“I Was In The Middle Of Divorce When Your Speech Began, But I’m Making The Decision To Stop The Paperwork, Move Home, And Focus On My Marriage.”
An Inspiring Conversation with Klyn Elsbury, author of “I AM ___: The Untold Story of Success”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Klyn Elsbury, (pronounced Kay-lynn). Co-Founder of Landmark Makers, a national full service recruitment firm, and author of the international best seller I AM ___: The Untold Story of Success. Her book is a blend of raw emotion and inspiring wisdom. It draws a parallel between what it means to live as if every day is your last and what it means to create a highly impactful legacy through entrepreneurship and athleticism. Through gripping interviews with influential entrepreneurs and athletes such as Boomer Esiason, Sharon Lechter, the co-founder of Netflix, and many others; the reader is taken on a journey of what success is, what success is not, and how you can live a powerful life while creating change in the world. Her story has been featured in numerous publications including Manifest Station, Zumba blog, and she has appeared on several shows including KPBS, NPR, Connected Women of Influence, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
In 2014, after being forced to quit my professional recruiting career due to excessive hospitalizations from complications of Cystic Fibrosis, I was confined to a wheelchair with my lung function plummeting below 40%. When I was informed my insurance would deny me the life-saving drug, Orkambi, I created a campaign eventually leading to being featured on KPBS, NPR, and NBC Nightly News W Lester Holt; where 24 hours after the show aired, I found out I would not only receive the drug, but so would hundreds of patients in California.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company.
I was hospitalized for an exteneded period of time, literally the day I hired my first employee.
That’s when the light bulb went off, I needed to build a company that could survive without me, with a team that could press on if I wasn’t available… I spent that entire hospitalization writing the “recruitment guide” which we later dubbed the proactive pipeline.. This guide is 387 pages of what to do in any situation, from sourcing candidates, to negotiation salary offers, to help my team figure out what to do. We later started selling those guides to HR Managers, Recruiters, and Entrepreneurs, to help them achieve their hiring goals.
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We have a principle called “Have Each Other’s Back” and it’s the most important reason we exist. Seriously… I’m a total mess. I screw up about every 3 hours, I’ve never built a company before. But my team, my goodness, I love them.
When they mess up or when I mess up, it’s a conversation, not an attack. We don’t worry about “job security” because we’re secure as long as the company exists. We hire personality, train skill. Recruiting, especially with the guides I created, is learnable. There’s nothing overly proprietary about it. But the employees, are all we have.
For example, an assistant messed up, cost us like $8000. She was overwhelemed with the projects, I thought she was bored. So there was an error.
We kind of looked at each other, had a conversation, decided to turn it into copy writing for Linkedin, and it garnered over a million hits, resulting in more business than we thought possible.
She’s worth more than 8k. I hired her for so many reasons.
I’d hate to think how many thousands of dollars I cost the company, but here we are, crushing it as a team.
Yitzi: 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?
Don Langmo… He fired me from recruiting a few years ago, for all the right reasons. But my “fireside chats” while I was employed by him, changed my life. He talked about financial success, sales practices, KPI’s, etc.. He lead by principle, taught me that the best way to evaluate a future candidate is by their lifestyle, not necessarily what they “say” in an interview. I have so much respect for him.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I mean, it’s never been officially verified, but I heard from a CF spokesperson after my NBC episode aired, approx. 500 people in California were able to get approved for that drug.
In 2017, I spoke at Alchemy, for the Entrepreneurs Organization, and a guy came up to me later and said, “ I was in the middle of divorce when your speech began, but I’m making the decision to stop the paperwork, move home, and focus on my marriage.” That was everything to me.
Love is my why.
The thought that my words could influence love, means more to me than anything else.
Yitzi: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why.
1) Let go of your need to be right
2) It’s not glamorous. It’s fucking tough.
3) At first they mock you, then they ask you how you did it
4) Get everything in writing
5) Smile everyday. IF you hate what you’re doing, shift.
Yitzi: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Gary V. He’s got a tell it like it is mentality. He’s not sugar coating anything. Some people aren’t meant for a business, and that’s okay. Some people play it safe by only having one, that’s not okay. Be humble, be proud, impress yourself. On top of that, he’s incredibly giving to his fans and really passionate about helping others. Just inspiring guy.
Yitzi:This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.