Showing posts with label Ask Better Questions; Write Better Resumes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ask Better Questions; Write Better Resumes. Show all posts

Monday, August 24, 2020

How to Create Your First Client-Attracting Course

This month, I launched my newest course, “Ask Better Questions, Write Better Resumes.” This experience — of launching my fourth course under the Resume Writer’s University school — has given me a solid understanding of what’s needed to create a course.

Whether you’re talking about a text-based course or a video course, jobseekers can benefit from learning strategies to help them with their job search. And you’ll love selling a course, since the high perceived value means you can charge more for a course versus other infoproduct formats (such as ebooks).

So, with that in mind, check out these three steps for creating courses your customers will love…

Step 1: Do Your Market Research

The first thing you need to do is figure out what your audience wants. A good way to do this is to find out what they’re already buying. You can check:
  • to see what sort of video courses they are buying.
  • Marketplaces like Amazon and ClickBank to see what sort of infoproducts they are buying in your niche.
  • Websites in your niche to see what they are selling.
  • Paid advertisements (such as sponsored ads) to see what they are promoting.
Popular topics are: preparing for a job interview, job search using LinkedIn, and salary negotiation/getting a raise. But there are other opportunities too: customizing the professionally written resume to target specific job opportunities, identifying your personal brand, conducting a successful job search, applying for positions online, and more.

Select a topic that looks like it will sell well, and then move to the next step…

Step 2: Decide What to Include

Next, you need to decide what to include in your course and start creating your outline. To do this, take two steps:

1.   Brainstorm. Think up all the sub-topics, steps, tips, examples, mistakes, etc. you’d like to include in your course.

2.   Research. Find out what similar infoproducts. Use this information for inspiration – do NOT copy.

NOTE: While you may choose a topic that others have done before, and you may even look to similar products for inspiration, your goal is to create something fresh. This means:

  • Sharing unique strategies and tips.
  • Including unique information — such as case studies, personal stories, and personal examples.
  • Delivering information in a new way, such as turning a step-by-step formula into an acronym/formula.
Next step…

Step 3: Develop Your Course

Once you know what all information you want to include, then organize it into a step-by-step format. If you’re delivering the course in parts, then create equal-sized modules. (e.g., you might create a 12-module course and deliver one lesson/module per week for three months.)

Keep these tips in mind:
  • Use a light, conversational tone.
  • Add relevant stories to keep people engaged. For example, what problems do most jobseekers have when they are starting out with this topic? What mistakes do they typically make?
  • Add value to your course. Offer worksheets, checklists, templates, swipes, planners, and cheat sheets to help people take action on what they just learned. 
  • Proof and polish. If you have errors in your course, people will judge the information as a whole to be low-quality. If needed, hire someone to proof and fact-check your course.
  • Insert backend offers. Promote related products and services inside your course.

As always, you can outsource this entire task to a freelance writer (or video editor) to produce a polished end result.

We didn't talk about the technology, but I use the Teachable platform for Resume Writer’s University because it makes it easy to set up, market, and sell courses. It also includes an affiliate program, so you can let other people promote your course and share a referral commission with them.

Create a course once and it can provide residual income. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The "Then What?" Question Strategy for Collecting Client Accomplishments

Sometimes when you're trying to collect accomplishments from clients, they can't think of anything that they would consider an "accomplishment." This strategy works with people at all levels of employment and is best utilized to get accomplishments out of people who aren't used to quantifying what they do.

I call it the "Then What?" question strategy.

Let's say you're writing a resume for a preschool photographer. I chose that by going to and looking for the first non-sales job I found in Omaha, Nebraska, where I live. It's much easier to get accomplishments from sales people than from people in the "helping professions." I'm not sure if "preschool photographer" is a helping profession or not, but it's one where you might have a hard time getting accomplishments out of the client -- but also a job where asking the right questions can yield some good stuff.

So, I ask my preschool photographer client about her work, and she says that she takes photos of all the kids in a preschool class. I'll ask about how many kids are in the average class, and how long it usually takes to shoot a class. Then I might ask directly about an accomplishment — for example, "Tell me about what makes you good at your job." The client may say something like, "Well, sometimes the kids don't want their picture taken. They might be shy, or just not like photographers. I'm good at getting them to smile."

I'd say, "Okay, so let's say little Timmy is clinging to his teacher and doesn't want his picture taken. Then what?" She might respond, "Well, first I'd put him at ease. I keep a little box of puppets in my photography bag for that very reason. He might not want to hear from me, but he'll listen to Mr. Monkey."

"Okay, so you bring out Mr. Monkey. Then what?"

She replies, "Well, I put the camera down and put on Mr. Monkey — he's a hand puppet — and I have Mr. Monkey explain — in a funny voice, of course — that he wants to be able to remember what Timmy looks like, and could he get a picture of him? Sometimes that works directly, but sometimes I have to give Mr. Monkey to the child and have Mr. Monkey agree to get his picture taken with Timmy first."

"Great," I say. "So then what?"

"Well," my client says, "At that point, they're usually smiling … or sometimes laughing … because I'm still using my Mr. Monkey voice, and I can get a couple of shots off. And because we shoot all digital, I can see right away if I've got the picture. In three years of doing this, Mr. Monkey has never failed in getting me the shot I need. Sometimes it takes 5 or 10 minutes, but I always get the photo."

And from there, I'm able to write some strong, employer-oriented accomplishment bullets.

Want to learn more about the "Then What?" question strategy? Purchase my teleseminar, "Ask Better Questions, Write Better Resumes" or download the "Write Great Resumes Faster" book.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Resume Writers: Have You Found the Secret Room?

Last year, I delivered a teleseminar for the National Resume Writer's Association on: "Ask Better Questions; Write Better Resumes."

Asking clients the right questions to uncover their skills, gifts, and accomplishments isn't always easy.

In addition to the strategies I outline in the teleseminar, and in my book, "Write Great Resumes Faster," check out the "Secret Room" -- 20 industry-specific questions for professions -- compiled by Career Thought Leaders.

You can find them here:

© Ainoa -

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pricing and Payments: Packages vs. A la Carte

Here's another one from the Resume Writers' Digest mailbag!

Question from Alison:
I just recently listened to your presentation on Ask Better Questions and found it to be most informative — especially to a newbie such as myself just starting the process of develpment of my resume business.  

I would like your feedback on just how you went about structuring your fee schedule.  

What do clients seem to be drawn to: a fee set for each step of the process or an all inclusive package and most importantly which form provides you the best revenue source?

And finally, in what methods do you accept payment? And at what point during the crafting process is payment expected?

Here's my response!

Hi, Alison!

All great questions!

I collect a lot of data from colleagues to get a "big picture" about the industry, and I'll direct you to some of those resources on my blog that address your specific questions:

I had a link to this worksheet for Determining Your Resume Writing Rates in one of the blog posts, but I wanted to draw your attention to it specifically:

If you want to see the survey data and get a profile of an "average" resume writer (including pricing info), sign up here:

As for me, here's how I handle pricing:

I ask the client a series of initial questions — including whether they're updating an existing resume or starting from scratch, how long ago their existing resume was updated (if applicable), what their job target is, how soon they need the resume, how they plan to use the resume, etc. I also ask for their email address and tell them I'll send them information about my services, samples (sometimes!), and a custom quote.

Based on the information they gave me, I quote them an individual project price (usually as a range — i.e., $349-$399, plus Omaha/Nebraska sales tax if it's a local client) for a resume and cover letter. I also look at their LinkedIn profile (if they have one) and provide an additional quote for LinkedIn profile development (which includes my 8-day "Leveraging LinkedIn For Your Job Search" program). 

I base my pricing on a $55/hour rate, but I don't include that information in the quote — instead, I might calculate that I'll spend 1.5 hours on information gathering, 4 hours on writing/draft development, and 1 hour on project finalization. That would be 6.5 hours @ $55/hour or $357.50. So my $349-$399 quote covers me if it takes as long as I expect ... and a little bit of wiggle room if it takes longer.

Because I've been in business writing resumes for almost 20 years, I have a pretty good idea of how long it will take me to write that client's resume, based on the existing information I have from them, what I think I'll need, what they already have (existing resume vs. starting from scratch) and their job target.

I collect a $100 deposit up front (via check or PayPal) and the balance is due when I deliver the resume draft. Some resume writers do a deposit like I do, some collect 50% up front, and some collect full payment up front. I like the $100 deposit approach because it covers my time to put together their custom questionnaire, but if they don't get back to me with the completed questionnaire for a while (or at all!), I'm not having to worry about me owing them services. (In Nebraska at least, services that are paid for but not rendered are technically considered to be "unclaimed property" and should be turned over to the state after a certain period of time.) I send the questionnaire via email when I receive the deposit (I don't wait for the check to clear the bank before sending the questionnaire).

You can certainly offer a la carte options (i.e., resume for this price; resume and cover letter for this price) but I find that the package approach is attractive to the customers I work with. They get a resume, cover letter, reference page, and letterhead template for one price. As I said, LinkedIn profile development (headline + summary usually) for an extra fee. 

The most important thing is for YOU to decide what YOU want to do and then take ownership of it. It doesn't matter what "every other resume writer" is doing, or even what other resume writers charge. There have been a couple of folks who have jumped right into the resume writing industry and started charging $1000 for a resume and cover letter within their first year. It's your business... it's up to you!

Hope that helps!


PS -- Be sure to sign up for at least a Free Level membership on so I can share additional resources/ideas with you. I also offer a Bronze membership for $10/month with LOTS of great benefits (special reports to help you be more effective in your work and in your work with clients, ready-to-go content you can use with your clients, access to recordings/transcripts of previous teleseminars I've done, etc.). Sign up for either here:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Asking Good Questions ... And Listening To the Answers

Last week, I did a teleseminar for the National Resume Writers' Association on "Ask Better Questions; Write Better Resumes." (If you missed it, you can still catch it here.)

One critical component I didn't cover on the call -- but that needs mentioning -- is the importance of listening (REALLY listening) to the answers you get. And it's not just about listening when you're gathering information to write the resume. But that's important too.

How, And Why, To Listen To Your Customers 
Do you listen to your customers? Do you listen to prospective customers? If you know how to listen, you can learn the secrets to building a strong and powerful resume writing business – the kind of business that has the capacity to make real change in the world. Most people know that listening is a powerful skill, yet they don’t take the steps required to become a better listener.

When you listen it means you have to give 100% of your attention. And let’s face it, there are a lot of people, thoughts, and things battling for your attention. It’s hard to listen. The following tips, steps, and ideas will help you become a better listener.

  1. Stop Multitasking. When you’re talking with someone on the phone, via email, on social media or face-to-face, simply stop everything else you’re doing. This is the first step to eliminating distractions and allowing you to hear what the person is trying to communicate. For example, it’s often difficult to understand a client email completely when the television is on.
  2. Stop Thinking – Learn to Focus. It’s difficult, admittedly, to shut out the other thoughts running through your mind and simply hear the person that’s talking to you. However, when you can accomplish it, you gain valuable insight. When you listen, you’ll be able to ask insightful questions that will help you writer a better resume.
  3. Ask Questions. The only way someone knows if you’re listening is if you ask questions. The more relevant and thoughtful the question, the more you’ll learn. The same is true for any type of communication; email, phone calls, face-to-face, it doesn’t matter. Asking follow-up questions shows the person that you’re hearing what they have to say.

Why Listen? 
We like people who listen to us -- and guess what? We buy from people we like. We also respect people who listen and respond thoughtfully, as if they actually heard what we had to say. Finally, listen to learn. Listening to others not only helps you learn about your customers and their needs and goals, it also helps you learn more about you and the business you want to build. When you listen, you quiet your mind and that’s when real learning happens.