Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to Grow Your Resume Business Through Crowdsourcing


With the death of my Dad earlier this month, I found myself facing a double-edged sword of having a crushing amount of responsibilities related to planning his funeral ... and a concurrent case of writer's block. It wasn't resumes that I was having trouble writing -- I had backed off of those in July when it was apparent his health was declining -- it was the August Pass-Along Materials package for BeAResumeWriter.com.

I had already decided in July what the topic for the content would be, and had outlined and written several sections of the report by the time he died. But every time I sat down to finish it, I was just stuck. I sent out an email to Bronze members to let them know what was going on -- and received wonderful, thoughtful, amazing responses from so many colleagues. The message was pretty consistent: Don't worry about the work. But I got my work ethic from my Dad ... so not worrying about finishing it was eating at me. The second consistent theme of the emails was: Let me know if I can do anything.

And that's what sparked an idea ... what if I crowdsourced ideas for the report content? Instead of relying on my own initiative and strengths -- which were sorely lacking at that point -- I would ask for help, in the form of crowdsourcing content for the report, which became the "Jobseeker's Guide to Leaving Your Job."
© FotolEdhar - Fotolia.com

What Is Crowdsourcing?
As defined by Wired Magazine, "Crowdsourcing is the act of sourcing tasks traditionally performed by specific individuals to an undefined large group of people or community through an open call." In this case, I sent out a follow-up email with a link to a QuestionPro survey. Immediately after sending it out, I began to receive survey responses (and emails from folks letting me know they had taken the survey).

You'll also see this principle at work with resume writers. I wrote a blog post this month about whether you should "Like" another resume writer's Facebook business page. Asking colleagues to "Like" your page is an example of crowdsourcing. You'll often get people who immediately comply with your request. You're asking the masses to help you grow your resume writing business.

So How Do You Grow Your Resume Writing Business with Crowdsourcing?
First, think about the various ways you can grow your business. These include:

  • Marketing
  • Content
  • Product development
  • Website traffic
  • Branding

Second, you'll want to think about your crowdsourcing resources. As you can see from the earlier examples, social networking and list-building are often the keys to success. The key part of "crowdsourcing" is crowd -- the more people you can reach, the easier it will be to pick up momentum quickly for your initiative. (You've seen on Facebook how word can spread across the country in a matter of minutes.)

Do you have a large network of friends and followers? Are you currently active on social networking sites? It doesn;t have to be Facebook. Social sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube are very powerful too.

Third, consider your goals. What do you want to accomplish first? For example, do you need a lot of content for your website? Ask for submissions or guest blog posts from your friends and followers. Make it a contest and ask readers to vote on the best blog posts.

If you want to use the power of the crowd to develop your first information product, ask for input. Ask your jobseeking clients for their top 3 challenges in finding a great job.

The power of the crowd is immense. You can use it to grow your resume writing business in a number of ways. Instead of paying a product development team or hiring a focus group, you can now go directly to the source and ask your prospects to contribute. And it doesn't cost a thing. Consider your goals and your resources, then take action.

For me, I am immensely grateful to my colleagues who contributed their ideas and inspiration to complete the "Jobseeker's Guide to Leaving Your Job" Pass-Along Materials content.

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