John Branch IV
Listen to the interview (approx. 46 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2010 with a major in Electronic Production & Design (EPD). Principal Instrument: alto saxophone.
Positions: Main Job: Customer Operations Team Lead at SquareSpace., company with over 500 employees (roughly half in customer support!) which serves as a do-it-yourself website and blogging platform. Having worked his way up from Customer Support Representative, John now supervises a team of ten, making sure his team members are performing well as helping them advance their own careers.
Side Job: Wedding Photograher at John Branch Photography, his own business in which he performs all roles: marketing, planning, photography, photo editing, etc. John did six weddings in 2016 and expects to do ten in 2017. Each wedding is a good 40-50 hours of work on his end.
Overview: Team lead: John started at Berklee in 2003, but ran out of money partway through and spent a couple of years at home in North Carolina before returning as a part-time student and completing his degree. During that interim time, John got a job at the Apple store, first in sales and later doing one-on-one trainings with customers, which he enjoyed. He continued to work for Apple while at Berklee as well as afterward in NYC where for four years he also worked in a studio as “the coffee boy.” Frustrated with what felt like dead-end jobs, he left both. Then a former coworker from the Apple Store in New York reached out to him, saying they were working at Squarespace and he should work there too. On their recommendation and some interviews he got the job. After a year or so he was promoted to shift lead–a combination of customer support and supervisory role, and after another year, in mid-2015, Squarespace created these Team Lead positions and he was promoted into it.
Photography: In 2013 his first child was born and, with his wife staying at home taking care of the baby, he felt the need to supplement their income. He enjoyed photography, and his wife encouraged him to start his own business. Business has been gradually increasing as experience gives him both more word-or-mouth recommendations and a larger portfolio.
You can see his LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I’ve always been into customer service. I like helping people and teaching people. During my hiatus from Berklee, just for fun, I’d make YouTube tutorials on Ableton Live. Now I’m directly coaching my advisers. ‘I’ve been in your role. I can give you ideas on how to better do it.'”
“Don’t just find what you love, but find the ABOUT what you love. For example, I like the creative process and bringing it to fruition. That’s my ABOUT. I can do that in music, but also in other fields. So I don’t feel bad about not doing music.”
“Squarespace is really big on one-on-ones between managers and team members. I meet with each person on my team at least every other week, and a majority of my time is spent in those meetings or prepping for them. . There’s also manager meetings regarding overall how customer operations is going, anything that should change, new directives, etc. What time is left we fill with our own projects.”
“Wedding photography is mainly customer service & people skills, and the photography part is what you do the least of. During the wedding day you try to capture as much as possible while adhering to the timeline. You’re also right there with the couple, so if things go badly you get to keep people calm and happy.”
“I get paid around $2,500 to do a wedding, but a typical wedding is 8 hours that I’m there, plus a hour or more travel time each way, 5 hours communication about details and up 30 hours for photo editing. So that one wedding becomes almost 50 hours of work.”
See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.