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What the Future Holds For Me - Design, Creative Direction, Marketing and Growth Management

Photography has been a fantastic career. And I'm still at it. But things have changed for me over the last year, as they have for probably most people. I was an Art Director of Photo & Video--my dream job on paper--until the company I was working for became one of many unfortunate casualties of the huge volatility that resulted from Covid-19. Two days after Christmas I was laid off. It's ok. I knew it would get me eventually, as I had dodged their first two rounds of layoffs due to my charming personality and remarkably good looks.

Although this was a seriously stressful time for me, I decided to rise to the challenge. I had done good work during my time there, and would try to leverage that experience and work to make my next role a step up rather than a lateral or backwards move. I interviewed for positions all over the country, sometimes doing 5 interviews for each position. I got no offers. In the meantime, I began a contract as a brand auditor for a local tech startup. I have experience with design and I was excited for this opportunity to not only pay rent, but also to build and broaden my portfolio. It went great, and just as I was about to really run with it, I received two job offers.

One was a Creative Director role which was blowing my mind, and the other was a Growth Manager role that was blowing my mind. Double-mind-blow. I spend a lot of time imagining what my next career steps will be, and I had split my future reality in two, like The Avengers did in Endgame. My natural path was a creative one. It's what I've always done, so naturally I'd continue doing it. My diverging reality was in Marketing. I have a good instinct for business, and had been paying close attention over the years as I'd supplied marketers with good creative and followed their decisions and results. So here I was, with an offer to be a Growth Manager, which is basically a marriage of marketing and data analysis, and an offer to be a Creative Director. Incredible.

As I explored both, I started to feel like I was being set up to fail at the Creative Director job. They would use me to get their product going and then drop me when the brand was acquired. They would overwork me and underpay me because they didn't care about the long term. They didn't say this, of course, but sometimes you just know. I accepted the Growth Manager role.

Doing new things is uncomfortable, but I love learning. I want, above all else, to become more than I am. In my current role as growth manager, I'm solely responsible for all of the following:

  • Design

  • Website

  • Photography/Video

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Business Analysis

  • Ad/Media Buying

  • Email list & Campaigns

  • Running Sales/Discounts

  • Influencer Relationships

  • Increasing Revenue

  • Managing Relationships With Ad/Copywriting Agencies

  • Monitoring & Understanding Customer Behavior

There's probably more, but so far so good. That's quite a set of responsibilities for a photographer to handle. And it sure has been. But it's going great and I'm having a great time. I feel like I'm in an incubator, growing and learning until one day I'll emerge more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Like Goku training in the gravity chamber.

And so it goes. My goal is to make it to this December with revenue for that month at %200 of last year's December revenue. Right now we're right around 130%, so there's work to do, but it's a great start.

I love photography, and will still be doing it; however, I want to have the same mastery of all aspects of business. I have 29 more years until retirement, and it would seem a shame to do nothing but what I'm comfortable with that whole time. There's so much more to learn.

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