How I Make $30K/Year On The Side Writing Resumes

$2,500
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
product
Critical Path Action
from Sacramento, CA
started April 2015
$2,500
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
1.59M
alexa rank
495
followers
platform
payments

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Mike McRitchie.

I run a variety of side hustle businesses that have evolved over time. My primary one is writing resumes and LinkedIn profiles for mid-career professionals in tech-related industries, especially telecom.

My other work is writing web marketing content for telecom companies (web pages and marketing support documentation).

Over the last two years, I doubled my income from these site hustles with last year earning over $30,000.

how-i-make-30k-year-on-the-side-writing-resumes

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Over the years I’ve built quite a bit of business knowledge (was a Director of Operations and helped build a company from 5 employees to 100 and $2.5 million to $16 million in revenue; also was a five-year member of Vistage, a business mastermind group) and wanted to leverage that.

Get started with something inexpensive that interests you. Then keep going as you try things and learn.

I started a website through an online marketing/website building course and began blogging on business and career topics. But I found monetizing that to be difficult. I wanted to do business strategy consulting and paid $1,000 for a three-month insert in a coupon mailing that did nothing and found trying to get that type of consulting off the ground part time around my day job wasn’t working.

I noticed that I had over 1,500 LinkedIn connections and nearly all of them were employees, primarily in the telecom field that I worked in for my day job. So I asked myself, what service could I provide to them?

A few years earlier I bought a resume writing business course from AWAI that I’d never used. So I went through that and launched my resume writing business.

I had written resumes for friends for free over the years, and being in telecom had had to write my own quite a few times as the business was project driven and often unstable.

I liked that I could do the work with no additional startup costs. And I kicked it off with doing a post on my LinkedIn page offering a free resume review. That converted 50% into paid writing clients.

How did you get started and launch the business?

As this was a side hustle and I had the course that included a business model, it just required implementation. This could be run as a sole proprietorship but I already had an LLC in place for other consulting work and just ran the business through that.

I started with lower pricing as I learned and then added additional services and increased my pricing until I saw the market not support the higher price for the services offered.

Creating the website was the biggest challenge and why I took a course to help me do that.

Once I got into creating the website I found I was pretty regularly updating the content and look of the site as well as making weekly blog posts. The goal of my weekly blog posts was to share my passion for business and career issues and to also build up the website domain ranking (DR).

Here are some of my top viewed blog posts…

By doing weekly posts I was able to keep up with the writing and also show Google that it was worth visiting (typically blogs are preferred by Google). It originally started at DR 1 (as any new website) and is now up to DR 34 (out of 100). As a result I was also able to get guest bloggers to write posts for my site which further increased the frequency and helped boost my ranking.

The process of getting it off the ground was pretty quick and inexpensive but getting consistent clients was and still is a challenge. I get more referrals now but when work is slow I will often post some offers on LinkedIn to generate some inquiries.

These offers are typically a free resume or LinkedIn review or a discounted resume rewrite price for the first 5 respondents. Since my time is limited these scarcity-driven offers work well and tend to keep my plate full.

how-i-make-30k-year-on-the-side-writing-resumes

My goal now is to build the website and marketing writing side of my business where the rates are higher and I can have more follow-on work with fewer clients.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned are you have to get in and get started, and then learn as you go. Many times you won’t know what you want until you test the waters and you learn and evolve in your business as a result.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I have done free Craigslist ads. The rates were lower and the clients more flighty. I’ve put posts on LinkedIn and gotten clients through free resume reviews. About half convert to paid clients.

You’ll often feel like you can’t do this or you’re not worthy or it isn’t worth it. Those are just roadblocks along the way that get you off track. Everyone has those. You just need to keep pushing forward.

I moved more towards complete job search packages - around $1,000 that allow me to spend more time working with clients and providing more assistance than just resume writing (LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, mock interview coaching, job search strategy calls, LinkedIn connection contact scripts, job posting analysis and cover letter alignment, ongoing email and phone advice). This has done well and increased my average fee per client.

Early on I did submissions to H.A.R.O that ended up with articles I was referenced in including Harvard Business Review, Readers Digest, and Acoustic Guitar Magazine. That was pretty cool and did generate both traffic and credibility. I then added a page to my website devoted to these articles…

https://www.mikemcritchie.com/articles/

...as well as podcast guest interviews…

https://www.mikemcritchie.com/podcasts/

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today I’m doing well and optimistic about the future. Much of my costs are soft costs I would spend money on anyway.

Last year I did about $30k with $15k being my expenses (from a tax perspective). But much of that was training courses and other expenses I would spend on whether I had the business or not. And also these courses allow me to take my business to the next level. Basically reinvesting in my business. And if I needed extra cash I could just cut some of those expenses back or get more serious on marketing and making offers.

This year’s goal is to systematize my outreach and build my content writing business such that each job generates at least $1,000 with a target of one $1,000-$3,000 job per month.

Along with that, I’ll be boosting my guest podcasting appearances in order to build my email list and generate more qualified leads.

To keep all this going and still stay on top of my day job I compartmentalize my days. I usually get up between 4:30 and 5:30 AM and devote an hour to writing. In the evenings at 7 PM I typically have my phone coaching and information gathering sessions with clients. On weekends I knock out several blog or email posts and tackle resumes and copywriting jobs. My best and most productive time is early morning - between 5 and 8 AM. By doing this I can still get work accomplished before my kids get up so I’m able to still prioritize family time along with my side hustle and day job.

If I wasn’t as focused and organized it would be harder to juggle everything.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

On my resume writing, I’ve made it so they don’t pay til the work is complete and they’re happy with it. That has resulted in some clients not paying (usually just don’t respond to resumes in process, and after a series of follow-ups I drop them as a client and move on). That’s been my biggest challenge. Still, it was a good way to get them in the door and was a differentiator vs my competition.

For my higher end services I also started doing payment plans which helped get agreement to higher prices.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I use PayPal for payments and that has worked well. I use WordPress (.org not .com) for my website along with Go Daddy for my domain name and Blue Host for web hosting. All have worked well.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The most influential was Jay Abraham. I took a year long joint venture course and implemented many of his ideas in his books. His work is must-read material for any aspiring entrepreneur.

Also read much of Brian Tracy’s work on sales and business building.

For podcasts I like Side Hustle Nation, Side Hustle School, The Aworkening, and other side hustle and copywriting podcasts.

These help me come up with new ideas to use in my business or others I help.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My suggestion is to get started with something inexpensive that interests you. Then keep going as you try things and learn.

Also get in a group or get a mentor who can help you along the way.

You’ll often feel like you can’t do this or you’re not worthy or it isn’t worth it. Those are just roadblocks along the way that get you off track. Everyone has those. You just need to keep pushing forward.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

At this point I’m not looking for anyone to hire but down the road may look to a virtual assistant to help with repetitive tasks.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  

Mike McRitchie,   Founder of Critical Path Action

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