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6 principles for success in your digital career

6 principles for success in your digital career Kevin Long

For some people, success is a goal. For others, it's a way of life. 


When thinking about success, we often forget that it's a combination of professional accomplishment and personal happiness. When you're new to this industry, it's easy to find yourself sacrificing one in search of the other. After a couple years of learning and exploring all that this industry has to bring, we've realized that success is a process that starts when you're new to the industry. It's a process that takes time and requires a deeper level of understanding and commitment that can only be taught by those who've already found it.    



Co-author Matt Giarratano is manager, account strategy at Catalyst:SF.

As people at the launch of our careers, we find ourselves constantly striving to find what it takes to be professionally successful. We wanted to gather a broader perspective, so we talked to successful industry leaders to solicit their points of view.


The expertise that these people bring to our industry spans all facets of our business. Each has found success through own unique experiences and has shared them with us to help guide the newcomers of this industry who strive for the same achievements. Their thoughts have helped us identify the following six principles that are necessary for achieving success: 



  1. Passion. Having passion for what you do is as important as garlic in Italian cuisine -- it's gotta be in everything or it isn't authentic. Seriously though, have you ever met a successful person who hates their job? Sarah Fay, former president of Aegis North America said it best: "One measure of success is how you feel on Monday mornings.  Do you look forward to taking on the week? Are you passionate about your job, the company you are a part of, and your ability to make a difference?" In order to go the extra mile and stand out above the rest, you've got to have passion fueling you forward. There's no best practice for finding passion. You either have it or you don't."


  2. Value. If you aren't adding it, you're diminishing it. Ask yourself, "Why should my manager include me in the meeting?" Are you going to sit there and say nothing, or speak up and contribute to the conversation? Doug Weaver, founder of Upstream Group says, "You need to create value that would not be there without you." Don't wait around for someone to ask you for something. Figure out what needs to get done, and volunteer to take on the challenge. You have to take it upon yourself to become integral to the success of your company.


  3. Intellectual mastery. Do you know the differences among all the ad networks? Don't worry, no one does. But can you at least have a competent conversation about the growing complexities between ad networks, DSPs, and exchanges? Thought leaders are a hot commodity, and the only way to get there is by constantly training yourself to be smarter. Being a go-getter is great, but that doesn't make you smarter than anyone else. As Brad Berens, chief content officer for dmg :: events says, "There's nothing worse in the world than an idiot with initiative." 


  4. Fearlessness. Lance Armstrong said, "If you worried about falling off the bike, you'd never get on." Fear is the number one element that holds back potential and opportunity. Successful people take risks, make decisions, and do whatever it takes without looking back. Jon Raj, founder and managing partner at Cello Partners attributes "always reaching beyond my comfort zone" as the one thing he did early in his career that contributed most to his success. Raj says, "Be nervous, be excited, be scared -- feel alive." The people that are too timid to take chances are the people that work in mediocrity. 


  5. Relationships. No matter what anyone says, people prefer to do business with those they trust. Brad Berens comments, "It's a paradox, but in an industry defined by technology, what separates the A players from the B players are personal networks." If you notice, Berens mentions "personal networks" and not "professional networks." If you can't find a way to connect with colleagues on a personal level and have genuine relationships, how can you expect them to help you when you need them most? If you see yourself in this industry for the long haul, get out there and meet the people who will be there with you for the rest of your career. 


  6. Dedication. Successful people are more than just the sum of their parts. The second you get complacent is the second you realize you've lost your luster. Think about it, when was there a time you were successful at something you didn't dedicate yourself to? It's a full-time job that follows you from the beginning to the end of your career. 

Want to get ahead in digital? For more ways to move your digital career forward, take advantage of the iMedia Job Board. See the latest job postings.

Committing to these six principles is an essential part of being successful in this industry. However, the one underlying element that all of the successful industry leaders agreed on is that in order to be successful at work, you must be committed to being successful in everyday life. The true key to success is to adopt these principles as a way of life in everything that you do. Chris Arens, partner of services at Catalyst:SF said it best; "Money and prestige are hollow without the support system of life to share it with."


At the end of the day, success equals happiness. How happy are you in your life, in your work, and in your career? Make these six principles a way of life and we promise you'll be the successful person you've always strived to be.


Kevin Long is partner services director at Catalyst:SF.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Catalyst S+F is the worlds first marketing capital firm. We focus on strategies and fundamentals as means for driving growth in emerging media. We primarily work with two types of companies: Venture Capital and Angel Funded Companies - We develop...

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Commenter: Christopher Nutile

2010, August 01

Excellent article for success in any industry. Recruiting in the Digital space for the last 12 years has given me the opportunity to meet incredibly passionate people.

As Sarah Fay, says "One measure of success is how you feel on Monday mornings." That is when you know the difference between having a job or a mission.

Great Article!

Commenter: Keri Albers

2010, July 28

Gents, I'm so proud of you guys. Great article and I wholeheartedly agree with the 6 stated principles. Love the Chris A quote. Bravo!