#4: Designing the Career You Want with Joey Korenman
Professor Scott Davis chats with Joey Korenman, founder of School of Motion, for his perspective on big career shifts, finding work with LinkedIn, and the gig economy. This episode is intended for students of marketing, career switchers, freelancers, and aspirant entrepreneurs.
Video of Scott's Interview with Joey Korenman
Podcast Audio of Scott's Interview with Joey Korenman
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Transcript of Scott's Interview with Joey Korenman
Scott: Alright Joey, welcome to “To Market.” thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I'm really blessed to be able to get such great people on this show given that it's relatively new and that you're so busy with all the other work you're involved in with School of Motion, so thank you for being here.
Joey: Oh, well thanks so much for having me, Scott. This is awesome.
Scott: And I should start by saying that I am a student of yours which is going to be interesting to my students since I'm teaching so many people right now. But I took your After Effects Kickstart course just trying to find my way around After Effects which is the most popular video editing software, and to be honest, I'm blown away by all the tools that you've built and the interface because in my own experience in academia, we have all these clunky interfaces for delivering video and just taking your course inspired me, not just from a video creation standpoint, but from, you know, trying to make everything look a little bit slick and up-to-date.
So, thank you for not only the information from the course but also just in the delivery of that course and how cool that was. I'm using ScreenFlow for my recording now because that's what you were using to deliver content.
Joey: Awesome! Well that's good to hear, that's really good to hear. I mean we've spent a lot of time and resources thinking about that and yeah, I mean I have a lot of thoughts on why that's important and why we do it, yeah. I’m glad to hear that it actually comes through to the students.
Scott: Sure, and I took your beta course and you actually apologized a lot because everything wasn't perfectly polished and I thought it already looks great, so I can't imagine what it looks like now. But really cool and if my listeners want to check out School of Motion it’s at www.schoolofmotion.com?
Joey: Correct, yeah www.schoolofmotion.com.
Scott: And what's your Twitter handle?
Joey: We are @SchoolOfMotion, pretty easy to remember.
Scott: That's perfect.
Joey: And Facebook, I think is just School of Motion. We got in early so we got all of our names without real weird numbers or anything afterwards.
Scott: Is your acronym intentional, so you're SoM which is a common abbreviation for social media? I'm just curious.
Joey: That’s funny, I didn't actually know that, I've never actually seen that. No, honestly, like when I started School of Motion it was just my blog, like literally, it was just my sort of personal blog that was a tutorial and I needed a name, so I did the thing where you go to GoDaddy and you type in every combination of motion design graphics video, whatever, and I had I think I just watched the Jack Black movie School of Rock, and I liked it okay, short and pithy that was… so yeah-yeah School of Motion. It was available, so there you go, that's where it came from.
Scott: That’s beautiful and it communicates exactly what you're trying to do in the name, so yeah I love it, but you mentioned how important it is to you in terms of, you know, how polished the interface is, how high-quality the delivery of the content is that you're teaching so I want to jump a little bit into it. You've gone through these interesting career transitions. You used to run your own motion design studio, which is in that industry kind of the top of the heap, right? This is what a lot of people aspire to do as their long-term career and I think there's an interesting parallel, especially with my MBA students, who… a lot of people when they enter an MBA program, it's because they're unhappy with what they're doing and they're looking for this kind of springboard into a new career.
So, I want to start by asking you about, first, kind of how you got into running your, this is going to be a big question I'm warning you now, so I think about how you got into running your own animation studio or motion design studio and then what made you decide to get out of that business and get into education?
Joey: Sure, okay, so let me take you on a journey here, okay? It’s storytime so and I'll try to tie it all up in a bow nicely because there is sort of a lesson here.
So, the way I ended up running my own studio was I graduated college… I went to Boston University, I got a job right out of school. I was very lucky, I had interned a whole bunch and I was fortunately in a position to do that, and so I got hired, worked my way up, and sort of that was the point where I fell in love with motion design or motion graphics as it’s sometimes called doing design and animation basically.
So, in order to pursue that I had to quit my job because in my current job, I wasn't really doing much of that, and I became a freelancer. So, freelancing in the motion design industry is very popular and prevalent, and, like you know, half the people that are working in the field are freelancers and so very quickly, I sort of had to learn how to run myself as a business because as a freelancer you're a one-person business. And you learn how to market yourself and do sales and customer support and all the things. At the time, I didn't know that's what was happening but that's what I was doing. I did that for like six or seven years, and that whole time, and frankly my entire life, I've always been… I guess you could call me like an overachiever. Like, not that I always overachieved but I always wanted to. I was like a, you know, not like a suck-up but I just kind of… my drug was success, like I always liked being good at stuff and you know as you grow up, and this is something I really would like any MBA students, you know, that are listening to think about this, okay because I came up in the public school system where you're given grades and there's numbers and rankings and GPA and there's always some metric you can look to and say “ahh, I’m succeeding, I'm progressing.”
And once you get out into the real world, a very common metric people look at is how much money am I making, okay and that I was very focused on that, and I was doing very well as a freelancer but I plateaued because there's only so much you can charge, there's only so many hours in the day, and you and that number was pretty high. I think as a freelancer, I think in my best year I made a hundred and sixty thousand dollars. I mean, it was not a little bit of money, but I realized it was not going to go any further, and so it's like well how do I keep progressing? What's the next thing? And I kept chasing more and more and more so I said the logical thing is to open my own studio because then I can charge more and I can have a team and that's how you leverage other people's time to make you more money.
And so I partnered up with two really great guys that I knew in Boston. We opened a studio, we hired staff. I ran it for four years and I had more! I had more money, I had bigger clients, national spots, and a spot by the way is a commercial. It's like the lingo if anyone didn't know that. And then I had children and all of the sudden the mountain I had been on… I had basically been climbing a mountain as fast as I could not caring how burned out I was, how hard I was working, how many hours I was not sleeping, because I wanted to get to the top of the mountain. And I got there and then I looked around and I'm like, “oh shit, I'm on the wrong mountain” and so anyone who feels that way, if that resonates with you, if you're in an MBA program because you plateaued at your last job and you feel like to get to that next level I need the MBA, I need the networking or whatever, I would say maybe you're right but please do this first.
Ask yourself what you really want out of life, so this is going to get a little Tony Robbins here.
Scott: I love it.
Joey: I think there's some validity to it, we are, I mean especially if you're the type of person that's going to end up in an MBA program, you're probably ambitious, you're probably sort of a Type-A person, and at the very least you want to be successful and we're sort of led to believe, especially in the United States, that that means we have a position of authority. We're making lots of money, that's how we measure success.
Well I've actually met people who, you know, make $35,000 a year but they only work three months a year and they live super cheap and the rest of the time they do whatever the hell they want, and that's a pretty good life. And that is one that if you're chasing more is not open to you, okay, so that's kind of the extreme version.
So, what my wife and I did, we had children, I was getting really burnt out I got to the point with the studio where in order to keep making more and chasing more like I had been, I was going to have to start doing things I didn't want to do. I was going to have to basically not animate anymore, not design anymore, manage teams, go on these like dog and pony shows where I would fly across the country and go pitch our studio and do all that stuff and I just didn't want to. And so I sat down with my wife, I started reading lots of books and listening to self-help podcasts and all that kind of stuff and there was this exercise that came up a few times in various books and podcasts, and it's a really good exercise. So everyone listening, if you take nothing away from this, do this. It's called the “perfect day” exercise.
Okay, the perfect day exercise is you sit down and you imagine your life like five years from now, and I'd say you could do ten years from now, but that's so far in the future it's like almost like science fiction, so five years from now and it's Tuesday and it's not a holiday, it's not a special day, it's just Tuesday, and it's going to be the perfect day. And I want you to walk yourself through what that means. So, you wake up in bed, who's next to you, anybody? You know, are you married, are you not, do you have children? How big is the bed, is it a king size or is it like a cot? You look out the window, is it sunny what's the weather like, how warm is it? Look around you, are you in an apartment, are you in a house, how big is the house? You pick up your phone you check it, hey how much money is in your bank account, how many emails do you have to answer, and then you get up and you go to your kitchen. What does that look like? What are you eating, how fit are you? You basically just go through all the minutiae that you actually live every single day, you just try to project five years in the future but the ideal version of that.
And then you look at where you are and you look at that that vision you just made and you say, “am I pointed in that direction or not,” and it becomes very clear very quickly if you are or not and so we did this perfect day exercise and I was like okay, my perfect day is I wake up and I have plenty of time to have coffee with my wife, have breakfast with my kids, you know maybe go for a long run, come back shower clean up, and then I want to bike to work because I'm very active person, I love being fit, so I want a bike, I don't want to drive, I don't want to be on a train. When I go to work, I want to do something where I don't have clients breathing down my neck, there's not so much pressure on me to perform and so much is out of my control because you can never really control how clients react to your work.
I want to have enough money where I’m not sweating about money and I want to have a house but I want to, I want to have like fifty grand in the bank like for a rainy day, I want to have a slush fund… and I just, you know, I ran through it all and then I said well the path I'm on is pointed in the complete opposite direction, I was commuting three hours a day on a train and Oh! Also, I wanted it to be sunny and warm and I lived in Massachusetts at the time.
And to get to my office on time, I had to take the train that left right after my kids woke up so I almost never saw them and then if I missed the early train home, like a client had a revision or something, I wouldn't see my kids before they went to sleep. It was cold all the time, living in Massachusetts is very expensive and I was doing the thing where I was burnt out and didn't like my job, so I was spending money on shit to make myself feel better and so basically I was going in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go.
So at that moment, and everyone listening if you do this you may have that same moment and then you have a choice to make, what do I do? So what we did and we did it pretty quick, I think we had this realization in January and by August 1st of the of that year, I think we had moved to Florida, I had gotten out of my business, we had sold our house, said goodbye to all of our friends. My wife is from Massachusetts, her parents lived right down the road from us, we had to say goodbye to them, we picked up everything and sold almost everything we had and we moved to Florida and I took a job teaching at a college. And what's interesting is that as soon as we got there, there was like culture shock and we had to make new friends and all that stuff but immediately, it was clear that what we had done aligned perfectly with our goals and it felt so good for me to wake up, have till 9:30 to get on my bike and ride to Ringling, teach for a few hours, come back you know, at 4 o'clock go to the beach with my family, have dinner. We were in an apartment, it was really cheap, it was like, cost living was nothing and even though I had actually given like, I was making a third of what I was at the studio, literally a third. We downsized from a house to an apartment, we downsized from one car to two. I had less of everything I was way happier, way-way happier and so now I'm running a company, right? So in between that and now I started School of Motion and it blew up and became this big thing, that would… I would never have had the space to do that and or the opportunity to do that without first that big scary step.
So, I think I covered the story and hopefully the lesson in there is don't chase more, more can be your enemy, you want to be tactical with your life decisions and it's not just about business, it's about you know all those other things, your commute, the weather, everything that makes you happy.
Scott: Yeah and the, I'm glad that… I think I started off by asking the right question because that was an incredible answer and I think that the timing of “more” is important too, so it might be that you don't want more right now, you want to spend more time with your kids, but then when they're a little older, maybe you do want to go off and start your own, you know, education company and, kind of, work your way back up in that area. I think your story is so interesting because you gave up more than a lot of people in these scenarios and it's so cool how, you know, you transitioned to this life as an educator… I wonder if you did this exercise, not in January, if the result would have been different since you're up in New England yearning for the sunnier, you know, shores of Florida but even some of the things you said resonated with me as a marketer. Talking about, you know, this is your current state and this is your, you know, your five year state and what you're really trying to do is identify the problem that exists with the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in five years, and that perfect day exercise what that really gives you is motivation, right? So try to recognize that gap and start closing that gap.
Joey: Yeah and it's not just it's not just motivation though, it's a lot… I think most people frankly tend to live life with blinders on a lot of times because we are especially ambitious career-focused people. We're so focused on the doing and achieving and this and that that we block out everything else and it's made way worse, I think too, by like social media and you look on Facebook and hey your buddy just posted a picture from Bali. Oh, shoot, I'm not on vacation in Bali, I'm not achieving fast enough.
And sometimes you’ve just got to get back to basics, like right you know, like I have a lot of friends in college that I still keep in touch with that you know went to… their degree was in management or accounting or some business thing and then they went got an MBA right afterwards because that's what you do if you want to be successful and success was a goal instead of a byproduct, which I think really is what success should be. Success should be a byproduct of you've aligned what you're doing with what you're good at, and what makes you happy, and is sustainable, which is important, and if you do that generally you have success. And then from success you get all the, you know, the material things that a lot of people are chasing which again should not be the goal. It should be the result of a process that starts with why, why are you doing it?
Scott: That's awesome, that's yeah. That's fantastic insight. I don't know if you came across Marcus Buckingham’s work when you were going through your self-help books and videos but he says something that really sticks with me. It's that only you know which doors to march through and which doors the slam shut and just because everyone's telling you that, you know, you should be a manager, it doesn't mean that it's right for you. It might not align with your strengths, it might not align with your goals for your time, and it's really hard, like you said, to recognize because we're kind of given this path as especially, you know, in the American education system that you're going to go through these steps of the process and end up here but that's not right for everybody. So you can use your MBA in a lot of different ways, you can become an entrepreneur, you know, start your own business, you can become team leader without actually having direct reports, and the options aren't as limited as they seem sometimes.
Joey: Of course, yeah, I really like that. That idea, I hadn't heard of that that Marcus person before, I’ll say though the most influential person during that period in my life was Tim Ferris who wrote the 4-hour Work Week and he tells this story in there, or I think it's from a movie, it's from the movie Wall Street, I think there's a line in there where Charlie Sheen who's like the ultimate go-getter MBA, you know whatever, and someone asked him, you know, why do you want to make so much money, he's like “well, I just want to do this and make as much as I can, so I can retire when I'm 55 and ride my motorcycle across China.” And the irony is that like someone washing dishes could ride a motorcycle across China tomorrow.
That's not that like, that's a pretty easy goal but that's kind of the way we're trained to think that. You have to pay your dues and climb this mountain before you get the fun part at the end and that also, here's another thing and it's interesting because we've been talking about this internally at School of Motion a lot lately, and we're kind of an odd company in that we're totally remote. No one lives in the same place. I'm the only person that lives in Florida, the rest of the team is distributed elsewhere, we have a very loose schedule, we have no vacation policy you take off whenever you want, you know our product manager just took a road trip and she would take meetings from like Facetime in her car and stuff and that whole that's where that comes from, it comes from that idea of like why prolong like the agony and wait, hope you make it to 65 healthy and with a nest egg to do all that stuff when you know, when you don't have to and you brought up a good point about the MBA thing too. You can get an MBA and then you know you go work 120-hours a week for a consulting firm and make a ton of money but probably be fairly miserable or you can get an MBA and then you can open a food truck and kill it and have low overhead and take six months a year off.
It's totally up to you. There are no rules I guess is what I'd say.
Scott: Right, yeah, that's awesome. Now everyone's going to send the resume to you since you described the working environment at School of Motion.
I just want to get through a couple more questions here that I think are important. One is, first I know you don't want me to plug your book but I'm going to plug your book so “The Freelance Manifesto, this kind of ties back to your early career when you worked as a freelancer but also your current career running School of Motion where you're educating a lot of freelancers in how to be successful. So I think something that we talk about all the time in marketing is this this gig economy, it's still new to a lot of people, but this idea that you're going to work these kind of short-term temporary jobs and you're not going to have, you know, good health insurance and things like that maybe, but you'll have a lot of flexibility and in some fields, like motion design probably, you have potential to make a lot of money.
So, do you think this is something, in the US in specific, that is going to be enduring? Is this gig economy here to stay or is it kind of a fad that we're dealing with?
Joey: I think it's a hundred percent here to stay and it's just out of, I think there's two things. One, I think it's just out of necessity because currently the laws and the tax structure in this country make it, and I can tell you because we do this, it's very difficult to hire full-time staff that you aren't sure you're going to need all the time and it's, you know, you have this inventory problem especially across state lines and all this kind of stuff.
So, just from a, you know, sort of being in compliance from that standpoint I think having access to 1099 contractors is just amazing, but here's the other thing too. I think it's actually one of the best most positive things to come out of Silicon Valley is this idea of the gig economy and there's two ways you can look at it. You can look at it as, well you're basically taking away full time jobs and just giving people these gigs and asking them to support themselves on that, okay, and that it's not a perfect system. I agree and there are people that get abused by that.
But on the other hand, what the gig economy lets us do as a society is utilize our resources in a way more efficient way. Uber, say what you will about the CEO and his exploits and the company, but you know we have a real problem in this country with too many freaking cars okay and because of Uber I am very easily able have with three kids and a wife for us to drive everywhere we have one car, we will never have two cars again if I can avoid it.
There is this you know resource utilization problem that the gig economy totally solves and it works for developers who moonlight, designers who moonlight, but I think that the skills that you need to thrive in the gig economy as a contractor are not taught anywhere in school. I've never ever, like I mean certainly not you know when I was in school and coming up, but even now, no one teaches you how to do outbound sales and go find clients and how to think about taxes and stuff like that, so I think it's really important. That's why I wrote the book is to help freelancers in our industry navigate that and get booked and the truth is when I was a freelancer, you know ten years ago I was in the gig economy. It wasn't called that but I made plenty of money doing it, like more than I needed, so I think if you do it right it can be just as fulfilling and lucrative and way more flexible than a full-time job.
Scott: Right and it's interesting how the gig economy is affecting both low-skilled work and highly skilled workers and this kind of separation of work from jobs, I think feels more natural to younger generations but even for people like me it seems a little bit weird and I'm getting used to it, but yeah I think and you touched on it, there are major tradeoffs right, positives and negatives and hopefully as we kind of march forward, I do think the gig economy is going to grow even beyond what we're imagining now. But hopefully things kind of even out so that the, especially the lower skilled workforce, is exploited by the gig economy you see this in in fields like journalism right, where if you're freelancing to publish your work, you can be exploited in terms of pay and benefits and that kind of thing but that's an interesting many hours-long discussion.
Joey: Yeah it certainly is now it's a, you know, kind of related to that so my answer to that is that that's just reality. So here's an interesting thing that a lot of people have an issue with, if we want someone for example, School of Motion wants someone to go through and try to find as many motion design studios and ad agencies and marketing companies as humanly possible and make a giant spreadsheet and track down, using these email search tools, try to find emails for contacts there so we can contact every single one of them and let them know that we exist and that we have these great courses and maybe your staff would benefit from them.
We could, on the extreme end, hire a full-time W2 employee and pay them you know $35/40 a year but we also have to give them health insurance and we have a 401k plan and you got taxes and all that, or I could get on Upwork and I could hire someone in Lithuania who speaks perfect English for three dollars an hour, and that sounds crazy, but in Lithuania three dollars an hour, maybe not Lithuania, Macedonia is one we recently did. In Macedonia, you know five bucks an hour is like way different than it is here and the Philippines is kind of the example most people use when you talk about currency arbitrage. I mean, you can get a full time killer employee, in quotes, “employee” there right… like three to five hundred dollars a month and that's an excellent salary in the Philippines. It's not here, that's reality and you can either say oh that's not fair because I can't live off that and so I can't have that job now because they're just going to hire that person. I wish there was like a good answer but there's not but the truth is that exists and it's not going away and you can either just say okay I need to adapt, I need to figure out how to work in this new reality, and everybody's trying to figure that out, and so I have a lot of sympathy for people that you know are finding themselves out of work or having a hard time finding gigs because of this reality, and because you can get on Fiverr and have someone do a voiceover for you and for ten bucks as opposed to going through an agency paying a hundred but that's now the reality and so you have to figure out how do you compete with that?
And I'll tell you, I haven't seen it affecting the high-end at all. You know talent is still talent and talent costs money, it doesn't matter where they live yeah, so, my best advice would just be to be so good they can't ignore you.
Scott: Sure, yeah, you could argue that the people who are being most affected by this weren't providing enough benefit or value in the first place, so then they have to figure out how can I provide, you know, enough benefit to be worth paying...
Joey: Yeah and it and that's I mean that's a huge long topic about, like well, that's kind of the way capitalism works and so either you buy into that or you don't, and if you don't I totally understand, there’s good arguments to be made that that is a crappy system if that's reality and I can get behind that, but the truth is that's not going to change unfortunately or fortunately.
Scott: Yep, yeah, good points. I want to ask you one more thing about “The Freelance Manifesto.” One cool thing that you talked about in there was how to use LinkedIn to kind of uncover this network of contacts and I know you talked about it specifically in terms of how motion design freelancers can use LinkedIn, but probably all or most of my students are on LinkedIn, because you know they're earning either their MBA or their undergraduate degree and they're kind of looking for recruiters, looking for companies to connect with, and it's a scary world, right, because you're just kind of blindly throwing out shots at different companies or asking people to introduce you, but I thought you had some really interesting strategies on how to use LinkedIn to build your network or how to use LinkedIn to find work, so can you talk about that just a little bit?
Joey: Yeah sure and to I'll try to kind of tailor this a little bit to your audience who are not motion designers so this might not be the way everyone thinks, but I personally believe I don't care what it is you do today, if you're… if you want to be a business consultant, if you want to work in a marketing department, if you want to be an accountant like at a big company whatever, I think you should have a personal website. I think that frankly, especially in an MBA program, if you're going to go off and try and, you know, get hired I don't know like at AT&T or something and hopefully they'll let you run a department or they'll let you be like high-level marketing person. You can do the old-fashioned thing which is have a resume and a CV and all that you probably will still have to do that, but there is no faster way to stand out than to just have good work and seem like a cool person and the tools to do that with websites are so, so easy. And once you have that, then the challenge becomes an outbound sales process. Okay, so I'm trying to use like business terms here.
Scott: I love it. Thank you.
Joey: Right, in the same way I talked about in the book like if you're an animator or designer, you can't just rely on inbound sales meaning you have a website, your work’s on it, and you just hope people find it, right, and if they do they'll like it and hire you. You have to go outbound, you have to tell people about yourself, and it's the same thing in any industry in the entire world and LinkedIn currently has I think the best tools to discover that.
So two things that I think everyone should be aware of. There are so many opportunities out there, you can't… you have to have an abundance mindset in today's world I think, you might be coming out of your MBA program with a degree in marketing or something and thinking like, okay there's maybe like 50 companies in the country that I'd like to work at and if I don't get into any of those I'm screwed in my life's over right. There's probably 50,000 companies in the country that you could work for, seriously, like I'm not I'm not exaggerating I think there are that many just in the US that could hire a marketing person with an MBA. There's so freaking many, so how do you find them, well you can go to LinkedIn, and this used to be free you know, you do have to pay for it but they have a product it's currently called Recruiter Lite and they have a Recruiter, like non-Lite version, but the Lite version, I don't know what it costs.
Now, I think when I wrote the book, it was like seventy bucks a month or a hundred bucks a month now it might be slightly more, slightly less but here's the thing. Buy it for one month and get as many leads as you possibly can and basically what you can do with LinkedIn that's amazing is you can do searches based on geography, so if you don't want to move and you happen to be near a major city or a medium-sized market, you can you can use the LinkedIn recruiter tool to search for… not, here's what you don't want to do, you don't want to be like everybody else and search for jobs, you know. Search for people, so if you're a marketer and you want to work in the marketing department, you know, who would it probably be good to impress at that company alright because you can send your information directly to the HR at the ATT.com email mail address and it'll be in there with a thousand other people's or you can find the marketing manager for the Southeast region, yeah, get that person you know get her email address using a lot of tools that are out there RocketReach, Voila Norbert, Mail Finder, and you can get that person's email address and you can use LinkedIn and some Google stocking techniques to get a pretty good idea about how that person thinks, what kind of person they are, and you can just write them a friendly email saying, “Hey! I came across your LinkedIn profile and I really love your company, I just want to let you know that I am graduating with my MBA and I really love what you guys are doing, and I can't wait to see what comes next, and in your you know in the email, in your signature or you can kind of just subtly leave it in the body of the email, you have a link to your site that has your work on it and whatever that work is, I mean you know you may have to stretch a little bit if you're a Finance person to show your work in that.
If you're a marketer you should be able to show some examples of things you've done in your MBA program, case studies, memos written, and things like that and I guarantee that that is not the typical way you know someone gets in at AT&T. And so if you impress that person, oh hey we actually are looking right now, yeah, here's our HR, I'm going to forward it’s like that. Like if they forward it to HR or plug you into the right person or if they say oh my gosh, email this person and tell them I sent you, you're in, you immediately… and here's the thing with LinkedIn you can do that in one day probably 200 times and all you need is one to hit, right?
Scott: That's right.
Joey: Yeah, so I would say like think like a salesperson going after your own job.
Scott: Right, that's awesome I love that advice. I'm glad I asked you about that because you even went further than that I thought you might in terms of how practically useful that is. I'm thinking about what a recruiter looks like, so if I'm hiring an MBA in Houston to, you know, work in a finance job or an accounting job, I have a stack of resumes and that's what I get. I have a hundred resumes and, especially if you're someone who knows you're likely to not get over one of those hurdles in filtering resumes, you need to do something to differentiate yourself. And if you know you're going to not make the GPA cut off or if you know that you're not going to make the work experience cut off, you have to find a way to kind of circumvent that resume cutting system to get yourself in front of the right people, so you probably aren't going all the way to the Chief Marketing Officer level but if you can find that that Regional Sales Manager or if you want to do digital marketing, you find that that Digital Media Manager then and you can make a lot of headway just in that interpersonal contact.
I think I've heard you even talk about trying to be relatable to that person you're reaching out to so you know if they're in a heavy metal music and you're into heavy metal music then you know make your subject line really captivating and try to relate to that person, and it's so powerful right, because the best tool we have and what we try to teach in marketing is storytelling, so if you can tell a compelling story in your subject line, tell a compelling story in the first paragraph of your email, then you have such a greater opportunity of getting into the door, at least getting a foot in that door than in, you know, are they going to pick my resume out of this huge stack that they have which is you know kind of a crapshoot.
Joey: Yes, and I'll tell you too, nothing speaks louder than results, so we keep using marketing and because I know that world a little bit it's easy for me to think of something but this could work with anything. But if you're in marketing you know maybe you've never had your real quote unquote real job, I don't know if your MBA students like went out and worked for a while and then came back or if they went straight out of college.
Scott: We have a mix, yeah.
Joey: Okay, so let's say that you haven't yet had a job in the marketing department, okay well, you've been learning about marketing for a long time and I think you should take a page out of design and motion design and animation and you should do a personal project you know sometimes called a spec project, speculative, so you know if you… okay so here's a good example, right, if you have your own website which you should, and maybe you write a few blog posts about your thoughts on marketing and maybe you even do some experiments like you know spend 30 bucks and buy some Facebook ads and A/B test them and write about that, holy crap do you think like and then you can send that blog post with your results in you’re A/B test to the you know Southeast marketing manager of AT&T; who through LinkedIn you find out has a golden retriever and you grew up with golden retrievers and you loved them too, do you see how much easier it's going to be for you to get your foot in the door then if it's like your resume and a thousand others in an email inbox somewhere.
Scott: That's very powerful and this is really, this interview is getting at the spirit of why I wanted to start doing this podcast, because we're in class teaching marketing theory and then you know even teaching practical business insights but ultimately and what I tell my students, ultimately our job is to help them find a job or to be better suited to find work, and I think that's something that is generally under taught at the undergraduate level especially but also at the graduate school level and even though we've only gone through a few questions, you've provided probably as much insight as most students would get throughout an entire you know two years in graduate school on how to find a job.
Joey: Let me give you one more, let me give you one more. This is the… I have a friend he runs a digital marketing agency this is how he gets clients and this is how, so our most recent hire his name's Caleb, and he's a kind he's our content marketer and he basically writes our a lot of our content, and makes tutorials, and markets us, and let me tell you how he got his job with us because I think that this is like a ninja trick to getting hired that is counterintuitive but works like a charm. If you can do this in a subtle way in an email do it, if you get a job interview definitely do this. Tell the company what they're doing wrong and how you'd fix it. This is very counterintuitive like you want them to give you a job, I don’t want to say anything negative about the company, companies are like… okay so this is what happens, so we interviewed I think five people for this position they were all really good but Caleb came in and I liked him but then he said can, I don't want to impose, I just… can I tell you there's like some things that whether you hire me or not I think you should be doing. I was like yeah like… he’s like well and he gave me a whole bunch of things and he used tools, you know to kind of peek behind the curtain at what analytics we had, our traffic or the sources of traffic and told us exactly how he’d turn it all around I was like oh right you're hired. I mean that, I know and so my buddy who runs this digital marketing agency he does that for clients, he uses these tools. I mean there's a million of them SimilarWeb, Alexa, things like that, and he'll look at the marketing efforts, the digital marketing efforts of companies that he thinks they'd be a good fit for and he writes an email this is like and I think sometimes he'll even send a little video like a screen record and be like “Hey, listen. I know you're super busy. Watch this in five minutes, I'm sorry I can't help myself. I'm a marketer, I just noticed you're missing these three giant pieces of low-hanging fruit. Just email me back if you have any questions, don't if you don't, but have a good day.”
Something, I forget he gets something like a 60% reply rate on that.
Joey: Okay so and so I mean that you know use your imagination to think through how you can apply that to whatever your expertise is but also think outside the box, that's how you get hired today you know.
Scott: Yeah, now that's awesome. Joey thank you so much for your time, I'm going to do my best to go through and provide links to all the tools you mentioned in the show notes. I hope that that everyone takes time to kind of plan out their perfect day five years from now, I know I'm going to do that and try to make sure, I think I'm on the right path, but I want to you know make sure that it, that everything's going the way that it that it ought to be, and of course if anybody's involved in freelancing at all I encourage you to buy Joey's book “The Freelance Manifesto” which we’ll probably talk about more in the face-to-face classes that I have.
So, thank you Joey and we'll chat again soon.
Joey: Thank you man.
Scott: Alright, have a good one.