We continue our interview series into the world of business management with Joel Stein, Search and Media Manager at Code Computerlove. Joel talks about moving into a position of management for the first time as well as the range of skills he uses on a daily basis.
What is a typical day for you?
One of the things I love about working in this industry is the variety, so it does feel a tad difficult to outline a typical day. I’ll go with a Monday to make it a bit easier. Shortly after I arrive, we have a team weekly kick-off meeting. This is a great routine as it ensures we’re all aware of what’s going on and helps encourage collaboration. Once that’s done, there are some weekly client reports to send out. After that, I’ll usually be cracking on with client work, supervising our junior execs, and liaising with our other internal teams.
I do get out of the office quite a bit to see clients, and occasionally take my laptop down by the canal if the weather’s really nice – it’s always good to get away from the desk now and then.
What motivated you to get into the world of business?
My passion was always for writing. After finishing with education, I was doing a lot of freelance copywriting, and that gave me some great insights into the business models and marketing challenges of a wide range of companies. I really enjoyed the feeling of doing something visible, that was making a difference to the businesses I worked with – I was able to be creative, but was also doing something with tangible, measurable impact. I was eventually offered a full-time job by an agency I was freelancing for, and I’ve never looked back.
Who inspires you?
Cheesy maybe, but my mum is a massive inspiration. She has made a living as an artist, and as well as inspiring me to be a free-thinking, creative kind of guy, she has also instilled the value of hard work in me from an early age, always leading by example. She’s a perfectionist for sure, and I guess I’ve inherited that too. As a massive Man United fan, I’m also inspired by Sir Alex Ferguson – an absolute living legend. I’m actually going to watch him give a talk about leadership next month, which I’m hugely looking forward to.
What hobbies do you feel have helped you in your working life?
I run a Man United blog in my spare time. This has been a great platform for learning and experimenting with all things digital. We’re close to the 100,0000-visits-a-month mark, so I think it’s going OK!
I’m also into photography, which has come in handy on a few occasions. I guess being a decent cook also has its benefits – we have plenty of bake-offs and afternoon teas at Code Computerlove, and it’s always nice to be able to contribute something people enjoy.
How did you make yourself stand out from the crowd during recruitment?
Although I haven’t ended up working as a journalist, I have an MA in Media and Journalism, and that has definitely been a plus. Content marketing and PR are increasingly central to SEO, and having this background means I understand what makes content newsworthy. I also showcase some of my photography on my CV, because why not!
What should graduates know about moving from an entry-level position to one of management for the first time?
For me, my biggest mistake when initially stepping up to a management role was being afraid to ask for help. I started working extra hours, taking on more responsibility, and basically just tried to do too much. My advice when making this transition would be to make sure you’re getting the support you need and deserve. No matter how great you are at your job or how strong your organisational skills, the challenge of managing a team and being accountable for the results will take a bit of adjusting to. But as long as there’s good communication with whoever’s supervising you, they should be able to help you through the adjustment.
What’s one thing students can do today to help prepare them for the future?
If you want to get into digital marketing, register a domain and start experimenting. If opportunities aren’t coming your way, there are other things you can do to make your CV awesome such as volunteering and freelancing. Always be open to learning new things, but if there’s one thing you’re passionate about, make sure you don’t neglect it. Sorry, that was totally more than one thing!