My Digital Mums Journey

Background

Back in February, I was geared up to return to work following my maternity leave, however my flexible working request was declined and I ended up accepting a redundancy settlement from my job of over 11 years in event management. I had those moments of pure panic ‘SHIT SHIT SHIT, What the hell am I going to do now?’. That’s when I stumbled across the Digital Mums course purely by accident and decided there and then to throw myself in at the deep end and try something completely different.

I wanted a career that would allow me to work flexibly around my children and all the reviews I’d read indicated that the Digital Mums course was perfect for mums who had slightly lost their sense of purpose and were ready for a change; their advertising is very enticing with sentences such as “leading social media courses to get mums job ready”. “No commutes or childcare”. “Job-ready skills”. “Digital skills”. “Flexible hours”. “Lifelong community”. “Innovative training”. “Work from home”. “Forget the 9–5”.

If I’m being totally honest, I was pretty much sold before I’d even read the reviews. It was only 6 months and what did I have to lose? (apart from maybe quite a bit of cash).

Yes the course is expensive, but is it worth it? I know that’s one of the main questions on the minds of many prospective Digital Mums. I’m afraid only you can make this decision. It totally depends on whether you’re willing to put in the hard slog, you really love social media & you WANT the change. A job most certainly isn’t going to just fall into your lap after the course, you have to ‘do the hustle’ & network. Even then, you have to weigh up whether the financial sacrifice, the course itself and a job in social media is going to work. After all, it has to be #WorkthatWorks FOR YOU.

The Campaign

The Campaign

The course requires you to set-up & run a local grassroots campaign and that is how ‘Electric Earlsfield’ was born. What better campaign to run than combining elements of all the things you know and love? ‘Mums’ (More than qualified after dealing with 2 raving lunatics EVERY.SINGLE.DAY), ‘Earlsfield’ (11 years of truly embracing the Earslfield lifestyle), ‘Local Businesses’ (I have consumed enough coffee, dined at enough restaurants & consumed plenty of alcohol at local venues to be considered a bit of a Guru) and finally ‘Mums & the world of work’ (being a mum and being made redundant, I KNOW). The aim of my Social Media campaign was to target local mums bringing them the low down on all things Earlsfield & mummy.

Did I achieve my goals? I really hope so, but only you as the reader can judge. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have been following my campaign so I hope you have enjoyed my journey.

What does the course involve?

What does the course involve?

The course most certainly isn’t for the faint hearted or those thinking that they can scrape by with minimal study and effort. I laugh at my question to one of the Social Media guides at the start of the course “How will you be able to tell whether I’m doing my 15 hours of study? Do we have to log in and out of anything?” I’m surprised the guide didn’t laugh in my face (or my ear). Quite frankly, there is no way you can pass this course without putting in a HUGE effort. It’s advertised as 15 hours, but I would say it’s more like double.

The course teaches you all the things you need to know about Social Media through online learning which is a combination of written lessons, videos, podcasts & webinars then towards the latter part of the course, you run a live Social Media campaign for 8 weeks. It’s difficult to fit in the study, run the social media channels and juggle every day life. In some way it can be likened to having a new baby;

Late nights: Expect lots of late evenings with Hangouts, Tweet Chats, Tweet Hours, Blog writing & scheduling taking over your life.

Dealing with Shit: Getting to grips with metrics and KPI’s.

A little bit clueless: Learning all the new tools, apps & information.

No rewards: When your campaign takes off & you get your first retweets and start to get noticed, it’s a bit like your baby’s first smile. It kinda makes you realise, that actually, everything you’ve struggled with might be worthwhile after all.

My husband is super-relieved the course is coming to an end so he’ll actually get his wife back in the evenings & I know my daughters are looking forward to the time when mummy is not superglued to her phone at ALL TIMES!

I have actually learnt a HUGE amount, it’s easy to think when you’re doing the course that you’re not actually learning much, but now I can confidently say that; I know all about KPI’s, how to report figures for clients, the difference between certain scheduling tools, how to actually schedule content across different platforms, the difference between created & curated content, how to entice people to get involved in a campaign, how to advertise across different social media platforms and how to do a google hangout; one of the highlights of my week was having a whinge to my group of Digital Mums. At the start of the course, you are put into a small group of women who become your lifeline throughout the 6 months. Our group, ‘Doodlebugs’ (because we were forever trying to schedule hangouts on doodle!) started off as a group of 8 but soon dwindled to 6! The course is quite full on and not all will make it to the end.

The Highlights

The Highlights

I’m actually really proud of my campaign and how far I’ve come; I was invited to review & blog about a local family theatre performance with a celebrity cast, I’ve been contacted by numerous companies offering to send me their products to review and blog about (unfortunately, none of them have quite suited me YET), I have had a loose offer of work to write newsletters & do some social media from a national brand & I also made some fantastic contacts with local businesses and brands who kindly got involved and donated prizes to my campaign competitions. A HUGE thank you to all those who have supported me. I really do appreciate it.

The other obvious highlight was my group of amazing Doodlebugs, without whom, I doubt I would have made it so far, and also meeting other Digital Mums online, you can immediately seek out fellow Digital Mums; every social media platform is sleek and consistent and there is a continuous stream of well-balanced content.

Would I recommend the course?

Would I recommend the course to other mums?

Absolutely. At times it can feel like the course content is a little dated, but that’s always going to be the case with the ever-changing landscape of social media. As soon as content is produced, it’s out of date! Our group also thought on times that the information provided was actually way too much; you’d get an information overload when all you really needed was a snippet to carry out your weekly tasks. We understood why all the information is included; so that when you’re working with a live client, you’ve already studied everything in detail and you can refer back to the information, but with baby brain being an actual real life thing (who knew??) chances are, you’re not going to remember that far back anyway. It would have been helpful if the content could have been split into ‘necessity’ and ‘extra’.

Our group also felt it would have been helpful to have a bit more contact or 1:1 with a social media guide. The Mothership (a bit like an email, where you submit all your queries) is always available, but there’s nothing like being able to chat to a real life expert in real time.

What Next?

What Next?

At the moment, I never want to see another Tweet, Facebook post or Instagram snap EVER AGAIN. I’m going to take some time-out to enjoy the rest of the summer with my wonderful family, continue my personal blog (The Exhausted Mum) that was actually gaining some traction before I started ‘Electric Earlsfield’ then it had to die a sudden death (time management issues) and finally, do what Digital Mums taught me to do best: Test, Measure, Refine & Reflect on what’s next for me & my future. Watch this space!

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