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    Start Up & Growth Secrets for Resume Writers & Career Coaches from Guest Donna Shannon

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

    It’s time for more great business success secrets from my interview of career industry pro, Donna Shannon (they/them), who personally mentors their team of 5 resume writers, and has been the force behind their program/course creation and cultivation of a unique niche market.

    IMPORTANT! While we’ve shared seven (7) start up and growth tips for resume writers and career coaches from Donna below, there are several more that you can ONLY learn if you watch the replay!!

    Keep reading for their interview replay, tips, and supporting resources to start up, build, and grow your business! Again, don’t miss the replay for more tips!

    In the interview they answer:

    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?

    About DonnaDonna Shannon

    Donna Shannon (they/them) is President at Personal Touch Career Services and holds the Master Career Director (MCD) designation from Career Directors International (CDI). Their books include “Get a Job Without Going Crazy” and “The Down & Dirty Job Search.”

    With 20 years of experience, they have published over 140 articles on LinkedIn, been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, and spoken about job-searching strategies at conferences in Orlando, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, and Denver, among others. They constantly add to their professional development in both job searching trends and HR recruitment practices to ensure that their standards evolve with the latest technologies.

    Donna personally mentors their staff of five resume writers to stay on the cutting edge of the employment landscape. And yes, they do standup comedy, even though getting a job is no laughing matter.

    Prior to their business becoming full time, Donna worked in HR, recruitment, and accounting in such industries as broadcasting and renewable energy. One of their more interesting jobs was within the career services department for an occupational school that trained adults in private service, who are the people who manage multi-million-dollar private estates. Half of their business today is still within this niche industry, which includes estate managers, personal assistants, butlers, and private chefs. On the fringe, they currently do stand-up comedy on the side.

    Their company’s main services include resume writing, interview prep, job search strategy, LinkedIn profile writing, career coaching, and online courses for LinkedIn, interviewing, and job search strategy.

    They say that two of their main claims to fame are that they help people land jobs they love in less time while earning up to 20% more in salary and they use their comedy background to inject humor into the serious deep dive into job search strategy.

    Donna’s 7 Start Up & Growth Secrets (watch the replay for more)

    Get Focused When Hiring.

    “When hiring resume writers, use professional associations like CDI to source your talent vs. trying to throw a wide net on LinkedIn.”

    One of the benefits of CDI membership is access to our Opportunities directory and the chance to send an opportunity announcement to all members (unless they have opted out). Non-members also have use of our community for sourcing, but that does mean responses from members and non-members.

    The value of using a professional association is that you can request specific criteria. Many of our members require a CDI-specific resume writing certification and/or a TORI resume writing award as these are validation of top quality and skill.

    Members can access the Opportunities directory from their member dashboard or the link below.

    Learn to Sell.

    Being good at your craft doesn’t ensure profitability.

    If you set up a business without knowing how to accurately price, package, AND sell, you’re going to waste a lot of energy and time.

    You’re going to struggle unnecessarily.

    I don’t like to sell either but there’s a process that works.

    Where you’ve thought ‘learn to sell’ instead think, “learn to educate”.

    Job seekers don’t know what they don’t know and that’s standing between you and your sale.

    They think they know themselves best for interviewing. They don’t.

    They think they’re the best person to write their resume and you’re just a typist. You know you’re so much more.

    If you don’t educate AKA sell in this effective way, most job seekers are going to walk.

    Then you’re going to think it was your pricing.

    You’re going to get stuck in the destructive loop of charging too little and needing too many clients.

    It’s about your process.

    Donna shared in our interview that they wished they had known early on to “learn strategic selling tactics to earn more revenue”.

    You can get out of this loop and make an incredible living if you stop hoping your service will sell itself and adopt a winning process.

    CDI has an outstanding free video mastery sales series that I will link to below along with a done-for-you script and process for members that’s recognized for helping you to close 94%+ of your consults at all levels and price points.

    Prove Your Relevance Through Certification.

    Want to increase your chances of standing out to prospects? Donna says, “Gaining professional certifications like those offered by CDI is one of the best ways to show your relevance to potential clients. Since job seekers rarely understand what makes quality resumes, displaying certifications lets them know they can trust your opinion.”

    Since I initially built my credibility (and my confidence) on learning and earning certifications and awards, I have to agree.

    On LinkedIn today there are over 1 million resume writers and 1.5 career coaches so taking strides to stand out with credentials held by anywhere from 1-73 people worldwide is a true differentiator.

    Learn about CDI certifications here.

    Always Know Your Numbers.

    “Don’t be scared to know your numbers.

    At any given point, you should know your sales to date, daily sales targets to hit your monthly goals, your profit margin, and conversion rates for marketing efforts.

    Only by tracking and recognizing both positive and negative trends can you adjust your strategies to maximize your business efforts.”

    I’d agree wholeheartedly with Donna Shannon on this!

    You can’t afford to be scared of your numbers.

    In fact, knowing your numbers can give you much-needed relief.

    Have a slow period?

    Instead of panicking, look at your numbers.

    You’ll almost always see a seasonal trend AND something you CAN plan for in future marketing.

    So, keep a monthly record of items including:

    • Expenses
    • Revenue
    • Profit

    Then check them regularly to know where you are at.

    Define Your Target Market.

    “Clearly define your target market.

    You should be able to explain who your ideal clients are concisely, their industries, experience levels, and other demographic information.

    With a well-defined target market, you can improve your networking efforts, identify the best platforms for advertising, craft relevant social media posts, and become a master at writing resumes for that market.”

    Donna Shannon’s tip is timely and well-stated!

    One of the key differentiators for our industry today is that competition is very large online and if you’re trying to speak to everyone, it’s easy to be heard by no one.

    This doesn’t mean you have to niche to only one population.

    However, picking one to speak to, and going to where they hang out, can make all of the difference.

    Think targeted LinkedIn newsletter, connecting with and networking in a specific professional association, looking for those niche groups online, and even looking for a local chapter in your market that could be receptive to advice from a guest speaker.

    I’ll link to an entire live show I shared on niche marketing below.

    Invest in Grammarly Pro.

    “Invest in the professional version of Grammarly and check your settings to make sure you are conveying a business-oriented tone! It will save tons of time, as it will automatically check your work on documents, emails, social media posts, etc.”

    Don’t Doubt, Do! What’s Basic to You is Life-Changing to Them.

    “Wherever you start, you are offering value to your clients who are struggling with their job search.

    The first workshops I taught in 2004 actually had a section on how to fax your resume the right way! While that seems silly today, I saw a lot of candidates miss out on jobs because they didn’t understand the proper techniques.

    What may seem simple to you can have mind-blowing and life-changing impacts on your clients. That being said, it’s your responsibility as a career professional to continue to add to your professional development so that you can share those latest trends and techniques with your clients to keep them competitive in their job hunts.”

    Don’t let fear and doubt, or imposter syndrome slow you down!

    What I found in running placement programs and working 1-1 with career industry entrepreneurs is that the best thing you can do is to ‘act as if’ you have the confidence and you don’t get in your own way thinking you’re not ready. You’re only going to build skill and confidence in presenting what you know by DOING IT.

    I’ll link to resources below on these topics.

    CDI and Donna

    Donna has been a member of CDI since 2022. Some of their favorite resources are:

    • Credentials: Gaining the Master Career Director (MCD) certification provided a unique distinction between them and other career coaches.
    • Live Webinars and Member Content: Ongoing professional development, including resume techniques, job searching trends, career coaching, and business operations.

    Replay & Next Livestream

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

    Grant CooperWednesday, 3/27/2024 at 3:45 PM Eastern you’ll meet my next guest, Grant Cooper of Strategic Resumes & Career Coaching,

    Grant was previously a serial entrepreneur – opened two successful businesses (natural foods store and natural foods cafe) while a student at LSU. He also launched and eventually sold and franchised businesses in five states. Additionally he worked for the federal government for over seven years and has early experience in food and beverage management and sales management.

    His company’s main services include resume writing, interview prep, job search strategy, LinkedIn profile writing, career coaching, business plans, and 30-60-90-day plans.

    Grant shares several claims to fame that will be illuminating to learn about.

    • Pitched and landed a highly lucrative contract with Kinko’s to offer private-label resume services in 350+ U.S. locations (until FedEx bought them out and ended all partnerships under $10 million).
    • Created the nation’s 1st digital Resume Critique CD (actually, it was you, Laura DeCarlo, that encouraged me to do that upon seeing my resume critique macro program at an event). It was sold at $289.50 per copy, with a production cost of just $5, to hundreds of university career offices, US military job services, resume writers, and career coaches nationwide.
    • Won a contract with Louisiana Department of  Labor to train staff in offices statewide.
    • Put three kids (scientist, sales director, doctor) through college, grad school and med school during 30 years as a self-employed career services practitioner.

    I’ll be asking him the same questions so you can gain yet another perspective on what’s working for resume writers and career coaches today who want to start, grow, and manage a successful business. 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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