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In this episode of GradBlogger, we have a great discussion with Dr. Heidi Giusto from CareerPathWritingSolutions.com. She talks about her entrepreneurship journey and how to start your business as an academic.
Career Path Writing Solutions is Heidi’s communications consulting firm.
Heidi built her firm around the concept of helping individuals in businesses succeed when the stakes are high. She works with a lot of job seekers and business owners and does a lot of workshops.
“When asked what I do, I say I am a resume writer,” she said. “I touch or am working on a resume typically five days a week. I have multiple certifications in that. And somehow, even though I left academia, I grade resume exams. I’m on the certifying committee for the professional resume writer credential.”
Heidi helps with all aspects of the job search process, from job search strategy and networking to resume writing, CV writing or editing, cover letters, LinkedIn profile optimization, interview prep, and salary negotiation. With business owners, she helps them communicate their value to the world by brainstorming or editing website content.
“Sometimes I’ll edit business books as well. I’m working on a brochure for a business owner right now. So (I do) any marketing collateral where a business owner is trying to communicate their value to the world.”
The workshops she teaches are on proactive career management and professional business communications. She also teaches a graduate-level course on resume writing, cover letter writing, LinkedIn and interview prep in the Global Luxury and Management Program at NC State University’s Poole College of Management.
As a child, Heidi created her own imaginary little business.
She pretended to play office and saved up her money to buy one of the calculators with the big thick buttons and the tape. She also bought a ledger for all my fake clients. Later, she would talk to her husband about starting a side business.
Heidi did a lot of career exploration while she was at Duke as a grad student. After she defended in October 2012, she tried out different things and soon learned that she liked helping people. After working with a career counsellor at Duke who helped her brainstorm her business, she got her LLC and has been in business ever since.
When Heidi started out, she sent a Facebook message to her grad school friends and people she knew, offering to help.
“I think it was one or two paragraphs that said, “This is what I’m doing,” she recalled. “And lo and behold, one or two days later, I had a couple of people inquiring. One person was a grad school colleague who hired me to give feedback and comment on her resume. Then somebody else, a connection from grad school, said, “Hey, I know someone who needs an editor.” It was an economics curriculum company. I’m their chief editor almost seven years later.”
When she got her first few checks in the mail, she called her husband and said, “Chris, I have real clients.”
“You really have to get over your own fear,” she said. “I’m not saying, “Oh, come up with an idea today and launch it tomorrow.” But there’s a point where you have to stop hiding behind research and go for it.”
She does most of her work with resume clients but has been gradually seeing more business owners as clients.
She often connects with new clients via local networking. “When you give talks at certain places and you’re known as someone who works well with writing and content, then those opportunities pop up for you.”
When potential clients call Heidi’s phone number, they get a pleasant voice message asking new clients to email her to set up a free 20-minute consultation. They use her scheduling calendar to select a time that works for them, and she calls them at that time.
“If they want help with a job search, I tell them to feel free to send their resume and/or CV in advance of the call and connect on LinkedIn, which can help facilitate our conversation. And then we determine together what their needs are and if I’m a good fit and if I should send a proposal.”
Whether she’s coordinating or attending, Heidi is often on stage at events.
Public speaking is how Heidi shares value. She has done most of her workshops in person. She also does webinars but prefers a more personal approach. She started doing them for universities and local institutes less than a year after she started the business. One university even flew her in to give a talk.
“Those opportunities came to me and then I realized, “Oh, I can do this and I should have this as an offering.” Because I really like it and it’s another revenue stream. It’s a win-win in that regard. I love doing workshops, so I always welcome that opportunity to do them. I hope to do more of them.”
When Heidi is asked to run a workshop, the first thing she says is, “Tell me about your needs. How can I help?” Sometimes she has the attendees fill out a brief in advance because doing so often yields valuable information that she can use to tailor her workshop and give everyone maximum value.
“It’s very important that I customize. I need to know my audience and what their needs are. I’m not saying the way I do it is the right way. I know that it’s the way that works for me, because I want to go in feeling like, “Yeah, I’m really going to add value.” not “I hope I have material that’s going to resonate.”
Heidi only offers workshops on subjects that she considers to be core competencies.
“I would much rather turn down an opportunity than sign up for something that I have no idea how to do. It sounds obvious, but I think it’s worth stating because I never would want to go into a situation where I’m thinking, “Am I giving the best content?” You want to be at the top of your game and really believing in what you’re teaching to people.”
Heidi said that she intends to keep holding workshops and wants to do more conference talks. She is also committed to growing her newsletter list and being more consistent with publishing her blog.
“I’ve been doing a pretty good job of posting once a month. As you know, it’s hard to be so consistent, but publishing more content seems to be helping people. Of course, I’m going to be growing my brand even more.”
Do you have any questions about how to communicate your value as an academic? Contact Heidi at Heidi@CareerPathWritingSolutions.com, connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow HeidiGiustoCPWS on Twitter.
For questions about GradBlogger, you can reach out to Dr. Chris Cloney via email or leave a comment below.
The post Helping Academics and Businesses Communicate Their Value with Dr. Heidi Giusto | GBP052 appeared first on GradBlogger.