Coach, mentor and sales professional Joseph Olewitz spent 14 years generating growth and implementing business development plans at multi-national digital agencies before founding his own company, 22nd Story Strategies, in 2010. Created in response to demand from entrepreneurs and executives who realized that an experienced individual such as Olewitz could provide invaluable opinions and guidance with regards to revenue growth, 22nd Story Strategies has helped a wide range of businesses meet and exceed their sales and revenue goals.
Based in New York City, Olewitz works with companies around the world, helping them build and implement strategic plans for revenue growth based on existing and new business models plus building teams that maximize their earning potential.
How did you initially get your start in the field of sales, marketing and business development?
My Dad introduced me to business when I was very, very, young. He ran an apparel manufacturing company and, while he taught me every aspect of the business from cutting swatches with a pinking shears to running the whole thing, he must have emphasized selling and revenue because that’s most of what I remember.
Throughout your professional career, who have been your biggest influences and inspirations?
My Dad, of course. Josseline, my wife, partner, sounding board, and conscience in everything. Werner Erhard from whom I learned the importance of my word, the power of my intention, the value of listening, and major presentation skills. My daughter Chloe who is a writer and often reminds me that there’s value in shortening my communications. The Dalai Lama and Pope Francis, who both exemplify kindness and compassion – important personal and business traits that I sometimes forget. Plus a very important list of colleagues from whom I continuously learned what worked and what didn’t.
What made you decide to found 22nd Story Strategies? Was there a particular moment that made you decide to take the leap and start your own company?
This is the “timing-is-everything” answer. I had owned and run companies before and decided in 1990 to give up CEO responsibilities to focus on selling and business development, which represent the most joyous business tasks to me and also are the highest and best uses of my skills. Then in 2009, as a result of my agency combining a number of shops under one roof, I took advantage of a great separation package, left the agency and took some consulting assignments while I looked for a similar, senior management position in global Biz Dev.
Within three months, the agency who had been my employer for nine years had become my first consulting client, I had several additional service company clients and was having a lot of fun giving strategic advice on selling while working with clients to implement that advice. I found myself so busy that there was no time to look for a “job” so, after three months, I stopped looking and formed 22nd Story Strategies.
How has 22nd Story Strategies evolved since 2010?
We’ve gone through several iterations, starting with a few assignments where I worked only with agency executives and then expanded to include consulting clients, global brands offering products, several SaaS offerings in social media, and a few start-ups. I’ve been able to augment my services with many talented freelancers – many of whom I worked with during my years in the agency world – and those people now form the core team that is available to all my clients. During that time, I also agreed to serve on a few business advisory boards and was very glad to be able to make a contribution in that way.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There is no real “typical” work day, though there are some regularly repeating tasks.
a. I begin every day with meditation.
b. I try to get to the gym at least three times a week.
c. I consider it a great day if I’ve spent most of my time on the phone and/or in meetings with clients.
d. The next largest time chunk is in executing research and writing reports for clients.
e. I’m trying to limit my exposure to certain time-suck activities like email, so lately I’ve been making it a practice to check my email first thing in the morning and then again late afternoon; plus maybe one additional time per day. I find this a difficult task.
f. I allocate some time every day to writing for my blog and for the book I’m writing about the impact of building relationships on services revenue growth.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The competitive nature of finding and winning a new client, especially when the relationship turns out to be win-win and long-term nurturing to all the parties – that, to me, is the ultimate accomplishment in business.
How do you unwind after a long day?
I read from many different areas of philosophy, religion and history plus fast-moving fiction of all genres including sci-fi, detective, and adventure. I am passionate about the U.S. Supreme Court and will talk about its importance at the drop of a hat. I frequently listen to opera and podcasts about a variety of subjects. Getting my hands in the dirt as I garden on my NYC terrace always brings a smile to my face. I’ve discovered that meditation in the morning is an awesome tool for not really needing to unwind at the end of the day as much as I used to. It leaves me more centered and balanced throughout everything.
If you could invite any three Supreme Court justices from throughout history to your home for dinner, who would you choose?
Three supreme court justices I’d invite to dinner:
a. John Marshall (Appointed 1801) – his opinions formed the core of our historically most foundational decisions and I’d love to ask him what he thinks about today’s court
b. Earl Warren (Appointed 1953) – In a short period of time, he participated in some of the greatest decisions in the history of the court and our nation including those ending segregation, providing Miranda rights, requiring “one man–one vote” rules, and ending public school-sponsored prayers.
c. The Notorious RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Appointed 1993) – She’s totally willing to loudly carry a banner for women’s equality, I’d love to hear about her successes while fighting what, on the surface, looked like a losing battle.
d. And, if you gave me one more invitee, I might ask Antonin Scalia (Appointed in 1986) – Because I’d love the opportunity to convince him that regardless of his obvious intellect, much of his textualist, originalist, and minority-opinion thinking is not considerate of all the humans it affects. (And it doesn’t hurt that he and RBG frequently go to the opera together.)
What’s the best video game you’ve played recently?
It’s not really a “video” game, but I’m a little obsessed these days with SpellTower where I’m currently trying to beat my personal best score of 286,520 points.
What do you miss most about your childhood years?
These ARE my childhood years… I’m doing it backwards. As a youngster, I was way too serious so I’m learning every day from the younger people around me how to have carefree and child-like fun.
What is your guiding philosophy on life and business?
My philosophy of life is the same for personal and business and it is rooted in two main principles:
(1) There’s plenty to go around.
(2) Integrity is critical and there is no such thing as partial integrity.
With regard to abundance, I consistently offer advice, information, and solutions because it will benefit someone else – regardless of the impact on me. The same with love. I see no scarcity anywhere and I am certain that the universe is whole and complete.
Integrity imbues every part of everything I do and a major element is telling the truth. That doesn’t mean always saying everything that’s on my mind but it does entail being counted on by others never to fudge the truth or misrepresent anything. People always know where they stand with me and because I am consistent I never worry about what I might have said to them before. In business, a core example of this principle is being willing to admit that maybe my competitor is a better solution. Hard to do? Yes. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s the way to become a trusted advisor – the secret path to success both on the road to revenue growth and in developing a personal life that is nurturing and rewarding.