How To Move Up The Ranks: 4 Steps To Go From Employee To CEO In 2 Years

Some of the greatest success stories have the humblest roots. Take Apple, for example, the tech giant that began with virtually no capital in Steve Jobs parents’ basement.

It’s amazing how, with enough determination and a will to get the job done, nearly anyone can create a business that is incredibly prosperous.

That’s exactly what we see with the story of Matt Gray, who worked as unpaid employee at Herb, the largest online publication for news and culture in cannabis, until they made him their CEO.

Gray attributes his success to finding problems within the business and then quickly solving them. “At the end of the day a lot of these companies just need a hustler–someone to really get work done at a rapid pace,” he says. “My approach was to just bring as much onto my plate as possible… at the end of a term you’re irreplaceable because so much of the business relies on you.”

Listen for the details about how he managed to pull this off on this week’s podcast episode, “How To Grow A Business By 2000% In 2 Years w/ Herb’s CEO Matt Gray.”

Herb, formally The Stoner’s Cookbook, was originally started eight years ago by two New Zealanders as a user generated site for recipes for cooking with cannabis. Over the last few years, it has evolved dramatically to produce viral, data-driven content around culture, news, and entertainment surrounding the cannabis industry worldwide.

Since Gray joined the Herb team two years ago, he’s helped them grow 2000%. His commitment to setting aggressive goals has elevated their Facebook page above the 6 million follower mark, and built a solid case for his position as CEO.

“Let your work speak for itself,” Gray says. “If you’re having to sell people extremely hard on what your worth is to something, then chances are the actual work you’re doing isn’t speaking for itself. It should pretty obvious to them whether they need you on board or not.”

Want to learn how to start from the bottom and land yourself as CEO? Follow these steps:

Take relentless action

When Gray decided he wanted to leave his tech company and switch industries to the cannabis space, he reached out to 2,500 people in 3 days to get his first lead. The way he saw it, “the more people I talked to something really positive had to happen, it is kind of like a numbers game.” If you want to switch careers or move into a new space, follow Gray’s lead. Every person you talk to will open doors for you in some capacity, even if it is to introduce you to someone else. Stay committed and the results you want will come.

Get on the calendar

Securing a spot on the CEO or founder’s calendar for even a brief phone chat will immediately give you an advantage. You will be able to listen for what is going on in the business and share what you can do to help and get involved. Gray says his first step was sending a simple, compelling email to the company’s founder. He stated his interests, skill set, and availability to work for next to nothing under the subject line, “10 minutes to chat on Tuesday?”

Most CEO’s are super busy, so keep in mind your email will probably be read on mobile. Keep it short and state the value upfront so you can make it an easy “yes” for the CEO to take the next step.

Be a team player

Learning how to mobilize the team and hold each person accountable is what will demonstrate your case for being a leader within the company. “Leaders create leaders,” is what millennial thought leader, Gerard Adams says. Be willing to lead by example in your actions and treat every challenge or problem like it is your responsibility. Your actions won’t go unnoticed and when it is time to make key decisions, your name will be at the top of mind.

Figure out how to help the company grow

When you are able to contribute to the company’s bottom line, your position and value solidify at a higher rank. Start by looking at what existing outlet will help the company’s bottom line grow the fastest and work from there. It could be in direct sales, email marketing, customer retention, fulfillment of services, etc. For Gray, he saw it was with social media and decided to put all his attention on growing their Facebook page. In just 2 years he got the page to over 6 million fans and an audience reach of upwards of 50 million. Ultimately allowing Herb to exponentially monetize and grow and making him the clear choice for CEO.

And the rest is history. How will you write your own?

This article was originally published on Forbes

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