It depends on what we mean by fuck up here, if it’s a decision I made that didn’t get the result I was looking for, then there are hundreds of those! But if we’re talking about a genuine mistake, that would have to be the colossal error I made about two weeks into a new role.
I was about 22 at the time and, of course, thought I could do no wrong. I was eager to please and enjoyed working at pace… a deadly combination.
I was working at a Telecoms company (for my sins), and a VERY large existing client (we’re talking around a £2.5 million a year client here) was looking to migrate a batch of numbers from one network provider to another.
Cue eager me, two weeks into a role I had never done before, agreeing to take on the task. So, I completed all the required paperwork (yes, I’m that old) and passed it to my manager to review and approve. Now, she may well have stitched me up here, but we’ll never know!
Anywho, the paperwork is approved, and off it goes to the network to be processed. A few weeks later, a bill for £27,000 appears. Shit.
Turns out, on the migration paperwork, I had added the code to make all the numbers “call only” numbers, which not only came with a massive migration charge but also meant that each number had been using their associated SIM cards in dongles racked up HUGE data charges outside of their paid plan. Whoops!
I was SURE I was getting fired. Thankfully, I didn’t, and my Director (who is now my husband, but that’s a story for another day!) managed to negotiate the charges with the provider and get everything switched over to the right plan. Phew.
Now, this isn’t a regular mistake that people outside of Telecoms are going to make, but what it taught me was five important lessons.
- Take the time to review your own work, and don’t rush into completing work that you have no real experience in doing.
- You really can’t trust everyone, don’t rely on others to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
- Even colossal mistakes can be overcome when you have the right person fighting your corner.
- You never know what’s around the corner or how your relationships with people will change, so be open-minded, seek help when you need it, and don’t assume you know someone.
- Be ready to accept when you’re wrong and learn from it. Quickly.
Ok, there are a few things that piss me off about marketing and the industry.
- Everyone thinks they can do it because they can design a shit graphic on Canva and post it on social media. Marketing is SO much more than social media for a start and even if it was just about social media, delivering a good strategy goes so much deeper than basic posts.
- There are SO many people who say they can do SEO, and 99% have not a scooby what they’re actually doing. It’s no wonder most people think SEO doesn’t work when they have so much bullshit and misinformation thrown at them. Like no, getting 500 backlinks in one month is NOT good. In fact, it’s the total opposite.
- Educating people that there is a necessary baseline for marketing, i.e., there is a level you need to maintain, and you can’t always measure the ROI on that, but it WILL be there. To see real and measurable ROI, you need to be investing more than £250 a month. Fact.
- Everyone thinking that ChatGPT can solve their problems LOL! This one really makes me laugh. We often get “Can’t you just get AI to write it” and the answer is no. Now, don’t get me wrong, we use AI all the time in our work, but frankly, if you don’t know what good writing looks like or how to write for SEO, then whatever you get from AI is still not going to do that. Put shit in, get shit out. You need people that are skilled at what they do, in order to get good quality work back from it, and that, my friends, still takes time!
In business, the best piece of advice I had was to always be hiring and always be on the lookout for talent.
My industry is people-led. If you hire poorly, the service will suffer and so, I’m always on the lookout for new talent and people that can bring new ideas, new ways of working and make our service offering better.
Don’t wait until you get more clients or someone hands in their notice to start looking, recruitment is a really long process and you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation if you don’t have new talent lined up.