Becoming a Leader

by ismepete 1 Comment

Its now 4 years ago that I graduated from university with a degree in Entertainment Technology from Portsmouth, finishing with a 2:1, although I was agonisingly close to a 1st (69.7 was my final grade).

I was immensely fortunate, that upon graduating I got the very first job that I applied for, as a trainee SEO at Vertical Leap, and on the 1st August, I will celebrating 4 years working in the industry.

In the time that I have worked at Vertical Leap, I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of amazing people to learn SEO from (as well as learning many lessons on life) and seen a tremendous amount of growth in the company. In the time I’ve been here we’ve outgrown2 office already and seem to be swiftly filling up our new one too (though there is still plenty of room for us to grow further).

When we first moved in to these offices, we almost had enough space for a kick about with a football, whereas now we are getting to a stage where we need to think carefully about how to use that space.

In those 4 years, staff have come and gone, as they do, and I have looked to step up to the plate every time it was necessary for me to take on responsibility.

From starting as a trainee SEO, with no real knowledge of the subject (although my degree did supply me with a host of related skills), I have worked hard, kept my head down, retained as many of my clients as possible and done what I can to grow as a person into a bigger role in the company.

Around 18 months to 2 years ago, I was made Team Leader of the growing SEO department at Vertical Leap.

In my previous post, I alluded to this being a bit rubbish title, which was meant to be a joke, although with the pain I felt inside when writing that post, I don’t think that was particularly clear.

A title isn’t really very important in my opinion. I think mine at the moment is somewhat wordy “SEO Team Leader – Campaign Delivery Manager”. Suffice to say, I don’t use that in my email signature!

As I say, a title isn’t very important – what is important is how you fulfil that role.

As Vertical Leap has grown & we employ more staff in the SEO department, the more my role has grown too.

When I first started at Vertical Leap, I was entrusted with a small number of clients, and as my confidence and ability grew, I took on more responsibilities, more campaigns and helped the company generate more revenue.

We launched a blog on the site, and I am one of the more regular writers on the VL search marketing blog (I’m not THE most regular writer, though I do write more than many).

I now have to spend not inconsiderable amounts of time with new staff – teaching them the “Vertical Leap” way, showing them how we utilise our campaign management tool Apollo and ensuring that we treat our clients consistently well and do everything you can to keep them happy – understanding their goals for a campaign.

At first, these extra responsibilities did not come easily, but over the last year in particular I have done my best to do right by my team and help the, to help themselves in their own development – just like I was helped by those that came before me.

Around a year ago, I was also challenged to become better known in the industry – as I’d been doing all this great work for my clients and concentrating on getting things done.

At first I wasn’t sure how to achieve this – and I was left scratching my head about it for some time.

I decided first to start talking to the rest of the SEO community on Twitter – a great place to exchange ideas and techniques , whilst also a platform for some fun exchanges with some other interesting people, and believe to a certain extent I have achieved this goal (although I’m not going to rest on my laurels just yet).

I’ve also looked to put myself about a bit more at industry events – initially with the local Brighton SEO events, but hopefully extending myself a bit further around the country if suitable opportunities present themselves.

Doing all of these things takes hard work and determination – just working the 9-5 hours aren’t sufficient for me to achieve the goals that have been set for me, and buy me.

Clearly, as can be seen from my last post – things in life can affect the course you are trying to take – and there are going to be bumps in the road.

But nothing worth having in life is ever easy – so I will continue to work hard to achieve my goals in life and be more of the person those close to me, need me to be.

  • If you haven't already, read Seth Godin's tribes – it's quite inspiring and really makes you want to become the 'leader' of your tribe…