Before giving you the 3 best things I learned at Simya, I’d like to give you some background information about who I am and what I am doing at Simya.
My name is Lieu Dang. I’m a Vietnamese young woman who moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand more than 3 years ago and started working for Simya as a Product Owner of the Ling and Simply Learn apps. After a year and a half, I was selected to be the first marketer when the company realized that marketing could boost our business faster.
And now, at the time I wrote this article, I’m the Marketing Manager of a team of 5 full-time members and a network of part-timers as well as freelancers.
I have to admit that I have learned a massive amount of knowledge since I worked at Simya, more than any company I’ve ever worked for when I was in Vietnam. I’m more than happy to share with you all of what I have learned, but within this blog post, I will try to be selective and share with you the three best experiences. If you want to connect and ask me for more details of any aspect, find me here!
So are you ready to read on? Let’s jump to the first thing I’ve learned at Simya!
When working in Vietnam, I was mainly responsible for sales and partnership management. I didn’t have to run any command lines to upload content to the server, nor running a sprint meeting with developers. What I had to do was working with clients to clarify their requirements, preparing proposals, pitching, and nurturing business partnerships.
Working as a Product Owner at Simya, I learned about how to build an application for learning languages. It was not coding but more about the whole app development process. I also learned how the server and the client (devices) work together, the data structure, and other technical stuff. To be honest, learning technical things was challenging to a non-technical person like me. Luckily, I was patient enough to learn them step by step.
I realized that it took a lot of time to get started, but once you understand the basics, the more advanced knowledge can be absorbed faster. Not long from the day I started, I could even build new APKs, upload the sound files and CSV files to the server, and do ASO (app store optimization) for our apps on Play Store and App Store.
When I started working in marketing, I also had to learn everything from scratch. For example, I learned about SEO (search engine optimization), how to write an article that meets SEO standards, how to build forms and email sequences to generate leads & nurture them. Marketing is so interesting and dynamic to me. I enjoyed learning new things every day, from influencer marketing, paid ads, to affiliate marketing, backlink outreach, and so on.
Because I’m open to learning new things and I’m not afraid of doing new things, my bosses let me pilot different marketing ideas. Once an idea seemed to work, such as influencer marketing, we invested more effort and money to build a team to boost that up. Thanks to that, I had opportunities to learn more about marketing, from the basics to advanced stuff like strategies and analytics. It is more fun and meaningful to me when seeing what we have built from zero has become profitable. It is also awesome to see more young people who have joined the company also learn more knowledge and skills from the marketing activities we are doing.
Have you ever got the fear of other members cannot complete a task as well as you do? I believe that if you are a responsible person, you always want a task to be done as best as you can, and of course, you will trust yourself the best. However, I learned that I just have 24 hours per day and 8 to 10 hours of that are for paid works. No matter how hard I work, I can only complete a limited number of tasks and get limited achievements if I do everything on my own.
Since having more members for my marketing team, I learned to delegate tasks to them and trust that they will do their best. This change of mind has brought me and my team a lot more success.
For example, I have Ananda to manage our Ling blog. She did it great! She managed and hired new writers, so now we have 28 weekly blog posts that have increased our website’s DR (domain rating) and traffic significantly. For other marketing activities such as backlink outreach, affiliate marketing, social media, email marketing, we have Anchisa, Erin, Dear to take care of accordingly.
From doing everything from scratch, I currently focus more on coordinating team members, giving my recommendation and support to my team, and exploring new strategies to boost our business such as building business partnerships. In addition, I have time to learn more about leadership and management, hiring and training new members.
Working as a team doesn’t just bring more work results, but also helps you feel connected. No one can work totally independently without others’ support. You will need to learn how to respect different perspectives, different cultures, and different personalities. At Simya, we have people from different nationalities such as German, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, and so on. Thanks to diversity, we have learned to be adaptive and open-minded.
As mentioned earlier, I’m currently leading the marketing team. As a leader, I have encountered multiple difficulties. This also created a chance for me to be more responsible, patient, and learn skills to be a better leader. I prefer to identify myself as a leader than a manager because a leader will support team members and encourage them to reach the team’s goals, while a manager will manage people, so they will do their tasks as assigned, rather than influencing the members.
So, what are the difficulties I have when I am a leader?
Since I have more members joining my team, I have also received a lot of questions from different people. It is sometimes time-consuming to reply to the questions, so you have less time for more complicated tasks.
Don’t get me wrong! I don’t mind sharing knowledge and supporting people. However, I would expect that my team members can actively find the answers to easy questions, either by googling and reading from websites, or trying by themselves first. It would be great if they could learn to analyze the problems, give their 2-3 solutions with pros and cons, then ask me for my opinion. If everyone does so, I believe that we can come up with a lot of creative ideas that I myself might not think of.
I understand the fear of making mistakes that a new member has. I was like them when I first started too. That’s why I learned to be patient with new members, to motivate them, and to show them that I trust them. I hope that my efforts can help build a team in which each member can be a solution provider than just a task doer.
I see a bit of myself in different people in my team. For instance, I was stubborn when I did my first job. I was afraid of making mistakes when doing something new.
When I am a leader of my team, I have a better view of how different people are, and different people have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, this member is good at visual aids but not suitable for customer services, the other member is a bit stubborn but has the potential to do outreach.
What I should do, as the team lead, is to put people in the right position where they can work at their best, with their strengths, and to learn how to work with different personalities.
When working in marketing, Simon, the CEO and the Co-founder, whom I work directly with, lets me try new marketing strategies all the time. That is awesome because I can explore new ideas and try to apply them to our business. It is also challenging when there is no one else within my team has done that, so I am the pioneer. I have to do a lot of research about a new subject, brainstorm what we can do within our company, and try that by myself first.
In addition, I also have to keep learning from online courses, from conversations with different people, from the competitors. I understand that I have to learn more to help my team and my company. If I feel satisfied with the knowledge and skills I have now, I cannot bring more benefits to the organization.
Give me a name of a person who doesn’t have any stress during their work-life! I doubt there is a person like that. I myself have pressures too. If you have a leader or a mentor, you may find them when you are stressed, and ask them for advice. You may look for motivational talks from them to get over the depressing time. But when you lead a team, you have to be strong, or at least you have to look strong, sharp, and positive in front of your members. Why? Because people are influenced by you, so you don’t want everyone in the team to see you weak and depressed.
Being a leader, I have learned to understand my thoughts and motivate myself. I cannot depend on my team members and hope they can help me when I’m stressed. I have to do it myself. Therefore, I spent time reading about meditation, how emotions work, and doing yoga. I’m still learning about myself and trying to stay in a positive state as much as possible.
So, that’s it! I’ve just shared with you from my gut three things I have learned when working at Simya. They are not step-by-step guidelines that can help you do a specific task but I hope they can give you some ideas of a work-life at Simya. If you want to join my marketing team, you are most welcomed! Connect with me for a one-on-one talk!
Chiang Mai, Thailand. On a rainy day in September.