Building a network and finding a job in today’s economy with Nick Sonnenberg of GetLeverage

Building a Network and How to Find a Job in Today’s Economy with Nick Sonnenberg of


Today I talk with, Nick Sonnenberg, a founder who runs a platform that connects vetted freelancers with small and medium businesses who need marketing and efficiency help. Join us as we discuss how companies who take remote work seriously will have a serious competitive advantage in the future and how to build a personal network that will get you hired—even if you’re starting from scratch.

You can find Nick online @nick_sonnenberg on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and at

Photo of Nick Sonnenberg
Nick Sonnenberg

The CEO of, which is a platform that helps freelancers with small and medium businesses find their growth potential.

Maren Donovan 0:00

Hello, everyone. I'm Maren Kate. I'm here with Nick Sonnenberg who is a friend of mine we used to share office space before everything happened and no one goes into the office anymore. And Nick is also the CEO of get leveraged Comm. Nicola, you kind of 60 seconds or less tell everyone why you found it leverage and what you guys do?

Nick Sonnenberg 0:21

Well, as you know, I found leverage a lot because inspired by virtual. Yeah. So. So leverage leverage spun off on the back end of you know, observable and we were trying at first to disrupt the virtual, the VA market. And over time over the last five years, we've moved we've morphed and changed and pivoted. Even now we're pivoting again but now we don't do any more admin work. Now we call ourself a growth agency. So unlock your growth potential is what we say. And growth can come in the form of top line, which is more marketing related. things and bottom line, which is more operational things. So we give, it's another way to get work done instead of going to Upwork, or to some of those other platforms. We give you a team of vetted and trained people, or we're training people. It's a team approach. So if someone gets stuck, they could ask the rest rest of the team. And we do really high level work. we can write, you know, Inc articles, we can produce podcasts, we can help you get set up with a lot of the tools nowadays that you need to run a remote company like slack or Asana. So I think that that's going to become more and more the core of the company is getting set up for remote work.

Maren Donovan 1:37

Yeah, Nick's really good at his company is really good at helping other companies and even individuals like on the growth side. And then specifically Nick is like, absolutely amazing at efficiency, thinking about all the ways different systems can connect with each other. So I think that's actually something that as I mean, as I've been talking to people, and Especially writing this book going remote and talking to a lot of people that are out of work are looking to what their next move is like, if it's a career change, if they're just looking for work. It's actually interesting. I feel like people, there's tools now that people can use to, to kind of take control of their career and treat themselves like I think to survive through this you have to treat yourself like a product and get super specific on what you do how you solve pain points for other people, whether you're doing you know, a side hustle, or you're like getting a you're trying to get a job at a at a company that's fully remote or maybe is remote right now.

Nick Sonnenberg 2:36

Totally. I mean, one thing that both of us share is the passion for remote work. Like for me, leverage is just one piece of the puzzle within the broader context of what I'm interested in, which is how do you run the most efficient company possible in this day and age which now, now you have all this technology at your disposal, which can allow you to work way more efficiently, to not have to be in person and work which there's so many advantages to not having to be in an office, so long as you are set up in the right way. And there's all these new technologies just in the last few years that no one either knows about, or they don't know how to use them, when to use them, how do you integrate them and automate different workflows? And at the end of the day, I want people to work on things that give them joy, or that they're that fit into what what I would call their unique ability, a Dan Sullivan concept, right? So it's no one's new, unique ability to go on a scavenger hunt and look in 10 different places to find a piece of information. So like, what I'm passionate about is how do you build that well oiled machine and build a frictionless organization that doesn't have that scavenger hunt? And one thing that one thing that kind of underpins all of this technology, because no one likes just adding a new piece of technology for the sake of adding new technology. So that's what I've come to which is the underpinning like reasoning why you add a piece of time technology as a company can only grow as fast as knowledge can be transferred in a company. And that's really, if you think about that. That's really the motivation for adding any new system or technology or hiring someone is can knowledge get transferred faster. So if you have to look in 10 different places to find something, it's not helping you transfer knowledge faster, which is slowing you down and preventing you from your full potential.

Maren Donovan 4:25

How does that work for for professionals for like knowledge workers who aren't running companies who are you know, an individual contributor or a manager? Like how do you think they can use some of these, these systems and techniques to make themselves you know, more efficient or more effective?

Nick Sonnenberg 4:45

Well, whether you're a business owner or you're a freelancer, or you know anywhere in between, you still need to prioritize what you need to get done for the day. So like people have to do lists, but now there's like things like Asana or project management software that is like puts to do lists on steroids. And also would integrate even if even if you're a freelancer but you have clients, you still need to prioritize what do I need to get done today for client, a, client B, client C. So you still need some some form of system, you still need to communicate with people. If you're not the CEO of a company, and you're a freelancer, you're communicating with clients. So how do you do that in the most efficient way, you still might need to document knowledge, take notes on clients, or other things that you have to refer to.

Maren Donovan 5:34

Also, if you're working at a company that is is currently if you are going to work at a company that's currently remote and that hasn't been remote first, since day one, you're going to have to learn how to over communicate and document because there's a good chance your manager or the leadership team won't know how to so the people that are going to survive and thrive are going to be the people that actually know how to not only get shit done, but but doctors And be able to point back to it.

Nick Sonnenberg 6:02

Totally. And not only that, like,

Nick Sonnenberg 6:06

if you take the initiative and you start becoming really efficient and effective in your job, and you show your manager like, Hey, I was able to get this done 10 times faster than my co worker, because I did it in this way. And you show that initiative, it's most likely going to put you on track to get promoted or be in a better position within the company.

Maren Donovan 6:27

And I think that also works for hiring like the people that have always stood out when, you know, I've been I've hired thousands of people in the last 13 years, and almost all of them have been remote. And the people that stand out aren't just the people that submit an application. They're the people that are like, Hey, I built a little product deck on figma. I took your site and I tweaked something, or I did a an overview of all the different things that you're doing right now for digital marketing, and this is how I'd improve it. And those people and it's, I mean, it's maybe an hour or two of their time, but they stand out in like the 99th percentile to me, so That actually leads me to my question. So if you were running leverage right now, and if you had to find work in today's economy, like not starting a new business, but like if you were, you know, had your skill set. And let's say you didn't have a super big network, so I know you have a really connected network, that's always an easy way to find opportunities. What would you you know, how would you go about it?

Nick Sonnenberg 7:25

I don't know, running a company is so painful, like I couldn't imagine starting another one anytime soon. At the very least, I would do it with a co founder that was competent, because the amount of work to start anything, I was joking with you pre pre roll that I would just get really ripped to move to Madrid and open up an espresso bar and learn how to be a sculptor and just call it

Maren Donovan 7:45

get ripped first and then move to Madrid or would you get ripped while you are in Madrid?

Nick Sonnenberg 7:49

Ooh, that's a good question. I haven't thought it all through yet. Probably before and then move but who knows? I'd probably you know, I just take the easy life because it's way too hard to do this this forever, you know, I'll have a fucking heart attack by 50 keeping this up. But it's an interesting point. I mean, like, I've had a million ideas of other things to start. I know in my past life, I come from the finance world, I was a high frequency trader. So the obvious thing would would be, you know, go back to that, you know, I was making a pretty good living being high free, how do you

Maren Donovan 8:23

how would you go back to that right now in the way the markets are at, like, you know, assuming you don't have a ton of connections, like, how would you even approach it right now?

Nick Sonnenberg 8:33

I do. Like, for me, it's a good idea. If I didn't have connections into finance.

Maren Donovan 8:40

Let's say you have the skill set, but you don't have the connections. Maybe it's a younger version of you, or, you know, whatever.

Nick Sonnenberg 8:47

Well, I wouldn't want to get back into finance. If I did do anything. I'd try to get into more quantitative trading with crypto and do that myself. Okay, but you have to get a network. I mean, The you could go bankrupt and the IRS can take away your assets, but they can't take away your network. So I feel like a strong network is invaluable. So I would if you don't have a network, I would go and try to get one. Get a recruiter. How did

Maren Donovan 9:13

you build your network? Like when were you when was the least connected version of Nick and you started connecting?

Nick Sonnenberg 9:22

I guess like I started my network.

Nick Sonnenberg 9:26

Go, I went to Berkeley for grad school. And that was a really big launching a launching pad for me because Berkeley, the head of the program, Linda kreitzman, who's been on my podcast a lot. She's like a second mother to me now, but she's the one that got me in front of all the different banks and hedge funds that I needed to get in front of that got me that first, that first position, right. So you don't have to have a good network, but you have to, you have to at least know one person that does have a good network. So you're at least two degrees of separation. So that was the starting point for me was I built my network. By first getting close with someone that had a network, right, and then I did this, anyone do that? Yeah. So like, if you don't know me,

Maren Donovan 10:08

in the middle of Waxahachie, Texas, and you might not know anyone, but you have the internet, you could start following people on Twitter, you could figure out what your unique insight is, or even what you're just interested in. And then you just have to make that first connection. I mean, that's why a lot of people that's why I moved to San Francisco.

Nick Sonnenberg 10:25

Oh, yeah. And nowadays, you don't even have to be it doesn't matter where you're at, because everything's remote, right? So you could just on LinkedIn, reach out to someone that might be in an industry or connected in a way that you would like to kind of get involved with and you can reach out to people doesn't matter where they live, like I wanted to get in touch with you. So I went to your site, what Ira the agency. I went there reached out and was like, Hey, I'm, you know, interested to talk to you as well as you know, we're looking to hire people. So Um, you know, we made that connection. And that's how I got that's how now we're friends was I reached out to you on your website. So there's this kind

Maren Donovan 11:08

of amazing how how that actually really does work. Like I've noticed when you when people reach out to me, like a grad student from Oxford reached out to me the other day and she wants some feedback on like a safety app. And I you know, like, even though I'm busy writing, I was like, yeah, of course, I could take 30 minutes and chat with you. I think people it's like, if you I think, but at the end of the day, it has to be an authentic reach out. Like if you reached out and you were trying to sell me on something like that would have just closed down.

Nick Sonnenberg 11:35

Sure, sure. Yeah, no, it was authentic and like, didn't come off as stalkerish or anything like that. Right. It was like I legitimately just wanted to like just meet you because you have a very interesting background that was really relevant. And, and yeah, have like, authentic reach outs. I'm a part of a handful of business groups and mastermind groups. Some are quite expensive. So you don't have to do those. But there's plenty of meetup groups or other organizations, there's eo, there's YPO. There's a bunch of them that you could get involved with. And that's a, you have to pay for it. But that's another way to start building a network.

Maren Donovan 12:15

Yeah. And even just like a meetup, even just like if you're active on Twitter, like there's so many people that have started with absolutely nothing, but it's like it's like providing value. And then and then being authentic. But I do think that's, that's actually really good to notice is like, no matter where you are, if you're just out of college or graduating, and you're like, fuck me, I'm graduating into this, this economy, like what am I going to do? And you're reaching out to people and you know, you're if you're graduating, you have some sort of skill set. I always think like the idea of saying, Hey, I'll work for free or really cheap, like, and if you have the skill, like that's a great way to break in. That's how when I was like 20, or 21, like how I started getting some of my first clients to build websites for But so yeah, so it's like no matter what, start your network, like no matter where you are just like start getting one node. And then you'll get to a point that that network will will pay back.

Nick Sonnenberg 13:15

Did I lose you? My speakers died? What did you say?

Maren Donovan 13:20

I said, so it's like the lesson is no matter where you are, no matter how, how junior or how senior or your skill set building that network is super important, I think so. And

Nick Sonnenberg 13:29

also, I think you touched on it before when you were talking about recruiting and and the ones that stood out, you have to figure out a way to stand out and not look like the rest of the crowd. Right. So how do you stand out and that's something that I've always I think I've been good at that like even even in high school.

Nick Sonnenberg 13:49

How can my college application stand out?

Nick Sonnenberg 13:53

So it's a it's something that I'm always trying to think like in college. So in high school, I took like I was on a mass team. And won some awards in math in California, like that was not a normal thing to do, or president of the tutoring center and things but things that just made you look different. You know, in college, I was like the president of the student body or something like that. I forget what the actual title was. But again, it was just like something that was different. So how can you just be a standout? And it doesn't have to be extracurriculars like that. It could be how do you just become extremely good at a certain skill and build something that's impressive. That could separate you from the rest of the crowd. But to go back to your original question, if I had to start something from scratch or do something from scratch, I definitely wouldn't start a service based company because that is a pain. Yeah, amen. I would either do a sass company or a product but something where you build something that's really really good and then Once you have product market fit, you can scale it and the unit economics work.

Nick Sonnenberg 15:05

And something that involves dealing with as few people as possible.

Maren Donovan 15:09

But if you had to get a job, what if you had to work for someone else? What would you like? Where do you find think the opportunities are right now?

Nick Sonnenberg 15:17

I don't know. I mean, I in high school, as always, I wanted to be a cryptographer for the NSA. So, you know, I'd probably have to sharpen up my math skills because I'm pretty rusty. But that that's always an option. If I had to get a job, I don't like what motivates I think you have to get clear on what motivates you like, Are you trying to optimize for money? Are you trying to optimize for freedom? If it's freedom, what kind of freedom is it? Is it like that you want to be able to work from anywhere? Is it that you want an environment like a think tank where someone just tells you a problem to think about and then you just go and think about it? So I think it just meant I think you have to get clear on what you're optimizing for before you Answer, though, true. And I've realized that,

Maren Donovan 16:03

that I haven't even done that for a lot of my life. And I'm writing this chapter right now for the book around, exactly figuring out what your drivers are. And one of it is like, what are your career drivers? But then even before that, what are your personal values? And it just hit me when we were actually both in Bali for that conference? That I have always started businesses and very early, built up the core values for the companies. But it wasn't till literally a few years ago, I actually started thinking about like, what are my personal core values? And now I have them written down. I have them on my phone like I can I reference them when I'm having any kind of decision. And I think that's really almost the very baby. Step number one,

Nick Sonnenberg 16:46

it is like I had a business partner the beginning of leverage that didn't work out. One of the main reasons why it didn't work out is we did all the exercises like what's the vision for the company? We didn't ever talk about what's your personal vision? What's more My personal vision, and we came from such different backgrounds and had such different personal visions that at some point, you know, if your partner wants to work, you know, in a five hour time slot Monday, Wednesday, Friday and you're trying to build you know, a billion dollar business and working your ass off, whatever, you can have the same long term vision for the company. But if personally, you're trying to optimize for something else, it's not going to work. So I think you have to get really clear on what you're personally optimizing for first, I'm, I'm interested in growth like personal growth so for me the money is super important but personal growth and making sure that I'm learning and working with people that I feel like I can learn from is really important. So

Maren Donovan 17:44

it would happen to you take a cut on money to know that you were going to grow more and learn more.

Nick Sonnenberg 17:49

I'm always long term thinking so even like take take my my career with finance. If I were just optimizing for money, I would have never left high frequency trading. I was making seven figures by 20 You know, I could have probably been financially retired by now versus the current situation into but but I wanted that I wanted that personal challenge. And I felt like I was not optimizing for a three to five year time horizon. I was I was thinking like, in a 20 year time horizon, what's, what am I optimizing for? And I thought that leaving finance was a better strategy for a longer term horizon. So it's not even, you have to start with what you're optimizing for yourself, but then also be specific, like, what's the 20 year time horizon, the 10, the five and and what you optimize for on a short term time horizon might be totally different than the longer term time horizon. So for me right now, where I'm at, I would be really interested to work, work alongside some really brilliant person that had a big gap on the efficiency and operation side of this A company where I could really make an impact, but also, but also learn something from the person and get connected and build that network more for me, so that it was a good launching pad for my next thing. Right? So it could be anything really.

Maren Donovan 19:18

It all Yeah, and it's I like that long term versus short term thinking. Because sometimes you do need to think short term, you know, if you're like, Hey, I'm not going to be able to pay my rent, then you need to optimize for that. But you can you can hold both in your head and kind of oscillate between the two.

Nick Sonnenberg 19:33

Well, you have to be conscious though, like, I'm doing this right now. Because I need to pay my rent. And me achieving my long term goal, you know, means that I can't be homeless in the short term to get to that soon. So it's like all on a path to that longer, longer optimized, you know, you that you're trying to achieve,

Maren Donovan 19:59

and then what the thing about with remote work is that there's a lot of additional leverage that gives you because, you know, depending on what kind of work you do and what type kind of time zone you need to like be available in, you could say, Hey, I'm going to move and I've done this, I'm going to move for a year to somewhere really cheap. And I'm going to cut those costs way down, and then build up, build up some, you know, some savings, but also have this very different experience. And I think that's something that you know, even 20 years ago, you couldn't do like if you were an engineer, and you had to be in Sunnyvale, California, you couldn't just say, Hey, I'm going to live in Cabo for a year. I'm going to code and then I'm going to, you know, build a nest egg and then from there, I'll get to take my next step. I think the remote thing is amazing because it gives you a lot of flexibility.

Nick Sonnenberg 20:52

Yeah, it's, it's, we have Andrew parks on my team that was working at a very large company, making some six figures but you have to commute an hour a day. Yes way, live in Toronto where it's freezing. Now, he's making about the same amount of money. He walks seven miles a day on a walking treadmill from home, spends more time with his family doesn't doesn't waste two hours a day round trip and commuting, commuting. And he spent February in Mexico in the warmth rather than being in Toronto in the cold. So, gosh, and, you know, for me, I think what what's happening right now in the world, as you move remote companies are going to start being more results driven. Then Then, more micromanaging and more. Hey, where did you spend your time?

Maren Donovan 21:40

Yes, me. I don't like seeing you working at a desk.

Nick Sonnenberg 21:43

Exactly. I think moving organizations to be more results driven, is going to increase the output and efficiency of companies, those that that can survive. There's gonna be a lot of companies that don't survive this because they just weren't set up and not going to get set up to handle them. out, but those that do survive, I think are going to be way better way, way better off. After all this is said and done.

Maren Donovan 22:09

You leverage I mean, you got your your team, mostly most of your people are freelancers. And I'm assuming a bunch of them, you know, work for leverage, but also do a few other things. The ones that are the most successful, what are the patterns that you see people that are maybe instead of, you know, they're working for HubSpot, and that's their job. They're bringing in their revenue from two or three or five streams, what's the pattern?

Nick Sonnenberg 22:33

Um, we have, we have some, we have a lot of people that are freelancers that just work at leverage full time. We have some that have their own just private clients. And then we have some that have full time jobs at companies and then they're just trying to, you know, make some side cash and you know, they might work 10 hours a week. So we have, we have like the full range of people but the ones that have been the most successful that have stayed at leverage the longest are the ones that are Self starters and self motivated and don't need to be told what to do, because at it at a startup, I mean, we're pretty structured, but it's still quite loose and there's not every processor role and responsibilities spelled out like you would see at a company that's 20 years old. So I think the ones that have been successful, the ones that can just figure things out, and and really agile, I think that that's a that's a skill set that's becoming more and more important nowadays. I'm curious to see how you measure for it if you've seen that in your recruiting and hiring process. But hiring for resiliency and agility, I think is, is something that is becoming more and more of an important skill set to have.

Maren Donovan 23:44

Absolutely. And I mean, the other thing to think about too, is like in the next 10 to 20 years, a lot of what I've been talking with people and thinking about is how do you future proof your career, like you know, figure out where you are in life and assume that you'll probably work till 70 or whatever. And maybe longer like I want to work in literally until I die because I love it but like, just assume 70. And if you're 20, then that's 50 years and like thinking of what do I do right now? And is that going to, you know, is that? Is that going to be replaced by robotics automation? That's something I've been talking to people a lot and thinking a lot about. And it seems like one of the things that will be hard for technology to replace at least in the next let's say 20 to 30 years is going to be like that real the real human stuff like creativity, empathy, things that are not rote.

Nick Sonnenberg 24:42

But yeah, it was kind of a riff. Um, yeah, I think that I'm personally not at all scared about AR jobs being replaced by by robots and stuff like that, because I think I think that If a job gets replaced, for the most part, and I'm probably gonna offend a lot of people, but for the most part, if if if a bot or a system can replace the job, it was probably not super high level work to begin with. So I think it's just gonna force humanity to really increase their skill set and education so that we, you know, outpaced the robots. Yeah, you can't really, I don't know, maybe you can train robots or bots to have empathy to at some point. But I think that the most important thing is not a specific skill set. But it's a mentality of Yeah, learner. I think you have to have the mentality of just being curious and being a learner. So that no matter what happens, like for me, I'm not scared of any new technology or anything because like, I'll just fucking learn it. Like I'm just a curious person. And I obsess over things. So something comes out that I'm interested in. I'm going to read about it, practice it, study it and Keep up with the time. So I think that people, it's more so you have to have the mentality of being a learner of a lifelong learner be curious to really be hedged. You know, no matter what happens coming up in the future?

Maren Donovan 26:14

Yeah, I think it's like there's three themes that I've been pulling out of what we've been talking about. It's like a you have to understand your motivations be you have to be able to stand out and that's part of understanding what you're, you know, your unique ability, then being able to sell yourself in a way that actually matters. And then it's that constant learning that ability, that growth mindset, and and wrapped into that is the idea of is always building your network, which is kind of selling yourself and constantly learning. You know, like I build my network by having people on the podcast, and at the same time, I'm learning a ton from them. So it's like it's a, it's a win win.

Nick Sonnenberg 26:54

You have to be authentic with the network quick. Some of us are sure you know, some people have asked me how have you built a network? Because I didn't even think about it. But then I thought about I'm like, Yeah, I guess I do have like a pretty valuable network. And it's authentic relationships, like a lot of people. A lot of people go about networking, like it's a job and they're like, I need to make a connection. And it's not authentic and people can feel it. So a lot of the relationships I have with some, you know, some famous people, let's say or well connected people, it's because I'm not asking them for a testimonial or for something like that I'm if anything, I'm giving them 100 times more than I ever get from them. And I think that you have to have that mentality of being more of a giver than a taker when it comes to networking.

Maren Donovan 27:48

Yeah, and I think also when it comes to just like, especially in in, in economies in the world like it is today, like so many people are going to be trying to grab and try Take because they feel fear, if you can continue to give, that's going to really set you apart.

Nick Sonnenberg 28:06

Totally. So what are your thoughts right now? Like what are you seeing in terms of hiring and recruiting right now?

Maren Donovan 28:16

I mean, the big thing is, you know, we've got, I think unemployment to 20%. Right now in the US, or maybe a little bit higher. Granted, a lot of that is is people that are unemployed now, but will be going back to work, hopefully. But I think the big the trends we're seeing, I mean, obviously, health care is a really big one. Anything that is any of the industries that are growing because people are staying home, are kind of exploding, like on demand, grocery stuff like that. But the biggest trends seem to be, I mean, I think this is a it's a scary time, but it's also a perfect time to reinvent yourself. If you Need to like people that fat and happy the last 10 years. less than six months ago, my my recruiting agency, we'd have clients come in and like we couldn't get people to get on the phone and talk about a new opportunity in San Francisco la New York. Now it's the complete inverse. You know, you put a job description for a decent job that's remote, and you get 2000 applications over two weeks. So it's I think a lot of it has to do with as an individual, like if I was looking for work right now, I would get super specific on like, like, exactly how people always teach companies and products to position yourself like, are you a pain pillar of vitamin like, I would spend a lot of time being like, how am I solving pain for someone who's hiring and whether I was doing freelance work or I was going to work for a company. I mean, honestly, I think being diversified right now. super important. So like maybe getting a part time or full time role where you're you know, you're You're an employee, but then also doing a side hustle, like working for leverage. And then thirdly, having your own thing that you're kind of cultivating. I think that is going to be incredibly important in the future. And then just like being able to reinvent yourself understanding like the next 10 years are going to be different. And what, how can you position yourself versus holding on to like what's worked in the last 10 years?

Nick Sonnenberg 30:24

Totally. I totally agree. I mean, I'm what I've seen, and you've seen way more resumes than me. But the resume looks so different. Now. from five years ago, the skill sets that people put on a resume is different and it's gonna continue to evolve. So just making sure that you stay stay up to date with sharpening your tools and your tool chest I think is critical

Maren Donovan 30:46

about also staying up to date with technology. Like that's the thing, nobody, I don't care how old you are, or how young you are or whatever. You have to be constantly learning new technology because if not, you are going to just like Especially when you know if you can't figure out zoom or slack and then also writing skills in a remote first world being able to communicate properly in the written word is it's becoming so much more important than it was in the last 20 or 30 years.

Nick Sonnenberg 31:16

I just have a didn't write everything for me, which is my hack. But

Nick Sonnenberg 31:20

back to your point, like what would I do if I needed to get a job? I think what I would do the orders that I'd go in and I'd get really clear on what what interests me. So if I wasn't clear, even what's available, I would figure out at first what's like what are jobs out there and try to learn what do those jobs entail? So at least knew what direction do I want to go in? Because if you don't know where the direction you're going, and you're pretty, you're pretty fucked, right? So yeah, do whatever you can to get clear on what's going to interest you and what direction you want to go in. And then once you're clear on what you're optimizing for, come up with some strategies how to get there, so say I really am interested in I don't know, education, I was researching a

Maren Donovan 32:03

huge industry that's continuing to grow through this.

Nick Sonnenberg 32:06

Yeah. So then I would start researching like water, like really interesting, innovative, innovative education companies. And I'd start researching the companies and then they try to nail a handful that were really interesting. And then I would look up who do I have any connections to people at that company? What, look at their website, look at job postings, see, like, where I might be able to add value. And then to your point, before, once I've come up with those things, like I would even be willing to do some free work for a little like, not forever. Like, you know, if I saw a gap where I could add value, I'd reach out to the most relevant person that I could in the most warm intro way that I could. And I would say, hey, look, I'm super passionate about XYZ, and I'm in a transition period, but I'm an expert at this skill. And I took the liberty of taking a look at how you're doing your social media or how your website is, or were you aware that nowadays, I noticed that you're not using this, but you could and it would benefit you in this way. I'm happy to, you know, set it up for free, it will take me about a day. And you could see for yourself the value that that adds. And then if if it does add value, I'd love an opportunity to talk to you and see if there's some, some mutual fit where this could be a win win for the two of us, and you just make it like super risk reversal, no risk, adding value from the start. And that's loosely the process that I would follow if I needed to.

Maren Donovan 33:42

And that immediately puts you within the 99th percentile of people and especially as someone who's seen 10s of thousands of applications and stuff that's so rare. I actually that just made me remember before virtual so in my early 20s I was in Reno after college, and I was trying I He's getting consulting or not consulting clients I was getting, you know, like I was doing copywriting website design that I outsourced to my team in the Philippines and like social media management, and one of the ways I would get people is I would take, you know, you go to we were specifically work with hotels, you go to a hotel's website, you look at all their copy, I would move it into a doc, I'd rewrite it. And then what are those tools? They have them now that like, you can, you can put in a URL and you can change the copy and change the designs?

Nick Sonnenberg 34:30

Like Optimizely. Exactly. Yeah,

Maren Donovan 34:33

yep. So I would rebuild a website I would send it or the copy it took me few hours, I'd send it to the person who is in charge, I tweet at them. I'd whatever, send a few cold emails that produced not only amazing results, but then every time I did that, I actually documented it on our blog. So I had 10 case studies of my consulting firm this firm called Oracle launch why I named it that I don't know, redoing hotel tells websites and their copy. And it looks like you know, I was working with them even though I didn't say that I just said, Hey, I decided to do this. And I'd run people through. This is why this is how we move it here. And we got amazing. I got great gigs from that, but also created this content, which which just reinforced that, like I was the expert in that. Well,

Nick Sonnenberg 35:21

at Bullseye, I have a mastermind called Bullseye, which you have come to a few of them and spoken at some and I hope you come to one in June. I have here in June. What's up?

Maren Donovan 35:33

I said, I hope you can have one in

Nick Sonnenberg 35:34

June. It's a virtual one. Oh, well, then Nevermind. Um, did you hear Michael rodricks talk about referral brand? Yes. Right. So the whole concept there is how how do you position yourself where you make it really easy for other people to be able to explain what you're good at and refer you in an organic way. Right. So he talked he talked about that a lot and it was really interesting, but if If, if it's not clear to your friends and your immediate network, the value that you add, or what you're particularly strong in, there's a bigger issue. And you're missing a bigger opportunity, because you want to be, you want to be in the back of your friends and your networks mind where they have a discussion without you or even around and they're like, Hey, I'm looking for someone that's really good at recruiting for Remote Jobs. And it's like, the trigger goes off. And it's like, oh, well, I know Marin. And you should talk to Marin because she's a world expert at that. So how do you position yourself where you make it really easy for other people to recommend you in in an organic way? That's so good. I just like scribbled down notes on that. I got to ask Michael if he'll actually come on and talk about that, because you're right, that was so good. Michael is so good. And he talks about like open loops and how like, how when you talk to people you give value, but you're creating open loops. I mean, the guy's that guy's really brilliant with all that.

Maren Donovan 37:00

Interesting. Okay, cool. So, last few questions is in this like, and I guess this comes down to industries and companies like Who do you think is going to get completely disrupted? And then who's going to thrive? Like both in terms of companies but also like professions?

Nick Sonnenberg 37:18

When you look at the next 10 years, I think everything's gonna get disrupted. You know, I think I think that restaurants were already on track to get disrupted. They had those like, the that concept that spun up a few years ago with like ghost kitchens. Have you heard of that? Where there's just kitchens that don't, that are just shared between these restaurants that don't actually have tables and it's purely delivery based restaurants? I think that you're going to see disruption and everything. I think, lawyers education, you're gonna have telemedicine and doctors that can work remotely. I think that in the future, there's going to be Like a mechanical arm, so to speak, that could be that like a doctor would be able to remote in and control and touch you without being near you and be able to diagnose you. So I think that literally everything is going to get disrupted. I mean, there are some things where it's like a plumber that it's going to be hard to not go into house, but I still think even a plumber. Like some of my private clients, one private client of mine is a Pet Hospital. And another one is a gas and water leak detection company. Right. So it doesn't really matter what business you're in, you can always be operating more efficiently use technology to optimize things like take those two companies, they were getting flooded with phone calls, and we set up systems to to automatically filter out bad phone calls for them. So that was just like one example of a way to disrupt even an old school company that you might not think can get disrupted.

Maren Donovan 38:58

So it's gonna thrive. Like what companies and what professions are you just like? Damn, I wish I was in that right now. I mean, I think anything education right now especially like, like continuing education,

Nick Sonnenberg 39:14

I think, Well, I think that any company that is taking remote work seriously is going to outperform companies that aren't. And I think that means I think that companies that support remote work are going to be at a competitive advantage. Like you take companies like zoom and slack. You know, those, those are companies that help you to be more efficient and be remote. So I think any company that facilitates a better a better experience for remote work is particularly going to be in a good situation for the future. What about professions? Well, computer science seems to be a pretty good one. If you're, if you like, if you like coding like that's, if you want just good job in For the rest of your life, most likely, that's probably a good one to get in. But, you know, it's not even when when, when we were growing up, we're about the same age. You know, the the no brainer, like you're on a good track, as you're a doctor or a lawyer or even like an accountant, you would probably put in that bucket. And then I don't even know if all of those are safe careers, you know, in 10 years from now, like, there's a lot, a lot of those professions are going to get disrupted. Now, there's already AI to read contracts better than a lawyer can read a contract for sure. And there's already robots doing surgery surgeries with more precision than a surgeon. So I think the person that can create the robots, the person that's the developer, or the person that is or the company that's helping to create those things are going to be relatively better situated.

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