As a part of my series about the “5 Things Retirees Say They Wish They Were Told Before They Began Retirement, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yuval Shalev, Co-Founder and CRO of Hunterz.io. Fascinated by technological innovation and big ideas that change people’s lives for the better, Yuval built businesses from scratch and led sales with companies of all sizes. He spends his time focusing on achieving Hunterz.io full potential by rapidly-growing its user base and business. Born, raised & based in Israel, Yuval lives with his wife, three boys and Dogue de Bordeaux. In his spare time he enjoys long distance running and trying to sound like his guitar heroes.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Yuval! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Both myself and my co-founder have backgrounds in senior sales and business development roles at large, multinational companies such as CISCO and F5 Networks, as well as small startups. We benefited from the power of internal sales networks and company connections within these corporations to generate new business and close deals. Conversely, we were also aware of the challenges that smaller companies face when trying to compete. We wanted to create a platform that leveled the playing field.
We also saw an opportunity to help many of our close friends and network connections who are sales pros in the later stages of their careers. It was frustrating to see how as they gained more experience and connections, it actually became harder for them to find full time positions. We realized that there are millions of professionals out there that are dealing with the same problems.
Hunterz.io helps startups compete with the big guys by connecting them with the perfect sales freelancer who can get them in the door of their dream customers and start the sales conversation.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I have traveled extensively for work over the course of my career. Occasionally, you encounter cultures or government practices that seem bizarre or different than your own. I recall landing in Luanda, Angola and being taken from the passport control directly to a questioning room without a word said or any explanation given. All my belongings were taken from me, and I sat in a room guarded by an immigration officer for 90 mins, while other officers came in and out of the room without a word. Eventually, I got my things back and was free to leave. Traveling teaches you to be patient and stay calm, which certainly helps in other aspects of your career.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
As we were meeting investors for our seed round, we encountered different types of people, with different styles and decision making processes. We would finish back to back meetings and be given contradictory feedback, which was frustrating at first. Eventually you realize that you know your business better than the investors you meet, and you just need to focus on the ones that are looking for reasons to invest, not the ones giving you reasons not to.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
During my army service in Israel, I served under two commanders who taught me doggedness, persistence, and that you are only as strong as your team. I have lived by these principles even after my service ended and I entered the private sector.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
In my experience, the best things you can do to prevent burnout is to find meaning in your work, choose a workplace that is a good cultural fit, and finally take care of your body. Sports work best for me.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
My ideal company culture begins with full transparency; always speak the truth face-to-face when possible. Provide team members with space and autonomy. Lastly, in my experience, life and work are one…don’t try to balance them.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact nearly every aspect of one’s life. Obviously everyone’s experience is different. But In your experience, what are the 5 most common things that people wish someone told them before they retired?
1. You will never fully disconnect from their professional passion even if you are no longer actively involved.
2. You will miss the fulfillment or excitement of your past career — it’s important to find other passions or outlets to stay challenged and engaged.
3. Make an effort to reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with over the years and don’t lose touch with those you knew professionally. It’s important to stay social even after you’re retired.
4. You don’t need to retire all at once. It’s totally acceptable to slowly pull back your hours or projects or transition to consulting opportunities. You don’t have to be 100% retired to enjoy retirement.
5.Lets zoom in on this a bit. If you had to advise your loved ones about the 3 most important financial issues to keep in mind before they retire, what would you say? Can you give an example or share a story?
1. While it’s important to save for retirement, it’s worth investigating other ways where you can earn income on your own schedule or doing something you love.
2. If you plan to continue working in some capacity during retirement, make sure you find ways to stay current on your industry’s trends and that you’re continuing to add new skills or connections. There’s no reason not to stay at the top of your game and earn accordingly.
3. Have a back up plan should your budgeted retirement not go as planned. Perhaps you’ll need to retire earlier than expected or your expenses will be higher than you planned. How can you grow your retirement funds now or have a backup plan to increase your income down the road?
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The gig economy is all around us, from how you get to work to how your work gets done. At the same time, social media networks like LinkedIn have encouraged us to maintain and grow our networks. You never know when a connection will help you or someone you know. Hunterz.io combines these two mega trends on its global platform to help startups grow and freelance professionals find new income sources. Humans have such untapped potential if they can deploy it flexibly and at scale using technology. We’ve just scratched the surface of the “human cloud” potential.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Meir Shalev (no relation) is an Israeli novelist I love. His best seller, translated to English under the name “The Blue Mountain”, and a second book called “Esau” both revolve around the social, pioneering, and agricultural experience before the establishment of the state of Israel. The lives and idealism of this era’s characters fascinate me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Who Dares Wins” — While just three words, they say so much about human nature and how we choose to live our lives.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!