So you all know that this year, I decided to take some time for myself and starting doing me. (ahem)

In March, I decided to focus on my career.

Without having to make it to the bottom of my post, here’s what I’ve set my goal for in 2014: Content & Inbound Marketing Manager. If you want to learn a little bit more about my work experience and aspirations, and why I’ve set this goal, allow me to embellish:

In the month of March, I sat down (or rather, had many sit-downs) and took full inventory of everything I’ve been built up in my career as a startup marketer.

Doing startup marketing isn’t easy. The words “bootstrapped”, “growth hacking”, and “creative constraints” don’t even begin to peel back the layers of what makes a startup marketer tick.

As you would expect from a startup environment, you’re constantly under extreme resource constraints: time, money, and talent (not quality, but quantity). And, to put it bluntly, the answer to a lot of the questions you have about how to do your job well is: just figure it out. If you’re not comfortable with a work environment that’s that ill-defined, you’re probably not cut out for this life.

But, the exciting aspect of these constraints is that desperation leads to innovation. Like Malcolm Gladwell’s coined “underdog extreme innovation” phenomenon, when your back’s against the wall, and you either sink or swim, you fucking learn how to swim.

It’s without surprise that in the past 4 years, the scope of my work has encompassed a lot of areas of marketing: tradeshows, advertising, direct mail, SEO, email marketing, CRM, marketing automation, content marketing, creative design, social media, press relations, brand strategy… the list goes on and on and on. Tl;dr - I’ve dabbled in everything under the sun.

It’s high pressure to be able to excel at so many things. A lot of times, I struggle like crazy, and I fail constantly; but I fail fast, I learn, and I come back harder. If nothing else, it’s made me resilient and resourceful.

It’s also made me a great marketing generalist, but not a specialist at anything. I mean, who has time to be great at any one thing when you have to be “pretty good” at everything? 

I realize what I need at this point is to start developing my T-shaped marketer. I want to start carving out the space to focus on and master what I love doing most.

So what I did was this: I wrote up my ideal job description, I pitched it to my COO and I told him that this is where I want to find myself by the end of the year.

You can find my ideal job description here: Daisy Jiang - Content & Inbound Marketing Manager.

I had a very transparent conversation with my COO about my career aspirations. We discussed how it plays to my strengths, and discussed some of my weaknesses and areas that I need to improve in to really elevate myself to that next level. I’m really psyched about the results of that meeting - I think my work environment is really going to foster my professional growth, and I’m shooting to reach my goal by August. It would sure be a nice birthday present. :)


(p.s. If you want to know what inbound marketing is, you can go here and here. Inbound marketing is where I think the future of B2B marketing is going, and it’s where I get into my flow the most.)


It’s 1/6 of the way through the year, and I’m taking another look at my goals for 2014. They’re as mundane as they are self-serving. Get in shape. Get a promotion. Continuing education. Learn to cook. Sure to excite no one but myself.

They look drastically different from my goals from previous years, as they’re all investments in myself. This is the first year in a long time that I’ve been content with goals that look like that.

To be honest, I haven’t invested in myself in a long time. I’ve been so busy with “giving back” that I haven’t spent much time at all balancing out my own life.

With the experiences I’ve had in the past few years, I probably should’ve grown much more as a person than I did. Instead, I spent my efforts moving on to the next one, too often, not taking the time and care to reflect, absorb, and grow into a better version of myself day by day. I too hastily just picked up the next thing that threw itself at me, eager to apply myself to make a difference in someone else’s life. I ended up experiencing a lot in life (and hopefully, making a bit of a difference) but how much have I really grown and matured from those experiences?

I used to be incredibly headstrong, outspoken and assertive (some would say I was contentious, overbearing and arrogant… different sides of the same coin). But throughout the way, I lost a bit of that.

I’ve always prided myself in being able to derive my own confidence from having a strong sense of self and a strong understanding of my own worldviews. With that self-awareness, I carried with me a self-confidence that never left my side - with or without external validation.

But things have changed. I’m noticing the repercussions of not investing in myself more and more. When I fail, it takes longer to pick myself up. When I foray into new things, I seek external validation every step of the way. I second-guess myself. I over-think things. I’m more emotionally unstable. I get confused easily, and I forget where I stand on things.

These are things that are easy to ignore when life is hectic and you’re out there trying to make a world of difference in everyone and their mothers’ lives. But I decided that in 2014, I will start carving out that time for myself.

I’ve stepped down from Acumen, I’ve said no to countless side projects, I’ve dropped out of workshops, I’ve limited my social scope significantly so that I would only spend my time with people that are important to me. The time and mindspace traded-off from this will be spent back in my own comfort zone and my inner circle.

Some say that everything I’m describing is just the quarter-life crisis. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. But labels aside, a “quarter-life crisis” finds its roots in young people experiencing massive shifts in their lives without having enough self-awareness and confidence to ground them. I don’t want to be reactive to the massive shifts that are on my horizon in the next few years. I hope to refocus this year and start working towards building the best version of myself again so that I can regain that level of self-awareness and self-confidence to take on the world (mine and everyone else’s).

10 Dishes to Master in 2014

Alright, ladies and gents, I’ve picked the 10 staple dishes I want to master this year. I was looking for things that are on the healthier side, is quick to make, and contains multiple food groups (so I can just make one dish for the meal and be done with it). If you click on the name of the dish, you can find the recipes I’m going to try. :)

Pasta Primavera
Seared Salmon w/ Vegetables

Stir Fry Ginger Beef
Chicken & Couscous

Mushroom Risotto
Chicken & Rice Casserole

Pad Thai - done!

Shrimp Curry - done! 
Fish Tacos - done!image

This probably won’t end well. =|

[originally posted on January 14, 2014 in the NNF blog, but I carried it over, due to dead air]
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