Earlier this week Laura and Emily got involved in the ‘She Does: A Day in Digital’ event as part of Leeds Digital Festival. If you didn’t make it to the talk, have a read of Emily’s summary below.
She Does Digital is a collective of people in Leeds who work in the digital industry with the mission to encourage more women to pursue careers in digital. They invited Laura and I, as well as a few other fabulous females from across the city, to prepare short talks that would give some insight into our roles and as well as give a flavour of what it would be like to walk a day in our shoes.
The event was held at Belgrave Music Hall in town. With the beer and wine flowing and a full house, we knew we were in for a good night.
We got to enjoy talks from loads of brilliant women all talking about their experiences working in the digital industry and then it was our turn to get up on stage and have our moment to shine!
The core of our presentation was ‘10 Top Tips on How to Survive Life in a Digital Agency’ and so I wanted to share them far and wide, in case anyone else finds them useful.
Get comfortable… feeling uncomfortable
It takes guts to step outside of our comfort zone and once we are out in the wild, it can all be pretty daunting. When we are brave enough to try something new or take on a new challenge, it can take time to get to grips with it. This is just the process of learning and in an ever-changing digital world, there will always be something new to learn.
Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a while to get the hang of a new process or a new way of doing something just enjoy the ride and be proud of yourself for learning something new!
With the world of digital constantly evolving, no one expects you to know everything but it is important to make the most of the experts around you. Be proactive, ask questions and take the time to understand the wider context around different topics.
By asking questions you will develop a broader understanding of the environment in which you operate in and increase your knowledge.
Seek out mentorship
Try and find someone that you admire and can learn from. Take the time to build an open and honest relationship with them and use their expertise to help you build your knowledge and shape your path.
Gill Ball, one of our managing partners, has been a real support for me and my self-development. The odd 20 minute catch up here and there really can be so invaluable.
Keep talking, and keep learning from the best!
Treat people with the same respect you want to be treated
An agency culture requires the strongest team spirit. Whether you’re an intern or a board director it’s important to treat everyone equally regardless of job title. “Treat everybody with the same respect that you would like to be treated with”… by working as a team and having mutual respect for each other, you will achieve great things together.
It can be daunting to be sat around the table with older, more senior people BUT remember that you have a point of view, you have value and you’re allowed to challenge people regardless of their role or gender!
But…. do your research
Whilst it is ok to have a challenging opinion, it is important to make sure you have taken the time to do your background research and really understand why you have the opinion that you have
Remember it’s ok to take a step back and buy yourself some time to really think things through before coming back with your point of view. People will respect you a lot more if you can present a clearly thought out, well-articulated argument as opposed to just adding fuel to the fire.
Be a master of spinning plates
There will always be multiple projects, clients, deadlines and priorities. The key to success in a digital agency is to keep as many plates spinning as you can.
Decision making is key and prioritising the plates you need to, whilst keeping other spinning. Adapt processes and plans to achieve deadlines quickly and efficiently whilst maintaining high standards and quality outputs. It’s a balancing act. Communicate your decisions within your team so everyone is aware of the new plan.
Be a swan
Stay calm on the service, even if the panic has set in underneath! But rather than flapping, the most valuable thing you can do for your team is to stay calm, be flexible and approachable and provide solutions to help keep projects on track.
It’s ok to cry
There is no denying that agency life can sometimes be stressful and far too often people can bottle up the emotion they really feel. It’s ok to be vulnerable and feel what you need to feel. After all, we are humans and we’re not robots. It’s ok to feel emotion at work and you should never feel pressured to hold it all in. If you need to take 5 minutes for a walk and a cry… that’s ok! Get it out of your system and come back ready to be a swan and get those plates spinning again.
Never give up
Set yourself achievable goals. Accept that’s sometimes you have to take two steps back to take three steps forward as you face challenges … but that is fine.
Accept that sometimes you may fail, but use it as a learning curve and it will help develop you as a person.
Keep focused and be proactive.
Above all enjoy the journey!