Hi, I’m Marie Zimenoff, CEO of CTL...

I’m a passionate advocate for career industry professionals and a decades-long practicing career coach myself. I’m so glad you’re here.


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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Business Growth & Management Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

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  • 17 Jun 2021 3:17 PM | Anonymous

    We are going to talk today about some of the myths and realities of passive income or product sales and what that means for us in the career services business, what it can mean for your business and how you might go about being more successful at doing product or business sales. I will say that we are also going to cover this topic at 11:00 AM Eastern in the Friday Clubhouse room that I had been hosting called bringing the DOE career pro.

    I love Clubhouse because the conversations there are really pretty intimate and people ask real questions. They get real answers. One of the job seekers that attended our session on Monday said, you know, I've been to a lot of rooms and they seem kind of salesy, but you're really answering questions and kudos to Charlotte Taylor and Hannah Morgan, who were in that room on Monday and actually sharing real answers. And that's kind of what you get when you come to a CTL and Resume Writing Academy. Anyways, we're not a bunch of fluff. We're going to try to get to the core and tell you how it is and tell you about what we know so that it can help you grow. Product sales and passive income are kind of marketed to the career services , coaching industry, especially as a panacea, right? If you are having trouble in your business, get a product and then you'll never have to work again.

    You don't have to have any coaching hours. You don't have to, you know, there's all of these promises that I hear product businesses sharing with coaches, especially. And I got to tell you that there isn't a business where you make money without work. You just get to choose what that work looks like. And this is the foundation of what we do with all of our career coaching clients, right? What do you want to do every day? What does the ideal day look like to you? And then we can figure out what products and services in your business you want to offer? Of course, we've got to pick products or services that match your audience's needs, but audiences have all kinds of needs. If you want to make products and sell products, you can find an audience that wants to buy those products. However, it means that your day will be spent creating marketing products or managing a team who is creating and marketing those products.

    And this is what we hear a lot from really successful business people. You know, I only work four hours a day or some people I only work four hours a week. I'm like, you know, maybe that's great what they're doing then as managing a process and people that are executing their business, that is awesome. If that is the skillset you want to use every day, that is the way it works. You're not going to just get there by yourself. Mostly. And I hear people say, oh, you know, I make a hundred thousand dollars from this product. Or I make a hundred thousand dollars from that class. My guess is they're paying a lot of money in marketing and a marketing team to make that happen. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not the real picture. It's not the true picture. They're not talking about their net revenue.

    Most likely, although making a hundred thousand dollars from a course and that is possible. But then you have to have a big team that is optimizing that, right? That's helping you market it, helping you sell it, helping you execute it. And so it's really thinking about what do you want to do on a daily basis? If you love to coach, then let's set up some courses and funnels that push people into your coaching program so that you could spend some time marketing and creating those courses. But it's really focused on pushing more people into your coaching practice. If you love to coach and you get carried away with this business and you know, the courses and products you'll find that you don't have much time to coach because you're creating and marketing those products, which requires a brain shift, right? It's a different way of thinking.

    I often have a hard time myself working one-on-one with clients because my brain is mostly in the creation and marketing space right now. And, and when you're doing that, it's hard to shift gears. It can be done, but you've got to figure out that mix of what you want in your business. Now, if you want to get out of one-on-one coaching completely, you're like I'm done with this. Well then sure. Let's really hit that course creation and marketing hard, because that is an option group programs, courses, and products. Couldn't get you out of one-on-one coaching. It's important to think of the realities of what that will mean for your business. Most likely that you'll be spending your time creating and marketing and managing a team or contractors who will be marketing those courses that you want to market. So before we talk about how you market a course or a product, I just wanted a little reality check to the whole myth around this passive income.

    It is not passive. It is just a different way that you're spending your time. Now you're spending your time marketing and selling, and yes, it may not be as direct of a correlation between, you know, like one hour coaching is one hour coaching and I'm making a certain amount of money for that hour. Although I could make a lot of money for that hour. People are charging two to five hundred dollars an hour for coaching. So there's an opportunity to maximize the amount of money you're making in an individual coaching space. And if you are looking at courses or products, what are they, what are you doing with that course or product. Is it a way to get people in your funnel towards your coaching one-on-one or is it a coarser product in and of itself? And in that space, then what is your engine going to look like to market and sell it?

    And do you really want to be spending your time doing that? Do you have the resources to hire someone else? And let's talk through that again. If you're on Clubhouse, you want to join Clubhouse, send me a note and I'll invite you. So we could have a more intimate conversation about this on Friday. And let's talk a little bit then about if you've decided that you want to do a course or a product, how do you market it? How do you sell it today? Transparency alert. Things have changed since COVID. So we have been doing virtual training webinars, online courses for 15 plus years, since before I owned this business and it was pretty steady, pretty predictable around the number of people we would get for a webinar. And the number of people we would get for a course was pretty darn predictable.

    And then COVID hit and COVID has shifted the way most people are marketing. And if you read some marketing pieces, you'll see some of these trends that I'll share with you that we've seen in our business too. One is that paid webinar. Registrations have gone down a lot. It's hard to get people in a paid webinar right now, and this is how I thought it was just me. So I started reading and started listening to what's going on, and this is just part of what's going on right now. It's also harder to get people to opt into a free download. And here's why people figured this out, the free download wasn't really a free download. It was, I am giving you my email address, and now you're going to email market to me. And guess what? I might not want that you've really got to sell me on that.

    This download has value to me, for me to do it. And the one way that people are seeing that work is actually to make it a low cost download instead of a free download. So now instead of that free checklist, you make it to 99 or something like that. And you might find that your sales of that download increase. What are we talking about with downloads or even webinar registrations. It's really all about building your list. Here's the other thing that happened in COVID is people were starting to say, oh, email marketing is dead. Nobody wants to read an email. Well, guess what? Now email marketing has had this little resurgence in life because there's so much digital noise. There's so many LinkedIn notifications and Facebook notifications, and you've got 50 groups and all of them are going live once a week, right? So that digital noise has brought back the importance of an email newsletter, email marketing, and it's shifted.

    So that newsletter needs to sound and look different. And maybe if you notice this with the Career Thought Leaders newsletter, how it's shifted in the past six months or a year one, it's got to be more personal. People have to feel like a person is writing it. You need some kind of story engagement, not overdone, because if it gets too much, then people to turn out, you're going to experiment with what kinds of short stories might get people engaged to reading, and then really making sure you're delivering the value in that marketing email marketing piece so that when someone takes the time to open it, they know they're going to get content that really speaks to them, which means you need a segmented list. So I've got my active job seekers and my employed, but job seeking, whatever segments make sense for you in your list.

    You've got those segments so that you can really send targeted messages to people as often as possible. You may have, you know, general messages that go out every once in a while, but the more specific and targeted you can be with that email marketing, the better off it will be. So growing your list is a big deal right now. How do you grow your list? And people are doing it with those low cost, paid downloads. People are doing it with mini courses. And the whole idea of a masterclass kind of went Oop. There was that celebrity masterclass thing that took off. And so anyone else who offers a masterclass, like he just can't compete with that. And it's really hard now to get people in a masterclass, some people are doing it. And if you're really specific and clear again about the value that people are getting, and you build the reputation for actually delivering that value you can pull it off.

    Those masterclasses can be free, but more today they're paid similar to what you're seeing with the paid downloads, mini course, masterclass, whatever you want to call it. But you know, the whole idea of a webinar has kind of disappeared and people have turned them into something that feels like it's going to provide more value. I'd say a free webinar is really going to be a hard sell unless you already have a good audience that knows you're going to deliver value. Even though it's a free webinar, again, too many bait and switch going on with that free webinar where people went and it was just 20 minutes of the person pitching themselves. I saw this the other day. I think it was a meme. Like I'm going to share a webinar with you, but it's not going to be me telling my story for 20 minutes and then content for five and then a 20-minute pitch.

    That's what people are tired of with a webinar. And you've got to really check about how you market that webinar too, to get people in. Biggest thing is that it is not, it's not rocket science. It's just hard work to build your so you've got to build awareness, right? That's the big circle. We build our awareness. Then we get people to trust us enough to try something and that try could be something free. And this is some of the mistakes that people make with the free is that they think it's going to get that big circle. And it's not, it's still requiring some trust because people are giving you their email address, right? So we've got to build that visibility and then get enough trust with people so that they'll register for, or buy that 399 thing. And we do that through consistent communication that is focused on helping them.

    Doesn't have to be on social media. It can be on email, can be on some of those other platforms, but they need to see a consistent, you showing up, giving them value and you can't hold back. You can't say, well, I'm going to tell you this, but to get that you have to pay. You have to do that a little bit more fluidly and a little bit more creatively because if people feel like you're holding back, they feel like you're not giving them all the information. They're going to go find somebody who will give them all the information for free because it's out there and you've got to demonstrate how, what you add is different and the value that you add through that free content. And then you have those offers that say, if you want to learn more, if this is helpful and you want to go deeper, those types of offers are one way that I've heard it described as that your free content is telling them what to do.

    And then your paid content is telling them how to do it. So what to do in your free content, then how to do it in that paid content. If they want to go a little bit deeper, but you've gotta be free with the what and, and really give people value so that they will feel comfortable trusting you to opt in or trusting you to come to that free class. The other thing that's really huge right now is challenges. So instead of having a, you know, a webinar or a masterclass or whatever people are doing, maybe a multi-day challenge where there's concrete steps that you're going to put in place to make this, whatever it is different, make it better, have an outcome, have momentum. And then you want to go further with me. So simple thing today in our tech jam session, the lady talking about website optimization gave us clear action steps to take, to update your website.

    I could turn that into a five-day challenge or a four-day challenge, right? In everyday, I've got clear tips and clear action, and then some kind of accountability to where you're saying, yes, I did this today. And when you get those interactions and people actually see a growth, they see a change, then they're like, they want more, right? And that's when they're going to buy from you. So you have to figure out if you're going to do a challenge, what's a little piece of the process that you could have people do that. Then they will see a difference and want to move forward. Or even if they don't move forward with whatever else you're doing, they feel good about you. They leave. They're a raving fan because they, wow. I went through this three or four day masterclass and I did X, right?

    There's some tangible, practical thing that they accomplished in those 3 or 4 days. Some people are doing those sessions for free. And some people are doing those sessions paid. That's going to depend on the size of your list and those types of things. But if you're trying to sell a course, doing a challenge that kind of takes a little piece out of your course and focuses on it. It can be a great way to sell that course. You've got to build the funnel. So you might start with, you know, hey, this is my course on resume writing. And so for a month, I'm going to talk, resume writing. I'm going to have videos on resume writing. I'm going to hit every single day on every single one of my social media channels. It's resume all day, every day. Right? And then I've got, okay, now we're doing this challenge. So people that have been following me and starting to follow me on my resume content, see that, yes. Now Marie's doing this challenge. Yes. And I do this. I'm going to dive deep into this area. And then at the end of the challenge, there's the offer for the course.

    And that is how a lot of people are doing it right now. And there's a lot of different ways to launch those I mean, 4 or 5 experts that I've found on, you know, the launch sequence, the launch process, they're all fairly similar. It's just going to depend on your personality. I would say for most of us in the helping profession, a lot of the super salesy stuff is a huge turn off. I just don't think I could do it. It's not congruent to who I am. And so I like this approach that I'm talking about right now, which is more about offering the value, sharing your insights, sharing the Intel, and then take it deeper with a challenge or a masterclass or whatever, and then have the offer at the end of that for your course. But I, what I see a lot of times people do is they don't spend enough time on that big funnel.

    So it's like a week of posting resume content. And then you want to do this masterclass and nobody showed up, well, we didn't have a big enough pool for that conversion. I've heard it said that you need, you know, it's going to be about 0.5 to 1 percent conversion from your big group to your master class. It's going to depend on how much of a relationship you have with those people. But if you have a hundred people on your newsletter, it's going to be 1 percent right. Opting into your masterclass or challenge. If you do that right now. So how could you grow your audience a little bit before you try to launch something like that? I don't want to make it a procrastination tool, so let's not wait forever, but let's set out a strategy for the next month. I'm going to do X. So I did a little bit of research for our digital branding class on the topics that kind of wax and wane in the careers industry.

    And one of them that always is on that rise at the end of August and into September is resume writing. So if you are a resume writer and you're trying to roll out a class to help someone write their own resume, this would be a great time. Now, June, July, and August, to start building your funnel, start cranking out that resume tip content from now through the middle of July, maybe end of July. Then you do your challenge at the beginning of August when people are really starting to think about resumes, right? Maybe even the middle of August, right after the kids go back to school. And then you launch your course in September when you go through that process. And that strategy is going to look a lot different when you launch, because you've been building up the momentum and the followers and the conversation towards that piece.

    Now you just have to decide who is your audience for this course? And where are they? Where do they spend their time? It may be LinkedIn, but be careful with that because LinkedIn is still heavily active job seekers. So if you're looking at active job seekers as your market, LinkedIn might be a good spot. If you're looking for more passive job seekers, you might be looking at places more like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even Tik Tok, clubhouse, because there are more passive job seekers on those platforms. LinkedIn still has some, so I'm not saying ignore it, but spend some time looking at where else are your clients so that you could build a plan that has at least a 2 or 3 touch point plan. If LinkedIn is your only place, it's going to be hard to build, because if I'm a passive job seeker, I go to LinkedIn maybe once a month.

    So if you're doing six-week of resume content, I'm only going to see 1 or 2 of those pieces. So if you aren't having an email list or doing some other social media where that more passive job seeker is more frequently, you're going to struggle. So the monthly users of LinkedIn is really low compared to them daily and monthly users on Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter. People who are there are there more frequently than they are on LinkedIn. And you need more touch points to be able to build that trust so that they'll opt into your challenge or your, whatever it is that you're doing. Now, the other really fun thing that people are doing right now is quizzes. So we just created a quiz for our certified digital branding strategists to use that they can use with their clients. And then there's a marketing piece.

    I've seen some other people in our industry doing some creative things with quizzes, you know, diagnose what's wrong with your resume, diagnose, what's wrong with your job search. You can set up a quiz for fairly cheap. There's some systems where you can do it on a limited basis for free. My favorite is try interact.com right now for kind of the more simple quizzes that interact.com. And that is something that people are doing. They've got some stock quizzes there that you could play around with and get started until you figure out what it else, what else you might want to do for your lead magnet. But that's another way that people get value before they give you your email address, because they're taking the quiz, they're seeing the questions, they're getting some insights. If it's a good quiz, it gives them some insights as they're going through the questions so that by the time they get to the end and they have to give you their email address, it's a no brainer.

    Of course I'd want more from Linda because this quiz was so insightful. And so I hope that was helpful for those of you that had questions about launching a course or a product first figure out if this is really what you want to be doing with your time, how do you want to be spending your time? And the reality is that to really market a course or a product you got to take the time to do it. Overall hire someone to do it and if that's what you want to do then then do it. It's going to take a strategy it's going to take some time. Then too think about that plan and your funnel. So how you are going to get people attention and how you are going to build the awareness how you can build that trust that you offer value.

    And then what are some of those options that you want to create that offer value? And maybe you try some free ones. You try some low cost ones, like a 299 or 399. I got to tell you the 499 ATS guidelines that we have on our website. It's like, it's good, it's cheap. But it shares that, Hey, there's some value here. And that's a good product for us to have when we do even just a once off marketing of it, we get quite a few sales of it. So there's some value in those low cost takeaways. And then of course, you're having your strategy to move people from the awareness to your challenge, offer some value or, or offer some value, some takeaways in that challenge or masterclass or whatever you want to call it. And then you're launching that course as the next step.

    And always think about that offer as the next step. It's not about pitching. It's not about selling. It's about what is the next step for this person. Who's getting value from what you're doing, because if you don't tell them what the next step is, then you're doing everyone a disservice. There're some people that won't want to take that next step. They got all the value they needed. Great. If they want that next step. If they need more in depth information, it's up to you to tell them what that next step is. Just like it's up to our job seekers to tell the hiring manager that they want the job and all the things we coach our job seekers around, we're going to do the same thing when we do our marketing.

    I'm also super excited about some programmes that we're having rolled out in the next couple of weeks for business owners and for people who are just trying to keep up with the trends on everything careers so watch these group of few and lives around these new things you got coming out and you know bringing the door career pro. And we are going to have a revenue accelerator program as part of 1 of these that we're launching, so that if you're really looking to grow your revenue, you have a place and some structure to do it. So, I look forward to sharing some of that with you.I know a lot of you have already signed up for it but if you haven't, you can still sign up for it today. And we got sessions throughout the week talking about technology in your business and with your clients and and and meeting Bob who is the career coach AI out of France. And then also meeting CiCi who is the career chatbot out of the UK. And if none of those things are happening for you, then we would see you right back here again next week on our Tuesday trends. Thank you everyone. It was good to see you.






  • 09 Feb 2021 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    If you’re considering launching your own business, this article is for you.

    Success in entrepreneurship requires a diversity of talents, a broad range of knowledge, a passion to succeed and an attitude that says "I can do it!" Nothing less will suffice. To help you on your way to that success, here are the top 10 strategies that will guide you and your company to entrepreneurial success.

    Strategy #1: MAKE MONEY DOING WHAT YOU KNOW & WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART

    If you’re considering starting your own business, know that 9 times out of 10 you will be more successful if your business focuses on something that you already do well. For example, if you’ve done meeting and conference planning for years for a major hotel chain, launching your own meeting planning business is a great idea. You’ve got the knowledge and the contacts, so you already are one step ahead. Conversely, if that same individual had decided to start a candle manufacturing company, the learning curve would be tremendous. They wouldn’t know the "tricks of the trade" of that industry and wouldn’t be using a great deal of the knowledge they had obtained in meeting and events planning. Doing what you know - or at least have some experience and knowledge in - makes a world of difference in how quickly you will succeed.

    What’s more, if it’s something that you know and something that you’ve already succeeded in, it tends to be "close to your heart." As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be working very long hours. Best to do something that you already value and cherish.

    Strategy #2: UNDERSTAND YOUR MONEY

    For all too many start-up entrepreneurs, their lack of knowledge about how their money "works" has been their downfall. Here’s a prime example: A career coach charges $100 an hour for her services and thinks she’s making $100 an hour. Wrong! If you subtract business overhead costs (e.g., phones, computers, office space, utilities, paper, office supplies), then subtract state, federal and FICA taxes, that $100 is much closer to $35-$40 if you’re lucky! To succeed in business, you MUST have a true understanding of how your money works, where it comes from, where you spend it, and what your bottom-line profits truly are. Unless you happen to be an accountant yourself, get an accountant now … before it’s too late!

    Strategy #3: EMBRACE YOUR CLIENTS

    Whether you call them clients or customers, they are the single most important component of any successful business. Without them, you have nothing … no matter how great your products, services or technologies. You must be available to your clients and must learn to embrace them in each and every one of your interactions (e.g., phone, fax, email, mail). You want them to feel as though you truly value their business (you do!) and that you will consistently respond to their needs and concerns (you will!). If your clients feel valued and cared about, they will be yours forever. What’s more, they’ll refer their colleagues and associates to you, allowing you to build a strong customer base without additional marketing and advertising costs. Referrals are, by far, your single best source of business and something which you should dedicate yourself to building.

    Strategy #4: BUILD A NICHE

    Businesses that tend to stand out from the crowd are often those businesses that focus their products and services in a particular market niche. A prime example is a law firm that specializes in real estate. Rather than being lost in the enormous number of general law practices, this firm stands out and has immediate market recognition as an "expert" in real estate law. In turn, they have a unique market position that attracts the specific clientele they want. What’s more, they have substantially less competition. A niche marketing concept will give you significant market visibility and, over time, build a substantial customer base. And, do not feel as though you have to limit yourself to just one niche. Consider two or three related niches and watch your business grow!

    Strategy #5: GET PUBLISHED

    If you’re published, people think that you’re an expert. It’s that simple. Whether a book or an article, it gives you and your business instant credibility. And, it’s so very easy to get published today. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of websites that are hungry for content. Sometimes they will pay; other times, they will not. However, the exposure and visibility you get is well worth the time to write a quick article. If you’re in the consumer products manufacturing industry, contact one of your industry’s professional associations to ask if they need an article -- for their website or newsletter. Before you know it, you and your business will come to be recognized as experts. Can you think of any better way to build your customer base and credibility?

    Strategy #6: NETWORK … NETWORK … NETWORK

    Building your market visibility, network of contacts and network of referrals is vital to your long-term success. You cannot rely on business just knocking at your door no matter how much you spend on advertising. Instead, you have to go get it … sometimes through direct sales calls; other times, through more passive networking channels such as participation in and/or leadership of your local chamber of commerce, local lead exchange group and other business/professional association. Consider sending a quarterly e-newsletter to your existing customers to share company news, introduce new services and products, and ask for referrals. Commit yourself to making 2-3 new business contacts each and every month, separate and apart from any direct selling and/or marketing activities that you do. These may be people you want to do business with and/or they may know others who would be interested in what you have to offer. Remember, the larger your network, the more visible you and your company will be, the greater name recognition you will achieve, and the more customers that will, indeed, come knocking at your door.

    Strategy #7: MARKET THROUGH MULTIPLE CHANNELS

    No single advertising, promotional, or marketing strategy works in isolation. True marketing and business development is a culmination of a diversity of strategies, tactics and actions that will generate clients from a diversity of sources. What marketing, advertising and promotional channels you use will depend entirely on your product or service, and the customers you are trying to reach. Your objective is to create a plan that integrates all of the primary marketing channels appropriate for your business (e.g., print advertising, brochures, Yellow Pages advertising, website, online advertising, targeted direct mail, public speaking, networking, incentives). When creating your marketing plan - for today and tomorrow - be sure to identify and develop ALL channels that will lead you to your targeted customer base.

    Understand marketing strategy to grow your business.

    Strategy #8: CHARGE WHAT YOU ARE WORTH

    Whether you offer a product or a service, it is essential that you charge what it is worth. Do not think for one minute that just by making your product or service the least expensive, that it will generate clients. In fact, it’s often better to be at the higher end of the pricing scale so that customers will understand the inherent value of your product. Consider two pairs of identical looking shoes. One pair is $49.95 and the other is $149.95. Which is better? We’re all inclined to believe that the $149.95 pair is better made, will last longer, etc. Use this same principle when developing your pricing schedules. Don’t be cheap … be the best!

    Learn more about pricing and packaging your services.

    Strategy #9: FIND BALANCE

    Learning to balance your entrepreneurial life with your personal life will most likely be a lifelong challenge. It can be extremely difficult to "walk away from work" when 1000 things are happening, but it’s time to go home, make dinner, care for your children, love your spouse and more. It’s a constant juggling act that you must work hard to balance. Try scheduling time for your family, friends and YOURSELF into your calendar, and realize that these activities are just as important to your overall success as is your business. A happy and healthy individual is a vastly more productive individual, able to meet constant challenges and demands, and move forward. The energy you get from interactions with family and friends, and the quiet time you devote to yourself, are rejuvenating and critical for any successful entrepreneur.

    Strategy #10: BE THE DRIVER

    The single best thing about entrepreneurship is that you have control! Of course, you’re accountable to your customers, employees, Board of Directors, investors and others, but, ultimately, you’re the driver. What a great place to be! The successes that you achieve will be those that you created, worked for and earned. You’ll tap into your abilities to be self-reliant and self-confident, able to make tough decisions, think independently and move your company toward action and success.

    Twenty years ago, entrepreneurship was a risky business. Today, it can offer you substantially more stability than any job you’ll find anywhere. No longer will you be subject to the downsizings and reorganizations of corporate America. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be your own driver and forge your own destiny.

    Looking for more resources to build your business? Check out our business development resource list.

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:03 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    As I sat down to write this article, I thought to myself, “How odd!” For years and years, I have struggled to better manage my time, but never felt as though I was very successful. I’m always juggling my time constantly sweating as I look at all the piles and papers scattered throughout my two offices, getting up earlier and earlier to get a jump on things, and telling my son to hold on one more minute. I haven’t had the feeling of being caught up in so very long that I’ve simply forgotten what it feels like. Sound familiar?

    Although I ALWAYS finish everything by the deadline, I’m never early. Way back when, as an undergraduate in college, I was always one of those students who had everything done early. If I had a paper to write that was due in March, I wrote it in February. If I had six books to read for a literature class by the end of the semester, I was finished halfway through the term. Whatever happened to that girl? I certainly can’t find her anymore!

    I now live by the “Manage By Deadline” style. What is due today? Tomorrow? Who have I promised to call? When’s the next book deadline? Will my paper supply last one more day? If I leave for my son’s appointment by 11 am, can I make it by 11:15? I think so, as long as I don’t hit any traffic lights! The pace will knock you down if you’re not careful.

    It dawned on me just the other day. I DO have a system for managing my time. I DO know how to prioritize. I DO meet all of my obligations. How do I know this?

    1. I meet my deadlines – ALL of them – ALL 2 million of them each month!

    2. My clients are consistently delighted with the quality of my career services (albeit I don’t do much of that now).

    3. I respond to all of my email and voice messages either the day I receive them or the next, even if only to say that I’m busy, but I did receive the message and will follow up soon.

    4. I am NEVER late for appointments. I’m also NEVER early, but I am ALWAYS on time.

    5. I have NEVER missed an airplane because I was running late. (The only time I missed one was when I went to the airport the day after my flight! Wasn’t one of my better-organized efforts!)

    6. My family eats every day. There is always food in the refrigerator and clean laundry.

    7. None of my pets have ever died from starvation or lack of attention.

    So, I’ve given myself a good hearty pat on the back for my ability to manage my time, yet I still sometimes wonder how. I’m sure that many of you feel the exact same way and can’t even find time to take a breath, yet alone get it all done. To help you better manage your time, projects, clients obligations, personal obligations and more, I’d like to share with you some of the strategies I’ve learned to use that have helped me juggle it all more effectively.

    Time Management Strategy #1 – Make Lists

    I make lists for everything. There’s my “major projects” list and my “get it done today” list. There’s a list of new ideas, a lengthy list of “got to remember for the conference” and a “voice mail message” list that I’m constantly updating. There are lists for errands, office supplies, administrative projects to be done and a few hundred others (or so it seems). I write it down because I’m never sure I’ll remember it a moment later. Bear in mind, however, that my notes are scraps of paper everywhere with no organized system. That would be ideal if you’re disciplined. I’ve never been able to take it any further than the scraps of paper.

    However, the REAL reason I write it all down is simply so I can cross it off. I just love that! What a feeling of satisfaction and completion. In jobs like we have, where it’s NEVER all done, having that sense of completion is vital to keep us all moving forward.

    Time Management Strategy #2 – Clear Away The Clutter & ORGANIZE

    I had a great experience recently. With the help of my assistant, we went crazy cleaning and organizing my offices. Most important, we threw things away. Yes, I was bold. I figured if I haven’t read it, used it, touched it or followed up on it in years, chances were I wasn’t ever going to!

    I cleaned out ALL (well, almost all) of my files. Was it really necessary to have bank statements from 1995 in a file cabinet? What about old client files I hadn’t touched in years or printing receipts from my company brochure from 4 years ago? Maybe, just maybe, I could put them in a storage box. My file cabinets sighed with relief and I could actually close some of the drawers!

    This was a tremendously rewarding process when it was finished. My “clutter factor” has gone from 100% to about 25% and I am so relieved. I don’t know how long it will last, but it was well worth the time. I recommend that you give it a try and you’ll feel so much better. It’s absolutely cathartic! But, be sure to get someone to help you for it will make the process faster and more fun. I never would have done it alone.

    Time Management Strategy #3 – Remove Your Obstacles & Take Control of Your Schedule

    Before you begin to organize your time, you must figure out what’s standing in your way. When you’re struggling to control your time, it seems as though either something is wrong with you or that “out of control” is simply the way of the world.

    Well, you can take control. Here are just a few tips:

    1. Don’t let your voice mail, email and in-person interruptions control every moment of your day. Acknowledge them and give them plenty of your time. However, also reserve time during the day that is your time with NO interruptions, no matter what. Use this time – 30 to 60 minutes each day – to take care of what YOU need to take care of.

    2. Pick a particular time of day to do a specific task. If you have it scheduled, it will get done. If not, the day will slip away and chances are that it will never get done.

    3. If you have a really big project and can’t seem to get started, break it down into smaller pieces so that you can feel a sense of control in working it into your schedule and a sense of completion when it’s done (and you get to cross it off your list).

    Time Management Strategy #4 – Don’t Do It All Yourself

    You are only one person and, no matter what you may think, you can only accomplish so much. Be wise and use help when appropriate, whether it be to organize your office, manage your accounting functions, manage your client database, proofread all your resumes, or coordinate your marketing and PR functions. If you have other people who work for you or with you, great. If not, consider who you can get to help you with specific tasks and responsibilities. It’s doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

    Begin by making a list of the tasks you can get rid of and that someone else can competently manage. Then go get that person and delegate that assignment. Be sure to follow up that everything is being done the way you want, but “let it go” and move onto tasks that only YOU can manage.

    Time Management Strategy #5 – Lighten Up On Yourself

    Don’t beat yourself up! It took me years and years to be able to walk away from my desk, piled high with notes, messages, files and more, and not feel as though I was cheating. The reality is, that for many of us, we will NEVER get it all done. Learn to live with it, learn to juggle it and don’t feel bad about it. Once you stop feeling guilty and lift that weight from your shoulders, you’ll find much great satisfaction, not to mention the extra time you’ll have to actually get something done.

    Time Management Strategy #6 – It’s All In Your Head

    Be sure that your “out of control” feeling is indeed a reality and not a psychological phenomenon. Sometimes you can sabotage your own success and your best efforts to control your time. Have you ever considered that you’re afraid of downtime – those quiet moments when you feel overwhelmed by everything you haven’t done? Or, do you fear failure and find it easier to just keep going forward at a frenzied pace rather than look at what is actually going on? Maybe you’re a perfectionist who puts every ounce of energy into every task instead of learning to discriminate and allocate your time? Some tasks are indeed worth your finest effort; some just need to be done.

    Identifying, and then eliminating, what may be psychologically holding you back can be a tremendous springboard forward to your success.

    Summary

    If I come back to the central question of will I ever feel a sense of being on top of things and totally caught up, the answer is probably not. And, unfortunately, you may also find yourself in that situation. However, if we can all learn to dedicate some of our energies to better organizing and managing our time and resources, we will find satisfaction and experience a sense of completion. For me, that’s a tremendous motivator. Hopefully it will be for you as well.

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Fifteen years ago, working as a consultant was considered an unusual career choice. There were few consulting firms and even fewer individual practitioners. Instead, professionals preferred the stability of corporate employment, with its fringe benefits, so-called “job security” and promotions.

    Now corporate life is different: With limited opportunities to advance and little if any stability at large companies, consulting has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional career paths. Unlike permanent executives, consultants create their own employment opportunities by selling their services to multiple clients.

    Corporations love this trend since it allows them to hire experts on a contractual basis instead of incurring the costs associated with recruiting full-time employees and paying compensation and benefits. Companies can pay a fee to receive highly specialized functions, knowledge or operating support only as long as they need it. As long as companies aren’t locked into long-term commitments and consultants enjoy brisk demand, it’s a quick deal benefiting both parties.

    The prospect sounds great: Hang out your shingle and go to work for yourself (or so some professionals think). Unfortunately, many overlook a factor that’s vital to long-term success — a marketing plan.

    With consulting practices now numbering in the tens of thousands, you’ll hardly be the only one trying to capitalize on experience in your chosen niche. Developing a reputation as an expert in your field will help.

    “Consulting is all about positioning yourself as an expert. If you can demonstrate that you have the knowledge and expertise that your clients need, and powerfully communicate that information, you will consistently outperform your competition,” says Betsy Gooding, president of Practice Advantage, a Charleston-based consulting firm specializing in health care management.

    Pitching Your Services

    The issue now becomes whether you understand how to market your practice in the face of increasing competition.

    “My area of consulting expertise – life coaching – was virtually unknown several years ago. Today, the ‘industry’ of coaching is expanding at a phenomenal rate. Being talented and offering a consistently superior service is, of course, essential. However, it is just as critical that you be able to market yourself, establish your credibility and build your reputation,” says Laurie Szczutkowski, a business and personal success coach working from her headquarters in Central Virginia.

    Market visibility and a unique message are key says Ms. Szczutkowski who takes every opportunity available to speak before professional audiences, publish articles and engage in other “image-building” activities to distinguish herself from the competition.

    “With so many Internet companies vying for everyone’s business, I had to find a way to distinguish my design firm from the others,” says Kevin Skarritt, co-founder and vice-president of AcornCreative.com, a California-based technology consulting group. “Through my research, it became immediately apparent that my potential customers wanted more than simply a web page designer; they needed a new media expert. So, to meet the needs of the narrow niche market I had identified, I created a team of Internet technology and design professionals that could meet the diverse needs of my clients. Then, I designed a portfolio of print and electronic marketing communications to promote our unique services.”

    “With so many Internet companies vying for everyone’s business, I was puzzled as to what I could do to distinguish my consulting firm,” says Kevin Skarritt, co-founder and vice-president of AcornCreative.com, a California-based technology consulting group. “Through my research, it became immediately apparent that my potential customers wanted more than simply a web page designer; they wanted a technology expert. So, to meet the needs of the niche market I had identified, I created a team of Internet and technology professionals available to meet all the diverse technology needs of my clients. Then, I designed a portfolio of print and electronic marketing communications to ’sell’ my service to my niche.”

    Indeed, every consultant must be a keen marketing strategist, able to parlay chance opportunities into consulting assignments. Consulting engagements won’t knock at your door. You’ll need to plan a strategy to position yourself and increase your visibility in your niche market.

    “Marketing has made the difference between a mediocre attempt at consulting and a really successful venture. By using all the resources at my disposal – print brochures, email communications, website marketing and personal networking – I have built a firm with an excellent reputation and impressive list of clients,” says Mike Florimbi, president of Florimbi Partners International, a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in international development for U.S. corporations.

    Marketing Tools

    But which marketing tool is best for you? Should you develop a resume, brochure, flier, print-ad campaign or other promotional material? What about the value of a website in today’s rapidly-emerging e-commerce marketplace?

    Unfortunately, there’s no single answer. Your choice will depend on the market you’re trying to penetrate and how much you’re willing to spend.

    For instance, whether you choose a full-color brochure, black-and-white trifled brochure, one-page promotional flier, resume or full-scale website depends on your initial budget. Multicolor, multi-page brochures cost thousands of dollars. Webster can run in the hundreds, even thousands of dollars as well. Instead, you might select a one-page flier that’s well-presented and visually attractive, yet at a fraction of the cost.

    Either way, it’s best to have your print and electronic marketing materials professionally prepared, experts say.

    Regardless which promotional vehicle you pick, it should:

    • Appear upscale in its visual and graphic presentation.
    • Effectively highlight your expertise and specific accomplishments.
    • Include your professional and academic credentials (e.g., degrees, certifications, teaching experience, public speaking expertise, media experience, publications).
    • Describe the full scope of your services.
    • Promote your past consulting assignments (if appropriate).
    • Use testimonials where possible. Prospective clients likely will be interested in what others have to say about you.

    Where To Get Business

    Also remember that you can’t deliver your services until you’ve developed a client base. To generate a list, use the following resources:

    • Contacts, contacts, contacts. Networking is the single best method to build business relationships and identify consulting opportunities.
    • Past employers. They already know the quality of your work and achievements. Notify them that you’re now a consultant and available on a contractual basis.
    • Professional associations. Become an active participant in as many associations as possible. Attend meetings to network with other members and promote your practice. Get the membership list and do a targeted direct-mail campaign. There’s often a strong affiliation between members that can benefit your marketing efforts.
    • Civic & community associations. Through these organizations, you can connect with other professionals who have similar volunteer interests.
    • Chambers of Commerce. A great source for networking and identifying opportunities in your local market.
    • Colleges and universities. Many schools help start-up ventures in need of specific operating, financial and technological expertise. Establishing an affiliation with one or more may lead to promising referrals.
    • Small-business incubators. Another great source for networking with entrepreneurs in need of specific consulting expertise to launch their ventures.
    • Venture capital firms. These firms often engage consultants for specific projects, start-ups, acquisitions and other high-profile engagements. Once you’ve established an affiliation, engagements can become routinely available as the firm acquires additional holdings.
    • Banks and lending institutions. Bankers know everything about their business clients. Most important, they are aware of companies that need strong and effective management support (particularly in turnaround and reorganization situations).

    Marketing Rules To Live By

    Once you open for business, never forget the basics:

    • Marketing is key to your success.
    • Building a professional image and reputation is vital.
    • Don’t confuse marketing with sales. Clients want to feel helped, not just sold on your services. So anchor your campaign in your ability to solve problems and provide expert insight. To that end, tout accomplishments rather than your credentials. Clients are interested in results.
    • Play it cool. Even if your cupboard’s bare, let prospective clients think business is knocking down your door. Clients may lose confidence in your abilities if you seem hungry for business.
    • Sell information in the form of books, manuals, software, audio and videotapes or databases. You’ll educate people and promote your business indirectly as you familiarize prospects with your expertise.
    • Individualize your consultations. If you provide help that appears formulaic or packaged, clients may feel cheated. They believe their circumstances are unique and worthy of special, custom treatment and solutions.
    • Never cut your fee to get business. Instead, focus on the quality of your service, not your price. Whether clients retain your services will depend more on the quality of help you provide than on the fees. Even if you need the income, cutting your fee without reducing your workload suggests that your fees were inflated to begin with. If suspicions arise, a contract may be lost.

    The professional world of consulting offers so very many unique opportunities for success. If you have the “entrepreneurial” fortitude to launch such an effort, the determination to stick with it (even if tough times), the marketing savvy to promote it and confidence in your professional skills, you will succeed!

  • 18 Jan 2016 10:57 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Selecting the appropriate form and structure for your business is critical. If you are to survive and thrive in our industry, which is as competitive as any other, part of your success will depend on the type of business entity you have formed and both the tax and non-tax implications of that decision. This article outlines the various business entities and key elements you should consider.

    NON-TAX ISSUES

    MANAGEMENT & ADMINISTRATION

    • Proprietorships: Single owner; characterized by simplicity, flexibility and control
    • Partnerships: General partnerships are not centralized; limited partnerships are centralized
    • S Corporations: Centralized management, board of directors and corporate officers must comply with corporate legal requirements
    • C Corporations: Centralized management, board of directors and corporate officers must comply with corporate legal requirements
    • LLCs: Typically controlled by an operating agreement

    CAPITALIZATION

    • Proprietorships: Limited to owners’ assets and loans
    • Partnerships: Sources of capital expand by virtue of number of partners involved
    • S Corporations: Can issue stock for up to 35 outside shareholders
    • C Corporations: Can issue stock, bonds and increase borrowing capacity; however, in the small business arena, shareholders generally have to guarantee the debt of the company
    • LLCs: Generally same as partnership.

    OWNERS’ LIABILITY

    • Proprietorships: Unlimited liability
    • Partnerships: General partners have unlimited liability; limited partners’ liability is limited to the dollar investment in the partnership
    • S Corporations: Liability limited to assets in the corporation
    • C Corporations: Liability limited to assets in the corporation
    • LLCs: Investors’ liability generally limited (similar to an S or C corporation)

    TRANSFERABILITY OF INTERESTS

    • Proprietorships: Assets can be sold but the entity ceases upon sale
    • Partnerships: Transferable subject to partners’ approval
    • S Corporations: Freely transferable by sale of stock
    • C Corporations: Freely transferable by sale of stock
    • LLCs: Transferable subject to members’ approval

    CONTINUITY OF LIFE

    • Proprietorships: Finite life; ceases upon death of proprietor
    • Partnerships: Terminates if 50% or more of interests are sold or exchanged within one year
    • S Corporations: Indefinite life
    • C Corporations: Indefinite life
    • LLCs: Generally limited (like a partnership)

    TAX ISSUES

    TAX YEARS

    • Proprietorships: Must use tax year of proprietor (generally, the calendar year)
    • Partnerships: Must use tax year of partners or make Section 444 election for September 30, October 31 or November 30 year-end
    • S Corporations: Must use calendar year or make Section 444 selection
    • C Corporations: May select any fiscal year
    • LLCs: Generally same as partnerships

    INCOME TAXES

    NOTE: Pass-through entities are NOT subject to income tax at the entity level. Rather, the owner or owners report items of income or loss on their individual income tax returns, resulting in a single level of taxation.

    • Proprietorships: Pass-through entities
    • Partnerships: Pass-through entities
    • S Corporations: Pass-through entities
    • C Corporations: Income tax is levied at the entity level and again at the shareholder level when retained earnings are distributed as dividends
    • LLCs: Generally pass-through entities

    COMPENSATION & PAYROLL TAXES

    • Proprietorships: Self-employment earnings; pay FICA and income tax in quarterly estimated tax payments
    • Partnerships: Self-employment earnings; pay FICA and income tax in quarterly estimated tax payments
    • S Corporations: Wage income paid to owners-employees; income and FICA and unemployment taxes withheld. NOTE: Quarterly estimated tax payments may need to be paid if corporate income is not paid as wages, since it is taxable at shareholder level.
    • C Corporations: Wage income paid by owner-employees; income and FICA taxes withheld
    • LLCs: Pass-through income; pay income tax in quarterly estimated tax payments

    If you’re still uncertain as to which type of business entity is best for you – based on your particular tax and non-tax considerations – it is advised that you contact a CPA who can offer personalized advice and guidance.

  • 18 Jan 2016 10:49 AM | Anonymous
    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    This article is a bit unusual for me. Rather than writing a “regular” article for you, I’ve created a new sales document that you can distribute to your prospective coaching clients. This piece shows them first-hand how vital your career coaching services can be to their personal career success.

    After you’ve read the article and understand its value to you as a sales and marketing piece, all you have to do to make it a useable tool for you and your business is to:

    1. Save the article in a word processing file.
    2. Type in your name and your company’s name in the “Published by” line.
    3. Reformat it to modify its visual presentation to your style (if necessary).
    4. Add in additional information if you have other ideas.
    5. Print copies.
    6. Distribute it (mail, in-person, fax or email) to your past, present and prospective clients.

    Why past clients? They may still be in transition, or in transition AGAIN, and in need of an experienced career counselor. What’s more, these individuals already value you and will be receptive to new services you are offering. And, don’t forget, past clients are your single best source for new client referrals.

    Why present clients? These clients are already in some form of career transition and will find immediate value in your coaching services. These are the clients you can service TODAY!

    Why prospective clients? Prospects tend to shop various career service organizations to research their services and fees. When they realize that you offer a wealth of job search and coaching services, you’ve immediately positioned yourself as a single-source solution to ALL of their needs. What’s more, you will virtually eliminate your competition!

    So, as you can see, using this sales material is quick and easy! Further, I guarantee that once your clients have reviewed this information, it will be abundantly clear to them how critical coaching services are to their job search. And, in turn, you’ll see an immediate (and, hopefully) dramatic increase in your coaching revenues.

    Note that this document was written specifically to sell coaching services as they relate to job search and career marketing. It would NOT be appropriate, without extensive editing, to use for marketing other types of coaching programs (e.g., life coaching, executive coaching, salary training).

    Click here to download the article as a Microsoft Word document.

    CAN CAREER COACHING SERVICES BENEFIT YOUR CAREER?
    Published by (FILL IN YOUR NAME & NAME OF YOUR COMPANY)

    One of the most recent developments in the job search industry is the evolution of the career coach as an essential component for any top-level job search campaign. We hear about coaches in the media, read about them in resume books, and even see them on Oprah! Five years ago, coaching was a virtually unknown profession. Today, it is evolving at a phenomenal rate.

    Are you taking advantage of this new trend?

    Do you know what a career coach is?

    Could you benefit from the expertise of one?

    By definition, a career coach is a trained professional (usually someone in the counseling and/or professional job search industry) who will guide you through the complexities of skills assessment, job search planning, campaign development, career marketing and long-term career management. To determine the value a career coach would bring to you, go through the following checklist of information, answering Yes or No to each question.

    Career Assessment & Focus

    • Do you know “who” you are – professionally?
    • Do you have a clear understanding of your most significant skills and qualifications?
    • Are you clear about your career objectives?
    • Do your skills and qualifications match your objectives?
    • Do you know the type of position you are seeking?
    • Do you know what types of activities you do NOT want to engage in?
    • Do you know the industries in which you are interested and will be focusing your search?

    Your career coach will assist you in identifying and assessing your qualifications, job preferences, likes and dislikes, immediate objectives and long-term goals. Your coach will help you evaluate your worth in the employment market and your value within specific industries.

    Career Change & Transition

    • Are you considering changing career paths, professions or industries?
    • Can you find an equivalent position if you make such a change?
    • Will you command the same level of compensation?
    • What skills do you have that are transferable between jobs and/or industries?
    • Do you feel as though you are going to be niched into your current industry for the rest of your career?
    • Do you feel as though you are going to be niched into your current profession for the rest of your career?
    • Do you know today’s “hot” industries and professions?
    • Do you have the “right” skills to transition into these high-growth industries?

    Your coach will guide you in identifying and evaluating all of your possibilities and provide you with critical market intelligence to formulate your job search action plan.

    Personal & Family Issues

    • Do you have personal or family issues that are directly impacting your job search?
    • Is relocation out of the question?
    • Is your spouse currently employed and not anxious to leave his/her position?
    • Is your age impacting your campaign results?
    • Are you tied to your current community because of out-of-work activities you’re involved in?
    • Do you have a physical disability that might be negatively impacting your search but has never impacted your work performance?
    • Are you depressed because your job search has not progressed at the pace you anticipated?
    • Do you need an advisor, a confidante or a job search partner?

    Your coach can be your sounding board, helping you determine how to evaluate and prioritize these issues in relation to your search, how to best overcome obstacles standing in your way and how to best position those issues to your advantage.

    Career Marketing & Job Search Management

    • Do you understand that the job search process is similar to the sales process?
    • Do you understand that YOU are the product you are selling and that you must effectively merchandise and promote the product?
    • Do you understand all of the different marketing channels available to you in managing your search – targeted direct mail campaigns, email broadcast campaigns, Internet resume posting services, Internet job posting services, specialty job lead reports and more?
    • Do you know which marketing channels are the RIGHT marketing channels for your search?
    • Do you know how to best optimize your networking contacts and results?
    • Do you know which advertisements to respond to and which to ignore?

    Your career coach can help you critically evaluate each and every available job search strategy, its value to your search, the risk/reward ratio of each and how to best integrate each program into your campaign.

    Interview Skills & Salary Negotiations

    • Are you confident of your performance in the interview situation?
    • Are you able to “sell” your accomplishments without sounding as though you are bragging?
    • Are you articulate and well-presented?
    • Are you comfortable in a “stressful” interviewing situation with more than one interviewer?
    • Can you quickly and easily accommodate to a new environment?
    • Are you an accomplished negotiator, confident of your ability to negotiate the “best” compensation package possible?
    • Do you fully understand the potential of various bonus structures and schedules?
    • Do you understand the value of equity participation and other non-traditional compensation models?

    Your career coach will help you develop and refine powerful interviewing skills, pushing you to perform at your best, communicate your value and earn a compensation package well beyond your original expectations.

    References

    • Will your references speak positively about your skills, qualifications, experience and track record?
    • Will your references say anything that could be potentially damaging to you?
    • Are your references the RIGHT references for you to use?
    • Do you know how to improve the performance of your references when they’re talking about you?
    • Can you make the reference-checking process easier for your references?

    If you know that your references may be divulging information that could be construed as negative, let your career coach teach you how to best overcome these situations.If you can answer “YES” to most of the questions and are confident in your ability to manage your job search, then you are reasonably well-prepared to move forward on your own. However, if you still feel the need for the expertise, insights and support of a career coach, don’t hesitate for one minute. These trained professionals can make a huge difference in the speed and success of your job search. If you answered “NO” to more than just 3-4 of the questions above, I would strongly urge you consider the value a career coach could bring to your job search, career performance and compensation. With years of training and experience, career coaches know what works and what doesn’t work, how to optimize your results, and how to help you land your ideal position. With your career coach at your side, you can move forward confidently and successfully.

  • 18 Jan 2016 10:45 AM | Anonymous
    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.


    What exactly does “Owning The Customer Relationship” mean? Simply put, it means that your customers are YOUR customers and they’re not going anywhere else. Whether deliberately or not, you’ve managed to build rapport, establish trust and capture that client. You now “OWN” that relationship and it’s yours to keep forever. Here’s how you can achieve that:

    • You consistently, unfaltering, dependably and intensely professionally provide quality services to your clients. No matter your area of specialization – coaching, counseling, recruitment, outplacement, placement or resume writing – the services you provide are consistently top-flight. There are no exceptions. You are committed to your business/organization and your clients.
    • You position yourself as a single-source provider to your clients and become their #1 job search resource. They know that you will always have the answer or you’ll find it. Your clients can trust in the fact that they need not look any further. You’re there to support them in whatever they may need to advance their search and their career.
    • You write and send client newsletters to maintain constant communication. You inform them of new information that may impact their job search or career, you notify them of new resources and you share new knowledge. And, while you’re communicating with them, why not use your newsletter for its real purpose – a marketing tool to promote you and your organization.
    • You maintain visibility within the market. You write articles, give speeches, appear on local radio and television broadcasts, and attend area business meetings. People either know you or know of you. They know about your services and they know your reputation. You are a part of the community that you serve – no matter how small or how large.

    Customer Service Is More Than Delivering Service

    Sometimes we’re so involved in delivering our services that “business administration” may drift to the back burner. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Remind yourself of the little things that are so very critical to establishing and maintaining your reputation.

    1. Answer each and every email message. I’m not referring to junk mail that you receive, but to every other piece of correspondence. Even if your message is a simple, “Got your note and will respond within 48 hours” or “Thanks for the kind words,” at least you are acknowledging the email and the person. Remember, the combination of good etiquette and immediate client response is a powerful tool!

    2. Answer each and every voice mail message the day you receive it, if at all possible. Even if all you do is call your client back to tell him that you’re overwhelmed today and can’t speak with him until tomorrow or the next day, you’re acknowledging that you got the message and that the CLIENT IS IMPORTANT.

    3. Acknowledge your “big spenders.” Ever have clients who just continue to spend money with you? First they want a resume, then they want coaching, then they want a direct mail campaign … it goes on and on. The respect that you will get with a handwritten thank-you note is worth thousands of dollars in advertising. Even better, consider a small, but nice gift at the holiday season.

    4. Always deliver on time. There are virtually no excuses for not delivering a client project on time. None! If you have committed to Wednesday at 2 pm, then the project MUST be done by that time, barring an unforeseen near catastrophe. And, a heavy workload is NOT a near catastrophe! If you begin to develop a reputation for quality work – but work that is consistently late – you might as well close your doors.

    5. Always be on time. If you have a client appointment scheduled for 11 am, be there and be ready. How many times have you sat in an office waiting for a doctor? With each passing moment, you became more annoyed. Is that how you want your clients to feel?

    6. The client is ALWAYS right. Your client has hired you to do a job for him. You can share your insights, make your recommendations, offer factual proof of what works and what doesn’t, but ultimately it is the client’s decision as to how to proceed. You can only do what’s “right” if the client allows you.

    These items barely scratch the surface of what’s involved in managing a quality-driven service business. If you are up to the challenge and able to establish a reputation for consistently superior service, you’ll reap the benefits:

    • Your name will become synonymous with high-quality service and excellence.
    • You can gradually increase your prices (and your profits) to keep pace with the demand.
    • You’ll position yourself as a leader within our industry and a mentor to your colleagues.

    Perhaps the greatest benefit of all will be the constant stream of referrals you will receive. Happy clients refer other clients who then refer others. If you are diligent, determined and consistent, your business and client base will grow without having to invest big bucks in advertising and marketing. Your clients will sell for you. All you’ll need to do is continue to provide the same level of expertise that has gotten you this far.

  • 18 Jan 2016 10:43 AM | Anonymous
    Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.


    INTRODUCTION

    For the past 30 years, I’ve been self-employed as an executive resume writer and career coach. Through those experiences, I gained a tremendous amount of information about what executive clients want/need in a resume writer and coach, and that’s the information I’m going to share with you in this article.

    CLIENT EXPECTATIONS

    Executive clients want to work with a career professional who understands what they do – their industry and their profession. This is particularly critical during the sales process when you are “competing” against other resume writers, coaches, counselors, outplacement companies, etc. to get a new client’s business.

    During the sales process, you MUST communicate your knowledge of the client’s industry and profession. This accomplishes two things: (1) the client feels comfortable with you and believes that they’ve found the “right” person to help them; and (2) it gives you a tremendously competitive advantage in closing the sale. You can almost “hear” the client’s thought process … “This person not only appears to be a very well-qualified career coach but, JUST AS IMPORTANT, he/she also knows all about logistics, distribution and supply chain management!” You’ve just won that client to be sure.

    How do you so quickly communicate that information? It’s easy. All you need to do is ask the “right” questions and use the “right” keywords. Inevitably, one of the first questions you will have asked a new client is what they currently do for a living. I always ask … “Are you a sales guy, an IT guy, a general management guy …?” Once I have that information, then I’m ready to go. Here’s a good example:

    Suppose you’re a resume writer and you’re speaking to a Vice President of International Finance for a leading global corporation. As you’re explaining your services and how you work, you’ll throw in comments and questions such as … “The kinds of things I’ll want to know from you will relate to your experience and accomplishments in foreign exchange, foreign currency hedging, foreign government financing, global banking, joint ventures and M&A transactions.” If you say this to a prospective client, you’ve instantly connected yourself and your expertise to that client. I GUARANTEE they’ll be so impressed they can’t pay you fast enough!

    Also, be sure to use acronyms such as M&A (versus mergers and acquisitions) to further entrench yourself into the profession. I might have also asked the above client … “Have you ever been involved in an IPO transaction, led VC road shows or participated in an ESOP?” (IPO = Initial Public Offering; VC = Venture Capital, ESOP = Employee Stock Ownership Plan)

    Executive clients want the price to be reasonable. Reasonable is a pretty vague concept, but consider the following. One of the most important elements in setting your pricing structure is your competition. If you’re in a small town, hundreds of miles from a major city and all of your competitors are charging $250 a resume, you’re certainly not going to charge $2500. On the other hand, if you’re in a major metropolitan area and the average resume price is $500 a resume, you’re certainly not going to charge $50 (I hope!).

    The strategy here is that you DO NOT want to be the cheapest. Most executives are NOT looking for the cheapest; they’re looking for the “best” at a reasonable price. If you’re the cheapest, the customer-perceived value of your product will be less. Conversely, you may not want to be the most expensive either. I always recommend setting your pricing right up at the top, just a notch or two below the most expensive.

    Executive clients want the process to be easy and efficient. You want to create a “process” for doing business that is easy for both you and your clients. In years past, if I was speaking to a client for the very first time and they were anxious to move forward, I asked for a credit card number and proceeded immediately. If I had told that client that I’d have to send an agreement, worksheets, credit card authorization, etc., before we could get started, chances are likely I might have missed that opportunity. Perhaps the client would have changed his/her mind, decided to call a few other career companies and shop around, or whatever. My motto is … “Hit while the iron is hot! “

    IMPORTANT: I would, of course, have my clients complete the appropriate documentation immediately after our conversation. I just wasn’t going to let them go while I had them “hooked.”

    You must then continue to work in the same efficient manner. No matter the specific type of career service(s) you are offering, if you are able to create a seamless process where the client is able to move from step to step with virtually no interference, then you will have succeeded. Set deadlines and stick to them, keep the flow of paperwork to a minimum, and attempt to eliminate much of the administrative detail that can both bog you and your clients down.

    Executive clients want you to be their “job search captain” and guide them through the process at a strong and steady pace. Most often, executives want you to lead them through the process, whether that process be resume writing, coaching, counseling, outplacement, or any other type of career development or management effort. They know that they’re great at their jobs. Now, they expect you to be great at yours and they’re happy to follow your advice and your lead.

    In turn, you must exude confidence and knowledge in all of your communications with them. You must be decisive and direct with specific recommendations for action. These guys aren’t messing around! Tell them what to do and they will do it. Let them perceive you as a strong, yet compassionate career ally.

    Executive clients are a wonderful market niche, but not the only niche. Find a targeted clientele that you’re comfortable working with and then apply the above principles. They will work well with any client population.

  • 18 Jan 2016 10:42 AM | Anonymous

    By Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, CEIP, JCTC, CCM
    Best Impression Career Services

    Just last week, I experienced the complete spectrum of client experiences with regard to resume review and revision. Client A was thrilled with the draft, made literally no changes, and spent perhaps five minutes in post-draft conversation with me before immediately putting his new resume to work. Client B also said he was very pleased with his resume but wanted to “work through a few tweaks.” He faxed me a heavily marked-up draft and then spent an hour on the phone reviewing and explaining his changes. We went through that same process twice more – each time getting shorter, thank goodness! – before he professed himself 100% satisfied and ready for the final documents.

    The extreme contrast between these two clients made me think about my business processes. What made the difference between Client A and Client B? What could I have done to streamline Client B’s review? What should I do differently in future to avoid a similar scenario? Here’s what I learned and appreciated from this experience.

    Embrace the Balance

    I noticed I never question myself when I have a run of Client A scenarios! It’s only when the occasional Client B comes along that I worry I might be doing something wrong. Yet in the big picture, there are far more speedy resume revisions than protracted ones. As a rule, they balance each other out. So it makes sense to take the occasional lengthy process in stride and realize it all comes out in the wash. Just reminding myself of this truth improves my tranquility.

    Understand Client Types

    My Client B is a high-level executive who works in the esoteric world of leveraged finance. His close attention to details enabled him to become very successful in an extremely fast-paced and competitive arena. He applied this same laser-like focus to his resume. No detail was too small to be examined, discussed, and then decided upon. In fact, I realized as we worked and reworked the document, if he hadn’t gone through such an extensive review process, he wouldn’t have felt good about the resume!

    I could discern my client’s style from the get-go, when he sent me a nine-page resume that he had laboriously worked down to six pages. I was prepared for him to be detail oriented, highly technical, and verbose. Mentally preparing myself for that kind of client and a lengthier than normal interaction is a good first step in overcoming my natural impatience for a lengthy review process.

    Focus on the Work

    As writers, most of us take pride in our professional skills, and we put so much of ourselves into our work that it’s hard not to take it personally when clients critique our efforts. But making the matter personal won’t help you draw it to a successful close. Try to keep your feelings out of the issue, focus on the work itself, and never fall so in love with a phrase, sentence, or paragraph that you can’t see other possibilities.

    Fortunately for me, Client B is extremely charming and easy to work with (it just takes a while!). He never made me feel that I hadn’t done a good job. In fact, he was very complimentary about the strategy, writing, and editing that had brought his six-page resume down to two. Both he and I put all our attention on making sure the resume was as perfect as it could be, and as a result the review process was always pleasant and productive.

    Go Back to the Beginning

    Whenever there is lengthy editing to a document, there is a danger that the initial focus will be lost, or repeated edits will change the meaning of a sentence or a section. For every resume project, but especially when we have gone through lengthy and/or numerous review cycles, I like to look at it with fresh eyes before finalizing the next draft. For me it’s extremely helpful to review my interview notes, reread the client’s paperwork, and refresh my memory about current objectives. Then I read the entire resume top-to-bottom, with those objectives clearly in my head, and can make sure the document supports the client’s goals.

    If you’re having trouble with repeated client revisions, you might need to spend a few minutes with your client discussing her goals as stated at the beginning of your interaction. Describe how you crafted the resume to align with those goals, and point out any changes she is requesting that conflict with the goals. You might gently remind your client that she can’t be “all things to all people” but that the resume you created does position her for her stated goals.

    If nothing else, your “back-to-the-beginning” review will reassure you that you are on the right track and the edited version will indeed support the client’s goals.

    Remove Obstacles

    In a protracted review process, it is very helpful for you to be extremely efficient in getting subsequent drafts to your client. The minute you get off the phone or receive a marked-up copy, get to work, polish the next daft, and send it to your client. You want to position yourself as highly responsive and eager for your client to move on with his career transition. The fewer the delays, the fewer reasons the client will have for prolonging the process. In fact, he will probably be very appreciative of your efforts and do his part to keep the process moving as well.

    Be Honest With Yourself

    We all experience the occasional long client review cycle. But if the majority of your client reviews are multi-step, protracted, even painful processes, it would be a good idea to take a critical look at your work and perhaps get an outside opinion as well. Perhaps you need to improve your strategic thinking skills, your resume formatting and design capabilities, your basic writing and grammar skills, or learn some new strategies for positioning and presenting your clients.

    Ongoing training keeps our skills sharp and gives us confidence that our work is of a high-quality and professional caliber. At the least, consider partnering with another writer to share ideas, ask questions, discuss industry trends, and keep each other refreshed and up to date.

    Select Clients Carefully

    If you know that certain kinds of clients – whether representing a certain personality type, job function, or industry – repeatedly give you headaches, practice saying “no” and referring them to other writers. Everyone will be much happier!

    But don’t be afraid to stretch from time to time. I find that it is the most challenging clients who drive me to do my very best work. I am on my mettle, more determined than ever to produce a great product. There is great value in going deeper into the process, admitting new ideas, and being forced to explain what I did and why. And in the end, it is usually those same challenging clients who become my very best referral sources!

    Ultimately, Client B is happy. Client A is happy. And I’m satisfied that I did good work for two very different clients. So I guess you could say it was a good week!

  • 18 Jan 2016 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
     
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    When people walk into my office, they’re always surprised (and sometimes, horrified!). For some reason, everyone thinks my office will be neat, clean, and well-organized. Well, that’s hardly the case! I live in a world of piles on the floor all around me, Post-It notes and scraps of paper everywhere, two large paper recycling bins that are always overflowing, and other miscellaneous items strewn everywhere. Yet, I know where everything is and the system works perfectly for me!

    Managing your job search is just like managing any other project and business. You must create an administrative infrastructure that will allow you to operate efficiently, productively, and with some order to it all. Helter skelter doesn’t work for anything you do, and particularly not your job search.

    Following are some strategies you might consider as you create a system to manage the flow of contacts, resumes, follow-ups, interviews, and more that you’ll need to “administer” throughout your search campaign.

    Technology is NOT the answer to everything, albeit an essential and tremendously valuable tool in your job search. In fact, conducting a job search without technology is virtually impossible in today’s virtual market. However, not everything has to be automated. One big joke between one of my techie buddies and me is my old-fashioned Rolodex that sits proudly on my desk. He hates it! I love it! Takes me two seconds to find a phone number. Instead, he wants to automate it, so every time I want to look up a number, I have to go to my PC, click on whatever program, type in the name and two minutes (NOT seconds) later I’ll have the phone number. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem too efficient to me!

    Create two working spaces within the same room. I use two desks – one’s my PC desk for all my writing, email, Internet research, etc. The other desk is where I talk on the phone, write notes, keep important files and do administrative tasks. The desks are side-by-side, so I can easily reach from one to the other, but they are separate and distinct workstations. It allows me to keep all the “stuff” I need to do on my PC separate from the “stuff” I need to do at my desk. Each desk has a priority pile of items that must be addressed immediately (along with lots of other to-do piles that are not as time-sensitive).

    Establish a schedule. Here’s what works for me. I write early in the mornings and handle whatever projects I have in the works. I then save the afternoons for phone calls and administrative tasks. I know other people who do the exact opposite and it works great for them. It is so difficult to be sitting at your PC, trying to write a cover letter and email a resume in response to a ChiefMonster job posting, when you promised three people you’d follow-up first thing in the morning or scheduled an appointment with your career coach for 9 am. Attempt to set aside quiet times each day to attend to whatever writing tasks you may have. I guarantee that your productivity will increase dramatically. However, remember that flexibility is vital. If you’ve established 3 pm-5 pm as your designated writing time, yet you’re invited for an interview at 4 pm, I recommend you accept the invitation!

    Prioritize your incoming email into three categories. I receive a great deal of email, probably an average of 75-100 messages each day. Each time I receive my incoming email, I go through it in three steps. First, I immediately delete all the unsolicited emails and Viagra advertisements(!), I then respond to those messages that will take under a minute or two to handle, and then work my way through the balance that require more than a quick thought. I figure for every 25 messages I receive, I handle better than 70% of them within less than 10 minutes.

    Touch it only once. Whether we’re talking about each day’s snail mail, your email, or folders on your desk, do something with it NOW and be done with it. When the mail arrives each day, I immediately sort it, throw useless information into the recycling bin, put bills in the “to pay” folder, and put everything else into its respective place or to-do pile. The less frequently you touch each piece of paper, or the less time you procrastinate about something you don’t want to complete but will only take 30 minutes, the more efficiently you will be managing your entire campaign.

    You probably have already developed some job search management strategies that work best for you. Try integrating some of the above into what you’ve already created and you’ll find that your search campaign will proceed even more efficiently. And, the faster you move forward, the faster and easier you’ll find your next opportunity.

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