Here’s What I Wish I’d Known When Growing Zen Media

It’s been ten years since I started Zen Media. I was only 22. Can you imagine the lessons I’ve had to learn to successfully scale? I’m grateful for the chance I recently had to share my learnings with an expanded audience through Microsoft 365’s The Growth Center. Here’s a glimpse into one of the learnings that played a key role in my success.

Lesson 1: Play to Your Strengths.

I stole this lesson straight from the SAT playbook. (Since I was only a few years out of high school when I started Zen Media, this lesson was still fresh in my mind!) One of the strategies that SAT coaches stress to their students is that you can increase your score by beefing up your strengths and not overly investing in trying to remediate your weaknesses.

As it would turn out, this was great business advice.

Now, before I go on, let me just be clear that playing to your strengths does not mean being oblivious to your weaknesses. Rather, it means having the humility to honestly account for gaps in your skillset while confidently running with and leveraging the heck out of your natural talents and competencies.

For example, bookkeeping and HR are not my natural strengths. Yes, I could learn to excel at both, but my time and talents were much better spent doing what I’m naturally good at, not to mention passionate about: digital, social media, and influencer marketing, branding, PR, experiential activations, and so forth.

Lean into your strengths, and assemble an excellent team to cover the gaps. That’s a winning strategy.

I share my other two learnings in my full article on Microsoft 365’s The Growth Center.

This post was sponsored by Microsoft; all thoughts and opinions are my own.


She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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