Job: Sales Consultant, Home Advisor
Location: Denver, Colorado
Dan and I were connected through Ethan, a camp friend of mine and an interview from last month. They are roommates and actually met in high school, but both decided to move out west around the same time. I liked Dan’s story because of his honesty, in that, he didn’t try to tell me that his job was the best job in the world; he knows this is not his dream job, but he is striving for the job that makes him want to jump out of bed every morning and work. Read on for his full story.
Give us a brief background on yourself.
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C, then went to college all over the place from there. I went to the University of Kentucky for my freshman year because I thought I wanted a big sports experience. That was kind of my main thing for college and then I quickly realized that big of an environment was just not exactly what I needed to succeed. I struggled both socially and academically in that first semester, so I started looking at smaller schools and landed on a very small school about forty minutes north of Columbus, Ohio Wesleyan University. So, I ended up transferring there and loved the size and just all the school had to offer. After graduation, I moved to Denver, Colorado, to work for HomeAdvisor, a job I had locked down prior to graduation. We connect homeowners with service professionals in the area (i.e., a plumber, electrician, remodeler, anything home improvement-related) and supply them with a certified service professional. It's kind of like the Yellow Pages or a phone book online with public profile pages for homeowners to read and verify credentials. I am kind of like a matchmaker, and I describe it like Match.com for homeowners and contractors. I am in sales, so I sell to the contractor side of things. It's a free service for homeowners to use and it's a yearly membership for the contractors, where they have access to various leads that come through from homeowners to complete specific projects.
During my time in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad, so I went to Sydney, Australia, and just had such a life-changing experience there. I thought I matured a lot, as it was the first time that I had ever been out of the country. Since college was really the first time I had ever been away from home, I knew I didn’t want to go back to Maryland right away, so I ended up applying to jobs really everywhere. I felt like I was at a place in life where I wanted to see new things and meet new people. So, I applied to a lot of jobs in Colorado and California. Luckily, I ended up landing one in Denver and then just moved out here and started working in July 2018. I graduated back in May of 2018, so I really just started work and I'm still trying to figure it out honestly. I wouldn't say this job is necessarily my dream job, like I don’t see myself staying here my whole life in this position, but I’d say I have found a great company with a ton of great people to work with.
Tell us about what it has been like moving across the country and starting your new life.
I would say I am a people person, which is why I got into sales and is why I don’t have an issue with talking to strangers or meeting new people. I put myself out there in a lot of different aspects, but even so, I was definitely a little nervous moving across the country, just getting going. I think work has really helped me with that because I definitely find myself hanging out with a lot of my work friends. So, I guess I owe that to HomeAdvisor because it has provided me with a lot of coworkers that have turned into friends. Being in sales, my work has a very social aspect to it, and our doors are always open.
What does your office dynamic look like?
Well, we're actually in the middle of a very big growth period. We're currently transitioning in terms of headquarters, so I work in one of the four offices we have in Colorado. In my office, there are about 100 people, but the other office on the other side of town has about 100 to 150 people. We're looking at doubling in size just in the Denver area, so it is definitely an interesting time in the office.
What is something you have struggled with your first year out of school and how have you grown from it?
I am still trying to figure out exactly where I want to go, whether that is continuing with sales or switching over to a marketing position. Right now, I am just trying to look into the other roles I could get into, like marketing, operations, etc., and just gathering as much knowledge as I can. So, I guess some of my struggles are how to make that next step and having a plan in terms of where I want to go next after the position I am currently in. Aside from that, it’s important to just open up to the people I work with. I have started the conversation with them (i.e. my boss, their boss) that I don't plan on being in this position for the rest of my life and have asked them what I need to do to get to a new position in the next few years that will make me excited to wake up every morning and go to work. I understand that could mean making a lateral move to another company, but I have to ask myself if I really want that because I have found a company I enjoy working for. After stating all of this, I think the real struggle for me is just honing in on what it is that I would like to do next.
I think we are all trying to figure that next step out as young professionals, so thank you for sharing that struggle. How did your boss react when you expressed your feelings about your current job?
I’ll preface my answer by saying that my company wants to hire from within and they generally want to keep people at the company so that they can do so. That being said, sometimes you might have a job where you don't want to be honest about how you feel in case you might get fired. Luckily, that's not the case with my company and there's no real pressure in terms of that sort of thing here. I am happy that I have been pretty honest with my boss even just after a year because he gets it. In sales, sometimes you get in a rut or you are getting tired of the repetitiveness of it all. It is truly a mental game, and so, in terms of speaking with my company about it, they're very open and I've applied for a couple of different positions here and they're very open to it. Overall, I have been here long enough where they know me as a person and they believe I'm good at what I do, so they'd like to see me stay as an employee, and that’s why I like HomeAdvisor because they care about their employees.
What are some standout things that you think young professionals should bring to the table?
You can't change who you are, and this might sound cliché, but just being yourself goes a long way. For me, it comes back to the whole talking to people without being nervous or feeling awkward. It's only awkward if you think it's awkward. If you're a people person, you should talk to people, be open, be vibrant, and if you're not a people person and you’re more of an introvert, just make sure that whoever you work for or whoever is interviewing you, knows who you really are. Someone could look at your resume and see that you went to Coastal Carolina University, that you studied Sports Management, and you’re from the south, but people can read a lot of things on a piece of paper that might not tell you a lot about who that person really is. So just make sure people know who you actually are, as opposed to what they see on a piece of paper.
Are you a podcast or a book guy?
I am a podcast guy, and I actually listen to them every night before I go to sleep. I enjoy falling asleep to people's conversations and I have a lot of recommendations that range from sports to comedy to business. It’s kind of weird but I love accents. I like the Spittin Chiclets podcast and two of the hosts are Canadian and they just talk about hockey throughout the year. I do love Joe Rogan, I think he's a very intelligent guy who brings a lot of interesting and controversial subjects to the forefront and does it differently than news stations do.
Best piece of advice?
It would probably come from my dad. He has always said you’re never going to know what you want to do until you try. Again, very cliché, but just don't be afraid of failing. He told me this as I was traveling across the country to a position where I really didn’t know how I would respond to it. I didn't think it was going to be my dream job, but I wasn’t afraid to get out there and try because I had this in the back of my mind. A lot of us don't know what we want to do, but we do have to start somewhere. Again, I had no idea what I wanted to do; I studied business management in school, which is very broad, and you can really do anything with that, so I had to narrow things down more. Now that I've been here a full year, I'd say I'm still trying to figure it out, but I'm very grateful that I actually tried something because now I have experience under my belt. I've met a lot of great people out here and see myself being out here for at least the next two to five years. Obviously, a lot can change, but I'd say don't be afraid to fail. You have to start somewhere. Everyone starts somewhere, but I think a lot of people forget about that. They just want to be the most successful and climb the corporate ladder. Now, listen, I would like to do that at some point as well, but you definitely have to start somewhere.
The YoPro Know's Takeaways:
- Sometimes the real struggle is figuring out what to do next
- Just being yourself goes a long way
- People can read a lot of things on a piece of paper (resume) that might not tell you a lot about who that person really is
- You’re never going to know what you want to do until you try
- A lot of us don't know what we want to do, but we do have to start somewhere
- Get experience under your belt