Student success story: Xena Nguyen

by | Feb 8, 2021

How one Pathstream student used the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate to turn their passion for photography into an emerging business with an internship for underrepresented women.

It started for Xena with a passion for photography. The next step was easy: start an Instagram account. But Instagram alone wouldn’t be enough to turn their passions into a business. So how could they turn their love of photography into a sustainable paycheck? Xena, like all of us, was trying to find a direct path between their passions and their need to make a living.

After completing an internship for a production and branding company in Miami, Xena started building a business with their photography. Xena knew they needed to learn more to run a successful business, and began researching opportunities to take their knowledge and business to the next level. Then, the COVID-19 virus began its spread across the globe.

Learning In lockdown

The COVID-19 takeover of 2020 coincided with a return home for Xena. After six years away, they returned to Charlotte, and like many people making transitions, they did not have full-time employment. What was already a moment of uncertainty became a tidal wave of doubt. Xena decided to use this once-in-a-lifetime moment to double down on learning as much as possible to support their personal growth and small business.

Xena had identified digital marketing as a skill they needed to run their business, but they also knew that they didn’t want to go back to school for a degree. They wanted to learn digital marketing both for their own company and to try and get a full-time job, and they wanted to be able to learn on the job, not isolated in a college institution. Through extensive research, they also noticed that most of the digital marketing jobs they saw online required some type of supplemental education.

Taking the leap

For Xena, getting a scholarship for the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate at Pathstream sealed the deal. The financial burden of learning what you need to take the next professional step is often the biggest hurdle to achieving professional success. The flexible options for scholarship and payment plans let Xena take a chance on themself, and it didn’t take long before they began to see the benefits of their decision.

Before Pathstream, Xena had taken part in other certificate programs, which they described as offering bits of useful information, but Xena was looking for a comprehensive program that would offer a true foundation in digital marketing. They even researched college programs, but found that most colleges still hadn’t caught up with the emerging world of digital marketing, offering only traditional majors for master programs like advertising and marketing.

Xena says they were looking for, “a structured program that will touch upon everything and help me apply it, and when I read the (Pathstream) curriculum, I was like ‘I think this my calling!’”

Xena found that the curriculum unlocked their own potential, quickly applying what they learned through Pathstream into their own life. The results of their efforts started appearing almost immediately. Their business quickly grew, as they expanded from photography to digital marketing strategy. Xena wanted to share what they were learning and started an internship program through their business. The internship is focused on teaching underrepresented students digital marketing skills. Xena currently has five interns who work with them.

“Almost every assignment helped me with my business”

Xena says their role is, “like a guide and mentor for the interns because it’s an opportunity for them to learn more about digital marketing and gain experience in the field. So I’m trying to find a way to give back to the digital marketing community because it’s growing very fast.”

In addition to growing their own business, and starting a digital marketing internship, Xena also got a full-time job while completing their certificate, and they are now working as an Inbound Marketing Manager at OMNI Healthcare, on top of running their own business and internship program.

Learning with others

One of the special parts of the Pathstream courses for Xena was getting to connect with other small business owners from around the world, as well as members of their own local community. Xena was in a cohort that included another small business owner from Russia. He owns a luxury resort company in Russia, with a large following on Instagram, and he and Xena quickly began sharing ideas as they each worked through the certificate.

Xena also appreciated the opportunity to learn from other types of people in their local community. In Xena’s cohort was a coach for the local Charlotte Panthers football team and a medical software systems provider. Xena enjoyed working with other people who were learning digital marketing for a range of reasons, which helped illuminate the wide range of applications for a digital marketing certificate.

The digital marketing edge

With the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate, Xena was able to integrate the courses directly and immediately into supporting their own life goals, expanding their small business, starting an internship program, and getting a full time job.

Xena continues to pass on their knowledge of digital marketing to their interns and hopes to continue spreading the gospel of digital marketing.

“I wish every business knew how to do digital marketing. It should be a required course when you create your legal business name. I feel like digital marketing should be a part of that, because it’s just so essential in today’s world.”

To take the next step in your own path, learn more about Pathstream certificates here.

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