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How to Attract TOP TALENT in a Competitive Market; A Logistics Niche | w/ Brent Orsuga

Skyler Irvine:

Joining me on the show is a good friend of mine, Brent Orsuga. Welcome to the show.

Do you mind explaining to my audience what it is you are up to these days?

Brent Orsuga:

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Brent Orsuga:

So again, Brent Orsuga here in North Scottsdale, work all over the country. And what I do is I own an executive recruiting company to the freight and logistics industry, and I started that company back in 2014. And we have literally almost doubled and scaled every single year since inception, and right now it is the busiest I have ever seen it. And I’ve done recruiting for 20 years, this is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Skyler Irvine:

This is one of my favorite kind of niches because sometimes you hop in on a niche and it’s so niche that no one ever hears about it. And then sometimes you hop onto something that becomes extremely popular and the media takes over and all of a sudden it’s front and center and it shines a spotlight on your niche. You are in freight and logistics at a time that we have never seen this amount of media attention, this many ships stuck in harbor waiting to even get their stuff onto these logistics, I’m curious what it’s been like for you to be working in such a niche industry for a while and then all of a sudden it seems like there’s a lot of more experts out there?

Brent Orsuga:

Well, it’s been very interesting to see because I’ve been in this space since 2009 and here’s the reality, supply chain is just not something that people talked about, but it is such an everyday aspect of our lives. And I always jokingly say, “No one even talked about it until you couldn’t get toilet paper last year.” Right? Then it was like, “Holy smokes, this is a real issue.” And right now, like you said, there’s a record being set at the port of Long Beach where there’s, I think, now 70 ships over there. What you have to understand is how many containers are on each ship, how much product, and that’s just unloaded, right? Once you actually unload it, then it still has to go out.

Brent Orsuga:

So supply chain and trucking and freight, it literally is an industry that cannot stop. There’s a crazy YouTube video that I kind of point a lot of people to, called Five Days Without A Truck, and it is eyeopening how much comes to a halt if those trucks stop moving. You got to think, no money in ATM’s, no medicines at hospital, no bed linen to these hospitals, no diapers, no toilet paper, no food. There’s so much that goes on, because here’s the reality, Skyler, everything comes on a truck, literally everything.

Skyler Irvine:

Yeah. And the long-term implications of things, where if it’s difficult to get fertilizer shipped today, that impacts crops for the next three to five years. And the logistics is really fascinating. And it’s what makes Amazon so special are the things that they’ve been able to accomplish logistically, not just selling literally everything to everyone, but some of that unsexy stuff is actually the most complicated, convoluted stuff. That, to me, it’s always been fascinating. But in this industry, what made you want to launch your own business? And how did any of your previous experience prior to 2009 help you with this endeavor, because this is quite a specific leap?

Brent Orsuga:

Yeah. I did recruiting really from 2003 to 2008 within the construction industry, especially here locally in Arizona. So for me, construction, it allowed me to be myself. It was kind of a blue collar guys’ guy industry, and so it allowed me just to be able to be authentic, communicate in a certain way. You put me in recruiting within legal, or healthcare, or engineers, I don’t know that, that jives up as fluid as it does here. So in ’09, when I had partnered with somebody that was in freight, construction to logistics kind of became very simple, because the industries were similar. Again, the quote I’ll never forget, “Riches are in the niches.” So once I got into it, I was like, “This is it. This is an industry that literally cannot go away, I’m going to go all in, learn everything I can.” And then fast forward to 2014, when I finally took that leap, bet on myself, and I started the company and here we are seven years later.

Skyler Irvine:

I think there’s a great takeaway there for anyone who’s on the fence about making a giant leap or a pivot in their careers is having the confidence when you find something that you know, will be around for a really long time. It’s one thing to make the leap and go start your own like CBD shop down the street because it’s a hot trend, versus jumping into an industry that you see as growing and can only get bigger and will be around for a long time. With where you are now in your business, what is the target client that you go after like today? And how has that changed in this crazy 18 months span we’ve had so far?

Brent Orsuga:

Yeah, well, I mean, I am about as niche specific as it gets, so we really focus only in three sectors. Number one, that’s called the asset-based side, which is companies that own their own trucks. Number two, the biggest sector that we play in is called a brokerage, so third party logistics companies. And number three, the last couple of years, a lot of the technology platforms. And going back to what Amazon has done to the industry, think about what Amazon does from a visibility and attracting standpoint, you place an order, you know where exactly that freight is almost all the time. You’ve even seen the shift within retail and e-commerce, if you don’t let your people know where the product is, you’re outdated, you’re a dinosaur now.

Brent Orsuga:

So it’s been crazy to see… You think of trucking in the past, and I’ve been in some of these offices where it was like bull horns on the desk, good old boy fax machines like paper, right? That is completely transformed. The industry is now so digital, so automated, so much is about this tracking and visibility that, that’s kind of been the next wave that we’ve piggybacked off of.

Brent Orsuga:

The other thing is this, there is so much private equity money coming into the industry that we just have those relationships and partnerships where now these companies are investing here $50 million a year. There was an article this morning where a local company here in Scottsdale emerged, just got $130 million. Today, they made that announcement in funding. So here’s the thing, if a company has given you $130 million, it’s not to buy ping pong tables and snacks for your team, right? It’s two things, technology and growth, meaning people, “I’m betting on you, go.” And so that’s where we kind of follow behind and be like, “All right, you got money to spend, let’s go buy the best talent possible.” So there’s just been a lot of moving parts that have come into the industry, and then we’re just really a big aspect of that behind the scenes.

Skyler Irvine:

What social media platform, or platforms, or technology do you have the most success for your business and why do you think that platform versus others?

Brent Orsuga:

We only really play on two platforms, and I would say 98% of how I built this business was on LinkedIn. I am a big believer in LinkedIn, I will scream from the mountain tops on the value of it. Because here’s the reality, Skyler, people do business with people they like and trust. There’s only so much that you can do behind a website and a static photo. What has worked well for us is drawing people in by showcasing who we are, who I am, as a person. This has become our new business development. I can’t tell you the last time I cold-called. It is all social selling.

Brent Orsuga:

So what I mean by that is I’ve been able to showcase exactly who I am behind the scenes as a person. If anyone follows me on there, including yourself, you’ll see it’s as simple as books that I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to. If I’m going to various, let’s say, personal development or coaching type items, being a part of entrepreneurs organization and showcasing myself within the community, being a part that, showing my team out and about if we go to Nashville or Chicago, like showing the hustle, the behind the scenes, right? So it’s been almost like a movie trailer dynamic, which I’m a big believer in, “Let me just give you a little teaser of who we are.” And it’s been amazing how much that has led to business coming to us just by showcasing that.

Skyler Irvine:

How are you able to break through the noise on a platform like LinkedIn? Every time I log in, I’ve got 15 new cold messages from people I don’t know, trying to sell to me in the first sentence. It makes the experience as a part-time user, not that beneficial. But for the people that use it really well, there’s so much benefit. How would you say you’re able to break through that noise and make connections on a platform that is as noisy as LinkedIn?

Brent Orsuga:

Because I never have an agenda to go in with an actual sales pitch. I’m trying to draw people in. But here’s what I’ve always said, “I want to show you who I am as a person, because I have one goal, I want you to see me enough within your feed where you’re like, “You know what, that guy seems like a good dude. That guy seems like someone that’s authentic, real, no BS, and I would have a conversation with them.” So the more that I’m able to do that, but also when I do get the opportunity to speak and it is real, like this is not some persona, this is not some character, this is not some facade, what you see is what you get. So that authenticity, which I think is a broad word, but when that comes through and people are like, “Man, I feel like I know you without even talking to you.”

Brent Orsuga:

Here’s been the other differentiator for me, and I can only speak on my experience, implementing video. Not many people do it. And so for me, I had the aha moment back in 2018 when LinkedIn first started turning on video and I just did it with my iPhone. It wasn’t some fancy production, this was literally my iPhone and me. But the next conference that I went to, it was the eyeballs that I had because it was, as I walked through the hallway, and people were like, “God, I feel like I’ve known that guy. I’ve seen that guy before.” Like they’re doing the double-take, right? That was the aha moment. And then it was when people came up to me and said, “Hey, I really enjoy your content. I enjoy your positive message. I like what you put out.”

Brent Orsuga:

These weren’t people that were liking it, they weren’t commenting on it, but they were seeing it. That is when I had the aha moment that, “You know what? I’m going to go all in here.” Because here’s the reality too, Skyler, it blows my mind how many peoples are so hesitant to put themselves on camera, because they say, “I don’t like how I sound. I don’t like how I look.” And my pushback on that is like, “Well, what are you portraying to the marketplace?” If you don’t have that confidence, if you don’t have some of that little swagger, how are customers or people going to be drawn into you? People love winners. Show them who you are, put yourself out there and you’d be amazed what comes back?

Skyler Irvine:

I always chuckle when I hear the response of, “I don’t like to do video because I don’t like the sound of my voice or what I look like.” And then it’s like, “Well, why would you ever leave the house? You’re at this conference, you’re meeting people. You are getting face-to-face time. You still look the same. You still sound the same.” But it is a common obstacle that people maybe create for themselves because they’re kind of comparing their iPhone video today to someone’s 400th production video quality style, and they don’t look the same, but that’s not really who they’re competing with. And watching your journey and watching how you progressed from iPhone to production to consistency has been really impressive.

Skyler Irvine:

I’d like to ask you now, what would you say is a common myth either about your industry or recruiting altogether, and how would you want to correct that?

Brent Orsuga:

Well, I think anytime somebody hears recruiter, it’s like, “Oh, so can you help me get a job?” Or, “Hey, my cousin just lost a job, can you help them?” So for me again, it’s so niche-y in what we do, but I think there’s a common misconception that recruiters help people find jobs. In reality, you have to remember who we work for to a degree, it’s really the companies. The companies are coming to us to pay, in essence, a sign-on bonus, a premium to get talent that they can’t get on their own. So we really become an extension of these companies. So that’s why, as a recruiter, you have to know these companies inside and out. That was the biggest differentiator for us from the niche is, I would travel all over the country. I would go inside these offices. I would meet leadership. I wanted to see and feel the culture myself.

Brent Orsuga:

Culture is a loose term, it is very easy to feel, it is very hard to define. S, so many companies say, “Well, we have amazing culture.” Well, what does that mean, and then what do they sell? Features… “Well, we have a ping pong table. We have a gym in the building. We have free coffee and snacks for you. It’s work hard, play hard.” So what does that mean, your people hit the phones during the days and then binge drink at night? I don’t know what that means. Culture, to me, is much more about energy, leadership and environment where people are collaborating, winning. That’s what’s going to gravitate people in. If you have people playing ping pong during the day, that’s not a company or people that I would want to represent.

Skyler Irvine:

What’s something that’s occurred, since you’ve launched your business, that you completely did not expect?

Brent Orsuga:

Social selling, because I remember early on, from a business development standpoint, being the person that was hitting the phones, “Hey, give me an opportunity. . I can get out there and help you find people.” I’m being honest when I say, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had to pick up a phone. Everything now is inbound because of what we do outbound. And what I mean by that is, again, giving our audience, if you will, a glimpse into who we are. People have now seen us enough on LinkedIn, myself and others, to be like, “Wow, they look like good people. They know their stuff. I know they know this industry.” So I went from broad down to narrow and now we’ve become the go-to people within that space because we can back up what we say.

Skyler Irvine:

In your opinion then, what is the most important personality trait that, someone who wants to be in the recruiting industry or be successful in a job like yours, what is one or two of the top strengths that someone would need to either have naturally or spend some time working on?

Brent Orsuga:

I’ll say two things, number one, recruiting and sales to me is nothing more than an exchange of energy. My job is to get you excited about what I’m talking about, that’s recruiting. Now you remember, in theory, I’ve probably been doing recruiting my whole life. This goes back to being with your childhood friends, “Hey, let’s go play this sport. Hey, let’s go watch this movie.” Going over to ASU, “Hey guys, tonight let’s go to these bars.” Like it’s being a person of influence, that’s really what recruiting is, I’m drawing you in to the idea that I have and trying to get you to say yes. So energy is so key when it comes to that, because if I was just like, “Hey, Skyler, I have this amazing job in Glendale. I think you would really like it. Does that sound good?” That’s one thing.

Brent Orsuga:

But if I’m like, “Skyler, you have to trust me, this company is an absolute rocket ship. I have the ability to get you not just with HR, but literally the owner of the company. Do you not think that’s worth the 10-minute call?” You see the difference right there?

Brent Orsuga:

Number two, in recruiting, you have to be able to remove emotion. We have the only product that has a brain and can think for itself. People do funny things, right? So you cannot involve emotion because once you do that, this stuff will eat you alive. You have to stay the course, be confident, understand where you’re playing and just keep moving forward every, every single day.

Skyler Irvine:

You are someone who really embraced a niche early on and knew what you were doing, how would you say you then were able to brand yourself in that niche in a way that you didn’t feel like was cutting off other potential business?

Brent Orsuga:

I’m a big sports person, I know you are as well. I always thought about this, everybody, and especially the pros, is an athlete. They get contracts in one sport. Do you not think Booker can probably play golf, throw a football, hit a baseball? The guy’s athletic, he can probably do anything, right? But where’s he getting his $200 million from? One thing, you have to dominate and be so good at one thing.

Brent Orsuga:

Now, something that I did talk about niche, and even going back to LinkedIn, in 2014 when I started this company, you know how you can put a tagline under your photo? I put, “The top recruiter in freight and logistics.” You know what? I didn’t have one client. But you know what I had? Self-belief. Because I knew that I was so invested by this point, five years already in this space, that I was the guy, I was the person, and I was going to outwork anybody to dominate that space. Now, I’ve never changed that part. Who can take it from me? So a lot of it had to be correlation with not only me saying it, but doing the work behind the scenes to actually validate it.

Skyler Irvine:

Okay, we’re going to get into a speed round. And by speed round, it just means different set of questions, it’s not very fast so don’t feel rushed. What’s your favorite productivity hack and how did you discover it?

Brent Orsuga:

Again, I’m going to talk about what we do. One thing that I figured out is when you are what I call “tapping shoulders and sending messages to people”, a lot of recruiters will sit there throughout the day and either cold-call people or to send e-mails throughout the day. The people we want, are currently working for somebody else. I don’t want to be stuck in the middle of their 100 emails. So I’ve always taken the approach that, you know what? I’m going to hit them at night, I’m going to hit them on the weekends. And I also want to make sure that I’m one of the first emails that they see in the morning, because if you’re doing it at 11:00 during the day or 2:00 in the afternoon, you’re lost in the shuffle.

Brent Orsuga:

But think about what most of us do, I don’t know that it’s right or wrong, but first thing you do when you wake up, or at least within the first 30 minutes, you grab your phone and you do a quick skim, right? You’re starting the day with, “Hey, what’s going on and what’s coming up?” If I’m one of those people that you see, it changes the complete trajectory. You’re a little more engaged. Then what I do, which might sound awful, but you got to tap into Sunday Scaries, right? Sunday Scaries is real. What that means is about 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, people start to be depressed. They go, “God, I got to get ready for Monday.” And if they don’t like their job, guess who’s going to be in their ear? So I have been, what I call, playing a mental chess game to a degree because I have to know when to get in front of you. That’s been a big game changer for myself and our team.

Skyler Irvine:

I’m glad you touched on that on your own, because I was going to bring that up, as the people who really dislike their jobs are the ones who definitely check their phones immediately when they wake up. It’s usually just to see what else is out there, or waking up with that pit in their stomach and trying to diffuse it any way they can. I’m familiar with those people, I’ve been those people.

Brent Orsuga:

For sure.

Skyler Irvine:

What is an underrated tool that you would say is indispensable to your job?

Brent Orsuga:

You have to be a very much a self-starter and a driven individual because no one’s giving you anything. We are in a position as recruiters, we are being asked, in essence to steal people away from one company and bring them to another. I compare a lot of things to what we do like being a sports’ agent, I’m taking somebody from one team, having them switch jerseys and getting them paid to make that move. That’s not easy. It’s one thing to post a job and reply to people that are coming to you. I don’t ever post jobs, I don’t ever sit back and watch what comes to me. It is all gas, no brakes. I’m coming at you, so I play offense, not defense, 24/7. That mindset and that approach to the business will completely change things. You have to be proactive, not reactive. Most people aren’t.

Skyler Irvine:

What is an occupation other than your own, and I might have to add other than professional athlete, that you would want to try?

Brent Orsuga:

I find great joy in doing things like this. I enjoy public speaking. I love coaching. I think as somebody that literally came from the mud and built a business from nothing, I have been through every scenario you can imagine, and that continually changes. Just last week, went through something I had not experienced. So being able to coach, mentor, give guidance is something that is very gratifying to me. Because as I built and scaled this business, having mentors and having people around me who have done stuff that I haven’t, has been such a game changer. Because if you go about building a business alone, it’s really hard. When you build that circle around yourself of people that not only support you, but have had experiences that they can share with you, it just makes this journey so much easier.

Skyler Irvine:

What are two or three books, and I might even throw a podcast in there, that you’d recommend to my audience, and why those?

Brent Orsuga:

I’m a big podcast and book person. There’s probably a couple, there’s one that I actually posted on LinkedIn this morning that I just got done reading, which is crazy. It’s called, You Are What You Click. And here’s the reality, social media is here. It’s part of our everyday lives. But what you have to realize is we still, to a degree, as much as we can control it, do have the ability to block, remove negative people, negative news. And you have to protect your mind at all times. And that’s what this is about is, what are you really following? What are you really putting in front of your eyeballs? Are you dealing with high school buddy drama from 20 years ago? Are you constantly watching the negativity and the news, like what are you feeding your brain? And that book was eyeopening as far as like, “Hey, you kind of need to do an audit,”, number one.

Brent Orsuga:

Number two, I think just for people in business and life and careers, there’s an amazing book called Who, simply Who. And what that saying is that the reality is, the people that you need to know to help you make changes, you probably already know. So a lot of people go to these networking events and they hand out business cards, and what really comes of that? If you really do, I’ll use that word again, audit and think about the network that you’ve built out now, you’re probably only one phone call away from connecting some dots, but are you tapping into that?

Brent Orsuga:

Number three, if I go to podcasts, one that I really enjoy is actually called… I enjoy many, but one’s called The Science of Success, and it really taps into the brain and philosophy around decision-making, habits, patterns, why things actually happen. And they bring out a lot of amazing business owners, speakers, just to talk about more of the philosophical types of things, which I really enjoy.

Skyler Irvine:

Those are some great recommendations. One thing that jumped out to me when you were talking about Who was, you probably already know the people you need to know. I also see that a lot with people desperately trying to grow a social media audience is, they’re too busy trying to grow the numbers that they completely ignore the current numbers they have.

Brent Orsuga:

Yep.

Skyler Irvine:

And by really embracing the current audience is actually the best way to grow because they’re the ones that will start to share your stuff, and promote you, and get other people to follow. And that’s a really good mind switch, so I’d be excited to check out this book Who.

Skyler Irvine:

Before we get going, and we’re about to wrap up, what’s one question you wish that I’d asked you and how would you have answered it?

Brent Orsuga:

I feel like a lot of people ask me about routine, like what is your morning routine? What are your patterns? Because I’m a big believer that success leaves clues, and when you start to understand about the 4:00 AM dynamic, the 5:00 AM dynamic, how people really start their day… Because here’s the reality, you can start your day reacting to other people coming at you, or you can control the morning and make it about yourself, whether that be journaling, working out, spending time with the family. Because once you invite the world in, they’re going to come at you, you’re like an octopus, all day long, grabbing at you. Right?

Brent Orsuga:

And so it’s like for me, I protect the morning. That is my time. I will let you know when I’m going to take care of other people. But if I don’t get that part right, when am I going to get that back? So for me, I’m a big 4:00 AM morning person and I control that start of the day. So I feel like that’s really something to… And that’s a question I ask even when I talk to people and candidates, “Talk to me about how you start your day. What’s your morning? What’s your routine.” I want to know because it tells me a lot about how they’re wired too.

Skyler Irvine:

I see that a lot with professionals and entrepreneurs who will find themselves saying that they get so much more done if they spend an hour or two at a coffee shop versus all day at the office.

Brent Orsuga:

Yep.

Skyler Irvine:

And it’s usually the offense-defense thing, when you go to a coffee shop to quickly work, you hit your goals quickly. When you go to the office, you kind of let things happen to you. You got customers calling, you got emails to check. You’ve got employees to bring up their issues, you’re putting out those fires. I think that’s really good stuff, Brent. This was awesome. I’m really glad I got to share a lot of these things with my audience.

Skyler Irvine:

Where’s the best place for people to connect with you and learn more about you? I would have to assume LinkedIn.

Brent Orsuga:

Yeah, I would say that’s probably the best spot, Brent Orsuga, O-R-S-U-G-A. You’ll actually see what I talked about when I said “The top freight recruiter.” And so that’s really, I think, where a lot of content or ideas… Like a lot of people joke about R&D, Research and Development. You know what it’s really called? A rip-off and duplicate. And so if you see something’s working, just kind of piggyback off of that. So I think people can get really good ideas about what works on that platform, because I get asked a lot about that.

Brent Orsuga:

And then on Instagram, we created a company page, Pinnacle Growth Advisors, and that’s kind of a different set of eyeballs, a different audience. I give a little bit more of a day in the life type feel there. And that can be me hiking pinnacle, that can be us at the office. Right? So it’s like, those are the two platforms that I think people would like to engage, or I think they would find value.

Skyler Irvine:

And when are you launching your podcast?

Brent Orsuga:

That’s a good [crosstalk 00:28:17]. I know, I’ve got a lot. Well, you’re going to help me with that, so we’ve got to figure that out.

Skyler Irvine:

We’re here anytime. Absolutely, Brent.

Skyler Irvine:

Brent, thanks so much, man. I’m really glad we got to connect. I’m glad you’re doing… you’re busy. Hopefully, it works itself out. But man, it doesn’t like it’s going to do that anytime soon. So I appreciate you. Thank you so much. And everybody, connect with Brent. He’s definitely someone you want to be following.

 

Links

  • 5 Days Without a Truck – YouTube
  • You Are What You Click – Book
  • Who – Book 
  • The Science of Success – Podcast