Christian A. Dumais is an American digital marketer who primarily works with Polish brands with their English marketing, and has since branched out with UK and US clients. He focuses on social media marketing, content curation, language auditing, newsletter outreach, and more. He is also a published writer, stand-up comedian, and public speaker. His wide-range of experience has provided him with unique tools that allow him to effectively access brands from different points of view. He is also known as Twitter’s @DRUNKHULK – an internet and pop culture sensation which accumulated nearly 150,000 followers and was featured in Time, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, NPR, Comedy Central, MTV, and more. You can learn more about his work at https://cadumais.com/
How did you start out as a marketer?
I come from a writing/journalism background in the US, stumbled into a university teaching position in Poland, and then ended up working at a lot of different Polish companies helping employees to learn English.
Through this process, I realized that there was a huge opportunity in Poland to bridge the gap between a company’s Polish marketing and its English marketing – which were usually two different things, instead of running parallel with one another – or help these companies break into international markets.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
Now that I have a nice number of clients in my portfolio, I think the hardest part is convincing the client that [whatever marketing plan] needs to be done. A lot of these companies are big enough to be set in their ways, or small enough to not want to rock the boat, so they end up getting in their own way out of complacency or fear or sometimes ego. Successful marketing is usually a gamble, and if you’re not willing to take the chance, then there’s a good possibility that your brand is going to remain stagnant.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
I got really lucky with my first client. After seeing all of these missed opportunities at so many companies working as a teacher, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, but I was too afraid to make the leap to freelance.
Through a Facebook post, I saw that there was a local content marketing agency that was looking for someone to help with their English content at every level. I had an interview with the CEO and he was wonderfully receptive to a lot of my ideas. He offered me a job which forced me to bite the bullet and quit teaching.
The job itself was a tremendous crash course for me. Now I was seeing the needs of this Polish company, not as someone who popped in for an hour or two a week, but as someone who was there every day. Some of my original ideas weren’t practical, some were even better than I imagined. I basically said YES to everything for the first six months and dove into the content marketing deep end of this agency. I was the editor-in-chief, a writer, content curator, and the social media and the blog manager.
I figured out a way to get quality content being pumped out consistently, which involved actively changing the company’s approach to its workflow. I created a company writing style guide to make sure everyone was on the same page. And within three months, we increased the blog’s readership by 300%.
After that came the more difficult marketing challenges, both good and bad. Getting people to the content was one thing, but now it was time to convert them into clients.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
When it all comes together. At the beginning of any cooperation with a client, it’s a mess of onboarding, getting tons of data, and navigating the client’s expectations. But once that’s all settled and you start affecting positive change in the brand’s marketing so that it shows in sales – because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about – that’s where it gets rewarding.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing, how else can someone earn online, and what is your advice?
I won’t pretend to KNOW how to make money online, but I can say with confidence that you need to find a niche. A niche can be many things but at its core, it’s essentially a confluence of a specific problem meeting a specific solution.
I’m an American freelance digital marketer in Poland. I managed to tap into a niche that brings solutions to specific problems Polish companies have, and I was lucky enough to deliver these solutions. That’s how I make money online. Find your niche.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I’ve been all over the map, figuratively and literally. My first job at 16 was working at a McDonald’s and today I’m in digital marketing, but between here and there I’ve worked as a grocery store cashier, a pharmaceutical technician, a pharmacy auditor, an investigation firm editor, journalist, a freelance writer, university lecturer, stand up comedian and more.
Each of those roles has given me access to something new and different that I could carry with me to the next thing. If I skipped from A to Z without experience everything in the middle, I’d simply fail.
How is your typical work day structured?
Well, this is 2020, so there’s nothing typical, as you know.
In March, Poland went into a serious lockdown and I went from four clients to one. March, April, and May were significant low points in my professional career, but at the same time, incredible high points for my personal life.
By June, I had six clients, but now I was working remotely from home.
So, a typical day is waking up around 6. Showering and getting dressed. And then going upstairs to my office. I used the lockdown as an opportunity to invest in myself and my office, so it’s a room I enjoy being in, whether I’m working creatively with my own projects, or professionally for my clients.
The early morning hours are spent answering emails and understanding what the goals are for that day. I write down the goals for the day on the whiteboard.
Open up all of the tools. And then it’s all about managing the time so that every client gets the attention they deserve and the work gets done. There will probably be a video call here and there.
Once or twice a week, I’ll leave the house to meet with clients either at their office or for coffee somewhere.
Working from home requires a lot of discipline and time management.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
That’s basically the whole game. You really have to front-load the whole thing before you see any significant results.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
Recently I created a series of newsletter templates for potential clients. They were tailor-made for their brand and designed to have one solid CTA. I gave them away to some local brands that I wanted to work with. One of them reached out and asked me to manage their English newsletter content. They gave me all of the information of the clients on their mailing list and I was able to optimize it into various segments, as well as weed out the English-speaking audience. I created a fun series of newsletters that highlighted one of their products every week, and this translated into an average of 6 sales per newsletter. They have done the same practice with their Polish newsletters based on what I was doing and it’s worked out great for them.
They now have a clean and visually-appealing newsletter template, have coordinated newsletter outreach for multiple audiences, and are making money. Most importantly, they understand the value of their newsletter, which was a low priority for them before I came along.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
I’m not good with this kind of question. So instead I want to try it from a different angle.
Who are your heroes? That should be an easy question.
Most likely, your heroes aren’t marketers. And if that’s the case, what is it about these people that you like, and more importantly, how did they get their voice heard?
When I was growing up, my holy trinity was Stan Lee, David Letterman, and Stephen King,
Lee taught me how to connect with my audience. He always wrote to his fans like they were in the room, using alliteration and a slightly above average vocabulary (because he trusted his audience), and he knew how to sell a story.
Letterman taught me how to take a tried-and-true institution (like American late-night talk shows) and make it your own. He taught me the value of being subversive and irreverent, and creating a new audience by working against a more traditional one.
King taught me the value of being prolific. Sure, not every story was a winner, but it didn’t matter because you knew that another one was coming soon. Never mind the scares, he connected with an entire generation of readers through consistency and discipline to his own craft.
Break down what it is about your hero that you admire and look at it from the POV of what you learned from them.
What advice would you share with other marketer’s who want to become more productive?
Take it one day at a time. While it’s easy to remember your long term OKRs, always start the day knowing what the goals of the day are. What needs to be done today?
When you absolutely know the answer, you may discover that you have more time today than you thought and you can be more productive.
I imagine it like I’m setting down small tiles to make an intricate pattern on a floor. Today I set down three tiles, tomorrow it’ll be five, and over time I’ll be able to step back and see something beautiful that I achieved.
But I’d never be able to get there if all I was doing was focusing on the pattern itself.
If there’s one Marketing Guru you’d recommend who and why.
Not really. I feel like everyone is basically saying the same thing, only wording it differently or expressing it with their own personality – especially the endless marketing warriors on LinkedIn. If you like someone and trust them, then go for it, but don’t make any illusions that they’re saying anything new.