Hi! I’m Bill, and I spent close to 10 years in outside sales/account management roles. And while I enjoyed it and was mostly satisfied financially, I sacrificed too much just to maintain the status quo. I missed a lot of my son’s “firsts”, and built quiet resentment toward my stay at home wife who got to spend a lot of time with our child.
I looked for alternative opportunities and was consistently hit with resistance. No one wanted to hire a career salesperson. There was this stigma that salespeople are hard to transition to different careers (which is crap, by the way). Discouraged, I started volunteering my time to keep my mind busy and out of a bad place. I was a Salesforce super user and enjoyed training, so I volunteered to help a non profit childrens group in Chicago customize and train a small staff in Salesforce. I assumed it would be easy since I had used the tool for 5 years, and realized the puddle that I had thought was Salesforce was actually an ocean of possibility. Realizing how massive the tool was, I reached out to the local Salesforce user group to seek advice and training. I was directed to training that costed several thousand dollars, so as you can imagine for a single income family, that wasn’t feasible.
(warning, here comes the “poor me”)
I found myself at the lowest point in my life. I had gained weight, in massive debt, in a job and career I despised, and had a strained family relationship. I was convinced I would never dig out of this sales grave I invested so much time in. And on 1/30/2016, my life changed forever with an email I received:
I heard through the Philly Salesforce community that you are looking for Salesforce.com administrator/analyst opportunities. Are you still in the market for those opportunities? If so, I know of some that I could connect you with.
I’ll never forget that day. I was always glad to encourage others to follow their dreams, throw caution to the wind, and provide any advice I could to get them to that place…and the good will finally found its way back to me. And then it hit me, words one of my business idols spoke many years prior:
“Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do every day for the rest of my life, do that” — Gary Vaynerchuk
So I did that, for whatever reason it clicked. I wanted to work in Salesforce for the rest of my life, in some way, shape, or form. I always enjoyed the company culture, how they include their users, fans, employees, customers, and always give back to the community. I wanted to be a part of that.
I replied to the original email I received and he pointed me in the direction of some free learning resources. As a side note, I apologize openly for some of the long emails I sent him, or the volume of emails I sent, I was just way too excited. We conversed over email as he worked to connect me with the “right” people and get me the skills I needed. He wanted nothing in return but to help me and point me in the right direction. That Salesforce culture I spoke of? He lived and breathed it. He and the connections I made pointed me in the right direction, and provided the right amount of knowledge and encouragement.
I pushed myself to take the Salesforce Admin exam in early March 2016, and failed. I was a little discouraged, but pulling strength from my new found network and starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I pushed through and immediately rescheduled the test for June. I used every resource available to me to study and learn the platform inside and out.
With continued persistence to change my life, I persevered and landed a role as a Sales Operations Analyst with my primary responsibility being the Salesforce Administrator. With my new role, I get to use my experience to continue to build the sales department, shape the company, while primarily working Salesforce. It truly is a #dreamjob to restart my career.
In May I attended the PhillyForce Salesforce user group conference, and weeks later the Salesforce World Tour in NYC. When I stepped onto the main floor, saw the logo and heard the upbeat music, I knew my life had changed. It wasn’t until the keynote when they played the video of how many lives the Salesforce foundation had changed that I let my emotion get the best of me. I shed a few tears knowing how hard I worked to get to that point, and how I almost gave up hope. If it hadn’t been for that Salesforce MVP *coughAlexSutherlandcough* wanting to lend a helping hand, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Edit: June 2019
At one time I had a short list of Salesforce based achievements and milestones that I hit. However, after a while that list got quite long (yeah, I know, first world problems). So instead of boring you with a list of random stuff, here’s just a few short highlights.
* Nominated Salesforce MVP (Twice!)
* AwesomeAdmin Award winner (golden hoodie)
* Leader of the Mount Laurel NJ Community Group
* 9x Certified
* Senior Consultant
Thank you Salesforce, the awesome community, and the Salesforce MVP’s for giving me the knowledge, drive, and opportunity to change everything.