In 2012, I had a big choice to make: head to university or move to Canada for the adventure of a lifetime. I bravely chose the latter. After some hard-work and saving in 2013, I packed my bags and said bye to my friends and family in the UK for 1 year. The original 1 year turned out to be 3 and a half and included living in and travelling to various countries.
The time I had taken away from school really allowed me to discover where my passions were and where I wanted to end up. I knew I wanted to go back to school and live in Vancouver, the rest I would figure out along the way.
A couple of months into university in 2017, I realized my dream of becoming a digital marketer. If you’re on this blog post, you’re probably considering this yourself. That means you probably know that the path to getting a career in digital marketing isn’t as simple as saying you want to do it and then getting it done.
Most entry-level positions require 1-2 years of experience and a wealth of subject knowledge. I knew to get ahead I would have to find someone willing to take a chance on this self-confessed digital marketing nerd with a desire to learn.
With COVID-19 just ramping up here on the West Coast, I was just about giving up on my hopes of securing digital marketing work experience over the summer. Then stepped in Sam and the team at ElementIQ. It was late one Wednesday afternoon when I came across them on Instagram.
I immediately checked out their website and saw that they were a digital marketing agency in Vancouver, who actively hired interns. I sent a quick message asking if there were any opportunities and got invited to send an application through their website. Was this fate? Excited to find out, I eagerly sent my resume and cover letter through.
A couple of Zoom interviews later, I was invited to join ElementIQ’s small but mighty team as a remote intern, alongside another successful applicant. Here is how my first week unfolded:
Day One - My First Day
Nervous and excited to start my first remote day at ElementIQ, I logged on to Zoom at 10:00am to meet with Andrea and Patricia (the intern I would be working alongside).
The day began with Andrea introducing us to all the tools that they use to communicate and create efficiency. We set up our company emails and got acquainted with Teamwork, Slack, and general practices that the team uses to organize themselves. It’s fair to say that my head was spinning and I knew I would need to get hands-on practice to get used to these tools.
Andrea then told us that she had arranged for us to have 1 on 1’s with each team member. This was daunting at first but I quickly realized how friendly and supportive the team was. Even though we are only able to connect virtually right now, I really appreciated getting the chance to know everyone individually, as well as what makes each of them tick,
Day Two - My First Daily Huddle
Tuesday began with my first 15-minute daily huddle. Each team member takes turns to share their wins, blockers (external things that are preventing them from moving forward) and big rocks (tasks) for the day.
A team member then shares a quote or something interesting they have found and this morning was no different. Brendan shared this quote with us:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
This perfectly foreshadowed the week of learning I had ahead of me. It motivated and inspired me to begin another day of soaking all the new information in.
On Tuesday afternoon, we got to take a deeper look into how Teamwork is used effectively to organize tasks between team members. Having the hands-on practice that I had yearned for allowed me to get to grips with the system. As a lover of lists, I knew I was going to enjoy this platform and the way it allows users to organize collaborative projects.
Day Three - My First Client Introductions
By now you may have guessed that Day 3 was full of a lot of learning opportunities. Today was spent taking a deeper look into ElementIQ’s clients; from the prospecting and the initial onboarding process, right through to the creation of client strategy.
In the afternoon, we then got to dive into all the different elements of digital marketing with Andrea. We covered SEO, web development, and social media to name a few. My inner nerd took over and I was lapping up all the information with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas. We discussed how each different channel plays its part in bringing a client's business into the forefront of their customers’ minds. We also analyzed previous campaigns allowing us to get an idea of what ElementIQ is capable of.
This was by far, one of my favourite sessions in my jam-packed week. It further reiterated my passion for the world of digital marketing and all the possibilities that lie within it.
Day Four - My First Weekly Meeting
Thursday was spent taking a first look at account management and what it takes to be a good account manager. I learned that there are certain skills that can make a good account manager a great one! Such as; communication, organization, strong industry experience, and a thirst for knowledge and new ideas. All of which I hope to build on during my internship.
Each Thursday, the ElementIQ team gets together for a weekly meeting. During the meeting, they discuss the previous week and then a team member hosts a deep dive into a topic of their choice. As this was the first weekly meeting for us new interns, the team went easy on us and we enjoyed a roundtable where each member got to sum up their 1:1 meetings and snippets they had discovered about each other.
In order to keep creativity high while working from home, the team has also implemented weekly dress up themes for the meetings. This week's theme was ‘Unda Da Sea’ derived from characters related to Little Mermaid. I had fun raiding my closets for 15 minutes before the meeting and getting ready to showcase my new found self as Flounder. However, I was outrageously outdone by Lincoln, who had cleverly turned himself into Ariel with items he had around the house.
As a person who grew up playing competitive sports, I have a natural desire to win. I did not take this defeat lightly and I am looking forward to getting another go at claiming the title of ‘best dressed’ next week!
Day Five - My First Shadow
In most cases, employees longingly count the days to Friday and the beginning of their weekend. However, I’d had so much fun and enjoyed all the learning I had experienced over the last week. I can honestly say, a week has never gone faster for me.
On Day 5, our morning was spent hearing about ElementIQ’s humble beginnings from Sam. We learned how they had scored their first client and built lasting relationships with strong forces in the industry.
A solid foundation that attracts an expert team that continuously produces quality work.
In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to independently explore all the tools and processes that we had experienced throughout the week. This time was beneficial, as someone who learns by doing, I really got to hone in and practice everything we had been taught, ready for the following week.
I was also invited to my first shadow session where I got to listen in on a brainstorming session for an email campaign for a client. I really appreciated that the team had thought about how to include me and provide valuable education opportunities, even while operating remotely.
The week was wrapped up by completing a personality test. This is an enjoyable and remarkable initiative that can give greater insight into how a team can work best together. My results were ridiculously accurate. Having a better understanding of myself will allow me to work with my strengths throughout the internship.
More Firsts to Come
As an avid traveler, I am always seeking firsts. Whether that be the chance to travel to a new place for the first time or learn something new. Even just 5 days into my internship, I know this desire will be filled at ElementIQ.
Being able to score an internship where the company invests in your learning as much as you do, makes me feel incredibly lucky. The organization and commitment to adding value for interns is clear to see in just a few short days. On Teamwork, I can see the roadmap that is laid out ahead of me.
If you need me in the next couple of months, my time will be spent nerding up on SEO, graphic design, web development, analytics, and social media marketing. Oh, and trying to earn that coveted ‘best dressed’ award!