Phil Gerbyshak is a prolific author, speaker and business consultant who recently went back into the workforce to help a company succeed. I had the chance to ask him about the experience of going from owner to employee again.
Question: Phil, you have been an author, entrepreneur and speaker for many years. Currently you have gone back and are helping one company full time. What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking a “break” from running the show?
One of the advantages is a shift in perspective. I’m back in the game as a practitioner on the inside, instead of as a consultant on the outside, so I’m seeing a whole new set of opportunities to learn about the workforce since I had my last inside job back in 2015. A lot has changed – and I’m seeing first hand how this is impacting business.
Another advantage is the energy of having a team. As an extrovert, I thrive the most when I’m working with a multitude of other people. I serve 160 sales professionals now, in an organization approaching 500 employees. The energy is very different from the 10-15 organizations I would serve each month on my own. Some days I used to not interact with another human face-to-face, as I’d do all my work via Zoom video. Now, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t interact with someone, whether it’s an employee at the airport or someone on one of the 4 business units I serve.
There are many others, but one more advantage I’ll share is the ability to focus more on what I am best at. As a business owner, I was ultimately responsible for every part of my business, from deciding who my best prospect would be, to doing the actual prospecting to relationship building to closing business, plus invoicing, marketing and all my own IT support. It was a lot of work that isn’t the best use of my time, and I didn’t even mention the actual creation and delivery of training, coaching and other programs, which ARE the best use of my time. Now, I get to focus mostly on creating and delivering sales training and sales coaching programs, which are what I love to do the most, and what I am best at.
A disadvantage is that I have a more regular schedule, and I can’t just pick and choose the hours I want to work. I guess maybe I could, but I feel responsible to work from 8-5 Monday through Friday, regardless of the time zone I’m in, as that’s when my clients (the sales professionals I serve) are in the office. So maybe I’ll be changing this.
Obviously as I’m now dedicated 40-60 hours a week to one client (my employer), I have little to no time to grow my own business, which prevents the growth I am used to.
And lastly, I feel less spontaneous, as having an employer does make me pause just a bit before I post anything to social media, or before I just say yes to a new opportunity.
All in all, the positives far outweigh the negatives, or I wouldn’t have taken the job.
Question: How has having a job with a clear definition of responsibilities impacted your mental state?
I don’t have a clear definition of responsibilities yet, as we’ve never had anyone in my role ever before in this organization. I have a loose definition, and that’s a wonderful thing. It helps me slow down and focus, which I am still getting used to.
Question: How have you melded your entrepreneurial skills with your job responsibilities?
One of my company’s core values is entrepreneurship, so this has been the most easy. I’m in a startup culture and am creating everything from scratch. I’m keen on listening to the needs of the marketplace, which in this case is the various sales teams I serve, and then creating training to fill that need. It’s a great match.
I also have had to be wise about my investments in the business. I have a new MacBook Pro and a company credit card, but I’ve had to make new purchases wisely, and think like an owner before I make a purchase. It’s empowering and smart!
Lastly, I know there are going to be some long days, just like when I was running my own business full-time, and I am rolling with the flow instead of behaving like an employee and feeling I only need to work 40 hours a week.
Question: What do you think are the risks and rewards are for a business hiring someone who has been an entrepreneur?
I think the biggest risk is recognizing an entrepreneur needs variety and a daily challenge and won’t just settle for the status quo. If you hire an entrepreneur, you have to recognize they were successful before you and will be successful without you, and they are willing to make whatever changes need to be made to see that same level of success inside your organization. This is a risk because many organizations don’t want to change. If that’s you, do NOT hire an entrepreneur.
This desire to change and grow can also be the biggest reward to an organization that is willing to change and grow.
One other big risk is the willingness to do what it takes to see success in the job. I have a wide range of skills, in sales, in marketing and in technology. Letting me do a wide variety of tasks to get my job done is a big risk, as many organizations are siloed and don’t want people to be truly cross-departmental in what they do. We do, and that’s why I love it here.
Question: What kind of a business was able to attract you and why?
We are a software company that sells technology to our everyday heroes and our mission is serving everyday heroes and saving lives through revolutionary technology. So a mission based company that aligns with my values (I love to serve, I love technology, and I love a good revolution) with an opportunity to drive change and value throughout a growing company was exciting for me. Thinking like a startup is also exciting to me, and if you pour on the fact we have a great deal of resources to help me get my mission of training as many sales people as possible in the new ways of sales and service, you’ve got all the reasons why this company is perfect for me.
Question: How can people find out more about you?