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From Financial Advisor to Financial Service Cloud Specialist! -- Brian Owens' #TrailblazerJourney

Hello, my name is Brian and I am a Salesforce Business Analyst. Before entering the Salesforce Ecosystem, I was working as a Financial Advisor, and suffering from burnout. So, after spending over 11 years working in sales and retail, I decided it was time for a change. Working in the financial services industry, I had experience working with Salesforce and other CRM platforms. However, I did not know about the vast career paths within Salesforce.

Late last year, my fiancée and I were having a conversation about our future and goals for 2020; she deserves the credit for planting the seed that has blossomed into my Salesforce story. She suggested that I look into Salesforce after I expressed the desire for a career change. After some initial research, I started studying for my Administrator Certification using Trailhead and Focus on Force. I essentially quarantined myself, before COVID-19 quarantining was a thing, and studied day and night for six weeks before I took my certification exam. I failed, I mean like really FAILED, the administrator exam the first time I took it.

That experience gave me two important things: “Disappointment” that took away the fear of failure, and “Determination” that gave me the opportunity to prove to myself how much I wanted to achieve this goal.

So, I took another two weeks to review a few subject areas before retaking and earning my Administrator Certification!

The next step of my journey was finding a job. Without knowing much about Salesforce career paths, I literally was applying for anything that had Salesforce in the job title. I easily applied for over 50 jobs, within a few weeks of having my certification. After the rejection letters started to roll in, I decided to seek some guidance and began to leverage the power of networking. I started signing up for every Salesforce career and networking webinar I could fit into my calendar. The most influential one I attended, was a Career Prep webinar with Trailhead that included Salesforce MVP Stephanie Herrera who talked about the importance of dreaming big. Also, I joined the Trailblazer Community Groups and started attending local community events. Fortunately, I attended a Salesforce community group meeting in Birmingham, AL and had the opportunity to talk with some amazing #Trailblazers. The conversations from that meeting turned into my first Salesforce career opportunity.

My Salesforce journey has been one that has far exceeded my expectations and has centered around 4 concepts I would like to share with you

  • Plan

  • Focus

  • Invest

  • Serve

Plan I am a planner by nature, so a scripture I live by is Habakkuk 2:2 “Write the Vision, and make it plain”. Personally, I have found that a written goal, either on paper or digitally, work exceptionally well in providing accountability to myself and others. One of the biggest parts of planning is setting a Deadline/Achievement Date. As the saying goes, if your goals are not written down, they are only dreams.

Focus After you have your plan, work your plan with extreme focus. One of the great things about Salesforce is that there are a plethora of resources to help you learn, study, and grow. This can be a double-edged sword for some; because you can easily experience information overload which can cripple your progress. Once you determine a study plan, stick with that plan.

Invest: This one stems from my background in Financial Services, I often think about the return on investment (ROI). Regardless of the task or the goal, the best ROI available will always be an investment into yourself. In total, I invested eight weeks of studying and $235 in materials & exams, and after earning my certification I was able to double my income.

Serve: After earning your certification, find ways to give back and help someone else along their Salesforce Journey. I am always open to having conversations with people interested in getting started with Salesforce. I do this, because my mentor, Salesforce MVP Tiffany Spencer, took time out of her insanely busy schedule to talk with me when I was still very new to the ecosystem. The conversations I have had with her continue to expand my perspective and outlook on Salesforce. As a result, I made the decision to serve within her organization HBCUforce to help further its mission of adding diversity to the Salesforce ecosystem by partnering with various Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Thanks for reading my story, I look forward to hearing yours. See you on the Trail!

Linkedin: Brian Owens Twitter: @_BrianOwens_

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