'Too many people say no to opportunities', says The Social Partners' Chi

Take every opportunity that comes your way.

Marketing is actually my third career – I was previously an investment banker and an actor. I got into marketing by accident when I became a YouTube influencer ten years ago. I still make YouTube videos today but I have evolved as the marketplace has evolved. When a new platform emerges, I try to understand it as much as I can. I want to be at the forefront of the technology and understand the platforms more than any of my industry peers. 

With more than 115,000 followers online and millions of views, I am now ranked the number one dad blogger online worldwide and among the top ten food Instagrammers in the UK. The stats and followers are nice to have, but what’s more important is the knowledge I can pass on to my clients, offering value above and beyond my competition. 

Work hard. As I started my marketing career comparatively late, I was always playing catch-up to assimilate knowledge from my agency peers. I didn’t read marketing books, I didn’t study marketing and I didn’t understand the jargon flooding my ears. I tried to absorb as much as I could and put it into practice. I used to get up at 3.40am every day to get to work and often finished work past 10pm. Ten years on, I still get up at 3.40am. The difference now is that I will leave by 4pm to get home to my family and be available online and on my phone.  

Be there for your clients. As a director of three departments, I have to be as good at client relationships as I am as a business director. My door is always open to anyone in my agency and to my clients. They are free to contact me 24/7. I had one client contact me on Facebook Messenger at 2am once because he was jetlagged from a trip and just needed someone to chat to. I don’t find that irritating; it validates the close relationship I have with my clients.

Work smart. I’m crap at following rules. When I was in banking, I used to write Excel macros to shortcut repetitive work. When I was an actor, I got signed to an agent and featured in a Robbie Williams video within two weeks. It’s not that the rules don’t work; it’s just often there are better ways of doing things. But I don’t blindly use other people’s shortcuts. Why use an expensive piece of software to achieve a task when a macro on Excel can do a better job? 

Meet people. Marketing is a people game. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you find. I used to attend every networking gig and handed out my business card to everyone in the room. Now I keep most of my networking online. I met Ted Coiné via one of his tweets. A few emails later, we had a video chat on Skype. A year later, I am one of 50 in his Extraordinary Influencer Network. 

Say yes to opportunities. Too many people say no to opportunities. Some of those will do well in life. Most will not. I’ve seen many people fall by the wayside because they didn’t say yes to opportunities. Writing this was an opportunity; entering the Media Week 30 Under 30 was another. Take your opportunities. Most lead nowhere, some may cost you, but a few will help you succeed quicker.

Kwai Chi is the director of media, optimisation and video for The Social Partners; Chi featured in Media Week’s 30 Under 30 in 2012.

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