When Projects Outgrow You

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For seven years, I’ve been working at an independent boutique hotel on South Beach in the Marketing & Philanthropy Department. I started as the Marketing Coordinator and, along with sundry administrative tasks, I took on the challenge of slowly and quietly building the social media identity and strategy for the hotel. Before I arrived, various other vendors, consultants, interns and assistants had helped to update the Facebook page, but there wasn’t much else going on. Over the course of a few years, I was able to experiment and explore the various social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Spotify, and, yes, even Google Plus. Either ownership wasn’t really paying attention, or they really weren’t that invested in what was happening on social media. Then I started submitting reports about the growth and development of the platforms and their audiences.

My focus was directed toward growing audiences in a meaningful and intentional way. I believe an audience is more valuable if the members are really interested in what you have to offer. My progress was slow, but improving incrementally as time passed. Eventually, people in the company started to take notice, ask questions, expect more.

Fast-forward to today, and as the hotel has grown, so has the team of people dedicated to doing the work. While I was able to cover many areas on the surface, through the addition of several internal and third-party partners, the hotel has a rich, vibrant marketing effort that goes deep. Consideration and time are spent developing campaigns across multiple platforms, with the help of experts and professionals that have greater reach than just one or two people. Ownership dives into data, looking for new opportunities and unexpected changes in audience and revenue streams. There is now a large network of dedicated people doing, on a much deeper level, the work that I started so many years ago.

Now that these responsibilities are slowly moving out of my scope and responsibility, I am faced with unexpected insight. A younger, less confidant me may think, “Well, what do they need me for now?” If I were a self-righteous, indignant version of me, I could think, “I was doing all that work by myself — that’s how many people it takes to do what I can do!”

However, as I grow and mature as a professional, I instead view this as a success. What seeds were planted because of a curiosity and passion for communicating ideas, have sprouted and flourished into fully developed strategies and marketing efforts, focused on increasing audience reach and revenue generation. An entire team of professionals took what I lovingly started, and are doing more that I could ever have accomplished alone.

I know that the best measure of success is creating something that can live beyond one person, beyond what one stakeholder alone can accomplish. So, while the marketing efforts of one boutique hotel have grown deeper and wider than I can put my arms around, I do still have a hand in things (for now). What lies ahead is uncertain, as new responsibilities and opportunities present themselves, and as I grow beyond my own edges of knowledge and experience.

On the bright side, I get to have fun with Medium now, exploring this new platform and the possibilities of communicating with a small, but interested, audience. I’m excited to let the new discovery begin and my own personal and professional growth continue.