Working in tech but want to become a content creator?
The skills can be more transferrable than you think.
We were lucky enough to chat with Ben Gould, a former Silicon Valley tech sales rep turned co-founder of Corporate Bro: a corporate comedy brand with over 600K followers.
Here’s a look at how his career in tech sales set him up for success in content creation, and how it can benefit those who have similar aspirations.
Where did it all start?
Ever since college, I always had an interest in working as a creative, but I never really saw it as a viable long term career path.
After a foray into the world of education post-graduation, I decided to make the move to San Francisco.
However, San Francisco was (and still is) an expensive city to live in, and I needed to find a role that paid well enough and suited my personality.
After the recommendation of a few friends, I ended up settling on tech sales, starting as Account Executive at Yelp in 2015.
It was during this time that I began to rekindle my interest in becoming a creative. Beginning as a simple after work hobby which slowly developed into a fully fledged writing side hustle. Subsequently sparking further interest in a potential career long term.
After two years of building my creative portfolio every day after work, I was fortunately introduced to Ross Pomerantz, who was looking for creative help with his corporate comedy brand, Corporate Bro.
At this stage, the brand had around 15,000 followers on Instagram and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved.
Working with Ross was a perfect match for me. Our similar experiences in tech sales, sense of humour and ambitions for the brand all aligned.
Fast forward 5 years to today and over 250 comedy sketches later, we now have over 600,000 followers across Instagram and TikTok, alongside recently achieving a personal dream of mine to write, produce and release a TV series called S.A.D. (Sales Are Dope).
I used to view tech sales as a stop gap before a full time creative endeavour came about.
However, upon reflection, my experiences were essential in making me a better content creator and played a significant part in the growth of Corporate Bro.
Three reasons why working in tech is a huge advantage for aspiring content creators
Before diving in, when I eventually have kids, I want them to do at least one year of cold calling after they go to college.
An outlandish take, but I believe it’s fundamentally the best learning experience they’ll have to gain exposure to the “real world”, learn resilience and hone their ability to think on the fly.
Outside of that, here are three reasons why I think working in tech sales is essential for all aspiring content creators👇
Reason #1: You learn how to keep people engaged
To be a successful content creator, you require a fundamental understanding of human psychology.
What keeps people interested in a piece of content?
What makes people click on my content instead of others?
Your answers to these questions come through in the style of content you produce, the type of headlines you write and the content ideas you generate.
For me, my time in tech sales taught me these fundamentals in a high stakes environment which forced me to learn quickly.
Writing effective email subject lines → Writing great social media captions
Asking great questions in a discovery call → Understanding the outcome your audience wants from watching your content (eg: be entertained)
Creating a great talk track → Creating a great comedy sketch script
Reason #2: Proactive project management
Another trait of being a successful content creator is consistency. I attribute most of the growth of Corporate Bro to our consistency - posting at least 1 sketch per week whilst working full time in another job.
In order to be consistent, however, you need to take initiative, plan ahead, and always be intentional with the time you’re spending - all components of proactive project management.
Working in tech sales taught me the importance of proactive project management as it was important to always be on top of my deals and pipeline to ensure they closed on time.
Some examples when working in tech sales; creating Mutual Action Plans with my potential customers, taking the initiative to always re-fill my pipeline and being intentional with prospecting to ensure I spent time with potential customers that actually needed my software.
In the world of content creation, I now use these skills to ensure we’re aligned with paying clients all the way from content ideation to production and distribution. Beyond this, it’s also a pivotal skill in growing our podcast which requires episodes (and subsequent guest bookings) to be produced well in advance of their release date for consistency.
Reason #3: Resilience and not taking outcomes personally
The thing that takes content creators the longest to learn is detaching personal emotions from the results of their content.
There are so many factors at play in determining whether or not a piece of content is “successful”, and a poor performing piece shouldn’t make you feel worse about your skills.
Working in the results-oriented profession of tech sales, I quickly learned to separate my self-worth from my quarterly or annual targets, understanding that if I kept following the process, the outcomes would come eventually.
Bonus Reason: Relentless curiosity
A shorter reason but one that’s still worth mentioning.
The best content creators always want to get the best picture of what moves and engages their audience. There’s always one more experiment to be run or one more Instagram poll to create.
In a similar vein, the best tech sales reps always want the best picture of a potential customer’s current situation and how their software can help. There’s always one more question to ask before pitching.
In both fields, you have to hate to lose, more than you love to win.
Always plan against your blindspots; what can cause your content to become stale? What are the potential roadblocks to closing this deal?
What you should know before going into tech sales…
I hope my reflections have provided some insight to at least one person who’s keen on a career as a creative, but wants a satisfying profession in the short term that meets their needs.
Working in tech sales certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s at times emotionally draining due to its target based nature and competitive environment.
But if you’re mentally tough and up for a challenge, it’s 100% worth your time, effort and energy.