21 Lessons We Learned in 20212021 was a year of valuable lessons and growth, both professionally and personally, for our small-but-mighty marketing team! We added a new team member (Jheanel Walters, our Marketing & Advertising Specialist), welcomed new clients, and started The M Word podcast!

Yes, we faced some challenges along the way, but we also learned how to pick ourselves up, adapt, and move forward. 

Here is a compilation of the top lessons we learned in 2021 that we will be carrying forward into 2022: 

  1. Spending time to organize yourself at the beginning of the day is always time well spent.

    How you start the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. Take a few minutes with your cup of coffee (or tea!), make a list of what you want to get done, and get it done!21 Lessons We Learned in 2021 - Organize Your Day

  2. If it is not on a list with a due date — it won’t get done.

    Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits we offer our team at Arlington Strategy. We’ve been fortunate to be able to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule, but being able to do so requires everyone to flex their project management skills and utilize a task management system consistently. Don’t have a project management tool? Here is a great list. We personally love ASANA.

  3. Understanding the importance of collaboration and communication.

    Remote work can also result in communication struggles, but using a communication tool like Slack and keeping your team in the loop can be helpful.

  4. Don’t let self-doubt hold you back from pursuing your dreams.

    Being uncomfortable is where you will flourish and grow, so go for it! Take the leap and dive into the project that you’ve been talking about forever. We did it! We launched a podcast and figured it out as we went; you can too. Dream big and just go for it.21 Lessons We Learned in 2021 - Say Yes!

  5. Never stop learning.

    No one is always right, and no one knows everything. Invest in that course, take a class, or sign up for a webinar and keep honing your skills.

  6. There is no such thing as perfect.

    Trying to be perfect — in your professional or personal life — is exhausting because perfection doesn’t actually exist! Be you. That’s perfect enough.

  7. The planning fallacy is legit.

    We have to give ourselves more time than we think we need. Video projects especially take longer than you may think. Plan ahead! Preparation, including scriptwriting AND practicing, is crucial — especially for Reels! 21 Lessons We Learned in 2021 - Prep your reels

  8. There is power in saying no.

    You have the ability and the power to say no when something does not align with your beliefs and vibration. You are also not going to be for everyone, and that’s OK. Know who you are and honor that person inside you.

  9. Helping and relationship building should be at the heart of marketing.

    There’s a saying that ‘helping is the new selling.’ It’s not really new; we’re just going back to the basics. If you put your customers first and listen to their needs by providing helpful and educational content, they’ll return for more. Building positive relationships and trust in your brand will result in customer retention and referral. Relationship marketing is a thing.

  10. We serve clients, but we also serve people.

    Our work only matters if we are being good to people. Don’t assume someone sees the same thing you do. Everyone has a bad day once in a while; everyone needs grace, and a little kindness goes a long way.  21 Lessons We Learned in 2021 - Thanksgiving

  11. Celebrate the wins.

    Big or small, don’t forget to celebrate your successes as a team. We often accomplish something big and immediately move on to the next project. Stop and celebrate your win. You deserve a little celebration in your life.

  12. Proofread. And then proofread again.

    Words matter. Commas matter. Decimals matter. It never hurts to have someone else review your work. Two sets of eyes are always better than one.

  13. Real-life and work-life can’t be separated into neat piles.

    Political and social issues like a global pandemic impact everyone, even the workplace. Create a working environment where your team feels safe and encourages open conversation without judgment.

  14. Make your mental and physical health your priority.

    Take care of yourself (spirit, mind, and body), even when you’re tired. It’s vital to add exercise, a long walk, or just a 10-minute power nap to your list of things to do each day. How can you be productive at work if you are not taking care of yourself?

  15. Work will always be there.

    Maintaining a work/life balance is especially difficult when working remotely, but be sure to take the time, shut down your computer, put away your phone, and sit with your family or partner for 15 minutes and listen to their day. Quality over quantity every time.21 Lessons We Learned in 2021 - Family Time

  16. You need to be your biggest fan and supporter.

    You have to believe in yourself and strive for what you want. Work on that inner drive and manifest your dreams. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can anyone else?

  17. Change can be scary, but it can also be an opportunity.

    As marketers, we know first-hand that change is inevitable. The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving — from Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection feature to Google’s cookie phaseout. Embrace the changes. They force us to find new ways to be creative and innovative.

  18. Try it, test it, and keep testing.

    In the same spirit of being flexible with each change, it’s necessary to test new strategies and keep fine-tuning until you find what works best for your audience instead of just giving up on the first try. A/B test your email content, social media messages, and your website visuals frequently to see what’s effective and what’s not.21 Lessons We Learned in 2021 - Test it!

  19. Be intentional.

    With your words, your thoughts, your actions, your time, and your life.

  20. Real change starts with taking action.

    Talking about taking action is not the same as taking action. Want to change the world? Get out there, show up, and ask the hard questions. Then share what you learned with others. Don’t talk about what needs to get done — just do it.

  21. Always be your authentic self.

    Don’t underestimate the power of being authentic with yourself, your clients, and everyone else.

What lessons did you learn, and how will you apply them in 2022?

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