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    Start Up & Growth Secrets for Resume Writers & Career Coaches from Brenda Bernstein

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    Start Up & Growth Secrets from Successfully Self-Employed Resume Writers & Career Coaches: Guest Brenda Bernstein

    I’m pleased to introduce my most recent guest and former private consulting client, Brenda Bernstein of The Essay Expert, who knows a lot about success secrets and growth strategies for resume writers and career coaches.

    Some of her achievements include transitioning from a public law career to found her business 15 years ago where she now sells senior-level executive resume writing packages for $5K and attracts the best writers in the industry to subcontract for her. She says her business has allowed her to contribute to her retirement while also independently qualifying for 2 mortgages.

    I’ll add that she says she doesn’t know where she’d be without CDI, has won a TORI resume writing award, and holds multiple credentials including CDI’s  Certified Master Resume Writer and Executive Editor and Certified Executive Resume Master.

    Brenda was totally transparent in her interview and shared some great advice. Below you’ll find written tips from Brenda, including some she didn’t share in the interview, the replay, valuable free and member’s only topic-specific resources, and where you can learn more about the 24th annual TORI award competition and my 1-1 Career Industry Business Profit Rocket consulting program.

    In the interview Brenda answers:

    1. When did you start your business?
    2. Tell us a little about your business.
    3. What did you do before you started your business?
    4. What made you decide to start your business?
    5. At what point in your business did you find CDI?
    6. What role has CDI played in the success you’ve achieved and what has been most valuable about it? What has your membership made possible? Did CDI provide a pivotal turning point for you?
    7. What has having your own business made possible for you in your life?
    8. What’s one thing you wished you had known when you first started your business, or, If you were starting your business today, what’s one thing you would have done differently? 
    9. For those who are considering a career in this field, or who are struggling in their businesses right now, what are a few key pieces of advice you’d share with them?
    10. Is there anything else you’d like our audience to know in terms of encouragement, lessons learned, or final thoughts around being a successful career industry professional?


    • What added advice would you provide around entering the TORI resume writing awards?
    • Is there anything else you’d add about the ROI of working with me 1-1 in my Career Business Profit Rocket Consulting program?

    About Brenda: 

    Brenda Bernstein, author of the #1 Amazon best-seller How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile, is a compelling speaker, conference presenter, and top-certified resume writer. She and her team at The Essay Expert have worked with hundreds of professionals and executives to get maximum value from their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Holding an English degree from Yale and a law degree from NYU, Brenda practiced public interest law in Brooklyn, NY for 10 years before becoming a resume writer. When she’s not working on her business, Brenda can be found swimming, pumping iron at OrangeTheory, and making smoothies with lots of kale.

    Finally, I’ll remind you of what she wrote when I asked about claims to fame. She says she now attracts the best writers in the industry to subcontract for her. She’s able to contribute to my retirement and has independently qualified for 2 mortgages. She sells packages that include senior-level executive resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and bios for $5K. And as I said earlier, she’s a former TORI resume writing award winner and her top credentials include, Certified Master Resume Writer and Executive Editor and Certified Executive Resume Master.

    Brenda’s 5 Start Up & Growth Secrets (with my added commentary)

    Links to CDI resources can be found in the additional resources section at the bottom of the page. 

    Avoid Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket!

    The market ebbs and flows.

    Things change.

    It’s smart to diversify.

    Brenda shared the following advice:

    “There will be ups and downs in this career path. I had a very down year one year when a big membership organization stopped sending me clients. But I persevered and learned an important lesson to diversify my client base.

    Use the support systems you have around you and you can make it if you decide to keep going.”

    Like Brenda, if you find yourself hitting a fork in the road, having such a support system and knowing how to pivot, can make all the difference.

    There is always a way to rise up and meet the needs or your market or define a new market.

    That’s one of the things my guests have repeatedly said CDI did for them – provided the vision, network, support, and knowledge to make changes that would allow them to weather an unexpected storm, pivot, and thrive.

    We’re here for your success!

    Check out all the ways to network and get support in the resource section below.

    Getting Clients Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult.

    Building and growing a resume writing and career coaching business doesn’t have to be challenging.

    In fact, everyone you speak to either needs your services or knows someone who does.

    It’s a virtually unlimited market with room for everyone (who is skilled) to be successful.

    That’s why I’m not surprised about Brenda’s advice around growing your business.

    She says:

    “Follow up with clients, post on LinkedIn, and take care of the people who refer clients to you. Stay in touch with them and send gifts if it feels right to you.”

    It can literally be that simple, coupled with earning credentials and awards to advance your skills and help job seekers to know, like, and trust you. (Other strategies Brenda employs).

    In fact, in our Critical Industry Analysis Survey in late 2023 we found that the top three ways your colleagues were growing their businesses were, in order:

    1. Customer referrals
    2. Partnerships and professional referrals
    3. Posting on LinkedIn.

    Polls on LinkedIn and Facebook produced these same findings.

    Don’t overthink it but DO get active building a name for yourself through excellent service, quality products, and follow up.

    Don’t avoid opportunities like the TORI resume writing awards to help stand out and justify your rates.

    I’ve linked to show replays where I deep dive into all three strategies below.

    Raise Your Prices.

    When preparing to be my guest, Brenda wrote me that one of her favorite value adds from CDI was working with me private in my 1-1 Career Business Profit Rocket consulting program.

    Her why:

    “Laura was a champion for me in raising my rates to the level they are now. She held out my worth when I didn’t believe people would pay a higher rate – and so far there are always senior-level clients who are happy to invest at the level I ask.”

    So, it makes sense that one of her big pieces of advice to her colleague resume writers and career coaches would be:

    “Raise your prices. I have never lost business from raising prices. You will get better quality clients, you’ll be able to work less and make the same amount of money, and you will serve the entire industry by holding the value of what we do.”

    Today Brenda’s resume writing, LinkedIn profile, and bio packages are $5K.

    While that doesn’t have to be your price, is valuable to know what the work of a top professional working with senior executives is commanding.

    With services such as resume writing, it can be very time consuming so it’s important to price rates at a point that doesn’t just land you clients but gives you an opportunity to create profit so you can continue to serve your niche!

    So, when most prospects are saying yes, it’s time to raise your rates.

    If most clients aren’t saying yes and your rates are lower than your profits, it’s time to learn an effective consultation strategy!

    CDI offers the industry standard and what former guest Deborah Schuster calls the non-salesy sales strategy. I’ve linked to the member script, tip videos, and other free non-member resources below.

    Get Clear On What You Like to Do.

    It can be so easy to think you have to be all things to all people as an entrepreneur.

    To believe if you’re not talking to everyone and offering ALL the services, that somehow you’re going to miss out.

    Brenda offers sage advice when she says:

    “Get clear about what you like to do – coaching? writing? editing? and build your business around that. I am more of an editor than a writer, so having subcontractors works well for me. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.”

    When I first started out I wanted to be full-service and learn all I could learn and do all I could do.

    I quickly learned what I didn’t enjoy and cut it.

    Don’t be afraid to find your niche and nail it.

    Don’t be afraid to cut the services or target markets that you don’t find fulfilling or profitable.

    You can achieve more when you are specific about what you do and who you do it for.

    Look for partnerships and referrals to fill the gaps and turn those into an added profit center.

    Hint: You’ll find those opportunities within CDI through our live, member-included live events and in our support community. (Links in resources below).

    Vet Service Providers & Ask for Advice.

    Brenda says she wishes she had known when she first started her resume writing business:
    “I would have been more careful about who I hired for web design and CRM programs. I spent thousands of dollars on services that didn’t come through the way I was hoping or expecting.”

    It’s easy to think we know everything and don’t need help.

    I’m not speaking specifically for Brenda, but these are all too common mistakes, and ones I’ve found myself in as well.

    Website services can be a particularly slippery slope.

    This is where associations like CDI and tapping into your colleague network truly pays off!

    Don’t make costly decisions alone without first asking for advice and suggestions.

    That’s why CDI has a private Facebook group and our inner circle coaching club, Career Industry Accelerator Club! (Links in resources below).

    CDI and Brenda

    Brenda has been a member of CDI since 2010. Her top three CDI favorite things are:

    • “One-on-one consulting with Laura aka Career Profit Rocket Consulting Program: Laura was a champion for me in raising my rates to the level they are now. She held out my worth when I didn’t believe people would pay a higher rate – and so far there are always senior-level clients who are happy to invest at the level I ask.”
    • Career Industry Accelerator Club: These monthly meetings explore timely, relevant topics in depth and are valuable for new writers and seasoned resume business owners alike. The opportunity to ask Laura any question is invaluable and comes at a fraction of the cost of individualized coaching. A combination of the club and coaching is a gold mine!”
    • “Member Networking: As a business owner who works heavily with subcontractors, networking is an essential element to keeping my business flowing. Every time new writers are certified (especially CMRWs and CERMs), and every year when the TORI winners are announced, I reach out to these top-level writers and ask if they are interested in joining my team. I have hired many amazing writers as a result!” There are so many ways to network in CDI – live events, Facebook group, Accelerator Club…links below. 

    Replay & Next Livestream

    Beverly SmithNext week I hope you’ll join me again on Wed at 3:45 PM Eastern as we continue interviewing my former private clients of the Career Business Profit Rocket Program in our series on Start Up & Growth Secrets from Successfully Self-Employed Resume Writers & Career Coaches. 

    My next guest in this mini series is Beverly Smith of Career Success Strategies. 

    Beverly started her business just two years ago, joining CDI and initially signing up for the Resume Business Roadmap program, which led to working with me 1-1. I’d like to say she’s exploded onto the scene like a rocket with a business specializing in helping mid and senior-level professionals with their resumes and job search strategies so that they can land the career of their dreams.

    But she’s not truly new to our world at all with 25 prior years in the Staffing and Recruiting industry, where she established a reputation for building successful businesses and working with employers for effective placements. Her staffing firm was selected the 2022 Arkansas SBA Women-Owned Staffing business of the year and a finalist for Arkansas Business Publishing Group Staffing Business of the year in 2021.

    So be sure to mark your calendars and tune in next Wed at 3:45 PM Eastern.

    I hope you’ll join me!

    We’ve streaming on CDI’s LinkedIn page, YouTube channel, and in our Facebook group every Wednesday at 3:45 PM Eastern. And, don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe so you stay in the know!

    Watch the Livestream Recording

    Work with Me 1 to 1 to Grow & Position Your Business

    Want results like Brenda, Amanda, and my other private consulting clients?

    Check out my Career Business Profit Rocket 1-1 Consulting Program to learn more about working with me. There you’ll also see client testimonials around the exciting results I’ve helped your colleagues to attain.

    I love finding ways for you to be more efficient, effective, profitable, and happy with your business!  

    WHATEVER your goal, I can help you to achieve it!

    Note that I only work with four private clients at a time to ensure the greatest quality of service. I’m currently booking for spots opening in May.  

    What’s Next?

    Join the Livestream on LinkedInYouTube, or in our Facebook group every Wednesday at 3:45 PM Eastern!


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