Amanda Natividad, now the VP of Marketing at SparkToro, has always been a content creator of some kind, whether that meant writing short stories in kindergarten or setting out to be a journalist. After graduating from UCLA, Amanda’s career took an unexpected pivot in her mid-20s: she chose to attend culinary school—which then led her to become a test-kitchen cook and, ultimately, a content marketer. In this episode, Amanda opens up about feeling like college wasn’t for her at first; the quarter-life crisis that so many people struggle with; how to find work that’s energizing; how she leveraged her transferable skills to job search through cold outreach to companies; and how rejection really can be redirection.

Show Notes

Amanda Natividad, now the VP of Marketing at SparkToro, has always been a content creator of some kind, whether that meant writing short stories in kindergarten or setting out to be a journalist. After graduating from UCLA, Amanda’s career took an unexpected pivot in her mid-20s: she chose to attend culinary school—which then led her to become a test-kitchen cook and, ultimately, a content marketer. In this episode, Amanda opens up about feeling like college wasn’t for her at first; the quarter-life crisis that so many people struggle with; how to find work that’s energizing; how she leveraged her transferable skills to job search through cold outreach to companies; and how rejection really can be redirection.

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This show is presented by Teal, and hosted by Teal’s Founder & CEO David Fano. At Teal, we’re building the first genuinely consumer-first platform to help people grow and manage their careers. Our goal is to empower people to land jobs they love with free tools that guide and automate the process. Learn more at

This podcast is produced by Rainbow Creative with Matthew Jones as Senior Producer and Drew MacPowell as Editor and Associate Producer. Find out more about how to create a podcast for you or your business at

What is Nonlinear?

Everyone's career path is different, built by pivotal moments and choices. We're on a mission to amplify those stories and examine how our decisions shape our careers.

Nonlinear is hosted by Dave Fano, Founder & CEO of Teal—a genuinely consumer-first platform designed to help people grow and manage their careers. Our goal is to empower people to land jobs they love with free tools that guide and automate the process. Learn more at

Amanda Natividad: [00:00:00] As we're talking through all of it, like through my career history, I feel like a major theme is luck. Like maybe anyone listening to this is thinking, gosh, this woman got so lucky all of these times throughout her career. And I absolutely agree. I did get lucky, but I also set myself up for that. Hey everyone,

David Fano: welcome to nonlinear a podcast about the decisions that shape our careers.

I'm Dave fan of the founder and CEO of teal and the host of. If you're enjoying the conversation on this episode, please make sure to subscribe, share, and rate us wherever you're listening to the show. It really helps shine a light on these amazing careers and increases the chances of us learning from each other.

Again, thank you so much and let's jump into this amazing. Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining today. We are with Amanda. Natividad who I am a huge, huge fan of him. Actually. I can't believe she's on the podcast. I sort of wrote as a Twitter DM. And she said yes, which I think was in [00:01:00] line with how nice I assumed she was.

So I'm super excited to have this conversation, but Amanda would be great to hear directly from you a little bit about.

Amanda Natividad: How nice you assumed I was, oh little. Did you know a little bit about me? I have pivoted careers. A bunch of times. I started out as a tech news journalist. I'm mostly in the, behind the scenes type of role as an editor editor slash producer of.

Also then got to pivot into working in test kitchens. So I went to culinary school, worked as a sort of prep cook and worked in test kitchens for a little bit and then got into marketing. So my I've been a marketer for, you know, I think like nine years or so now got my start in marketing by way of content.

And that's sort of, you know, my main kind of my main area of expertise, content, and sort of brand and PR.

David Fano: Awesome. I'm excited dive into it. And particularly the test kitchens part has some questions [00:02:00] around that. Well, cool. Let's uh, let's kick it off. We'd like to start with asking the same question, which is, when was it in your life that you started to think more intentionally about your career and what I mean by that is like the actions you were taking.

You were being a bit more deliberate about them sort of providing for you in life versus like, you know, my daughter wants to be a vet, but I'm not sure she's thinking about the paycheck that comes with that, you know, actually she wants to be a YouTuber right now, so she should do that. All right. So when was, when was that and kind of, what was it that you were thinking you do?

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, so, you know, I think I've always been intentional about my career. It probably S it just, that intentionality has changed. A bunch of times over the years. So what I mean by that is I started thinking about my career probably as early as a senior in high school. So at that time, so when I was in high school, I was just starting to think about.

Sorry, let me revise here. [00:03:00] So when I was a junior slash senior in high school, I was thinking a lot, a lot more critically about what type of university I wanted to go to and the future that I wanted. And, you know, as we all know, getting into a good university is highly competitive. It's really, really difficult, almost impossibly.

So, and if you don't have the right connections, you're a little bit screwed. So I also. I didn't put a ton of intention into, into where I was applying. So thinking about my college career or my college admission experience. So I only applied to one college when I was in high school, because it was some combination of not at the time, not caring about what university, but also kind of having an idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.

So got into that college. Went to orientation, like really was maybe. Four to five weeks out from starting [00:04:00] school, went orientation and hated it. It was just a terrible experience. Not to say that there's anything wrong with that college. It just felt like very much like this is the wrong experience for me.

And I think that was a huge learning moment because it was a time when I learned, oh, there isn't anything wrong with this, or with this school or what these other people are doing. There's nothing wrong with that. This just isn't right for me. And that felt like a really crucial moment, because I think when you're young, you might, because you're young or maybe immature, you might be thinking about things like, oh, that's wrong, that's wrong.

That's not the way to do things where I knew that it just wasn't the right situation. And it didn't feel right. Because for me it felt like the same as my high school, but just a little bit bigger. And that, wasn't what I wanted. I wanted something new. I wanted something to do. And that was a forcing function for me to really think about the kind of career that I wanted, what I wanted out of my college experience first and [00:05:00] what I wanted to learn at university.

So I dropped out and went to community college and, you know, I'm, I don't know, many years away or moved from college. So I don't know what the perception of community college is today, but, you know, certainly back then there was. A lot of stigma around it, right? It was, you know, it had a terrible reputation for, oh, you're not smart enough to get into university.

So you have to go to community college. And that was what I did as the, as like the backup plan slash you know what I don't want to play by these traditional rules. I'm going to get into a top university by way of community college. And I'm going to save so much money doing this. So that was what I did develop a strong plan for, you know, navigating the community college experience, which at the time, and, and, you know, in California, it was really difficult.

It was, and I'm sure it's still difficult across states where it's hard to know which [00:06:00] classes are transferrable, which ones to take for the you're right major. And I think you also learn pretty cruelly early on that contrary to people thinking that you join community college aimless. You actually have to have your major figured out pretty early, like ideally by the second semester of your first year, you should know what major you want so that you can take the right classes that make you eligible to transfer and then ended up transferring to UCLA.

And from there, I, you know, majored in communication studies and was very set on having a journalism career. So I would say around the age of like 18, 19 is when I really started to be intentional. About the kind of career that I wanted.

David Fano: That's awesome. What, what led you to like choosing that major? So it seems like, you know, even before going to the college, you ended up not going to, and then community college, you had a sense of English and journalism.

What, what do you [00:07:00] feel like sparked that interest for you and knowing that that was going to be the major for you?

Amanda Natividad: So two things, one. I have always just very much been into writing and content creation. I started writing short stories when I was in kindergarten and I think I invented email newsletters because in, in sixth grade and my, with my very fancy AOL account, I subscribed my classmates to my little newsletter.

That was. It was about, uh, a fake or fictional band and it was there, it was this band's email newsletter. And really, it was just an excuse to send funny memes and random WAV files to be like, Hey, the new single just dropped. And it was just like silly content. So I've always been some kind of creator. So that was one piece, like, just knowing that I wanted to do something in, in media.

The other piece was. Getting a good sense of, well, one, you know, I knew I wanted to go to [00:08:00] university in California and being aware of, well, if you are going to university in California, what are the things that you can major in, or you should major in. That are unique to California. So in the case of UCLA, one of their, I think, I think it's there, or at least at the time it was their most communication studies was our most popular major, which also meant it was the most competitive major, even though it's like it's in the liberal arts college, I think you needed to have like a 3.9 GPA to get in.

And that was just how it was because it was so competitive and. The other thing too, was that because it's in LA right. Entertainment industries or the entertainment industry is here. Then the, a lot of the guest lecturers that I learned from were people who were movie producers and like media moguls.

And that was just a really great learning experience to be, you know, like if you're going to go to school in LA might as well learn from people who are top of their industry [00:09:00] in that town's industry that makes.

David Fano: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. So somewhat like the, the local occupation in a way. And there was, you know, it was very strategic on your.

You know, to kind of have like, have that awareness of the market, uh, what was there and also align that with your interests. Right? So like the interests and market, I think that's what makes for pretty fulfilling careers. If you can match those two together. Okay. So you graduate while you do community college, you go to university.

Um, now you're on the path that you wanted to pursue. You ended up landing jobs in content writing. What were some of the big learnings for you in those first few positions?

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, I think so. The interesting thing about the, about journalism was in, I mean, there's, so there's so much about the journalism world that is not traditional or not indicative of the greater work environment, right?

Like things like promotion cycles and stuff. They're just different in journalism. Like it isn't necessarily like you do your [00:10:00] job. Well, therefore you get a promotion the next year. No, it's your job to do, to report, you know, in this beat and do it well, that's what the job is. So it's just very different, right?

So I think a lot of the learnings I had, there were more in just raw skill building, like learning how to research, well, learning how to fact check, learning, how to, you know, help manage a website or CMS. So a lot of it was that it wasn't until I got into marketing and more of the, you know, traditional corporate environment that I learned more about.

You know, career management, right? Like how to ask for a raise, how to ask for promotion, how to manage people that didn't come until much later,

David Fano: Susan, that first part was like focusing on your hard skills and like honing your craft and then came a pivot. So like, what was it about. And oftentimes on the show, I'll talk about these kind of like three stages or cycles that we go through of searching, transitioning, and developing.

And it's really a loop. Like [00:11:00] once we kind of hit a plateau on the developing and sometimes within the company, we searched for that next thing, we transitioned into it and then we develop again. But oftentimes that development plateau results in a bigger change, either a career pivot or changing companies.

So you were doing traditional journalist. For a bit. And you talked about in the intro about many pivots. So what was that first moment where you're like, wait a second, maybe I need to change things up.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, it was, yeah. I had my quarter life crisis pretty much on time. And I was just at the stage of life where I was very content with my job.

I had tremendous respect for my coworkers, had a lot of fun working where I worked at, you know, it was a gig at home and I, you know, it was super lucky to be there. Loved it. But at the same time, I felt myself plateauing in journalism or, you know, in the actual job itself. Where it was sort of like, I [00:12:00] knew what I needed to do to get better or like to get to the next level.

But there was just this part of me that didn't want to do it. That was like, I, I don't know. I don't know if this is for me. Meanwhile, my, my husband then boyfriend got really into investing and he was just super excited about it and really passionate about it. And I hadn't, that was sort of my first time seeing someone really, truly engaged.

Where their career, like a sort of young professional who was really engaged in their career or their, you know, what they were doing. And I was like, oh, like, I want that feeling. Like I didn't, I didn't know that that was a real feeling that people experienced. And then that kind of caused me to do some introspection and think about, well, what would I, what's my dream career?

Like, what would I want to do if I just could do whatever I wanted. And I was like, I had to learn to be a chef. Like I would love to go to culinary school, learn, like, get yelled at and French and learn how to cook really well. Like that was what I wanted to do. [00:13:00] I did just, you know, from some quick research, I assumed that culinary school was like crazy expensive and just completely out of the question.

But when I looked into it, I realized, oh, it's actually a lot cheaper, substantially cheaper than I thought it would be. And I could take out a loan. And, you know, Le cordon Bleu where I went, they had recently launched a newer program where it was geared towards people like me who were in career transitions, where I think the original program was like two or 3 0 2 years, maybe, or two or three years of, you know, in class instruction and required internship at a restaurant or food prep place.

And this new program was, was night school. And it was only one year. It was a bit of a grind though is Monday through Friday, every day being at school from like six to 11:00 PM. So it was a lot, but at my journalism job, I was working from home. So I [00:14:00] didn't have to worry about a work commute and just kind of like, you know, worked at home.

Did that, got dressed, went to school and ended that every night. So that was sort of my realization of wanting to do something different and. As I talk about this, right? It sounds like a grind, right? You wake up at like maybe 8:00 AM for your day job, work until five, and then drive through LA traffic to get to culinary school where you get yelled at and you cook and clean until 11:00 PM and then do it all over again.

The same, the next day, it was a lot of work and it was, you know, physically it's a lot of work, done, a lot of things to do, but I realized that. When you find something you're really, truly interested in that you love doing that you really want to learn that that doesn't matter. Like somehow you will just summon the energy.

I mean, sure. Some days were harder, but by and large, I was excited to go to school every day.

David Fano: It's a, it's a funny time right now. And we talk about like work-life balance and work. And it's kinda like [00:15:00] when you do that, it's expected to be like for yourself, you know, I'm kind of, of the belief that all work you do is for yourself.

And it's like under what contractual relationship, you know, sometimes it might be a salary. Sometimes it might be freelance. Sometimes it might be that I run the company, but I feel like if you can find that work, that charges you up and you're excited about, and you see it as you growing, then the energy somehow, you know, surfaces.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, it's true. That was exactly how I fall and I, and in that time, I, so I was going to be, what would I want to do is I wanted to be a food writer. So I wanted to get some culinary experience, you know, develop a little bit of clout, so to speak and then be a food writer. And so in that process, I re I was the plan was to do this for, to culinary school for like a year or whatever it was, and then be fun employed while I looked for my next new thing.

So while I was in school, I, you know, [00:16:00] saved money or save really aggressively where I cut down my. My like my living expenses to what was it? I think it was like a thousand dollars per month. That, that was how I live. And I lived with a roommate in LA and I think my portion of the rent was acts seven, a hundred dollars.

Oh. And so the rest, so $300 a month just for my food, fun, whatever it was. And I actually liked, I loved it and like, I didn't, I didn't shop for a whole year cause I just didn't unless I needed something. Right. But I didn't buy any. Anything I didn't need. And I was a little bit nervous about that in the sense that I thought could I really do this, but because I was so like happy and fulfilled and what it was doing, it didn't really feel like I was giving up anything.

If I didn't think it just sort of felt fun and a creative way to manage my finances for a year.

David Fano: So, undoubtedly, you had people that were like, what are you [00:17:00] doing? Like you have a good job at a great publication. This is what you studied. What was the, I mean, assuming that was the case, like what were, what were those conversations like?

Cause I feel like that's what a lot of people struggle with wanting to make a big bet on themselves like that and feeling allowed to pursue. Happiness. We, we could feel like a selfish act. It's like, you got a great job. What do you need to like, be happy? Come on. No, no one gets to be happy at work. Like what, what was that conversation like when you were going on, you know, going on this journey of growth on culinary, it would, you know, on the surface felt like a big change from writing and journalism.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah. I think, I think it was, I don't know. I think, I mean, what you described, it is part partly what I experienced, but also partly not. I mean, where it's not is just that. I think it's pretty normal for people, you know, to in their core growth in their quarter life crisis, or in that [00:18:00] quarter life to reevaluate career decisions and be like, is this what I really wanted?

And I think most people are also, or, or people might be doubling down and starting to go to like graduate school, come to think of it. I think my, I think my parents were like, don't you want to get your MBA? Instead? I was like, no, I'm going to go, go to culinary school. This is cool. And I think it was also just, you know, I wasn't married, I didn't have a child.

So it was, I think, I think mostly the sentiment was well you're young and single, like, this is kind of your last opportunity to do something. Kind of absurd seeming, so has at it. And the other piece was just, you know, I, I paid, I paid my own way through school. Like I didn't, didn't ask for financial help, took out, took out my loans.

And so I think it was a little bit of like, well, I guess, you know what you're doing? Good luck. I mean, if it does. And, and, and I always, I also was just like, you know, if it doesn't work out, I have a great job or [00:19:00] like I have a good career and. You know, like this is, there are other people in the world who have a lot less stability and a lot less security.

So I don't think that I am, I guess in the end, I didn't feel like it was that much of a.

David Fano: Yeah, that makes sense. And, and I think if these bets on ourselves that actually like unlock these next big moves for us, so, all right. So you finish, you got yelled at, by a French chef, then what came next?

Amanda Natividad: That was when I started picking up some freelance work in like social media management and copywriting.

And that kind of just became came because I was. Do some like cold outreach and, or meet friends of friends who needed a little bit of help managing their Facebook account. And I was like, I know how to do that. And this, this was like, before, you know, paid social was really a thing. And it was just where social media management truly was just setting up [00:20:00] someone's Facebook profile and doing a couple posts.

So like, I can do that. So it did a little bit of that and that ended up becoming well after that I realized. I'm a journalist, like I know I'm supposed to know how to research this stuff. So then I started looking, I started researching well-funded startups in the food space, and that was a time when, you know, the food industry or food tech was sort of an emerging scene and realize, oh wait, they're all, probably they're all probably hiring.

And I probably have skills that they probably need. Maybe that was kind of naive to think, but. Huge spreadsheet of different food startups, and then looked up all their websites. Right? Look, all there looked at their about pages. Career pages just did some research on each individual company and then sent cold emails to their contact us form or whatever publicly available email address I could find [00:21:00] and would basically just pitch each person.

Okay. Hey, like, I look, I don't have, I don't remember what I said exactly, but it was probably some version of, Hey, I'm in a career transition used to be a tech journalist once a culinary school. And I'm looking for my next big play in food tech or food media would really love to work at your company because, you know, so that something that was tailored to that company, right.

That was like, love what you're doing in this space of helping. You know, helping to make office catering a lot easier. And that also helps small businesses. Like, I really love that mission and that, you know, that was also legitimately how I felt. And it was like, look, I don't have formal marketing experience, but I, you know, I, I can, I can copyright, I know how to manage social media accounts and I can plan events.

Is there someone, is there a role on your team where you think you might be able to use my skillset and. You know, of course, most people, most people didn't reply [00:22:00] if they even got the email. Right. But there was one company that did reply and it was a company called nature box. They're a subscription snack company.

And the founder, Gotham Gupta, founder, CEO of Gotham Gupta was like, Hey, you know, we're not hiring right now, but you seem like a nice person. Why don't you stay in touch? And then we'll see what happens in the next couple. So we did, we stayed in touch and I met the other co-founder and COO Ken chin over coffee in Santa Monica.

And we just talked about what it would be like to work together, how I might be able to help what skills they needed. And then after about a couple of weeks, they ended up making an offer and I was like, great. And then, and then I moved up to San Francisco.

David Fano: That's amazing. I feel like a lot of people get discouraged by a process like that, but, you know, More recently, we the shoot, your shot meme, but there's kind of something for that in a confidence and courage you need to have in doing it, but also just an understanding that, that people are busy and like, how were you able [00:23:00] to stay motivated in a process like that without sort of losing steam or getting discouraged by like the lack of response or things like that?

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, I mean, it, it w and it was hard. It was, I think, I believe I was job hunting, like aggressively job hunting for nine months. So like fund employed for nine months. I think what kept me going was one, knowing that it was completely completely, self-imposed just in the sense that, you know, it was my choice to leave my journalism career.

So it was that I do think it's a lot harder if you've been laid off and we can get to that later because I've experienced that too. Um, but so one kind of being in that position of like proactive, Power, so to speak and knowing like a, I, cause this also kept me going was I think, I think it was a little bit of just having youth on my side, like knowing, okay.

It, I'm not, at least I'm not trying to support a child and trying to make things work. It's [00:24:00] like the only person I'm responsible for is me. And if I'm not making enough money, I'm the only one who's affected. So I think, I think it was in a sense being very aware of the privilege of. Being single and not beholden to another person for needing to support them.

And then also just realizing it's, it's also a numbers game, right? Anything is a numbers game. If someone doesn't reply to me, which they often didn't, you know, it's, it's just how it is. It's not, it's not personal, right. It's not like someone receives a cold email and they hate you. It's just, they ignored it or whatever.

Didn't see it, it happens. I think maybe overall, I would say it. The, the awareness that here's be how I'd put it. I think it's the awareness that I'm not significant. You know, if you, if you can kind of step outside yourself and remember you're not the center of the world. It's a, [00:25:00] it's a little bit freeing, right?

To know like, okay, people aren't watching your every move, no one cares, like, just do your thing. There's something about that.

David Fano: And it's at all levels. It's like, I, you know, I've talked about this a couple of times when I left, we work, you know, at a fairly high position there, and now it's just. One is like, oh, what's going to happen to all the people I work with and all these things that I, you know, that I think matter that I'm involved with.

And then more broadly, like the world's going to notice was there was a lot happening at the time and no one batted, an eye, everything moved on just fine. And within a week, I don't think anyone remembered who I was. I was a. Right. Yeah. Okay. These things just sort of move on, you know, and, uh, businesses are these living organisms and everyone's really, really busy.

It's really far less personal than I think we trick ourselves into believing

Amanda Natividad: totally for you. Was there anything that happened or didn't happen that made you realize, oh wait, no one cares. Well, nothing

David Fano: broke, right? Like I would [00:26:00] stay in touch with my friends. And in a way of like building up this importance in your mind, you're like, well, when I leave all these things are just going to stop working.

Cause I'm so important. And you're like, Nope, Nope, everything's fine. Everyone just kept suiting up and going to work, doing their thing, all the systems that were in place, whether you put them there or not, there was really smart people there. And you know, their careers on the line. So they're going to come in and do their best job.

And the business will just kind of like heal. It's not even the heal, cause it wasn't even a wound. It just like, it just like kind of keeps going and nothing broke. You know, you kind of like, I built it up in my head of like how, um, how much I mattered and I'm sure like, while I like everyone at a company while they're there, they matter of course, but ultimately everyone else will, you know, do what they need to do to make the business successful because that's ultimately their lively.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah. Yeah. It's like when you leave, of course, if people will, what, you know, when you announce you're leaving, right. People are always like, oh gosh, what are we going to do? But like, once you're out the door, [00:27:00] that is how it is. But people are like, well, Davies do this thing, but I'm doing it. I'll figure it out.

David Fano: Yeah. Or it's like, Dave was doing this thing. I don't even know we need to do it anymore. So we'll just stop and see if it breaks. And nine out of 10 times, like, I guess we didn't need to do that after all. You're like, oh, cool. Okay. So. NatureBox. Um, now you are in food tech, you're in startups, you're transitioning into marketing, leveraging a lot of your existing skills were probably very transferable.

What, where did you take that next?

Amanda Natividad: Yeah. So was there for like almost two years, I think. And then, you know, just from living in San Francisco and everything and. There's a lot of opportunity in the bay area. And so, you know, I think it's, I think it's healthy to always, for all employees to have a pulse on the industry and to look at other opportunities as they might come up.

I just think it's really important either for one, you realize I want to work at another company or two, you [00:28:00] realize I love where I am. Like I don't want to leave yet. Or my work isn't finished here and I'm in a great year. You know, kind of kept a pulse on that and was starting to apply for other jobs that I thought were interesting.

And I ended up, I ended up applying at LinkedIn, got rejected and the hiring, the hiring manager was like, Hey, let's stay in touch. You know, you seem great. We'd love to, you know, stay in touch in general. And she added me yet. She added me on LinkedIn and I just thought that was really nice. That's a nice thing for her to say.

And I both didn't take it seriously, but also appreciated it, you know, where, like, I, I thought she was genuinely being kind and nice, but it also was like, I mean, doesn't mean we're best friends. Like it's fine. But then shortly thereafter, she ended up recommending me for a role over at Fitbit. And she was like, Hey, you know, Fitbit is hiring for their B2B marketing team, I think would be a really good fit for it.

You should definitely apply. And then see if you can reach out to the hiring manager and let her know that you know, that you heard about it through. [00:29:00] And I was like, that's super nice. Like who does that incredible person? So I did that and then applied at Fitbit, got to meet my, you know, the heart, the hiring manager there.

She was wonderful. And it ended up just happening. I mean, it was a weird pivot, right? To go from food, food D to C snack startup to pivoting into. B2B says marketing to HR and benefits leaders. And, you know, that was the thing that I was unsure about in terms of like, can I do this? I've never worked in B2B SAS, but you know, it's a great experience.

Right. And at the time, like Fitbit was still pre IPO and it was, you know, one of those fast-growing startups that people were like, well, this is the next big place to work. So it just sort of became. I'd be crazy not to join and not to like try my hardest to get this opportunity. So that was that

David Fano: that's such a cool story.

Cause I feel like, you know, [00:30:00] as much as I try to channel this kind of like stoic growth mindset of like every, every rejection is an opportunity for growth and learning. Like you literally had that, like, you got rejected from a job, but you clearly did such a good job in the process and putting your best foot forward that this person, for whatever reason, they couldn't hire you or couldn't make the case to hire you, but they recommended you somewhere else.

I mean, was there anything about that that's like repeatable or memorable about like how that came to be?

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, I mean, What I really appreciated about that, about that rejection. Right? Was that, was that I think that might've been the first time that I really learned, like, oh, sometimes. Sometimes, you know, there isn't a fit and they actually do like you, you know, I feel like anybody who's been rejected has heard some version of like, oh, we'd be doing your grade, but we didn't, we're not hiring you.

And that sucks. Right. Um, and no one loves hearing that, but this was a clear case [00:31:00] of, oh, that was true. She did like me. She just didn't hire me or whatever it was. Right. I mean, maybe they had, they knew someone else who had, uh, a skill set that was more aligned with that. That that happens. That's normal. So it gave me a lot of hope in the sense that now, maybe this is naive.

I don't know. I tend to, I do tend to be, I do tend to more so believe when I'm hiring hiring managers or recruiting teams say, here's why we didn't hire you or here or whatever, whatever it is. I tend to be like, oh, That probably is true if they tell you. Right. So not everyone tells you.

David Fano: Yeah. And, and also there's a certain point of just like suspending disbelief for mental health.

It's like, yeah, sure. I could choose to not believe it. And I could like go down this like self-loathing path, but it's like, you're not going to get much out of that either. It's a good, cool. Let me take that at face value and cause progress and forward momentum, I think is ultimately everything. When it comes.[00:32:00]

Being excited about our career. You were at Fitbit for fear. LinkedIn is right. Which I'm assuming yes, it was around four and a half years. It was kind of one of your longer stints at a company. So I'm assuming you built your B2B chops. You learned a lot about SAS probably did a bunch of different things there, but um, how did, what did that lead to next?

Amanda Natividad: Yeah. So well over at Fitbit, I ended up getting laid off. There was a round of layoffs in, when was it? 2018, I guess. And I was part of that. That was rough to deal with. Right. And I mean, no one likes being laid off. Most people don't at least. Right. So that, that was, that was hard, right? Because I had, I had spent so much time there and it was just weird.

Right. It's weird to go from thinking about like, oh, here are all things that you need to do. And like got a schedule. This gotta make that God you, that meeting whatever it is. [00:33:00] And then, you know, laid off doesn't matter. Give us your laptop. Like that was. I mean, I don't know if I'm qualified to say this, but I'll try it out.

Anyway. I feel like trauma is a spectrum and. I think it's traumatic to get laid off, I think. Is it the worst thing that can happen that can happen to anybody? Yes or no? Right. Everyone's different. And I think

David Fano: context matters a lot also. Like where are you in your life? Are you living paycheck to paycheck?

Like, there's just a lot of things. And I think with careers, we all project, like our situations, like I've got a lot of savings, so it's not a big deal. It's like, but I don't. So it was a big deal or, you know, so I think I completely agree.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah. So it was traumatic in that sense. And I think for, for months, I still had nightmares about like, just waking up in a cold sweat about like, oh, I didn't schedule that blog post, or I didn't proof read that email.

Like, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard, but that was. Kind of hard to deal with. And [00:34:00] for the stage of life I was in, you know, I had a four month old baby and it was a weird combination of feeling like, well, I'm glad that I get more time with my baby, but now it's also like, wait, I don't, now I have to figure out how to make money or like get another job.

Like, because now. I'm responsible for someone and my trial didn't ask for this. So I think I, at that point, I kind of view. That time back to, you know, to be more present. Well, literally more present for my son and to kind of keep house so to speak and then spent that year doing more consulting work. So then it was like, then it kind of worked out, right?

Cause it was like, okay, I don't have a 40 hour work week anymore. I can just take on projects. I get them space out my unemployment, you know, be a little bit more aggressive about saving or, you know, not spending too, obviously my. [00:35:00] We know my husband still had his job. So we were, we weren't exactly worried about where our next meal was coming from, but you know, it, it was, it was, uh, an income hit.

So, you know, spent that year doing some consulting work, trying to really figure out next steps and like what I wanted to be doing. And I think at that point I was, I was more in the mindset of, you know, I want to work with. Good people. I want to have fun at work again. I. You know, want to try something a little bit different, maybe I'll go back to B to C marketing.

And then I ended up going in-house was one of my clients at Liftopia the skate ski lift ticket company. And that was, you know, that was great. I mean, I loved my coworkers. It was a good experience, right. It was a lot of fun to work at Liftopia, but after a few months, the pandemic hit and you know, and Liftopia was.[00:36:00]

I guess I would just call it like the Wikipedia of Wikipedia, sorry. Expedia of Lee ski lift tickets. So B to C market really fun and interesting challenges in sort of in that subset of travel. Super interesting. And anyway, so pandemic started and ski areas closed quickly. And then most of us had to get for a load because most people in the pandemic did.

Right. So that was when I had to kind of. Refocus to okay, now it furloughed. All right. This has happened before I get this. I know what to do. I started my job hunt again, and then ended up working at a growth machine, the SEO and content agency.

David Fano: And how did you find that, that role?

Amanda Natividad: So that role came because I was following the founder growth machine, not Eliason on like Twitter.

I subscribed to his newsletter, which. At the time. I think it was maybe the only newsletter I read it. I just really [00:37:00] enjoyed the Monday medley that I learned something new each time. That was super interesting. And well-written, I just really respected NATS work and started listening to the growth machine.

Marketing podcast really liked what he was doing, but he and the team were doing. And when I saw they were hiring for a head of content, right. I was like, wait, I can do that. And then I, I applied, I applied and I think I also found a mutual friend between Nat and I, and then I asked a mutual friend if they would broker the intro.

And then from there, you know, interviewed the project, it was a great mutual fit and I was just super excited to join.

David Fano: And so then began your kind of journey into the world of SEO and like content and. Content-based acquisition or like content. I mean, you were doing content marketing before, but like what did that unlock from, from going there?

Amanda Natividad: I really like how you put that content based acquisition. That's exactly what it was. Right. Because you know, if you, for an [00:38:00] agency. I think you could make the case that a lot of agencies are the same. It's a pretty commoditized industry. A lot of them basically do the same thing, but you hire each one based on like the reputation culture, if you trust them, those kinds of things.

Right? So then the content that I created ended up being more, not so much SEO driven, right? Because if you want to, if you, if you were to Google, how to do SEO, of course, everyone's going to look at MAs for as they should. They don't need to learn it from me. I started creating content around. Our approach or growth machines approach to managing content for companies, or like how to approach link-building and those types of things in content marketing.

And then in a, you know, in joining growth machine, you know, I, part of the role was sort of to build a personal brand, to be able to kind of acquire customers on a more organic level, right? Because again, agency, like you're not going to run Facebook ads. I mean, some people do probably do, and maybe that works.[00:39:00]

But that wasn't the way we were going to go about customer acquisition. It became, it just made more sense to figure out an organic growth channel, the channel, that channel being me and my personal like Twitter. And then. You know, uh, hosting the podcast, uh, launching a YouTube channel and then just creating more of that content.

What do you, how did you say, uh, content acquisition or content content based on acquisition

David Fano: based acquisition? Yeah. Yeah. Cause it, I feel like with content marketing, a lot of times it's like increase awareness and degree. Cool. We increased awareness, but it's ultimately not getting like the right kind of traffic or behaviors.

Which then ends up putting pressure on it. That's a pretty cool like Metta role to be the content marketer for a company that sells content marketing.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah. It was a lot of fun. It was, I mean, it was even, it was even more fun than I thought it was going to be. So it was, it was a great opportunity, great company to work for.

And I was like, you know what I mean? I was also like, just so proud of the work that we did at, [00:40:00] for our clients. Loved, loved my coworkers there and.

David Fano: And so while you were there, you did something that I think a lot of people are talking about. Now it's more at the forefront. And we started off with saying, my daughter wanted to be a YouTuber, was building your personal brand.

And I'm curious to know you, and now you've got a tremendous following, you know, I make sure I catch everything you put out because it's so insightful and so thoughtful and so helpful. You've built this brand and now it goes with you, even though you. Sort of for your job, but now that belongs to you. So I'd be curious to hear a little bit about your sort of more current thoughts on personal brand building, because some people might even find like that to be like pretentious.

We all sort of get these funny feelings about words. So like ignoring what it's called, but that you have these assets that belong to you, that they go with you as you go forward in your. Yeah.

Amanda Natividad: I mean, I, I think more people should be thinking about their personal brand. Maybe we don't call it. Yeah. You don't have to call it that.

Right. Because, and everyone has their own [00:41:00] definition of it. Right. But I think maybe my definition for it might be something like reputation at scale. Like it's the way others perceive you. It's a way that you choose to be a present yourself. And I wish more people would do it because of. It's the best way to create some leverage for yourself and to increase our chances of luck.

Right. Because I think, I think, you know, I mean, I've been around long enough to know that a lot of career opportunities, it's partly hard work and getting to the point of like being a PA you know, being an option for whatever opportunity. But a lot of it is just it's luck. Right? It's like, Being lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.

And if you are consciously or purposefully building your brand, you're setting yourself up for that kind of luck and you're set. And you're also just kind of like putting that beacon out there, right. For here's who I am. Here's [00:42:00] what I'm about. Here's what I'm looking for. And more people know where to find you or why they should find you.

And I don't even think about it. Like. You don't have to have a massive audience to benefit from having a personal brand. Like, so my current job, spark Toro and work with the founder of Moz with Rand Fishkin who like invented SEO best practices. Right. It's like, he's a legend. But when, when we, we met through Twitter and it wasn't even like I had, I didn't have, I mean, I had a following, but I.

I had around 10,000 followers, which is, it is something, but you know, it's not like you have to have a big 50,000 followers or a hundred thousand followers in order to, in order to get any meaningful opportunities. Right. Sometimes it's just the act of putting yourself out there and being found, but

David Fano: yeah, and, and engaging.

And I think a lot of people [00:43:00] think that they just like put content out there and. People come, but I would imagine, I mean, even like what you did with, with Nate, right? You use subscribe Nat, you, you subscribed to his newsletter. I would imagine at some point you wrote him and like you took a PR you know, same when you were doing those cold emails, looking for jobs.

That seems like what I've seen as a pattern is that you were willing to just kinda like put something out there with zero expectations. But knowing that if you did it enough time, You know, it might work and then that continued to build your confidence in doing it again and again.

Amanda Natividad: Yeah, totally.

David Fano: And what would, like, what would you say to people who.

Get sort of stuck in that process as I go. But what if they're not going to write me back? Or what if, you know, what, if I have a typo or, you know, I feel like we've got this analysis paralysis where we're allowed. Like, we, we box ourselves into like inaction out of fear, rejection or perfection or Huna for any number of reasons.

But what advice would you have for folks that find themselves [00:44:00] preventing themselves from taking action?

Amanda Natividad: So I'm not really a quote person. I'll first that's the caveat. But so, but that kind of means that there are very few quotes that stick with me. And one of the ones that sticks with me is it's a Charlie Munger quote, which is the best way to get what you want is to deserve it.

And that resonates with me because I feel like that explains a lot of my career, which is kind of equal parts, I guess. Working hard and working smart and getting lucky, right? Like I think if, as we're talking through all of it, like through my career history, I feel like a major theme is luck. Like maybe anyone listening to this is thinking, gosh, this woman got so lucky all of these times throughout her career.

And I absolutely agree. I did get lucky, but I also set myself up for that. Like in the opportunity for growth machine, it was head of content role. [00:45:00] It was a role that I could do. It was, I had been running content for teams for like eight years at that point. So I was qualified for the job. I could do it.

And I got lucky by having a mutual acquaintance who could broker the intro. And who knows, maybe even if I didn't do it. And if I cold email Nat, maybe I slept. Maybe I still would've gotten the job. I don't know. Cause it wasn't like that. Oh great. Zach introduced us. You're hired. Right? Like I still interviewed, I still met the team.

I still did the project. We still had negotiations. So yeah. So I would just say work, work smart, like work, build the skills that you need for the job that you want. And then try to set yourself up for sick for. Amanda.

David Fano: This was awesome. Thank you. There's so much to learn from your career. How can folks follow along with all the incredible things that you put out into the.


Amanda Natividad: you. Um, [00:46:00] yeah, if you want to follow me and like what I do, uh, you can follow me on Twitter at Amanda Nat and subscribe to my twice a month. Newsletter called the I write about marketing and creativity and original recipes. And then if you want to level up your marketing strategy, check out spark Toro.

We help you do audience research at scale or instantly. And we basically through spark Toro, you can better. You can find all the ways that augment your marketing strategy without the metric, without the sort of sales or performance driven piece. It's a good, it's a good compliment to all that stuff. So terrible pitch.

But there you go. I'm thinking for

David Fano: all of them. And I think they're all incredible. We will link to them in the show notes, wherever you're watching or listening. But Amanda, thank you so, so much, like I said, So excited when you wrote me back and I can't believe I got to have this conversation with you. So thank you so much for sharing your career with us.

Amanda Natividad: I was so excited that you reached out, so thank you, Dave.

David Fano: All right.[00:47:00]

And that's it for this episode of nonlinear. If you enjoyed today's conversation, make sure to subscribe, share, and rate us wherever you're listening to the show, you can learn more about teal on our website, keel That's teal like the color T E a L H Or follow us on social media at teal underscore.

Thank you so much for joining us and please tune back in to keep hearing about how we make the decisions that shape our career. The teal career paths podcast is produced by rainbow creative with senior producer, Matthew Jones and editor and associate producer, drew Powell. You can find more information on them at rainbow creative dot C O.

Thanks again. We'll see you next.