The FCDC was at BrightonSEO and we had an amazing conversation with Tasha Amponsah-Antwi about her journey from working in retail to working in SEO. Tasha Amponsah-Antwi is the Director of Search at Rise at Seven.
Name: Tasha Amponsah-Antwi.
What Tasha does: She is the Director of Search at Rise at Seven
Company: Rise at Seven
Noteworthy: She helps brands gain more visibility online across platforms. She is also a fashion & beauty Specialist.
In this BrightonSEO special, Tasha discusses:
Connect with Tasha
Chima Mmeje 0:02 I’ve been wanting to see through Tasha for a long time because I’ve been seeing her story on me seen her on Twitter, because she reads SEO as well. As I said, when the first time I saw Tasha, I was so shocked.
I was like, there’s a black woman you didn’t ask you, I think become like, oh, like, mind blown. And I just became fascinated with her. And I was like, if you come to Brighton Su, I will sit with her in person, and get the backbone of our story. So Tasha, thank you for joining us on this special episode.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 0:32
Thank you for having me. Yes, yes.
Chima Mmeje 0:33
All right. So I’m just going to go right into it. First question was asked, What was the first job you ever did?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 0:40
Oh, the first job I ever did was a call centre. Actually, it is so interesting,
Chima Mmeje 0:45
because everybody has like, crazy, crazy. sets of jobs
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 0:49
ever, ever Job was a call centre. And I was doing I was at uni, oh, no, before uni, maybe like 1718. It was like one of like, my just before, like, I was going to uni, that was a job I was doing. And it was just obviously, I just, you know, you just do a job to make money. I hated it. I’m not gonna lie.
And it was, it was a weird time interesting in terms of like, personal growth, because what I found was is that it was a it was a call centre, what we were doing was doing surveys, right. So we’re quite quote, cool people that are Hey, can you do a survey? And the client I was working on was gala bingo.
So obviously, I’m calling up quite elderly people, and obviously elderly white people. So obviously, when I’m calling up, and I’m saying my name, they’re like, oh, that sounds foreign. I don’t want to talk to you that kind of thing.
And I realised that I couldn’t make any of my targets and your pay was dependent on if you Commission’s Yeah, like if you make your targets. So I actually had to change my name. When I was calling people and for banter, I guess. And because I needed to actually hit my I was telling people my name was Katie Price.
Chima Mmeje 2:00 That’s a good one. That is
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 2:02
that was Katie Price was That was that was the only way that you know, I would make my targets? And I was like, No, this is not it. But yeah, that wasn’t the job for I did it for about two years.
And I started working in retail instead. Alright, so while I was at university while
Chima Mmeje 2:20
doing that job, what were like the biggest lessons that you learned about sales and marketing from pretending to be getting price and calling people, old people? Because I think there’s always a lesson even in these kind of jobs. What were the big lessons that you got from there?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 2:38
The big lessons I got from there is that sometimes you might do a job, right. And it’s tedious. It’s annoying. It was a it was very boring, and very mundane. But I think it taught me discipline, it taught me how to communicate with people.
Chima Mmeje 2:51
So I’m gonna stop you right there. You said discipline, yeah. How?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 2:55
Because discipline, because I had to work in a certain way in order to hit my targets. And obviously, if I didn’t do that, then I don’t get paid. And that’s how it was. So it made and then also, there was so much flexibility with this job in terms of you book, your own shifts.
And then if you get there late as in, they overbooked the seats that you can sit to do cause so if you get there late, and there’s no movies for you to sit down and you can’t work, you don’t get paid
Chima Mmeje 3:22
down. Do you get it? That’s discipline parts.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 3:25
Yeah. So I had to be like, if I’m booking shifts, because I want this amount of money, I need to be there early. I’ll get to work like half an hour, 45 minutes early, because I can’t carry last quizzes. As long when you get there late, and you’re looking around, there’s nowhere to sit down.
And they usually do it on purpose. That’s just the way that the company was. I’ve kind of learned how to be punctual to be disciplined. I’m never late. I used to be late. I’m not I’m not late, you know, usually, because I realised that you can actually miss things just from being late. Wow. Yeah.
Chima Mmeje 3:55
Okay, so what else again? Did you learn apart from discipline?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 4:01
How to communicate with people. So obviously, we give you some training, right? Yeah. When you call people they want you to, obviously, ask people a series of questions, you can fill out a survey. And obviously, you can ask someone a question, and they might be talking long.
So though, they gave us techniques on how you can basically, politely interject someone and then stop them rambling so that you get an answer that you want. So I was I was like, really interesting. And then I’m doing verbatims, and things like that. So I learned those kinds of skills.
So and now even when I’m talking sometimes when people ask me a question, I tried to think of the shortest way possible to answer it, but that that gives you all the information so that the important parts don’t get lost. Does that make sense? Yes,
Chima Mmeje 4:46
this just reminds me of something Andy Jaffe said yesterday, and he said that you need to get a cardboard box, kind of like a conflict like called like Kellogg’s and then the side part of it, you need to write it there.
And then think of if this thing cannot cannot communicate, then that is not the message you want to be saying. So that kind of like made me like narrow it down into exactly what you want to say to get the job done. So you go from this job to your next role was an extra role.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 5:18
So my next role was obviously working in retail and at the time I was at uni, and
Chima Mmeje 5:23
during your union you already had your second job. Yeah, so
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 5:26
I but this time, I was working in retail and it was just a part time job while I was at uni, and I was actually studying biomedical science.
Chima Mmeje 5:34
Um, so what now? Medical science, like so far removed from marketing is completely no religion. Oh my god,
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 5:44 I was studying environmental, biomedical science. I had my racial powers actually to be a doctor. Oh, why didn’t do chemistry at a level? Why did all the other all the other things. So the plan was, as soon as I finished biomed, then I think he’d go into like, second or third year of medicine.
So I’ll just continue to do medicine, I’ll be a doctor. And so that’s why I was working in retail for two years. While I was in retail for more than two years, actually, I don’t think I was working with him for about five years while I was studying
Chima Mmeje 6:13 that were so passionate about retail living up to now.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 6:17
Yeah, because obviously I worked in it for a while but I personally hate hated working in retail. Yeah, I did, even though I worked in so long post because I was studying but I had a clear goal.
And I knew that there’s no point in me changing jobs until I get what I want. Otherwise, it’s the same. Same, I’m trying to think of a word that’s not
Chima Mmeje 6:37 We swear, we swear. So you can use
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 6:40 the same shit different day, different company, you know, I mean, different places. So I was like, I’m gonna stay here, make sure I finish my studies. And I did two years of biomed. And then I decided to quit and everyone thought I was mad, though. Well, first of all, you got one more year to go what you’re doing.
And I was like, I’m not passionate about it. I just did it. Because you know, African parents. Yes. I wanted to be doctor. Banker Originally, I wanted to, in my mind, I was like, oh, I want to work in fashion. So that was my initial goal.
Yeah, my initial goal was I would work in fashion, but obviously, everyone’s given me a site I at home, I said I was gonna study fashion. So that’s why I did that.
So then afterwards, I was just I just quit and then worked in retail full time for a year. Then it kept getting promoted while I was working in retail.
Chima Mmeje 7:26
Price for us. You worked in retail, what was your What was your first role working in retail? What did you do?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 7:32
Oh, I worked for there’s a store. I don’t know if it still exists? I think they close it with Jane Norman.
Chima Mmeje 7:36 Okay, what were you doing? Were you like in front of a in the front facing role?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 7:40 Yeah. So I was I was on the shop floor serving customers, that kind of thing. Now,
Chima Mmeje 7:44 that is very interesting. See, I keep stopping you. Because I won’t dig into that. I was hoping that you will say your customer fishers customer, I hear a lot of stories about people who work in retail customer facing and how they have to take a lot of shifts from people just to get the sale. Done. Tell me about that. You have any of those kind of experiences?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 8:05
Oh, yeah. Like, even even just the way they treat you. Because you’re just because you’re a salesperson. I remember there was a time I was in the fitting room and I was helping out with someone. And then she was like, oh, I want this in a different size. I was like, you get a few and she’s like, okay, and then can you put it behind the tone on Friday? I was like, Yeah, we’re gonna do that. And I came back. I was like, Oh, you don’t have your size? Is there anything else I want? And she goes, Oh, you had one job. You just need to get me another size, blah, blah, blah.
And then she said something like, which I’d never forget. I was so annoyed. Right? I’ll tell you why. She was like, oh, you know, I get paid more than you anyway. So if I’m asked you to do something new to do it, and I was like, is it so where we used to work? They used to be like we used to have these secret buttons.
They were like panic buttons that you can use to call security. So I was like no one talks to me like that. So I just push the button so obviously security fitness and emergency so they wanting to to the video rooms but it wasn’t what’s happening. I just had this woman it just hasn’t heard outside and she was confused.
Chima Mmeje 9:07 I love that. I love that to me. Yes. I love that story. I love so
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 9:13
yeah, but yeah, that like that job wasn’t it wasn’t great. They didn’t even have cleaners so we had to do the cleaning. And I’ll never forget a friend of mine at uni walked in and she was like Tasha what you’re doing and I was scraping that I was using like a chemical to scrape chewing gum off
Chima Mmeje 9:30 I’m picturing your friend walking you doesn’t trust it. So you go from that fundraising rule. What happens next after
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 9:44
that so obviously I’ve moved to work for myself and I was there for like that’s what I was there for. I was with myself five years because obviously I decided to change unit and change course I actually worked there as well full time for about a year. And then when I was working In their Selfridges now Miss Selfridge shows of the salvage Yeah, I, because I was a supervisor, I had the power to basically put things through this sale for free for like, members of staff.
I wasn’t stealing Dorrigo so we’d have people like, you know, when you watch this morning and they do the style things meet their everyday they’ll come in to get close. And then one day, a woman came and she was head of marketing. And then she was taking stuff in and out.
And because I’ve met her a few times, and I just started asking her like, oh, you know, what’s it like, you know, being head of marketing, because she was like, Oh, we do internships for people that work on the shop floor. I was like, is it and she was like, yeah, she was like, Don’t tell me I was like, No, and I was like, These people are the enemy of progress. So she actually gave me an internship for about three or four weeks at head office.
And I had a great time, it was fine, because it was over Fashion Week. And I felt like I learned a lot in that week. Obviously, I was like the intern, but just being in that environment in that office space. And I just remember thinking, I need to go back to uni. This is not for me, being on the shop floor.
And I just thought to myself, where I can find a balance in terms of like, maybe like going to study fashion versus something else. I was like, let me get practical skills. So I went back to uni, and I went to study business management. Okay. And then yeah, so that’s what I was doing there while I continue to work in retail.
So I just moved to a smaller store and I was manager of that store. But that was hard work. Because there was days I would go in just to do payroll, bit of visual merchandising and then run to uni. I used to have like a really long stem days doing that damn,
Chima Mmeje 11:39 damn, damn, that is a hustle. That’s, that is the hustle. That is awesome. So you finish uni. You still working in retail after unit?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 11:51 No. So I have a story to tell. Okay. And this is how I when I finished my second unit, which was Kingston, yes. I managed to get a job in SEO very quickly, within a few weeks. Wow. Like me finishing. And what happened was, so obviously, I did, because I do business and management.
And I picked all the modules around, you know, like marketing, branding, that kind of thing. And then they had the option to do a dissertation. So and it wasn’t compulsory at Kingston, but I was I’ll do anyway, there’s only do it the station. So I did it and actually got a first on it. And I did it on online marketing, right, or fashion brands.
And that’s why when I came across PPC, SEO programmatic and all the channels Yeah. And back then it wasn’t like a big thing. And I was like, and I just thought in my mind, I think this is the this is the future. Yeah. So I started looking at jobs to do with SEO and like PPC and at the time was like, there were loads of jobs, because obviously it was a it’s a growing it was a real Greenfield, not many, like people have this skill.
So you’re literally just jumping it without knowing anything. Yeah, they’ll train you. Yeah. And I remember seeing a role and it was for the first agency I worked out. And I remember seeing it and I was like, oh, you know, you just pay for it. When I get home, you just. And then one day I went to work. And then the area manager was in like in, like in the store.
And she’s coming in saying I don’t like the way you’ve done this. And I don’t like this data, the she’s like, look at how you’ve done the finger spacing. And I was like, if I was like we did the finger spacing. But if people come into the store and they touch it, and they ruin how it looks. I was like, there’s not much I can do other than fix it after them.
Yeah, then we’ll have an argument. I don’t know why she Okey I was like, What am I arguing about finger spacing. I remember thinking to myself, I want to come to work to have better things to argue. So as soon as she left the building, I said to the other girl on the shop floor, I’m going to the stock room, I’ll be back.
I didn’t come back that was to quit like by the way, I didn’t necessarily quit straightaway. What happened was, I just had to I’m going to get something, I took my laptop, I went down the road, I used to have an Oxford Street, I went down the road to Joe and the juice. And I called my friend and I said helped me do this application we really quickly down. And then also at the time she had her own business, which is like the social media.
I was like, I just need a little reference a little something something. I was like, I just need to get out. So I did the application and then had an interview the following day. And I got the job really quickly and then I quit but I remember like I was so angry in that moment because I was like why like you know, when people just pick choose violence for the day and it was over something very so silly. And I was like I just can’t be here anymore. And that’s how I fell into to the whole SEO world.
Chima Mmeje 14:47
There has to be like the weirdest transition to su that will that will that we’ve had so far. The most interesting transition into SEO All right, so now you apply for your first SEO role. And where did you where did you start from? In terms of agency, or what was what was the role in your SEO. So
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 15:09
I was a comment on my site. It was like SEO, executive. Starting as I started, and I was on like a train, it was like a scheme. So it was like for six months, and obviously after the six months, then they’ll either offer you a role or they don’t.
So I was like, I’m just just going to do it to get experience. So that was what I was doing our first and my role heavily in told a lot of prospecting outreach, you know, back in the day, when you’d be outreach him,
Chima Mmeje 15:38 you’re literally just finished. And he said, That was how he started to outreach.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 15:43 That was the same company. The same company? I used to be five years manager,
Chima Mmeje 15:52 his manager. Interesting, all right, good.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 15:58 Yeah. So it was a lot of prospecting. It was a lot outreach. And I remember we used to have, like a sheet like a tracker, where they would record everybody’s links that everyone was building. And it would literally say, like, sacks, if you haven’t made your targets, so the use of panic everyday, like making sure that we’re good, obviously.
Imagine if you’re new, you’re Junior in a in a business, and you’re doing this, and you’re putting out this sheet, and you’re like, Oh, I haven’t hit my targets. And he’s saying sector at the end. Wow, yeah, you’re
Chima Mmeje 16:31 like, your heart is beating out of your chest, you’re like, oh, my god, that was having a lot of pressure for someone who’s just starting in
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 16:38 the industry. Yeah, it was a lot of pressure. But then I kind of, and then also, what I found was, is that sending cold emails to people, Hey, if you want to doesn’t worry about this, and that, for me, it didn’t exactly other people it did for me, it didn’t.
So then, that was the only reason why I created my Twitter in the first place. So then I realised that actually, if I, if I tweet, Hey, guys, looking for F bloggers to write a post about XYZ and do a journal request, everyone came to me. And then I, what I realised was that actually, I could hit my targets with just two days worth of work as in, I’ve put out a tweet and people are retweeting and people are coming to me now.
And then I can just send them a standardised email, because I’ve got past that stage. Yeah. So what it meant was, is that I now had time to learn other things. So I remember, there was a guy called Norman I used to work with who did technical SEO, like he did all of the tech stuff. And I was like, teach me everything down. I’ve got time. Yeah.
Chima Mmeje 17:33 And he said, entity, you take SEO, that was how you started learning about SEO. That’s brilliant. So you learn how to automate. Or to speed up one part of your job. Yeah. So that you could find the time to learn how to do other stuff. That’s amazing.
Okay, I’m gonna interject here, because I have I have something similar around that, because I used to work in house as for an agency, and a lot of the stuff that I was doing was writing. So I figured out how to write more quickly, so that I will dedicate a couple of hours every day to learn about SEO, because I did not want to be doing the same thing for the rest of my life.
So that’s a lesson on efficiency. If you if you learn to be efficient, and to get stuff done faster, you have more time to learn and to close any skill gaps that you have, because we’ll be talking about skill gap with Andy with Fabio. So I don’t want to focus about that.
I want to focus on doing more with surgeons for hours that you have in a day. Yeah. All right. So Tasha, you’ve you’ve worked at this agency. Sorry, it was an agency, right? Yes, yes. And then now you learned about the basics of tech. SEO is starting to build confidence. Yeah, what’s happening next?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 18:42
Oh, so what was happening next was, I was one of at the time when I was quite Junior, there was only two black people in SEO, no three of us. So. And I remember at the time, that the head of SEO back then kept calling me Chantelle, which was the name of the other black girl in the department.
Chima Mmeje 19:05
This is so cliche, yeah, this happens too many times. And
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 19:09
it would draw me so much. And then I remember being like, Okay, I need to learn other stuff. Because obviously, I want to be promoted. And I was on a team with a lot of guys. And it was like a bit of a boys club. Not that many girls doing what? Yeah. And they’re like, oh, no, you can’t do this.
You can’t do this. And I remembered we used to have this really complicated, weekly report that we used to produce for one of our clients. And I was like, concerned that, oh, I would like to do this. Because I’ve optimised my like my date, like they say tasks so that it doesn’t take me time.
So I’ve got all this time to learn now. So I said, Oh, I want to learn how to use what they said no, only managers can do it. And I quickly learned that you know what, in this life, don’t wait for people to give any training or to do anything. Sometimes you just go and build the tables and the doors for yourself.
So what I do so what I did was I downloaded that complicated report from my South and reverse engineered it and taught myself how to use Excel and how they built and learn. And then I built my own version that was better. And I said, Oh, guys, I’ve got something to show you.
I’ve got a better way of doing this, this, this and this. And they’re like, oh, okay, and now people were like, Okay, let’s listen to Tasha. Otherwise, that would never happen. And then the other thing I realised as well was, were the team, there was so many guys, not a lot of fashion clients.
They don’t know what frequent alum saw. And so I made sure that I was the expert when it came to things like that. So then I found a way to, like, marry up my newer passion, which is obviously SEO with fashion. Does that make sense? I used to,
Chima Mmeje 20:38 like this same agency know you’ve moved to digest.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 20:42 So this child knows that this is all at the same agency. Yeah, this is like, my struggle to kind of break.
Chima Mmeje 20:47
Yes. Like, move from here to here. Yeah.
Okay. I’m just I’ve picked activities you just said now, three big things. Like, sometimes you don’t have to wait. In fact, not sometimes you never have to wait for opportunity, you have to find the opportunity, and then take charge.
Because if you prevent, if you present solutions, then you become someone that people want to listen to. Yeah. And then you have to find your edge, something they are better at than everyone else. So Tasha, that was what you call it.
Exactly like you find that edge that you’re really good at and everyone else, and then you are the experts that people are coming to for that.
And that is how you become invaluable. Yeah. Because the only people who are getting promoted are those who are considered valuable. Yeah,
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 21:36 exactly. And then also people who are going above and beyond their role, so I was creating solutions and saying, what you can do. And that’s why like, even now, like people on my team friends, I have that work in SEO and stuff like that. I always say to them like that, like sometimes, like, oh, I don’t get enough training.
I don’t get enough this and that. I was like if you wait for people to give you training at this or that you’re putting that your destiny in your hair or somebody else. Yeah.
And then they’re the ones who are controlling your pace. Yeah. So if you want to move forward quicker, learn what like like in your free time, go and know what you need to learn, go and do this and that find a way to make your day to day stuff.
Unknown Speaker 22:14 Like, easier,
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 22:15 easier, more efficient.
Chima Mmeje 22:17
This is good advice. Because we’ve been talking again, we were talking about where you start a role, how quickly can you close ask you gap, so they are not the junior person, you have become completely assimilated into that role. So now this is good advice. You start the role.
You don’t wait to be spoon fed, you ask some questions, but at the same time, you’re trying to learn as much as possible on your own. Even we are going to your superiors, it’s like little questions lead to this lead to that lead to that for them to close our skis about. It starts with you taking that initiative, and then asking yourself, what are the gaps? How do I close them? And how do I learn quickly, so that I get to this level?
Yeah, not advice. Tasha. Advice be not advice, because most of the folks who watch episode pizza for people who are trying to get into SEO, so everything that we’re sharing, about helping them learn from the stories of people who look like they can like,
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 23:11
yeah, yes, yeah, definitely. Because I like I give people advice all the time, especially like to my fellow Black and Asian people like, like how to how to get into certain things.
And like I said, there are there are a lot of gatekeepers and a grid. And and you have to make sure that you find your own way in around these around these gatekeepers.
Chima Mmeje 23:31 Yes, that’s good. All right, now you’ve left this company, this company or this company, because Fabio mentioned them? And then where do you move to next?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 23:41 I moved to a media agency. So I was at the boat, this first company for about five years. And it just got to a stage where I kind of reached a peak of where I could go Yeah, realise that mine can’t learn any more in here anymore.
And then also my ambitions are bigger than what they can offer me. That’s when I was only two, I should go to that I moved to a big media agency after that. But in for like an agency within the group that obviously looks after digital marketing.
And then I was an SEO account director, it was much to be honest with you. It was a sidestep because it was like, I was still an SEO lead. But it was like I just kind of did a sidestep to this company. And the reason why I did it was because I realised that in terms of the work I was doing, like I said, there was just too many cooks in the kitchen is a bit restricted.
This one gave me an opportunity to work on a big global brand, right. And looking after, like search globally for them and working with various different teams. And because it’s a big media group, there’s opportunities to travel and that kind of thing. And then the other biggest thing I learned was that I was being severely underpaid. Yeah, yeah, I learned that I was being severely underpaid.
Chima Mmeje 24:56
That’s always the big Jerry moments.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 24:58
I When I moved jobs, and I was being paid the market average for what that was, should be, I got a 15k pay rise that how underpaid? I was. Wow. And I didn’t realise this.
Wow, how did you know you have been underpaid? Because when I was looking at the market for the same level as me yeah that I realised that actually no, my pay was a bit crazy. And then also, and then I realised it dawned on me actually, that my last line manager, and his name was will one of the best people I’ve ever worked with.
He was probably like, I don’t know, I’ll call him like a, like a like an angel. guardian angel. He was like a guardian angel. And you know why? I would worry, I’ll be working on doing my thing, right. And he would be in the background saying, Tasha is doing this, this and this. Oh, you need to pay her more.
Wow, I remember being promoted. And I didn’t know. And the reason why I didn’t know is because they tried to give me like a two grand pay raises. Like that’s not enough.
So he was fighting for us fighting for me in the background. I didn’t know that margin. And, and he was doing that because he knew that I was being underpaid as well. Yeah. Does that make sense? And he would, he would give me like, really, really good advice. Like, we couldn’t be in a meeting. And you’ll be like, Oh, Tasha.
Maybe you said too much. Or maybe you didn’t explain this very well. But this is how useful advice and he’ll be like this, how you should do it. So he used to give me a lot of good constructive feedback. He like I felt like he was such a good like mentor and Amanda, he genuinely tried to help me out.
And I feel like in like, especially for us, it’s important to have people like that in a business that can help you really, yes, quite a lot. And he was like to be touching you like fascia and you like this, and that he was like, I won’t lie to you. He was like, you can go somewhere else.
And get paid more money during the same job day. Yeah. And you can find your passions while you’re doing this thing. Like, you don’t mean people like that every day. I mean,
Chima Mmeje 26:49
that’s a great manager such again, it’s aligns with everything we’ve heard from Andy yesterday and from Fabio, that great managers are the ones that make great employees. Yeah, very important.
Very, very important. If you if you’re working for someone, or you feel like you’re not achieving your best is probably bad management. So now you’ve left, you’ve left here now, on to your next role. What are you doing your next role?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 27:13
So my next role, I was an SEO account director, I was looking after a few big brands globally, for search, which was really cool. I got to travel. I remember as soon as I started that job, I remember getting a call from this client or like me, probably, if you follow me for a bit, you know which part and they gave me a call was like we need you in New York on Monday.
And this was like Friday at 5pm. I remember going like shopping on the on the Sunday with the PPC director we will find because in m&s because we like to practice really quickly, that was really fun. So I feel like that was an elevation in my career, because I realised I learned a different skill set.
So obviously, my first agency was an independent, and it was very heavily like digital, whereas obviously, even I was still working for a digital marketing agency. Is that within a bigger Media Group? Yeah, because it’s in a big media group, you’re meant that we worked on very big projects, big projects, big global accounts.
And we had, so I had to learn a bit of like media and more traditional forms of marketing and how SEO can marry into that, yes, you probably will see, like a lot of my talks that kind of yes, in like my talk yesterday was mixing a bit of branding. And this and a lot of the things I talked about is actually like, is the only way to actually do SEO for very big super brands to kind of maximise, you
Chima Mmeje 28:35 can just stop SEO for them. There’s definitely more and there’s a way and
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 28:38 then you need to learn how to talk to their marketing teams who don’t understand who they understand traditional forms of marketing, but they don’t understand what we do. So a lot of that I learned those skills. There.
Chima Mmeje 28:50 That’s brilliant. That’s brilliant. I want to go into the specific skills. You said you weren’t su account director, right? Yeah. Now, what is an SGA? account director? What is what is the day to day look like, apart from?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 29:04
This, it was, it was the same kind of like job before, like, I think, you know, there’s always different naming conventions and titles, you know, that people use for the same job. Like I was literally in a co lead. But the difference was that I was overseeing, like other people in other offices in different countries as well.
And owning like the entire strategy and doing even like the client service on that as well. Awesome. So I was in Yeah, so I would say that that was probably the extra part of my, my job is that, you know, being an account director, I was looking after the account and coordinating everything, but I have the SEO foundation.
Chima Mmeje 29:42
Did you have people working on that you? Yeah. How was that been going from being the person who was being managed to becoming the manager? Like, what did that transition feel like and what did you do to make yourself a better manager that brought the best out of your? Yeah,
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 29:56
good question. That’s a very good question. So cuz at my last job, I was managing people just before I left, but not a big team. So but this one now there’s more people to manage.
And I feel like when I was thinking about like, I thought about what made my favourite managers, my favourite managers, right? Good one. Yeah. And I thought about what skills they had that, you know, made them stand out. And I tried to emulate, emulate that.
And I feel like you know, sometimes, like people like like, everyone’s human beings, right. We’ve all got things that we like that we deal with. And I found that just getting to know like my staff a bit more better, and making sure that they’re comfortable to ask me questions, and then helping them do things.
Like, for example, if there was a really big project going on, I would never leave work, if they’re still working, I’d make sure I’m there to help them out, and different things like that, and offer them various different pieces of advice. And then also, like, I had a few personal experiences as well.
So when I first started working in SEO, my dad got diagnosed with cancer, like literally a few weeks, so it’s fine. And then he passed away six months after that. And then also, aside from that, I’ve got two younger brothers who are severely autistic. So I actually still live at home with my mum, and we care for them.
And I never told anyone any of this, right. So like, I’ll come to work and I’m doing stuff, but I might be stressed and have different things going on. And I learned that actually is quite important to tell people about these things, and then it humanises the relationship that you have.
So it’s not just about work, and then people have a better understanding. So I was encouraged that for my team to be like, like, you don’t have some everything that’s going on, but feel comfortable that you can and if something is happening to you, you can have the day off. It’s okay.
Chima Mmeje 31:40
That’s, that’s brilliant. Because it’s only when you talk about it, then you get the kind of support that you need.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 31:44
Yeah, exactly. You get the support that you need. And then I think it just builds better rapport between between people, like if you have a manager that you can, that they’re like, Okay, do this, do that.
And then that’s it. Like you’re just talking about work and tasks, like people don’t feel comfortable. You know what I mean? Yes, yes. Yeah. And then because like, if I think back to that manage I mentioned, will he always, because he would always sit down with like, what, what are you passionate about? And then he’ll be like, Okay, this is how you can bring it into your day to day.
And because he took the time to get to know me as a person, and genuinely try to mentor me with the things I will do at work that would help that I would go out of my way to make sure I do a good job for him, as well as myself. Does that mean?
Chima Mmeje 32:31
Yes, that definitely makes sense. You learn how to be a good manager by looking at examples of managers that had brought out the best in you. That is brilliant.
So now you are this role, where you get to fly while you get to work with brilliant clients, how do you leave that kind of job and go work somewhere else? Why don’t you stay there?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 32:48
So I get this question a lot, especially since obviously, I joined rise. And the reason why I left was I think, me as a person, I have a lot of personal goals and things I want to learn, right. And I felt like I reached a point where maybe like, again, I’ve had like a little bit of a plateau or like a bit of a ceiling.
And what it was is that I had ideas of like how I think maybe I like SEO should run and this and that. But the challenge with working for a big media agencies is that stakeholders, there’s so many stakeholders, and also like there’s so many layers of, of management.
Yeah, loads of different things. So like how we would how we would talk about our products and services that was offered was defined by like the US, for example. Wow, they’re not even based here. Yeah, no, I mean, yes. And then so you have to talk about in a particular way.
So I found speaking up things like right in SEO, my outlet to be like this. I think people should be viewing SEO. And this is how I think we should be the if that makes sense. Yes. It just so happened that one of my talks and one of the founders of the agency are met now.
Why is it seven years? It’s heaven. So when he messaged me, it was like, Do you want to join kind of thing? Wow. Yeah, he messaged me. He was like, your talk was amazing. Blah, blah, blah. He’s like, I’ve got a role head of SEO. Do you want it? And that
Chima Mmeje 34:16 was it. Yeah, that was it. That’s That’s amazing. How long have you been advised that several now since January since January. Alright, so now you definitely need a team advisor. Seven.
Are you involved in hiring for that team? Yeah. All right. I’m always asking people this question when you’re hiring. What soft skills are you looking for stuff that has nothing to do with SEO
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 34:36 yet? So soft skills, I’m looking for people like people who kind of get involved with the team not as
Chima Mmeje 34:46 a team, because I think politics
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 34:49 not give up. So let me let me give you an example. I am interviewed someone and this person and obviously like, you know because of the pandemic and everything that’s happening.
We like everyone worked kind of hybrid some days in office some days from home. And then I said to the this person that oh, you know, there’s gonna be some days that you might have to be in office.
No, like, I don’t want to come to the office. Okay, one fully remote was just fully remote. I was like, okay, and I was like, but like I was, we do, like, you know, like community phase a bit of that.
They’re like, nope, not interested. And I was like, Okay. And then I was like, okay, that’s fine. And I was like, some roles, like, that’s fine. And then also, the other thing that I found bizarre was this person is very close, but they just don’t want to be in the office.
So the way and when I looked at the rest of the team, like there’s a genuine, like, family bond between them, like my team split across all the offices, but, and then obviously, they go in, like, on the days that they want to go, and it’s very flexible, because some people don’t live close to an office.
So they they are like, you know, kind of remote. Yeah, but they’re willing to meet up once we meet up like maybe once a month in difference just to foster that team bond. Yeah, just to foster the team bond. And when I was talking to this person about who’s like, just zero interest, he’s like,
Chima Mmeje 36:09 No, I see what you mean. Now, they don’t want to get involved in it.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 36:14
And I was like, and, um, if you think and obviously, as you when you move up in your career, and you start to view things slightly differently, right. So like, where I am in my career, I kind of view it from a business point of view, as well as like an employee point of view.
So from a business point of view, you want to hire people that are have a genuine passion to be involved in the overall vision and drive it right. And if you’ve got someone that doesn’t want to be, like a part of
Chima Mmeje 36:40 yes, then it’s not just about FCA anymore.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 36:44
Do you see what I mean? Yes, I understand how the standard is I look for things like like that, like just personally like that you’re personable that you can, that you chat with people like you want to like there’s a sense that you can fit in with the you don’t have to fit in with the family, because we do like celebrate everyone’s Yes, yeah, I think it’s just the effort to try and be involved.
Chima Mmeje 37:04
Yeah, that definitely makes sense. That’s brilliant. That’s brilliant advice. All right. So what advice final question someone is getting into SEO, what we advise for them.
And this is advice, specifically to people that are living in developing countries general in the UK, okay. So give them an advice, someone who’s trying to get into SEO,
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 37:23
if you’re trying to get into SEO, there’s a lot of resources online, that you can use to basically teach yourself. So I would advise that definitely read up on it. And if you are trying to apply for jobs, just do basic things. You’ll be surprised. Like, I’ve had some interviews, I’m just like, wow, you didn’t even Google the company.
I interviewed someone and they asked me, So what does your department do? I’ve had some crazy questions. And it’s just like, it’s just very, like, it’s just, it’s just such a basic thing. Research the company, maybe research the person you’re speaking to, yes, find out their interests, find out their interests. Just just basic stuff.
Understand, like, if you’re getting into SEO for the first I don’t expect you to know everything. I don’t expect you to know what a canonical tag is. I just expect you to know that. Okay, SEO is this. And maybe I’ve read Maus or searching to Lance. Key words like those key words.
Yes, it means that you’ve used some sort of common sense to look at something relevant to this conversation. Yes, it to show that you’re enthusiastic to learn. And the other key thing as well, I’d say is and thing that people don’t do is ask questions. I can interview people are like, Do you have any questions for us? No.
Ask questions. Ask questions that challenge people. Because at the end of the day, what people forget is that we interview people because we want to get the best talent, right? But then in order to get the best talent, we also have to portray ourselves well. So we’re interviewing each other really? Yeah.
Do you see? Yes. And people and I think when people are in an interview, they forget that. So ask questions, nervousness, yeah, ask questions and challenge that.
Chima Mmeje 39:13
What kind of questions? Yes.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 39:16
Ask about ask about social life and community life, ask if they’ve got like, committees that look after like, let’s say like wellness? Yes. You know, diversity and inclusion, wellness. Ask about these questions.
Because these, this is the thing that kind of makes a community we’re in a workplace. So ask those questions. Ask about your role. What would it entail? Where else can you ask about like any activities, what the business goals are?
Asked about what progression looks like? So
Chima Mmeje 39:50 yes, clear progression routes.
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 39:52
Yeah, what the progression is because like I said, we’re interviewing each other. Yes. I know once a job that they just going to be in it and then that’s it. We’ll be doing Yes.
That’s the one that challenges us as the employer to be like, Okay, this is what you’re thinking looks like. Because I know I’ve said that to you. I have to deliver. Yeah, to me. Yeah. Those questions kind of resume.
Chima Mmeje 40:11 Alright. Tasha, thank you so much for joining us. And how can people find you on Twitter or social media?
Tasha Amponsah-Antwi 40:17 On Twitter and just Tasha underscore Ng and same on Instagram and everywhere else? This is
Chima Mmeje 40:22 awesome. I Tasha, thank you. This has been amazing. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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