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Scot Hulshizer is a corporate executive and serial entrepreneur who has decided to use his experience and knowledge to help others advance their career. Having led multi-billion dollar departments, divisions, and companies like AT&T, ADT, and CommandScape, Scot has earned his Certified Professional Résumé Writer designation and now focuses on teaching others how to tell their story by creating exceptional résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters. His man card was revoked by the universe long ago: he likes cats, doesn’t like sports, and is in tune with his feelings.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I decided to take a break from corporate life and use the down time to build a sustainable business that helps others build land their dream job. As part of this transition, I wanted to make sure I spent more time with my wife than my prior jobs often allowed. A home office seemed the obvious and most practical answer.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
As a leader who had managed the activities of thousands, I saw firsthand how hard it could be for great performers to represent themselves well in the hiring process- even for internal roles. I have always been happiest helping others grow and develop themselves personally and professionally. Career coaching and training seemed to be a natural fit, and it lent itself well to working from home.
3) How did you get your first client or customer job?
I am a member of the two predominant industry associations (PARW and NRWA) which lists members and certifications in a directory on their website. That is where my first few clients from outside my network came from -they found me in the directory. Overall, the biggest source of leads for me has been referrals. I have received a referral from over 50% of my clients within a month of serving them.
4) How do you market your business?
This has been a huge learning experience for me. I’m accustomed to working with large marketing budgets for established national brands. Bootstrap marketing on a shoestring budget for a company nobody has heard of is a
completely different animal. As a service-based business, referrals have been the most cost-effective (and probably the most prolific) source of leads. I felt like Facebook’s very affordable advertising program would be my primary lead driver, but that has not been the case. In order to be successful on Facebook and other social media sites, you need to devote a huge amount of time to engagement. For me, that left me short on time to do the actual work of helping clients.
Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is an area where I wasted a lot of money while I was learning. Through trial and error, I’m now getting a steady stream of web traffic that are converting into leads and customers. My most valuable marketing tool is my website. It’s constantly evolving and I’m never happy with it, but it’s the first place people go to learn more about me and my business.
5) What does your usual day look like?
I wake up whenever I want (usually between 7 and 8am) and do the usual chores around the house. My dress code is often South Florida casual- shorts, a T-shirt, sandals, and a baseball cap. I spend from 9am to about noon in front of my computer doing a range of activities, from replying to emails that merit more than a quick response from my phone to doing research and taking classes to fill in my knowledge gaps as a micro-business. I also handle most of my vendor interaction in the morning as well.
The middle of my day has me stepping away from the computer for domestic tasks: laundry, dishes, getting the mail, and general household maintenance items. The break from the business (which I didn’t do at first) means I’m far more productive in the afternoon.
On nice days, my early afternoon involves me grabbing my laptop and setting the spa heater to around 92 degrees so I can stand in the pool with my laptop on the patio and work uninterrupted- usually client projects or blog posts. I do not have my email open – only the applications necessary to complete whatever task I am doing. The mid to late afternoon is back inside in front of my desktop, usually focused on finishing up client projects and working on social media, the website, or the other career experts that I’ve assembled as part of my team.
My wife usually gets home between 5pm and 7pm. Once she walks in the door, she’s my focus for the remainder of the evening most days. This is part of why I became an entrepreneur, to control my destiny and spend time with the people that matter.
Weekends and weekdays are the same -working from home eliminates the concept of the -weekend. Thus, total committed hours are significant, but each day has more balance than my previous experience as a W-2 employee.
6) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I’m not a terribly social person. I have a small, extremely close group of friends. The remainder of my interpersonal interaction always came from work. Once I began working from home, that interaction disappeared. Working from home is lonely, and there’s always enough to do that social commitments are usually the first things sacrificed to meet a client deadline.
If I would have been smarter in the beginning, I would have been very deliberate about defining ways that I can tap into my social network without compromising my ability to grow my business. Even introverts need some level of social interaction or else cabin fever sets in.
When I was a W-2 executive, my rare days working from home always left me energized, super-productive, and wishing I could do it more often. Now that I work from home exclusively, I recall how much more effective collaboration
can be when it is done in person. Technology has enabled virtual interaction to be progressively more productive than before, but there’s no substitute for a group of people coming together in the same room in front of a whiteboard to solve a problem. There is an energy, a bond, and a commitment to a common cause that face-to-face interaction creates that technology cannot replicate. Find ways to humanize your relationships with vendors, collaborators, and clients if not for them, then for you.
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