My official title is “More Than Just a Sales Guy,” which basically means I handle business development. Until recently, that was an entirely inbound process at Job Portraits. A prospective client would reach out already understanding what their pain points were and with a pretty good idea of how we could help, and we’d start by discussing what our support might look like. Or we’d be reaching out to clients we’ve worked with in the past, to see if they’re ready to re-engage. That’s all still part of my job, but now I’m also running outbound campaigns, connecting with people who may not be familiar with Job Portraits or even with employer branding. In those cases, we start with a discovery call, to learn about what they’re currently doing on the talent front and what their hiring goals are. From there, we might bring in one of our creative leads, or CLs, to help the client understand what it would actually be like to work with us. During an engagement, the CL will take the lead, but I might be an additional point of contact. Then a few months after the project is finished, I’ll set up a retrospective call so we can all get together to talk about how it went, and discuss what we want to do next.
What were you doing before Job Portraits, and why did you join?
For most of the last three years, I’d been working as a contractor with early-stage tech companies. Usually, they had no formal sales process and had never done any outbound, so I’d come in and spend a few months getting that up and running. Most recently, I was in a full-time role for a startup in Salt Lake City that builds vacation rental software.
I actually discovered Job Portraits last year, when the BD position was first posted. I’d been wanting to transition out of selling products, which so often comes down to features, and back into services, where it’s ultimately about relationships. I also liked that it was in the creative space. And, both as a candidate and because I used to work as a recruiter, I’ve seen how broken the hiring process can be. So there was a lot of alignment. But mostly, there just seemed to be a vibe and energy about Job Portraits that was perfect for me personally. They gave me plenty of resources to learn about the culture — everything they help their clients do, they had done for themselves. I was like, “Hell, yeah. This looks great.”
I had a call with Miki and Jackson and we hit it off. For a couple of reasons the timing wasn’t great, but I like to stay in touch with people I jibe with, so I would check in periodically. Then in December, they asked if I’d consider working with them on a contract basis. I jumped into that in January, and within two weeks, we decided to make it full time.
What’s the team culture like, especially as a remote employee?
I’ve worked remotely before, but not like this. I think most companies struggle with how to integrate remote workers as a true part of the team, but here, I almost forget most of us are remote. Even when I was interviewing, Miki and Jackson set the precedent that we would talk on video whenever possible. At the time, I thought, “Shit, I don’t want to do video,” because in the past, that meant looking a certain way and being in a certain environment. I had to prep! But then on one of our first calls, Jackson was cooking in the background. Their son, Kai, started crying. And I was like, “I get it.” We’re allowed to be regular people with regular lives. I don’t have to be showered and pressed, and if my three-year-old runs into the room, which he loves to do, that’s totally okay. Now I’m on video calls all day, working on projects or doing one-on-ones or team meetings. It’s very collaborative, and we’re all much closer as a result.
What would you tell a new team member on their first day?
Don’t be shy. Speak up and ask for help. I still struggle with this a little, because I know everyone is busy and I don’t want to pester them. But I’m getting over that quickly, because that’s never how it’s seen from the other side. Everyone is always happy to help, Miki and Jackson included. Miki and I meet every week, since the two of us handle most of the BD, but I have biweekly one-on-ones with Jackson, too, which started even before I joined full-time. It’s just a chance to connect. Once we talked about dad stuff for a half hour.
One thing that was new to me was the way Jackson and Miki delegated my onboarding. Usually you have one manager assigned to you, and that’s who you go to with everything, because it’s part of their job. Here, different team members each took the lead on their area of expertise, so when I did have questions, I already had those relationships and knew exactly who to ask. It was a really great process, and it totally changed my perspective on both my teammates and the way the company works. Everyone is so smart and can help you do a lot of cool things. All you have to do is reach out.
What’s your morning routine?
I wake up at 6:10 a.m. and meditate before my son wakes up around 6:30 a.m. We watch whatever kids’ show he’s into at the moment, and then I make coffee for my wife and me — actually, a blend of French press coffee, Yerba Mate tea, coconut oil, and cinnamon that has become a critical part of my morning. I get my son’s stuff ready for school, then he wakes my wife up around 8 a.m., and I get to work.
What’s your superpower?
I’m naturally very disciplined about exercise and really strict with my diet — I work out a ton, I’m vegan, and I do intermittent fasting, where I only eat during an eight-hour window each day. The superpower is really that for me, none of that is burdensome. I’m just wired this way.
What’s the worst advice you ever followed?
I don’t know if this one was bad advice or really great advice, but I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I didn’t take it. A few years ago, I started a fresh smoothie delivery service and eventually created a shelf product that was accepted into Whole Foods stores in the Salt Lake City region. It was a great experience, and I learned a ton. Then someone who knew a lot about the industry told me I could keep going if I stayed local, but that she didn’t think it could scale. The margins were tough and it was a really challenging business, and I think her saying that gave me an out. I ended the company, but I always wonder “What if?”
What’s your spirit animal?
I had no idea, so I took a quiz online, and it said mine was a wolf. The description didn’t totally add up — I’m definitely an introvert, and a wolf is more social — but the part that did resonate was the way wolves go against the grain.
Tell us about a book that had a big impact on you.
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. I’ve probably read it 12 times now. He originally wrote it about the challenge of sitting down to write and ignoring the voice in your head that’s telling you to do anything else. But it became a big hit in the business world. I think it applies to anything that’s going to make you better, because there’s always resistance. It could be a big creative project or just taking out the trash when it’s freezing outside. Pushing through that resistance always pays off.
If you could interview one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I’d love to interview both Dax Shepard and Joe Rogan, my two favorite podcasters. I feel like they’re my friends because they’re in my ears all the time, and they’re both so authentic and transparent. They don’t script anything, and they don’t have an agenda. That’s what makes them good at what they do.
What unpopular opinion do you hold?
It’s not exactly an opinion, but people often have issues with the way I eat. I’ll tell them I’m vegan because it works well for me, and I don’t think it’s necessarily right for everyone — but I still get a lot of resistance. I can tell they start to see me through a different lens.
What’s your next adventure?
We lived in Park City, Utah, before moving back to California, and we’re going to spend three weeks there this summer. Our house when we were there is now a vacation rental, so we booked some time, and I think it will be fun just to be back, eat at our favorite restaurants, and run on my favorite trails. Kind of like going home.