Before I began my career as the Head of Marketing for the infographic tool, Venngage, I made drinks. I actually remember when I was about 15 years old, an older cousin mentioned to me that he had recently taken a bartending course, and received his certification. He used to tell me stories about his exciting nightlife, and the ridiculous tips he would receive on his shifts. I immediately knew that the moment I turned 18 (this is the legal age in Canada to bartend and serve) I would take the course. Sure enough, as my 18th birthday rolled around, I immediately signed up for my bartending certification, and passed with flying colors.
Then came the time to apply for jobs. This proved to be far more difficult than expected. I assumed that once I had my accreditation, restaurants would be lining up to hire me! I was very wrong and quickly learned that no matter what your credentials, the industry wanted a long line of experiential proof. So I did what any desperate teenager would do. I “embellished” my level of experience and called in favours from all of my friends who were already working in the restaurant industry. What I requested was for them to provide me with a reference if asked. Why? Because whenever a prospective job offer came forth and I was asked if I had any experience, I would always say yes. That was one of the most important lessons that bartending taught me: ALWAYS say yes!
Once I mastered the art of saying yes, the jobs kept rolling in. And I loved it! I actually really enjoyed bartending (and still do occasionally on weekends). I considered it a hobby because I loved learning new recipes, I loved communicating with people, and I loved seeing the looks on their faces when they received a cocktail they never realized they loved. I also loved bartending because I was good at it (at least this is what I often tell myself). When you’re behind the bar and the area is packed with eager party-goers who just want to have a good time, you need to be quick on your feet and constantly aware of your surroundings. You need to befriend the patrons, and keep checking in with them to make sure that their experience is perfect. You also need to overdeliver if you want to reap in the tips. Little did I know that every single one of these factors also play a huge part in marketing and networking. It was only when I received my first major marketing “gig” that I realized just how much I learned from working in the service industry.
The following infographic beautifully sums up just how similar bartending and marketing can be.
Nadya Khoja is a Visual Content and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is the DIrector of Marketing at Venngage, an online infographic maker. Nadya has a B.A. with Specialized Honours in Devised Theatre and a Master’s Degree in Digital Media with a focus on Audience Engagement and Immersive Experiences.