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Guest Post: Turning your passion into a profitable business

Posted by Colleen Wainwright on

We go on and on here at the Marketing Mix about how a "real" job is not the sure thing it was for previous generations of gold-watch-and-full-pension retirees. Couple that with the rise in restlessness among an underchallenged, overburdened working population and you have the perfect conditions for striking out on your own. But how?

Christine L. Dennison, a fellow member of that amazing advice resource, the Ask Liz Ryan mailing list, recently answered that very question on the list with her own story about creating her job coaching business. It came from a place I think is so wise–creating a business around your own natural skills and passion–and was so helpful and well-written, I asked her if she minded sharing it here. Chris graciously accepted, and even agreed to author a few more guest posts, which I love: always great to get posts from a professional writer!

I set up my business twenty years ago when I decided that I really didn't want to go back to my corporate life when we started our family. I thought about what I could possibly do that people would be willing to pay for, and that I could do from home. I had been working for 15 years, had just spent 8 years as a headhunter, but had no desire to continue going after corporate clients — I loved the process, but had always been frustrated that I wasn't getting paid to help anyone but those "perfect" candidates at the top of the food chain. I had developed skills in writing résumés, and I understood the hiring process.

I started by mailing a letter to everyone I knew (previous colleagues, friends, Lamaze class alums, etc.), announcing my new business. I self-published a one-page quarterly newsletter and looked for cheap advertising in school event brochures, village directories, etc. I bit the bullet and spent big bucks (for me) for a one-inch ad in the Donnelley Yellow Pages. Gradually, the business came. When the Internet came along, I added a website. Business was steady.

One challenge for you is to start charging for what you now do for free. You'll want to enlist your current network to help you in your marketing — maybe continuing to help your current group for free and charging only new clients, especially since your current group is your best resource for new business. Since you're good at networking, you can now apply those skills and use those contacts to promote your business.

Christine Dennison, celebrating 19 years as The Job Search Coach, helps people find jobs they love through her résumé writing and job search coaching services. She offers a wealth of practical advice from her previous experience as a headhunter, as a corporate HR manager and trainer, and in business operations and marketing.

Ask Liz Ryan is the online
community based on the workplace, work/life and networking advice of
author, commentator and advisor Liz Ryan. Members use the group to
get advice from Liz and from one another on careers, business,
networking and work/life issues. Its mission is to support working
people at the intersection of work and life.

  • More in: Guest Mixers, Networking, Posts by Colleen

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