Monday, December 22, 2014

Are You Ready for "Dead Week"?

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you know that I have many nieces and nephews. So today's blog post references a topic that was discussed quite heavily over the past few weeks among my high school-aged nieces.

If you remember back to high school -- and college -- you'll remember that the week before Finals was referred to as "dead week." That was the week when teachers were supposed to "lighten the load," allowing students to cram in extra studying for the upcoming semester-ending tests, rather than focusing on daily homework assignments or short projects.

Taking the cue from school, then, I want to extend an invitation (challenge?) to resume writers as we approach what is often the busiest month of the year for us. (In the Resume Writers' Digest Annual Industry Survey, January consistently ranked as the top choice for busiest month for resume writers.)

Before January 1 rolls around, why not take the week leading up to the New Year and focus on preparing your business for your best year yet? From Christmas until New Year's Day is often a slow time for resume writers -- either because you've intentionally closed your business, or because prospective clients are focused on their own families and festivities.

Here are three possible projects for you to focus on during this time:

1. Create an irresistible opt-in. 
One of the best ways to attract prospects, turn browsers into buyers, and/or thank clients is to give them valuable content that will help them in their job search. That can be an ebook or special report, video or teleseminar recording or even a short course. Creating your opt-in can take as little as an hour, if you start with Pass-Along Materials content.

Some of my favorites for creating opt-ins:
Jobseeker's Guide to Salary Negotiation
Jobseeker's Guide to Leaving Your Job
Brag About It! Accomplishments Guide (see how this was turned into a Kindle book)
Jobseeker's Guide to Virtual Interviews
Your 2014 Career Roadmap

Watch this video to see how easy it is!

2. Launch that membership site you've been thinking about. 
Whether you've been thinking about a micro-continuity site (small monthly fee with ongoing resources), a fixed-term membership site (defined content that runs for a specific time period), or a recurring membership program, now's the time to get it going.

If you're thinking about a micro-continuity site, I recommend getting Kelly McCausey's "Little Monthly Payments" training program. She teaches you how to create a membership site that can generate several hundred (or thousand) dollars a month from subscriptions as low as $5/member per month. (Buy through my affiliate link and send me an email to get my "Membership Site Ideas for Resume Writers" special report as a bonus!)

It's easy to set up a membership site using Wild Apricot. It's what I use for, and it offers WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) setup, with no programming skills required. Try it for 30 days for free using my affiliate link. (And let me know if you have any questions! I'm happy to help!)

3. Schedule your social media. 
Social media sites -- like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn -- can be a great way to cultivate prospective clients. But it can be tough to find the time to create content to post on social media when you're busy serving clients. I suggest pre-scheduling your content using a site like Hootsuite (free for up to 3 social media accounts) -- with or without the help of a virtual assistant.

Looking for ready-to-go social media content? Purchase my "Tweetable Tips" bundle, which includes "Job Search Advice: 365+ Ready-To-Go Tweets and Facebook Posts," "Career Checklists: 100 Tips for Success In Your Job Search" and "Positive Encouragement for Jobseekers."

Available for a limited time at the sale price of $17 (regularly $27; a $60 value), this bundle offers enough social media content for a full year.

You know what they say: "If you want something done, give it to a busy person." With that in mind, although I know you've got a lot to do holiday-wise in the next nine days, I'd still urge you to see if you can cross one of these three tasks off your list before the new year rolls around. Share a comment below if you'll take the challenge!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Yes, You Can Eat That Elephant -- One Bite At a Time

Have you ever looked at your to-do list and thought, “I don’t even know where to begin”?

We all have. But here’s something you may not know: We get overwhelmed not because there are too many things on that list, but because what’s on your list is not actionable.

For example, if your to-do list says something like, “New website,” you’re setting yourself up for failure. A new website is not something you can just do. A new website is a project, not a “to-do.” It requires several steps to complete, and likely several days or weeks of time. When it appears on your to-do list, it’s destined to be the thing that gets pushed back to tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Because it’s just not doable.

The key to getting more done? Recognize those overwhelming projects and turn them into doable tasks instead.

Here’s how to quickly tell the difference:

A task begins with a verb. “Buy a domain” is a task. “Install WordPress” is a task. “Order a logo” is even a task. And when you put them all together (with some others) they equal “New website.”

A project or a goal is a set of related tasks that cannot be completed all at one time. You probably can’t sit down and build a new website in an afternoon. You can’t write a book in a day or two.

So when your goal is big, such as developing a new website or writing a book or creating a new ecourse, it helps to break those projects down into small, actionable tasks before adding them to your to-do list.

Think about the actual steps that need to happen to reach your goal. Do you need to order a book cover or outline the content or contact someone for an interview? Those are all things that fit on your to-do list. Put them together in the correct order, and you’ve got a project. Complete them one at a time, on time, and you’ve completed your goal by your deadline.

To map out your plan for achieving your goal, follow these steps:

1. List out all the tasks that must be completed before you can say you’ve reached your goal or finished your project.

2. Consider how long it might take to complete each task. Some will take minutes, others might take several hours or even a whole day, but you should be able to “ballpark it” to figure out just how long your goal will take to reach.

3. Grab your calendar and start making notes about what task will be completed by which dates. This will help you set a realistic goal for the entire project.

4. Add only the actionable steps to your current to-do list. Tasks that you can’t do yet don’t belong on your list, just as the goal itself doesn’t. These things aren’t actionable (yet) so don’t clutter up your space and head with them.

Breaking a big goal down into bite-sized chunks is a great way to get focused and get more done. When you’re only worried about the next small step, it’s much easier to continue on the path than when you’re constantly looking at the horizon and not seeing much progress.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Meeting Deadlines For Non-Resume Projects

As resume writers, we're used to meeting deadlines for client resume projects. But how do we do when it comes to our own projects — especially our marketing projects?

In your resume writing business, your clients are depending on you to get things done in a timely manner, and if you don’t perform, you won’t be in business long.

But when it comes to non client-related tasks, deadlines are a bit more flexible. 

Sure, you can put on your calendar that you’ll have that new ebook written by Friday, but with no real consequence to face if you don’t finish, what’s to keep you motivated? Try these tricks to help turn those arbitrary dates into non-negotiable time limits.

1. Share with others. Tell your blog readers and social media followers about your upcoming ebook. Let them know when it will be available for sale. Now if you don’t get it done, you’ll have to answer to your fans.

2. Get an accountability partner. Much like a client, an accountability partner helps you set deadlines and demands results. Find another resume writer to partner up with.

3. Reward yourself for a job well done. Did you get that ebook written and released on time? Treat yourself to a well-deserved dinner out, that sweater you’ve had your eye on, or just a day off. But here’s the thing: if you don’t get the work done—no reward. You have to have self-discipline to pull this one off.

4. Make smaller deadlines. Rather than committing to writing an entire ebook by Friday, commit to a chapter by tomorrow. Then another the day after that. By breaking down your big goal into much smaller chunks, you’ll not only be more likely to complete the big task, but it will be much easier to meet the individual deadlines.

5. Get help. If you consistently have trouble meeting your own deadlines, then it might be time to bring in outside help. A ghostwriter or virtual assistant can help you create that ebook in no time.

6. Try negative reinforcement. Make missing your deadlines painful, and you’ll find it much easier to stay motivated. You might try vowing to donate $100 to a charity for every day you’re late, or offer to pay 10 friends $20 each if your project isn’t done on time.

The ability to get things done on time is a valuable skill, and one that all successful resume writers have cultivated. But it’s not something that comes naturally to most of us. By using some—or all—of these tips, you’ll find that deadlines are much easier to meet. Not only that, but the added productivity will help grow your resume writing business as well.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

There's Got To Be a Better Way

If there’s one most common mistake that holds many resume writers back, it’s this: they try to do too much.

I don’t mean that they try to grow too fast or expand too far. I mean that they try to do too much on their own.

They write the resumes. They update their website. They post their own social media updates. They handle the customer service problems.

The list goes on (and on and on) and while at first glance it might seem like the DIY approach makes good fiscal sense, the truth is, it’s killing your productivity.

Here’s why: You’re spending more time “figuring out” how to do all those things, and not enough time where you really shine.

If writing resumes is where your talents lie, then video editing is a waste of your time. If you’re a top-notch LinkedIn profile writer, then updating your own website is taking you away from that important money-making task.

Others can do those things more efficiently (and for less money) than you can.

Here’s another problem with trying to do everything yourself—you will hate it. And that which we hate, we avoid. Suddenly, things are slipping through the cracks. You don't write your ebook because you don't know how to design a cover or format it. You don't start an email list because you don't have a landing page.

There’s got to be a better way.

The key to really getting things done in your resume writing business is to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and to only do those things that you are good at and enjoy. Everything else can be handled by someone else.

Start by making a list of all the tasks that you find yourself procrastinating on. Those are the top candidates for outsourcing. Prioritize your list according to just how much you dislike the task, as well as how easy it would be to turn over to someone else.

For example, you might really hate to update Quickbooks, so that might be something to outsource.

You don’t have to outsource everything in your resume writing business, but you’ll find that when you concentrate on what you do well and let go of the things you struggle with, you’ll love your business a lot more, and be naturally more productive, too.


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