There I was...
In Downtown Chicago...
Standing on the biggest stage in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Talking in front of 3,500 people with the president of Salesforce - Sarah Franklin.
And all of a sudden the Golden Hoodie starts walking in my direction...
To say I was in shock is an understatement.
So how did I get to this moment?
In this article, I'll share the entire journey with you...
Buckle up Trailblazers, here we go!
The year was 2018.
I was at my first ever Salesforce Connections event.
I was bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Ready to see what Salesforce Connections was all about!
The only problem was that I had no idea what I was doing there.
I didn't feel like I provided any value to the Salesforce ecosystem at the time.
Heck... I barely knew how Marketing Cloud worked in 2018.
And I sure as heck wasn’t aware of the benefits that a conference like Salesforce connections could provide.
And if you're anything like I was back in 2018, you probably have no idea what Salesforce Connections is either.
So here's my best explanation of what Salesforce Connections is:
Salesforce Connections is a 2 day conference where Marketers and E-Commerce people come together to talk about all the newest product updates in Salesforce.
It's kinda like a huge in-person party where you get to meet all your online friends in one spot.
But when I went in 2018, I had no idea what the event was for or why I was there.
I was absolutely clueless!
This made my experience awkward because I was walking around alone the entire time.
I would talk to random people at booths.
But I didn't know what anyone was talking about.
And I didn’t get much out of the sessions because I didn't engage with the speakers.
I also didn't talk to the other attendees and see what their perspective was.
I basically didn't engage with anyone at the conference.
I just stuck to myself and explored a few places in Chicago and that was it.
Being there in 2018 and feeling like a nobody affected my perspective about the conference.
And I didn’t feel like I took full advantage of the opportunity.
But then, a life-changing encounter with fate happened.
It was day 2 of Salesforce Connections in 2018.
I was on my way up the escalator.
And out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gillian Bruce.
She was in a private room with an interviewer.
You could see into the room from the top of the escalator.
And there were at least a dozen people watching her do an interview.
These people were waiting outside the door to speak to her.
And it was at that moment that I thought to myself...
"One day I'm gonna do what she's doing right now"
"I don't want to come back to this conference and not have anyone to talk to"
The only problem was...
I didn't know how I was gonna make it happen.
These were the self defeating thoughts I had in my head:
I didn’t think I knew enough about Marketing Cloud to give anything.
I didn't have a platform that people would listen to.
I didn't have enough experience in the system for people to take me seriously.
I didn’t know anyone in the ecosystem so I didn't have connections that could help me.
I was new to the platform so I wasn't respected yet.
I was too young for people to listen to me.
I was just learning what Salesforce Marketing Cloud was about, what value could I provide?
Even though I had all those thoughts, I still had to push forward.
All I knew was that I had to do something similar to what Gillian was doing.
At the time, Gillian was running a Marketing Cloud Podcast.
I would listen to it on my drive to work everyday.
Taking notes from her book was the only thing I knew how to do.
It was the only way for me to come back to a conference like Salesforce Connections and have something to offer.
I wanted to talk to reporters...
I wanted to talk to people at the conference...
I didn't want to feel isolated at a huge conference like this ever again.
So I made a vow to start giving back to the community.
And that's what kick started my journey.
Making Dreams A Reality...
When I left Salesforce Connections in 2018, I was motivated as ever!
So the first thing I did was start sharing my journey more consistently.
If I learned something, I would share something.
I heard this quote by GaryVee that summarizes this concept of sharing what I've learned.
When you document your journey, you're creating a diary of your life story.
Your story isn't made up... It's REAL.
And people love REAL.
So I just kept it REAL.
I wrote about the things that I thought other people would want to know.
My biggest problem in 2018 was that I couldn't find anything on YouTube to answer my Salesforce questions.
And there were no websites or videos about Marketing Cloud on the internet.
And if there was something about Marketing Cloud, it was too complex for me.
So I started sharing the little bit of information that I knew about.
The first thing I started doing was writing LinkedIn articles.
You can see some of the LinkedIn articles I wrote below:
People liked the advice I was giving.
They started responding and giving feedback.
So I kept sharing and giving advice that worked for me.
Eventually I started sharing YouTube videos.
Here are some of the early YouTube videos I created.
As time went on, I kept getting feedback from the community.
People would encourage me to make more videos.
And my confidence started to grow.
Moving to the next phase of life
Around January 2019, I started getting better at Marketing Cloud.
A big goal of mine at the time was to work 100% remote - (from anywhere in the world).
I didn't like going into an office everyday.
For me, I always knew I wanted to see the world.
I felt like going into an office everyday was putting too many restrictions on the life I was destined to live.
I wanted to experience life to the fullest.
So I left my 1st job as a Marketing Cloud Admin.
And I got a job as a Marketing Cloud Consultant.
I was finally working 100% remote.
Then around May 2019, I started traveling A LOTTTTT!!!
I took a road trip (By Myself), up the West Coast.
From Mexico to Canada.
As I documented my West Coast road trip, people kept asking the same question…
“Kaelan, where do you work and how do you travel so much?”
Remember, this was before Covid.
Working remote wasn’t a big thing yet.
So when my old college friends saw me in Mexico, Canada, Utah, Florida, etc...
They were all trying to figure out if I had hit the lottery or something.
I found myself answering the same question on Instagram.
When Content Started Going Viral
So I finally decided to make the video called:
I made that Day in the Life video so I could answer the same common question once and for all.
That way, when people would ask me that question, I could send them a link that explained everything.
Then the video went viral!
People from all around the world started hitting me up with questions.
So I kept cranking out YouTube content to answer people’s questions.
People were emailing me saying that my advice helped them get started in salesforce.
So I kept giving as much as I could.
At the same time, I was constantly telling my family and friends about Salesforce.
I would tell them that they needed to get into this industry if they wanted a better job!
But my advice to the family was falling short.
They would try doing Trailhead for a little bit.
Then they would quit because it was too overwhelming for them.
Then covid happened and I decided to move back to Tulsa.
I sold all my stuff and went back to live with the fam.
I lived with my mom, sister, and brother during the summer of 2020.
I tried to teach them salesforce during the summer of 2020, but I wasn’t a good teacher at the time lol.
They basically taught me how to teach (Which has helped a lot).
Towards the end of summer 2020, I was thinking about moving back to San Diego.
But my mom, sister, brother, and I had gotten so close that summer.
So we had a few deep conversations about what the next step was gonna be.
I told my mom that I'd pay the bills for a year if they agreed to learn Marketing Cloud.
I knew the only way I was gonna help them change their life was if I kept them accountable.
And the only way to do that was to live in the same house with them.
I had to keep them accountable or they would never get out of the job cycle they were in.
During those few important conversations, we decided to move to Houston together.
From August 2020 to August 2021, I taught my mom and sister everything I knew about Marketing Cloud.
It was a long battle that felt impossible at times.
But my mom and sister got certified and got jobs!
They were finally on the road to financial independence.
And they were able to take care of themselves.
But I was afraid to tell people about that experience for a long time.
I don’t know why.
Finding The Courage To Tell My Story
Then, in December 2022, I volunteered for a Marketing Cloud Email Specialist bootcamp.
During that bootcamp, I taught the Content Creation session.
For some reason, after I taught that session, Guilda asked about my story.
I told her the story of how I taught my mom and sister Marketing Cloud.
She listened to every detail as I shared my story with her.
And she was inspired.
She encouraged me to share my story everywhere I went!
She told me that I needed to be fearless.
And that I needed to shout my story from the rooftops.
For a while, I was still scared to share my story.
Then one day, I decided to go for it and be fearless.
I shared my story with the world through this blog post.
Then I shared the blog post on LinkedIn and people LOVED it!
It was in that moment that I realized something…
People want to hear about the struggle.
They also want to see how to overcome the struggle.
It's inspiring to people.
Fast forward to April 2023.
And Guilda told me told me that I had been chosen as the Trailblazer story for Salesforce connections.
I didn't even know what to say!
She virtually introduced me to the Salesforce film crew.
I spent the next few days sharing my story with the Salesforce film crew.
Next thing you know, we're shooting a documentary about my life.
It was a wild ride with the Salesforce film crew.
The first day of filming was at 4:00 AM in the morning at a park.
We went to Dallas Farmers markets and shot content.
We filmed at my apartment.
We filmed at Tennis courts.
We traveled the city of Dallas getting content for 3 days straight.
Next thing I know, I get an email from Salesforce that say I'm also going to be speaking with Sarah Franklin at Salesforce Connections.
So I had to pause because I went from not knowing anyone in 2018, to speaking at the main keynote in 2023.
It was a surreal moment for me because for years, I had been speaking this moment into existence.
For years, I had been saying:
“I’m going to speak on stage at a major Salesforce conference as a Keynote Speaker”
And my words came true.
The Proverb that says:
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue”
Is so true.
We're speaking our future into existence every day.
As I was on stage at Salesforce Connections, I heard Sarah something along the lines of:
“You’re the new Golden Hoodie Winner”
I was in absolute shock!
I knew that my story would be presented at the keynote.
I even knew that I would be speaking at the Keynote.
But nobody told me that I’d be awarded the “Golden Hoodie!
A little backdrop on what the Golden Hoodie represents:
The Golden Hoodie is Salesforce's way to say thank you to members of the Salesforce community who inspire others to achieve greatness in their careers, companies, and communities.
To be recognized by Salesforce for this achievement was wild to me!
Everything I had given to the community was being recognized by Salesforce.
It was unlike anything else.
So that's my story and how I got the Golden Hoodie at Salesforce Connections in 2023.
But as always, I try to give you the valuable lessons that I learned and show you how you can do what I've done.
So here you go!
Lesson #1 - To achieve greatness, you have to be vulnerable and share your story with other people.
It doesn't matter if people judge you.
All that matters is that you inspire even at least one person to be great.
You never know who's life you're going to change.
Lesson #2 - Give back to people based on what you’re currently learning (Document, don’t create)
If you document your journey and share what you’re going through, people will relate with your story.
If someone can’t relate to your story, it’s not your fault, it’s just your specific path and it’s not for everyone.
There is someone out there that can relate to your story and will be willing to learn from what you’ve been through.
Those are the lessons I've learned, but check out how can you do what I did step by step.
How You Can Achieve Salesforce Greatness
(A Step-By-Step Guide)
Step 1 - Give back as much as possible
Teach on Salesforce Webinars
Volunteer for Bootcamps
Teach people on your free time (Through Calendly, Zoom Calls, etc...)
Step 2 - Document your Journey
Don't be afraid to share your story
Post on YouTube
Post blogs on LinkedIn or your own blog
Write books or e-books
Start a newsletter and share your advice
Step 3 - Build a Community (Or Contribute to One)
Start chatting with people in LinkedIn DM’s
Invite people to Salesforce User Group Meetups
Go to the Salesforce User Group Meetups and talk to people
Step 4 - Continue to learn - Be a student of the game
And that's it.
That's my journey.
The 2023 Salesforce Connections experience was a complete turnaround from the first time I went in 2018.
And it’s all because I was made a vow to give back to the community.
I hope I could help inspire you to be as great as you can possibly be.
Remember this saying anytime you're wondering what you should do.
"Give and you shall Receive"
Giving without expecting anything in return will take you places you could never imagine.
Kaelan Moss - MinuteAdmin Out ✌🏽
PS - Some other highlights from June 2023 so far!
I passed the Marketing Cloud Developer certification on June 1st!!!
I was interviewed on the Salesforce Today show
And even had a reporter from diginomica magazine interview me privately
If you want to see the Main Salesforce Connections Keynote that I was in, you can watch the Main Keynote recording here.
I'm going to continue giving back to the community and getting involved as much as I can.
I'm going to consistently share my story with you (if that sounds interesting, opt in to the newsletter to get those weekly updates)
I'll be collaborating with others to share Salesforce Opportunities.
I'm going to continue learning and sharing the process.