The future looks bright for us freelancers and solopreneurs. The day will come — and come soon — when we will be recognized more for our ability to help build strong businesses than our gypsy existence. Why? Because businesses will need us to be the eyes and ears of what is happening outside of their business. Businesses (and sectors) have, for too long, been insular in their approaches and models. The result of this insularity has been stagnation. Those businesses need people from the outside to bring in new perspectives. Think of us as the bees of the coming economy – cross-pollinating ideas and best practices among and amidst the big companies. Read More →
- 28 Days to a New Job
- Career management
- community news
- Community Profiles
- Finding Success
- future of work
- human resources
- job hunting
- Number Crunching
- personal branding
- Product Management
- Reader Poll
- Salary Negotiation
- What We're Reading
- work politics
- work/life balance
- workplace mental health
February’s BLS Jobs Report landed on Friday, and the numbers were surprisingly positive. A healthy 236,000 jobs were added to the private sector, a whopping 71,000 more jobs than expected. While you might think this would be cause for celebration, the reaction among major news outlets was decidedly mixed. The Gray Lady — followed by scores of other outlets – unleashed a frenzy of upbeat articles, each presenting a rosy outlook for the still-wobbly economy. NPR was more measured in its coverage, being bold enough to give some airtime to the falling participation rate (this number measures the amount of employable adults actively engaged in the labor market). It also balanced Friday’s good news with coverage of the continuing challenges faced by the long-term unemployed. Naturally, The Wall Street Journal did what the Wall Street Journal does best: rain on everyone’s parade.
In short, the numbers are more promising than many observers expected, but change is still to come. Here’s what the situation looks like from our spot in the jobs space. Read More →
Long before Marissa Mayer upset the Yahoo cart (and the well-articulated response to that overturned cart in The New York Times), I’ve had to weigh out the pros and cons of what it means to have a work life when you don’t have an office. In the solopreneur world, it isn’t one way or the other, but rather a blend of both. And that blend is something bigger companies can learn from. The best part is that we set the policy and we can change it! Read More →
Finding the right date for Valentine’s Day is tough. It takes a lot of dating to find that perfect someone to settle in with, someone worthy of a ‘Be Mine’ candied heart. Rush in and it can easily become the worst night of your life.
So why is it that your go-to Solopreneur is doling out dating advice? As it turns out, there are a lot of similarities between having the perfect date and getting a great client. Read More →
Every year it’s the same thing. We start out the New Year filled with good intentions, high hopes, and a formidable list of life-changing resolutions. And for an indomitable few, those resolutions result in positive changes and personal growth. But for the rest of us, life tends to get in the way.
Before we know it, January is over and February flies by (it’s such a short month!). Then the spring holidays come along. Then it’s summer, and… well, you know the rest. That pledge to “start tomorrow” just leads to the eventual realization that today is yesterday’s tomorrow. So, what can we do about it?
We can start today. For real. Right now.
What we need to do is go from “resolutions” to “real solutions.” And one real-life solution that really works, is easy to do, and can kick-start us into action, is to start reading. And my recommendation is to start your New Year’s reading with any one of the 13 inspirational and motivational books on this list. Read More →
Last Friday, the November jobs numbers came out and the jobless rate hit a 4-year low of 7.7%. Huzzah! While we should be slapping high fives all around, each and every one of us knows how fragile this recovery is and just how easily we can be dragged kicking and screaming back into a recession. Everyone, that is, except Congress; as we approach the fiscal cliff, their dallying and political gamesmanship threatens to stall economic growth and job creation for the first quarter of 2013, if not beyond.
That’s why I’m about to clue them in. Hope you don’t mind. Read More →
We recently introduced you to Carole Murko, a long-time Hired Gun and founder of Heirloom Meals. In the second installment of How To Do What You Love, Carole shares with us the trials and tribulations of launching her own company, as well as joys of eventual success. Her Thanksgiving special airs this week on your local PBS station!
To me, Heirloom Meals was destined to be a TV series with me as the host, sharing the stories and recipes of my guests. And, as a big thinker, I went straight to the head of the class. I networked and found a lifestyle TV producer who loved the Heirloom Meals concept and helped me produce a five-minute demo reel. We brought it to public television. They loved it. And they gave us a letter of interest to produce a 26-episode series. There was a catch, however: public television does not provide funding. Read More →
In the first of three installments, Heirloom Meals founder and former financial services marketing exec Carole Murko talks about the moment she knew going for her dream was the right thing to do. Her Heirloom Meals Thanksgiving Special airs during the holiday week. Check your local listings!
Your Ah ha! moment probably won’t be a dramatic, lightning-strike event like you see in the movies.
At least, it wasn’t for me. I’ve been on a lifelong journey toward my ah-ha! moment. I had a long career in financial services and even earned the coveted CFA. In my heart, I knew from day one that I was on the wrong path. The problem was that I didn’t quite know how to access the part of me that would allow me to be me in a professional capacity. I even remember saying, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but at least I will make some money.” Don’t get me wrong — I definitely wasn’t just waiting for lightning to strike. I was always taking classes, networking, and just thinking. I knew I’d eventually figure it out. Read More →
I recently spoke at Moxie Camp, a women’s leadership conference and I can say — and I think many of my digital colleagues would agree — it takes moxie to be in Digital. A lot of it. When I think of having moxie, it’s about having the courage to go into uncharted territory; being comfortable with having to say, “Let me get back to you on that,” and having serious get-up-and-go. Dictionary.com’s definitions for “moxie” are: “vigor; verve; pep; courage and aggressiveness; nerve, skill; know-how.”
Yep. That’s what I’m saying.
You’re paid to be an expert in “All Things D.” From digital strategy to CRM; from social media to product development. It’s a broad term, which has its advantages and disadvantages.
I can speak from personal experience as someone who works in an agency setting, but Ferris Bueller said it best (I paraphrase, obviously): “Digital moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Read More →
As impossible as it may seem, summer’s already over. It’s time to put away the board shorts and flip flops and start thinking seriously about honing your professional skills. But unlike your kids, your fall schedule has something to look forward to. This fall, The Hired Guns Academy offers four distinct courses to help you take the next step in your career.
First off is What’s Your Story? Master the Art of the Elevator Pitch and Harness the Power of Short-Storytelling. On Wednesday, September 19, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH magazine and author of It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure, helps you hone your “elevator pitch” and teaches you how to make it “flex” depending on the audience you’re speaking to and the stage of your career you’re in, so people remember your name and what you do best. Sign up here.
But wait – there’s more (yes, we just went there.) We want you to take a crack at crafting your own six-word CV. Make them funny, make them heart-wrenching, make them suit-and-tie serious — just make sure they sell you in just six words. Tweet them @TheHiredGuns using #6wordCV, email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just leave them in the comments below. The best six-word CV, as determined by our eminently qualified and highly vetted panel of celebrity judges, wins free admission to Larry’s September 19 class. We’ll share the best submissions on our blog, but only the best six words will win. Read More →
SXSW voting is upon us and we need your help! The Guns’ panel, “Corporate Alums: Why Big Companies Invest in Ex-Employees” is up for voting over at SXSW.com and we’d really appreciate your support. Our panel, headed up by yours truly, is all about the increasing role that corporate alumni relations is playing and will play in the future of professional networking. My fellow panelists are amazing (and humbling) and head up the corporate alumni networks at companies like Morgan Stanley and IBM. Find out more after the jump. Read More →
Today we are pleased to welcome Wyatt Jenkins, VP of Product for Shutterstock, to the blog. Wyatt shares his insights on breaking into the product management game and how he built a world-class team.
Hiring is a topic I’m passionate about because I like to work with bright, enthusiastic people who challenge me every day. I’ve spent the last decade building teams (most recently a product organization that includes designers, researchers, and product owners), and I’ve learned a number of lessons in that time. Let’s focus specifically on product ownership — a role that many gravitate toward, but few do well. I’ve seen many different types of people find success as product owners — from former developers, English majors, designers, and project managers, all the way to former CEOs and small business owners. (I prefer the term “product owner” to the more well-known “product manager” because managers manage and owners own, and building great products demands ownership.) I want people who are technical enough to dig deep with the development team and at the same time enjoy interacting with customers to discover value. Finding the right person with the right combination of customer focus, consensus building, and technical savvy isn’t easy, so I’ve put together a few things to look for during the interviewing process. Read More →
- Thinking of getting one of those trendy standing desks to avoid dying while in the saddle at work? It’s probably just as healthy to move around more. [Lifehacker]
- It’s fun to talk about visual vs. auditory vs. movement-based learning styles, but now at least one psychologist has pointed out that evidence for such distinctions is thin on the ground.
- Lots of rhetoric paints small businesses as places that effortlessly bubble over with new ideas and lots of growth, but few small businesses are really that innovative, says a new study from the University of Chicago: they “start small and stay small.” [Slate]
- Entrepreneur and author John Warrilow comes up with seven tools he uses to work from “anywhere”—although most of the applications listed will only be truly useful in locations with a speedy internet connection.
- Check out this animation that a student made using a year’s worth of his homework:
We’re proud to announce that Hired Guns pals Adelaide Lancaster’s and Amy Abrams’s new book, The Big Enough Company, comes out from Portfolio tomorrow. Their guidebook was written to help small business owners navigate the challenges that come up when they try to run the kind of company they want to run, at the size and level of complexity that makes sense to them. The bottom line is that despite what some experts imply, there’s no one size that’s a perfect match for every entrepreneur out there.
To find out more, check out the book trailer below — and look for more from us about the book and its authors over the next few weeks.
- Among recent college grads, “Google (GOOG) would be the most eligible bachelor among all sorts of personality types. Apple (AAPL) and Walt Disney(DIS) wouldn’t be far behind.” [Businessweek]
- Biz owners and bankers feel good about the economy. [BNET]
- And ridiculous tech company perks are back in style, notes Adrian Chen. [Gawker]
- Will the company who gave the world FarmVille go down in flames once its employees become rich? Zynga’s IPO lists this as one of the risk factors with going public. [WSJ]
- “Serial entrepreneur” Jenn Houser gives “5 Ways to Stop Dreaming and Start Building Your New Business Now.” [Inc.]
This post previously appeared on Mark Hurst’s blog, Good Experience. It is reprinted by permission.
Not long ago, a moviegoer was escorted out of a theater in Austin, Texas. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has a policy of no talking and no texting. But even after two warnings, the customer persisted in texting during a movie. Out she went.
In a blog post called She texted. We kicked her out, Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League explains:
When we adopted our strict no-talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to alienate some of our patrons. That was the plan. If you can’t change your behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don’t want you at our venue. Follow our rules, or get out and don’t come back until you can.
That’s one of the most pro-customer experience posts I’ve seen in a while. Because this theater is willing to filter out some customers it doesn’t want, it creates a much better experience for the customers who stay.
Or to put it another way: if you really love your customers, you’ll be willing to point them elsewhere, if the relationship just isn’t working.
The Alamo Drafthouse put it in even starker terms by creating this video containing a voice mail left by the offending (and, apparently, offended) customer. The cinema clearly enjoys emphasizing the benefit of its customer experience: watch movies here without distractions from other customers.
How might you apply this case study to your own business, organization, team, or project?
- The co-founder of luxury deals site Gilt Groupe discusses the skills, temperament, and other traits to look for in other members of your startup’s team. [Bnet]
- What’s the newest crop of MBAs earning? [Bnet]
- The BDO accounting firm is handing out a $5 Starbucks gift card for every headhunter voicemail or email that employees forward on to HR. Caffeine bribery works, evidently: BDO got at least 200 submissions in the first part of its anti-recruiter drive. [Going Concern]
- The Education for Employment Foundation works to help young people in the Middle East find jobs: “Being unemployed anywhere in the world is depressing, but it’s even harder in the Middle East,” says the NGO’s founder, the businessman Ron Bruder. [CNN]
Today we welcome to the blog Beth Temple (@bethtemple4u), a digital consultant whose column is for the “preneurs” in The Hired Guns family. Although her focus will be split among advice for the entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and solopreneur, she will always return to proven ways to get ahead–whether it’s by growing your company, mastering important leadership skills, or learning how to sell yourself.
I know what you’re thinking–you missed the mark. Tax Day has come and gone. Well, for this year it has, but trust me, it will be back next year, and the best time to start planning for April 15, 2012, is now.
If you are like most small business owners (and yes, being just one person counts as being a business!), you’ve probably made some tax mistakes. I did my first year out: I didn’t realize that I had to pay quarterly estimated taxes based on forecasted income. Only made that mistake once.
Here are some things you should be doing now (and forever after) to help ensure a smooth tax season next year:
1) Beth’s 40% rule: In order to be sure I have the money I need throughout the year to pay for taxes, I take out 40% from every check (let me repeat that–EVERY check) and put it in a special account just for taxes. This way I don’t see it, I don’t spend it, and I always have the cash I need. Put the money in a saving account attached to your business checking account–it’s never a good idea to co-mingle your business and personal money. At the end of the year, if there is any left over in the tax account (and there usually is), that’s my yearly bonus. I either invest it back into the business or buy something small as a reward. (You could also use it to bulk up the three to six months’ worth of living expenses that financial experts say we all should have but often don’t.) Read More →
- Forbes uncovers three new “career management musts“. These sites will let you “score” your professional online brand, help you get a raise, and partially automate your job search by keeping track of contacts, interviews, and all other forms of contacts.
- Kris Ruby, the head of her own PR agency, talks to Business Insider about her biggest challenge as a young entrepreneur: it’s “time management and balancing my personal and corporate brand. In your first year as a start up, you do not necessarily have the cash flow to bring on a full time staff and you are often a ‘one man show’ wearing many hats….”
- If you haven’t voted in our “Should interns get paid?” poll, you have until noon Eastern today. A couple of the choices are running neck-and-neck…
We’re proud to add Bill Brazell to our site. As the first director of author services at Federated Media, a current senior associate at WIT Strategy and blog wrangler at collectivecontext, he’s worked closely with popular sites that include Dooce, Boing Boing, Behance, and many others. He’ll be interviewing some of the stars of blogging and uncovering some tips that the rest of us can use to grow our online presence. So take it away, Bill!
With a few exceptions, bloggers are fun, interesting people. In this series of monthly podcasts, I’ll be talking with a few of the most outstanding ones, asking them to enlighten the rest of us on what makes them so influential, what kept them going in the early days when no one knew they existed, and what blogging has enabled them to do that they might not have been able to do otherwise.
A number of Hired Guns are presenting at SXSW Interactive this year. This series profiles a few of the proud and the brave. Please tweet and “like” this story so as a community we can build a little buzz for them.
DIY Online Workshops: Best Practices + Worst Mistakes
Tuesday, March 15, 5:00
Presenter: Bryce Longton
Mobile UX + Production. Travel, Style, Foodie Journalist. Now creating online workshops. I bake pies. I make jams. Loves: Yoga, DIY + NYC Read More →
Headed to SXSWi and feeling a little overwhelmed? A little advice….
- An amazingly handy-looking scheduler to stay on top of all the events.
[via 17 dots]
- 6 successful SXSW Startup launch stories and SXSW for startups [Mashable]
- Geekdad’s 20 Tips for Surviving and Thriving SXSWi
- And finally, epic advice from writer-comedian Alex Blagg on Dominating the SXSW Party Scene
Don’t build a company you hate working at. If you’re going to start your own business,
why not build one with an eye to adapt to your changing needs and interests over time?
That’s just what Amy Abrams and Adelaide Lancaster, the brilliant gals behind In Good Company, aim to show you this Tuesday–the event will be held at their lovely space in the Flatiron District, one of the top co-working spaces in the city.
Four dynamic entrepreneurs (including our very own Top Gun) will talk about how they
bucked conventional wisdom to align their businesses with their personal interests, goals, and motivations. Each of the presenters is recognized as a leader in her industry and has established large and loyal customer followings. Click here to find out more…
“There used to be laws and religions that girls couldn’t do things because they are girls? That’s cuckoo bananas. If someone told me I couldn’t do something because I’m a girl, I’d tell them “Goodbye”—and then I would do it.”
—Rachel, 2nd grader and daughter of Hired Gun Laurie Kalmanson
Jeff Gothelf, a user experience designer working for TheLadders.com, blogs for us about project management and UX careers and trends.
Recently I wrote an article for Smashing Magazine about how to manage a personal brand within a corporate environment. At the end of that article I mentioned that if personal brand building is one of your goals and your employer doesn’t support it, you should consider another employer–or even consider going out on your own. Read More →