Neal continues providing his advice that he recently gave LinkedIn on career change and learning to adapt to – and thrive on – the constant change that is part of our everyday life.
[01:09] Losing the Big Customer
[02:44] Focusing On New Pipeline
[03:13] Importance of Personal Relationships in Sales
[04:17] Unplugging From A Career
[05:59] Adjusting to the Curveball
[06:57] Finding My Passion
[07:37] Establishing My Brand
[08:34] Launching My Career in a New Direction
[09:27] Becoming An Author
[10:11] Launching Windmills Marketing LLC
[11:32] What I Learned From My Experience
- So being in sales, and if you're in sales, you you get it means that you learn to face constant rejection. But in the belief that every lost deal, or telephone call that wasn't returned, would bring me one step closer to closing, real business.
- I realized the absolute importance of personal relationships and sales, relationships, supersede contracts in China, at least at that time, when I was doing business there, as well as maintaining a very, very long term approach in relationship building, this time would be no different.
- I've talked about the biggest changes that have happened in my career, triggered by a number of different events that have occurred. Sometimes, though, we have career curveballs thrown at us internally.
- Putting family in front of career was something I had never done before in all honesty, but it was a natural reminder about what is the most important thing in life, and what we work for, to support our families, right.
- I learned to adjust to this situation, like other curveballs before this one, it wasn't easy. After achieving all that I achieved, I was ready to go to that next level. But I knew that there was something more important than once again, that long term perspective, that there are all these external and internal things that are going to be throwing curveballs out to you and affecting your career. But at the end, building up your experience, focusing your energy, and taking that long term perspective on career on life, was only going to work in my favor.
- And it's really the constant change and adapting to the change with a combination of maintaining a long term view of my career, while creating short term deadlines, that has allowed me to understand the timing of the right pitch, and being prepared to run those bases.
- Change in your career is inevitable, generate your own change and learn to accept change brought upon you embrace the challenges and the new knowledge that can be obtained from them for your future. Sometimes this change will make you rethink your own career plans for the better, it becomes part of an education that better prepares you for any future challenge you might face.
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Welcome to maximize your social actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social social media author, speaker, consultant, and founder of maximize social business, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another episode of maximize your social. And part two of the career story that I began with you last week. If you haven't heard that, you'll need to listen to that part one, go back to last week's episode, listen to it, because I'm going to continue on my career journey, and how it led me to social media and the advice that I have for you as well. So without further ado, let's continue on my story. I was offered the opportunity to establish an Asian sales operations for a startup out of Ottawa Canada company called SPL, a challenge that I ended up taking and thriving at despite a near disaster in my first few weeks. Well, what was that disaster, that disaster and the name of this next chapter of my career is called losing the big customer. So being in sales, and if you're in sales, you you get it means that you learn to face constant rejection. But in the belief that every lost deal, or telephone call that wasn't returned, would bring me one step closer to closing, real business. That being said, I faced a huge rejection. And it was right when I was entering the company. And I was told we were going to close a deal with this lead customer that we become our flagship in Japan. Now, I became the first person based in Asia for this particular startup, most companies began a presence in foreign countries, through establishing distributors, and working through marketing partners, and this company was no different. So they already had a pipeline of activity, but it was all indirect, right? So through these relationships, the idea was, we were going to close the deal that would launch our presence in Japan, establishing our credibility in the strategic market, that would be instrumental in my future success, of eventually doing direct selling to the large fortune 500 consumer electronics companies that exists there. Now, unfortunately, that deal never happened. When I finally gain access to the end customer, it became clear that we had lost out to the competition. For reasons we simply did not know until it was too late. This is the challenge when you don't have direct communication with the end customer, right? It was a hard blow to accept for me. But instead of dwelling on the past, it forced me to focus elsewhere and build a new pipeline. Despite the fact that our technology wasn't chosen, though. I made it a point that when my CEO and I brought him out to Japan very often, when he came out the next time, we were going to go visit them, even though there was no agenda and no business on the table. But it was all about maintaining that relationship, doing business in China, I realized that, well, in China, life is all about relationships, or Guan chi, for those of you that know. But I realized the absolute importance of personal relationships and sales, relationships, supersede contracts in China, at least at that time, when I was doing business there, as well as maintaining a very, very long term approach in relationship building, this time would be no different. So although the visit from my CEO didn't change anything in the short term, it did begin to help build a strong relationship with the company, that in the near future, when the opportunity arose, they would become not only my client, but also the biggest size deal that I closed for this company in Japan. It was one of the deals that helped me achieve bringing in a quarter of global revenue, just from Asia, that a few years earlier had zero sales. So just as I had been thriving and selling in China from my previous employer, I was now working for a company where I was able to reach my goals in selling successfully, primarily inside Japan, but also generating new business outside of it in China, Korea, and Taiwan. Well, what is next? Where can I go from here? And in an amazing curveball. The name of my next chapter is unplugging from a career. So up until now, I've talked about the biggest changes that have happened in my career, triggered by a number of different events that have occurred. Sometimes, though, we have career curveballs thrown at us internally. And with the recent move to the United States from Japan, and a growing family with our second child on the way and this is where I get back to my family. I faced the toughest career challenge of my life. Not achieving new sales in China are reaching new heights in Japan, but supporting my family. As a sales professional, we often find ourselves frequently on the road, visiting clients or Attending internal meetings. Now this is obviously before the advent of online meeting technology, like the WebEx is and the goto meetings, travel schedule sometimes meant that a majority of time was spent sleeping in hotel rooms, instead of together with one's family. There were times in Asia when I was literally traveling to a different country, each week of the month, if you can believe it or not. So I soon realized that my wife needed my support in more ways than I could have imagined, living in a foreign country with little English fluency, while raising a baby girl with our son on the way, and obviously a mother in law that did not live with us that could not offer her help in raising our children. And having a husband traveling too often on the road, was really too much for her to bear. Putting family in front of career was something I had never done before in all honesty, but it was a natural reminder about what is the most important thing in life, and what we work for, to support our families, right. So I learned to adjust to this situation, like other curveballs before this one, it wasn't easy. After achieving all that I achieved, I was ready to go to that next level. But I knew that there was something more important than once again, that long term perspective, that there are all these external and internal things that are going to be throwing curveballs out to you and affecting your career. But at the end, building up your experience, focusing your energy, and taking that long term perspective on career on life, was only going to work in my favor. So I pulled the plug, I ended up working from home as a part time consultant, so that I could both support my family, as well as my former employer who I was obviously indebted to and wanted to help out in any capacity I could, while being at home. Now, after a given time, my wife and I agreed the timing was right for me to head back into the full time workforce. So this is going to be really the last chapter of my career, which I call finding my passion. So becoming who I am today, an author, a speaker, a consultant, these were never part of my career plans, social media, as well as the internet, as we know it today simply didn't exist when I was planning my future career. But once again, the winds of change would send my career in a completely different, yet most satisfying direction, as I would soon discover. So after rejoining the workforce, but having a job that lasted only 14 weeks due to corporate restructuring, and the Lehman Brothers crash, and the whole environment of the United States, and that November, that q4 of 2008, I realized that I had to create something that no single entity could take away from me. That was my brand. This was the same time that I become an active user of LinkedIn, and actually started a blog back in July of 2008. The funny thing is that when I started the blog, it was started on LinkedIn, LinkedIn used to support these applications. They had a WordPress application, I literally went through that got a wordpress.com blog going. And you know, I had to give it a name. And I just gave it the name of expert advice to your LinkedIn questions. And that was it. This is July 2008. And that blog eventually evolved into becoming windmill networking, and thereafter maximize social business. And my real intent of the blog was just to share my knowledge of LinkedIn with the world. It was really a networking vehicle, a personal brand new vehicle. And little did I know that this would help launch my career in an entirely new direction, late 2008. And early 2009 was the time when we were beginning what would become a global recession. I was also looking for a position where I could continue to manage Asia sales and business development for technology companies while maintaining a home base in the United States. The problem was that with the continuing recession, as well as the fact that there were just more qualified local candidates, that position was becoming harder to find. I believe it's one of those positions that was sort of eliminated from the recession. And I know a lot of you if you were transitioned during that time, there were some positions that were eliminated and never returned. And I think this is an example of one of those. So I quickly realized that the winds of change were blowing against my career, in unpredicted ways. And I once again had to face a new challenge for which I was not experienced in literally reinventing myself. It was my wife, who first suggested that I write an e book while looking for my next job. But becoming an author was the last thing that I ever wanted to become, in all honesty. That being said, like before my career, I created my own internal deadline. And I decided that if I didn't land my dream job, within a given time period, I would write that book. So expanding upon the content for my blog. I ended up self publishing that first book, windmill networking, understanding, leveraging and maximizing LinkedIn back in September of 2009. This book led the page Speaking and consulting opportunities, and even though I ended up getting an offer for that dream job with a new company, in January of 2010, this was another fork in the road. I ended up following my new dream of starting my own business, which I ended up doing in that very same month of launching windmills, marketing, LLC. Now you're doing businesses maximize your social, and I haven't looked back since then. So since then, in four and a half years, I've cherished the opportunities to work with many clients large and small, speak in multiple continents, right, two more books, including my recent social media strategy creation, but maximize your social which was published by Wiley, my first two books are self published. And that book, maximize your social equity came about as as a result of a LinkedIn InMail. By the way, it's another story to share in the future that I haven't before. And also just an honor to be recognized for my work being recognized by Forbes as being both a social media power influencer as well as a master of social selling. And it's really the constant change and adapting to the change with a combination of maintaining a long term view of my career, while creating short term deadlines, that has allowed me to understand the timing of the right pitch, and being prepared to run those bases. So what did I learn from all this? And hopefully, I've already given you some advice, if that is, what you're seeking, whether you're in transition, or you're just looking for new ideas for your own social media, or maybe you want to get to the next level, in your social media career, what I learned. And although the twists and curves in my career may seem like they have nothing in common, there are a few themes that emerge, that I wanted to end this podcast on, that can hopefully provide you guidance in your own career. Number one change in your career is inevitable, generate your own change and learn to accept change brought upon you embrace the challenges and the new knowledge that can be obtained from them for your future. Sometimes this change will make you rethink your own career plans for the better, it becomes part of an education that better prepares you for any future challenge you might face. Number two, you will never be in full control of your career, but you will always be in full control of your own destiny. As Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I'm about to do today? And whenever the answer has been no, for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. That quote is all the more tragic knowing that Steve Jobs passed away. But let's take those words of wisdom to heart. And in other words, never be stuck. You always have the power to get unstuck should you have the will, if you don't like where your career is heading, change it, I did. And I'm the better for it. Number three, connect the dots. from wanting to build something from scratch, learn something new, as well as educate others in a subject that is difficult for many to grasp. What I do for a living now seems like a natural extension of what I did in my sales positions. With each company, I was building business in New Territories from scratch, that many companies now doing social media, I would have to externally engage in different ways with new communities, just like businesses are doing now in the various social networks. I also had to pitch sometimes skeptical internal stakeholders on the long term value of doing business in Asia, similar to how I need to speak to skeptical prospects about seeing value in a long term approach to social business. And if you do social media, on behalf of a corporation, I'm sure you've gone through or are going through that same situation as we speak. Now, of course, we never realize these truths, until we can connect the dots of our careers, and of us as human beings. Once again, I share with you a quote from Steve Jobs that has continued to serve as my inspiration ever since I heard it shortly after his passing in the famous graduation speech at Stanford University. You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference. Ladies and gentlemen, that is this Enza Steve Jobs quote, but that is sort of my career right there. And in fact, writing this article and recording this podcast has actually helped me better connect my own dots. And I hope it provides you the same inspiration. The long term approach I've maintained has served me well knowing that a career has many winding roads, some intentional and others by surprise, being cognizant of our own career plans and goals and proactively managing them will allow you to excel at running the bases when the right pitch comes and it will come for you as it has for me. Do my career experiences resonate with yours? Do you have similar stories to share. Let's start a conversation and connect the dots between each other. I want you to reach out to me, throw a comment in iTunes, comment on when I publish this on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, wherever you are, I really want to hear from you. And I really want to see if this provided you any insight in what common things as human beings you've experienced in your life, in your careers as well? Well, I end this episode of Maximizer social on a very, very deep notes, but really social media for business and preparing to do a webinar together with Brian Kramer, who is known for the book hashtag h two h or it's not about b2b or b2c, but h two h are human to human. And I find myself concentrating more on the human aspects of social business. And this is one of the human aspects of who is doing your social media, what has been their career, what do they want to achieve? What do you want to achieve as a social media professional, as a small business owner. So with that in mind, I thought this would be relevant for you. In the future, I'll be going back to my normal topics, because this really is the story of my career. And I can only write it once. And this is a hit. Obviously, if there's anything else you want me to talk about, I love when you reach out to me and say, hey, I want you to record a podcast on this or that. So please let me know. And once again, wherever you are in the world, make it a social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com make it a social day.