#GreyChat: Conversation With Getrude

Toluwani Omotesho


#GreyChat is a laid-back series where users share their experiences with Grey. We discuss their relationship with money, tips for financial freedom, and other fun anecdotes. Want to get featured? Let us know here.

Getrude Mligo is a digital education consultant and communication strategist who has pioneered many online advocacy campaigns like #DearGirlChild in Tanzania. She’s also an accomplished author with 13 books under her belt and a humanitarian who is especially concerned with the digital literacy of women and girls. In this chat, she shares her motivations and how she had to decline international jobs before discovering Grey.

You have such a diverse skill set…What would you say motivated you to pursue a degree in communications?

Although I didn’t start my studies with digital marketing courses, soon after I graduated with a first degree in human resources, I found myself attracted to digital marketing and the digital world at large. I realized it wasn’t enough to get digital marketing experience — I wanted to become an expert too. This inspired me to enroll in different online courses before eventually pursuing a formal certificate in digital communications at Harvard, and another in content creation and community management from the University of Leeds.

That’s interesting. Would you advice other entry-level digital marketers to also invest in paid courses and formal education or just study with free courses and then get hands-on experience?

I actually started with free courses because, at the time, I was skeptical about investing my money in digital marketing. But then I realized that many people were already doing the free courses, and I wanted to find a way to differentiate myself from the crowd.

Also, when people see that you have a degree, certificate, or diploma, especially from a well-profiled institution, they have a level of trust in your ability and want to work with you. And, in the end, it all pays off. You have to know what you want and figure out how you want to stand out in the job market.

What advice do you have for people who want to enter digital marketing but come from a different background, and are interested in many other things like yourself?

It’s not easy to be a versatile person who’s involved with a lot of things. But speaking specifically from my experience, it was possible because I love what I’m doing. There are moments when I feel overwhelmed, but what keeps me going is how passionate I am to make a change. I want to be someone who excels at digital marketing and writing but also gives back to the community, so I am focused on creating this identity for myself.

So, pick interests you’re passionate about and find a way to connect them in a way that doesn’t drain you. Doing this would make it easier for you to face challenges and keep moving forward.

That’s awesome…Can you tell us about your initiative, The Social Media Academy? What motivated you to start it, and how has it contributed to digital communication in Tanzania?

Well, I wanted people to understand the type of benefits they can get through their smartphones, and also, I needed money. I won’t beat around the bush; I wanted money, and to get it, I had to use my skills.

The Social Media Academy trains and assists people to monetize their skills and earn from social media and websites. So far, we’ve connected more than 600 women through digital marketing to sell their handmade products to people in the U.S., Dubai, Switzerland, and Canada. These women make sales of about 40 million Tanzanian shillings monthly; a student of ours, who’s great at crafting, recently got her work featured on Netflix; it’s amazing to see that we’re making changes through digital platforms.

That’s impressive…I know you’ve received several awards. You were awarded the Digital Strategist of the Year recently. How have these recognitions impacted your career?

When people see you getting recognized, they view you as an expert. For instance, when I won the Digital Strategist of the Year, I got eight new clients. These awards and recognitions are like social proof and evidence that you know what you’re doing, and they influence people to want to work with you.

Nice…Can you share some of the challenges you’ve encountered in your career and how you’ve overcome them?

I remember that at the beginning of my career as a digital marketer, I didn’t know how to set boundaries with clients. My phone would be buzzing with calls and texts by 2 am, and some clients considered me to be their therapist. I also had situations where clients defaulted on payments and gave numerous excuses, making my work difficult.

Also, because I’m involved in three different fields: digital marketing, writing, and humanitarian work, there were instances where I was offered paid opportunities, but had to decline because I’m just one person. These were big challenges for me, but now I’ve learned the hard way to set standards and manage my time better, too.

Speaking of payments, you know we at Grey make it easier for freelancers and remote workers in Africa to transact internationally. Would you say receiving payments was a problem you faced at the beginning?

Yes, it definitely was. Some clients specifically used the excuse of not being able to send money to Tanzania to delay payments. I also remember that at the beginning of my career, I got an offer from Australia, but because of the tedious payment process that would be involved, I declined the opportunity. Being exposed to international payment then would have been helpful in that situation. There are still people in Tanzania who struggle with making international payments due to lack of exposure, so I believe that sessions should be created to spread awareness.

We’re definitely looking to gain more awareness in the East African market. So, what is your advice for young professionals entering this field?

You need to be aware of trends, especially in regards to how they can help the brands you work with. You need to take advantage of AI tools as they can optimize your content by giving you insights on what keywords to use and the best time to post content and help you improve your engagement and visibility. And lastly, as a digital marketer, you need to take yourself seriously because how else will other people take you seriously?

Also read: Tips for Building a Personal Brand

That’s great advice. Do you have any feedback you’d like us to take home?

Yeah, I believe kids should be exposed to Grey. Doing this will ensure that when they’re ready to start a digital career, they know what platform to use, and won’t have to miss out on international opportunities.

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