The Job Hunt Scorecard

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The Job Hunt Scorecard™

The Job Hunt Scorecard is one of our most popular tools. It is a quick and easy way to keep track of what you really want out of your career and see if you're going to get it in every job you consider. The scorecard will help you do five really important things:

  1. Isolate your target
  2. Make sure the jobs you pursue will give you what you want and need
  3. Get your questions answered during the hiring process.
  4. Compare jobs against each other, and against what matters most to you in your career and life
  5. Pick the job that's right for you when you are trying to decide between multiple offers. 

Remember: This is not just about getting a new job faster. It is also about getting the right job for you. The Job Hunt Scorecard is exactly what you need to help you do that.

Stay focused on what you want, ask the right questions throughout the hiring process, and make an objective decision about which job will get you jumping out of bed in the morning.

The positive feedback I get over this scorecard is overwhelming. The time you spend creating it will be well worth it.

Exercise: The Job Hunt Scorecard™

Have you thought about consulting, or starting your own business? You should!

Free Agent Nation: Over 30% of people are working as "free agents" 

Are you thinking about working as a contractor? You should! Not only is it where over 30% of the jobs are, but it can be a terrific way to make a living. Just ask Jonathan:

"Hello, Catherine. I stumbled across your profile on LinkedIn, and I had to reach out and say 'Thank you.' You convinced me to try my hand at consulting 15 years ago, and it was the best decision I ever made. It really changed my life. All these years later, I'm still having a ball, learning new things every single day and making a really good living. I would never have had the courage without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" - Jonathan

I love getting notes like that! And, it happens rather often. You see, consulting CAN be a great way to make a living ... but you have got to learn what you're getting in to ... because expectations are different. And, what you don't know can hurt you. 

Startups: 137,000 people start new businesses every single day around the world

There are really good reasons for it. Running your own company can be a great way to make a living, but I've got to be honest with you: it's not for everyone. I'll get you started on your journey, but once you decide that it's what you want to do, I highly recommend you do much more research and preparation. Unless you know how to sell really well, and are jumping into a business you already know how to run from top to bottom, you need to do some really good planning before you take the leap.

Have you considered consulting?

If not, you should!

Oh, how I love to talk about working as a contractor. I have so much to share! I fell into recruiting and consulting backwards with my eyes closed in 1997, and I have never looked back. That was the year Daniel Pink coined the term "free agent nation" for an article in FastCompany. In 2001, he published a book by the same name. Back then (when I started recruiting technology consultants), only 16% of U.S. workers (25 million) were self-employed. Today, the Freelancers' Union reports that 35% (55 million) of Americans are working something other than full time, salaried jobs. The Government Accountability Office estimates are even higher: they state that a good 40.4% of U.S. workers are "gig" workers. 

That scares a lot of people, but I can tell you from personal experience: it can be a great way to make a living ... IF you know what you are doing. I know because I have done it, and prior to becoming a consultant I hired, placed and managed hundreds of consultants. I lived through it all with them. It can be terrific. However, it can also be hair-raising if you do not know what you're getting into.

Almost everyone should consider contract work

I'm so glad you're on this page, because it tell me you are already open to contract work. Hot diggity dawg! Yee-hah! That's great news. Here's why: Not only because I know it can be a great way to make a full time living, or a nice side living but for another important reason: it's where many of the jobs are. People who refuse to consider working as a consultant/temp/freelancer are ignoring 35% of the open job market (see above). What fun is that? Even worse, their dream job might be right in front of them ... but they won't see it because it is paying on a project or contract basis. But that's not you. You're right here, and you are going to read on to learn some of the best advantages of working as a consultant. 

Does contracting feel scary and less secure?

Consider this: Every job is temporary today. It's sad, but true. No full-time job is any more secure than a contract position. it is a little harder for a company to cut a full-time employee, but I tell you what: they are still going to do it if the business calls for it ... and it might be just as swift as the way they end some contracts. I spoke to a group of over 200 unemployed job seekers yesterday. I asked for a show of hands: "How many of you were totally shocked about your lay off? You did not see it coming?" Over 60 people raised their hands. Yup. It's ugly, but it's true. Layoffs are common these days, and they are normally cold and brutal. One guy went to lunch and came back to find the building locked and a note on the door that said "We are closed for business. If you are an employee with personal things left inside, please call this number and make arrangements to come and pick it up another day." Gee whiz! What is this world coming to?! 

It's not as scary as you think.

People have been doing it successfully for hundreds of years. It's the way things used to be. People have been making this work for a long, long time. Think about it. Prior to the 1900s, there were no workforce protections. Most people worked on an hourly or project basis, and they certainly had no healthcare insurance or other benefits. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was created in 1938 to establish a minimum wage and a limit on the number of hours which may be worked in a standard workweek. It also provided for standards for equal pay, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor. Think way back to the pre-industrialization age. Blacksmiths, tailors, and so many other professionals were simply tradesman who got paid when they found and completed work. I am not telling you this to get you depressed. I am merely telling you this to let you know that people have been making it work on an hourly basis for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Today, we are so much smarter and do have so many more protections. It's a much kinder, gentler world and you can make a mighty fine living as a consultant or contract worker. 

Working as a contractor can be fun!

If you have never been self-employed, the concept can be rather alarming. I understand. I really do. However, I'd like you to consider this: contracting was the first form of work. For thousands of years, people worked on a cash basis (and before that, a bartering system). There were no guarantees, but if you did good work, people would bring their horses to you every time they needed new shoes. I grew up on a farm, and the farrier would come straight to our house to trim and shoe our horses' hooves. I was fascinated by the enormous, gentle man who would calm the biggest of our steeds into submission, then trim its hooves and nail on lovely new metal "shoes." He was a contractor. He was a business owner. He had a really cool big truck full of tools and carrots for the horses. He was so busy that we often had to wait weeks for him to come. He loved his work, and we loved working with him. I dare say that our horses loved him, too (after the work was done and he was scratching them behind the ears).  

Today, most of the world still works this. From selling organic fruit on the sides of the road in South Africa to launching a website called "thefacebook.com" from your college dorm room (way to go Mark Zuckerberg) ... working for yourself can be a great way to make a living. 

10 great reasons to consider consulting

  1. It's where MANY of the jobs are! (Over 30%)
  2. Cash is king (while search for your dream job). Even if you don't want to be a contractor long-term, it can be a great way to make some money and keep yourself marketable while you look for another job.
  3. You can try before you buy! It's a great way to test-drive new industries and companies.
  4. Easier point of entry: You can often get into highly desirable companies (like UnitedHealth Group and Cargill) much more easily on a contract basis than as a contractor than as a full-time employee.
  5. Less stigma around "job hopping" (less chance of looking like a "risky" hire): You can job hop without being perceived as a job hopper! All of a sudden, changing jobs every one to two years is completely appropriate and expected.
  6. You can do some great networking, which will lead you to your dream job faster.
  7. You can build your resume and enhance your marketability by picking up new skills and industry experience.
  8. You can often get more flexibility in your work schedule. I've taken 4 vacations that were six consecutive weeks long since stepping into the consulting world!
  9. Greater mobility: Done right, you can work from anywhere. It's much easier to negotiate working from a distance when you're negotiating a contract position with clearly-defined deliverables. 
  10. If you're not careful, you just might fall in love with working as a consultant.

There are some challenges associated with contract work ... and you need to know what they are. 

When I got my first recruiting job at the age of 24, I was sooooo excited to call my dad and tell him that I just took as job with a global IT consulting firm. Imagine my shock and confusion when he groaned and said "Oh, no." I did NOT understand, so I said "What do you mean?" He said "Consultants are a bunch of overpaid people who don't know what they are doing." 

Ugh.

I took the job anyway. A couple months in, I was starting to understand what my dad was talking about, and why he disliked consultants so much. They are sometimes overpaid. They do sometimes swoop in and create chaos. But not very often. Much more often, they come right in the nick of time to help a company get very important work done - and they do it well. Thank goodness I went to work for one of the good IT consulting firms. We hired great people. We did great work. I was able to show my dad that not all consultants are overpaid loose canons. 

But I did come to understand the underbelly of the business ... otherwise known as "Are you kiddin' me?!"

Here are the 6 biggest challenges for your to consider:

  1. You need to always be job hunting a little bit (looking for . your next project). To be honest with you, since the average American is changing jobs every 4.6 years right now (BLS), and layoffs still come cold and brutal, you still need to be looking for your next job as a full-time employee. Admittedly, 4.6 years is a lot longer between jobs than the 1-2 years years you will probably experience as a contractor. 
  2. You will be a perceived threat to some full-time staff (So? You're probably a threat as a full-time employee, too, if you're really good at what you do!)
  3. Contracts can be cut at any time. With no notice. (Hmmm. So can full-time jobs! Just yesterday I was speaking to a crowd of over 120 unemployed job seekers. I asked for a show of hands from people who had been shocked when they got laid off. Over 40 of them raised their hands and said they did not see it coming. At all).
  4. You must deliver results, and communicate those results regularly. This is true! When you're paid on an hourly or project basis, they do expect you to deliver results regularly, and you need to communicate those results regularly.
  5. Getting paid can be a challenge. Most employees get paid every two weeks. Most contractors get paid once a month. Some get paid once every 3 months. Plus, if you go 1099, you will have to go do your own collections (make sure you get paid). After ten years in business, I have only had one client who refused to pay (while he drove around in his Land Rover and fancy duds, I might add). That was nine years ago, but it was $10,000 search fee and it still burns. I did the work. He kept the guy he hired. I should have been paid, but I could not collect.
  6. Healthcare, taxes (self employment & income taxes), legal and liability insurance all fall to you. You can no longer count on these coming along with your paycheck. Honestly, though ... with the rise in healthcare costs lately you can no longer count on these being part of a full-time salaried position these days, either. 

If this list freaked you out, perhaps you aren't built for becoming a contractor for the rest of your life. Perhaps you'll just want to consider contract work on a short-term basis while you look for a full-time job you will love. 

It's up to you to make sure you get paid what you're worth 

The truth is, nobody cares more about you financial wellbeing than you do. Plus, I'm afraid "What you're worth" can be quite subjective. And you can't forget the bottom line: no matter how nice the person is on the other side of the negotiating table, their ultimate goal is to protect their financial wellbeing - the same as you. Unless you stand up and take charge of your pricing and negotiations, you will leave a bunch of money on the table. 

I've had to figure out pricing on all sorts of things in my business over the past ten years. Most of them were new to me (I had no idea what to charge). Selling our online career education tools is a great example. When we launched our first online job hunt system in 2009, nobody else had anything like it on the market. Zippo. Nada. I had no competitors to turn to for a pulse on price. The great news is, we were first to market. The challenge was, we had no idea what people would pay. Another thing that was new to me was speaking. Talk about a wide range! Speakers get paid between $500 and $50,000 per talk ... depending on their level of experience and the market demand for what they have to offer. When I was setting my price as new speaker, I could not command nearly as much a I can now that I have eight years of experience and a bunch of great references under my belt. I didn't have a clue what I should be charging when I first started out, so I did a bunch of research online, I spoke to other speakers and I tested the market by setting my price and seeing what people would pay.

Look your fear in the eye

One lesson I've learned is this: pretending I'm a tough chick and simply telling myself "You can do this" is a recipe for disaster. You have got to be willing to thing through every negotiation before you step into it. The better you prepare, the better equipped you will be to stand firm and leave your client feeling good about their side of the deal. As I sat in front of a CEO trying to talk me down by $50 per hour, the only reason I was able to stand firm and calm is because I was ready for him to push me down. I had done my research before I set my price. I wrote down my talking points (including what was important to him, and how I'd help him achieve it better than the other three candidates), and I practiced having the conversation ahead of time. 

Get more help with negotiation in our online section Step 3 - Go get it!

Pay special attention to this segment: W2 versus 1099

If you read none of the other sections, this one is absolutely critical for you to read and understand as you are starting out. Type in "1099" in the search bar and you can jump straight to it. 

Are you ready to start your own business?

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” - Steve Jobs

Perhaps you've been dreaming about it for years: you want to start your own business. Now might be the perfect time to take the plunge! It may seem daunting (or even impossible!) to start your own biz, but you can build a business (and a life) you love ... one simple step at a time.

A great book to help you think through starting your own business is this one: "The EMyth Revisited", by Michael Gerber. It's a quick and easy look at why most small businesses fail - and what you can do to make sure yours isn't one of them.

So, what kind of business do you want?

There are 5 ways to start a business:

The rewards of starting your own business are tremendous, but so are the risks. Starting from scratch like I did is very exciting and rewarding and fun, but it is also the riskiest approach. There are other ways to become a business owner, and mitigate some of the risk for you. Take a look at this list below and consider all options before you take the plunge.

  1. As an independent consultant (contractor) - working through agencies or finding "gigs" directly
  2. As an agent / advisor / distributor (realtor, financial planner)
  3. Network marketing (like tupperware parties, constant contact to name a few)
  4. Franchise (This can be a great way to mitigate risk and reduce ramp up time)
  5. Start from scratch (I love running my own business, but it’s not for the faint of heart)

10 traits of a successful entrepreneur:

Anyone can start and run a successful business … if they want it badly enough. The question you need to ask yourself is this: “How hard will it be for me, and will it be worth it?” For some, the challenges of starting and running a business are exhilarating, and worth every sleepless night. For others, the challenges are so overwhelming that it’s simply not worth the trouble.

What about you? Which of the 10 most common entrepreneurial traits do you have? Check the boxes below that describe you well. Skip the ones that don’t. Then, review the boxes you left blank. How do you feel about them? Will they stand in the way of your success, or do you have a plan to break through that challenge?

  1. You just KNOW you can do it better (build a better product, and/or deliver better service). You can feel it in your bones, and you cannot wait to get started.
  2. You are flexible, and respond well to interruptions and change. In fact, you love them.
  3. You like making decisions, and are comfortable living with the results (good or bad). In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons you want to start your own business: so you are in control of your own success, no matter how hard it is. You’re tired of living with other people’s bad decisions.
  4. You are a self-motivated initiator. As an employee, you’ve never been one to wait for your next directions, or said “That’s not my job.” If you see a problem, you immediately start thinking about what you can do to fix it.
  5. You’re an “opportunity-spotter.” Far from heads-down, you’re always scanning the horizon to look for potential risk, and opportunity.
  6. You’re organized, and know how to create a good plan. You also know how to adapt a plan (or scrap it!) quickly when circumstances change.
  7. You’re a natural leader. It’s easy for you to motivate people to join your team, and rally around your cause. Once they’re on board, you’re happy to let them do their work without much supervision.
  8. You’re not afraid of uncertainty. Your market will change and demand new products and services. Some clients will pay late – or not at all. Your biggest client might drop you next week, even though you did everything right for them. The business you set out to build will very likely be quite different from the one you actually build.
  9. When the going gets tough, you lean in. Running a business takes constant and consistent energy – with nobody else cheering you on. When you’re fed up as a business owner, you can’t call in sick. That’s often the time when you need to lean in the hardest.
  10. When you get knocked down, you know how to stand up again.

“The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the successful people do all the things the unsuccessful people don’t want to do. When 10 doors are slammed in your face, go to door #11 enthusiastically, with a smile on your face.” - John Paul DeJoria

3 signs you’re ready right now:

  1. You’re CLEAR: You know WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE & WHY
  2. You’ve got CASH: You’ve got cash in the bank & cash to fund the business for at least 6 months (or a plan on how to get it). Honestly? I think you need enough cash to feed your family for 12 months before you launch a business. I had enough savings to feed my family for two years before I launched my business, and that peace of mind gave me the emotional freedom to hang in there in the early stages before I had built up recurring revenue and a solid client base.
  3. You’ve got CONNECTIONS: You know people, and people know you. Nobody is going to build your business for you, but after your own hard work and dedication, people in your network will be your most important asset.

Are you still excited about the possibilities? Terrific!

The questions you really need to ask yourself are these: what business, why, and do you really want it badly enough to face what lies ahead? Start planning now. The following is an excellent exercise to get you started: 

What's your WHY?

  • WHY do you want to start your own business?
  • WHY do people need what you’ve got to offer / sell?
  • WHY will people buy from you … and not someone else?

Get clear: WHO?

  • WHO will buy from you?
  • WHO will be in your business with you?
  • WHO will get in the way of your success?
  • WHO (if any) will be referral partners?
  • WHO are your competitors?

Get clear: WHAT?

  • WHAT will your business look like?
  • WHAT will you sell?
  • WHAT will the pricing look like?

Get clear: WHERE?

  • WHERE will you run your business?
  • WHERE will people find you?
  • WHERE will you advertise?
  • WHERE will people buy from you?

Get clear: WHEN?

  • WHEN will you be ready to launch?
  • WHEN will you launch?
  • WHEN will you know your business is a success?

Got grit? 10 signs you've got what it takes

10 traits of a successful entrepreneur:

Anyone can start and run a successful business … if they want it badly enough. The question you need to ask yourself is this: “How hard will it be for me, and will it be worth it?” For some, the challenges of starting and running a business are exhilarating, and worth every sleepless night. For others, the challenges are so overwhelming that it’s simply not worth the trouble.

What about you? Which of the 10 most common entrepreneurial traits do you have? Check the boxes below that describe you well. Skip the ones that don’t. Then, review the boxes you left blank. How do you feel about them? Will they stand in the way of your success, or do you have a plan to break through that challenge?

  1. You just KNOW you can do it better (build a better product, and/or deliver better service). You can feel it in your bones, and you cannot wait to get started.
  2. You are flexible, and respond well to interruptions and change. In fact, you love them.
  3. You like making decisions, and are comfortable living with the results (good or bad). In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons you want to start your own business: so you are in control of your own success, no matter how hard it is. You’re tired of living with other people’s bad decisions.
  4. You are a self-motivated initiator. As an employee, you’ve never been one to wait for your next directions, or said “That’s not my job.” If you see a problem, you immediately start thinking about what you can do to fix it.
  5. You’re an “opportunity-spotter.” Far from heads-down, you’re always scanning the horizon to look for potential risk, and opportunity.
  6. You’re organized, and know how to create a good plan. You also know how to adapt a plan (or scrap it!) quickly when circumstances change.
  7. You’re a natural leader. It’s easy for you to motivate people to join your team, and rally around your cause. Once they’re on board, you’re happy to let them do their work without much supervision.
  8. You’re not afraid of uncertainty. Your market will change and demand new products and services. Some clients will pay late – or not at all. Your biggest client might drop you next week, even though you did everything right for them. The business you set out to build will very likely be quite different from the one you actually build.
  9. When the going gets tough, you lean in. Running a business takes constant and consistent energy – with nobody else cheering you on. When you’re fed up as a business owner, you can’t call in sick. That’s often the time when you need to lean in the hardest.
  10. When you get knocked down, you know how to stand up again.

“The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the successful people do all the things the unsuccessful people don’t want to do. When 10 doors are slammed in your face, go to door #11 enthusiastically, with a smile on your face.” - John Paul DeJoria

Are you still excited about the possibilities? Terrific!

The questions you really need to ask yourself are these: what business, why, and do you really want it badly enough to face what lies ahead? Start planning now. The following is an excellent exercise to get you started: 

What's your WHY?

  • WHY do you want to start your own business?
  • WHY do people need what you’ve got to offer / sell?
  • WHY will people buy from you … and not someone else?

Get clear: WHO?

  • WHO will buy from you?
  • WHO will be in your business with you?
  • WHO will get in the way of your success?
  • WHO (if any) will be referral partners?
  • WHO are your competitors?

Get clear: WHAT?

  • WHAT will your business look like?
  • WHAT will you sell?
  • WHAT will the pricing look like?

Get clear: WHERE?

  • WHERE will you run your business?
  • WHERE will people find you?
  • WHERE will you advertise?
  • WHERE will people buy from you?

Get clear: WHEN?

  • WHEN will you be ready to launch?
  • WHEN will you launch?
  • WHEN will you know your business is a success?

Starting from scratch is the hardest way

The rewards of starting your own business are tremendous, but so are the risks. Starting from scratch like I did is very exciting and rewarding and fun, but it is also the riskiest approach. There are other ways to become a business owner, and mitigate some of the risk for you. Take a look at this list below and consider all options before you take the plunge.

  1. As an independent consultant (contractor) - working through agencies or finding "gigs" directly
  2. As an agent / advisor / distributor (realtor, financial planner)
  3. Network marketing (like tupperware parties, constant contact to name a few)
  4. Franchise (This can be a great way to mitigate risk and reduce ramp up time)
  5. Start from scratch (I love running my own business, and I did start it from scratch ... but it’s not for the faint of heart)

One-third of small businesses fail 

“The key is not the will to win; everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” - Bobby Knight

While running your own business can be a fantastic way to make a living (and live your life), it's not for everyone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, about two-thirds of business survive 2 years in business, half will survive 5 years, but only one-third will survive 10 years. The longer a company has been in business, the more likely it is to stay in business. The first few years are the hardest, and most critical. Here are the most common reasons for start-up failure.

Top 10 entrepreneur mistakes

  1. Picking a business you do not love. 
  2. Picking a business you do not have any experience in. 
  3. Doing it alone (and assuming you can do everything well by yourself)
  4. Failing to write a business plan w/ a clear sales strategy.
  5. Failing to drive sales
  6. Failing to adapt & shift with market and client demands.
  7. Failing to differentiate. 
  8. Scaling too fast & spending too much money too soon. 
  9. Hiring the wrong employees, and then holding on to them too long.
  10. Giving up on yourself (letting the head games win). You must be willing to push through the hard times ... because I guarantee you, there will be hard times. 

Cash flow is no joke.

In fact, it's probably the most important thing to consider. 

According to a U.S. Bank study, a whopping 82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems. Remember that cash flow doesn’t just mean the amounts of money that are coming in and out: you have to take timing into account, too. If you operate a business based on an invoicing system, for example, and your invoices aren’t paid until after your loan payments are due, you might end up with a cash flow problem.

A friend of mine took out a second mortgage on his house to buy a business. I do not recommend that. He was not successful, and he almost lost his house. While certain kinds of businesses will require a loan for startup costs, think carefully about how much debt you want to take on, and what your backup plan will be. 

You can avoid a lot of pain and suffering 

If you decide to start your own business, there are certain lessons you will have to learn along the way. However, there are a lot of lessons you can learn from others, and common mistakes you can avoid. You need a plan. You need a sales strategy. You need money. You need grit. The great news is, there are millions of business owners who have gone before. There are tremendous resources out there (many of them are solid and free), and there is no reason why you have to learn the hard way. Here are the ten most important things that make a difference for me (and many other business owners):

Top 10 ways to boost your chances of success

  1. Do what you love & know how to do.
  2. Start a business while you’re still employed.
  3. Make sure you know how to sell (or have someone else who can).
  4. Get clients before you launch or build. Start small. Build in stages. 
  5. Get educated! And do your research. 
  6. Write a business plan. Seriously. It makes an enormous difference. 
  7. Get help (professional help).
  8. Make sure you have money in the bank (financial cushion) so you do not risk your family's financial security and make dangerous, rash decisions. 
  9. Act like you’re big from the beginning.Act like a successful professional. Get business cards. Get a website. Think about your end game in the beginning. If you want to go global, act like it from the start. 
  10. Get the legal and tax issues right the first time
“If at first you DO succeed, try not to look astonished!” – Author unknown

The best place to start is "Why?"

Are you still excited about the possibilities? Terrific! I highly recommend you start your business planning like this: by answering the "Five Ws." It sounds really rudimentary, but I tell you what: once you answer these five questions, the rest is easy! Plus, this is something you will come back to over and over again throughout the life of your business. I sure have. It's been more than ten years, and whenever I feel it's time to reset my business (or I need to hunker down and find more revenue), I always come back to this. 

Here are the most important questions: Why do you want to start your own business? What business do you want? And, do you really want it badly enough to face what lies ahead? 

What's your WHY?

  • WHY do you want to start your own business?
  • WHY do people need what you’ve got to offer / sell?
  • WHY will people buy from you … and not someone else?

Get clear: WHO?

  • WHO will buy from you?
  • WHO will be in your business with you?
  • WHO will get in the way of your success?
  • WHO (if any) will be referral partners?
  • WHO are your competitors?

Get clear: WHAT?

  • WHAT will your business look like?
  • WHAT will you sell?
  • WHAT will the pricing look like?

Get clear: WHERE?

  • WHERE will you run your business?
  • WHERE will people find you?
  • WHERE will you advertise?
  • WHERE will people buy from you?

Get clear: WHEN?

  • WHEN will you be ready to launch?
  • WHEN will you launch?
  • WHEN will you know your business is a success?

Once you've got this down, you should turn to business planning software to start turning it into a respectable plan you can live by. You could hire an expensive business coach (not my recommendation), turn to local low-cost or free resources (Small Business Association, SCORE, WomenVenture) or head to your local library. Your local library is a wealth of rich tools and information, and once a librarian helps you understand what's available to you, you'll be able to access almost all of it from the comfort of your own home or office. 

Stop. Take a break! Have some fun!

Don’t you feel wonderful? You should! You've made such amazing progress. You may not know it yet, but the tools you've created will slash MONTHS off your job search. They really will. 

If you don't feel good right now, go walk through those career accomplishments again. Better yet, go call your champions and ask them to remind you what makes you great. Share what you've been up to. Send them your Target Marketing Plan and ask them what they think. 

Then stop. Take a break. Go do something nice and fun!

Find your happy place

"As mental attitude improves, so does confidence!" - Author unknown

During your job hunt, you need to know how to find your smile. I do not need to tell you that some days and moments are going to be tough. You already know that. You will need something to get yourself through the setbacks and prep you for the tough or scary phone calls and meetings. I like to call that place your “happy place.”

Your champion(s) will not be there for you every minute of every day. For instance, when you are about to walk into an interview, you need something to ground you, to get you over your anxiety and into your strong zone. Find something that makes you happy, that eases the tension. For some of you, it might be a picture of your kids. For others, it might be your favorite music or a motivational speaker you listen to in your car.

If you're hearing voices in your head ...

I often meet job seekers who are so frustrated, they start to believe the stories their media and their friends hype up. Pretty soon, there are voices in their head chanting "I'm too old" or "I'm too female" or "I'm too quiet" or "I'm not good enough" or "Those companies don't want me" or "It's all their fault" ... to name just a few. Any of those voices ring a bell for you?. Put a stop to them right now! The minute they start chirping in your ear, just stop. Do something to change your scenery. Do not let them suck your energy and confidence. 

I've been collecting stories from job seekers for years now (stories about what they do to boost their mood). Here are some of the most popular:

Great ways to boost your mood

  • Call or write a friend
  • Go for a walk
  • Crank up your favorite song
  • Play with your kids (or someone else's)
  • Do your hobby on a regular basis
  • Volunteer. Helping others ALWAYS makes you feel good (and often puts your tough situation into perspective). 
  • Eat yummy and nutritious food
  • Make sure you get a good night's sleep
  • Make sure you get some exercise - somehow (take the stairs, etc.)
  • Watch late-night comedy
  • Avoid the "negative nellies" in my life.
  • Turn off the negative news.
  • Dance!

It really doesn't matter what you do, as long as it fills our gas tank.

Worksheet15_TheJobHuntScorecard.pdf