You can be knocked down, out and lose everything and make your way back.
During the past 30+ years, Kenneth Zwerdling has worked in several large Fortune 500 companies, been an entrepreneur starting 4 companies (3 of them global) and was the Director of Human Resources for a Non-Profit.
During his career, he has been on over 100 interviews at many different Fortune 500 companies, a hiring manager at large corporations interviewing hundreds more and a global recruiter, placing hundreds of candidates all around the world.
If there is one subject he is considered an expert in, it’s coaching executives on how to find jobs.
Throughout his career, he has held positions in Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Operations, Accounting/Finance, Technology, Sales, Marketing, Startups, International Entrepreneurship, Business and Strategic Planning and Leadership. In addition, he has a Master’s Degree in Business (MBA) with a focus on Finance and Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Economics.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
During the past 30+ years, I have worked in several large Fortune 500 companies, have been an entrepreneur starting 4 companies (3 of them global) and was the Director of Human Resources for a Non-Profit. During my career, I have been on over 100 interviews at many different companies, a hiring manager at large companies interviewing hundreds more and a global recruiter, placing hundreds of candidates all around the world.
If there is one subject I am considered an expert on, it’s helping Executives find new jobs in any city, state or country.
I decided to help Executives around the world write/re-write their resumes and cover letters, register them on the major job boards, set up alerts, update and optimize their LinkedIn Profiles and provide ongoing Career Coaching. They need an experienced person to better tell their story.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Unlike my previous corporate positions and 3 entrepreneurial companies I started, I no longer have office space or a staff. I am an expert in technology and thoroughly versed in many softwares that enable me to work from anywhere.
The first few hours of my day are spent reviewing my overnight email, checking my marketing campaigns and web traffic statistics and after 1 cup of coffee I start writing resumes and cover letters.
At about noon, I pack a lunch and go to one of several potential coffee shops for a few hours where I continue writing, coaching, registering clients on the job boards.
After another few hours I go to a different coffee shop and do my daily marketing through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email campaigns, etc. I have 9100 LinkedIn Contacts and 4000 company followers and between 3 twitter accounts I have 6000 contacts.
At around 4:00 pm is when I do my daily exercise – have my gym bag in the car and drive to a hiking trail and hike 4-5 miles while listening to various podcasts and audio books, (Tim Ferris, Oprah Winfrey, Dorie Clark).
Then head home to cook dinner. I am recently single after a 23-year marriage. After dinner while watching movies, Netflix, etc. I do research on potential clients, competitors, read my news feed and then watch some political news (Rachel Maddow).
How do you bring ideas to life?
Usually when I am hiking in the woods and mountains listening to podcasts and audio books on my phone. While listening I have OneNote open and constantly jot down new ideas as they come up. Every hike I get 4-5 new ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Well, it’s a bad trend for some and potentially a good trend for me. I am finding others my age (I am 57) that have 30+ years of experience and are out of work. They have always worked for companies and had one source of income. Thy dont know how to do anything else. They need help in re-inventing themselves and someone to teach them how to be entrepreneurs.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I out work everyone – I am an infinite learner and when I learn a new technology or subject, I don’t read the getting started guide. I read the 400-page manual.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would have studied harder in undergraduate school and even high school enabling me to get into a better college.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That you can be knocked down, out and lose everything and make your way back. This happened to me. Closed my company, my marriage of 23-years ended, my mom died, I was living in a group home, my kids wouldn’t talk to me. Everyone said I should take it easy and not work so hard. A year and a half later I’m back, have started my 4th company and feel great about what I am doing. I have completely re-invented myself. Everyone I know said it couldnt be done.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn new things, be a sponge – At 57 I still learn new things every day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Understand not just the mechanical part of the technology but the intuitive part as well. I approach every software I learn and then the relationships between them. Never stop learning.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My last venture – an International Staffing and Recruiting company. I had way too much overhead. Office space and full-time W2 staff. I no longer needed them. I got rid of my office space and hired staff in the Philippines for 20% of the cost. My new venture is more Solopreneur.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Coaching for middle age executives teaching them how to reinvent themselves and become entrepreneurs.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Bose Noise Cancelling headphones.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The World is Flat – Thomas Friedman
What is your favorite quote?
Its not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done – Rocky
- ABL – Always be learning
- Outwork your competitors
- Understand Technology
- Get out in nature
- Think you can bounce back
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.