In the world of digital I am OLD. VERY OLD. At the age of fourteen, my Dad introduced me to the wonders of HTML. I still remember my overly excited reaction to programming: “HELLO WORLD!” using Notepad! With access to computers at school and home, plus a Dad who loved learning new things, we often sat together in front of the Packard Bell PC with dial-up Internet learning to code in HTML and making not-so-fancy animations in Flash!
My first real insight into the world of digital came in 2007 when I worked as an Intern Project Manager for Microsoft’s MSN Media Solutions Team. My role as a project manager involved working with MSN markets, vendors and product teams around the world to develop high revenue microsites, online advertisements and internal editorial articles. I worked on some great projects, advertising global brand names such as Mercedes, Unilever and of course Microsoft themselves.
After graduating in 2008, I knew digital was the place for me. I was fortunate enough to find a PPC Account Manager role working for a local SEM agency. Having no paid search experience, I learnt all about PPC on the job. Being brought up in a “Google It” world obviously helped! I was fascinated by the search cycle and the user’s behavioural journey when searching online.
Working for a small SEM agency also gave me an insight into SEO. My Dad of course was more interested in SEO as it is “free clicks”, so whilst I gained experience about PPC at work, on the weekends we learnt onsite and offsite optimisation and the dreaded article writing.
I would say I am well rounded when it comes to the online world but my passion has always been paid search – mostly because I am an impatient soul and prefer the instantaneous results of paid ads as opposed to the slow burning candle of search engine optimisation or the lack of sleep that comes with being a web developer.
Fast forward nine years and I have a wealth of experience behind me, both agency and client side. This has included some great experiences, such as the adrenaline of selling the benefits of paid search to various different organisations, standing in front of the CEO of a global office company explaining why bidding on brand names is hugely important even if you are appearing in the natural listings, as well as being featured in Econsultancy magazine, one of the most influential online advertising magazines. With all of this experience behind me, I am now working as a freelancer for Croud.
In February 2014, I gave birth to the most beautiful boy in the world (yes I know all mothers say this but mine really is the most beautiful!).
Ehsaan was born with a very rare condition which meant he required 24/7 care, some would call me his ‘main carer’ but I would say I was simply his mother. He was an inspiration to us as a family, his strength and resolve never failed to amaze.
When Ehsaan outlived his life expectancy of just months and we had adjusted to our new life and our new routine – particularly his love of sleeping during the day and partying all night! – I decided to explore the opportunities of working from home.
Whilst I absolutely would not leave my son to return to work, I knew that one day I would have to go back to the working world. With my experience in search marketing, I knew very well how quickly the industry changes, and I was conscious that if I did not continue to work in some manner now, my knowledge would be very outdated when I did return to work.
I came across Croud and knew that being a Croudie was a perfect fit. Being a Croudie has given me so many opportunities, I do not really know where to begin.
First and foremost, Croud gave me the opportunity to be able to work around my priority, my son. I was able to work around Ehsaan’s feed times, his nocturnal sleep pattern and his numerous appointments. Ehsaan always came first, and I never felt I could not do something with him or for him because I had to work. For that I am grateful.
The Croud Control system made it so easy for me to manage my work. I knew which tasks I had to work on, when they were due and how long they would take. I was easily able to manage my work around my son, we never missed an opportunity to do Ehsaan’s favourite thing, go for a walk in his pushchair.
Croud gave me the opportunity to expand my skills, for example I have recently learnt more about programmatic and DoubleClick. I work on many different tasks ranging from simple keyword optimisation and placement reviews, to in-depth account audits, reports and presentations.
My favourite tasks always differ depending on my mood! Some days I appreciate the simple tasks, some days I am grateful for tasks which expand my knowledge, require me to “use my brain” and analyse data.
Being a Croudie gave me the opportunity to continue to work whilst looking after my son, it has given me the chance to retain my skills whilst acquiring many more. It gave me the freedom to decide how much work I wanted to take on. It was also nice to have the occasional adult conversation!
I always joked that I was teaching my son PPC, as he was either beside me or in my lap as I worked. We worked from many different places including Dubai and Paris, we worked from hospital beds, he even joined me for conference calls!
My son has now left us and I hope to continue working for Croud, just like we always did over the past three years.