I went to college for Psychology because I wanted to figure myself out. I could see my real self in there somewhere. I could see the real world out there somewhere. Behind everything, behind what we were told by our parents and teachers, there was an absolute truth that I could taste and feel and I wanted to find it.
Self-proclamations in 2002: (straight outta high school)
- I would never “work for the man”
- I would always have long hair and a beard
- I would always do the unexpected
What really happened:
- I learned a lot about keg parties and psychedelic drugs
- I don’t remember much about Freud and Jung
- I spent the summer after graduating from college living with my parents and my GPA sucked!
- English teacher in South Korea
- Vacuum salesman
- Debt Collector
- Employment Counselor (Obviously not qualified)
- Deli Clerk (Cold Cut Slicer)
- Manual Labor (Ceramic Factory)
In December of 2015, a friend of mine suggested I consider the SDR role at the company he was working at, Inside Sales Team. I was 31 years old. I had 2 boys, age 9 and age 3 months. I was engaged to be married.
I decided to take the job even though I knew absolutely nothing about Sales and Marketing. I didn’t know what SDR stood for. I didn’t know what a CRM was, or what SaaS meant. I’d never heard of Salesforce, Outreach, DiscoverOrg, ZoomInfo, Marketo, sales playbooks, or social selling. I didn’t know what a prospect was, or a lead vs. a contact. I had no formal sales training, and the only experience I had on the phone was Debt Collections, and I got out of that business because it sucked my soul dry.
I took the job because I was making $24k a year at the job I was at and I had a family to take care of. My friend said I could probably pull in $40k or more in my first year if I busted my ass. That sounded like a good start, so I applied, interviewed, and was hired (possibly reluctantly) by Inside Sales Team in Buffalo, NY.
And so began my career in Sales and Self-development. As I sit here today, It’s been 2 years and 2 days since this journey began. I got a late start, as the majority of SDR’s throughout the country are college graduates, but that had its benefits.
Why am I writing this: In the few short paragraphs above there is a lot of pain and suffering, that led me to do something I was very unsure of and a little scared of, and I think I was able to gain the tiniest bit of wisdom about life, my own potential, and the importance of being in the moment and learning from what you’re doing right now, no matter what that is.
Today, I wake up excited to go to work. I try to meditate and breathe each morning, being grateful for what I have. My wife and kids, the roof over their heads. Their passion for life. My opportunity to provide for them. I do some push-ups or go for a quick jog because I believe in the importance of balancing your mind and body. I also keep failing at trying to quit smoking, so don’t get it twisted, I’m not some guru. I’m just a dude that’s happy with where I’m at, right now, always.
I drive to work. I think about what my day might be like. I know I’m going to encounter fear. I always do. Every day no matter what, it’s always there. It hides behind other things, but it’s always the root; the foundation.
Laziness – I’m afraid I might fail, so I just won’t try. Or, even worse, I might succeed and that scares me even more
Anger – I’m afraid of rejection, so I’ll blame my failure on something or someone else and use that as an excuse to not keep trying or to not try something new and different
Cold calling, creative and personalized emails, being wrong, public speaking, helping a coworker, not knowing how to work the coffee pot, a prospect saying, “I’m not trying to be a jerk, but your pitch sucked, I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about”. These are all things that scare me, and they are all opportunities to learn, to get better, to become closer to your colleagues and friends and prospects and yourself.
I’ll leave you with this:
-Believe in yourself
-Try something new, something that you’re afraid of
-Be honest with those around you
-Ask for help if you need it
-Don’t be afraid to be wrong
-Don’t accept losing, not succeeding, not reaching your goals
-Sacrifice something you want now, to get something better later
-Always play ping-pong if you have the chance
Andy Duwe, born and raised in Western New York, has been an SDR at Inside Sales Team for 2 years. Father of 2 awesome boys, and Husband to a beautiful Wife, Andy spends his free time with his family cooking, playing basketball with his 9 year old Isaac, doing push-ups with his 2 year old Brian on his back, listening to underground Hip Hop, watching sesame street for the millionth time, reading a good book, or eating pizza and chicken wings. His dream is to introduce beekeeping into his suburban neighborhood and convince his wife to let him have a pet pig.
Andy you rock! I’m very proud of you 😎
We all love you so much. Very nice.
Love you Duwe
Thank you for openly sharing your journey, Andy!
This was a great blog post. Thanks for writing it, Andy. Your story on starting your SDR role “late” resonates with me. Being in my 30s and starting at a new company in a similar role is exciting. We come to the industry with a great deal of experience.
I look forward to reading more from you as your journey progresses.
This was a great read … not always easy opening up about your past with strangers.