In this blog, Nayar, our digital marketing executive, talks about her experience of leaving and rejoining Xpand. And the reasons why she returned.
Where it began…
So there I was sitting on my sofa holding a 1-month-old baby, and contemplating what to do. I was nervous, I didn’t want to hand my baby to a stranger (childcare) and go back to doing long commutes (I was doing 5-hour commutes at one point).
I needed to find a way to ‘make money from home’ so I could be present as a parent and have a work/life balance. I turned to our good old friend ‘Google’ and started searching for answers.
I found digital marketing.
I proceeded to soak up all the knowledge I could find and took as many courses to master this skill known as digital marketing.
Once I felt confident enough I started freelancing. In the beginning, my aim was to gain as much experience as possible, over time I learned a tonne and most importantly- got better, and got even better results for my clients.
A couple of years passed like this, and then one day I messaged Jag.
Round 1: Came as a freelancer, and ended up staying!
I remember messaging Jag, Xpand’s director, on LinkedIn to offer my services as an external freelancer/partner should Xpand have any overflow work.
Jag invited me into the office in Saltaire to have a chat about it. I was ready with my sales pitch, but actually, we ended up having a friendly discussion about marketing. I remember sharing some ideas around marketing funnels, and results that I had achieved for clients.
As I didn’t have a marketing degree, I knew I had to do something out of the box to stand out and show Jag that I actually had the experience, which is why I offered to work for free for a week so Jag could see if I could actually deliver results.
To my surprise, Jag actually took me up on the offer but instead of making me work for free, he initially decided to bring me on as a freelancer, and then a couple of months in, proposed that I come on board as an employee.
My experience working with Xpand as a freelancer was so enjoyable to that point, that I actually took him up on the offer and joined Xpand as an employee.
Lots of learning and contribution
I was super excited about the opportunity to be working on the agency side of digital marketing so I dived in with both feet. At the time I was the sole digital marketer on the team so I got to implement and test a lot of ideas and use a lot of different digital marketing skills, all in an attempt to deliver great results for our clients.
One of the major things I got to contribute to, which I’m happy to see is still a huge part of Xpand today, is the SOLAR 7 model.
I still remember the day Jag walked into the office all excited about the model and then proceeded to scribble it out on the whiteboard, and how the team and I put together the bones of what is now our trademarked marketing methodology. Fun times!
I then decided to take a break, to focus on some personal projects. But Jag kept in touch, messaging me on my birthday every year.
Towards the end of 2021, one of my goals for 2022 was to get back into marketing after my break. And just like that, I got a message from Jag on my birthday asking what I’m up to.
Jag was looking to expand the team again and so we had a chat about my rejoining again.
Round 2: Same company, different structure
When I previously worked at Xpand there was no ‘marketing manager’. I was the one managing the digital marketing for clients and Xpand. So I’ll be honest, when Jag asked me to come and have a chat with Danni (the digital marketing manager) to see if she would approve of me being rehired, I was a little nervous.
I needn’t have been. Danni and I got on like a house on fire, we had a great chat. We also bounced around ideas we could execute not only for clients but for Xpand’s marketing too. All in all, I left the meeting feeling energised and hopeful.
The next day Jag made the call, and we agreed for me to rejoin in January 2022, I was excited to come on board again. I was also super pumped that I had just achieved one of my goals for 2022 before the year had even begun!
However, as I got closer to January, imposter syndrome started kicking in. As I’d had a break from agency life for a while I started doubting my abilities and questioning the decision to re-enter digital marketing.
This quickly disappeared though as Danni had put a thorough structure in place as part of my induction and training plan, which quickly brought me up to speed with all things digital marketing.
This meant that within a couple of weeks, I was back up to speed and felt like I’d never left.
Being a solo parent, work/life balance and flexibility are my highest priority.
Things like being able to pick up and drop my daughter off at school myself, being available for school events and sports days and having flexibility during the holidays mean that I’ve always been quite selective in where I choose to work.
Xpand has a really supportive and inclusive culture. On both occasions, before joining I made Jag aware of the flexibility I was looking for and on both occasions he has been super supportive of this decision.
As a result, we’ve developed a hybrid working structure that works for me and Xpand.
This is something that I value hugely, as it allows me to balance my parenting responsibilities with work. Which means I am much more focused and can perform my best at work.
Small team, big opportunities
In the past, I’ve found that in bigger companies (with hundreds of staff) you can easily become a number, just one more cog in the machine.
What I’ve always liked about Xpand is that the small team environment means that you’re treated as an individual, and that means your development and growth are also treated as such.
I’ve always admired how Jag is focused on developing us all as team members and there are ample opportunities for growth, so much so that it’s actually one of Xpand’s core values – always evolve.
A great example of this was just recently. I had been managing Xpands webinars and events for a couple of months, and during my reviews, myself and Danni, my manager, recognised that this was something I was excelling at.
There’s just something about planning, organising and executing a project from start to finish that I seem to enjoy. Project managing Xpand’s events was my newfound love.
Danni and I spoke about this extensively, and because I wanted to gain more experience in this area we decided to make it part of my daily role.
I now project manage all of Xpand’s events, and while being a digital marketing executive, I’m gaining valuable skills in the event and project management space too.
Another area that I love is video marketing. I’ve had many personal projects that have involved video content creation (including a YouTube channel and TikTok) where I have honed these skills.
Again, this is something that we had discussions around, resulting in the fact that I am now heavily involved in anything that involves video at Xpand.
Anyone that knows me personally, knows that I pretty much thrive on growth. It’s a huge pillar in my personal life, so finding a company that also has this as part of its DNA is pretty cool.
This is why I was more than happy to rejoin Xpand in 2022, and am equally excited about what the future holds.
Interested in building a career at Xpand? Keep an eye on our careers page.