Grayson Jones – It is not how you start . . .

Grayson Jones – University of Northern Iowa

Grayson Jones Southwestern Advantage

Grayson Jones, with his 2 sisters; all participants in the Southwestern Advantage program

My 1st summer with Southwestern Advantage was back in 2006.  I was invited by a friend from the dorms who had already done the Southwestern Internship to attend an informational session on campus.  It sounded cool and I liked the idea of getting paid for how much I put into it.  I was the first one selected from UNI all the way back in December and learned my sales presentations, attended all the training, worked hard in sales school, and was very confident that I was going to dominate the summer… that was until I meant Mrs. Jones week 1 on the bookfield!

We started on a Wednesday and on Tuesday my Student Manager Scott showed me around my territory for the summer, helped get me my permit, and showed me my first house to knock on for Wed.  I worked from 7:44am-941pm my first day, almost 14hours on foot in my territory, it rained, I knocked on the same door 3x’s (on accident), and I was thoroughly tired and frustrated b/c I only sat down with 5 people and had 0 customers! The thought of “Wow, this is tough, can I actually do this for 12 weeks?” crossed my mind more than once.

Thursday, Scott came to my territory and we switched off working throughout the day.  I learned a lot by watching him.  He worked more efficiently by asking for referrals, getting recommendations, hustling from house to house, and actually doing what I had been taught! I watched him get customers in my territory and it gave me confidence I could do well.

Friday, I couldn’t even eat breakfast I was so nervous, but I was determined to do my best and apply what I saw Scott do.  I finally got a bike that day so I was able to get around a lot quicker and not be so tired and I had two customers.  I made about $150 that day and could see myself start to put the pieces together.

Saturday, I was pumped! I had appointments, knew what I was doing, and where I was going.  This would be a great Southwestern Internship story if I had 7 customers that day, but I didn’t.  I kept working hard all day like I had the previous three days and still ended up with 0 customers.  I went from one emotional extreme to the next. I was back to “Oh crap, I have 11 weeks left of this!”

On Sunday we got together as an organization for a weekly meeting, and Scott knew I was disappointed.  I remember eating lunch with Jackie my Organizational Leader and she asked if I had thought about quitting.  I said “Yes, I’d actually thought about it a lot.  I thought this was hard, not impossible”.  She told me something that I’ll never forget, she said, “Well, Grayson I have good news and bad news for you.  Bad news is that this won’t get any easier, good news is that you’ll get better”.  She informed me that she could confidently say that because you have the most demonstrations out of any first year in our organization, worked the most hours, and are too damn sharp not to succeed, you’ve never quit anything in your life and you won’t start now.  If you put in that same effort this week, there’s no way you won’t get better!

My 2nd week, I had only one zero day and that was my last one for the rest of the summer internship.  My 2nd best week that summer was week 6, and I made about $1,300 profit in one week, quite a difference from wk1-wk6.  I finished that summer in the top 100 First Year interns in the whole Southwestern Advantage program. This isn’t how everyone starts, but this is my story.  In fact, my sister worked with Southwestern in 2009 and had 6 customers her first day!  All in all it was tough, but I’m glad I did it because it made me a better person and I learned a lot not only about others, but also myself.

Southwestern AdvantageGrayson Jones – It is not how you start . . .

3 Comments on “Grayson Jones – It is not how you start . . .”

  1. aaronschafersw

    Grayson, I love your first week story. I think it is one a lot of students who have had a Southwestern Internship can relate to. Once we haev our first day where it “clicks” we want it to be smooth sailing from there, but the reality is this everything in life worth doing takes a ton of work all the way through. Great story of persistence!

  2. Logan G

    “I kept working hard all day like I had the previous three days and still ended up with 0 customers. I went from one emotional extreme to the next. I was back to “O crap, I have 11 weeks left of this!””

    I think that’s the best part of this job! experiencing, as Roger Seip put it, “The highest highs, and the lowest lows.”

    It’s the only place I’ve found where utter despair and supreme joy can be experienced in the same 5 minutes.

  3. Grayson Jones

    Yeah, I remember driving to a week 6 Sunday meeting thinking, this is awesome! I seriously made well over $1000 in a week, legally! It’s really about keeping your emotions in check. “Things aren’t always as good as they seem and they aren’t always as bad as they seem either!”

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