WBN is starting a series of articles where we interview inspiring women, and write their views on a series of different topics. Enjoy!
From Marketing to Casinos: How Laura Spruijt Followed Her Instincts to a New Career.
Using personal branding and making bold decisions to build a rich career.
A co-founder of her business the Marketing Sisters, and named amongst the top 500 talents in the digital tech industry by the Next Web, the former marketing consultant and mentor Laura Spruijt shares with us her experience and advice in forging your career path ambitiously.
Using Linkedin to advertise your talents, and why personal branding should matter to you
As Laura explains, personal branding can be thought of as an elevator pitch: in a brief introduction of yourself, you determine how you want others to perceive you. In brainstorming the key points you desire others to remember about you, it is important to reflect on the look and feel you are communicating. What do you stand for? What are pivotal issues that have personal appeal to you? What characteristics do you know make you stand out? Laura for instance likes to be first at everything, and has an innovative spirit, which she understood and incorporated into her personal branding.
Once you have a clear vision of this message you wish to communicate for yourself, you must then make key choices to mold your image into the frame of this vision. In doing so, Laura reminds us to bear in mind what your audience seeks to hear. From her experience with her firm Marketing Sisters, she often worked with many CEOs keen on profit growth. Recognizing this need, she promptly integrated it into her brand motto. Know what your target audience wants, and embody the answer to these needs.
Make sure your personal branding stands clear and communicates “I can make sure you arrive at your goals” to the firms or clients you wish to work with.
But properly branding yourself is only effective if there is an audience to brand to: Laura shared some valuable tips on networking and building your Linkedin page.
Your Linkedin profile and resume must reflect the job you wish to hold, so think about the key words you are using. Most of Laura’s clients found her through the Linkedin search bar, and she often heard that she ended up in the top 3 answers for the type of marketing she offers: hence the power of tailoring your profile to fit the domain you seek to specialize in, and building a strong network linked to it.
Another crucial advice is to have recommendations from other employees or former managers on your profile. These reviews signal the quality of your work to employers who might not know you, which brings up the importance of building an extensive network. Attend networking events, and always try to leave a good impression on the individuals you work with!
Enriching your personal brand through continuous learning
In fact, some of the success of Laura’s business can be attributed to the digital marketing knowledge she had ahead of her time, before firms sought to expand online. She compels us to be T-shaped professionals: specialize in their particular field while also being knowledgeable in broader topics. Ultimately, a well-rounded and knowledgeable person is more likely to excel in their chosen field and be more confident about their abilities.
“Have an idea of the rules of the game, and how everything connects to one another”
Overcoming fear, and listening to your core values: the wings to reach your highest potential
Although these points might seem feasible in theory, it might be difficult to step out of your comfort zone and initiate your personal branding. You might be holding off a project or position out of fear of failure, and a gnawing worry that this isn’t the right time, or yet that your skills are not on par. Nevertheless, Laura reminds us that the leaps she took, such as starting her own venture, are part of important experiences that allowed her to learn more about herself: climbing these mountains is the only way to grow. There is no growth without pain, and it is vital to step out of your comfort zone to learn more about what suits you!
If you are still afraid of making concrete career moves, Laura shares a set of advice that might compel you: find a backup plan, and do not focus too much on what could go wrong, but instead focus on what could go right.
Whatever you commit to, remember that it is not something you are restricted to forever, as can be learned from Laura’s experience. Working in an accountancy company, she ended up being the only woman working with 20 men. Immersed in a rather masculine environment, Laura remarks that men tend to be more harshly competitive, and are often not soft in their communication. She knew that it was not an atmosphere that fit her needs. Yet she remained in that position for too long, not wanting to quit or give up, which brings up her next advice: listen to your gut feeling because it is often right, and free yourself from the opinion of others on what you do with your life. It is her burnout in this firm that led her to start up her own venture.
“You can never start too early to work on your skill to let go of fear”
Listen to your core values, and be adventurous with them. After 7 years of digital marketing, Laura is at this point of the career when she needs a change. Following her instinct, she left her marketing business behind to travel and discover new interests. In a bold move, her self-reflection led her to make a complete career switch: learning that she enjoyed spending her free time in casinos, especially when she stayed in Marrakech, she decided to follow a career path in this domain. Having nothing to lose, she freed herself of what others taught about her, and rerouted her career to something she deeply liked. She stuck to one of her core values in this process: freedom in where she worked, which was granted by both digital marketing and now casinos.
But at the heart of Laura’s growth were books. When she was sick from working, she started reading thought-provoking books, which put her back on track and gave her a real eye opener on her perspective on things. In hopes of helping others expand their thinking as well, she recommended the following works: Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill, 7 habits of highly effective people by Covey, and Freedom from your fears by Napoleon Hills.
Laura’s final advice
Laura’s departing advice is to remember what kind of skills you cultivated, and how these skills can fit many different jobs.
“It’s nice to look back when you’re older and see that you worked in various industries, because each industry or job gives you another perspective on life and how things work”