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As I reflect back on 2012, it was an awesome year; a year filled with a lot of learning and growth. I deepened friendships and relationships, built new relationships that changed my life in myriad ways and took on massive professional challenges. It’s a year I never want to forget. In fact, I want to build on the many successes I’ve had during the year.

That’s why I’m kicking off 2013 unemployed.

Big Changes in 2013

That’s right, I’m entering 2013 with no full time employment.

My contract with my former employer ended on December 31, 2012 and we will not be renewing into 2013.

Despite this fact (or maybe because of it) I’m more excited about 2013 than I have been about any year in recent memory. Not since I began law school in 1990 have I faced this much change in one year – and this coming from a guy who has relocated three times over the years for exciting job opportunities.

I’ve already made a group of people aware of my plans for 2013 via emails and phone calls – and those efforts have been rewarded with an amazing number of potential projects and assignments (the one lesson I learned in 2012 is you never know what’s possible until you ask your connections for their help). I’m writing this blog post in an effort to cast as wide a net as possible by letting you know of my plans and to see if there’s a way we might work together in 2013.

More About Me

Of course it’s presumptuous to even think that you would WANT to work with me, without knowing a whole lot more about me. If you are reading this post, you may know me very well, but you might not know me at all. Perhaps you found this blog post from a tweet or it was forwarded to you by a friend.

Social Biz Summit - Buffalo

Speaking at Social Biz Summit in Buffalo NY

So, here’s a bit more detail:

I’ve been involved in internet and digital marketing since April 1999 (if not earlier – I date it as April 199 because that’s when I launched my first web site). I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of small law service companies (mostly law firms), helping them refine their online marketing strategy and helping ensure their digital marketing programs worked. For three years, I led one of the largest SEO teams in the country, inside a company that launched hundred of web sites a month. I set the strategic direction of the search engine optimization team and was an SEO thought leader inside that business and umbrella corporation.  I was also fortunate enough to help create, define, staff and implement the most successful and profitable product in the history of that company. I’ve led teams as large as 37 and successfully managed multimillion dollar budgets.

If you want more detail than this, by all means, take a look at my LinkedIn profile or my resume. I’d also love to connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Because of my long history of “big-company” employment, facing 2013 without a full time job is both terrifying and invigorating. As I look into 2013, I see many amazing possibilities. I want to share with you some of my plans and to detail ways that we might work together in 2013.

Full-Time Employment

I am interested in finding full time employment – but only with a company and in a role that is a great fit for me personally; a role where I have an opportunity to lead a team of digital marketing experts for a company that is already growing and facing further growth challenges. I am already in the hiring process with a couple companies that meet these criteria, which is very exciting because these opportunities are pretty rare. The odds are stacked against me finding such an opportunity in Chicago (I wouldn’t rule out a relocation for an amazing opportunity but would strongly prefer to stay here in Chicago). Nevertheless, I am looking and interested – so if you know of or work for such a company, please get in touch. I’d love to talk with you about your opportunity and your company and and explore whether it might be a fit for both of us.

Social Media Club Chicago

Speaking at Social Media Club Chicago

Depending on the company, positions that might interest me could be labeled any one of the following: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), VP of Marketing, VP of Digital, VP of Communications, VP of Business Development, or VP of Internet. They might also be Senior Director, Director, Senior Manager or Manager level of any of these disciplines – every organization labels things differently. From my perspective, job title is far less important than the specific responsibilities and the total compensation. While I’d like to think I could easily fill a challenging role related to Social Media, I doubt many companies would be interested in me for these types of roles  since I have not held a job with social media in the job title before.

Virtual VP of Digital Marketing

In the absence of full time work, I am looking to find 3-4 clients who need the skills and experience a VP of Digital Marketing would bring to the table but do not need to hire someone into that role full-time. These companies likely have 25-50 or more employees and are doing some amazing work. They’ve marketed themselves primarily through word of mouth or off-line and have come to realize they need to have a stronger digital plan as they head into 2013 and beyond in order to grow their business.

The scope of work under this arrangement would vary by client, but I suspect there would be some common areas where I could help including setting the strategic direction for the digital marketing program, working with or establishing relationships with external agencies, building an internal team of employees including writing job descriptions, on-boarding and training new or existing staff. These functions can be done in relationship to any one or more among multiple disciplines within digital marketing, including social media, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, content marketing, web development, email marketing and more.

Again, if you know of any companies that might be interested in talking with me further about this type of role, please get in touch with me. My contact info is below.

Hanging a Shingle – Project Work

Social Slam 2012

Speaking at Social Slam 2012 in Knoxville, TN

As I mentioned above, I started putting out feelers among my close network a short time ago, lining up work for 2013. These efforts have been exceptionally fruitful, and have resulted in dozens of discussions, some of which are ongoing, some of which are inked projects.

I’m taking on clients and project work related to the following project types:

  • Web Site Design and Development: I have relationships with some truly outstanding designers and developers that allow us to do some very special work. One of the primary projects for January involves a web site redesign, redevelopment and re-launch. This project also includes a complete re-thinking of content and SEO strategy. I’m really looking forward to the results I know we can bring to this client’s web program.
  • SEO Audit: I have taken on a number of these projects in recent months and more are coming online every day. These are flat rate projects with clear step-by-step recommendations that a client can take away and act on themselves.
  • SEO Projects: Many clients don’t want to take on the responsibility of doing SEO related work. In these circumstances, I assume the role of SEO and take on this work directly. These projects deliver a list of specific recommendations after which I go and do the SEO work personally. The specifics of these projects change with the engagement and can include content strategy, keyword research, content creation, onsite optimization, link building and offsite optimization, technical SEO recommendations and cleanup work, among other things. I’m kicking off at least two SEO projects in January.
  • Training: One of my favorite things to do is to train teams of marketers on the various impacts of SEO and other digital marketing efforts can have on their business. I’m in the middle of discussions with at least three different companies to train their internal staff and/or customers on a variety of digital marketing disciplines.
  • Speaking: I do a fair amount of speaking on a wide variety of topics related to digital marketing. It’s something I very much enjoy doing. If you are interesting in having me visit and speak with your organization, I’d love to chat with you about the opportunity.

312 Digital – A Training Company

In addition to all those wonderful opportunities mentioned above, I’ve launched a new venture called 312 Digital. We are taking digital marketing training back to its roots by hosting small, in-person training sessions for people interested in learning how to do this crazy thing we call digital marketing. Of course, digital marketing is really made up of many different disciplines, which means we are in the process of building out a series of events, an entire curriculum to address the needs of businesses and marketers.

We’ll be creating introductory, intermediate and advanced level courses for a variety of disciplines, including SEO, social media, content marketing, email marketing, video and much more. Our first class is scheduled for January 22nd and we’re in the planning stages for February (Introduction to SEO) and March (Introduction to Social Media) as well. At first, we’ll be doing monthly events here in Chicago, but hope to grow in both frequency and location. We’d love to see you at an upcoming class. Please be sure to check out our upcoming class schedule on our web site.

Want to Work Together in 2013? Get in Touch!

Work with Sean McGinnis in 2013

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Sean McGinnis

Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct
Sean McGinnis is Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct. He is also a (digital strategist, blogger, consultant ) and public speaker. You can find Sean on