My story really begins with being a kid that had a lot of growing up to do. Even before I was ten years old, I was in trouble a lot. My real father was career military and was deployed to Vietnam when I was nine. Since my mother did not know how she was going to deal with me and my antics, she worked out a deal with her brother to step in and be my guardian while my father was gone. So I was shipped off to Lake Tahoe to live with an uncle that I barely knew.
My uncle was single, a perfectionist, and ruled with an iron fist. But he also was generous and bribed me with really fun activities like dirt biking, snowmobiling, and skiing. Also, I learned his trade – fine wood working. By the time I was twelve, I could layout and make cabinets. I could also frame, sheetrock, and trim.
After high school everyone assumed that I’d become a carpenter. I had the skills and liked the work. And for a few years I was a finish carpenter. But I also learned how to sell.
While talking with clients about remodeling rooms, or building cabinets, I had a knack for listening to what they wanted and then helping them to make the decision to invest in higher quality modifications. I wasn’t selling them something the didn’t need – I was just making sure that they’d see a better version of their plans. So it always became my goal to stretch someone’s expectations.
I quickly learned that my favorite part of doing business was ‘the conversation’. And I decided to change up and try selling other peoples work and products. This allowed me to concentrate on ‘the conversation’ by not having to do the backend work of building the finished product. I was hooked.
I could tell you about all the different products and services that I’ve sold over the years – but that would be a snooze-fest. I will only bring up one product line as a frame of reference: personal computers. I was infatuated with the personal computer. I wanted to know everything about them and I wanted to find ways to apply them to small business and to selling.
I took programming classes, learned to build them, repair them, and maximize use of them. Thus, I became a computer hacker. By the way, if you think the term ‘computer hacker’ is a derogatory term – you’d be wrong. Only the media makes it out to be so. The term is actually meant to describe a person that improves or fixes how something works. That’s why I consider myself to be a ‘life hacker’ and a ‘small business hacker’.
OK – I’m going to wrap this up, but I have one quick thing to add: I’m a recruiter also. Really, a recruiter is just a salesperson that puts together win-win-win situations between employers and future employees. So you end up selling to both sides.
I had one client that described the issues of recruiting in a very funny way. After we had a candidate drop out during the offer phase of negotiations, my client said, “JR, you have one hell of a business problem. You have the only business I’ve seen where you sell the buyer on a product, AND you have to keep selling the product on the buyer too. It’s like selling cars – but the car can decide it doesn’t want to go with the new car buyer.”
So that’s me in a nutshell. Genuine and real. Hacker, salesperson, recruiter, and new author (I’ll explain in my blog soon).