Quiz: What's Blocking You?
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    Start Up & Growth Secrets for Resume Writers & Career Coaches from CDI’s Founder

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    Start Up & Growth Secrets from Successfully Self-Employed Resume Writers & Career Coaches: My Story

    If you’re starting, currently thinking about starting, or actively seeking growth strategies for a resume writing and/or career coaching business, you’ll want to tune in for this interview.

    In the interview I answered:

    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?

    We kicked off this new series around success secrets of self-employed resume writers and career coaches with my own story as the founder of CDI and previously as a very successful 6-figure resume writer and career coach. (I gave it all up to devote myself to helping others in the industry achieve similar success).

    During the show yesterday, my audience told me in the comments that it was inspiring and motivating, so I hope you’ll make the time to watch and listen!

    In future episodes, I’ve lined up 17 weekly guests who:

    •  Started in the industry anywhere from 14 months to 20+ years ago.
    • Gross as much as $400K annually.
    • Joined the industry, often as a 2nd career, in their 20s through their 60s.
    • Share stories, lessons, and advice to help you succeed faster.

    Golden Nuggets

    As I’ll do with each upcoming guest interview, I’m sharing an overview and some of the gold nuggets from this session:


    • Laura DeCarlo holding a Resumes for Dummies book
      Laura DeCarlo

      Business Name: Laura-Ads during graduate school then A Competitive Edge Career Service – mid-90s from Sears Resume Service opportunity.

    • Surpassed $100K in annual revenue just past two years in business with 1-1 and group clients of all levels and income brackets.
    • Offered resume writing, document development, interview and job search strategy/coaching for 1-1 and groups. Grew to offer corporate transition assistance workshops and to land a resume expert contract for 50+ professional associations that led to contracting with nine ghost writers.
    • Attained, and continue to attain, an alphabet soup of credentials — the first certified resume writer to also be a certified career coach; work published in multiple books; spoke at multiple industry conferences; created CDI’s interview program for my own clients a decade before CDI existed; authored Resumes for Dummies, 10+ awards from three organizations for resume writing and job placement.
    • Knew from age 7 that a traditional workplace wasn’t going to be for me; started working at age 13 in retail jobs at a video store, movie theater concession, video game arcade, comics and collectibles store – hated not using my brain and being told, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean”. Then moved up to resume writer/desktop publisher for a mail copy plus store.
    • Undergrad pre med bio until parents accepted my heart wasn’t in it and let me switch to creative writing with graduate work toward career counseling, technical writing, and HR/training and development.
    • My first big job, that I held concurrently with my practice start-up, was an eye-opener about going all in to grow my business. I worked to make their university placement the best (and award-winning) out of 11 campuses in two countries only to be rewarded with their ‘highest raise ever’ of 23 or 27 cents/hour (I can’t remember which).


    Don’t go it alone! It’s not necessary to waste time on reinventing the wheel and trying to figure it out yourself. I would not be in this industry today if I hadn’t asked for help and been willing to close my mouth and listen when advice was given.

    Don’t stop five seconds before your miracle. It could literally be right there and you’ll never get to have it because you quit too soon.

    Expect to initially hustle and get out of your comfort zone for big rewards tomorrow. How badly do you want this business? What beliefs are you willing to face and challenges are you willing to overcome to make it happen? Will you put in the time now so that you can reap the rewards later?

    I had to overcome personality traits, fear of rejection and selling, introversion, and overall lack of resources and support to build my business in the dark ages. I had to put myself out there to earn certifications, network at events, win awards, and even take a whole second job as a Director of Career Planning and Professional Development for a business school, knowing my eye was on the prize and there would, and did, come a day where I could work part-time hours with Fridays off, and still enjoy six-figure revenue.

    It’s OK if you’re at your limit and don’t have extra time, but cut yourself a break! It’s like a job search for your clients — a full-time job deserves a full-time search, or it’s likely going to take longer. Longer is OK as long as you don’t play the blame or guilt game.

    Stay open to opportunity. Be willing to have the virtual coffee with a colleague. Be willing to put in that proposal that feels like a stretch. Be willing to show up at live events in CDI to network. As I say in the show, you NEVER know what will open up an amazing opportunity!

    Do something different today to avoid being in the same place a year from now. Joining CDI is not enough; you’ve got to invest time in it. Don’t you wish that learning, partnerships, and winning tactics could just be absorbed by osmosis? That would be so great, but it’s not how it works.

    Those who gain the greatest growth more often are using the tools that are there for them. That means scheduling the time to learn the resources, attending the member-included events, and participating in the community.

    Don’t take advice from those who haven’t already been where you want to go. If you hear anything at all from this session, it’s this piece! Please let this sink in.

    If you learn from people who struggle – if they aren’t award winners with advanced certifications and a track record of being on the cutting edge of all things you want for yourself…

    If they haven’t optimized their revenue per client, upped their close rates, built referral systems, turned clients into business-closing testimonials, designed ways to make money while they sleep or vacation…

    Or if they haven’t attained a skill level that allowed their clients to go out there and attain stellar results that no one else is getting…

    What do you think happens? You’re not going to get any further than they have.

    Your business, your future and your time are precious. Don’t waste it on half measures, reinventing the wheel, not using the gifts that you’ve been given, assuming the bare minimum is enough, or aligning with teachers who haven’t already been where you want to go!

    I built CDI because of what was missing in our industry and I continue to make sure that we deliver on that every day. I am so proud about the testimonials and delight with CDI I receive each week!

    If you’re not yet a member, go check out our free stuff page where you’ll be able to take our quiz, access some deep dive resources, and learn about our community.

    Members, you can access your gateway to success, the member dashboard, here.

    Replay & Next Livestream

    If you’re ready for your own start-up or growth success strategies, then be sure to join us next week.

    Wednesday, 2/21/2024 at 3:45 PM Eastern you’ll meet my first guest, Dr. Jeannine Bennett of Vision to Purpose.

    Dr. Jeannine BennettJeannine is a sweetheart and a dynamo. She’s had her business for 7+ years and before this she worked in Media, Law, Federal Government-DOD, and Academia. She provides resume writing, job search strategy, LinkedIn profile writing, and career coaching. Her key client population is Transitioning Military Members and Veterans. She also serves IT, finance and healthcare markets.

    I’ll be asking her the same questions I answered for you today from my perspective. It’s going to be fabulous to get this insight and I can’t wait! I hope you’ll join us!

    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

    What’s Next?

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

    Want to be my guest? If you are a CDI member who has already filled out the questionnaire, we will be contacting you shortly. If you are interested, send an email to info@nullcareerdirectors.com.


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