WHEN A CLIENT LEAVES

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The process of breaking up with a client can be hard and involve battling all kinds of emotions. I will be taking you through the 5 stages of the emotional roller coaster you may experience.

Stage 1 – Denial

“Nah it can’t be, we just had lunch with Demola the brand manager and we were brainstorming on how to launch their latest product. Demola would have told me if this was going to happen. I’m sure it’s a rumour or somebody is just having a bad day. Let me fix a meeting, there’s nothing a good meeting can’t solve.” At this stage, we can’t accept it especially when we never “experred it”

Stage 2 – Anger

“They will regret it, who else in this Nigeria can answer briefs in less than 2 hours. So Chinyere is telling me she couldn’t fight for us after we have saved her sorry ass time and time again. The same complexion that got her a job could not keep our own.  I’m sure she was in on it, pretending she was not in support. What kind of pot of beans life is this?” This is the point where you’re angry and almost losing every sense of reason.

Stage 3 – Bargaining

“Let’s send a proposal to the client, I’m sure once they see how creative we are they will stay. Talk to their procurement guy about some discounts we have been able to bag them recently. Tell Saheed to give us a month to prove ourselves, we will also have one of our staff stationed in their office so we are constantly at their beck and call.”  When you are at this point, be careful not to sell your future out of desperation.

Stage 4 – Depression

“We have to cancel the office renovation we planned, I guess we will be stuck with this sad ambience for the rest of our lives”. I don’t feel well, tell the staff I will be leaving early today. In fact, everyone can leave early today. What’s the point working so hard when they will just leave eventually” The office playlist begins to feature tracks like “When you are gone”, “How am I supposed to live without you”, “Here without you” and every other heartbreak song you can muster. This is the point where reality sets in and you have to think of your next move rather than wallow in the “what ifs?”

Stage 5 – Acceptance

“It’s going to be fine, we win some and we lose some.” You start getting ready for the next client while making sure the current ones are kept happy. You are a fighter, you have survived this long and will continue to survive.

We are all a little crazy and we all need therapy

We are all crazy and we need therapyI’m staring at my computer screen and my mouth is open, a cry of protest escapes from my lips.

Everyone turns to look at me and I’m like, “What is wrong with these people! Every time, dumb questions!”

That’s how most of my days go. Just when I was starting to have faith in the human race, I meet a new set of people – the fans on brand pages.

Let me introduce myself. My name is J. K. Rolling, and I’m an online community manager at a digital media agency. Don’t get confused; I basically have to keep people engaged on social media for brands and write content that I believe they will like.

I love what I do, but some of these dedicated fans make it a point of duty to make sure I go home frustrated every day.

I will never forget the day someone asked me whether to use a plastic cup or a glass for a certain drink.

“No, drink it in a calabash,” I responded – but only in my head.

Another annoying thing these people do is enter my messages and say hi. When I ask how I can help them, they tell me they just want to say hi to the admin. If only they knew how much work I had to do, they would leave me alone. The most annoying one was when I had to answer the same question 5 times in the same post. Do they have secret meetings and decide they are going to frustrate me?

Lucky for me, I work with a great team. We laugh about these things and see the humour in it. They are the ones who keep me from going crazy: They are my therapists.

You guys reading this may not have to deal with annoying social media fans, but I’m sure there’s something that gets you frustrated and angry at work. What I’ve learnt in this process is that not everything is worth getting angry over. Sometimes, just talking about it with your colleagues could give you a fresh perspective on these issues, or make you laugh about it. Life is too short to stay angry; we’re all a little crazy, anyway.

 

My life as a Middle man

My-Life-As-A-MiddlemanStrangely, I have always found myself in positions where I mediate between two parties. Let me just say that it is not always an exciting experience.

When I was younger, I was the middleman between my parents, bearing the brunt of the anger on behalf of the receiving party. I was also the middleman between my sister and her boyfriend, transporting sweet and bitter messages for the lovers when needed, and now that I’m all grown up, I get paid to be the middleman. Officially, it’s called being a Client Service Manager.

To use a village scenario to describe my job, the clients can be likened to “gods” of the land, the “dibia” is myself (ordained to talk to the gods and also act as the eyes of the gods) and the “villagers” are my team members, who exist to do the will of the gods, but would never want to talk to the gods directly.

If the villagers do not deliver what the gods’ expect, the gods summon the dibia and unleash their anger on him. The gods then give new, and sometimes ridiculous, instructions to the villagers. The dibia takes “the divine message” back to the villagers and the villagers in return vent on the dibia, who happens to be the bearer of bad news.

That’s the summary of my job.

There was a particular day I had a “divine meeting” with the client – the gods.  The client wanted us to do the undoable with his brand. He wanted us to smash old records and break new grounds, putting no limitation whatsoever on our creativity. This was totally strange to me; the gods are never this free with their instructions. So I asked further, “O wise one, are you sure this is what you want? I think we need to draw a limit to what can be done.”

“No! Don’t put yourself in a box! Be free, speak the language of the customers,” he responded.

I got back to the village and summoned the villagers, “Be free! Be creative! Jump into trendy conversations! Be yuppie! Be you!” I exclaimed, “These are the words of the gods”.

There was a moment of silence.

“Are you sure?” they asked, and I assured them that this was the will of the gods.

From then onward, the villagers went all out. They crossed the seven forbidden oceans, broke all ancestral customs and introduced the white man’s technics to their work. They were truly free, indeed.

The gods noticed these things and realized that they were not, in reality, ready for the changes. And so, they called for an emergency meeting with the dibia.

“Stop! No more! Delete! You misunderstood,” they screamed.

Guess who had to break the news to the excited villagers.

 

 

My Boss Happened To Me

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I started out with lots of energy and enthusiasm. As boring as the JD (Job Description) sounded on paper – Admin/PA – the job was challenging and filled with opportunities to grow beyond the current role into a career path I truly wanted – Marketing Communications. My colleagues were bright and dynamic young people with tons of ideas and we could discuss anything and see it come alive. It felt like an enchanting fairytale that held new and exciting surprises for me. I looked forward to our Monday meetings, as they were always fun and engaging.

For someone who had never worked as a PA, with very little administrative skills, I was doing amazingly well (Google was, and still is, my best friend). My boss was a public figure, so my work extended beyond the office. She was involved in speaking engagements, radio and TV shows, and I loved the fact that I could move around. She was hardworking, passionate about her career, could juggle a million things at once (ok, that’s exaggerating it) and I really admired her work ethic. She always said that a woman’s life was all about balance and being able to connect her world in a way that allowed her to find both peace and sanity in it.

Soon, I began to have more responsibilities and I took each one head-on, loving the challenges buried in each of them and being able to find solutions. With each new challenge, my boss would say, “There’s nothing you can’t do if you put your mind into it.” I became a Project Manager overseeing a new office site, a part-time accountant and then moved to my favourite area, Content.

Fast-forward a couple of months later, the marketing team seemed to have hit a roadblock as to how to carry out a certain campaign. My boss wanted fresh perspectives and asked if I wanted to assist the marketing team. We all sat, brainstormed ideas and found new ways to tackle the plan. It felt exciting, fulfilling. The brainstorming sessions made me feel alive. Something in me was awakened; even my colleagues seemed to notice too.  Over time, I started getting more involved in regular brainstorming sessions and client meetings. My interest was piqued as I reviewed content and actively participated in strategy sessions. Soon, I approached the company to review my JD to marketing. Sadly, I couldn’t at the time because there was no vacancy in the marketing department, but I was given liberty to stay involved with them.

One fateful day, one of my colleagues, Tunde, approached me and asked if I had ever considered a career in marketing communications. Of course!  I had always wanted to but didn’t know where to begin. He told me about Orange Academy and I got very interested.

I signed up for Orange Academy and discovered a world of possibilities, and I was introduced to the world of digital marketing. Digital marketing gave me an entirely different perspective in the world of communications and its ability to reach millions with a few words or images. Armed with this insight, I made a decision to pursue it head on.  I spoke with my boss and told her of my plans. She had mixed feelings but was happy I had found something I was truly passionate about, based on our frequent discussions.  I resigned from that job and began my journey into Digital marketing.

Even though I started my career in a field I knew very little about, working with her helped me discover and focus on what I truly love to do. I had thought I had my entire life figured out, but when my employer happened to me and challenged my abilities, it changed me forever.

If you’re stuck in a role that seems completely unrelated to your passion or talent, don’t be discouraged! Just stay focused and keep working hard; you never know what life-changing opportunities may come your way. *wink!

Hunger: The Birth of Creativity

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If there is anything I have learned in life, it’s that hunger is a real G. Most of the success stories I have heard and read were birthed by hunger: either the fear of it or the reality of it.

When I just moved to Lagos, I had paid my rent and fees for a certification class, but I had also been scammed and money was scarce. I thought my job would be enough but it wasn’t, the salary just couldn’t keep calm and wait till the next salary arrives before finishing!

But guess what, I was comforted by my hunger and my empty pocket because it quickly gave birth to the side hustle.

I learned to do other things. I took on clients, wrote business plans, proposals, CVs and more, for people. I had to do some things for free in order to get them to trust me with their money, but I eventually built their trust.

The process taught me that life is too short to be broke. Life is too short to be unable to provide for your kids and look into their eyes and say NO because of poverty.

Life is too short to live an unaccomplished life.

The moral of the story is this: if you’re going to be hungry, be hungry early, be hungry fast. And when you’re hungry, figure out a way to quench your hunger, because poverty is not pretty.

Sometimes, it’s alright to be motivated by the fear of poverty.

What motivates you?

 

21k Changed My Life

 

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“J. K. Rolling, get off that phone and come help me in the kitchen!”

That was my mother’s voice, one of the many voices that constantly brought me back to reality from my obsession with the Internet.

It all began when I joined Facebook. I had just finished secondary school, so it was great to see what was happening in the lives of my classmates, and I eventually became a Facebook addict. I would stay online all day commenting on status updates and posting pretty pictures of myself, and soon enough I became quite popular on Facebook. People would see me on the road and recognize me! It made me feel extremely important and gave me a sense of self-worth at the time.

A few years into my second year at the university, I became aware of another social media platform called Twitter. Apparently, Twitter was the next big thing and everyone was on it. I had even seen something on CNN about it so I decided to go check it out, but my first experience was pretty disappointing; the layout seemed drab and all I kept seeing were links and something called a ‘hashtag’. I tried to understand Twitter but soon enough, I logged out and soon forgot about it.

I got interested in Twitter again when I got my first Blackberry; a friend showed me how to use it and from that moment I was hooked.  All of a sudden, I lost my love for Facebook and I would jump on Twitter trends and conversations. I had a voice; people found me interesting and my follower count started to increase.

A few months later, I got a message from another Twitter follower asking if I would like to make money from my tweets; at that point I was having money problems so I jumped on the offer without a second thought. He added me to a Blackberry group and we started tweeting for money. I started to develop my account; I jumped on trends more and became more commercial with my tweets. I even became an admin for the student website at my school! I became known for my social media presence, and by the time I was in my final year I had over 12k followers.

It was this love for social media that led me to my career path. Having studied microbiology in university, I was technically unqualified to work in advertising or digital media. But when it was time to apply for work after graduation, it was my follower count that got me the most attention.

And with no formal training, I started my first real social media job, all because I had 21,000 followers.

“J. K. Rolling, get off that phone and come help me in the kitchen!”

Sorry, mum, I’m working!

Getting Past The Front Desk

 

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“He is not on seat.”

“Pardon?”

“I said, Oga is not on seat!”

If you have visited any offices in Lagos, you must have, at some point, had this conversation. It’s even funnier – or more frustrating – when the person you came to see walks right out of the office, just at the moment the receptionist told you he or she isn’t “on seat”.

You stare at the receptionist, look at the person you came to see, and then look back at the receptionist and she’s staring right back at you like,

What?

 You’re like, “Isn’t that…?!” and she replies you with the confidence of a thousand gods, “Like I said, Oga isn’t on seat.”

In some instances, people walk right into the office to see the person you’ve waited to see for the past hour, with cheers and hails from the same receptionist who kept you waiting.

At this point, you probably think it’s what you wore… but, nah, it can’t be, ‘cause today was one of those days you nailed it. You look at the receptionist once again: this is the 8th time you are making eye contact with her. You hope she senses the plight in your eyes and speeds up your meeting with the person you came to see, but it doesn’t work. She will attend to you when she’s ready.

Finally, she calls you up.

“What’s your name again?” she asks, ignoring the fact that this is the third time you will be introducing yourself and you’ve already filled a visitor’s form with your name written in all caps on it.

“Hello sir, a Mr Tunde is here to see you… Okay, I’ll tell him.”

Then she looks right at you and says, “He said you should give him 5 minutes.”

I’ve had my fair share of these interactions with receptionists and secretaries. You may not admit it, but right after the CEO, they are unofficially next in charge. They are the gatekeepers, the fictional Heimdall of Asgard, the guardian of the Office, defending the office personnel’s doors from any intruders, and some of the most trusted staff of the CEO.

And if like me, you’ve been stalled by numerous secretaries and receptionists, I have good news: there’s a cheat sheet for getting past them! I’ll share a few:

BE POLITE. It’s really that simple. Being polite and courteous actually gets you extra points with receptionists and secretaries. Often times you might encounter slightly rude receptionists, but the trick is keeping your cool and constantly throwing in “please”, “thank you”, “ma” and “sir” where appropriate, and watch it get you past that door faster than you think. Trust me, it works.

FURNISH THEM WITH COMPLIMENTS. I remember rolling my eyes and sighing a lot when my colleague and I walked into a lobby, and he immediately started complimenting the receptionist on her looks, dress, etc. I was like, “Can we just do what we came here for and bounce!” – but it turns out those compliments got us favourable responses from them.

Try it out: express gratitude and give compliments constantly in the process of interaction and watch doors open. It’s kinda like how foreplay… nah, ignore that. But if you know, you know.

TIPS AND GIFTS I don’t think they’re allowed to accept gifts or monetary offers… officially, but who has ever said no to a lovely tangible or monetary gift? Especially the way the economy is set up these days. They might not accept cash, but branded gifts and office items might work. Trust me, you will be remembered and in the words of Adam Levine, you will be loved.

FOLLOW-UP (Off the job) If it’s convenient and appropriate, maintain off-the-job relationships with receptionists and secretaries, especially when you constantly interact with them on-the-job. A healthy off-the-job relationship will encourage more goodwill.

And if none of these get you past the front desk with ease, look for an interesting app or engaging game on your phone and get comfortable on that couch as you wait.  I may be the one seated next to you. Say hi!