yeah.

– some want more health, they want to look and feel more attractive. And others just want better relationships. All those fields and any subcategory in there you can study the successful people and figure out what they’re doing differently and improve that category of your life.

– Yeah do you have any, what is your I don’t know. Success tips? That I know you read, you read a lot. So is there any of that come to mind?

– Yeah so start off with what your big goal is in life. And then drill it down to what you need to do today or next week to get there. Some people want more income. And then you kinda have to figure out what can I do to get there from my yearly and monthly standpoint?

– Yeah.

– And there’s books on that–

– I think goal setting

– yeah.

– in that is really good. Like you said like, what’s my end goal? And then I break that down into chunks. Great book for that, Think and Grow Rich. Think and Grow Rich fantastic book for that. For the income, especially for the income side. But it’s not just something, it makes it what’s cool about Think and Grow Rich is it mixes law of attraction with actual day-to-day how am I actually going to implement this? What am I going to do to get these returns? So it’s a mix of mental and physical. So I love books man so I’m gonna suggest that one.

– Thank you.

– Think and Grow Rich.

– I’ll follow that up with Atomic Habits. So this is a new book that James Clear just came out with.

– Okay.

– And it goes into the exact science there’s been decades of research on the science

– Atomic Habits.

– of habit formation.

– Yeah I would agree.

– And so–

– It’s discipline.

– Yeah if your habits are what you do every single day so if you can tweak them to be a little bit better whether it’s going to a gym more or working a little harder or whatever else you can improve over the rest of your life. Most people live to a hundred so that’s a long span. So there’s a lot of science nowadays to backup a lot of these things that–

– Most people live

– you’re after.

– to a hundred? That’s news to me! I would be happy with 90, 80

– Yeah our life spans are gradually–

– Our life spans are

– increasing.

– increasing yeah.

– Yeah.

– Actually I saw something recent in that it’s it actually has slowed down.

– Hmm.

– For the U.S.

– Interesting yeah.

– Interestingly enough yeah. Or actually maybe it went backwards oh yeah! It went backwards, you know why? ‘Cause of the heroin epidemic.

– Oh geez!

– Yeah believe it or not. That actually made an impact, crazy right?

– Huh.

– Yeah. Anyway off that and onto other things. So okay habits? I completely agree discipline. You mentioned earlier about how it is what you know. There is meritocracy but it’s also who you know. So start networking, start building relationships. You mentioned that earlier. I think that’s a fantastic tip. I completely agree with that. One of the things I tell people, especially young people is that no matter what you do, 99.99% of you out there no matter what you do, you’re gonna work with other people. Whether that other person is a colleague, your boss a client, a partner, a vendor. It doesn’t matter you will deal with humans. That’s my belief, right? There are some jobs out there maybe that you’re not dealing with humans. So if you believe that, if you think that’s true then you should probably spend some time developing your soft skills. Human skills. Perfect book for that. It used to be and I’m slapping myself right now because it’s no longer but I’m gonna fix that a required reading for any new member to WebMechanix. We used to give them that audiobook Mp3 and say it actually was Mp3s then, read this book.

– Oh wow. How to Win Friends & Influence People. Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends & Influence People. I will buy that book for anybody just because I think it makes the world better.

– Well you heard it here first.

– I’m serious I’ll buy it.

– Arsham is opening that up to listeners in here.

– Oh man. Hell man there goes a thousand bucks No but seriously I really it used to be required reading here and I’m gonna bring that back. So a couple more before our time’s gonna run out. What else comes to mind?

– Yeah so you can really subset and drill down to whatever you’re looking for. So let’s say you wanna be a top singer in the entertainment industry LA Reid wrote Sing to Me. He is like the king of finding talent in Hollywood. He was on X Factor, and–

– How cool.

– Let’s say you okay let’s say you’re not into entertainment industry

– Yeah.

– Let’s say you just wanna get better at sports performance because you’re a tennis player. There are books by athletes who play tennis. Gary Kasparov the greatest chess player of all time wrote a book on how he did it.

– Really?

– Yes. So almost–

– I didn’t know that. There’s so many books that are just shocking out there that you wouldn’t even know existed. Michael Ovitz. He just released a book.

– I don’t know who that is. Who’s that?

– He’s a founder of Creative Artists Agency.

– Okay.

– He started from nothing. And now he has Tom Cruise, he has all these big names under his umbrella.

– Cool.

– It’s like the number one agency in entertainment.

– That’s awesome.

– And he wrote a book on how

– And he wrote a book

– he did it.

– Right.

– And founder of Nike wrote a book.

– I love it.

– So whatever you’re trying to do and figure out usually there’s someone who’s written a book about it. Not always.

– Well or has a podcast about it or has a youtube channel the point is you know personal development is not only do you learn from it and grow from it you also, I find, find motivation and information from it. You know what I mean?

– Mmm hmm.

– For me I just get motivated when I listen to those kinds of things or I read those kind of books, you know? So.

– And that’s a great point. It doesn’t have to be a book. If you hate reading, listen to audio books, listen to podcast, watch youtube video, commencement speeches. Whatever it is there’s room for improvement.

– Will, we can go on forever but I think we should just wrap it up. Otherwise we’ll go on forever. But I really enjoyed this episode because it’s more than marketing. It’s personal development. You do that and then your marketing skills get stronger too. Right? So thank you for sharing your time with me and your knowledge. If you all out there want to hear more about this let us know. We’re happy to do more of these or talk to you personally, right?

– Yes. Put it here man. Thank you, Will.

– Thank you.

– Cheers.

Will Chou

Will Chou

Arsham Mirshah

Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder

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