Running a business is hard work. From managing teams to juggling finances, there’s a lot to handle. Neil Patel, owner of the award-winning digital marketing agency NP Digital, knows this well—he started his first business at the age of 15. Now, as a successful entrepreneur and influencer, he’s dedicated his platform to helping other professionals succeed.
We sat down with Patel to learn more about his journey, his thoughts on the future of work in this digital-first era, and, you guessed it, his favorite Slack tips.
The following is a condensed transcript; answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Developing career-defining marketing skills
Your résumé is impressive. Entrepreneur. New York Times best-selling author. Influencer. How’d you get here? What’s your story?
Both of my parents were hardworking immigrants and did everything possible to provide for my sister and me. From a very young age I had the drive to work and make money, so I decided when I was a teenager in high school to launch a website to compete with Monster.com.
What I didn’t realize back then was that having a website didn’t necessarily mean I would gain traffic to the site or drive revenue. I ended up dumping my savings into a marketing agency that promised me they would help drive traffic to my website. Unfortunately, they ended up providing zero value, so I decided to learn marketing on my own.
From there, my career began to snowball in a positive way as I was able to learn quickly and deliver amazing results to companies. These were the same companies that I would end up pitching to become my clients later down the line.
Nowadays, my focus is on building out both my agencies on a global scale and continuing to provide as much value as possible to my readers with the content and tools that I create. Creating content has always been super-important to me, as it has allowed me to help countless people around the world with their marketing. So I am always building out new types of content on different channels to have as big of an impact as possible.
Embracing digital-first tools and the future of work
As a business owner, what does building a digital HQ mean to you and your team?
It means everything! As a global company, especially one in the time of Covid, being able to connect and stay aligned with different teams in different places is essential. If we aren’t on the same page, we aren’t able to provide great results for our clients. It would be far more difficult to grow as a global agency if we didn’t have access to a space that made it possible for fast and seamless communication.
What does the “future of work” mean to you, and what role do you think digital tools play in shaping it?
I believe the way we work in the future will be a hybrid of how we worked in the past, along with how we have been working these past 18 months or so. Because of this mentality, having the digital tools to navigate and facilitate the remote accessibility of strategic partners and collaborators is key. I have teams across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. If it weren’t for the different tools we use, it would be impossible for us to be productive and capable of quick and efficient communication.
Sharing Slack tips from a pro
We know you’re a Slack power user. What are your top three Slack apps and why?
Such a hard choice! Teamwork is great because it helps keep folks on the same page and aligned in order to achieve goals and complete tasks. We also use Jira Cloud which allows us to communicate which bugs are major issues. By connecting it with Slack we can get team members on major problems and get them solved right away. Then there’s Google Drive which gives us the ability to instantly access files and reply directly to comments using threads. It makes communication and sharing documents much more efficient for our team.
In your opinion, how can marketers get the most out of Slack?
Transparent communication is so important for business, especially for companies that have remote workers. Slack is truly essential for seamless communication across different teams in an organized manner, and it can provide a permanent “log” of discussions among teams via threads, channels, and more. Companies are also able to use these forms of digital communication to hold people accountable and ensure maximum output with the best results in an approachable way.
OK, we have to ask: What’s your favorite Slack emoji or feature?
I love the Giphy feature for Slack. Of course the workplace needs to be serious, but that doesn’t mean being silly from time to time is a bad thing!