See that picture up top with me in an oversized suit and my 4-door, stick shift, Honda Civic on the driveway?
More on that in a second.
When I moved from "tech support" to "sales consultant," I thought I'd made it.
I went from a salary of $44,000/year to $52,000 plus bonuses.
I was in heaven.
That was huge money to me. Those bonuses could take my salary all the way up to $75K, or even $80K if times were good. And back then, in the early 2000's, enterprise software companies were the place to be.
We had our first child and my wife and I agreed that with these "bonuses," we could manage to have her stay at home with our son and not return to work.
When my new manager found out we were buying our first house (we were living in my parents house and my amazing wife politely suggested after two years that it was time to get our own place), he told me to go for the "two car garage" home and not the "one car" because these bonuses were going to be great.
Then a massive tech bubble burst.
The bonuses were non-existent.
And we had already bought the two-car, 4-bedroom home.
It was a little scary but it all worked out ... we ended up with the house, but didn't have much furniture for the first few years, LOL!
My job was to do the technical software demonstrations on behalf of the sale reps.
It was the perfect fit. I got to play with all the new software but still be on the "sales side" where I didn't actually have to implement it.
If you've ever been in the software world, you know that the implementation process is often a complete nightmare.
So I thought I had the perfect job.
Then one day, I asked a sales rep that I had become friends with how much money he was making. I thought it may be roughly the same as me.
He then said something like, "Ah this year is going to be a tough year, I'll probably make about $120,000."
You know when you have a jaw-dropping moment?
Like an actual, real, jaw-dropping experience.
That was one of them for me.
I couldn't believe it. These sales reps were handed accounts, they got a base salary, and they had people like me to do the software demonstrations for them.
They literally quarterbacked all the moving pieces but there was no real "talent" or "specialized skill" that I could see.
They talked to people, made phone calls, booked some appointments.
They just happened to be in a different chair than I was.
For months, I couldn't stop thinking about it.
How was it that I had all the knowledge, I was the one actually doing a lot of the "selling" during the demo, but they were making WAY more money?
Finally, I gathered the courage to tell my manager I wanted to go into straight sales myself.
Screw it, if they could do it then so could I.
That was the best year of my life. That year I was something like 220% of my sales quota and I made more money that year than I thought possible.
Now let's analyze this...
Was I a different Tom?
Was I working different hours?
Nope again, actually, I think I worked a little less.
Did I talk about different stuff in my job?
Not really. Same software.
Did my pay change?
Yeah, the "guaranteed" bonuses that turned out to be "not so guaranteed" went away. But the new commissions dwarfed the best bonuses.
So what changed?
Where I sat.
I moved about 40-50 feet from where I once sat, to a new chair.
Here's what we've learned...
Sometimes, the biggest changes in life come from simply changing your seat on the bus.
When Nick and I quit our jobs, our seats changed again.
We moved from getting steady pay into the world of the unknown.
But we did our best to look at how the big companies worked and recreated it for ourselves in a smaller way.
Big companies get "new leads" regularly ... we started running ads, regularly, with money we couldn't afford to spend.
Big companies do "sales presentations" ... we started meeting with people 1-on-1 for a sales presentation.
Big companies have "follow-up" ... we started a weekly email to "follow-up."
Big companies "consult on the service/product they are selling" ... we went with people to their investment properties to "consult."
Big companies have "big customer appreciation type events" ... we started something called "member events" where everyone was invited.
By putting ourselves in the middle of these things, our success was all but guaranteed.
Some people won't believe that statement.
But it's true.
Just like my software company had a process for its business, we created a process for ourselves.
Now let us be clear...
Many days we didn't feel like doing any of those things.
But they were scheduled in our calendars, so we had to.
Now let us ask you this...
What is scheduled in your calendar?
What process for your life are you running?
If you sincerely want to change your life from what it is today to something very different, it's simply a matter of changing the routine you're running.
Or maybe it's even easier than that ... simply changing your seat in the existing routine.
If you look at your calendar right now what's in it?
"Habits eat good intentions for breakfast."
- we have no idea who the real source of this quote is
Put all the things that you should be doing into your calendar and then do them.
If you don't know what you should be doing then find someone who is doing what you want to be doing and do the same stuff.
Willpower can only take you so far.
Systems can change your life, automatically.
Sometimes, I think we all get caught up in the small stuff that we don't take the time to analyze the systems we are running for our own lives.
What processes are you truly running in your life for:
What seat are you sitting in right now?
Your ideal life, your perfect day, may not be that far out of reach.
It may only be 40-50 feet away.
And oh yeah, the picture up top, that was taken by my wife on the front steps of our second house. She was taking "real estate shots" that I could use to advertise myself. Oversized suit, FedEx truck, gravel on the front lawn and all. I was in the process of selling my Honda Civic and leasing an Acura TSX so people "would take us seriously" in real estate. Nick and I both drove Honda Civics (which we loved) and we shared my TSX for "client property tours" for at least a year, LOL! If you told that guy what the next few years would bring, I'm not sure he would believe it. It's amazing how fast time flies!
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!
I am reading this for the third time and this is powerful ! Thanks for sharing this Tom !