Last year, Emma made the amazing decision to start something new and signed up to our Social Media Management Course with the aim of becoming a freelancer and no longer being constrained to working 9-5. After 6 months of working hard, learning everything there is to know about social media and running her own live community campaign, Emma has successfully completed the course. Here she shares her thoughts on why live learning, the 'doing' part of the course and the support you get along the way really does take our training to another level.
"That’s it! After six months of hard work, it’s official – I’ve passed the course and I’m now a Digital Mum.So let’s catch up on my journey over the last six months and talk about what’s next. I signed up to the course for one reason – because I wanted to be a Freelancer. I like working from home, I like being my own boss and I like being able to pick up and put down my work at times that are convenient to me and my family. With a husband that works away a lot, including weekends, I found that being tied to an office between 9 and 5 meant that I was stuck in a hamster wheel of work and solo childcare and something really had to give.
From dabbling in blogging and social media for the best part of a decade and having a marketing background, seeing a Digital Mums advert in my Facebook feed seemed like fate and I knew then and there that it would be my lifeline to turn my social media hobby into a social media career. Digital Mums is an online course and I’ve come across criticism of whether the course is value for money when there are loads of social media courses available online that you can just download for free. However, for me the online lessons were a relatively small part of the experience. My real learning (and the bit that money can’t buy) came from the “doing” part of the course and the support I had in the form of my lovely peer group (the Social Animals) and the awesome community of Digital Mum graduates and trainees that I was welcomed into here in Bristol where I live.
Not only that, but some of the social media connections I’ve made through my campaign have turned into real life friendships. As an ex party girl in her late thirties struggling to carve out a new identity post motherhood, these new friendships based on my current passions and interests have been a real game changer for me.
Digital Mums is a “live learning” course, you learn by doing. For the last couple of months of the course, everything that you’ve learned to that point is put to the test with a campaign that you run as if you were doing it as a social media manager.My campaign was called Fashion Conscious Bristol and was all about promoting an ethical fashion message in Bristol. As it’s something I’m passionate about, I really got my teeth into engaging with influencers in my city from shops, brands and designers to connecting with the fashion editor of one of the local publications. Meeting Emma was really inspiring and she not only agreed to be interviewed for this post but asked if I’d like the chance to write a piece for Bristol 24/7 which I jumped at.
Having this article published was probably my biggest success and a real “a-ha” moment. I realised that the course was opening doors for me that I hadn’t even considered beforehand and that the writing and content creation side of social media was something I really wanted to pursue.It’s not all been rainbows and unicorns though. I realised that creating fashion content was very time consuming! Arty snaps of my flat white weren’t going to cut it. I needed dedicated time to set up and shoot outfits and get out into the city visiting shops and this really ate into my time to tackle other elements of the course while my children were at nursery.
The realities of freelance life came thumping home when I had a three day migraine that confined me to my bed but realised that I still needed to get my Instagram pictures up! I also learnt that inspiration can come in many forms. After Christmas when I felt super uninspired by fashion, that in itself became the inspiration for one of my most popular pieces of content – how to get out of a January style rut without buying anything new.
I’m now using my Digital Mums knowledge and skills to grow my own social media channels and I’m seeing writing work and brand collaboration opportunities coming in…and that’s before I’ve even thought about “doing the hustle” for clients! Some people have questioned value of this course because they don’t see the “qualification” gained as being worthwhile. As someone with Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications under my belt I can say hand on heart that this course has given me far more confidence and opportunities than that ever has.
So what’s next? After six months of hard work I thought I deserved a holiday, so I decided to piggyback onto one of my husband’s work trips and I’ve just enjoyed a week in the sunshine in Panama. Today is my first day back at my desk. I’m taking each day as it comes at the moment, continuing to grow my platforms with ethical fashion and beauty content, grabbing any writing opportunities that come my way and starting to think about reaching out to brands that I would like to work with that have an ethical standpoint.
My peer group Whatsapp group is still pinging with messages from my six friends for life as we all continue to support each other in our journeys after the course. We’re planning to celebrate our success with our first meeting in real life in a few weeks and I know there won’t be a dry eye in the house."