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What’s Acadium?

Acadium is a platform where you can find and hire marketing talent on a budget.

You can do this using either of their three products:

Acadium

1) Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships were Acadium’s first product.

This is a platform that connects startups with marketing students for 3-month apprenticeships.

If you’re running a startup, you would probably benefit from some marketing and sales help. However, you probably can’t afford to spend lots of resources hiring a growth expert.

Acadium aims to provide a solution to this problem. They allow businesses to hire marketers at approximately $4/hour, saving your business resources while allowing it to grow.

$4/hour may sound extremely low. But the thing is that both parties are getting some benefits - more on that below.

In this article, I’ll be focusing mainly on Acadium Apprenticeships.

2) Tasks

This is a platform where you can post ​​simple marketing tasks your business needs to get done, and emerging marketers (mainly marketing students) will work on them.

You don’t have to compensate these marketers economically. Instead, you have to provide helpful feedback and guidance on the work they delivered.

3) Freelance

This is a platform where you can find marketing freelancers or full-time hires.

You tell Acadium your needs, and they will match you with one of their vetted marketers, who have hourly rates starting at $15.

What's GenM?

A few years ago, Acadium wasn't called Acadium. It was GenM.

Due to many changes in their functionality and pricing, the company decided to re-brand as Acadium. In this re-brand, the company also solved many of the issues and complaints made by customers that GenM used to have.

If this short explanation of what Acadium is was enough, you can join using this link. If not, go ahead reading ;)

How do Acadium Apprenticeships Work?

Acadium is a two-sided platform that works differently for businesses and students.

For Businesses

The first thing you do as an entrepreneur/business that wants to start using Acadium is to visit their website and create an account as a “Mentor.”

You’ll first be asked whether you’ll be using Apprenticeships or Freelance. If you select the second, you’ll be connected with Acadium’s team for a call.

If you select Apprenticeships, you’ll be redirected to the product’s homepage. You won’t be able to do much unless you purchase the Apprenticeships subscription.

You can, however, set up your profile. It’s essential to make your profile interesting and attractive. Otherwise, students won’t be interested in your business and apprenticeship proposal.

Once your profile is done, you can book an onboarding call with Acadium’s team or directly choose and purchase your plan. I’ll talk about pricing later on.

Once you’ve got the Apprenticeships subscription, you will submit an “Apprentice Request” explaining the marketing help you’re looking for.

In just 1-5 business days, Acadium’s team will match you with one of their vetted marketers who they think best fits the marketing channels you need help with, your personality, your business, and your timezone.

Once you approve the marketer, your apprenticeship starts. It lasts three months, and the marketer will work on your business 10 hours per week (which brings up a total of 120 hours).

It’s important to note that when you start an apprenticeship, you commit to giving the apprentice 1-2 hours of mentoring per week. If this isn’t something you’re willing to do, you might prefer to use Acadium’s Freelance product.

How Much Does Acadium Cost?

Acadium has two plans based on payment frequency:

  • Acadium Quarterly: $499/quarter. You get access to 1 apprenticeship at a time.
  • Acadium Annual: $1,599/year. You get access to 2 apprenticeships at a time.

The annual plan is the best-valued one.

Both plans include access to the Tasks and Freelance products, though the costs of hiring a freelancer are not included in the subscription pricing.

Acadium Pricing

Shoot me an email at nico@failory.com if there’s anything I can help you with or if you have any questions related to Acadium.

What Kind of Work Can Apprentices Do?

Acadium allows you to hire apprentices to do the following types of work:

  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • Brand creation
  • Paid advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing analytics
  • eCommerce
  • Market research
  • Mobile marketing
  • Website design
  • Search advertising
  • Display marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Marketing automation
  • Public relations

As you can see, there are lots of different categories and if you can’t find the one you are looking for in the list above, that’s not a problem. You can hire an intern to carry out any marketing-related task as long as an apprentice is interested in it.

Social media, SEO, and content are among the categories in which most apprentices want to work.

But does this list really mean that you can hire apprentices for all of those types of work?

Well, I’ve personally hired apprentices to work on social networks, analytics, SEO, and content creation (more about this before), so I haven’t tried all of the possible types of work.

However, considering my experience with apprentices, I would say you won’t be able to get high-quality work in all of those categories. Here’s my opinion about the type of work you can and can’t find:

  • Social media: You won’t have big problems. There are thousands of apprentices interested in social media growth, so you will probably find someone that fits and can do a great job in a matter of days.
  • Content marketing: Many apprentices want to write content, and some have previous experience on blogs/news/other media. Acadium can be a great alternative if you’re looking to hire a content writer.
  • SEO: From my experience, it was quite hard to find interns able to carry out SEO campaigns. You won’t find someone you can tell to help raise the SERP ranking of a specific page of your website. Instead, you will need to give them specific tasks, such as writing a guest post, looking for competitors’ backlinks, etc.
  • Paid advertising: I wouldn’t recommend you to try it. I have no doubts you can find an apprentice that has done some previous work with paid advertising and can give you a hand. But you need to know that your money can be lost without much ROI.
  • Email marketing: It can definitely work, especially if you need the apprentice to write weekly newsletters or interact with your email subscribers.

What Happens if There Are Any Conflicts with the Apprentice?

So you’ve decided what the apprentice will work on and were matched with a great fit. But problems can always occur. My first apprenticeship needed to be canceled (more about this below).

You can easily cancel the apprenticeship and open a new request to be matched with a new marketer.

For Apprentices

Okay, but what would the apprentice gain from working for only $4/hour?

Well, the apprentice works for $0/hour. The subscription payment is kept by Acadium and used to keep the platform alive and continue adding new features.

When students join Acadium (for free), they can access digital marketing courses. Are they any good? I haven’t personally checked them out, but I asked my apprentices and they told me they were fine.

I estimate they give you an idea about the topic so that, if you are interested in that aspect of digital marketing, you can learn more in-depth on your own.

Apart from getting access to these courses, they enter the database, and businesses can find and hire them for apprenticeship opportunities. This allows them to build up their resume and gain experience. Who knows if this apprenticeship could lead to a part-time and then full-time job position?

Finally, a third benefit that an apprentice may get a few years after working on the platform is to find a freelance project or even a full-time job through Acadium Freelance.

You can join the platform using this link if you are an apprentice.

Is Acadium Legit?

One of the most frequently asked questions is if Acadium is legit.

Yes, it is legit. You and the apprentice will be asked to sign a contract to protect both the business and the apprentice.

Some people have shown concern about the apprentice working for free.

Internships and apprenticeships aren’t something new. The only thing Acadium is making new is virtualizing the process.

In my opinion, as long as you provide enough mentorship and help the apprentice develop their skills while giving a great boost to their resume, it’s okay.

My Personal Experience Using Acadium

So this wouldn’t be a complete Acadium review without telling my personal experience using the tool.

I’ve hired four apprentices in Acadium, all at the same time. This is NOT what I recommend doing. I’d recommend starting with one apprentice and seeing if that works. 

If it works well, and you want more marketing help, hire more people. You will maximize the value you're getting if you do it this way.

Anyway, I wanted to take this experiment to an extreme and considered that, in the worst scenario, I would lose $400-$500 (it was a cheaper subscription than what it is right now when I did this experiment).

But before hiring these four apprentices, I had a failed attempt.

My First and Failed Attempt

Note that this happened to me when Acadium didn’t match me with a marketer; I had to search independently.

I found out about Acadium in late November 2018 and decided to try it in mid-December. On my first try, I wanted to do things quieter and only hire one apprentice. I was looking for help managing Failory’s interview with failed startup founders.

So I bought one Acadium credit and started reaching out to many people. Some mistakes I made:

  • I didn’t focus on any specific ability, I just looked for native English speakers.
  • I underestimated the difficulty of finding and contacting interviewees and getting the interviews finished.
  • It wasn’t an exciting job opportunity for the apprentices.

I found some apprentices interested in the site and had some calls. They went quite well, but none of the candidates sounded really interested or enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Without any great criteria, I chose one of those interns, signed the contract, and set up everything so she could join the team. She signed the contract, and that was it... I never heard from her again.

How Good is Acadium's Support Team?

After two weeks with no contact from the apprentice, I contacted the Acadium support team, and in a matter of 2 or 3 days, I had my credit again and this apprentice was removed from the system.

I’ve previously exchanged many emails with the team, and even the CEO was keen on carrying out an interview for Failory. In my experience, the support team has always helped me really well.

Some people in Reddit and Quora claimed to have received really bad support (during the time Acadium was GenM), but that was not my experience. They probably have changed how they do it over the past few years.

My Second and Most Successful Try

So I now had one credit to use in a new apprenticeship. But in the meantime, I went on holiday, and it was a month later when I finally decided to use it.

I decided to hire someone to carry out content creation & SEO tasks. But to take this experiment to an extreme, I bought three more credits. I decided to hire three content writers and one community manager.

How Did I Find Apprentices that Fit?

This time, I was more careful with who I was about to hire. I realized interviewing startup founders and publishing the interviews on Failory wasn’t an exciting job opportunity for someone interested in learning digital marketing.

So I decided to look for content writers, and to find them, I searched for people who were interested in this skill, were English native speakers, and were from the UK, USA, and Australia. This way, I was able to find 30-40 interesting candidates.

In the case of the community manager, I think he reached out to me and expressed interest in working on the site.

There were 5-10 people interested in the opportunity, so following what the Acadium team had recommended, I started chatting with them and asking them different questions about their experiences, studies, and hobbies.

This led to 6 calls with different content writers and a call with the community manager. From these calls, I hired three content writers, based on their previous experience in writing content and their business knowledge, as well as the community manager.

How Do I Manage the Apprentices?

I’d recommend you set a strong and defined workflow to communicate and get things done. These are the tools I’m using:

  • Zoho Mail: I create a @failory.com email address for every apprentice in case they need to reach out to other blogs, contact anyone for an interview, etc.
  • Slack: If your business already has a Slack URL for your team, I suggest you invite your apprentice/s. If you don’t use  Slack for your company/team, I recommend you try it, as it will make communication much more manageable. Communication is essential because apprentices tend to be quite busy due to university or other jobs and can’t check their business email all the time.
  • Notion: It has become my favorite productivity tool. Here’s where we have all the documents, plans, strategies, calendars, and lists related to Failory. We also use Notion as our to-do list app, but you can use a separate tool.

On the web side, we also use Google Docs and Webflow.

Keeping in close communication is essential to keep your apprentice motivated on the project and, potentially, extend the 3-month contract for a longer period. Some of the apprentices I’ve hired were so motivated about the project that they wanted to keep working on the site as interns.

Sharing these apprentices' links and resources so that they can keep learning about the topic they are working on is essential. Same with giving feedback, it tends to be appreciated as they learn a lot from it.

Quality of the Work

This tends to be a big worry. One guy asked me:

“Did you try and find specific expertise, or are they kind of jack of all trades, masters of none?”

I think there are both of these types of candidates out there. Some students are just trying to find what aspect of digital marketing they like the most, so they don’t have any specific expertise yet. But in other cases, students have already discovered what they want to work on and what they are best at, and these can provide much higher quality work to your business.

As for my personal experience, the apprentices had some previous relevant experience. For example, one of the content writers I hired had won a writing competition, and another was running a personal blog.

So yeah, I think it depends a lot on what type of work you are looking for.

Final Acadium Review: Is it worth it?

In my personal experience: Yes, it was totally worth it.

Our social network following has grown a lot since I hired the community manager, as I wasn’t posting anything before; many of the existing Failory blog posts have been improved and are beginning to increase the SEO rankings, and new articles, as well as guest posts, were successfully written and published.

The experiment had more remarkable results than expected, and I plan to keep using Acadium in the following months.

I encourage you to give it a try and see how it works. The greatest possible loss you will suffer will be $499 and some time.

Finally, if you have any other doubts or believe I’m missing anything, do not hesitate to reach out to me at nico@failory.com.

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