Johnny Chen has a slew of marketing achievements under his belt: managing multimillion dollar marketing budgets, masterminding an increase in 5.5 million users in 3 months, running hundreds of marketing experiments…
From the outside, it seems like he has always been on a “hockey stick” career trajectory. However, Johnny chose to give up many of his projects and to focus on mobile brand consulting as a full time digital nomad. Why the transition?
Interviewed by Ian Chew, Johnny tells us a bit more about his story… in his own words.
How A Passion For Travel Can Shape A Career
Ever since I studied abroad in Hong Kong in 2011, I have been hooked on traveling the world. I realised that for me, there is nothing more fulfilling in life than seeing this beautiful Earth, experiencing different cultures and people, and exploring the unknown.
Since then, every career decision has been to build towards a career and lifestyle that allows me to work from anywhere in the world.
I started out doing growth & product consulting, so that I can build up a valuable skillset. While there were initial successes in my career, I realised that I wanted to choose the companies and products I work on.
Hence I became a remote consultant. As a consultant, I am not bound to four or more years at a single company. Instead, I can choose to work with a diverse set of companies I really care about and can learn from.
I decided to focus on mobile because mobile usage has been increasing and will continue to do so. There are specific workflows that I still prefer to do on desktop, such as filling out credit card information, ecommerce purchases, sending email, and professional work. These are still suboptimal experiences on mobile. However, I do see more and more brands launching with a mobile-first approach, and oftentimes, mobile-only approach, so the trend is definitely going in that direction.
How To Be A Successful Remote Consultant
You first need to learn the tips and tricks of the trade. There are hundreds of free blogs and courses out there, and for someone new to the niche, I would recommend getting started there.
Once you have an idea of what this is about, keep up with industry-specific news. I follow several weekly newsletters/blogs: Grow.co, MobileDevMemo, Andrew Chen’s blog, VC blogs, and Product Hunt to name a few.
From there, my principle has always been to learn by doing. For example, if you want to be a digital marketer, find a niche that allows you to practice running Facebook & Google Ads, so you can have actual data to optimize and learn from.
This can be in the form of a part-time/full-time job, but you can also run digital ads for restaurants, bars, local businesses, doctor’s offices, lawyers, trainers, and photographers. Anybody who wants to grow their business is fair game.
Once you are running the ads, always be experimenting. Let the data do the talking. No matter how many people in the room believe an idea is correct, test the hypothesis and let the data speak for itself. Just because you read about a tactic in a book or article doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work for your business.
This is not to say that every single thing should be tested. However, within reason, it’s incredibly important to prioritize the highest-impact experiments as a team, and go after them one by one to improve your growth metrics.
What You Need To Know In 2019 If You’re A Remote Marketing Consultant
To get you started, these are the top three trends I see for 2019:
1. Mobile video usage (both short and long-form) will continue to skyrocket. We will continue to see increased content creation on the short-form side (Instagram Stories, Snapchat, TikTok) and increased viewership on the long-form side (YouTube, IGTV, video streaming).
2. Mobile ecommerce will become the default method of shopping for a majority of US users. On Cyber Monday this year, we saw mobile revenue surpass desktop for the first time. This trend will continue, and with the wave of new D2C brands popping up in the US, consumers will default to their phones to shop instead of desktop.
3. We will continue to see more innovation in fintech/mobile payments. In China, it’s already widely accepted to use your phone to pay rent, manage bills, and even book appointments. In 2019, the US will finally catch up, and we will see more people using more apps to do things like manage their portfolios, trade cryptocurrency, transfer money, buy/rent cars and properties, and more.