Recently AdWords Certified and Trying to get experience/freelance gigs. Any suggestions?

8 replies
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I am passionate about SEM and PPC and really want to make a career out of it. I don't want to wait until I'm done with school in another 2 years to get started, I honestly want hands on experience now. That being said, how do I go about getting Free Lance work with little to no experience, or any project really at all? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
#adwords #certified #experience or freelance #gigs #recently #suggestions
  • Profile picture of the author johndetlefs
    Firstly, congratulations on getting certified!

    That said, being certified really just means you understand the software (more or less) and still have a lot to learn around setting up and managing campaigns.

    IMO hands down the two best mentors/coaches for AdWords are Mike Rhodes and Perry Marshall. Grab Mike's monthly coaching and buy some of Perry's books and study like crazy for a couple of months.

    Next, see where you can intern after school with an agency in your town which will allow you to get some guided hands on experience. You'd be surprised how much more there is to learn!

    Remember this most of all... When you're managing someone else's AdWords account you are taking on a massive responsibility.

    It's not uncommon for a business to rely on AdWords as their major source of leads and sales.

    I've seen bad agencies cost owners their business, or at the very least set them back by several years. You'll often be dealing with people who are far less sophisticated than you are in digital, and you'll want to set yourself very strict standards of ethics, and be as transparent as possible.

    Best of luck, setting up my own agency is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done, and I hope you achieve the same!

    You only get one shot at life - make it awesome.

    Everyone else also gets just one crack at it - help make theirs awesome too... or, politely step out of their way.

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    • Profile picture of the author Hunter Gio
      Awesome! Yes by the time I graduate I'll be knowledgeable enough to land any internship realistically! I heard of Perry Marshalls book and am thinking about giving that a try as well. That being said, I am thinking of finding a local business or 2 and convincing them to advertise on AdWords, Facebook, Bing, or even Yahoo and I will run their accounts at a low cost or practically free. I even have a fiverr account set up as well and even if I can just get one gig setting up someone's campaign or managing it for a week I will be more than satisfied! Thanks for the great advice!
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  • I've not much to add to John's post as I agree with him.

    Certification. Yes, it just means you know your way around Adwords. It does not mean you know how to create campaigns that get results. I've seen some people say they are certified but have really poor campaigns. They just don't understand online marketing which the certification is not about. Sure, the certification can help you get in the door as many clients are aware of it and ask that you are certified. But it's not a guarantee of success as it seems many think it is. If I were to hire someone for my agency, that's the last thing I would look at, if at all. But that's just me.

    The next step I suggest for you is to get actual experience. Get your feet wet. Not providing your service for free but putting your own money on the line. Maybe you have products or services you can sell and you can start selling affiliate products. You'll get a feel for it and there's an incentive because you'll be spending your own money and trying to get a return. Jumping right in and do it using someone else's money is not very risky on your part. You need to have the same mindset when managing client campaigns, treat it like it was your business and your money. It is a big responsibility because your efforts can make or break a business.

    Read books about marketing in general. Doesn't have to be online marketing. While Perry Marshall is the acknowledged guru in this field, I haven't found his books going much beyond the basics. Same for all other books on online marketing I've ever seen. I never ever heard of this Mike Rhodes, not that I recall. But don't just read, get practical experience. Like John said, maybe intern at a local (or even online) agency. There IS much more to learn than what you did to get your certification.
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    Hi Hunter,

    Simply getting AdWords certified does very little to prepare you for the marketplace competition you are likely to encounter when advertising for a business on the AdWords platform.

    AdWords advertising is a tool to be used within an overall business marketing plan. The AdWords platform is the most competitive ad auction on the planet. To do well in AdWords you must be able to beat your competitors, by writing better ads, implementing better marketing strategies and managing a lot of mundane tasks to make sure it all executes as planned and with the desired results. In other words you must beat your competitors in AdWords or you will lose. It is a competition with many many contests each day.

    To use an analogy, getting certified for AdWords is like getting a drivers license in preparation to race in the 24 Hours of LeMans. You don't really need it to win, and it does damn little to get you prepared to win. You are going to need way more skill than just knowing the basic operations of a vehicle , be it AdWords, or a LeMans race car.

    To do well in AdWords you have to be able to win. You have to win ad positions in competitive auctions, You have to beat your competitor's ad effectiveness to win a better Quality Score. You need a winning bid management strategy to hold onto high converting ad placements, You need a marketing strategy that is sophisticated enough to win at maximizing profits. And, you have to do it all better than your competitors, or you lose.

    I recommend that you get some training and study marketing, in general, and then learn how to apply sound marketing principles to AdWords campaigns, and only then will you be ready to manage campaigns for a business that may be relying on campaign performance to keep their business alive and healthy.

    Getting certified is an excellent way of demonstrating that you are ready to learn how to manage AdWords campaigns. It's not the end goal, it is just the first step of a long journey. You might want to seek an intern position, or find a friend in business that wants to invest their money in helping you get the practical experience needed to learn how to manage AdWords campaigns.

    Be aware that there are literally hundreds of mistakes that new advertisers commonly make that cost real money, you too will make a few of them in your quest to learn how to manage campaigns.Those mistakes will be hard learned lessons about what can go wrong, and potentially a valuable learning experience for you. It will be even more valuable if it is your own money that you are losing. So consider setting up your own product or service offering to learn the ropes. Once mastered you can then take on paying customers to provide a valuable service.

    Another option is to hire a mentor, or coach, that has real world experience in marketing, and AdWords campaign management. This could accelerate your learning curve and get you to your goal a bit faster.

    I do not recommend that you offer to manage campaigns for free, or very little money. That might be the worst idea ever. No smart business owner is going to agree to a relationship where they have everything to lose and you have nothing to gain or lose. You would have no incentive to perform well and would experience no loss if you failed or quit on them. Bad idea, indeed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Hunter Gio
      Fanastic, yes I agree that offering work for free or little money is a bad idea. Just spitballing. My biggest pitfall is that I'm not really in an area where there are a lot of internships, I have no problem traveling for work perhaps. Is there any city specifically that would have internships in a greater number. Also I am learning SEO and have no problem doing that as well, anything I can do over the next 2 or 3 years to really demonstrate that I am interested in Digital Marketing without just sitting in a classroom not learning those skills. Would an employer be likely to hire someone with a Marketing Degree and a very strong knowledge and understanding of SEO and Paid Search?
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  • Hunter, you said in your OP you don't want to wait until you finish school. I assume that's high school which would make you 18 or less but even if college, that would make you just a few years older. Which is why I'm surprised you say you'll travel to another city for work. I thought kids today knew that there's lots of types of jobs where you don't need to physically be there, and digital marketing is one of those. I, as I'm sure Don and other WFers doing this kind of work, have and had clients from all over the world. I've actually never met any in person, even one from my home town.

    Employers can vary in large degrees. Some will insist on certain things such as marketing degree, others not but most will want some experience, at the very least show you can provide them value. If you are willing to work for low pay, join freelance sites such as Upwork, although I recommend this less than I used to.

    Of course, an internship usually implies being on-site (and typically no or low pay). But I don't see a reason it couldn't be done online. Maybe workers of or owners of other agencies here can help but do get in touch with me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Hunter Gio
      I'm transferring to a four year school next year. Are there any good digital marketing internships online that you know of possibly?
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  • Profile picture of the author mrvm1
    I agree totally with the 2 guys responses. the only way to learn is to do it yourself, get your feet wet, make mistakes learn from them and then build a successfull campaign.
    Back to the learning to drive analogy. Would you learn to drive from an instructor who hasn't taught anybody else and pay him good money, not a chance.
    good luck my friend, PPC can be very lucrative but theres also lots of competition.
    all the best
    Less work More money More time

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