August 23, 2023

Episode #95: Fernando Leon – Single Point of Contact

Fernando Leon was born and raised in San Jose, California. Fernando has worked at various firms in the past 38 years. He worked in various capacities at UPS, Xerox, Amdahl and several startups before landing at Single Point of Contact in June of 2001. During his tenue at Xerox, he was introduced to the networking side of the business and the rest is history when it comes to technology. His technology journey took him from managing a network, restoring data, producing shows for an online chat startup to his current career, sales and marketing. Fernando is the VP of Sales/Marketing for Single Point of Contact located in Palo Alto, California. They work primarily with small IT service businesses who have challenges scaling their offering and providing expertise for projects they do not have in-house. The main objective is to empower small IT firms with service offerings they cannot deliver 24×7. We have helped hundreds of clients in the past two decades and the demand for IT services grows each year. We currently support over 200 networks and work with firms all over the world. We also provide our clients assistance on sales calls. Most of our clients struggle with presenting a proactive solution and our team is here to assist with those types of calls. Contact us if your IT firm struggles with scaling their business or you want to transition from a break/fix to the MSP model. Contact us here


hello this is coach Tim cancel and I’m your host for the self-made as a myth make a difference together show where we are talking with successful business owners about the journeys to building their business and because we know that success in business is not something that we can do on our own we’re taking some time to recognize the folks who have helped us to excel today I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from California with us today my guest is a self-taught and driven businessman having not attended a university and I’m growing up just with his mom to look have him tell us a little bit more about that and in his downtime he enjoys hikes with his wife and while they’re walking the dogs and he’s most proud to be married to the woman whose leadership skills and love has shaped his family and we’re going to ask him to explain that here in a minute because that is uh just sounds awesome it’s my pleasure to welcome Fernando to the show today hello Fernando hey how’s it going thank you for having me awesome well fantastic hey um I am doing well thanks for asking and I’m excited to hear a little bit more about uh your story and and share with our audience so let’s start uh with having you introduce yourself tell us uh a little bit of your personal story like where you were born and live and about your family and hobbies sure sure so uh my name is Fernando Leon I’m the VP of sales and marketing for a managed security service provider we’re uh we’re responsible for keeping our clients networks secure and operating 24 7. so we’re responding to all kinds of alerts and uh remediating any type of network issues so that’s what my professional side is on the personal side well what did you want to have me touch on there where wherever you born where do you live now and tell us about your family well born in San Jose California been here for 58 years so uh I haven’t left but we love it we love Northern California it’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family um I’ve been married to my wife for the past 20 plus years and uh we built uh well we’ve obviously had a great we have a great relationship she uh she is a remarkable woman and like I said in the in the in the questionnaire she has shaped my life she is my inspiration as is my daughter they’re both are they are the heartbeat of the family I’m just in the background really I just say I’m an employee

right I’m just here and I’m a I’m a producer is what I really am because they are the ones that are really directing and uh providing you know my wife is the financial planner she’s is an amazing investor she’s been amazing with our finances she’s just she’s an overall amazing person she came from Mexico right uh but I don’t want to say the amount of years ago because she hates him when I mention her age but yeah yeah she’s been here a little while but um she is just a remarkable person her her life story is inspirational in itself because she came here uh when she was just seven years old and she made something of herself she is just just so amazing and uh she her and I raised a uh young lady now which is she’s just turned 21 a few months back and she’s off to college but those two men they’re like two peas in a pod because they are so similar and I just I just sit back and watch them and go man you guys are just phenomenal all right so what’s their names Araceli is my wife’s name and Gia is our daughter’s name fantastic now you mentioned that you like to go on Hikes so where where’s your favorite place to hike so we have a spot we go every weekend it’s called Quicksilver it’s about five miles from here it’s a nice it’s a nice five mile hike we see a lot of wildlife Wildlife from deers wild turkeys my Wives come across a bobcat oh wow yeah that she got a little spooked on that but she’s uh and obviously all the birds and all that woodpeckers we see a lot of woodpeckers out there but it’s just amazing Wildlife that you see out there so so Fernando I’m I’m sure just because of the way that you just talked about your family that there’s I I’ve gotta assume there’s a funny story that your family likes to tell about you is there one that you’d be willing to share with us today uh uh well they just say well you know I I do love to tell jokes I’m uh I’m a big Joker at family events I love to I’m not really one that loves to have all the attention on me but when there’s a little down time and people are getting a little you know the families uh uh looking for a good laugh I love to tell a great joke and I have lots of them but some a lot of them would say they’re inappropriate

but I do love to tell jokes and that’s probably one of the things my family loves to see even though they’re they could be a little bit inappropriate they’re they love to see that side of me because it’s just it brings joy to me to make others laugh it’s just a it’s a great time and my dad was like that my dad was him and I are very much alike when it came to telling stories and jokes and things like that yeah well hey I know you’re um you’re actually got your uh your hand in a few different businesses so tell us how the business came about and at what point did you have the confidence that you could run your own business well back in 2001 I’m sure a lot of uh your listeners would uh can relate that it was just an awful time right 2001 was the the collapse of era and then 911 occurred I had just started at single point of contact and we were barely staying afloat in June and as we so to to to um to take a few steps back I I the CEO of single point of contact him and I have worked at a startup and he knew me because uh I don’t know I guess he just liked my personality and he thought hey come and work for me you got a great personality for sales I know you’re part of the production team et cetera et cetera and all that he goes come and do sales for me I think you could do well and that’s when I first got into sales and uh he knew my background he knew I didn’t have an education he knew that I was uh but he knew I was a go-getter I was the first one in the office last one to go I was just always hustling so he liked that he and and I had no idea he had his own side hustle back then you know the side hustle wasn’t really a term for uh back in 2001. so I came to work for him and things were as right before 9 11 we started to hit a little momentum and then boom the the the the the the wind from our sails was just taken out because of 9 11. and um we uh we struggled to get some uh additional momentum but we’ve built a very solid business out here and uh it’s been uh we’ve been very blessed let’s just say yeah it’s been it’s been a very um very good year for us so we’re pretty happy well tell us a little bit more about the company um just share the name again and what do you guys do how do you help people so single point contact is primarily a managed security service provider but we also take on all of the help desk support right so organizations either rely on full-time I.T people or they Outsource the I.T responsibilities and there’s a a slew of things that we’re responsible for right we ensure that we Implement strategies so they don’t have problems right we want to reduce any type of network security issues any network issues uh computer problems we Implement tools so our clients don’t have problems but when they do they call us we resolve the issues so that’s primarily the business model we’re here to implement a a solution so they can stay focused on their business let us take care of the network and all the security wonderful and are do you guys um serve clients globally nationally regionally how what’s your footprint we do we provide a 24 7 model so we get uh clients from all over the world they rely on us to deliver that platform to them because they they either don’t have the bandwidth or the skill set internally so they rely on us or hire us to fill those gaps to fill what areas they’re lacking expertise in Fernando share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you you could do it even though maybe you didn’t think you could and the impact that person had on you sure you know my aunt is is the first person that comes to mind because um she was she always um at family events she’s my one of my favorite aunts she would always tell me frander you’re so smart and I would just look at her and go um I’m barely gonna graduate from high school I don’t think you really know what you’re talking about that’s what I’m thinking right but I love my aunt I would just smile and I say thank you Dia I really appreciate that she would always give me words of encouragement and you know one thing she did she wouldn’t say it to my brother and she wouldn’t say it to my other cousins which was kind of funny I’m just like oh what you know what what does she really see I don’t know she must have seen something because I didn’t see it but um you know it it and this carried on to even when I went to Junior College I flunked out the first semester it was just the school wasn’t for me right I I was just too busy I was too I’ll tell you exactly what it was girls

and telling jokes yeah and telling jokes so I was just the guy who always wanted to have fun it was just that was just part of my personality and uh for some reason people would gravitate to me they’re like okay Fernando’s the fun guy let’s go have a great time we’re gonna hang out with him we’re gonna have a great time and and I you know I have I still have relationships with my buddies from high school and I graduated from high school over 40 years ago so we have great great relationships with people that are just incredible and they’re doing incredible things in the world today so very happy to uh have that circle of friends that I I currently have wonderful um what’s uh you’ve you’ve you’ve been in again business for quite a while and uh different experiences what would you say is your biggest learning as a business owner well this took me a while because the first 10 years at single point of contact the method of generating business was cold calling and I had an assistant who would send out mailers and would send out uh we would spam uh you know organizations and then they had me hire a group of cold callers that I managed and trained and we would create scripts and and call into specific uh regions of the of California and specific Industries so we had to create specific uh what we call sales processes and it it it worked out I mean it I I look back to the amount of of meetings we would create each year and it was decent it wasn’t like oh my God we’re only getting 10 mediums a year no we we would get we probably booked anywhere between what is it two three four 60 to I don’t know 80 meetings a year and which is decent it’s not that’s nothing Earth shattering right and then during this whole process of building a business my boss is like always ahead of the curve the guy is just a he’s just a pure genius and he would tell me Fernando you really need to look into PPC SEO content creation marketing online marketing etc etc yeah and and that was like 12 14 years ago and I would just look at him and I go oh yeah and I’ll be honest it was out of my comfort zone right something I just wasn’t comfortable looking into it I just felt like oh I I don’t think I have the intelligence level to understand how to build these campaigns how to manage them how to how to uh strategize for this type of uh of effort and because I was so used to like oh making cold calls and cold calling is scary to people oh God it fueled me I looked at nose like oh my God that’s like refuel you’re refilling my gas tank I’m like I’m ready to go I don’t you know even though I don’t like nose I was just very determined to get that meeting get in front of a CEO get in front of a CFO it didn’t matter yeah and even though you have that you have that winning mentality so to you I know is just one step closer to the next yes right exactly exactly I never lived I never let it uh discourage me and it never felt like oh these people are much more intelligent than me they’re at a different level of uh education no no I I I’ve never been afraid of that but when my boss said well you should look into online marketing I was like

I got a little scared there yeah but thank goodness I attended a webinar and they were just talking about PPC and the strategy behind it and I’m like oh gosh this looks easy I didn’t know this could be so powerful right I was like I was so stunned that it would be this easy to generate new business and I tell you the first year what was it close to 300 meetings the first year oh wow yeah I know it blew my whole um it blew my uh my uh my my my uh my St my numbers with the cold calling yeah it was it was it yeah I was uh I was uh surprised how much business or how many meetings were scheduled because of PPC and it just changed everything and um I I’m gonna have to [Music] um admit that people marketing is the only way to go if you want to build a sustainable business you cannot build a business without a a smart marketing campaign and there’s some there’s a lot of of components to marketing and it just depends on which direction you want to take but it’s very achievable I’m a big dummy and I did it I know anybody I know anybody can do it if I can do it anyone out there can do it I love it well I appreciate you sharing that for the audience hey we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of your biggest challenges um during the years and and maybe a fellow business owner who came alongside you and helped you through it

um I’d say one of the biggest challenges um has been management of people right internally keeping them motivated saying the right things or dealing with multiple personalities and this is where I lean on my boss you know our CEO who is just he has such a high EQ he knows how to handle different personalities and him and I were very close in age we’re same generation and I’m very very how would you say I’m very direct and candid and he is more of a of a softy right yeah if somebody so I it was it was uh for me it was challenging to manage people that were a bit delicate for some reason right because we’re very you know I grew up in this you know I was born in 65 we in the 70s my mom I I could have gone missing for three days and my mom would have known right okay she’s too busy right but we took care of ourselves back then and it just made us very thick-skinned I mean it’s very uh just just it toughened us up sure and I see today’s generation and they’re a little soft and for some reason my boss knows how to deal with them he’s just like okay I know how to deal with these kind of people you know he’s really good so I must have a low EQ it makes me so we use um disc uh the disc assessment when we’re working with our our clients and so what you’re describing for yourself sounds like you’re a high D which is you know all about you know winning and you know doing whatever it takes to win and facts and figures and and not just you know soft soft stuff and touchy-feely stuff and and that is absolutely needed right in terms of a business needs that personality and right sounds like your boss is is probably more you know more of an i or an S which is in tune with people’s feelings and understanding emotions and being able to read the room yes and so the the reason I’m sharing that is companies need these different qualities but not one person doesn’t have all of the quality so you know we we bring others around us who offset our strengths so that you know together as a team we’re able to to do all the things that are needed and um and once we realize that right just like you’ve said well you know once you realize it’s like oh well I’m just they’re going to be more aware of this situation so I’m going to ask them for advice right

yeah my boss and I we balance each other out pretty well so that’s fantastic hey I’m gonna put you on the spot here a little bit just for fun is so if I was to ask you to pick three people um in your business owner on your journey that your um most grateful for them being there uh in terms of helping the businesses growth who are those three people and how they help you well I heavily rely on on our CEO when it comes to um closing big deals because during these discussions questions can be questions can get very technical at times and he has always had my back he’s always been there to support me and he’s been uh instrumental in um enclosing some very large deals I mean he helped me close Google we closed some one of the largest real estate developers in the world he helped me close that I mean we’ve closed some very large opportunities together and I I don’t think I could have done it without him because he’s just he’s that good even though he’s super technical and you and let me tell you he will geek out on you one of the most brilliant guys you will ever meet when it comes to building networks and just troubleshooting problems from a technical side but he has another side of him that is also he’s a joker he loves to entertain he’s got the one of the most sparkling personalities you will ever meet and you don’t see that he’s like a unicorn because yeah you don’t you don’t see that as somebody who’s technical because they’re very introverted and he’s far from being an introvert yeah what’s his name Gregory all right yeah so he said to mention yeah yeah what’s who’s number two uh person number two is Miriam Miriam Diaz uh Saleem she is instrumental in managing uh dispatch she’s also managing our remote teams who uh can be in other parts of the United States because a lot of our guys work remotely sure other guy uh some of our guys work in uh Spain and other parts of the world and she just she creates this this chemistry among them right and she’s really at the front line ensuring our clients are happy and if when something is if there’s a fire she knows how to put it out she knows what team member to assign she just she she does a really good job managing people and we’re very grateful for uh her being on the team because without her oh gosh I don’t want to think about it and the third person our CFO Gita Gita is make sure um uh that our finances are always uh in great shape she’s uh she’s on top of her business and just and we don’t hear from her much because she she solves problems she’s the ones solving a lot a lot of our problems and um um but when uh um when we need to discuss a contract and she’s always there she’s very she’s got her back and uh I really appreciate her she’s she’s a she’s an amazing woman fantastic well let’s shift gears here a little bit Fernando as you think about the next three to five years what are the biggest challenges that you see that you’re gonna face in terms of uh achieving your goals and who are the types of people you’re going to need to help you resolve those challenges so our right now um because of our business model we work with a specific industry and within that industry we saw a huge gap and we decided okay if we’re gonna start a business that’s going to fill that Gap we need to do the following and that is one of my biggest challenges right now is getting this online business going because this business is going to help the I.T service industry with a lot of areas they struggle in we see a lot of struggles within the I.T service industry and we we see an opportunity to fill that Gap and right now that’s my biggest challenge right now and that’s uh yeah four or five years is to get to that point where we can just exit you know that’s our Exit Plan five years from now we’re like hey we can we can sell this business and sail off into the sunset because this is a huge business opportunity for us and I already have my hands full of single point of contact but I’m working weekends after hours to get this business going and um we see we’re pretty excited about it because I mean look I money’s great but I’m going to be able to help others right and that is something that my mom taught me I didn’t I forgot to mention that is my mom who is also one of my inspirational figures as a single mom she had it really rough but she was helping so many people yeah when we could she couldn’t rub two pennies together and that taught my brother and I a very valuable lesson right to volunteer to help others to be kind if you can’t find a kind person be a kind person right so she taught us a lot of valuable lessons in life and morals and principles so yeah and this is what probably one of the reasons we developed this business model because we see a lot of CEOs struggle and they’re they are amazing people who keep the networks going who keep yeah who keep the these businesses their clients operating their business because let me tell you without it you can have all the sexy hardware and software in place if it’s not configured correctly by the it guys yeah and it’s just a pile of junk so I’m gonna ask you another question here but beforehand what’s your mom’s name Clara Clara fantastic so um Fernanda are you far enough along on this business this new business venture to to be able to share with the audience what it’s all about well sure it’s called the MSP corner and we um we are we do have a live group on Facebook that we discuss a lot of topics such as you know what you should be doing with SEO or you know your marketing strategies we’re mainly discussing marketing strategies but I know These Guys these are all CEOs very techy people they love to hear about new technology that’s coming out so we have webinars on technology that’s going to help them either increase their revenue or get their clients you know have security you know a tight security in place so there’s there’s various topics that we’re discussing but mainly it’s going to be about selling value because these guys they talk about tech services sure and got to focus more on selling value instead of tech support because clients don’t want to hear about tech support they want to hear about how you’re going to solve their problems how you’re going to prevent problems right and that’s the key to win Key to winning business yeah so but yeah the MSP corner is uh uh probably another month two months out from going live I feel like you know we we have a team that we’re working with the web developers and and God bless them they’re great people but it’s like we take a few steps back forward and then we have a meeting we’re like oh my goodness we’re taking a few steps back yes yes the challenges and development and and and workflows and processes and it’s let me tell you building a business and especially an online business it’s challenging it’s challenging it that that two steps forward uh it kind of one step back idea it kind of it reminds me um my mindset coach painted this picture for me every time I’ve lamented about my own Journey he’s like well Tim how how do people how do professionals climb a mountain do they go straight up like well no of course not right they go back and forth and why do they go back and forth It’s because that’s the only way to get to the top so he uses that analogy you say hey Tim maybe you’re not ready to go straight up right maybe you have to Veer off to the right because there’s some learning and some experience over there there right to prepare you to go up to the next level and I really like that visual of oh so everything that happens is for a reason right and it’s for our own growth and development to prepare us for the next stage so instead of it being two steps back right it’s a learning and growing experience yeah I like I like that uh that analogy it’s so true because you know I see a lot I see a lot of this uh I see a lot of colleagues get discouraged because they had a bad experience and I want and that’s part of the conversations we’re having on on the MSP Corner group is that just because you you failed doesn’t mean that you’re going it’s not a life sentence yes yeah forever you have to keep trying right yes and um I I I can never say it enough marketing can change your life can change your business it can change the the trajectory of your organization because when you plan something and you know your market so well and you’ve done the research you you need to determine a marketing strategy because it’s uh it’s the only way your business is going to grow yeah I’ve heard this uh analogy before of fail forward yeah so as long as you’re failing forward then right it’s all good it’s just part of the part of the journey yeah yeah hey Fernando last question here um Jim Rohn awesome awesome business Guru uh one of his quotes is that we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote and um and and specifically for you know business owners who are listening to this podcast what advice would you have for for those folks who are trying to do it on their own well the first thing I’m going to say and this is what I tell my daughter um you’re going to fail but and you’re gonna fall down and the only person that’s going to pick you up is yourself and I I sometimes have to take my own advice because yeah I have setbacks right even with this online business I have setbacks and and and in the back of my head I can hear a little doubt creeping in just a little and I’m like no you cannot allow doubt or even uh questioning your your journey because if if you have thought if you if you’ve had a if you have thought things out well and you’ve come up with a strategy and it’s sound and you you’ve let me tell you I’m I I had to speak with other marketing experts about this before I even took this this journey because you got to get feedback from others you just can’t dive into something without you know talking to your mentors talking to people that are in this industry because you it might be something new for you and you want to get you know you want to get feedback from people that have been doing this for a while and you know it’s kind of funny because I I even though I didn’t major in marketing I didn’t major in uh in you know business administration or or or technology or anything like that I uh I have a lot of CEOs and and Executives that that that uh majored in marketing come talk to me about yeah okay this is what we want to do with our marketing strategy I’m like okay I thought you learned this in school but apparently not no just because you don’t have a degree it don’t mean Jack you know you can you can learn a lot of this by reading by studying by researching and don’t get hung up on education this is all my my drive and and inspiration is is inside of me right and I Look to others for Inspirations such as my wife and my daughter but really this is this is my own drive and it’s a goal it’s my own goal I’ve I’ve set a goal up and uh I I I uh I intend to meet it so I I like that idea so everything is changing so fast that even the you know the education that we got five years ago is in some cases is obsolete because technology has changed so fast right yeah a couple of things you said that really resonated with me is um you know first of all having that own internal drive and goal but then collect information from others and rely on others and and learn as much as you can from people who have been there before because right it’s what’s the point of you know trying to do it on your own when there’s all these experts around us that are you know more than willing to to share some tips and advice with us yeah no you’re right and I think that also people get stuck with this this is this is really important is focus on what you do well you have a skill set right stick to your skill set if you want to build a website don’t go learning how to build a website hire somebody yeah your skill set is specific to what you can do best I’m great at presenting I’m great at marketing strategy but I suck at developing websites and all that you know every all the behind the scenes type of Technology no no don’t don’t waste your time trying to learn new things focus on what your focus on your strengths yeah delegate people don’t do a great job delegating yes yeah I absolutely so there’s an exercise that I have uh our clients do when they’re wrestling with letting go right so I I asked them okay what’s the revenue you know how much revenue is your business or what’s your you know your top line sales and whatever that is they tell me I said then divide that by 2 000 hours which is you know an average of 50 weeks a year yeah three hours a week to get their hourly wage right so if it’s if it’s a million dollar company your hourly wage is 500 bucks so you know those jobs that you’re doing those tasks that you’re doing are they worth 500 an hour no great then delegate it to somebody lower the of you in the organization so you’re freeing yourself up to do the strategy and the planning and the right and taking care of the team exactly that’s a great uh visual because they don’t really think of it that way and you just laying it out like that that’s that’s a great visual yeah because as owners we think hey my time’s free but it’s not because there’s opportunity costs right yeah if I do that 25 an hour job that means I can’t do the 200 an hour job because I ran out of time right that’s right that’s right that’s right so Fernando it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people that have helped you along the in your journey if they were all here on the show today what would you want to say to them

well I would first want to say you know um thanks to my mom right she is I’m the person I am because of her um I I would say thanks to my dad even though uh early on in life he wasn’t around us but later on he came back and he redeemed himself but I I get a lot of his fearlessness a lot of his the personality side of you know being a a jokester being a Storyteller being having that confidence right my dad was a very confident man and he was a very kind man but um those two people were obviously you know they they were instrumental in shaping who I am um the but then I I I know there’s levels to this game right they say there’s levels yes and my wife God bless her elevated me to a whole nother level and without her I wouldn’t be who I am today she’s the driving force I would love to say oh I’m I’m I am who I am because of me

no I I I I credit her she’s an incredible human being who has taught me a lot even though I am older than her and um have been around longer she has taught me so much that’s awesome and uh and my daughter you know those that’s only that’s four people but those two have taught me so much about being a better human being a better uh uh just being an overall better person because this is uh we we touch so many lives right and especially me I talked to dozens of people every week and yeah you you touch somebody every week and it’s like okay you you’re making an impact and how do you make an impact so and uh for the fifth person I would say you know my sister I love my sister I um she’s much younger than me but she um she’s she she she brings me down to earth sometimes right she’s the she’s the one who can you know share you know be be very honest with me yeah so she’s uh I credit her with that because she’s a remarkable person she’s on an incredible journey herself and she’s raised two daughters on her own right that um uh um and she’s done a phenomenal job with these two young ladies who are also on a remarkable Journey so yeah let’s see yeah I got some great people around me wonderful well Fernando it was uh a pleasure to speak with you today thank you so much for being on the show oh you got it you got it thank you for having me awesome for everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to the self-made as a myth show with your host coach Tim cancel be sure to help us spread the movement by liking the show and posting about it on your social media and to join our movement go to all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and I’ll see you all next time take care