50 Things I Learned From My First Sales Job

This Monday marked the end of my first sales job as an Account Executive at Atmosphere TV, as I was let go along with basically the rest of the sales floor during a second round of mass layoffs.

The last 8 months has been a big rollercoaster. Cold calling was a very new experience for me, one that took a lot to get comfortable with, but ultimately, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to start learning sales.

After getting hired in April, I was fortunate enough to start out very strong, closing the most deals in my hire class over our two-month ramp period! Overall, I closed about 110 deals, selling to bars, restaurants, gyms, hotels, and more. I compiled most all of them into a map – Check it out below, or here if you can’t see it:

In August, layoffs took our sales team down from about 175 to about 45, and I was lucky/skilled enough to make it through, which came as a big surprise to me as I watched much more experienced salespeople walk out the door that day by the dozen. December’s round of layoffs took that number to under 10, and with that came the end of my job.

I realize the two most valuable things to come from the last eight months are the work experience and the new relationships, and so, with the free time I’ve had this week, I compiled a list of 50 things I learned, ranging from navigating corporate relationships to closing decision makers.

  1. Starting off strong makes a lasting impression.
  2. Document everything! Conversations, promises, etc.
  3. Competition breeds excellence.
  4. Learning the CRM/software can have great benefits
  5. There’s other ways to get deals besides high volume dialing.
  6. Everyone will always act in their own self-interest
  7. People will act in your favor if your interests are aligned!
  8. Verbal promises of money means no money.
  9. The company doesn’t care about you.
  10. “Trust but verify” means even the small tasks.
  11. Quick deals can be found raiding pipelines of fired employees.
  12. Don’t pitch gatekeepers!
  13. Get to the point with Northeasterners or get hung up on.
  14. “Can you help me with something?” opens doors to decision makers.
  15. Corporate businesses take forever to make decisions.
  16. Don’t call restaurants during lunch!
  17. New businesses are much more accepting to change.
  18. Cold text is a viable strategy for getting to decision makers.
  19. Odds of closing a deal go down immensely after the first “decision” call.
  20. Personal relationships are the easiest deals.
  21. After running a demo and handling objections, assume the close!
  22. Most objections are excuses to get off the phone.
  23. 98% of the time, leaving your name and number is pointless.
  24. The less info the gatekeeper has, the better.
  25. Be transparent, but don’t lay out all the cards early in a call.
  26. Silence is a powerful tool in conversation.
  27. Shut up when the decision maker is selling themselves!
  28. Brand recognition builds trust.
  29. Don’t drop the mic early in a call!
  30. The fastest way to a deal is usually a new lead.
  31. Referrals are a great source of warm leads.
  32. You can’t sell a solution until they realize there’s a problem.
  33. Bad calls can throw an entire day off – Take walks to reset!
  34. There are two North American time zones east of Eastern Time!
  35. In mid-market opportunities, setting a demo is often better than shooting for a quick close.
  36. “Champions” can help sell the decision maker, but won’t do all the work.
  37. Commissions are taxed at 25%+!
  38. Selling desperate greatly reduces the odds of closing.
  39. Add value before making an ask.
  40. You can’t lose a deal you don’t have.
  41. Agreeing with a decision maker’s political statements builds trust (I didn’t expect this one to come up as often as it did).
  42. Answer buying questions concisely and directly.
  43. The higher the position (role), the greater the disconnect.
  44. Drinking at lunch kills afternoon productivity.
  45. The best pitches are usually the easiest to understand.
  46. Peers can be better mentors than bosses.
  47. Creativity dies in monotony.
  48. The highest chance of connecting with a decision maker is in the morning.
  49. More connections = More opportunities.
  50. It’s just a job.

As I’m searching for the next opportunity, I look back on my time at Atmosphere with contentment. I got everything I wanted out of the job (except perhaps more money, but I suspect that’ll always be the case), and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Three things to remember Atmosphere by – My Day 1 Polaroid, a Deal Chain for closing 10+ deals in one week, and a bottle of bourbon for winning a trivia contest!

Mothers Day Love!

Mom continues to be such an objectively amazing person, and words probably can’t even describe the multitudinous ways she’s been an amazing mom. But I guess it’s worth a try.

Mom has an unending amount of love for all of her kids, and that has never been more evident than this last year. Living almost 1000 miles away really makes me appreciate the time we get to spend together in person now. I feel like every hike, lunch, long conversation, and snowboard run with Mom is now twice as special! Thankfully, we’ve always been a family that packs in as much action and adventure as we can to any time frame we’re given, and there has definitely been no shortage of fun times every time we get to hang out!

Just off the top of my head, so many things come to mind when I think of the ways Mom loves me, Isaac, and Jadyn.

She’s been the best educator I’ve had. She’s planned out some absolutely mind-blowing adventures for us when we were traveling around the country. She’s cheered us on at countless snowboard competitions in freezing temperatures. Last year, she literally flew across an ocean with a day’s notice for Isaac. Eternally thankful is a massive understatement for how I feel when I look back at everything she’s done for us!

Okay, so Mom checks all the standard “Loving Mom” boxes, and then some. That’s cool. But what makes her a really unique mom? Well, it would take a while to write it all out, but here’s a couple reasons:

I have yet to meet another person who, like Mom, spends every day surrounded by mountains but still appreciates their beauty as if it were the first time seeing them. Having gone on many hikes with her, I can hardly recall a boring time on the trail. Every hike is appreciated by Mom, and I really admire that.

As of this year, Mom is also my business partner at Breckenridge Marketing! Her eye for design and ability to connect with new prospects and friends have paved the way for a great marketing business! I truly enjoy working with Mom on projects in web design, graphic design, content creation, and more, and our collaborative efforts on a couple recent projects have not only increased my skills in marketing, but allowed us to connect even more through a shared entrepreneurial journey!

Last time I was up in Breck, I had teed up a couple in-person meetings with new potential clients through my cold email campaign I’d been working on, and was able to meet with them in town for some great discussions about how we could help them increase their customer base. It was so great to be able to tag-team business conversations with someone like Mom, and I can confidently say this makes her a pretty unique mom.

One final thing that I have to mention here that I enjoy about Mom is the amazing conversations we have. I really feel like I can talk to Mom about literally anything, and I don’t think that can be said for a lot of sons and their moms. If I had to pick someone to talk to about future aspirations, business strategy, political debate, or just my life in general, she would definitely be in the top two (I realize as I’m writing this that I have those same conversations with Dad too. Guess you’ll have to settle for a first-place tie, Mom).

Those are just a handful of things that I love and admire about Mom. As I mentioned before, words can’t even describe all the ways she is an amazing Mom. But hopefully, that was an acceptable attempt at capturing the gratitude I have for having her in my life! Happy Mother’s Day 2023, Mom!


A Texan in Colorado and a Coloradan in Texas

I’m starting to feel like I’m a local to both Breckenridge and Austin with how much I’ve been back and forth between the two places. I’ve been between Colorado and Texas a lot over the last couple months, and have really gotten to experience the best of both winters – Both the 85 degree “winter” days in Austin as well as the 0-degree, snow-covered climate of Summit County. I finally moved into a new house down here in Austin, which has been really great! It finally cooled off after a long summer full of Texas heat, so I’ve been exercising a lot more during the afternoons!

Fall Travels

After a brief trip to Colorado in early November, I officially started to move into my new house, but didn’t really get moved in until the first week of December. While in Colorado, I was able to get in a day of snowboarding – My first time on the mountain in November in years.

Thanksgiving was spent with the Cortez familia in Dallas, all of us together for Thanksgiving for the first time in forever. Isaac and Jadyn flew down with Mom and Dad, and we had a great week with all the cousins and extended family.

In December, I helped Grandpa Cortez with his end-of-year holiday memorial service at the funeral home. He truly went above and beyond to host an event for all the families who held funerals with Williams Funeral Directors in Dallas this last year, and it turned out great. I filmed and recorded the whole event, and helped with a lot of decorating and setup as well. Grandpa gave some great speeches, and even played the guitar and sang for the congregation. After both services (English and Spanish), we went out for celebratory margaritas.

Holidays in Colorado

I flew up to Breckenridge for Christmas and New Years following my time in Dallas, and jumped right into the winter snowboarding season. It really was a special time all together as a family, and on Christmas, we all got to snowboard together as a family for the first time in a while. It’s rare that all five of us are on the same mountain at the same time, and it had been two years since we had all ridden together!

In early January, our friends the Deweys came up to stay in Summit for a bit, bringing along our friend Morgan as well! We got to board with them a lot, and rode multiple days at Copper and Breck.

Overall, it was a very special time with both friends and family in Colorado. Getting to snowboard with our Texas friends barely ever happens, and we definitely packed it in with a lot of back-to-back days on the mountain.

Since graduating high school, my days on the mountain per season have dropped probably around 70-80%, which I guess was expected. However, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying a couple park days where I can throw a couple tricks and feel like a cool snowboarder again (lol). Park days with Isaac or some friends from Team Summit are some of the best days of the year for me, and I was fortunate enough to get in a couple of those in this season. Isaac and I had a great day in January together at Copper where we got to film a couple cool shots of each other with our GoPros. Check out one of his lines I filmed!

Winter Travels

Looking back at it right now, my fall and start to winter seemed to just fly by. The rest of my winter and start to spring was also crazy eventful, with the Austin freeze (losing power for almost a week!), flying out to New York with Jadyn, lots of tennis and pickleball, snowboard banked slalom competitions, and a ton of work on Gabe Media and Breckenridge Marketing. But those are some stories I’d rather write tomorrow 🙂 Stay tuned for that.

Twenty-One Years

Twenty-one years ago, I could’ve never imagined the life I’m living today. Probably because I was just born, but it really could be for any number of reasons.

Living Life Launched

I’ve been living “on my own” for the last year, and it’s definitely been an adventure to remember. I put “on my own” in quotes, because when your family lives in one of the most amazing places in the country and Southwest says you can fly round-trip to Denver and back for $85, you visit quite a bit.

At the end of summer 2021, I had decided to pursue the entrepreneurial dream and start working rather than flying off to college, I flew down to Texas at the beginning of October. After bouncing around between Oklahoma to work on business deals, Minnesota to see friends/serve at Castaway again, and Colorado to catch the end of snowboarding season, I made the decision to move to Austin at the end of April, where I’ve been living since, thanks to my good friends the Deweys for helping me with a place to stay for a bit. I love Austin – It’s the city I know the best, and having grown up here, it always feels like home. It’s also a great place to make business connections and get work done. In June, I put together a video edit of my life from October 2021 to May 2022 – check it out below!

Growing My Business

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of really great clients for my digital marketing company over the last year, and it’s been a joy for me to be able to grow my skills and portfolio. I’ve focused primarily on Google Ads campaigns, YouTube Marketing, and Video Production, and have recently expanded to building out websites for clients as well.

A lot of my clients have come and gone over the last year, so the motivation to continue to expand my client list is always present. I’ve helped businesses in both Colorado and Texas with their digital marketing efforts, and it’s been really amazing getting to work with people in so many different industries. Check out (most) all the companies I’ve done work for through my business in the last year and a half below!

Aside from utilizing my skills to help clients through my business, I’ve been continuing to learn and grow my skillset. I’m improving my copywriting and cold email through Neville Medhora’s Copywriting Course, which I hope to use in the future in professional communication. I’ve been using UpWork as a side-gig platform, where I’m learning more advanced graphic design by taking on unique projects. It’s been a great way for me to improve my graphic design skills, as well as earn an extra couple hundred bucks a month. I recently edited this thumbnail for a fitness channel on YouTube, and over the first weeks, it’s performing about twice as well as their other recent videos.

A YouTube thumbnail for an UpWork Client

I’ve been reading and listening to some really great books recently – I typically dislike audiobooks, but when I’m driving 3+ hours from Austin to Dallas, or from Dallas to OKC, it does help pass the time in a great way. My absolute favorite has to be Robert Ringer’s “Winning Through Intimidation” – It’s such an amazing story of a man’s hard work grinding to make it in the real estate world as an agent, learning how to position himself in deals, identifying ways that clients will try and screw him before they do, and coming out on top.

Staying in Shape

Staying in shape out of high school is tough, especially when I’m working at a computer most of the day. I’ve really had to be intentional about scheduling workouts and getting exercise 6 days a week. After gaining 10+ pounds the first couple weeks I was in Texas, I started an exercise streak with the Streaks app (I got to day 248 before missing one due to travel), and quickly burned it all off the next time I was in Colorado playing tennis, running, going to the gym, and snowboarding in the winter.

I’ve really enjoyed playing tennis competitively (tournaments, scheduled matches, etc), and it’s been a great way for me to satisfy my competitive needs and exercise at the same time. I tried to keep up running, but with leg problems, Texas summer, and lots of travel, that was hard for me to maintain. Snowboarding is obviously the number 1 choice for winter exercise, but with 70% less time on snow this year, it wasn’t a consistent sport. While I’ve been down in Austin, pickleball has been another big “sport” that I play regularly with friends – It’s not anywhere near tennis in an athletic or fun sense, but it’s still fun to hit around and even play some tournaments.

In the last year, I’ve competed in five USTA tennis tournaments, (two singles wins, one doubles win, plus a singles consolation win and a doubles runner-up), four UTR tennis tournaments (one singles win), the Keystone Tennis Center tournament (finalist), three pickleball tournaments, and four snowboarding competitions. I love competing in any sport I can be competitive in, and that’s one of the primary reasons I’m able to push myself to exercise on a consistent daily basis.

A recent video edit from my last trip up to Colorado!

What’s Next?

I feel like this next year is full of potential for me, and I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Will I get to invest in new businesses? Will my own business find success? Will I find myself actually using my 45+ college credit hours I earned in high school? It feels like there’s so many paths to take, and there’s no clear-cut one for me yet. But that’s okay, because even though I can now buy all the alcohol and small guns I could ever want, I still have many years to go before I’ll call myself “old”.

Anyways, even with all the uncertainty regarding the future, I do have a couple big things coming up for me in the next 3 months. I’m moving into a house on November 1st in South Austin with my good friend James, and I’m really stoked about that. In December, I not only get to see Isaac, but snowboard with him again, and I can’t wait. It’s been 533 days since our last lap through the park together – way too long! For now, though, I’m going to enjoy today, and tomorrow, and hopefully the next day, and maybe even the day after that.