Knucklehead Podcast Episode 112: Weather the Storm with Rusty Jensen, VP of Business Development, NICE-inContact.

Knucklehead Podcast Episode 112: Weather the Storm with Rusty Jensen, VP of Business Development, NICE-inContact.

Every entrepreneur begins their journey with the desire to be their own boss and to make a ton of money. There’s no denial of that when every entrepreneur says that overtly or passively in interviews, conversations with friends, and on Knucklehead Podcast episodes. But to paraphrase Uncle Ben from Spiderman, where great power comes great responsibility, the desire for a wealthy life demands the greatest knowledge, due to the fact that the lack of financial knowledge can lead to the greatest suffering ever known.

And when this does happen to the aspiring entrepreneur, it is often the greatest failure that many do not come back from, because the costs end up being so great. But every once in a while, there are always a token few that emerge from the failure to become ultimately successful like any good Knucklehead out there in this world.

Rusty Jensen (00:00): What I learned really quickly is I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to do it and I failed. I borrowed a hundred thousand dollars and invested it with other people and I use the rest to try to build my business. I lost all of that money and I felt that I had ruined my life.

Intro (00:27): Choose not to live in a world of filters. Realize your mistakes. Set the foundation for your success. Get some wins. Knucklehead podcast.,

Stephen Colon (00:27): Welcome to another edition of Knucklehead Podcast you got with you the knucklehead Steven. And, uh, we're gonna switch things up for today's episode. One because we, we usually have folks who own their own business who've ran their own enterprises for quite some time, but every so often about every 10 to 15 episodes or so. What I love to do is I love to highlight stories like our guest today and I came across our guests background on LinkedIn. And for those of you who are in today's COVID 19 world or you're working from home, if you're in the sales and business development game, if you're in media, if you're at production work, you spend a significant amount of your time in front of your screen, right? And a large percentage of your interaction with other folks consists of doing some background work on people. So you want to, you want to get educated on what their background is.

Stephen Colon (01:13): You want to get educated about what their product or software is. And I can't tell you how happy I am for you to hear this story of of somebody who's, who's been with one company for I want I wanna, I'm going to butcher his background for the better part of a decade. And when you look at the amount of times that he's been promoted, if you look at the grit and determination that's that's required in corporate America, in today's workaday world, you're going to be pleasantly surprised. There's a term that folks use called an entrepreneur. So somebody who runs their own business working on behalf of a company. And I'm excited for our guests to shed some light on some of the characteristics that he was able to develop, how failure, how you know, how some of the times that he stubbed his own nose or, or got smacked in the mouth a little bit actually helped make him better at what he did.

Stephen Colon (01:58): So without further ado, Mr. Rusty Jensen, welcome to the show buddy. How are you? I'm doing great, Steven. Thank you. I appreciate you having me on here. Yeah, of course. Of course. What Rusty, just to, just for some, some context here, a lot of the folks that listen to Knucklehead Podcasts, they, you know, they were in their own business before or they're just leaving the military and they're, they're setting up their own enterprise and so they're already working on behalf of a corporation. But you know, maybe their side hustle is putting together some frameworks and some processes to, to create an eCommerce business. Or one of our listeners, he actually runs a production company down in Austin and he supports a media production out of a remote office at his home. You know, so a lot of folks that are listening, they've been able to essentially achieve some success, right? And some are already achieved success and are helping bring other folks up. So for those of you who are listening, Rusty's background, I mean, he's been working with one particular company for quite some time, but that's not all your story. You've got a little bit more icing on the cake, so to speak. There's some other fodder that makes your your story a little bit more interesting. And I don't want to give the secret away. I'm going to let you kind of do that, but tell these folks a little bit about what your role is now, what you do, what your company does, and then start back from the beginning on how we kind of connected a little bit last week, if that's all right with you.

Rusty Jensen (02:59): Yeah, you bet. So just to give you some perspective on what I do now. So my role now is I'm a VP of revenue generation at nice and contact and I've been in this position for the last year and a half or so. Um, and I have been at nights for 10 years. So in terms of a decade, we've been there, we've been there for 10 years and I started on the ground level at nice and contact that was a sales developer. I was prospecting, cold calling day in and day out. And as a company, what we do is we actually provide the systems that run contact centers.

Rusty Jensen (03:39): So if you're calling T-Mobile for customer service, you're calling different companies to find out what's going on with your bill. We run and create all the infrastructure necessary to make that happen. So routing of calls, scheduling of agents, QA and training, as well as some feedback and reporting and automation tools that help context nurse functions that we do. So I knew nothing about this business before I came and it's because I started as an entrepreneur when I was 22 years old. I was very ambitious as a young guy, Steve and I wanted to be an entrepreneur from the time I was little. I mean I was selling, I was out there doing weeds and I was actually going to neighbors and saying, Hey, can I pull your weeds for 25 cents? And I was selling my toys to other kids and I was, I was very entrepreneurial when I was growing up and I wanted to own my own business and I wanted to be my own boss and build a company and I really never understood how difficult that was, especially as someone who's 2021 years old trying to build a company, trying to get out there, trying to put their name out.

Rusty Jensen (04:39): It's a very difficult thing to do and I developed a tremendous amount of respect for those that are entrepreneurs. It is one of the hardest things you can do. You know, I tell people trying to be an entrepreneur and jumping into business when you don't have a ton of experiences, like it's like going into the NFL and playing against a bunch of pro players without pads. That's what it's like and, and it's tough. But what I can tell you is that the lessons I learned in trying to build businesses early on is actually what gave me the grit and the skills necessary to make myself successful in my current company. With two things that I heard there as you were talking, one, the dream of being an entrepreneur started at a very young age, right? And so there's a lot of folks who lose sight, especially in today's world where the, it could be perceived that success is everywhere.

Stephen Colon (05:25): All you have to do is jump on social media or spend some time working for a, you know, in a business development role where you're making a hundred dollars a day and you're getting told no 70% of the time for the folks that you actually get on the telephone. So in that, in that instance, what you're, what you're talking about is you can become bristled, real disenfranchised or discouraged pretty quickly working for a company if your dream was to be an entrepreneur. However, that's not the impression that I get from you. So that was the first takeaway. The second takeaway that I wanted to ask you in the form of a question was when you use the analogy of playing with professional athletes without pads,

Stephen Colon (05:59): that it hurts like all people have to do is they have to put themselves in that situation and think, okay, that's going to hurt. Well that means that there was some pain that was involved, some of the learning lessons along the way, and maybe it was a sales call gone wrong or maybe it was an entire year worth of contracts being canceled because the economy forced those companies hands to have to cancel your products or services. There's been some pain that you've experienced along the way that that helped set this precedence of you wanting to work through it or drive through it and that's common amongst all entrepreneurs are high achievers, but how did you develop that? How did you develop that mental fortitude to drive through it when resistance started to meet you?

Rusty Jensen (06:36): Let me kind of give you the background and experience so I can answer that question. Because when I started as an entrepreneur, I thought that I was smarter than the average guy. I thought I could go out there, I could work harder than anybody else. I mean I developed a work ethic, you know, where as long as I'm awake I can work. And so I thought, Hey, if I can go out there, I can out hustle people, I can beat them, I can do well. And what I started to learn is I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know how to build a big successful business. I didn't understand how to manage cashflow. And I was looking for any possible shortcut that I could to become successful. So as I built my business, I also looked for opportunities to create leverage, to borrow money, to be able to invest money in different areas, to be able to try to build and become dynamic. And what I didn't understand was risk. So I could work as hard as I wanted all day and I could be as smart as I thought I was. But I didn't understand risk. So when I borrowed up to a hundred thousand dollars and I took some of it and I invested it with other people and I use the rest to try to build my business, what I learned really quickly is I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to do it and I failed. I lost all of that money.

Stephen Colon (07:43): Yeah, a hundred thousand dollars is, no, $10,000 is a lot of money. W I mean when you, you hear grant Cardone and you hear entrepreneurs, Mark Cuban talking about dollars and cents, there's this kind of emotional detachment to truly what the impact of that amount of money is. We almost get numb to the amount of money. When you hear, when you're bombarded with messages about spending, especially when you're talking about, you know, national or fiscal budgets companies, it could be a rounding area for some companies, but a hundred thousand dollars at 22 years old. And were you married? Did you have a family at the time? I don't remember

Rusty Jensen (08:15): so, right, right as I did that, I had just gotten married. So I've been married for six months. Oh my gosh.

Stephen Colon (08:21): Have you ever asked yourself why you haven't started a podcast? Well, I already know the reason. So to you, you don't feel like you're tech savvy. You don't feel like you got your message wired site, and quite frankly, it's just, it's all this mystification going on. Quite frankly, our process helps the demystify that we're pushed button for podcasts. We're knucklehead. Why knucklehead? What we lead with the fact that you don't know what you're doing. We do. We've been there. We've actually been in your shoes. We take your spoken voice. We literally give a human voice to your website. You want to bring dead leads to life? Well then you need to talk to knucklehead. Essentially what we're going to do is we're going to take you through our process or we're going to help take your human voice and increase the process for you going from dead leads to life.

Stephen Colon (09:03): How do I, how do I do that? Well, you essentially just take your human voice, put it in a directory, and let people consume more of you. Give your audience the ability to Netflix on you. They want to binge watch you. They want to binge listen. Give them the ability to take your voice along on that commute with them. So you can get in touch with us, Steven at knucklehead podcasts, or if you've got a really cool story stories at knucklehead podcast, you can find us on LinkedIn and on Facebook and not go to promotions LLC and get in touch with us. Don't be a beta about the process. Don't let be fact that you don't know, preventing you from getting some wins. So don't be a beta. Get some wins and contact us the next day.

Stephen Colon (09:41): So I gotta ask you, putting yourself back. So our listeners, for those of you who are listening and think about this for a second, so how upset are you if somebody, if you loan somebody a hundred bucks and they don't pay you back, or if you hire somebody, think about this from an entrepreneur and you train somebody for a year and they decide to leave to go to one of your competitors, right? And you have all that time invested in all those resources invested in somebody. What does that visceral, just that gut reaction that, that you feel? I know that it hurts to hear you say that. Can you describe, you know what it was like to have conversations with your wife? Maybe two or three weeks after that money was lost. You know, my wife was really supportive, which I appreciated, but what I can tell you is what I felt inside Steve and I felt that I had ruined my life potentially.

Rusty Jensen (10:25): I had set myself up in a situation where I had more debt than most baby boomers had at the time. I was in a situation where I felt like you live one time and I failed at it. I've put myself in a, in an overwhelming situation that would be extraordinarily difficult to climb out of. It was very difficult and luckily my wife was supportive and she believed in me. She said, you know what, you can, you can do it. You can take care of it. You can, you can get out of this. And that was, that was comforting but it, but it didn't take that feeling that I put my family, my future family in jeopardy because I was acting responsibly and didn't know it. Well, you used a word to describe it called risk a little bit earlier. What did it teach you about risk?

Stephen Colon (11:09): Did it teach you to take a less, that it teach you to view it differently? Did it teach you to seek counsel before you decided to put yourself out there? What was it about risk that, uh, that you gleaned from that experience? I mean, it taught me that I need to manage risk effectively, that I need to really understand that bad things can happen, that I'm not invincible and that if I'm going to take any kind of new strategy or new execution plan that I need to do it responsibly and test it and ensure that it's going to work before I put a lot of money out there and a lot of risks that could potentially put myself and my business in jeopardy. And rusty, I admire your courage for sharing that story first of all, but then going through that lesson and being able to

Rusty Jensen (11:54): talk to your wife and have people give you input and insight on how you could recover from it, describe to us what your thought process was, you know, maybe a year removed from it and you're not necessarily making the progress towards paying it back or paying it off the way that you wanted to describe for us. Just real quick about how you're going to approach it. Because we had a conversation before when you had described to me kind of this, this, uh, decision-making analysis that you, that you came up with and I was fascinated by your answer.

Rusty Jensen (12:21): Yeah. So it really comes on two fronts, right? And the first is first understanding how money works from a personal finance standpoint and from a business standpoint. So the first thing that I had to do was to seek out people who understood it. So I had a friend that was a CEO of a company called Orson geeky. His name was Perry Giggy and he was a self made millionaire. He's an entrepreneur and helped build that business and he knew how money worked and how it functioned. Um, I also spent time listening to the people like Dave Ramsey on the personal front to understand how money really works. And the fact that I had to come to a realization of is that there are no shortcuts. There's no such thing as fast and easy money that you have to fight through it and you have to turn in and you have to put in the work necessary to get the result.

Rusty Jensen (13:10): There is no such thing as a, as a shortcut. And by, by working through that and talking to these people, I learned a couple of things, which is number one, from a personal standpoint, I had to be able to generate an income. I can't live off of borrowings. I can't create a, a business and expect that I can just go infinitely without and just live off of funding. Okay. That puts myself and other people at risk. So that was number one. And then number two, I had to see how can I use these lessons that I'm learning to be able to maximize the probability of my success. So you take the assessment of risk, which is if I go and I build a business, there's this phrase is when you're an entrepreneur, you put 10 years into it, 10 years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears and risks, and suddenly you're an overnight success.

Rusty Jensen (13:56): And our society likes to treat successful entrepreneurs as lucky. But, but really you put your whole world at risk for 10 years and then you become an overnight success. And I thought, okay, so I can take that path or I can take that energy and I can take that passion and I can apply it into another business and treat it as if it's my own. So what I thought was, look, if I go to a small cap growth company, a tech company, and I go and I put my entrepreneurial effort and skills into that company for 10 years, I can minimize my risk because I won't, I will maximize my upside. So I won't make you know, $200 million, right? Cause we all have that dream. Um, but I can actually make an income as I go. I can use that income responsibly to pay off debt and build wealth.

Rusty Jensen (14:47): And if I put the same kind of energy, effort and passion and the same kind of work ethic that it would take to build a business, if I put it into the small cap growth company, then I'll actually be able to become an executive, get equity and make millions of dollars that way. That was, that was the goal. So I said, okay, I can mitigate risk and I can build. And then my, my mentor basically said, okay, and build a business on the side. So if you build a business on the side, you build it up and sell it, just make sure you take no money out of that business and you can keep the entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial spirit going, you can kind of satisfy that hunger. And so that was actually the approach I took. So I stopped out in contact, which was acquired by nice. Um, I sought that company out and at the time it was about a $30 million software company, um, and about $70 million in total revenue. And it was a prime situation for me to be able to invest and to help it to grow.

Stephen Colon (15:45): So in that, in that instance, what I heard there is you could walk and chew gum at the same time, right? And w we make, we keep things really simple here. Uh, just because you know, I'm a knucklehead, I'm, I'm a knuckle dragger Moraine, right? I've built several businesses myself. I have a phenomenal, phenomenal folks that have, that have come on here and share their story about going onto shark tank or selling after 50. You know, they've gotten to that 50 units in the franchise and they sold the entire franchise off to another group of investors. And so my lesson that I'm learning here from, from you, rusty, is first of all, you have to be able to analyze a marketplace to be able to identify what a small cap growth company is, right? First of all, that that skillset, the skills that you developed early part of your career, you were backed into a corner.

Stephen Colon (16:28): Granted, some of your own decisions, uh, caused you to be backed into a corner, but when you were backed into a corner, there's two reactions that a human has. They can either fight or flight, but in the process of fighting to get back, fighting for your future, so to speak, because you were, you felt like you would let your family down, you started to develop the skill set of perspective and vision and identifying opportunities the same way that a true entrepreneur would, right? We had somebody a couple shows ago, his name is Heath Hill. He's a CEO of an experiential marketing business down in Dallas, Texas, one of the largest next to Freeman's in the DFW metroplex, really nationwide, if you want to get specific with it. But he talked about how a true entrepreneur does not see fear. Whenever they see an opportunity, what they see is they truly just see it as opportunity, right? And you're using terms like risk mitigation and you're identifying risk and you're connecting with the emotions of being let down. I'm curious, how many companies did you talk with or how did you develop this perspective of being able to identify truly what a small cap growth company was? And was that just through some conversations with your mentor or, and there's another question. How many people did you talk to to find the right mentor?

Rusty Jensen (17:38): That's a good question. So I had a lot of conversations with a lot of different people to understand the market and understand how money and how things function. So I had a, a benefit. So the business that I tried to build, I tried to build a consulting business. We're actually helped entrepreneurs get funding. So I'd actually helped them write business plans, um, analyze the financial aspects of what was happening in their company. And I was just learning. I was literally using on the job what I was learning in my college classes the day before. Right. And I was building business plans and helping them structure the financials and build a good corporate identity and position themselves for funding for SBA loans and things of that nature. So what was interesting is that I spent a lot of time looking at different businesses, different business models and getting perspective from people who are investing money in companies.

Rusty Jensen (18:29): I was getting perspective from them in terms of what works and what doesn't. So that actually helped me a lot to learn and understand what kind of markets I want to target. So when I was talking to some different mentors and different people, they would say, look, some of the market that's really starting to move is tech. So I started looking at tech, I looked at the stability of it. So in, in software, how stable is that type of business? How stable are software companies while they're, they're an absolute necessity for any business. Um, so that's a good thing. Um, but then I had to look at the financial aspects. So I got, I became very financially literate very quickly in terms of personal finance and analyzing stocks and investment as well. So when I go and I look at a company like in contact, I was able to kind of analyze, you know, what is, what is their debt load, what is their, is their general profitability, what is their potential investment horizon, et cetera.

Rusty Jensen (19:24): What's their cashflow burn rate. I was trying to understand all this and I was going to this as a sales developer and when, when I went to go into the company and I went to multiple companies, um, I got an offer for the job at next contact over the phone. He said, you know what? I've never met you but you seem like you know what you're doing. I'm going to bring you in. I told them, no, said no, I want to come and I want to meet the leaders. I want to talk to your executive, I want to know who you are. And this guy's like, what are you talking about? This is an entry level position. And I told him, I want to be an executive in your company. And he thought I was crazy. But he, he, he let me come and meet him. His name is John. Not, well, let me meet him, talk to him, talk to the executive team and meet the kind of people I'd potentially work with. And I made that decision as if I would have put another $10,000 of my money into that company. That's how I made that decision. I'm going to invest 10 years, I better, I better pick the right company. So that's what I, that's what I did. I thought it was crazy at the time.

Stephen Colon (20:29): Well, I mean it, it is, it is when you, when you think about the process, right? It is crazy when you think about somebody who's just going into a company and an entry level position talking to the executives as if they're going to be one of those. However, if you look at successful folks and you look at how beginning with the in mind the value of that particular approach to the time that you're going to invest in something, it's honestly the mistake and the failure that a lot of folks run into is they plan more for our vacation than they do maybe their own financial future. Right? Or they, they plan for, um, you know, what they're going to do this weekend versus the conversations that they're going to have with the executives at the company that they're working for. Right. That they don't, they look at risk as, as, as only having one source of income. You know, obviously they can own that one source of income if you're the entrepreneur or you can own the work if you work for a business and still think like an entrepreneur and get exponential results. Very similar to what you've been able to achieve for yourself. Rusty, because this is not the first role that you've had there. You know, how many, I don't want to butcher it. You tell me. How many roles have you had and what was the integration and learning process like as you change from one role to

Rusty Jensen (21:36): at that company? Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, so I did start in the ground levels of sales developer, so I was making 40 K a year and I was making cold calls every day. And I went in that role and I approached it as if it was my own business. Right. And it was actually a lot easier money than I'd ever made up to that point. I was like, wow, this is fantastic, but I took it as I'm just going to start innovating and learning, and we got in that position. We didn't have a really strong leadership structure, so I just took the team and said, all right guys, let's figure this out. Let's build all the processes, let's build the structures. And I became a leader of the people on the team just by helping and participating, which led to me getting promoted to the next position at about nine months to be an account executive to sell.

Rusty Jensen (22:18): I took the same kind of approach, but before I got promoted and each time I got promoted, I would always learn the role ahead of time before I left the role I was in, right? Learning to understand that role. So I became an account executive and sold and then I ran the West region for a mid market sales team and then I ran the West end sales development. So my, my current mentor, his name's bill Robinson, he gave me an opportunity. So he's like, you seem like a sharp guy. You seem like you have a lot of work ethic. Let's see what you can do. So he tested me. He's like, let me see what you just see what you can do. You want to be an executive, I'm going to put you over an independent quota, a team, and I want you to run our sales development organization at the same time. And I took that as as a challenge. So I put in my 80 hours a week. I put an extraordinary amount of effort in succeeding. I was able to double the output of our, of our region, hit 250% of my number and then I'm able to hit the sales development, had the largest number they've ever hit, which is a fantastic test. And it was almost like my mentor was pushing me,

Rusty Jensen (23:19): challenged me. What can you do? I don't want to interrupt you here, but I do want to jump in. I think it's important because the great ask the question of how many folks you talk with before your mentors knucklehead podcast. This is not, you did it perfectly the first time podcast. Those numbers wouldn't have been hit had you not been able to find somebody who could see a little bit of themselves in you.

Rusty Jensen (23:37): Would you agree or disagree with that? Absolutely agree. I'm just saying in a corporate environment and a lot of in the world in general, you have to have that believe in you that help you to succeed. I wasn't qualified to do that. The performance in there and the results of that work would argue that you weren't qualified. You had started to say that you weren't qualified for it. However, I wanted to disagree with you politely to say that bill saw that you were capable of achieving those results. If you could stay consistent and the results kind of show that you were capable of it, which I don't want to argue with you, but at the same time I wanted to point that out. At least that's what I heard on my side. Rusty. You know, I think one of the hallmarks of a great leader, particularly in a in a corporate environment, is to be able to look at people and see their potential and give them an opportunity to exercise it because it's a hard thing to do because it reflects on you if it doesn't work well, but an executive who can look at it and say and have the humility to look at somebody and say, you know, he's a young kid, he doesn't have the capabilities that I have, doesn't have the skills that I have but he doesn't have to.

Rusty Jensen (24:35): He's got the potential and I'm going to give him a shot. I'm going to help him. And that, that changed my entire trajectory at nice and compact. And I think that's a really important lesson to remember, especially as you bring on people. When your hire people as a leader, it's hard to find people that you feel like can really, really perform, that you can really trust. And sometimes that's us just looking at our own self and our own skills and projecting that on other people instead of looking at their potential. And build took that risk for me and it made a huge difference in my life. Well I think it's, I think it's a good place to, to almost land, uh, this particular podcast. One just because I think even some of the competitors that, that nice and contact bushes up against in the marketplace.

Stephen Colon (25:17): And I understand as a sales leader, you know, your, your thought process is there's not a tremendous amount of competition because you, what you do is unique. And I think that that position is warranted in a lot of cases. But I'm interested, educate our listeners, hear a little bit about, you know, what nice and contact does differently. And I think a lot of that can be proved by saying that the makeup of the company are folks like yourself, rusty, maybe I'm off base and insinuating that. But folks who think dynamically that way typically build dynamic companies. Yeah, absolutely. And that's one thing that that is very difficult to match. So you can match software features and capabilities. Get a couple of good developers, take a look at the product, open it up, see what it does and match it. But you can't match the grit.

Rusty Jensen (26:01): You can't match the skills of some of the people that you have in the company. That's where the real competition is. And there are people in our company that have built our company for success. People like Debbie Draper, people like bill Robinson, our CEO, Paul Jarman. These are people who do not give up, who are focused on making it successful. And our industry's a very difficult industry to be successful. There's a lot of complexity in the software, the very high barriers to entry. We only really have, you know, three, four real competitors. Um, and every time people try it, it's a tough market to crack. And what you find underneath the surface is you, you, you find a lot of really aggressive, strong, smart

Rusty Jensen (26:44): people that are doing everything possible to make it successful. And to forge a problem is just part of a day. It's not a, there's no insurmountable challenge that we have. And there are people who just fight through it. And the relationships that we have are deep because of it. You know, it's like, it's like being in war together. You know, it's, it's tough. It's a hard industry. It's, it's hard to be successful but, but, and there's a lot of conflict cause it's high stress, but once you get through it, you have a relationship that's solid and you have a group of people that really, really know how to be successful and have each other's back when it comes down to it. That's what I wanted to ask you. When you look at the makeup of your team and you look at potential leaders to come in, essentially take the future of your particular business, but going from where you're at to where you'd like to be and analyzing it from a critical number or counterbalanced standpoint and having measurables that you, you know that you need to hit and KPIs that you're holding folks accountable to.

Stephen Colon (27:41): How do you personalize it whenever there's that real human emotion of conflict, but in the business sense because you're still in corporate, you have, you know, you have HR that you have to be cognizant of, but how do you balance the two and what kind of rapid at that? I think balancing the different personalities and the different, the different struggles that we have is tough because you do get emotional, especially when you have a lot of passion about your business. I've got a lot of passion and I have a lot of weight that I put behind my own ideas instead of our other executives. And a lot of times what you need to realize is sometimes the relationship is more important than getting your way and being able to talk with each other and say, look, let's try it your way. If it doesn't work, give me the option to try it the other way.

Rusty Jensen (28:26): Right. And being able to collaborate. That relationship is really critical because I've made that mistake multiple times where I have pushed my, you know, my brain, my intelligence, my strategy on others and it doesn't work. Sometimes you have to just, it's a lot of give and take and it's making sure that you're functioning together and doing it well. And I think when you do that well, you have a lot more success both with your peers and with your employees. I know I myself, I've had to go through that experience painfully a few times before. And you can witness other folks going through the painful process of transformation, understanding that the corporate goal and the corporate objective needs to be accomplished in the Marine Corps. We call it the mission. And then second comes true welfare, right? It can't, if it's counterintuitive to the way that the corporate world would approach what approach an issue, but it really holds true.

Stephen Colon (29:14): The mission is let's maintain profitability. Let's do it in an optimal way, and let's optimize the work environment to allow other folks to be as successful as possible. That doesn't come without conflict. That doesn't come without stepping on some landmines along the way, right? You can get your nose bloodied and in fact, we encourage it here at knucklehead. We talk about sharing some of the success through failure and that in what you're talking about in your instance, the a hundred thousand dollars personal loss led to you helping to a company. Uh, and maybe I'm speaking out of turn. And for those of you who are listening, and bill John and you know, and Paul don't help me mischaracterize rusty story here, but he's helped a company go from, you know where it was to where it is now. And that's a leader in the call center software space just because of the capabilities and the robust functionality that you bring to the table in conjunction with the makeup of your team. So how can people get in touch with you rusty

Rusty Jensen (30:04): so people can connect with me on LinkedIn. So I'm on LinkedIn, you look for me and send me a method, I'm pretty responsive in there and you can contact them that nice and contact us on our website and connect with us and talk to us if you want to talk about software. But I also do a quarterly leadership training that I do and actually invite people outside the company to be able to join. So if anybody wants to join that and happy to do that as well.

Stephen Colon (30:26): Very good. And you use a framework that we're both familiar with in your leadership training that's oriented towards Jockos discipline equals freedom. Absolutely.

Rusty Jensen (30:34): So extreme ownership. That book is a core fundamental principle to how we view leadership and how we execute philosophically at nice and context.

Stephen Colon (30:43): Very cool. For those of you who are not familiar, uh, what rusty is talking about is a leadership training that you could be a part of. Make sure that you get in touch with him. He just shows you exactly how to get in touch with them. And I think for those of you who are listening, who are still in your current roles and you're looking to build a enterprise, you're looking to build a company, uh, I challenge you to take Rusty's perspective. There are so many stories about rusty that just don't get highlighted and talked about. Uh, which is why our aim and our goal is to bring those stories to the surface so they can actually get circulated so they can get distributed. And folks can understand that inside of every American company, inside of businesses that are out there. And in today's world, it's not as if this pandemic is just closing doors.

Stephen Colon (31:22): It is for a lot of folks. But it's also opening up opportunities for folks. Like rusty and I think that that's the American dream. Exactly. What he went through was he responded with the same grit and gumption that founded this country. And a lot of the companies that are out there just kick and tail and second name. So I appreciate him, his courage and his, uh, and his willingness to share his story. So anything else that you want to leave these folks with rusty? No, it's just that when you put the time in and you put the work in, you can win. I mean, we went from a $30 million company and got sold for a billion dollars and our portions over $600 million down. And you can win, you can succeed when you push, when you push and you put the effort in. It's awesome. Very cool.

Stephen Colon (32:02): Well for those of you who like listening to that, go ahead, rusty, we appreciate you. We appreciate your time today. We've got new episodes coming every Tuesday where we strive to bring stories like these to you every single week and a lesson for you. Failure leads to success, right? So it's a matter of taking the time to analyze what went wrong when things do cause, they will and when they do go wrong, what do you do about it? What frameworks and processes can you put into place to mitigate against that risk going forward and go out and take yours? That's what we strive to do here at knucklehead. So rusty, we appreciate you taking the time to have a good rest of the day. Guys.

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Enter Rusty Jensen, Vice President of Revenue Generation at NICE-inContract. Before he was overseeing the channel and sales development organizations for all of North America, Rusty once make a fatal mistake in his entrepreneurial journey: not having a clue in financial knowledge while borrowing $100,000. While borrowing is normal in the entrepreneurial and business world, not having any sort of experience is the equivalent of going into a professional sports league without any remote experience as Rusty would say.

Without any knowledge of what to do and how to execute, but with a perceived idea of what to do, Rusty used all $100,000 to invest in others then the remaining to build his business, ultimately failing in the process. What made it even worse was that he lost all that money through that particular failure.

How would you ultimately feel if the individual that borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars from you, lost it all from a major failure?

Don’t be a beta about the process and tune into this raw episode about how Rusty Jensen lost six figures from entrepreneurial endeavor, then proceeded to leverage that situation to get promoted 8 times at a company that recently got acquired. 

You will not want to stop listening when this episode starts playing!

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