One of the first people we met when we began marketing in Orange County was Bill Ellermeyer. I met him at a mixer where I noticed the ever changing number and types of people speaking with him. Some younger, some older, people in hip hop regalia and guys in suits we’re engaged with him in conversation.
When I finally spoke with him I noticed two things. First, I felt like I’d known the man for more than a few moments, and second, he was an incredible listener. How this listening manifested itself was he asked questions that got at what I was thinking, not just saying. Within a ten minute conversation, he had a good grasp of my business and gave me a road map of whom to speak with and where potential partners and clients might be found. All of this information was delivered with wit and enough political savvy that the relationships of the people we discussed became apparent. It was a seminar. Then, as quick as it started it was over, both of us shaking hands and continuing to work the room.
This is what Bill Ellermeyer does. He sees patterns. He makes connections. He then takes that vision and applies it to his clients who are primarily executives exiting the corporate world in search of the next illusive job or in some cases coming to grips with the idea that the next position won’t be there for them at all.
Bill is a personal agent to ‘C’ level executives in transition, helping them find a job, start a business or buy a business. His first step is to help the client determine what they should do and the second, because he is very well connected in the southern California/Orange County area, use those connections to surface situations valuable to his clients. He gets them connected to a powerful network quickly so they can build both velocity and confidence.
One case was a successful attorney, about 50 years old, who sold his firm to a larger one and decided not to go along for the ride. Working with Bill, they focused on the client’s true passions and how that passion can lead you to a different success. After some reflection, he told Bill about the time he ‘cherried’ a 1955 Chevy coupe as an 18 year old. Within a month, the client bought the shell of a ’55 Chevy coupe and restored to show condition, netting about $25,000 at sale. That client went on to establish a muscle car refurbishment business in Tuscon, AZ. He’s happier that ever at 60 in a brand new career that reaches back to his passions as a youth.
This passion fit is everything for Bill. “70% of people are unhappy at their jobs,” says Ellermeyer, “and another 30% are very unhappy at their jobs. It is when people are this unhappy at their jobs that they make big career mistakes.”
Bill develops sets of tactics dependent on the client’s experience and temperament. “If you’re the guy with experience, and you have the grey hair to prove it, it’s a simple step to get you working on a project by project basis. In these roles, you will be keeping the team out of trouble and providing alternative views when they get stuck. Very often this can turn into a permanent role, although Bill finds that may clients enjoy working this way, going from project to project, sometimes acquiring equity and Board seats as they go.
The key is your network, not your skills. Your skills can be had for less money, but your network, if it’s valuable, it’s irreplaceable according to Bill. The hardest clients he has to work with are those in their late 50s and above with no network. “If you’ve not been building and caring for connections in your personal network your entire career, expect rough spots and dry spells. The goal of networking is that it will carry you in times you can’t find things on your own,” he says.
In that regard he is seen nearly everywhere, engaging in the same quiet conversation I had with him. He speaks with people of all ages, in all lines of work, at all stages of entrepreneurship. Whenever I enter a room and he is present, I am glad. I know someone who cares is with me.
To learn more about Bill Ellermeyer and his business ‘Ellermeyer>Connect’, please go to http://www.transitionpro.com. Or call 714-803-9805. He’ll pick up personally.