To begin, I actually love what I do from a career perspective. Sure, it has its challenges like any career (or business you run), but for the most part having the opportunity to sell enterprise IT software to what essentially is a Fortune 1 customer (the United States Federal Government) is a bit of a rush. Especially given the fact that the software I sell is used to help agencies secure access to sensitive and even classified data from vulnerabilities and insider threats. Within my role, I work very closely with a large ecosystem of partners like Federal Systems Integrators, Global Advisory Firms, Boutique Professional Services Firms, Business Development Firms, Resellers and Distributors.
A little over 15 years ago, I was one of the original organizers of the Cars & Coffee Meets and Drives in the DC, MD & VA area. And yes, that is where I first met Pejman and our friendship to this day grew from there. Through these meets and drives, Mid-Atlantic Motor Club was born because I was meeting so many different people from so many different walks of life where a majority were also in my current field of Enterprise IT. And I’m not talking from the level of an account manager only, but also Senior Vice Presidents of Publicly Traded Software Companies, Partners from Booz Allen Hamilton or Deloitte, and even the founder of a $7 Billion (yes, w/ a “B”) IT Distributor whom in my role back when I would have never had this level of access to if it wasn’t for the one connection point….. “THE LOVE AND PASSION FOR CARS”!!!
Now, I never charged for my events, but built a great deal of Personal Equity Capital in terms of a social and business network which continues to grow exponentially for me as I am continuously adding new members and meet even more people who share the same passion through my full time career.
It is very important to note here that credibility is highly dependent upon two factors: TRUST & EXPERTISE! Whether you are building a personal or business relationship, if you are not focusing on the foundation of developing these two factors, then you will never hold credibility. Friends and Acquaintances must feel you exude leadership which helps influence the outcomes you are looking to make! Once you master this, you will begin to harness the power of the sphere of your influence within your network.
Interestingly enough, up until a year ago, I never put the variables together that most business professionals (whether IT, business owners, doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc) who have a passion for cars, also have passions for other types of alternative assets….. YES, you guessed it, Luxury Timepieces! It was interesting as this was a MAJOR component I was completely oblivious to! As you may have guessed, now with every interaction I had with my coworkers, industry partners and even MAMC members, I looked at their wrists to see what they were wearing. Almost 80% were wearing high end timepieces and then I had an AHHA moment!!! I would begin bringing in the buying/selling/trading of investment grade luxury timepieces in to my repertoire!
Now, this isn’t an easy task, and you have to be as smooth and fluid as possible to mirror and match the audience you are working a discussion in to. What do I mean you may ask? Well, if I am meeting up with a group of young (fresh out of college) inside sales reps from one of my distributor partners, I choose to wear an Omega Speedmaster for example. In my position, this is a drop in the bucket to purchase, but to a younger professional who is probably still wearing an Apple Watch he/she got as a Xmas gift last year, the Omega is a BIG first step. It generates conversation and motivation for them. As I work up the rankings of my ecosystem, I wear a Breitling Navitimer when meeting w/ Engineers from an SI, a Rolex when meeting w/ senior directors of a boutique services firm, to wearing Grail Pieces such as my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 18KT Rose Gold 26400RO.OO.A002CA.01 (which also happens to be for sale 😉) when I am speaking to Senior Partners or Executive’s at major global integrators and such. I want to also point out that I am NOT going in pitching a sale for the timepiece I’m wearing. I strategically place the timepiece in my hand movements while giving a presentation or conducting a meeting in a conference room. These days during COVID, the timepieces are on my wrist and I periodically make them visible on my wrist in the presentations and have been receiving texts / PM’s during presentations asking what I’m wearing this week (and sometimes, HOW MUCH LOL!!). I also want to point out that when you do this, the way I do it, long enough even the targets for the more luxurious timepieces that I have sold come to me and ask if I have anything for their son for a graduation gift, or their wife for an anniversary gift. That’s when you know the stars are aligning and just your sheer presence in a room (or thought) is Berk is the person I need to talk to when I need to build a partner ecosystem (full-time career) or choosing a luxury timepiece (one of many freelance businesses I own/have owned).
I am telling you, the rapport and relationship building which transcends from professional to personal can only be explained when you experience it yourself. The most valuable gift you have to offer ANY client is yourself. Note this, a client can be a client in multiple ways to you. Not only from your full-time career, but also from your freelance business of buying, selling and trading luxury timepieces! So, in my world, not only would this individual purchase / resell my software (from my full-time career), but they can also be a client to purchase one of my luxury timepieces, have me source them a piece, or even sell/trade me their own current one! What’s even better, not only am I making money via commissions through the sale of my software (and I can buy more timepieces), but they also become a referral for my CURRENT CAREER and my freelance Kingsman Timepieces, LLC!!
You need to FIRST AND FOREMOST, sell the value of yourself!! It is VERY simple really. The more you prove to your client through credibility that you provide them a necessary benefit, then you can validate and earn the business and charge the “RETAIL PRICE” for the timepiece you’re selling. In my current role, our software is the gold standard and best of breed in it’s space. There are fly by night companies who don’t stack rank anywhere near our software but much like in the world of luxury timepieces, clients say, “Oh, but I’ve seen it cheaper <insert FB Marketplace, eBay, C&C, C24, etc etc etc>!” Have you all ever heard a client utter those words? I respectfully counter with the position that, “I’m sure you have, but my question is has the person / platform on the other end earned the credibility and trust you and I have established over all this time, through the good times and the bad, through the long hours and restless nights to close and resolution?” Then <PAUSE>. Let them think about that for a moment. In sales, which is new to some of you, the most successful sales professionals in this world are those that ask good questions and LISTEN! This is a skill set one masters after decades of learning from the best in the space, and I bequeath this to you all as strong advice especially for those NEW in to selling luxury timepieces or are in sales generally and have been looking for that magic ingredient to success….. “Ask Questions & Listen”!
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: I do not force or let my freelance luxury timepiece business impede in the way of my full-time career. There is a FINE LINE that has to be drawn for specific reasons. I merely pair my freelance luxury timepiece business like a nice glass of Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 with a delectable Steak au poivre with Cognac sauce. Now, you wouldn’t merely pour the wine on top of the Steak, but would gain the satisfaction of the meal w/ a sip of the wine to enhance the dining experience in a natural format. Similar to pairing your primary career to your freelance business, separate the line but in a way marry them together naturally for the ultimate luxury experience! TRUST ME ON THIS!
I’m sure there are many of you at home (or at work) reading this right now evaluating how you can keep your full-time career AND run this business on the side. The most important advice I can give you is BE PATIENT and START SMALL. If you’re anything like me, I juggle career (especially end of sales quarters can be extremely time consuming), parenting (I have two amazing children that I love and adore), being a husband (to the love of my life), and continue to dream of entrepreneurship and enjoying my passions. Each of you have your own “WHY” and “PRIORITIES” so doing your best to balance what is called life will prepare you for what will be the LONG HAUL to make this work. Don’t worry if the results you are looking for like selling a timepiece to a client through (or around) your day job doesn’t work within the first week, month, quarter or YEAR even. These things take time, and you don’t want to come across as the guy in a trench coat in NYC opening up his jacket and trying to sell you a bunch of gold plated knock off Rolex’s.
BUILD YOUR IDENTITY, BUILD YOUR CREDIBILITY, BUILD YOUR EXPERTISE, BUILD YOUR IMPORTANCE
Remember, your freelance luxury timepiece business will begin taking many hours each week away from precious moments you’d otherwise be spending with friends, family and elsewhere. A freelance luxury timepiece business also requires herculean effort to succeed, given that the majority of your time each day goes to your full-time career. Make a serious self-assessment about whether or not this is something you’re willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve. If you are willing to sacrifice, develop a system of positive triggers and routines to help support your self-discipline and exert all your extra effort to grow your freelance luxury timepiece business, then you have the psychological foundation to build a successful business.
VALIDATE YOUR FREELANCE LUXURY TIMEPIECE BUSINESS WITH ONE PAYING CUSTOMER
…… and do this from CRADLE to GRAVE. Meaning, from the point of building initial rapport as a luxury timepiece asset manager, to the process of identifying what timepiece would be best for your client, to taking a deposit / full payment, to attaining the timepiece, to delivery of the timepiece, and ultimately to customer service. Remember guys, this is EXTRA important to start with ONE b/c this is a client, partner or coworker from your FULL-TIME CAREER!!!! If you do not handle this with PERFECTION, OPEN & HONEST COMMUNICATION, then you really run the risk of an even bigger issue as your primary income and workplace is going to be effected negatively perhaps!!!
The amount you will learn from that one experience (and many more after that) will help you on this journey for sure! I define this as being an “Intrapreneur”. An Intrapreneur is someone who builds a business WITHIN a business. Learn from that experience, lather, rinse and repeat, again, and again, and again. There will be a point in the path where you need to make a decision. Has this freelance business grown to a point of diminishing returns because you are too stretched thin, or are you at a tipping point where FINALLY you are ready to take the plunge and go in to the business 100% of the time. If you still enjoy your full time career and don’t want to take the plunge as a full time entrepreneur (it’s okay btw, it’s not for everyone), then work to dial it back and focus on a certain number of repeat clients, or focus on being an expert in one or two specific manufacturers based on the clients you’re building through your day job for instance (Omega’s may be a bigger / hotter sell for you based on your current environment vs going after AP’s for example if you’re not dealing with high end collectors).
This extends beyond my full-time career in Enterprise IT Software Sales, and have even earned the right as the “Luxury Timepiece Guy” in Mid-Atlantic Motor Club by my members who have slowly been reaching out to me in their search and inquisitiveness. When the time is right, I will be who they come to for their purchase, sale or trade. Not saying you should do this, but I also help guide my colleagues, partners, members & clients even if they don’t buy from me because I have my primary income and get afford such a risk. It’s a great feeling as one builds this positive reputation, and I take that very seriously and in the highest regard because my reputation is everything!
AVOID GETTING FIRED FROM YOUR DAY JOB
Obviously, you really shouldn’t work on your freelance luxury timepiece business during company time, nor should you use company resources to advance your own pursuits. There is a gray area to talk about “hobbies” in a meeting or work setting of course, but don’t make it look so obvious by putting a slide deck in to your presentation to a customer / partner with your business name and entire inventory catalog! BIG NO NO!!!
Not only is it unethical, but it’s likely a violation of the employment agreements you signed when you began your job. Make it a point to honor every term in your contracts and to consistently deliver excellent performance at your day job even while having your freelance luxury timepiece business pick up momentum. DO NOT compromise your quality of work and reputation in the office! This will prevent you from engaging with your clients as you will dilute the intention of your business from being a reputable freelance luxury timepiece business to nothing more than a “side hustle”. I am a firm believer that in order to legitimize any business venture I stand up while having a full time career, that I NEVER refer to it as a side hustle and actually do correct people who have ever referred to my diversified income businesses as side hustles. I have built and sold other businesses such as a Commercially Contracted Snow Plowing Business again while being a full time employee in Corporate America. It can be done, and I am an example of this American Dream we can all have!! So, just be careful to NOT make it look like you are making your PRIMARY image in your corporate life be your freelance luxury timepiece business but rather timepieces and the education behind them is something you are very passionate about. This way people don’t label you as a hustler (in the negative sense) but more the guy/gal I need to reach out to who knows the most about Luxury Timepieces and where I can get them. Make sense?
THE BOTTOM LINE
Not everyone has to be a full-time buyer, seller, and/or trader in the luxury timepiece market. Honestly, I had the intention of becoming one but the primary income for myself and my family to have the luxuries we have been able to afford today and not blink an eye are why I choose to diversify my disposable income portfolio. Being able to provide for my family about to purchase our 4th home, being able to drive the stable of high end Porsche’s I have owned (thanks to ECH I won’t lose my A$$ on them anymore .. LOL!), being able to take my family on trips like our last one to Iceland taking a personal all day tour on a modified Land Rover driving out on to a Glacier, and being able to own $143,000 worth of luxury timepieces at one point in time and not lose sleep over when I can sell them is attributed to the fact that I have been able to build a foundation of a credible, trustworthy and honest reputation that I continue to improve and perfect over the past 2 decades. This has allowed me to balance a full-time career and luxury timepiece trading (amongst other businesses past and present) on the side. The resources available on WTA such as through Pejman, Cal, Allyssa & Ariel are very similar to the resources available to me while I attended Babson College (www.babson.edu) built on the foundation of helping individuals from all walks of life build upon and LIVE their dreams of success! Take full advantage of what there is to offer, and as always, never hesitate to reach out to me on FB (Sultan Boochook), email or simply a phone call. Looking forward to watching this community grow with the great new friends I have been making along the way. Never forget everyone, as I always say, #YouGotThis