Mason Nelson is actually a very close friend of mine. We met my sophomore year of college when we joined the same business fraternity. Since then, Mason has grown to become one of my best friends. He's passionate and hungry to create and pursue his passions. I'm very lucky to call this guy a friend!
Ben: Before we get into questions, can you give readers a brief introduction of yourself?
Mason: Hey! Yea, I am a 22 year old dude from central IL. I recently graduated with a marketing degree from Illinois State University. In a few weeks I will be starting my career as an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Analyst at The Foot Locker Corporate Headquarters in central Wisconsin. My main hobbies are mainly graphic design, photography and video games.
Ben: It’s been awesome to see you get out there and find a job will help you progress in your career! When and how did you discover your passion for being a digital marketer?
Mason: I originally discovered it by being involved with E-Sports back in high school. I started to play a lot and use twitter to network and gain opportunities. Eventually that turned into creating graphics for people that I met through the internet. I saw where a need in the world overlapped with an interest of mine so I taught myself how to design and continued to build that skill over the years. It turned into a source of income and eventually into an internship during college. The internship allowed me to meet someone with experience in Search Engine Optimization which jump started my passion for that realm of work. I began to research more on my own and that led to projects, internships and now a job in SEO/digital marketing.
Ben: In the interviews, it’s common for people to have hobbies that lead them to something bigger. It’s really cool how making that connection with someone led to what you want to do after school. What progression have you seen throughout the years of being involved with digital marketing? Either personally and professionally
Mason: From the past 5 or so years of being involved with the digital marketing industry, I have seen crazy growth in myself and the things I have been able to achieve. Professionally, I have seen growth in my ability to bring value to people and their businesses through digital marketing. I have also seen my growth in the ability to communicate with clients and really give them what they are looking for. Whether it's SEO, graphic design or some other sort of digital work, being able to communicate and understand others is key. I went from not knowing anything about how the web works to being able to give thoughtful suggestions to companies on how to correct problems or improve their efforts online. On a personal level, I have learned more about my strengths and weakness and how others view me.
Ben: You have your hand in several different industries, from photography to SEO. Who have been your biggest influences in your journey?
Mason: Gary Vee is probably the biggest influence on my professional journey not including the people I know personally. He instilled realistic values in me and changed my mindset about a lot of things. He helped me realize that I need to be self aware and really understand my strengths and weaknesses to get to where I want to be. There have also been various people from YouTube, my internships and personal life that have pushed me forward and given me opportunities.
Ben: You just graduated from Illinois State with a Marketing degree and are starting at Foot Locker in the next few weeks. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Mason: In five years, I want to still have a job in the SEO or Digital Marketing industry and also doing freelance work on the side. I’d also like to start up a company or organization to use as a side project and give myself more meaningful work. Another goal I have is to live somewhere that I can surround myself with like minded people and continually network with others. I always have to be doing something and have a hard time saying no to good opportunities so I will probably be involved with a lot wherever I am at.
Ben: Surrounding yourself with the right people is always key. If you could do digital marketing for one person or company, who or which company would it be?
Mason: My ultimate goal would be working with a skilled team to build a brand. Apple, Google, Amazon or Red Bull are good examples that people would recognize but the idea of starting something has always been interesting to me as well. I like the brand behind each of these companies and they are leading their industries. I believe in their mission and branding. For example: RedBull took an beverage and turned it into a huge brand that is bigger than a drink. Google and Apple are literally changing the world and the future of humanity with their innovation in products and programs. I am not necessarily set on these companies specifically but they are good examples of what I am looking for. As long as I can be somewhere reputable with products I can stand behind while working with a highly skilled team, I am happy.
Ben: What advice would you give to someone following their passion?
Mason: I see achieving your dreams/accomplishing a goal as a game and you need to do things to win the game. You must “hack” the system and think of ways, large and small, to get closer to them. Whether it’s looking for opportunities, teaching yourself a new skill, sending a message, etc. What can you do today to get one step closer? I find that many people say “I should probably talk to him/her.”, “I have been meaning to do that “ or “ I have always wondered how to do that.” Ideas don't mean much unless you execute on them. It can be overwhelming to think about obtaining a dream job/client/skill but taking each day or even hour at a time will make it more obtain able. Gary V says “ 1>0” meaning that doing 1 thing, sending 1 message, watching 1 tutorial is better that doing 0 of them. Example: If someone wants to become a NBA basketball player yet they have never played or only watch the game, it's nearly impossible. On the other hand, if this person is in the gym everyday practicing, naturally they will get better. On a practical level, if you have always dreamed of being a developer/photographer/designer/accountant/whatever yet have never written code/taken a picture, etc. it just won't happen. Remember: 1>0.
I have talked to various people who work at companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. and none of them have said they got a job been successful because they were so talented at what they do. Most people downplay their achievements and say its because they got “lucky” or did something to meet someone that led them to the goal/job. They joined clubs, messages on LinkedIn, watched YouTube videos, worked on personal projects, etc. Of course, try to be one of the best but remember that even people you deeply admire are normal.
As you can see, Mason is very passionate and excited to take on the world. With a good amount of experience under his belt, his destined to make a name for himself. Follow him on Twitter @glow_designs and Instagram @mason__nelson.