Digital Marketing Careers

The 3 Digital Marketing Career Pathways

January 9, 2022
the three digital marketing career pathways

You get up. You have breakfast. Same. As every other day. You get dressed. You’re off to work. It’s raining. You’re stuck in traffic. Late. Stressed out. You’re not looking forward to your day. 

You hear people talking about working from home and you wonder how you can do the same thing.

The answer is – in many different ways. If you like the way digital marketing sounds, read on.

Digital marketing is one of the fastest developing industries in 2022 and it will keep growing.

According to Qualtrics, due to the pandemic, 75% of consumers took a new interest in online activities in 2020. The chart below breaks down what the activities were.

digital marketing career pathways

People realize the convenience and improved speed of services. Therefore, the numbers will keep increasing. This will give marketers new opportunities and ways to engage with target groups of customers.

The industry is developing so quickly that universities can’t keep up with it.

Of course, you can get valuable general marketing knowledge in college.

However, you have to start showing up online and testing things out yourself to be a modern, up-to-date, active marketing wizard.

One of the main benefits of starting a career in digital marketing is working remotely. That means from anywhere in the world. Not only from home!

So if you’re new to digital marketing and you’re equipped with lots of desire but little to no experience, don’t worry. You can become a marketing master even with zero experience and no marketing degree.

I’ve done a ton of research and have done it myself. I landed a job as a Marketing Manager with only free online certifications, knowledge, and passion.

So can you!

Digital marketing includes many specialties, and some of them include:

Which one is the right one for you?

All of them are interconnected, and they overlap.

To find out which one is right for you, take the Best Digital Marketing Career quiz. I designed it with exactly the people like you in mind, based on your personality type. The quiz will save you a bunch of time figuring out which way to go.

Once you take the quiz, you can refer to your specialty’s curriculum.

The curriculums include the most relevant and valuable courses and certifications. I have optimized them for you to sharpen your skills and have a super high chance of opening the doors to remote digital marketing.

So what will the options be ahead of you once you feel ready to roll up your sleeves and start working at it?

I’ve put together the three main career pathways you can take. They are in the order you can grow. The first one, though, is entirely optional.

Working For a Company or a Marketing Agency

The most significant benefit of choosing the first career path is stability. You’ll be sure that there’s always going to be someone to pay your salary at the end of the month.

It also takes the initial stress and imposter syndrome out of the picture.

Working in a company, you will have the opportunity to explore the importance of marketing.

Many business owners and CEOs undervalue our field. But marketing departments are linked to all the other departments in a company.

Because marketing is not only the way, a company presents itself to the public. It’s also a representation of how it shows up for its employees, its values, mission, and culture.

Working in a large organization can be valuable for your marketing future. If you decide to be more specific and start a job at a marketing agency, you will witness the ins and outs of all the aspects of the industry, the lingo, and best (sometimes worst) practices.

You will learn what every part of the marketing process consists of. You will also have a playground where you can master them.

As marketing agencies work with different types of companies you will have the opportunity to work with various industries. You can explore what you like and dislike. Finding out what you most enjoy will help your career in the future. 

The good thing about being a marketing employee for the first time is that it will save you some stress and you can actually learn a lot.

It depends on you if you will take this step. You may have some experience already or be a confident type of person. Because confidence is needed for the next stage. 

Digital Marketing Freelancing

Due to developing technologies and the remote work revolution, a growing number of professionals choose to work on a freelance basis. To see that in detail, Upwork conducted a study called Freelance Forward 2020. They found out 36% of Americans are now freelancing. 75% of them said they make as much or more than when they were in their traditional jobs.

digital marketing career pathways

Going freelance can be the continuation of your career after being employed for some time. You can start freelancing once you stack those certifications up and you feel ready to go.

From the three career pathways, freelancing is undoubtedly the one with the most flexibility.

You will be able to make your own schedule, plan vacations, travel the world, and take time off when you need it without having anyone interfere with your plans (except your clients).

It does require more discipline and organization though.

So get tough, set your mindset right, and go for it.

It can be a lonely life sometimes. Finding groups on and offline can help you get through those moments.

So how do you do it?

Establishing your business

Let me start by saying that you should always consult an accountant or a professional about setting up a business. My goal here is to give you general information. However, every situation and business is different.

Having your own business comes with a great deal of responsibility. You can choose to work as self-employed or open a company.  The first option is cheaper and less time-consuming, but it can be harder to take advantage of tax benefits.

Once you earn a certain amount of money and your business is stable, setting up a company will provide you with more career growth opportunities.

Creating Your Website

Self-employed or a company director, you will need a website.  This career pathway will require you to have a presence online

Your website most times will be the first impression people get from you. It is the way to tell the world and your potential customers who you are, what you offer, and why they should choose to work with you.

Creating your website on WordPress makes the most sense in the long run. It can be relatively cheap if you do it yourself. If not, shop around and see if you can find someone to do it for you.

If you can’t afford that just yet, try Squarespace or any of the drag and drop website builders. They usually offer a free trial, so you can test them out before you commit.

Creating your portfolio

Your potential clients often would like to see your previous work.

A good investment of time and effort is creating a portfolio. You can either have it on your site or host it on Google Drive or a similar platform and customize it for each client. This adds a nice personal touch.

If you already have some experience, you will have no problem uploading your files in whatever format you choose.

If, however, you’re just starting, creating a portfolio might be a bit more challenging.

So how the heck will you do this portfolio thing without any experience? And how can you gain some experience so that you can create your portfolio?!?

There are a few ways to do that.

Be Your Own Portfolio

First things first. Make sure you have your social media accounts up and running. Immediately. Depending on the services you provide think of the most relevant way to show off your skills through your content. 

For example, if you are a new Social Media Manager, start writing your bios, connect with some people and start engaging. Once you gain some new skills, start implementing. Define your goals and be active. Try and test things out from your profiles. Start tracking analytics. You may have some great results that can become the first pieces of your portfolio.

Previous experience

Think about anything you’ve done at your previous jobs that may be relevant to your new career. Think about written work, research tasks, administrative support, etc.

Re-do existing content

Re-do existing social media posts, ads copy, sales emails, start a blog for your website, and put it up.

Personalize your approach

Another thing you should always do is research your opportunities. When you apply for a job, or you’re interested in working with a potential client, study their business. Do a little sample personalized to them. That’s how I’ve landed multiple jobs. It feels very personable and makes a difference.

Provide free services for a friend

Think about a friend or a relative you can provide services for and upload the results to your portfolio.

There are other creative ways you can think of to get you up and running for sure. Share them in the comments if you do.

Creating Your Pricing

Pricing your services is the biggest question.  

How much should you charge?

It’s not a straightforward answer as every career path will have different pricing structures.

You will feel like charging less in the beginning. Questions to ask yourself before structuring your prices:

What are the services I will be providing?

What industries do I want to work with?

Clients from what part of the world do I want to serve?

How much do I need to make a month to live comfortably?

Then do some research. Go to some Facebook groups where other freelancers from your area hang out. See what they charge. Go to some major freelance websites and compare what people are charging and for what. Do comprehensive research. Digital marketers are often way underpriced, don’t do that to yourself.

Securing your clients

Ahh, the time came. Let’s talk about where you should look for your first client.

You should have figured out what industries you want to work with by now. Think about where your customers spend their time. Are they on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook groups? Go there. Engage. Bring value.

If you’re interested in working with local businesses, attend events in your area. Your potential client can be anywhere. You just have to open up and start meeting people. Either online or offline.

I can’t stress enough how important networking is. People will become your clients if you take the time to engage with them and show your value.

People rarely give up their trust to just any random person, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. Even though I’ve found this career path extremely rewarding, it does take time, effort to build trust and establish yourself.

A few places to start at:


Try typing the position of the person you’re looking for ( founder OR CEO). Connect with people, research them and their companies and see if you can be a good fit for each other.

Freelance websites

Another great way to get clients is through platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork. Make sure your profiles are detailed, clear, professional-looking, and easy to read. 

Facebook groups

Facebook Groups are gold. Go wherever you think your dream client might be. Be respectful, add value, be helpful. People will notice you. It’s only a matter of time until they start coming to you.

Start Your Own Marketing Agency

Starting your marketing agency usually comes naturally after a successful freelancing experience. Once you get a grip of the work, you will know when you’re ready to scale.

You can think about bringing other people to your business at this stage. They will provide much-needed support.

Selecting the people for your team can be challenging but very rewarding when you hit the jackpot. It is a crucial step for going forward. It can make or break your new endeavor.

People often ask me whether they should hire people or build a remote team.

My answer is it depends on what you need at this point. If working with freelancers works for you, go ahead and keep doing so until the business demands a different approach.

Remember, hiring employees comes with a lot of responsibility and ongoing costs.

At this point in your career, think about helping people like you when you were starting.

Mentoring and educating can be fantastic. It’s a way to pay it forward and move the world and the industry in the right direction.

You will have an original and unique perspective, strategy, and ideas. Don’t be hesitant to launch some courses and workshops. You can bring value and create an additional source of income.

From all the career pathways, having your agency is the way to go if your goal is to make 6-7-8 figures.

It’s a lot of hard work, and it may take years. But if this is your dream, you can do it! Your experience at this stage will speak for itself.

This career pathway is challenging, rewarding, and may become your favorite career choice if you work hard enough and continue learning every day.

It all starts with establishing yourself as an expert in your field by sharing knowledge with others. 

To Wrap Up

Choose the pathway that matches your skills and personality and start from there. All the career pathways are optional, just do whatever makes sense for you. Consider what you want out of a career, the types of projects you enjoy, and how much time you have for marketing work outside of your day job before making a decision about which one is right for you. Till next time, be brave!


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