We’ve all heard the advice to “follow your passion.” It sounds wonderfully inspiring, but sometimes it means skipping the mainstream, nine-to-five world for paths that are more unclear, uncertain and even uncomfortable.
Jason Pollak’s career is a testament to following your passion. Today, he manages social media accounts for artists, record labels and companies, including rapper Lil Wayne, Young Money Entertainment and The Blueprint Group, as well as for several food and fashion brands. Some of the accounts reach over a billion people a year, he says.
But when Jason started out, the role of social media manager didn’t even exist. It was only by pairing an entrepreneurial spirit with a willingness to follow his passion for music and entertainment that he was able to build his own career path where there hadn’t been one before.
Becoming a social media trailblazer
“I kind of stumbled into my career,” Jason says. “When I graduated from college there were no social media managers. But I saw how the world was changing and decided that I needed to learn how to use Facebook and Twitter and understand how their algorithms worked and evolved.”
“I also wasn’t afraid to reach out to people, even if I thought they might ignore me. I started working with Lil Wayne simply because I emailed his web design company, and I asked them if they needed any help managing his site. From there, I was connected to his team.”
But what exactly does Jason’s job as a social media manager entail? He’s focused on the day-to-day work of maintaining popular social accounts across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, and generating more likes, comments, and engagement.
“I’m also very concerned with the quality of what I’m posting,” he explains. “Am I telling the right story? Am I creating a narrative that supports and advances the artist’s brand?”
“It might seem like a simple job, but it’s a big responsibility. You need your content to be very buttoned up, and you need to be able to read the room accurately every day. If you post the wrong thing or word it the wrong way, people will call you out for sure!”
Jason’s recipe for success
There’s a lot to keep track of when managing such large social media accounts, from answering email to scheduling posts and doing research for upcoming content. When asked how he balances it all, Jason has a surprisingly homespun answer.
“Make sure you get the appropriate amount of sleep each night,” he says. “Make sure you’re ready to go the next morning when the world starts up again. You can’t really predict what’s going to come your way, but you have to be ready for whatever it is.”
It’s also important to follow the latest trends and technologies, but these days, that’s not too complicated. There are lots of newsletters that bring this kind of industry news right to your inbox, Jason says. Other than that, he recommends keeping an eye on what’s going on around you, having an open mind and thinking creatively about how you can use new trends.
“For example, when Twitter recently started allowing people to post images and video together, I immediately saw some people doing really creative things with that. So if you see someone doing something new, learn from it and figure out how you might be able to use it.”
A Rosie spin on freelance work
Even the most independent-minded, entrepreneurial spirits can benefit from partnerships, and Jason says he’s experienced that as a Rosie.
“Finding We Are Rosie was a blessing for me,” he explains. “I was always happy to be on my own and figure things out at my own pace, but We Are Rosie has made it so much easier to connect with good opportunities.”
“Anyone who has worked independently knows that you can encounter people who say they want to work with you, but it turns out that they’re not really serious or they’re just trying to get information out of you or they aren’t really offering what they say they’re offering.”
In Jason’s opinion, We Are Rosie’s client vetting process takes a lot of the uncertainty and wasted time out of the equation.
“Working with We Are Rosie, I know that they have my back,” he says. “And they have my back every step of the way. That allows me to do what I really love to do, with clients who truly need and value what I offer.”
Embracing fear and following your heart
But it’s that idea of doing what you love to do that’s the central lesson in Jason’s story. Without that commitment, Jason wouldn’t be where he is today.
“Being passionate about what you’re doing is critically important,” he says. “If you don’t truly love what you’re doing, you’re going to burn out.”
“And, yes, you have to embrace the fear that things aren’t always totally clear and you may have some rough spots. But if you have a real passion for something or you discover you have a knack for doing something you care about, you should pursue it. Sooner or later, you’ll find a way to make it happen.”
If you’re ready to build your independent marketing career like Jason, become a Rosie today. You can join our community of marketing experts for access to roles with the biggest brands and agencies, plus career support, networking, upskilling, and more.