You’re Fired. Hire Yourself.

Have you ever been terminated from a job that was not by your choice? Perhaps it was just a corporate lay-off, or … workforce reduction due to decline in sales. Here’s a little HR secret. We sometimes terminate an employee, and tell them it was a downsizing, … let’s keep this confidential as to not ruin your future job prospecting efforts, and it really was just a bold face lie to get rid of an employee. Oh sure he/she will get unemployment, but that is why the company has unemployment insurance. Technically almost everyone is employee at will, that is if they get a W2 form. This means you can be terminated for no reason and you as the employee have no recourse. Right now, I know there are millions of people who are unemployed or as I like to say, looking for a better tomorrow. I actually thought that would be a good name for a book. BUT people don’t read books, they read blogs.

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So, now that you are unemployed, underemployed, or just living off the government as long as you can … at some point you will need to think about some type of income to keep that lifestyle of yours going. Last I checked almost every fast food restaurant is starting people at almost $15 an hour. But in Denver, that is the normal starting wage. Why? Denver is super expensive to live. So the one thing that they never teach you in school is the occupation of being self-employed. Now if you go into a trade school, and get additional education in an area that might require a license, then they “might” kind of teach you about going out on your own. When I was at the Bar Association we actually did a workshop called “Hanging Your Shingle”, which was a 3 day intensive training from other industries to help you start being a small business owner, which is what a lot of lawyers eventually do when they have enough clients … or no clients. Remember, if you have a skill an employer is willing to pay for, then why not still sell that skill to the actual client/customer?

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So, if you were a plumber or a beautician, then you could easily be self employed. You build a Facebook business page, build a website, set your prices for your services and then tell EVERYONE to please use you for _______. Does it always work out that way? Sometimes, yes, it does. Remember the rule of 1000 fans? If you have 1000 loyal, dedicated fans, you can make a living as a self employed … we will say artist (since that is what I am). All you have to do is keep in good communication with those fans and when you produce a new _____ (book, song, painting, digital poster), all of your fans will buy it and you will see a paycheck.

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DeviantArt.com makes it really easy for artists to publish their work. I’ve used it, and I’m on there. Many of my fans have downloaded and purchased my artwork. Wow, how cool is that? Now one of the things about certain fields, is it is really easy to produce ONE item and sell it a million times. Like a song, book or digital artwork. If you are doing one off for each customer, you will have a very limited ability to create a lot of wealth. There are thousands of individuals that become owners or a company and only know how to do their trade, and the things like accounting, legal, HR, marketing, social media, website, payroll, are all outsourced to another company that specializes in it. Some people will start small with some sort of accounting software, others may just use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to track and document things.

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The reality is you need to register your company name, or sole proprietorship, get a tax ID if you are not doing sole. Get a business checking account. Technically you are ready for business. You can fix someone’s ____ and say “That’ll be $50.” Design someone a logo or business card and charge $75. Cater someone’s wedding and collect a deposit via Paypal after you create a free invoice through their website. Btw, I use Paypal for all my website invoicing. It makes it super easy, looks professional and it emails it to your client, who can turn around and pay you instantly online. Just remember though, if you use Paypal, they take a percentage. If your customer pays by check you keep it all. If you have your website with E-commerce, you can create buttons, packages, items for sale and have it link to Paypal. So maybe you have a subscription or monthly fee you can charge your customers, rather than having them pay all at once. You can do all kinds of things through your website to earn revenue while you are off doing something else. You might be like Ben Shapiro and have EXCLUSIVE content only for subscribers. He is entertaining for sure, but I don’t learn anything from him and I wouldn’t pay to hear more rants and raves. Don’t get me wrong, I really like watching his videos … for free.

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I was once at a seminar and I heard the speaker say that no one would hire him. He had a variety of reasons, but he was overqualified and he was worth too much money. I get it, people used to tell me that because of my MBA. So he said he hired himself and started his own business. HE became the boss, and he went knocking on doors to get customers. Cold calling. It sucks but it works. If you are friendly and like people then this should be easy. Just remember though, prospecting IS just as hard or harder than the work itself. Networking, cold calling, knocking on doors, after hours cocktail networking meetings are all part of the requirements if you want to be self-employed/owner. You might find you work more as the owner than when you were an hourly employee. So one thing to think about is your accounting system. Do you require payment up front? Half now, half when delivered? Send them a bill that is due immediately or 10 days later? Cash, check, charge, Paypal, Venmo, Bitcoin, on favor, pro-bono, charitable contribution?  All of those are possibilities and you need to think about how much finance you need to operate and live successfully. The only person looking out for you is you. Unless you get financing from an investor who you are willing to share your profits forever. That investor might be mom or dad. Whatever you company or trade is, you still need to have a business plan and a marketing plan. These can be Googled for more information, but they are important. Money is always important so don’t go into personal credit card debt. Start small and simple and work your way up, like Bill Gates did.

Your objective this week is to find the dream company that you want to work one day. What do current employees say about it, what do former employees say? Wow, there is a website that you can totally slam your past employer and the HR person reads it. It is called Glassdoor.com. If you are bored, go look up your past jobs and post a review. If you are looking for your dream job, what DO apple employees and Google geeks say? Inquiring minds want to know. Do not apply. Copy and paste that company into a new document. If you are thinking about starting a new business, think about WHO your customers are, and where are you going to find them.

 

 

 

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What Motivates You?

So I thought I would hit on some basic interview questions that you are certainly going to be asked in your interviews. I actually used to ask this question with every single graduating senior when I taught at the college. You would actually be amazed at the answers. I would also phrase it as “What is your motivation for looking for a new job?” There are always issues/problems at current jobs and many times you can identify a problem in a past/current job and prevent it from happening again in this one.

 

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Example. A hiring manager comes to me as the HR business partner and asks a serious question. “I have a candidate I really like, but she has really big boobs and I am afraid that the guys are going to be a problem. AND she is currently suing her current boss for sexual harassment, because of her boobs. They aren’t real.” Wow. Amazing the things people say in an interview. Well, we all know the professional answer is we have to qualify and screen candidates based on their skills and not their looks. I looked at him and said “Are you crazy? If you hire her and she gets any issues, I will say that you consulted me and against my advisement of potential litigation, my risk management assessment was to find a male candidate. Your hiring was negligent.”

 

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If you haven’t heard it before, I will tell you now, that most employees leave jobs for a couple of reasons. Money. They hate their boss/co-worker(s). Poor management/leadership. It is not in line with their career goals. So, think about those and decide which of those you quit jobs in the past. There is also something that really drives and motivates someone to leave a job. Anger. Something in the job really, really pissed off an employee that he/she will make it a mission in life to get the hell out of there. I know of past employees who held grudges to this day. You might be a careless manager and say something ignorant to an employee and while they may not say anything to your face, trust me, they will slam you in their exit interview. Some employees will be super sweet to your face and then they will make bold face lies about you just to get back at you. I have heard them and usually can see right through to the truth. Sure there are bad managers, we all know that. And those managers get reprimanded and performance managed as well. Even store managers get put on probation. I can think of a ton of managers who got fired. As I have told many customers and employees, everyone … yes, everyone reports to someone, so be careful or you might find yourself in a world of trouble. True story, once I had an attorney personally threaten me at Best Buy. Said he was going to sue the pants off of me because I wouldn’t take his return and give him his money back. Whoa. I took a step back, crossed my arms and said, “Oh really counselor. Can you please tell me your attorney registration number? I am sure the ethics committee will be very interested to hear of this behavior in public. Oh, … how do I know about that? Yeah, I work for the Bar Association and you have rules you have to follow.” He was silent. His eyes wide open and he turned around and walked out, … with his return, with no receipt. I turned to my the employee who called for the manager and said “Fucking attorney. I bet he was bullied in school and try to bully me into doing it.” Like I said, everyone reports to someone.

 

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From an HR perspective it is good to know what motivates an employee so they will perform better. Example. If the team reaches _____ goal/metric, we will all go to a night out at Dave & Busters on the company. Free food and drinks for everyone! For some people that is a great motivator. Others are like, “Meh, show me the money.” Now if you are somewhere at the bottom of organizational chart, you might be motivated by intrinsic items, like a crappy promotion with a shitty office with no window. No money. Title only. Or you might get a window if you are considered a manager, again no money. This is very common, so be prepared. What other “benefits” do you want that will motivate you that are not money. Trust me on this one. If you can negotiate these things in writing from the very beginning you are off to an amazing start. I once asked for one day a quarter as a personal day that I could use for grad school projects. Since I had to travel for work, unpaid, this seemed acceptable. Until the boss realized I basically just got an extra week when you tack it onto a holiday. Bam. Mic drop. Score.

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As you created your dream job you should have had a list of things that are part of this imaginary dream job. Office, work from home, gym membership, onsite daycare, 3 weeks vacation, use of the company jet and condos, an obnoxiously overpaid high salary, … you get the idea. Many of these things on the list “might” be one of your motivators. And of course, don’t forget the sappy predictable HR answer, “Recognition”. If you are working on your doctorate, or getting published in a journal this is a terrific answer. Mail room clerk, not so much.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, what are YOU doing now that you are vaccinated? It’s gonna be CRAZY everywhere! Smoking some ribs and baked beans myself. Mmmmm. Ribs. Smoked ribs motivate me.

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Dream Job

Ahhh, the dream job question. As a staffing person (you can use whatever title you like) there are some things that makes your job a little easier. For me I wanted to know what was that person’s dream … job. As simple as it sounds, some people don’t have one, don’t know what it is, and couldn’t begin to detail what is important in it. Why is this important? This secretly is reworded as “Where do you see yourself in the company in 5 years? Are you management material? Is this a stepping stone for you? Are you just using us for a paycheck until you get the real job you want? What are your career goals?” Damn. Yes, all these things are secretly hidden in this question, and how you answer it, what you say can either help or hinder you in the interview. Explain. Okay. I am hiring for a _____ at Best Buy, a retail electronic store. Candidate tells me he wants to open a restaurant bar one day and sing in the karaoke. How long do you think this candidate is going to stay working in retail? Exactly. Not very long at all. Next candidate please.

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Do you see how I just saved a bad hire? Karaoke guy has no intention on making a career and putting his best foot forward in helping our customers/business/sales revenue. He would be in the media department singing. If I DID hire him and 6 months later he quits or gets fired for a multitude of performance issues, he can always say “I told you when you hired me I wanted to run a restaurant, not work in retail. This doesn’t align with my career goals and I would never be happy working here.” Yep, he is right. Hey some people just want a temporary gig to get them by until the real job comes along. Great, that is fantastic. Go do it somewhere else. It is costly, expensive and time consuming to constantly train and retrain employees over and over again. Ideally, you hire an employee and they are there for 10 or 15 years. It does happen. It is okay to tell the interviewers that one day you hope to be part of the executive management team. It shows drive, goals and a career path. And unless you are looking to BE the interviewer, do not say “Your job.” If you want the job, you are going to tell that hiring/HR person “It has always been a dream of mine to work at _____, and one day join the ranks of management.” You do NOT need to tell them that you are secretly at _____ looking for work at one of your vendors/competitors or whatever. Seriously, do not tell them that. People are stupid and tell shit like this in interviews. Don’t be stupid. Answer with THE most impressive answer possible.

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Like most companies, many positions are promoted jobs, years of service, contributions to the company, things like that. I am sure you have heard of “getting your foot in the door” and “paying your dues”. This means you take a job you really don’t LOVE, but you are willing to do until you get promoted. Some people start working in the mail room, delivering and sorting company postal mail. Very boring. Remember Transformers? The kid had to work at some crappy job that his girlfriend’s boss got for him. For me, as you know, it was working at Taco Johns. Yeah, real fun scraping gum off the drive thru asphalt and picking up trash in the dark after close. No wait, it was cleaning the greasy, disgusting food prep pans for hours of dishwashing chores. Fuck I hated that job.

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It taught me that I will work hard, educate myself and never have to say “Hi, is this for here or to go?” Worst boss ever. Worst customers ever. Horrible hours. Drive thru stayed open until 1 a.m. Oh and not to mention my disgusting brown uniform would stink to high heaven. I had to rip it off as soon as I walked out the door so I wouldn’t stink up my car. All that grease and fried foods gets on you, your clothes, your face, hair. It was awful. So back in the days of running the drive thru, I would dream of a job where I sat at a desk, in clean clothes, not dealing with customers yelling at me for more hot sauce, … and it would be in an office. A real office. When I was being punished with cutting 100 pounds of onions, I would literally be crying for a new food free occupation. Sadly for me, when you are only 16 your only options are fast food or some retail slave service. Dream job. Not that. And for the record I was the asshole that dumped an entire bag of hot potato oles all over your already soggy tacos. Your sauce is at the bottom of the bag. Extra hot. And yes, my crappy $3.35 an hour job was still a real job.

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So, think about some of the things you hate about your current situation, and then what are some of the things you desire. Write them on a separate piece of paper. Once you define the “perks”, think about what actual jobs have those qualities. If no one will hire you, you can always hire yourself. It is called being “self-employed”. You create something or offer a service and you decide how much you charge. You choose your working hours. Your only boss is your current paying customer. Some people can start small and clean houses for $___ an hour, or build something, or cook something … Etsy is full of these people.

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James Ray taught me to create MSI’s. Multiple streams of income. Your spouse, … is a source of your income. Your rental property, Etsy store, Air B&B, Turo car, catering/baking, photography, …. whatever … are all sources of other income. Everyone has an extra room. Rent it out cheap online and make some extra money. When I build my dream home, it will have lots of extra guest rooms just for that reason. With that dream home, can build a dream job. Meet new people, get paid, make them an awesome gourmet dinner and bask in the gorgeous Florida sun. That would be … living the dream.

Keep working on your action statements, along with defining your dream job. What is impressive about what you just wrote. It that a steal from your job description? Shame on you. No one cares about duties. Write down something that makes you an asset. “I spearheaded an internal committee called Voice of the Employee to reduce turnover and increase job satisfaction.” Really? Oh yeah, we sat at Starbucks every week, expensed our lavish drinks and bitched about management. We loved it.

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Reasons for Immediate Disqualification

Yes. Yes. No. No. Maybe. Maybe. Yes. Yes. Yes. So, which ones make it to the next round?

Would you like to know the number one reason why candidates get disqualified in the screening process? Oh you think you know it all right? You have a 100% batting average. Send out 1 resume, you get 1 call, 1 offer and a corner office right? Wrong. It never works that way for anyone. So I had a friend who was having a really hard time getting an interview. Keep in mind this was years and years ago. So I took a look at the resume and it was just awful. I smiled and said there was definitely some room for improvement, and we could probably consolidate the 4 pages into 1. So why did my friend get disqualified? Well believe it or not, he was cut in the first round due to a couple of big mistakes. 1 page should sell you nicely. 2 pages and you are some kind of nerd. Dude, I have been working since the 80’s and “I” have 1 page. So can you. He was trying to get a job by listing every single piece of information about himself. He changed tense. He wrote in first person and third person, in the same sentence. He spelled manager as manger. Boom. Next. I redid his resume and amazingly he actually got an interview. He later relayed that his original 4 page resume was attached to the new one in the HR manager’s office. He was ashamed and confessed to the HR manager he got professional help on his resume. He got an interview an eventually got an offer. His honestly is what won them over.

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Everyone lies. Don’t do it on your resume or cover letter. If/when you get caught you WILL get terminated. In my profession I have been so lucky to get to do ALL the HR legwork in hiring candidates. Yes, that means background and educational credential checks. I can’t begin to tell you how easy it is to find out information on someone when you have a resume in hand. Lying about your degree is probably up there as far as lies, other than titles, and falsification of duties/responsibilities. If you are a general manager and had to do all kinds of shitty jobs, you don’t list each of those titles as jobs. HR managers know what a general manager does. Remember, it is HR that writes all those job descriptions, does the performance evaluation and promotes from within the company. They know a lot of stuff. We know that bigger titles sometimes mean smaller salaries. We know that non-profit employees get screwed. Don’t give false salaries that you cannot back up. I had an employer who wanted proof that I made my prior salary. I showed him my W-2 form and he shut up.

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When you leave a company there are a few things that HR CAN and will tell the new employer. The call will goes something like this: “Hey, this is Aaron over in HR at store 1111___, doing am employment check on ______.” (If it is internal from one store to another, it might go like this). RESPONSE: “Dates of employment are ___ to ____. Starting title and salary was $____ final salary and ending title was $_____, no performance issues, no attendance issues, is rehirable.” Very standard phone call, and I can say that is exactly how I answered those calls for prior employees. If I didn’t have all the information, I might say “I can’t disclose that information but I can verify what you have is correct or invalid. What dates and titles do you have?” Of course, I could always get classified information out of the other HR person, after all we played on the same team. So I might say something like, “Say, _____ is a final top 3 and we really like him. Is there anything you might say off the record so we don’t make a bad hiring decision? I’d hate to be negligent in my questioning and saved us a mistake.” Surprise, sometimes that person you are taking to might be a best friend of that candidate, and we know they will say anything for a BFF. Like accidentally saying that person has a _____ problem. Oops. Yes, it happens. Bottom line, don’t lie. You have plenty of awesome, marketable, sellable mad skills. Start by using them as you create your achievement statements.

 

On a side note: If you are participating in this job search series, please stop sending out ANY resumes and cover letters until the new one has been created. You only have so many target jobs you can impress and you want to do it with your best foot forward. You have this weekend to finish parts 1 & 2. You will need to define your dream job, as you should be tailoring your skills to the job you want and have the skills THEY want.

I am human and make mistakes. Your resume should not have a single mistake. An extra space, a period or comma missing will be your doom. And on a positive note, I was out in public yesterday, mask free! It was so liberating to laugh and smile in public once again.

 

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Resume Achievements

So now that I can quickly disqualify you because you are not a right fit, based on your overview, OR I like what I read and I want to know more.  Such as, what are the “things” that you can do that you are most proud? Some people are highly decorated and there are many things that are super impressive about them. But what about you? What have you done in your professional life as well as your personal life that you can share with an employer? Are you on any committees? Part of any other organizations? Do you hold any titles or certifications? Your goal today is to start writing down as many things about your skills that you want to advertise. Software, hardware, communication skills. I’m a publisher, editor (sometimes) writer/author (all the time), and reader. Not everyone has ALL of those skills. Some people literally can’t read. As an older person, I am starting to be one of them. Small text on my phone, beauty products, manuals are sometimes more than challenging. Probably the number one reason I compose in a huge font. I actually use Header4, which makes it this size. Some people, like Trump, don’t know how  to click a drop down box and compose in a larger font. Yeah, I know, crazy. If people can’t read it due to size, they won’t even try.

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So you really need a section in your resume that highlights your achievements, or your resume bragging/talking points. Remember, you can direct how your interview is going to transpire based upon the things you tell them in your action statements. So, for instance, one of the things that I am proud of, that is not on social media, is the fact that I raised over a thousand dollars in fundraising for the suicide prevention organization and I had to walk 20 miles overnight for their walkathon. Of course this is interesting and something that someone who is reading will want to know more. So your statements need to highlight what you are capable of doing. Human resources will respond to the correct verbiage on your resume. So understand and know your metrics. For some that might be reaching or overachieving your monthly sales goal. Awards from your employer are also key in getting noticed, remembered, and called for an interview. Do not make the mistake of thinking your resume will get you the job. It “might” get you a telephone interview. If you are the ideal/dream candidate, it will get you an in person interview along with a job offer. If you JUST graduated high school then you have all kinds of things to talk about that make you the best candidate. When I reviewed resume for students I would look at it for things that are talking points, things that are impressive and that that are just wasting space on valuable real estate. Use your network and ask people what are your strengths. Ask yourself, what makes you better than 100 other candidates? Keep in mind, the resume is designed to get you the interview. If you already know someone who can get you an introduction then you don’t need a resume. I have been hired in coffee shops talking with my clients about WordPress, and consultants overhear me and inquire wanting to know more. Sometimes just proving you can do the job, like showing your portfolio or websites, can get you hired. No interview required. Artists are hired all the time to paint/create a piece without ever knowing what the final piece will look like. If I said I would work for you for ONE day, what would you have me do? Create a marketing plan? Website? Review your resume and cover letter? Train you to interview? Teach you how to hire and screen the right candidates? Read financial statements? Teach you how to make money with our own set of skills? Review your manuscript? Create a logo? Photograph you for portrait studio pics? There are tons of “things” that can translate into valuable action statements/skills. Remember, your personality is a sellable skill, as are your looks. Television news anchors are hired because of their personality, not how smart they are. They just sit there, look pretty and talk. Wow, what a perfect job, until your looks fade and you are cancelled.

Shout out to Dollar General for a whole bunch of inexpensive fairy garden decorations. I found a bunch of fun stuff for mine. For those who created their own gardens, the fairies are ever so grateful. Cheers! It’s Friday, and those who are vaccinated no longer have to wear masks, according to the CDC. I hate masks. They tickle my goatee and make it annoying.

If you are working on your resume/action statements, do not do it as a resume format. Do it on a blank piece of paper. The formatting part will come later. Start by listing what you do now, what you did in past jobs, and what you can do in the future. This is really important. Think outside the box. Think like a HR screener.

 

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Sales 102

Have you had any formal sales training? Like, you actually sat in a classroom with other students, an instructor (preferably a seasoned salesperson), did role playing and actually closed some sales? No? Okay, well, today in your training you are going to learn a few things in life that might actually help you … in your job, your finances, your relationships. I, on the other hand, have had years of training and mentored with some of the best sales guys I have ever met. In fact, when I was a sales supervisor at Best Buy I was in charge of the orientation/on-boarding/sales training for all new recruits. It actually was really cool as I did the screening, interviewing as well, so spending all that time with new hires helped to retain them. One of the first rules at Best Buy (for me) was if you don’t shop here, you can’t work here. What? Why? You need to already know the products, the industry, the store. You know, basic expectations out of a candidate. So I am going to start with some basics, BEFORE you meet your contact, you have to prospect to get them. I do not mean posting something on your social media that you are now selling the latest, coolest, best _____ product on the market and you need to be one of the first with your foot in the door. Unless you have some geeky kid next door in his garage starting some cool idea company, I would be very, VERY apprehensive in whatever they are selling. Chances are it is a multi-level marketing company, and let’s be honest, you are never going to make real money selling for an upline. I personally know of dozens of good people who fell prey to the “what if it’s you?” bait/marketing scheme.

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I wrote a kids book and most of my friends have kids. Guess what? A tiny fraction of those friends bought or even asked for an autographed copy of my book. Why? I never asked, and actually didn’t care. I have hundreds of thousands of fans/readers all over the world who don’t know me who DID read it. Trying to convince your friends and family to buy your product or service is hard. It is like trying to convince a muggle that you have magic powers or you are psychic. Read my mind. Not all psychics’ powers work like that. So how do you get new customers if your own circle won’t buy? You pay for them. It is called advertising. You see it everywhere. You also get someone to endorse your product … like an influencer or someone who has a lot of people who look up to him/her. What it all comes down to is … word of mouth/ willing to recommend. Sometimes it is simply exposure and marketing your product. A book, like any product needs a marketing plan, a launch date, and many different vehicles to let everyone know. I used Facebook business advertising and exposed my book all around the world until I found my sweet spots. Who knew Algeria and Egypt would be big on my book? As I instructed my clients, we need a minimum of six months exposure before you launch. Get people excited about it before it launches.  The artist I hired for the cover granted me unlimited licensing of my characters so I made bookmarks with their faces. Everyone loves free bookmarks. I actually designed the bookmark, but if you hire a graphic artist, they can easily do one of you and your product (a book). It was also clever as it had the launch date on the bookmark so for a lot of people they saw the book daily before it launched. I know this was key in the marketing efforts. If you want one, Venmo a dollar for postage and envelope (USA only). Put your address in the notes.

 

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When I was in sales at AT&T, the “willing to recommend” was HUGE and I had to drill it into every single one of my customers. It was even on the survey. Are you willing to tell a couple of trusted friends to have the same 5 star experience? Yes? Awesome, here are two cards, write your name on it and when they come in I will give you 2000 roll over minutes for free. Wow. I know right? Now that wouldn’t work. While your own circle of influence may not buy your _____ (for me it was book/websites), they might actually give you customers. Weird I know. As a website guy I also would go to networking groups and I was always hitting up new business owners who didn’t have a website on their business card. I didn’t always get paid actual money, but I did manage to get some awesome trades in return. Keep in mind that not every prospect/contact is going to be a mutual beneficial arrangement. I can think of many, many times I built a website for someone and never got paid. I know, it sucks. When I first started I had a client who tricked me into thinking I was going to get all this new business from her. After a year of no clients from her she moved her website back to WordPress.org and put it on a shitty blog template. She didn’t deserve me. I also volunteered on a church business networking group on the committee/board. I did the website and got “free” advertising and membership. Yeah, that didn’t quite work out as well as I had wanted, as I was donating my websites for charitable causes all the time. Now when people want me to do a “pro bono” website I send them to Wix.com. If you haven’t used/seen it, they actually host a ton of professionals websites. Those who are too cheap to invest have their branding all over it. Although it is somewhat easy to use, it is slow, clunky, can’t be customized how I build websites. I had a client who thought she could do it better and later confessed she had no idea what she was doing. Again, a website for “trade”, I got to read all her training manuals on her specific trade, as long as I promised never to compete against her. I was like, okay, I do websites, you do emotional healing. You’re safe. While I don’t advocate spamming your newsfeed with your product/service I do promote listing it so people can find more about it. You can list your Facebook business page on your personal page, and then when people click it, they can see your posts and website address.

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If are you NOT selling a product or service and you are simply looking for work, let me visit your employment profile for a moment. If you are unemployed then you definitely need to let all your contacts know you are looking for work. Text, email, post an update, snap it, meet friends for drinks and find out more about their companies. If I had to go look for a corporate job, I would hit up my network of colleagues to see what they had open and would recommend. There are lots of jobs out there if you look. Keep in mind that many companies will not post jobs on outside websites so you might have to do more work to find those jobs. Getting an employee referral is your ideal situation. When you do meet up, be ready to spit out all kinds of tactical experiences that you can easily transfer to another company. I’m a sales/marketing/HR kind of guy, so a job traveling for trade shows selling HR ____ would be my target job. Could I sell to HR colleagues? Easily. If I didn’t have any networking friends, I would use LinkedIn, theladders.com and I would target companies that I felt were desirable to work at, like, you know, Google, apple, Disney. What software are you an expert? Can you really use Photoshop or are you just using a fancy paid app like Khloe Kardashian? How fast do you type? As silly as that sounds, there are still millions who can’t type. I hate typing on a phone, so I use voice to text. But I am long winded so you might think I type really really fast. It is crazy when I go somewhere and I see the employee looking at the keyboard for the right letters. Crazy right? How are your organizational skills? What do you use to keep you on time, at the right place, and not forgetting shit? What apps do you use? As weird as it sounds, in this day and age, you really have to know how to use apps to work. Like, Slack for instance. It isn’t industry specific, but it is an app that I had to learn to use.

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I haven’t updated/visited my resume in a decade, and I bet there are a lot of other people who can say the same. So why don’t we start together and create something new, current and ready for today and tomorrows job market? The first part of the sales process is going to be selling YOU, your skills, experience (or lack thereof), your personality and what you can do for a company. Start by identifying WHO you are, and how you are going to market that. For example, am I a writer? HR guy? website guy? sales? trainer? You might have several resumes based on your skills, or you may just have one that you customize with each job/employer. Think about the “things” you can do now, and for your next job. Everyone has something that will make them unique, and highly desirable as a candidate. Having lots and lots of skills that multiple departments can benefit from will quickly advance a candidate. When I said I could train the staff on some different sales and closing techniques that would increase revenue and new business development, I was a “sure thing”. When I was asked if I knew the 4 “C’s”, I replied, “Cash, check, charge, credit.”

 

For your resume, start with your objective and/or your professional profile (or highlights). This will be the first section of your resume. I also like to call this the formal 30 second commercial. If someone only had a few seconds to scan through your resume, what are the things you want them to see immediately?

Share the wealth and forward/share this valuable information with someone you know needs it. If this was forwarded to you, hit up the website and subscribe to get your own blog updates.

 

 

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Sales 101

Alrighty kids, let’s learn something, or shall we say, revisit a very simple but important concept in running a business. So if you don’t think this relates directly TO you, there might be someone in your circle of influence that you need to pass this message. Fair enough? One of my specialties has been to identify areas of opportunity and determine sources of revenue. So small business owners or really creative idea generators listen up? Whatever your business is … you MUST secure a stable stream of revenue or you will fail. Now, there are exceptions to every rule, such as, a millionaire like a Kardashian can start a company, it can fail and they don’t lose everything and go on unemployment. You can also be a non-profit and you get grants, donations and sponsorships to keep the daily operations going. One of the hardest thing to do in starting a business is acquiring new customers. Hence advertising, word of mouth, social media all have a huge effect on whether people will buy, use and recommend your product or service.

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So where am I going with this? Well, take a look around at what products or services are now hard to come by, … such as rental cars. About a year ago after everyone was forced to stay home, some of the supporting industries took a huge dive in customers. No one was traveling and many of the big rental car companies were forced to sell off their inventory at a huge loss or face bankruptcy, which actually happened to a couple of companies. So now that things are somewhat returning to normal, there are no cars to rent. In some places, people are renting the pickup truck from Uhaul as it is cheaper than a rental car. So if you weren’t aware, there is a car sharing app/company that has been around for a little while, but like everything, had a downturn in sales. That company is Turo.com. Now I have never used the company myself, nor do I know of anyone who does, but it comes highly recommended. It is like air B&B, where you rent your property to someone, and it is covered by another insurance company, and you can make money on your car if you aren’t using it. There are actually people who went and bought or leased a new car, and then turn around and put it on Turo as their income. Same concept with the air B&B, … as long as you have customers. So if you are planning a vacation or trip anytime soon, be sure you use this cool website. You can rent anything from a Jeep 4×4 to a brand new corvette. This is especially fun if you are going to be doing a lot of driving on your trip.

And in case you missed it, Colorado was the tragedy of the “Mother’s Day Massacre”, in Colorado Springs where six people were gunned down at a family celebration in a mobile home trailer park. The killer was the boyfriend of one of the victims and died of a self inflicted gun wound. Our hearts, warm thoughts and prayers go out to the surviving family members and friends.

 

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Entertainment Subscription Websites

How many websites do you pay a monthly fee? Yes, some are for entertainment, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, cable, … all of these are things the occupy your time and feed your need for entertainment. I think “most” people are okay with paying for music or video, but when it comes to reading content, they just simply refuse. How many times have you visited Wikipedia and seen the “help us, and donate anything you can” banner? Web hosts and services aren’t free but yet every day people use that website and don’t pay a dime. Why? Surely if you were accessing some information you found valuable you could easily justify the expense. So this is a teaching article, and mostly I am targeting any artist who is self employed, such as myself. So, if you get a 1099, or you send invoices, then this might be you. If you create something that someone can buy, this also might be you. Your customer base/fans love and support you. I watch as “collectors” go crazy when a limited edition anything is released. So maybe things are a little slow for you now. COVID sucks for everyone and networking and art shows, festivals, and other performances are extremely limited. I am willing to bet if you asked your fans/customers for donations, they just might do it. I saw Billy Gilman doing a livestream on Facebook, and just like me, he is an artist that can’t make an income, so he listed his Venmo “tip jar”, and believe it or not, people gave him money. If you aren’t familiar with Venmo, it is an app that you link to your bank account that allows you to transfer money to friends easily and for free. We literally live in a cashless society. Some of us, rely upon customers to make our rent/mortgage. I’ll admit it, I’m one of them. Things are tough for everyone. So if you have a website, or a Facebook page, go to your Venmo app, take a screenshot of your QR code and post it so your fans/supporters can donate to your cause. Here is mine. If you are a long time reader and found one of my articles/blogs helpful, handy, inspiring or just entertained you and took you away from this nasty world for a few moments, then do me a favor and help me out. Did I help you out with a job issue? HR situation? WordPress or website ah ha? Btw, if you are running WordPress there is a new core out and you need to upgrade. Did you close a sale, get a new job, new customer, or negotiate a better salary because of something you learned from this site? Is that worth the equivalent of buying me a drink or a dinner? For my fans/readers who have already told me they want to support me, this blog is for you. And if you are also an artist, you should be putting your Venmo code out there too. People generally are good heart-caring people. So put your code out there, and maybe if you get a donation, you can share the information with your circle to do the same, and then hit me up with a donation for teaching you something new and creating some income for you.
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When I was in college, I was the VP of Finance for the American Marketing Association for the University chapter. Fancy title huh? Yeah, it actually came in very handy when I interviewed for jobs years later. A lot of interviewers wanted to know what all that big fancy title entailed, and of course I was happy to talk, and talk, and talk. I partnered with dozens businesses amassing thousands of dollars in “door prizes”. I was amazed how easy it was to ask for gift certificates, prizes, food … and businesses gave it without hesitancy. I called it active fundraising and partnership affiliate marketing. I also had check signing rights, and held a pretty heft budget for college organization. Little did I know that simply asking for money was a real job in the real world. Some places call it grant writing … again asking for money. Later in life I used that valuable skill to get companies to pay for something called “Sponsorships”, so their name would be advertised prominently to a captive audience. Gold, Silver, Bronze levels … honestly was the biggest con ever. Oh yay, your name is on all the ____ at the event. You get a table and a banner (that you provide).

 

A thousand thank you’s for my long time readers/supporters. Post your Venmo code. Start your fairy garden today. YouTube has fairy music that you can play to attract fairies.

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What Does “Aaron” Think?

The first time I can remember someone wanting to know MY opinion on a topic was back when I was a product manager in a marketing group working in Boulder Colorado. It was for a company you might know, GE. General Electric. Yep, the light bulb company. “We bring good things to life.” Cute little slogan right? I was only there for a year or so but it taught me everything I needed to know about the distribution chain and logistics. The year was 1999, and if you all remember, everyone thought the world would go into chaos with Y2K. What a joke that was.

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Anyway, I was in a marketing group of about a dozen people, and crazy thing I was the highest paid of them all. I found that out years later how my director had to go to bat to justify my salary. Hey, the power of negotiation is huge. In one of the many meetings I was required to participate in, my counterpart, the other product manager was not doing so hot, so the director asked what were my thoughts on the situation. I looked up from my Palm pilot (I know right?) and said they wouldn’t like my answer as I have a totally different take and perspective as a former IT, Windows NT network administrator. I was the guy who usually sat in silence listening to everyone else argue. Why join a pointless discussion if no one really listened? Well, my director listened, and for the first time in my life, someone actually took my recommendation and did something with it. Yep, it was me who started new marketing initiatives generating new revenue. When you prove you can make a company money, save them money, OR prevent potential litigation, you get noticed.

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In many positions I would spearhead a newsletter. I’ve always been a writer, and sending out communications on a timely basis has always been my thing. It’s funny, a lot of my readers actually know me personally. Many of them say they can actually hear my voice in their head when they read my words. Like in a movie … a letter on the screen is all of the sudden thoughts and sentences in your ear. When Sex and the City was on air I thought how cool would was Carrie Bradshaw? She had a sex column in New York City that made her semi-famous. I always wondered what writers were paid at a newspaper. Well, we all know that newspapers don’t really exist anymore. Most newspapers are all online subscription websites now. My blog/website is sort of like that but without the monthly cost. I did have a reader tell me he would be pissed if I started charging for articles/blogs. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that. There are other starving artists who need your money before I do. Just like Ben Shapiro, I’m just another news commentary out in the big world wide web. But actually I’m mostly on people’s smartphones, … in their email. If you’ve been a long time subscriber then you should have over 90 different blogs that I have written. And since most blogs are at least 500 words or more, it would take hours and hours to read them all. I personally have only written some, and never read them. I have only read my book once, and that was when it was written. Many parents have read it so many times they can quote lines from it. Crazy right? I will have to sit down and read it before I can write a sequel. I was contemplating recording it and putting each chapter online on YouTube. I can’t be sued for reading my own book. But if I read say, Harry Potter, I think Warner Brothers would be after me for copyright. I actually had a reader ask/request that I read the book since it is easier to listen than to read. Most of my readers/fans get their info from me via the blog and not my other social media outlets. Facebook and Instagram are a joke with their stupid algorithms. Back in the day when the business page was new, I would post a picture or something and thousands of people would like it. Now, … nothing. Seriously if you go and look at the really old posts and the current ones you would be disgusted at the lack of likes. So it is better to just use my platform where I know people are reading my thoughts.  I am willing to bet there are a lot of kids who would love to see/hear me read my book. I’ll think it over and we will see what happens. I’ll ask my nephews and see what they think.

Mortal Kombat released on HBO Max and at the theaters yesterday, and I have to say I really liked it. I loved the final kill scenes … flawless victory. If you ever watched any of the movies you will like this one. But if you are not into fantasy fighting and killing you won’t like it. It is Aaron Approved!

 

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Sephora, Ulta, or Discount Store

If you have ever walked into a Sephora or an Ulta store you know that it is full of highly priced beauty products. Women (and now men) spend thousands of dollars in these stores, all with the goal in mind of looking pretty, or younger. As you glance around the store, almost all the customers are pretty and the salespeople look like they walked out of a magazine. After all, if you are selling beauty products then it should look like you are using them. I used to think that these two stores were basically the same store, selling the same products. But after doing a lot of research, and shopping I have come to a clear decision on which one I like best. AND since a lot of people wonder what I think, telling them where I shop can be advantageous. After all, as one friend said, I have already done all the leg work of doing the research.
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Now if you don’t care about your looks, getting old, or attempting to be somewhat attractive to the eye, then you might just be a straight male republican. Hahahaha. Seriously, my twin brother doesn’t have a skincare routine, and he doesn’t even wash his face at night. And he wonders why I look younger. Kim Kardashian doesn’t just wake up looking gorgeous. So the difference in the stores, from which I can tell, deal with the kinds of brands each of them carry. As you may know, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of brands and products. How do you decide on which ones to spend your hard earned cash? You do want to look amazing for the rest of your life and you can’t do that without some help. As I told a friend, in all honesty, if someone is exfoliating, using a serum, moisturizer and spf, he/she is going to look good. Not knocking any brand, so if you got it at Target or at Sephora, something is better than nothing.
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Sephora is more high end and is going to carry more expensive brands. Ulta will have middle of the line, and maybe some luxury brands. Target, Walmart, Dollar Store all have make up and skincare but they may not be the highest quality. Of course, if/when you find a brand you love, you can buy directly from their website. BUT if you want to make life easier, you can buy online from Sephora and get free shipping, free products, and tons of free samples. They have a $35 minimum to get some of the samples, but if shipping is free, I just make multiple orders and get all the samples. They know what I am doing and combine them all into one box. Twice a year they have a beauty insider event. You give them your email and they track your purchases and then you get a special discount event. So that super expensive _____ that you wanted, you can get it on sale. Some of the skincare products are really pricey, so getting samples of those products is a bonus. If you aren’t signed up, head over there now and the next event for 10% off is this week. I am addicted to “Sunday Riley” skincare, which they sell on Sephora and Ulta. But you don’t get a discount or free shipping at Ulta.

Go pamper yourself with some skincare products. When your skin/face looks good, you feel good. And let’s be honest, no one gives a hoot how tan your face looks. You can use make up bronzing to give you a healthy beautiful glow without damaging your skin. I like to use Natasha Denona’s contouring powder to enhance my dark skin tan.

(I was not paid to endorse any of these companies). Sephora, Sunday Riley & Natasha Denona are “Aaron Approved”. 
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