You don’t need a college degree to become successful in today’s world, and I’m working hard to prove that statement.
Recently I started my new role as a Business Development Representative at Everyday Speech and I couldn’t be any more excited about the opportunity!
How Did I Get Here?
I don’t have an extravagant work history, a fancy degree, or lots of experience. Quite the contrary. And here I am, 19 years old working in a sales position with an awesome company. After I graduated high school, I decided not to go to college. Instead, I took a more self-directed approach to my education. I started my own dropshipping business, worked the typical 9–5 in a warehouse, and began learning from life experiences on my terms.
I didn’t know where I wanted to take my career or what I wanted to pursue in the long run. All I knew is that I loved business and I didn’t want to work in a warehouse for the rest of my life. After some research, I found Praxis. Praxis is a 6-month program built to help self-directed learners like me launch their careers in business roles at startup companies. The program taught me how to sell myself to businesses I want to work for while helping me develop skills that are useful in the real world.
Without Praxis and their amazing community, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in today.
I was in direct competition with other applicants who were way more qualified than me, but I still ended up on top. How? By making myself stand out every way possible. I created value propositions, was always on top of communication, killed the interviews, and went above and beyond with every opportunity given.
Here’s my value prop for Impossible Foods:
I got hired on with Everyday Speech after completing an assigned trial project (check it out for yourself!). I felt such a strong connection with the company and its mission, I made sure to give it my all. I did way more than what was expected of me and tried my best to show as much value possible. Thankfully, all of my hard work paid off.
A Little About the Company
Everyday Speech is a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum built to help children with all kinds of learning disabilities impart essential Social-Emotional Skills. Our curriculum is filled with interactive materials that are made to help Special Education Teachers, Speach Language Pathologists, and other District Stakeholders alike teach students these skills. Our curriculum keeps students engaged through interactive video lessons, activities, and games on Social-Emotional Learning.
Most schools put little effort into social-emotional development due to SEL being a relatively new field, but there is strong evidence showing that developing these skills early on greatly benefits students both inside and outside of school. We are providing educators evidence-based materials that help students with SEL, unlike any other product on the market.
I’m a part of a brand new sales team where our main goal this year is to reach and help 1,000,000 students. There is going to be a lot of learning that goes into our work because Teachers and District Administrators aren’t used to salespeople. Many unknowns come with prospecting in this field, so trial and error is a large part of our work.
Being the only Business Development Representative, I will be doing a lot of lead qualification, inbound answering, and proactive prospecting.
What I Learned My First Week
This week, we had many onboarding meetings. So in a sense, I feel like a sponge. I’ve already learned so much about the company, our goals, our potential customers, and the industry itself.
I’m currently building out customer profiles for the many personality types that we’ll be communicating with. One of my main goals for my first 30 days is to learn about every educator, district administrator, and student that we will be working to help. This includes understanding their common pain points, likes/dislikes about our product, and overall how our curriculum would benefit them. This will help me know what kind of language to use when prospecting or demoing.
I’ve also been working on a lot of self-directed work on goal-setting and aligning those goals with my values. This makes it much easier to find meaning in my work and is going to help me stay motivated when times get difficult.
Next week is going to be more sales focused. We just got our CRM up and running so I’ll be spending a bit of time getting used to the software. On top of this, I’ll be working on some self-directed learning tasks relating to my goals with the company, the product itself, and the different role types/buying personas.
I’m more than excited about the next coming weeks, and even more so to share them with you. For the next six months, I will be documenting all of my wins, losses, hardships, and insights in the form of a weekly blog. Feel free to follow along!
Hi! I’m Justin Walter. I’m a BDR at Everyday Speech, full-time life student, and musician proving that a college degree isn’t necessary to become successful in today’s world. You can follow my work on my website or connect on LinkedIn.