How to get a raise

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My VP of sales told me they were cutting our pay because the economy was bad. All of the churches we were sending invoices to weren’t paying their bills.

 

It was 2008 and I was pedaling video based bible studies over the phone. I had just moved from Michigan to Texas and I need a job. I left a pretty lucrative job in the car biz. I needed any gig that would get me to Texas to win over this woman I was pretty crazy over.

 

This Non-profit ministry was a bit shady. I didn’t care at the time because I needed to get paid. Not only did I need to get paid, they wanted to cut our pay.

 

Within six months I got a 50% raise.

 

How to get a 50% raise?

 

This VP of sales guy had a “bleeding neck problem” that I could help solve. He wanted to pedal a subscription to churches. The subscription would be very expensive and lucrative for our “non-profit” ministry. Even though the economy was in rough shape.

 

This isn’t advice since different things work for different people. Figure out the “bleeding neck problem” and solve it. Preferably on the revenue-generating side of the business.

 

Learn to create a product or service

 

When I was selling used cars. Yes, I sold used cars and I loved it! I helped create a finance product for us and my income grew by 40% in two years.

 

Do work that adds to the bottom line

 

If you cannot connect the dots where you work impacts the bottom line of the biz then forget about getting a raise. Your company is trying to figure out ways to outsource your job to people who are willing to do it cheaper. I know that hurts. You may even be pissed that I’m telling you this. I’m sorry, I’ve done work that has been outsourced and it sucks.

 

Make your boss look like a rockstar

 

My boss is a rockstar. My job is to make her look more and more like a rockstar. Help your boss get a raise. She will go to bat for you. Figure out their bleeding neck problem and work day and night to solve it. Add to her bottom line and she will add to yours.

 

Get promoted to another department

 

Take another exec from another department to coffee. Pick their brain and ask them what you can do on the side to help them. Make them look like a rockstar. You make them look good and they will take care of you I promise.

 

Give away ideas for free

 

Check out idea guru James Altucher’s blog about idea generation it works. Always be creating and spreading ideas and giving them away to your boss. Again focus on ideas the help add revenue or decrease cost.

 

Give yourself a raise

 

Let’s say 30% of your current salary is $1000 per month. Find a supplement income stream that brings in the extra money.

 

Shana and I are going to make designer chalkboards that moms use to decorate play rooms. We sell 10 per month and we are making an $1000 per month. Rinse and repeat and then maybe you have a business of your own.

 

Who knows, your boss may one day ask you for a job!

 

To hear, a gift!

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I watched a video on Facebook about people who could hear for the first time. New medical technology made this feat possible. Every person cried. Astonishing to think that hearing something I take for granted would cause another to have a life changing experience.

Hearing is a gift. I know I take it for granted. Today may I go about my day mesmerized by my ability to hear. Some of the most beautiful things in the world come from our sense of hearing.

Hearing a bird sing in the morning. Something truly amazing.

The sound of traffic. It’s great. I think anyways. It’s a recognizable sound.

The sound of rain beating against a window. Or the sound of rain tapping a roof in rhythmic ease.

The sound of wind on a chilly day. You don’t know where it came from or where it is going.

The sound of a child’s laugh. The uncontrollable laugh that they cannot contain.

The sound of children at play. Being at play is what makes us human. Why did I ever stop playing?

The sound of her saying yes to his marriage proposal. The shriek. The excitement.

To hear and to listen. The ability to listen and truly understand is what can change my world.

Why I didn’t read your cover letter

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I applied to be a trivia game host for a bar in my neighborhood. I would only be working 2-3 nights a week. It sounded fun. They haven’t called me. And I do this recruitment thing for a living. They didn’t ask for a cover letter.
We’re looking for a Recruiter in Chicago. I messaged a person about the job on Facebook. We talked for 40 minutes about her hopes and dreams. She sent me her resume last night. Without a cover letter. She’s scheduled to interview with our VP next week.
She had no cover letter. I didn’t even think to ask her for a cover letter. I’ve received over 5000 cover letters in my recruiting career. I can’t remember any of them. I feel bad for all of those people who wrote cover letters that I didn’t read.
I pretty much skim them. Most HR people do too. How do I know this? Most cover letters are boring. I’m sorry to break this information to you.
I have an idea! The next cover letter you write make it about being a super hero finance specialist. Talk about your past experiences in the same way Batman would explain working in finance. Tell a story. I would read that cover letter.
For the most part, cover letters don’t really matter. Finding the right job is all about connecting with the right people. That’s an entirely different post all together.

What I’ll be when I grow up

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…. There are a lot of great answers here on finding meaning. Some days I think I would like to be a writer.
Then I freak out about the beating it is to write a book. I just finished my first book. It was really, really difficult.
Some days I want to make a difference in the homeless community in Fort Worth.
Then life just happens. You go to work. You go home. You eat shitty food. Then you think, “I’ve got to start eating better”.
I read a statistic that 72% of men are unhappy with the current state of their physical health. The number one thing we would like to change is drinking less alcohol.
My homeless buddy Christopher says the number one reason people are homeless in Fort Worth is because of sobriety. His face is beaten down.
Being homeless in Fort Worth is “Living on Lancaster”.  Christopher is an expert on being homeless. His story is amazing.
All this shit about finding your meaning and purpose. That doesn’t happen while you’re in the thick of “it”. I’ve found that I don’t connect meaning to an event until afterwords.
 Remember those days being a kid. Riding your bike for hours on end. Your worries were super small. Unless you had some a-hole adult doing stupid shit to you. If that was the case then I’m very sorry.
My son, Judah, is 5. He wants to be a grown up. His reasoning for wanting to be a grown up is so that he can eat whenever and stay up late. He doesn’t know how bad that shit is for grown ups…..
I don’t know who you are, but I’m in this boat with you. I can say that everyday I find hope in gradual progress. Maybe in my progress, I’ll look back and find meaning and purpose.

Here is a job search strategy

I’ll never forget this guy I was trying to recruit for a VP of Quality position in NYC. We were in the middle of the process and I was trying to negotiate a $200k salary with confusing stock options.

To this day he pisses me off.

I called to check up on him to make sure that he was still on board with making the move.

He lived in Texas. I was recruiting him to move to NYC. The bump in compensation he was going to get wasn’t actually going to be an increase.

When I finally got him on the phone, he told me that he had just finished up a round of golf with his boss. He was drunk.

It was good to know that he would be responsible for the quality assurance of an implantable medical device that pumps pain medicine into your bloodstream.

The guy pulled off the trifecta. He leveraged my offer against his own company to get a raise and promotion.

Then he bolted a few months later for an even better offer with another company in Georgia.

I was stunned. Here is what you can learn from this guy.

  • Interview for several opportunities at once and leverage the offers against each other. If you’re in demand, then embrace it.
  • Position the companies in a bidding war for your services.
  • Don’t take the offer that pays you the most. This guy actually took the job that was most fascinating and interesting.
  • Pick the company that gives you the best opportunity to grow in both skills and knowledge.  

Go on every interview you have scheduled. Enjoy the process.

Recruiters who hate metrics

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I’m nervous to write about performance metrics and key performance indicators. I would rather rip off my toenails than have a conversation about performance metrics with recruiters.


Why do we recruiters hate to be measured and judged? I’m not sure but I can speculate. Many times it’s that I have a wrong perspective as it relates to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Yes it is a tool for executive leadership to objectively measure the health of their company. KPIs can be more than that,  if I would just give them a shot.

One common objective we recruiters have to KPIs is that they don’t explain the complexity and art of recruiting. I’m starting to believe that’s mostly b.s..  I get that we want to believe that our debonair on the phone and in meetings just can’t be measured. I think we are wrong.

Somebody really smart, and I don’t want to Google who it was, said something like this …

genius is taking that which is complex and simplifying it. I’m not a genius. I’m really good at taking something simple and making it even more complex.

That’s what I did early in my recruiting career.  I made easy recruiting KPIs handed to me by a recruiting rock star and made them more complex. I did this because I felt Because measuring recruiting the simple way doesn’t take into account all the little nuances in art and complexity of skill into consideration.

I’m wrong. I’m usually wrong 99% of the time. I’m wrong so much that I’ve had to learn to grow from my wrongs. I’m now on this endless journey to simplify the complex. I don’t know why this principle resonates with me.

Steve Jobs, (every business person should refer to him at some point in their career) was a genius. He was the master of simplifying complexity. The examples are endless. Do you remember trying to figure out your mp3 player from the early 2000s. Yeah, it was brutal.

Drag and drop. Now that is genius.

I think measuring performance can be simple. Do a quick search for recruiting metrics at ERE.net or source.com and have fun reading through the life crushing white papers on recruiting metrics. I had to do it 6 months ago. It was horrible.

Recruiting performance is pretty simple to measure. I have to credit my colleague, Clay Alexander, for coming up with it.

Get Candidates + Interview Candidates = hire candidates

Wow. I’ll let you think about that for a little while I go get another cup of coffee.

 

5 Things I Learned About Running a Business

I woke up at a rest stop on the outskirts of Barstow lying in the front seat of a beat to death Jeep Liberty wondering how in the hell I got here. Just 4 days earlier, I was picking up some kind of commercial generator in Staten Island. It was the first time this Michigan boy has ever been to New York. I had to drop this beastly machine off just north of Napa Valley. Hepatitis invaded my body while using the bathroom at some beaten down gas station just north of town. I don’t have any good memories about Barstow. A really good friend of mine is from there. I wish we could have met then, maybe I would have better memories of this place. This was what running a shipping business looked like for me. Here are the 5 things I learned while running a business.

1: I Thought I Knew Everything

Some of us pretend to be experts. I was an expert at thinking if any idea was good enough to make money then I should start doing it. Being a know it all is a disease that you should eliminate immediately. I believed that unless my customers had confidence that I knew everything about shipping goods across the US then they wouldn’t use me. Truth was, they just wanted somebody to move their goods at dirt cheap prices. You may have heard of uShip and the show Shipping Wars. Yes, I was one of those people. We would bid on shipments and the business would go to the lowest bidder. I had no clue what I was doing. At the time I thought I knew everything and I was going to become a millionaire shipping generators and sailboats across the county. Within 5 months I was broke and destroyed my Jeep Liberty.

2: I Started This Business to Avoid My Ex-Wife

It’s crazy some of the things people do to avoid people they don’t like. Somebody reading this post is interested in starting a business because they want to be their own boss. My Ex-Wife loved to boss me around and control my life. I saw getting into the shipping business as an excuse to leave town and get away from her trying to control me. Being in a life sucking relationship is extremely bad for you. I can assure you that doing something as stupid as starting a business to get away from somebody is a terrible plan. When you hold on to bad relationships you will look to escape that relationship in other areas of your life. I found my escape in finding a reason to be on the road for 2-3 weeks straight. Others may find it in their cubicle job. Maybe you go to the bar to escape. I don’t know. I just know that if you’re currently in a bad relationship you will escape and go somewhere.

3: Honesty Hurts

I was dropping off the generator, it weighed over 5,000 lbs, to my customer and I made an effort to show him that the generator caused excess wear on my tires. He felt guilty and gave me an extra $300 to replace the tires. I felt dirty. The truth was I wasn’t making enough money to pay for the wear and tear on my vehicle. He never called me back to do business again. If you deceive your customers, and even though you may not get caught, they will not call you back. I work in sales and sales people lie to customers all the time. You will not get their business again. Honesty is hard. When your honest, life changes drastically for you and the sun shines on you in special way. When customers trust you, they’re your customer for life.

4: I Hated the Work

Backing trailers up, changing tires, and untangling tie down straps was horrible for me. What in the hell was I thinking. I would go 3-4 days between taking a shower. You’re always tired because you don’t get enough rest living on the road. You’re definitely not staying in hotels every night. I thought it was a brilliant idea to save money by sleeping in my vehicle at rest stops. If you hate the work you’re doing then you need to ditch the enterprise as soon as possible. Some people stay for the money. Some may stay for the security. Others will continue on the path they are in because the fear of change is greater than their fear of being stuck in neutral. If you hate the work you’re in it will eventually eat at your soul. You need to prepare your escape plan right now.

And finally….

5: I Wanted to Make a lot of Money

I was running on the proverbial hamster wheel of success. The harder I ran or worked then it only seemed logical the more money I would make. Growing up broke taught me a terrible lesson in money management. The more I had, meant the happier I would be. In my mind, starting a business in a line of work that I didn’t enjoy was ok as long as I made a lot of money. Where did this terrible idea come from anyways. I hear parents telling their kids to go to college and study a profession that will make you a lot of money. Who cares if you will like the work or not. I understand we’ve still got to pay the bills. But your need to pay the bills shouldn’t come at the price of your soul. I remember getting my first pay day from the first shipment. Once you subtract the gas, vehicle maintenance, and travel expenses, I was left wanting more for my time. That’s another expense you and I forget about, our time. Time is expensive. Philosophically speaking, time is your greatest single resource. Once you spend it, it’s gone forever. Wasting time only trying to make money or doing work that’s not enjoyable is excruciatingly expensive.

There you go, the five things I learned while running a business. As you can see, I was not very successful in the shipping business. But the lessons I learned from the experience are forever priceless and have guided me to what’s really important in business.