Digital marketing is one of the most dynamic industries today. This makes it an exciting field to enter, albeit a challenging one as well. Should you focus your efforts into mastering search engine optimization? Or are you better suited as a conversion optimization expert? Such questions linger in the minds of aspiring digital marketers. Hafiz Muhammad Ali found himself in the same position not too long ago. Today, he has five successful companies under his belt. His experience and skills have earned him countless loyal clients, but he never forgets his roots.
We feel privileged for having Mr. Hafiz Muhammad Ali with us for a short interview.
1) Mr. Hafiz, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us today. Can you paint us a picture of what it was like when you were just getting your feet wet in the world of digital marketing?
At the time I started my digital marketing career, which was a decade ago, digital marketing was a new field that wasn’t taught in universities. So, you couldn’t get a degree in it. What came naturally to me was to try my best until I find what works. In other words, I took the trial and error path. Later on, I obtained my certifications, and it worked out well. However, the constant technological growth in the world made a shift in education. Now you can have your bachelor’s and master’s degree in digital marketing from prominent universities across the UK. Also, the digital world has changed the career roadmap; recruiters are looking for fresh graduates or people with marketing/digital marketing/business degrees to offer them a position in their company, which was impossible when I started out. It’s an excellent opportunity for young people wishing to get their place in the market, as well as those who have a business degree and are willing to learn more.
The marketing industry evolved enormously in the past few years, making digital marketing one of the leading branches. It is an incredibly competitive field with thousands of companies wanting to get on top of their marketing game and become leaders in their respective niches. The algorithms are becoming more complex and sophisticated, and you have numerous business models to follow. You can choose the content about almost anything you want to learn online. There are videos, courses, and blogs that help you to learn by following easy steps. If you want to achieve your goals, there’s a playbook for everything just a click away.
2) The early days of your first company must have been terrifying, especially without a mentor to guide you through the process. How were you able to stay motivated and cope up with all the challenges that came your way?
It was extremely difficult at times. When I look back, I can say that having a mentor would’ve forged my own path much sooner, and I probably would have made important decisions much easier. So, getting started was the toughest part of my career. I experimented with pretty much everything I did but learned a lot along the way. It’s the main reason behind writing Digital Passport; to save time and money for those just starting out in digital marketing and to eliminate the frustration that comes with building your business.
The three things that helped me to stay motivated are challenges, resistance, and constant change. It’s true that I would not have found those had I never entered the entrepreneurial life. I went through many trials and errors to get where I want to be. I was able to stay motivated was the need to constantly learn, experiment, and There’s a quote I like which is relevant to the topic: “The cream always rises to the top.” In other words, the best decision for starting out in digital marketing is to create a blog, make a YouTube or Instagram profile to figure out what you think is right for you and others and to keep on trying.
3) You often share that your passion is to help aspiring digital marketers get started in the industry. This came in the form of the “Digital Passport,” a book that introduces the different facets of digital marketing and how one can progress in each field. Since the various aspects of digital marketing now seem to be interconnected, would you say that your book remains relevant?
Think about the fact that the internet is 20 years old, but unlike other economic models, such as the stock market, it continues to grow. Sadly, only 22% of traditional businesses went online and started to market their products or services online. There’s a massive gap between the market that exists exclusively in brick and mortar version, while more and more people will instead shop online and have their items delivered home. That gap is only going to reduce in the following years. As people spend more time online, most of your regular stores will slowly turn to digital marketing and offer their products and services online. You can only imagine how big of an industry digital marketing will become in the next few years as we continue to use the internet for everything!
So, I do believe that “Digital Passport” remains relevant. It gives you the guidelines on how to start your career in digital marketing and answers to questions about digital marketing you always had if you wanted to start your digital career.
4) What gave you the idea to create the Digital Marketing Career Assessment test?
Every young person has to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. If you’re bad at playing sports and have no affinity towards sports whatsoever, it makes no sense to play football professionally. You should pick a career that lets you reach your full potential. There’s no sense in doing something you dislike, even if you do have a goal. That’s why I created the Digital Marketing Career Assessment test. It helps people to understand what they should specialize in based on their traits. It’s essential for everyone to find out what their strengths are to be able to excel in your field. Whether a more technical profession suits you, or you found yourself in a creative field, you should aspire to offer the most value.
5) Thousands of people are going through what you did when you were starting out. In your opinion, what’s the single most important thing they should do to succeed in their digital marketing career?
I’ve seen many people going through their lives unsatisfied, overthinking how they’ll live through the week and stressing out for nothing. Their lives function through a system of routine from which they’re afraid to escape. If they took the plunge to switch their profession, they’d be living a much happier life with a career they can be experts in. In case you’re a mid-career professional, you should know that your professional advancement isn’t done yet. It would help if you always strived to be better and to experiment further, educate yourself, and question your own decisions.
Once your happiness will come from the fact that you’re doing what you like and not reaching a specific goal, you’ll have more chances of finding real success. Also, you’ll create a system that values all the small favorable outcomes, rather than waiting to achieve your goal as soon as possible. Reaching tiny happy moments is better than stressing over failed attempts. Most importantly, everyone can use this philosophy in their career. Observe what you already did and think about how to improve in your niche.
Hafiz Muhammad Ali is a prime example of what motivation, perseverance, and a can-do attitude can do for you. We thank Mr. Hafiz once more for indulging us with this interview.
This content is brought to you by Jim Bevin.
Photo provided by the author.