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Saturday, December 31, 2005
Selling Yourself
I was chatting with an accountant recently at a holiday party and when he asked the required conversation-starter-question “What do you do?” I, of course, answered that I own a resume writing firm. “Well, thankfully, that’s something I don’t need anymore,” he hastily replied.

It seems this hard-charging young man had just made the leap from working with an accounting firm to being his own employer, hanging out his shingle and jumping into the world of the self-employed. Being self-employed myself for the past twelve years or so, I recognized a starry-eyed newcomer and thought I’d see what he really knew about self-employment.

“Congratulations on working on your own! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being my own boss. Tell me, how are you handling client acquisition?” I asked.

“I brought three clients with me from my old firm,” he replied confidently, “They will pay the rent and keep me operating for the time being. I plan on going after some more corporate accounts in the New Year.”

“That’s great! Do these target accounts know you personally or are you going to be going after them cold?”

“One I’ve done some work for in the past on project, but the other two I have some contacts on the inside that will help me get my foot in the door.”

“How do you plan on doing that?” I asked, smiling inwardly to myself.

“I’ll get my card in the right hands, don’t worry.”

“Well, speaking of cards – here’s mine. When you realize you need a corporate resume, not to mention a bio and perhaps a CV, if you are targeting international clients, give me a call. We can help you develop your corporate presence so your clients know who you are, where you’ve been, and why they should hire your firm.”

In my twelve years of self-employment, I have worked a great deal with new entrepreneurs who are riding the rush of making the break from the W2 and heading out into the forest to kill their prey and drag it home. I’ve mentored many and authored training materials for others. I’ve led professional organizations that provide support and guidance to the new members of the industry. I have never met one that did not need a resume. And often, the resume is just the start of the marketing materials that a self-employed individual needs to successfully market their services.

The US economy is a 95% service-based economy. That means the “product” that is being delivered is an intangible and originates with one person or a group of people. An accountant is only as good as his/her experience and that experience is the “product” that must be marketed. A resume is the marketing vehicle of that product. Sure, a resume for an entrepreneur looking to land a contract will be somewhat different than the resume for a job seeker looking for traditional employment, but it is still a resume.

So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to ditch the nine-to-five and venture out on your own, don’t forget that YOU are the product and you need to sell it well.

November 2005 / December 2005 /


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