You can work for others, but please work according to your rules. Do not allow yourself to burn out and divide priorities. And give visibility to many businesses through training on how to be more visible on the market. Seems too demanding? However, it is achievable when you decide to work for yourself after 20 years of working for others. We present the path to building such a career and how important marketing is today for maintaining a business in the new BTS story—introducing Barbara Slade Jagodić, a mompreneur and digital marketer who deals with education.
She is a professor of English and Italian language and literature by profession, and today a mompreneur who deals with digital marketing and education. What the career development path looked like, Barbara is discovering to us.
Everyone’s development path is different, and it is difficult to repeat because it often involves the right moment but also the character and skills of the person. It was the same with me.
I am an extremely extroverted person. I have no problem talking anywhere and with anyone as long as I know the subject. Of all my creative talents, writing has always been good for me.
Although I thought I would be a professor already at the university, I had the opportunity to work on news portals that had just started to exist then. I automatically fell in love with journalism. But when web journalism went downhill through clickbait, I had just discovered Facebook and its possibilities, and soon after, Twitter and LinkedIn.
There were some groups of digital people where I regularly wrote about what I was doing and helped others to get started, so somehow I unexpectedly established myself as one of the TOP social media people at that time.
As social media became increasingly a platform for marketing, not only news and entertainment, I started to learn even more about the online world. Soon, I worked in the largest regional corporation, where I was involved in the digital activities of about 20 companies.
I can say that it was a very intense period but very “breaking” for me. I learned something every day, and as a person who held a position in a well-known corporation, I met many people. I burned out there more than once, from expectations and constant work, but also from seeing how those who are primarily eligible progress, not those who are capable.
But it was a bit boring for me on the one hand because I don’t like just to work. I missed that didactic moment, so I started teaching at the LSPR school and then holding my training courses, which later served as a beautiful introduction to my independent business.
You worked for 20 years for others and then decided it was time to start your own business. What prompted you to do so, and what are the advantages and challenges of such a decision?
Motherhood was a turning point for me to enter the entrepreneurial waters. During my career, I observed how people treat women returning from maternity leave and all mothers who sometimes stay home because their child is sick.
It was terrible to see what these women went through, from being degraded to being isolated, and often colleagues who are not mothers would label them non-workers and be angry that they go home at 5 p.m. Yes, colleagues, too, not just bosses.
Mother entrepreneurs work mainly with massive remorse if they put their children before work. And actually, it should be like that!
That’s why I quit my job on the last day of maternity leave and became a solopreneur—someone who controls her time and can be with the child when and as much as needed.
As I read this, I have been going through my daughter’s fourth viral infection in the last two months. An employer to whom I would have to tell that I will be at home 50 out of 60 days would not be delighted, I’m sure, even though I can work from home and I have witnessed that working mothers are often better organized and more efficient than those who do not care “what will others say to my work.”
LinkedIn is the primary social network for many regarding business. However, how to deal with communication in a sea of endorsements and self-promotion? What to focus on when it comes to this network?
It depends on what LinkedIn is for you: to get a better job, to make presentations, to expand your business, to attract employees…
LinkedIn is a great network where you can create excellent visibility and create a decent source of income from that network.
The first and primary thing is to create a LinkedIn profile that will be clear and encourage others to interact with you. Then it’s a matter of creating content and socializing with other LinkedIn members through active commenting.
BTS is an abbreviation for our column Behind the success or the scene. What is behind your success, and how much effort is visible with the result?
It seems to some that I am talking and talking a little, and here I am, successful. But I did a lot of writing and speaking for 20 years at different jobs, learned a lot outside of my primary job, gave up on things when they didn’t work out, and tried others.
My goal was to work as little as possible as an entrepreneur because of that famous balance between private and business life. I achieved this because I only work 6 hours a day.
I don’t want to expand the business because I don’t want to be superior to anyone anymore. I get tired when others depend on me, or I am responsible for other people’s mistakes. I have a daughter for that.
How do you compare and evaluate the business before digital marketing, and what are the main advantages of today’s communication and advertising on the web?
Today, even with small budgets, we can create a miracle.
In an interview, you said that not all of us could do everything we set our minds to; a dose of talent is needed. When did you discover your talent, and how do you think talent is nurtured, honed, and perfected?
I’ve always known that I write well, and I’m also communicative, so I didn’t reveal anything particular about myself in that sense… I knew that I wanted to work with people, that I wanted to use the didactic element and be helpful to others.
My disadvantage or advantage (depending on who looks at it) is that I don’t run after money. The corporation told me I was not ambitious enough because I did not want certain positions. Still, my ambition is related to something other than a higher salary but to a better life. I only accept some clients now as an entrepreneur; I know how much time I have and if I can fit it in, great. If that would require me to go through burnout again, there is no way.
Money is never enough; you can always earn more…but then when will you live?
Today, we are all a click away from the perfect publication, promotion, in the extreme, one would say, even life. Does quality lose its importance because of the speed with which everything is achieved?
Everyone publishes something, and mostly they copy others, so we get various imitators, and it becomes boring. Influencers have accelerated this saturation because they post tons of content every day, and somehow everything is fake, and the quality is based on filters and faking life.
Kudos to a few real influencers in our country; very few do not sell themselves for a cream or a set of glasses but insist on originality and quality.
I praise the pharmacist Bojana, who has been an excellent example of an authentic influencer lately.
How much have you achieved thanks to persistence and individual approach, and how much to teamwork throughout your career?
I am pretty independent, and my grumpy nature and life circumstances (poverty in my childhood and the death of both parents during my schooling) shaped me to try to get through all life’s challenges on my own. I know I can, and I know I’m smart, no matter how vain this sounds now. And I’m persistent; I wouldn’t say I like giving up when you get stuck. Modesty kills progress, and women often raise us to be modest and not aggressive like men, so men progress while we look at their backs.
Sometimes I get stuck. Everyone gets stuck.
And when you get stuck, you need others. First, I don’t know everything I’d like to learn, and I’m not afraid to admit it and ask. I don’t care if someone thinks, “how come you don’t know that?” I don’t know, but I’ll see if I’m interested.
I have attended 101 educations in my life. But it is best to surround yourself with quality people who will teach you something, guide you, and open your eyes. I had a couple of good people who were my “career crutch,” and I am immensely grateful to them for that. Unfortunately, I have to say that they were all men. And no, there was no sex. I’m confident enough that I don’t need the “sex with the boss” joker to get ahead.
What is the definition of good marketing, in your opinion?
Guess what’s bothering a person and be there when he needs you; that is when he needs help. Often people need to learn what or who they need, but they Google to find out information, learn, buy… And that’s where I come in with my SEO optimization service for clients – I help them be visible to users when they are ready to act.
Where do you see the future of advertising, and what advice do you have for all future digital marketers?
A bit of AI came into our game, and now we are all waiting to see what will happen there. Some things will be speeded up and automated, but quality professionals should not be afraid of being replaced by machines. I expect a decline in the employment of people in customer services, creative agencies, and content writers who do not offer added value.
It will be interesting to see what will happen with copyright as AI uses already available materials created by someone.