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The Recipe to Become a Sought After Consultant

May 16, 2010 9 comments

50% Track Record
50% Relationship Builder / Networker

Is it really so simple?

Under each of these areas are several bullet points / advice on how to mazimize each bullet point; but once you hear my story, I have proved this is the recipe for a thriving ‘restaurant’.

While I was working in the corporate world, I always did projects on the side; pro bono. Sometimes they were internal, sometimes helping partners I was working with (relationship building), but always seeking to build 1) my knowledge base 2) My network. I also always wanted to prove to myself that I couldn’t “only do” what was needed in my day to day jobs; I wanted ‘practice’ with other industries and the experience of working with different executives.

When I left my most recent company (about 5 months ago), I was going to take a few month “break”, as I’ve been working 80 hour weeks for about 8 years now, but didn’t have the chance. As soon as “word got out” that I had left a company, my phone was ringing; my email was flowing. Companies that I had ‘partnered’ with in the past, prior colleagues, they all had projects for me. I certainly wasn’t going to say “no”, but I did need to learn the consultancy market in about 3 days…which of course, I did. I was truthful with the people I called and asked how they ‘normally’ pay consultants. The same 4 or 5 options were out there, so I adopted each to diffferent projects and was on my way. Here is where and how I’ve found success and clientelle – with no direct response or branding marketing. As sad as this is…I haven’t even had time to put together a website. Go figure.

Part One: Track Record

Under this category lies several things that companies love to see.

1. Obviously the successes in each of your positions or endeavors. While this is important to put on your resume or linkedin page, what I’ve found is that my track record of MISTAKES (when speaking to companies) has worked equally as well in my favor. My explanation – “I succeeded in ‘X’, but would not have done so had I not made these mistakes…which I learned from and constantly adopt in my new endeavors”.

2. TYPES of companies worked for:

one suggestion I have for anyone who is entrepreneurial, ambitious in business, and wanting to really learn how to build a company is to work for a start up company. This shows executives at companies several things (dependent on your role and in what type of company). Just to be sure we’re on the same page; when I say, “start up company”, I am referring to a company that is IN THE RED with minimal employees.

First, it shows that you are willing to take RISK. Important for someone hiring a consultant for 2 reasons: 1) The company will not be ‘afraid’ to give you something as a project 2) The company and consultant can create different deal types that puts the onus on the consultant to get work done. It’s allows the consultant to take on a ‘pay per performance’ model, which companies love.

Second, it shows that you have likely worked in an environment where you have had to wear a myriad of professional ‘hats’. For example: while you may have held a “biz dev” role, the likelihood is you also probably had to learn the ‘sales operations’, developed the sales process, the documents, even the ‘creative’ to send out to clients. That is three other skillsets other than biz dev: Operations, BPI, and marketing / creative development.

Third, it shows you are tenacious with a phenomenal work ethic.

Fourth, The “best” type of start up you can work at…one that is “doing something that has never been done before”. If you can work for that company in a managerial role and move up to an executive role while there; AND be there while the company is successful, going from the “red” to a “black” going concern…you’re a golden child.

Another great type of company to work for is one that offers continuing professional and management development courses. While there are some “large” Fortune 100 companies that put you in a position, teach you about that position, and ‘call it a day’; there are others that invest heavily into bettering their employees. You’re looking for a company that seeks promotion from within as well as one that values the education of their employees.

A third company that will help what others view in your ‘track record’ is one that may not be a start up, BUT is constantly building out new smaller businesses, departments, concepts, products, etc. If you can become part of that “new” team, fantastic experience as well.

Start up businesses seem to be the place where most consultants are sought out, so let’s talk about the type of person you have to be to not only enjoy this role, but be successful in it. This takes a particular type of individual, so before you jump on that, let me explain attributes needed. Start ups are NOT for everyone.

1. The vision to identify the “right” start up. Don’t kid yourself; this is a gift and a skill set. As 95% of start up companies fail, you need to learn how to identify the ones that “have a high chance of success based on the market, product or service, and executive team. If any one of these components are not at 100%, your business will fail.

2. The “NO FEAR” attitude. You are going to be placed outside your comfort zone 75% of the time. That’s the FUN of the start up! You cannot be scared to do something you’ve never done before, you cannot be scared to share your opinions even if everyone else is countering it, you cannot be scared to work 100 hours / week, and you certainly cannot be ‘scared’ of success or failure.

3. Passion; you must be passionate about the mission of the company. If you are a person who is typically not ’emotional’ or does not get “attached” to their job or feel loyalty for their product, service, or team members; this may be a tough transition for you.

To Be Continued This Eve

Social Media + Keeping it Real = Money, Learning, and Great Friends

May 13, 2010 2 comments

As social media continues to dominate the web space as well as play a part in most of our daily lives, I began using social media tools several years ago; but never with the intention that it would “get” me anything. I did it for the simple reason that…I’m social. I genuinely have a love for people and believe that every person I meet is the opportunity to learn something new.

My first encounter with social media was using “Friendster” and LinkedIn. This was so long ago, that there weren’t even ads on either of the sites. This expanded to MySpace and then Facebook, Twitter, and Brazen Careerist. As of about 6 months ago, I was using these tools in my professional arena; posting ads, targeting different groups, learning how to make campaigns “viral”; but I still did not have much use in my personal life.

I had worked with a man named Jay Berkowitz, the owner of Ten Golden Rules, for the past year on my professional campaigns and began listening to his podcasts and reading his blog, books, etc. I did all of this solely to learn for “business” purposes, but found it all intriguing.

When I stopped working FT for a ‘company’ and started consulting (this was only about 4 months ago), I called Jay to let him know; the first thing he said was, “Start blogging”. So I did. What I found was that I loved blogging because I would be “me”. I kept it real, I said what I thought, I backed up what I thought with data, and there was no one there to tell me HOW to write or that what I was writing was bad or boring. It became a release for me. It has also become a basis for the reason companies want to work with me. They know I may not be the most “corporate” in the bunch, but I will be blunt and deliver results.

While I have almost 3,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook and almost 1,000 connections on Linkedin, I still used FB for social purposes only and Linkedin – I had made some deals, recieved some job offers, but had not gone on daily to answer questions in the networking groups or used any of the other tools they offered.

I then came upon Brazen Careerist. I’m unsure why it appealed to me, as I’ve been invited to thousands of social netowrks and never sign up, but I signed up for this one. As soon as I signed up, I recieved emails from the community manager, Ryan Paugh, inviting me to join networks, saying he was a ‘fan’, etc. While I’m guessing these were auto-triggered, what I liked about them was that they seemed more personalized (even if they actually weren’t). The commuincation appeared as if it was directed towards me, not AT me.

I “fanned” a few people and started recieving emails about them making / posting comments. What I liked about these comments was that people weren’t trying to “sound smart”; these were individuals that were asking REAL questions about day to day sitautions and REAL things that affect our everyday lives. I had finally found a social network that not only “kept it real”, but also kept me interested. Unlike Linkedin, Brazen does not send out one mass bulk email everyday, but is smart enough to keep people engaged throughout the day by sending an email each time a comment is made or responded to. While I thought this would be annoying, I enjoy it. It only takes 10 seconds to glance over an email to see if you’re interested in the comments and it is a welcome break from the day to day monotony of “work”. At the same time, Brazen has become a kind of professional development tool for me as well.

So, I probably spend about 5 minutes each hour (sometimes 10) on Brazen doing nothing but having intelligent, intellectually driven conversations with like minded business people. While it is mostly “Gen Y”, there has been an uptick in the numbers of “Gen X” and “Baby Boomers” recently. Their experience combined with the ‘no fear’ / entreprenurial factor of “GEN Y” makes this site captivating; and I’m always learning.

I recently recieved an email (personalized this time) from Ryan Paugh, telling me I had won a scholarship from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. They had partnered with Brazen in search of the most “social” person. I knew my big mouth and blunt style would get me something someday ( ; Surprisingly, I got calls from several newspapers, but of course remained true to my Florida Gators and only spoke with the ALLIGATOR.

My point in telling all of this is not to ‘sell’ you on the idea of social media; but more so to inform those of you who continue to work or ‘play’ in this arena; I never applied for anything. I did not go out and attempt to get followers or fans. I write my blog for ME only and I use it as a release. But what the social media world is starting to recognize is that being YOU is exactly what we, as a society, need. No more corporate, politically correct doctrines…no more fake responses…but a reality. A world where we can say and do what we want. If people don’t want to listen, they can ‘de’ friend us or not go to our blogs…but for those who are listening – listen to me: Keep doing what you’re doing. Be yourself in all of your conversations and posts. You will get recognized. I did.

The Power of “WE” vs. “I”

May 12, 2010 6 comments

In a conversation with fellow blogger, consultant, thinker, coach, and innovator, Josh Allan Dykstra, he brought to my attention an article written by Pixar’s CEO called, “How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity”. Our original discussion was surrounding a blog post I did months ago as well as a TED video talking about how schools and corporations kill creativity and Josh sent me the article as he thought I would enjoy Pixar’s creative process. I not only enjoyed the article, but picked out something that we all ‘say’ we understand, but don’t. This article made me realize the difference in a good company versus a great company as well as a good manager versus a great manager. The difference is only 2 letters: WE.

While working at the Kaplan Inc conglomerate for about six years, creativity was not only appreciated but welcomed; and a team approach was sought to build out ideas into actions. When I was 23 years old, a woman named Wendi gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve received to this day. She said, “Don’t ever use the word ‘I’. Always say ‘we’ when you’re talking about a success story, a new idea, anything; whether it be to a partner, colleague, or manager”. At the time, it made sense – but I thought it was kind of a ‘sales’ tactic. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out if you say, “we”, others are going to subconsciously feel a part of what you’re doing; especially if it’s a success story or an idea that will be successful.

It’s taken the last few years to realize the importance of that “we”. It is not merely a ‘sales’ tactic, but it defines a culture. The culture of companies like Pixar or Google. I didn’t “love” the last company I worked for and could never put my finger on the reason why; great vision, smart people, etc. but it hit me this morning…in meetings, it was always, “MY marketing campaign is driving $1 million in revenue” or “I will have the highest conversion rate”. It was a bunch of egoists. Now, I don’t have a problem with egoists as I believe most of us can be one some of the time. The reason I started blogging was so I could be an egoist…write about what I think and about what I want…but I did not bring and work hard to leave the “ego” at the door while doing business.

What I’ve learned is that Pixar’s philosophy is not brain surgery; it’s the basics of any team oriented business model. The difference is that everyone, including the CEO, buys into it. They live it, breathe it, and it has become their culture. Hats off to Pixar and hats off to anyone else who works at a company where “we” beats the “I”.

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Treat Everyone As If They’re Your Most Important Client

April 28, 2010 2 comments

First rule of business, or specifically – business relationships is; “treat everyone as if they’re your most important client”. I believe it was my old COO who gave me that advice and he had taken it from one of the classic business books, Dale Carnegie’sHow to Win Friends and Influence People“. If you are in business and have not read that; you should.

If you are managing people, relationships, sales and marketing managers, anything that may cause you human interaction at some point; if you follow the principles laid out in this book, you can’t go wrong.

Some people may read this and roll their eyes and say, “BUT I’m the client. They should be kissing my ….”. So let’s look at a couple of simple scenarios.

1. You’re a marketing manager and you’re purchasing ad space on a website. You are on the phone with this site’s biz dev. executive and you love the price as well as the site. The one ‘glitch’ is that because the site is “newer”, there are no real time stats; hence, you are unable to tweak creative or even pull the ad if need be. There are several potential longer term solutions to this, but in the ‘short term’, what do you do? Do you A) Not work with the company B) Tell the Biz Dev exec you “cannot work with them unless you have real time stats” or C) Explain to the biz dev exec. that “you are in a ‘partnership’ together and in order for this to be a “win/win” for both of you; you are accustomed to being able to see your stats and make changes real time.” You then ask, “How are other companies dealing with this” and / or “Do you have any suggestions as to how we can work together to combat this?”.

Most of us will read the line above and say, ‘option C’. However, in the ‘real world’, ads are pulled all the time for lack of reporting. Those selling ad space get yelled at all the time for not giving stats. Is this a business relationship that will continue in a positive manner in the future if we go with option A or B? Definitely not.

2. You are a manager. One of your team members comes to you because they have an issue with another member of the team. What they are ‘complaining’ about, you’ve heard 100 times before. In your head, you’re immediate reaction is: “I don’t have time for this crap”. However, this is one of your top employees. Best way to handle this? Ask questions and find out the root issue. Is this individual complaining because he / she is insecure? Are they in need of some attentions / positive reinforcement? Have they just had a bad day? Take the extra 5 minutes to listen (as you would your most important client). Sometimes all people need to do is ‘vent’. That extra 5 minutes could be a ‘make it / break it’ for that employee.

So, how do you treat everyone as if their your most important client? Well, first you have to ensure you treat your clients well; or that your outlook on how to treat clients is correct. We can boil it down to a two key tactics: 1) Respect 2) Empathy.

In management, the best managers ‘treat people as they would like to be treated’. Cliche? Yes; but also true.

More importantly; be empathetic. Whether it be a vendor, an employee, a colleague, or even your boss coming to you with an issue, don’t snap back a response. Take a step back and put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Try and see the situation as they do before you respond.

If we all just took 10 seconds before responding and we put ourself in another’s shoes; we are empathetic, more likely to be respectful – and this will probably treat the individual as if they’re you’re most important client.

Consultants; HOW and WHY Pay Per Performance Works (Part 2 – continuation from last post)

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

After writing my last post I had several great comments showing me that 1) I did not delve into the actual performance model, but more so the overall business model 2) I didn’t give any helpful examples 3) I didn’t speak about the variables that are needed for success 4) I didn’t say why this pricing model would work; so to continue on my past posting.

I contend that consultants that utilize a ‘pay for performance’ model are more likely to get and retain clients as well as make more money.

Reasons this model works:
1. Client is taking on little of the risk – more likely to give you the business
2. You can charge more money on the backend of a consulting ‘gig’ than you can if you charge up front as you are taking all of the risk.
3. Long Term, there is a higher likelihood of people coming back to you for jobs as they like the model of taking minimal risk. You also may be able to get signed on a retainer because businesses like people who are confident and have made them money in the past.
4. You can also set up pay for performance deals ‘long term’. So, instead of getting paid 1 lump sum, you can get paid a percentage of revenue from your project or product every month for a year, 2 years, etc.
4. By taking on the risk, you are showing the client you are confident in your abilities.

In my experience, the variable(s) critical to success are 1) Knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know; this model alleviates you taking on projects you cannot complete successfully, however it also affords you the opportunity to refer the ‘right’ person. Instead of taking a commission or money for your referral, you can go through the process or project with the person you have referred it to – therefore expanding your skill set and learning. 2) Knowing your industry 3) Experience. If you know your industry, have had numerous experiences, and have a stand out skill set, this will likely be a good pricing model for you.

As noted from other comments, there will inevitably be variables that impact your success. These variables change dependent on the business, however this is where experience comes into play. If you have done similar projects, you know what obstacles may come your way and can account for those obstacles when building out your contract, pricing model, and / or plan.

Examples of “Pay For Performance” consulting:

Business Development Consultant (easiest):
A company brings you on to consult in bringing them more partnerships, vendors, or clients. You can structure your payment plan so that you only get paid “if” you bring on a partner. This is analogous to a broker’s fee and can be set up in a few different ways depending on the situation. The easiest way is to get a ‘finders fee’. In my arena, I typically set up larger deals by which partner companies are purchasing from the client. I get paid 10% of total revenue for a year post the deal going live.

Training / Performance Improvement Consultant:
When you first speak with a company, you will need to see their metrics. For example, if you are wanting to work in ‘sales training’, when you go in – the current metrics are at 5% lead to close. Before you put together your proposal, you will need an assessment day (possibly more) where you listen to the current sales pitches, review any content / scripts, etc. You can then assess (based on your experience) how much you can increase the sales conversion rate as well as how that will affect the business overall. This is how you arrive at your pricing. So, if you are working in higher education online and you go to a company that has a 2% conversion rate – and you assess that you can bring it to 2.2%. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you look at the average lead cost ($30), your cost per acquisition on 2% is $1500; while your cost per acquisition on 2.2% is about $1360. If a higher education institution enrolls (sells) 10,000 students per month and you are able to raise that 2% to 2.2%, you have saved the company $1.4 million dollars in just 1 month or about $17 million per year. The way I would be paid in this situation, I would ask for $50 for each enrollment (or sale) that closes at over 2.1%. You could also just give a flat price / tiered pricing like…If conversion for the month = 2.1%, you get $15,000. If 2.2%, $30,000, etc.

To Be Continued Later This EVE

Consultants; Why Some Make it…and some CRASH

April 19, 2010 10 comments

When I stopped working FT a few months ago, I wasn’t sure what direction I was going. Three schools of thought: 1) Start my own company. 2) Be a consultant 3) Get another job.

I knew I didn’t want another FT job (at least not right away) as I’m a ‘start up ‘ junkie. I like to build businesses, departments, strategies, and ideas…and then take from conception to “LIVE”; and make them profitable. So that left me with either my own business or consulting. I realized, the two did not need be mutually exclusive. So, while building a business plan, I’ve been consulting and contracting. As higher education, specifically online higher education, is an incestuous industry; as soon as word got out, the phone calls and requests came in. It seemed that this would be easier than I thought – at first.

I quickly realized that to be successful in consulting, to be referred, and to work with numerous clients, it would take a lot more than a great past track record. It would take patience (something I don’t have much of), discipline to NOT take every job offered, and more so, this was yet another great experience where I was learning to ‘check my ego at the door’. In return, and the reason I love consulting, I was learning just as much from clients as they were learning from me. I quickly took the revenue driving sales and marketing strategies I had employed in higher ed and took them across numerous verticals.

So, why do some consultants make it? Why are there some of us that get repeat business while others may spend weeks or months marketing themselves and get nothing? Very simple answer: PAY PER PERFORMANCE CONSULTING.

So how does that work? Well, it depends on what you’re consulting on. However – there is one thing we can agree on: companies would rather YOU take the risk than them. We can also agree that if a consultant came to me and said, “I’m so confident in the strategy I lay out for you that you only have to pay me if I execute on it and execute well enough to hit the revenue goals you have set forth”. Why would a company EVER say NO? I know I wouldn’t. There are, however, many of us, that do need that “month to month” paycheck. You can look at this in 2 ways: 1) You can map out your beginning projects as if you are in a start up company. So, you map out your consulting KNOWING you will be “in the red” for 3 months; or until your projects start ‘making you money’. Who better to make an investment in than yourself? 2) You can charge a ‘small’ up front fee…maybe “min. wage” per hour…and get most of your money on the back end while still having money to live on the front end. Every project or consulting assignment is different, however by being paid on performance, you are not only showing your confidence, you are also ensuring yourself you will not take on anything you cannot handle OR if you do choose to take on something you cannot handle, you will make certain that you partner up with one of the best in the industry to learn.

It’s very simple in sales / marketing to set goals and only be paid if the goals are obtained, but what about other industries that have a large number of consultants or companies vying for the same business. Broken down below are 5 areas where I see a lot of consulting and how you can structure your pay on a performance basis.

1. Web Design / Development
– May be held accountable for a) web stats b) number of sales on site c) stickiness of site

2. Free lance copyrighting
– May be held accountable for a) Amount of time user spends on page b) Drop off rate c) CTR

3. Career Coaching
– May be held accountable to getting someone the job they can succeed and prosper in

4. SEO mapping / content development
– May be held accountable to page rank in “x” amount of time

I know there are many more, but these are ones I see the most often on the networks that I am on. As with anything else; if you need work, you need to take some risk. If you’re good, you’ll be rewarded. Consulting models such as this are good ol’ capitalism at its finest.

Best / Smartest Online Business I’ve Ever Seen

April 16, 2010 1 comment

Tooling around FB the other day, I came across an ad for “women that like expensive purses” (or something along those lines). While I usually don’t click the ads, for some odd reason, I decided to click this one and MAN am I glad I did. I was introduced to a brilliant business model that had been equally executed. The site is www.oohilove.com and the business model plays on human emotions. To simplify the process / numbers for you, I’ve attempted to outline below.

1. Consumer goes to http://www.oohilove.com
2. Consumer can see items that will be auctioned off (similar to Ebay, but much ‘cleaner’ site)
3. Consumer registers (free) and needs to ‘purchase’ bids to be able to bid on products. Each bid costs $1 and is sold in quantity packs. Example; to start, I purchased 100 bids (or spent $100).
4. I then have 100 ‘tries’ to bid out different items.
5. As the clock winds down on each product, bidding begins. When someone bids, 2 actions happen; 1) 6 seconds is added BACK to the clock 2) Price goes up by $.02.
6. Brilliance; can you figure out why yet? Here’s my simple numeric / financial breakdown…

Let’s look at ‘original product’ – PRADA bag. And let’s assume the ‘company’ purchased this bag resale for $600.00. Bidding begins and bag is sold for $28.00. You’re looking at the website and saying, “WHAT? NOT FAIR? How is it so inexpensive?” Well, what sounds like inexpensive is REALLY the sound of the owners of this site driving revenue.

If we take $28.00 and divide it by $.02, we get 1400 bids. This means the consumers have paid $1400 in bids. Do if we forget to add in the $28.00, and we only look at the variable cost, the margin here is ridiculous. You can see, the company nets about $800 for this bag. The model is scalable and will grow virally, so investment really only needs to be on the tech. side of the business as well as purchasing.

As this site becomes more popular, prices will go up (more people bidding = higher prices) as the larger pool of people you have bidding, the higher the chance is that someone who is willing to spend more money will be bidding. I’ve watched them climb a little bit each day, it’s uncanny.

As prices go up for the consumer, more bidding will happen for the site and more money will be made.

This business is not only brilliant, but it’s a “win, win, win” (provided bidders are not compulsive gamblers). If used correctly, this site is a “win” for the original company (PRADA, in example above) as the product can be bought at normal prices, a “win” for the consumer who ‘wins’ the product; and even for those who lose, if they lose ‘strategically’ they probably only bid a few dollars, and a ‘win’ for the owners of the website. Brilliant. Capitalizing on the old human weakness of greed and gambling. I love it.

In Business – “If You’re Comfortable, You’re Dead”

April 15, 2010 6 comments

I read a great blog post this morning from Josh Allen that talked about doing one thing everyday that scares you.

Certainly, this is important in life or no one would ever get anywhere, but it is just as important, if not more so, in business.

The CEO of my last company said to me, “If you’re comfortable, you’re dead”. As soon as I was successful in building a department or repeatedly successful in hitting sales goals or revenue targets, he would move me into another role. I looked at him once and said, “Are you ever going to let me relax for a week and enjoy being good at something?”. His response was not anger but disappointment (so much worse). He told me he didn’t hire me to be “good” at anything; he wanted me to be GREAT at something. In fact, he wanted me to be great at running a business. In his opinion (and I agree), in order to successfully run a business, you need to be able to excel at any role IN the business. Hence, the reason he moved me to build and run new departments as soon as my current department was in a ‘going concern’ mode.

To simplify the learning behind this story; get out of your comfort zone.

You should always put yourself in uncomfortable situations because there is no other way to grow and learn.

You’ll learn a lot more from your failures than your successes and the only way to fail is to be somewhere where failing is possible.

Example: If you’re great at sales, what’s the next step? Look to be a sales manager. Look to learn different types of sales in different industries. Look to double or triple your sales. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be bored with selling a product as soon as you get good at it…take your model and train other people.

Any skill set can always be bettered. What’s your next step?

.

How Would Jack Bauer Fair in CORPORATE AMERICA?

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

When my better half walked in from work today he said, “Can you blog about 24?” So…being the dedicated wife that I am, here goes…

I started watching 24 my Junior (or was it Senior – who remembers?) year in college. Like everyone else, Jack Bauer immediately became ‘my hero’. Why is it that so many people are drawn to Jack Bauer? Probably because he has the same ‘charisma’ as most successful business executives today. Let’s compare:

Innovative? YES
Does not listen to authority when it goes against his “gut”? YES
Will die for what he believes in? YES
“Lady’s man”? YES
Works for the betterment of others at a personal sacrifice? YES (is this the same as corporate America? I hope not; but this is what we are becoming…more socialist and less capitalist. Why do people find that intriguing?)
Incredibly persuasive / able to sell himself? YES
Can choose “work” over “personal relationships”? YES

So, it sounds like Jack Bauer would fair well as the CEO of a company, however I don’t think he’d be able to ‘climb the corporate ladder’; he’s too rogue, has too much distaste / disrespect for for authority, and will not back down when he believes in something. Start up company? He could do that. CEO or running his own company? He’d be great. Attempting to work in Corporate America? Not a chance. He’s a “linchpin“.

I don’t have a job…NOW WHAT?!?!

April 13, 2010 6 comments

Boo Hoo. You’re out of a job. You and every one of your 9 friends. We’re all out of jobs, or we’re working for less money, or we’re not getting paid what we’re worth…or the company has cut out our spouses or our parents. Rest assured, we all know someone, most of us – someones – who have been affected by the lack of business or ‘recession’. So, when it happens to you, what will you do?

1. Most importantly; CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR

I don’t care if you’ve been a Vice President for 15 years; it’s time to work your way up again. If you were a great vice president, as good as you thought, then the jobs would have been poring in from your competitors as soon as other businesses knew you were out of work. If that didn’t happen, then it’s time to get back on the ground floor of a company and do something differently this time.

Most people look at our economy as a ‘mess’ right now; and sure, there are situations that suck and everyone’s is different. But, there is only one thing you can control; YOU – and the attitude you have. A great mentor told me, “everything is purposeful” and it is. If you look back to the hardest things you’ve gotten over in life, you’ll realize these are the times you built character.

If you need money; don’t wait for the perfect job. Check your ego at the door, take what comes your way FOR NOW while you continue to apply for other jobs.

2. SELL, SELL, SELL

If there is one skill set that will always prove useful in the business arena, that is being a salesperson. If you have experience in sales, go SELL. And don’t just sell anything. Find something you believe in and KILL IT. Be the top producer. And if you’ve never sold before, no better time to get into a large corporation where they will TRAIN you to sell. Once you can sell and market, you can work in any arena. And, if you’re good, you’ll move up quickly; especially if you have solid management experience in your past. While some businesses are slowing down, a couple of sectors have doubled in size. Advice: Get into higher education sales. The market is booming AND if you believe in education, you can sell it. The training programs at the for profit institutions are unmatched as are the opportunities for advancement. Just look at the 2 largest IPOs of the past two years; education stocks.

3. Relish the opportunity

Those who are most successful in this world have 2 things in common: 1) They know what they’re passionate about and have found a way to work with their passion. 2) They are lifelong learners. Take the time you have off to find where your passion is and GO FOR IT. Find a way to market your passion. While you’re researching your passion; learn about it and learn how others have been successful in the field you’re passionate about. This is an opportunity for YOU to find YOU. I want to go say “Thank You” to my last company as these past three months consulting have been the best I’ve ever had. It’s not only one consistent learning experience, but I choose what I do…and I only do what I’m passionate about.

4. Consult!

Employers have had to cut costs and staff across most companies and in doing so are short handed from a resource perspective. If you have been an executive or an expert in your industry, reach out to prior contacts and offer to consult for them. Consulting is much better for an employer than a FTE. No benefits to pay, so the employer is saving about 20% by hiring you over a FTE. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; the worst your going to here is “no”; and who cares about rejection; it’s part of our everyday life.

5. Take inventory of yourself

Compare yourself to people in your position who have not lost their jobs. Compare your resume to the ‘job qualifications’ of the jobs you would like. What’s the difference? Is there anything missing? Many times these days it’s education. Use this opportunity to go back to school. I’m actually going back to get my six sigma certification. Can I afford it? Nope. But moreso, I can’t afford NOT to do it. In my area, most people have their Masters or MBA. I don’t. However, I also know myself; and I want to ensure I can be disciplined enough to work at home and go to school online; so, before jumping into a $25,000 program, I’ll take something I know will help me on my resume, something that job seekers are looking for, and something that will help me to “stand out” from the crowd.

Net / Net:
You can sit home depressed and collect unemployment; OR you can do something. I’ve decided to do something…well, some things….what will you do?

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