In June I embarked on a big change for my life and career – I quit working as a freelance SEO consultant and remote worker, and joined the PieSync team full time as Head of SEO at their headquarters in Ghent, Belgium. (You can read about how I landed the job with the help of some strategic networking via the post My Journey to PieSync.)
Any new role your take on brings exciting challenges and opportunities, so today I want to share what I’m looking forward to most about my new position:
Leading My Own Team
One of the things I am most excited about at PieSync is how this role will provide some new opportunities for me as a manager. Yes, I have held the title of “team manager” before, but in some ways, it felt like I was a manager in name only. In the past, I had to fight to get the resources I needed for my teams.
PieSync has been great about devoting resources to my new team. I’ll be leading the SEO and Marketing team, and I’m reporting directly to the CEO. I’m excited to dive in and apply my knowledge and experience because I think with the right resources we will have the opportunity to do some great things for the company. My responsibilities include managing content, strategy and the leads pipeline. I am currently designing some interesting growth experiments, and we have a developer that is 100% dedicated to the marketing team.
Having full control of the marketing strategy is a new opportunity for me. In my decade-long experience as an SEO, I’ve seen companies do a lot of different things. I’m excited to implement a strategy that avoids the pitfalls I’ve seen other companies make, and apply new ideas and best practices as well.
PieSync is a good platform, and they’ve dedicated good resources for me. I think it will be interesting to see what we are able to accomplish with the right resources!
Managing My Own Budget
As Head of SEO, I will have control over the marketing budget. I will also have control over what kind of tools we use. When it comes to SEO, using the right tools can be a huge help. (I’ve written extensively about some of my favorite tools, including the best tools for reporting, technical audits, content strategy, and partnerships/link acquisition.)
Working with many clients in the past, I’ve used a lot of different tools. I’ve used everything from smaller cloud tools to enterprise-level applications. I have strong opinions about which ones work best in certain situations, and I know my team does too. I’m excited to be able to give my team the freedom to decide which tools they want. Having access to the right applications can make peoples’ jobs easier, making them more efficient. This is good for the company and good for team morale.
Many teams I’ve worked on don’t have the freedom to choose their preferred tools. A lot of companies are “penny wise, pound foolish.” It’s a British saying that refers to things I think a lot of companies do – try to save money on small things, and in doing so fail to recognize the large-scale benefit those smaller expenditures can have. In the world of SEO teams, this can often mean a company says no to a certain tool. But if that tool makes your team happier and more efficient, it can have much greater benefits in the long-run.
Shaping The Company
A lot of times when you join an existing team, they already have their own way of doing things. Even if you see ways the company can be more efficient, those ideas can be shot down because of inflexibility. Some people just want to do things the way they’ve always done, or they don’t want to invest in change.
At PieSync, I have the blessing from the founders to shake things up and introduce greater transparency around communications. This is something I learned at Zapier, where I witnessed the value of radical transparency. At PieSync, I plan to introduce a stronger focus on documentation, sharing of stats and formal reporting from workers. Not only do I have the founders’ blessing to make changes, I know they are looking forward to seeing the results of my team.
I’m well aware that this is a unique opportunity. Usually, with companies, those processes are fixed and it can be hard to get support for change, even if it’s for the better. I’m of the opinion that if you want to have a successful company, you always need to be growing and innovating.
Growing the company
PieSync is growing as I write this, and I’m excited to be involved in making future growth happen, too. The company recently expanded to the U.S., and we will be growing the team in New York. As that happens, everything else I’m doing to improve processes and enhance transparency will make communication better.
It’s always exciting to join a growing company. That usually means there is more opportunity. In my case, I’m particularly excited to implement what I’ve learned about remote work to support the company through this period of growth. Radical transparency will help with that. And because I believe in this platform, I am looking forward to helping PieSync, and my team, throughout this period of growth.
I think there is an interesting lesson here – sometimes the most exciting career opportunities that come along aren’t when you get the fancy title you’ve always wanted or a big pay increase. A lot of times it is about finding a company and culture whose values match your own. And finding people who recognize your skills and talents and are willing to give you the freedom to really use them for the benefit of an organization you believe in.
What are you looking for in your next career move? Please share your thoughts in the comments!