When I started working with Smirk New Media in January 2015, I had no idea that almost two years later, I’d be a full-blown strategist on the team. Beyond that, though, I had no idea what bonds and friendships I would form, how those relationships would enact positive change in my personal growth and the invaluable ways the Smirk team would prepare me for future professional success. Here’s a (short) list of some of the things I learned at Smirk New Media:

  1. The obvious: account management, strategy, platforms, analytics, etc.

In the ever-changing environment of social media and digital marketing, your job is constantly changing. What works one day may not work the next, and it’s my job to stay on top of emerging trends and platform changes. As the sole communicator for small businesses, it was of the utmost importance for me to understand the responsibility that was given to me every day. With business owners busy running their business, my services can directly affect their success or failure – that’s some scary responsibility. However, knowing that your decisions have larger ramifications than your own paycheck was a sobering and motivating factor to do my best for each client. At the end of the day, knowing the ins and outs of platforms, determining a strategy, and explaining the reasoning and results for those decisions was integral to real time successes for people trusting me to allocate their limited budgets effectively. This balance of communicating with clients, executing plans to meet their goals, and show them how I did that for them each month made me more organized, more conscientious of other people, and an all-around stronger communicator.

  1. Valuing people above their jobs benefits everyone in the end

One of the things I love the most about Smirk is that they understand that there’s life beyond work and that sometimes people need a break. It was extremely rewarding to work in an environment that was so inherently trusting that you could determine the work schedule that fit your life the best. The ability to work from home, travel to my heart’s desire, or just have the flexibility needed for life’s unexpected events was an invaluable piece of working in a team that understands a punch clock doesn’t directly correlate to productivity. As long as you did your work well, you could do it from anywhere. That being said, it was always beneficial and worth it to go into the office for collaborative brainstorming, good company, and stress-reducing laughing throughout the days.

  1. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re trying to improve

I’m thankful for the forgiving mentorship of Allie Carrick, specifically for her constructive criticism, learning opportunities, and desire to help me succeed. Under her watch, I was able to learn so much more than I could alone. I’m thankful for her allowing me to have creative freedom and evaluating what worked and what didn’t and – most importantly – WHY something did or didn’t perform well.

  1. Use the skills you have, even if they’re not in your job description

In a small team, there are needs that may be outside of your job description. At Smirk, I was able to use my personal passions for photography and other creative outlets for the betterment of the entire team. By offering my ability to take photos or videos, I was able to grow personally in those areas while helping co-workers, and ultimately our clients. This experience taught me to go above and beyond what you’re asked because it often means the betterment of everyone’s work.

  1. Self- and team-awareness is essential to success

Companies are made up of people and people have strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, along with your teammates’ goes a long way in communicating and working together. What works for communication between you and one of your coworkers may not be productive with others. Knowing these differences allow us to better communicate as a team and company. After all, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”