Complementary Services and My Second Revenue Stream

January 16th, 2009

Looks like Fridays are turning into sharing my revenue streams.  I didn’t mean to be so transparent about this, and I’m a little uncomfortable as I feel I’m kind of opening the kimono … something I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing a few years ago.

But I talk a lot about income security and multiple streams of income.  And I want you to know what I’m doing, so perhaps it can somehow inspire you to think about your own income security, and your own multiple streams of income.  Last Friday I wrote about my 5th revenue (or, income) stream: professional speaking.  Today I’ll talk about my second revenue/income stream: JibberJobber Partnerships.

Kind of lame that I’m writing about this today instead of a few weeks ago, because today is the last day of a special offer to career coaches and resume writers.  Also, I hope in this post I can communicate that I hope to drive value and help 1+1=3, rather than taking advantage of anyone (my partners).

A bit of history. In my last company we had web technologies that we licensed to organizations. Our target market was alumni associations (for one product) and facility maintenance companies (for another product).  I was heavily involved in every aspect of that, from product design to sales to implementation to customer support.  It was fun to add value to customers, and have a bleeding edge product line.

When I started JibberJobber I went from B2B to B2C.  I didn’t realize how hard it was to get one person to sign up for a service, much less upgrade.  I realized it would be easier and better for me to work with a handful of career professionals who would evangelize JibberJobber, and encourage their clients to sign up and/or upgrade.  I could go back to my comfortable spot of doing B2B, and incorporate a similar business model in JibberJobber.

I started the Partnership program about two years ago.  I got 30 partners, and then kind of shifted my focus to other areas.  However, in the last few months I decided to revamp the partnership program, figure out how I could add more value to my partners, and work on getting more.  I hope to eventually have 100 partners, who are career experts, who can add value to my users, and who I can refer my users to.

One of my goals is to have partners who say “most of my business comes from JibberJobber referrals.”

How cool would that be?

I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, but I thought I’d try pretty hard.  In the last few weeks I’ve had about 5 new partners sign on, and there are another 5 or so who I’m talking with next week to discuss details.

You’ll see more about my Partners on this blog, as well as on the JibberJobber One Thing (each One Thing for next week is all from Kristen Jacoway, the Career Design Coach).

We also recently introduced a very, very lightweight rotating “ad” spot on the top of JibberJobber for the logged in users.  It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for a long time but finally got it in the system, and we’re happy with the results already!  This ads value to my Partners, who can communicate their offerings to my users.

My goal to my partners is to add value in three ways (which I share with them).  My anticipation is that they add value to me (which they do).

And that, I think, is a healthy revenue stream.  It’s also complementary to my other revenue streams… which well talk about next Friday!

Have you figured out what an additional revenue stream for you might be yet?

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Why I’m Uber-Frustrated

January 15th, 2009

Like many of you, I’m getting a lot of calls and emails from people looking for help finding their next job.

Either they have been in a job search for a long time, or they are new to the job search, or they think they will be in a job search soon… it seems to be the season to be unemployed or know a dozen professionals who are unemployed.

I never went through this – at least during my own fruitless job search I was one of a handful of unemployed people, whereas now it seems to be in fashion (not by anyone’s choosing).

I’m quite frustrated.  Not because of the economy, recession or influx of job seekers.  I’m frustrated because I can’t tell people what they should do to land their next job.  So many people will hear the advice, but really, all they want is the silver bullet.

All I wanted was the silver bullet.

Don’t give me lists of things to do… just tell me that one thing I’m not doing (or doing wrong) so I can find my next job.  That’s all I wanted.

I’d like to tell people the answer is in networking.  But that’s usually a long-term strategy.  And long-term is not silver bullet.

I want to tell people they need to work on their personal brand and their googleability.  But that’s also a long-term strategy, and won’t matter if no one is googling them.

I want to tell people to get on LinkedIn, but once you are there, there’s work to do to really use it in a job search, and it’s not a silver bullet.

I always tell people to check out JibberJobber, but it’s not for everyone.  And while it can give you peace of mind in your job search as you track and manage all the data you start to collect, it isn’t going to reach out through your monitor with a job offer.  And that’s what many people want.

So I’m left, with all kinds of advice, some great, some long-term, some more along the lines of career management… and people look at me with that pleading look… where’s the silver bullet?

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Letter to University Professors: Stop Failing Us

January 14th, 2009

Dear esteemed professor:

For many years I was conditioned to think I had to go to college to be successful.  All of my pre-college schooling was geared towards getting into a college or university, which of course would get me into a good job.  I would make more than the undereducated, according to my high school teachers.  I would have a more comfortable job (white collar, heaven forbid I did anything blue collar(more on that later)).  I don’t remember but maybe I would even live longer.  I certainly would have job security, just like my parents had.

To be honest, I didn’t really go to college to learn.  I can do that on my own.  Back in the olden days I would just get books from the library and read good magazines and newspapers.  Now I can educate myself using Google, YouTube and subscribe to various industry or association continuing education opportunities.  Not to mention there are a ton of self-proclaimed experts who give out so much information for free on the Internet that I don’t have enough time to go through it all.

For me, going to school was not about learning.  It was about being prepared to be (and survive) in the workforce. It didn’t help that most of the material presented in the classroom was outdated, or for a setting I wasn’t going to be in.  I remember an MBA ecommerce class, taught by a marketing professor who didn’t know how to spell ecommerce… he had no interest in current ecommerce issues, only in teaching the lists from his undergrad marketing classes.  What a shame.  It was my first MBA class and it really deflated my expectations of how much better the MBA program would be from the undergrad.

So, understanding where I am coming from, let me assume (I know, I know) what you are there for.  You want to impart on me your knowledge and wisdom from your area of expertise.  Whether it’s anthropology, economics or outdoor recreation, you want me to be that much smarter in that area.  I’m cool with that.  I am interested in expanding my mind and vision… I just beg you to make it interesting and not do a book report of what I had to read for homework, okay?

But more than that, I have something I really wish you would do.  It’s too late for me, since I’m done with the “formal education,” but I would like ask you do this for the people I care about, whether they are in school now or whether they will be in 15 years (my kids).  I really wish you would take a few class hours during the semester and have frank, candid career discussions. Here are some ideas:

  • Tell me what I can expect when I get out of school.
  • Tell me what the value of an internship is and strongly encourage me to get a real internship.
  • Tell me what you love about your career, and what your friends in the industry do, how they got there, etc.
  • Bring professionals into class so they can share their stories with us.  Bring recent grads in so they can tell us what it’s really like.
  • Teach us what networking is, how to network, and why and when we should network.
  • Teach us about personal branding, what it is and why we need it.
  • Any chance you can bring the career services folks into the picture?  It seems like there is a brick wall between you and career services… I don’t care why, but I would like to know if there is value in the career services offices.

I’m obviously not asking you to step away from all of the great stuff you prepared for the class, but please bring some career management stuff into the discussion.  The more open and candid you are, the more interested we’ll be, I promise it.

Oh yeah, not to be demanding, but I have one more request.  Don’t just talk about it (although that would be a 1,000% improvement from what other professors are doing), but LIVE IT.  I want you to network, and be well-networked.  I want to be able to google your name and see your brand on-line.  Between sessions I’d like to know you are out consulting, or volunteering, or somehow staying current in the industry.

If I come to you requesting job search help, you should be able to give me some leads, because you have been nurturing relationships.  Whether you give them to me or not will depend on our relationship, and whether you trust I’ll treat them right or not… but please develop and nurture those relationships!  You need to teach us how to do that, and it really should come from your experience.

That’s it.

Jason Alba

Just some guy

P.S. Sorry for all my smart alec remarks during my many years of school. I know I was a bad student.

P.P.S. Not everyone agrees with me.  Here’s some feedback I got from some of my network (first my question):

Here are my the responses I got:

I must end on this note.  I didn’t write this to offend or degrade professors, rather the system they are in.

Thoughts?

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Happy January 13th! Guess what’s special about today?

January 13th, 2009

Today, three years ago, was the last day at the company that laid me off.  It was Friday the 13th, 2006.

I found out on Monday that I was going to be terminated.  I got a severance, nothing near what many get but the company thought it was pretty generous.

I was asked to stay on during the week to transition the new guy in, who I had actually replaced just 18 months earlier.  It’s an awkward experience to transition somebody in, especially if they already know pretty much everything about the products, clients, finances, etc.  The guy was a 40% owner, and had been very actively involved even after he left the company 18 months earlier.

Mostly I spent the first two or three days looking for my last resume, which was about six years old.  It was nowhere to be found, so I went online and downloaded a few templates to use.  Finally I decided to use my dad’s resume which he had paid to have done.  It was fancy with a lot of impressive words on it (this proved to be a mistake in an interview I had later).

I also called to find out about unemployment, which I learned I should apply for right away, but it wouldn’t pay out until my severance ran out.  I was sure I’d have another job by then.  I half-heartedly applied for unemployment.  Yeah, it was a humiliating thing to do.  I had spent too much time and money building my resume to have to go to the government for piddly help.

I spent time calling my university to find out the exact dates I graduated (I have an undergrad and a graduate degree from the same school), and what the exact names of the degrees where.  I didn’t want to get in trouble for resume fraud, which was a hot topic in the news at the time.

I was anxious to get my resume polished so I could do the most effective thing possible: post it on job boards.  I was sure once it went on job boards the calls would come in.  This would be my (failed) silver-bullet strategy.

I was scared, relieved, excited, embarrassed, hopeful and anxious.  Probably a few more emotions, too.

Looking back now, I should have been grateful for getting laid-off.  Even now, three years later, I’m not quite ready to go back and thank the people who kicked me in the teeth, er, laid me off.

Maybe next year.

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How Much Money Should You Have Going Into A Job Search?

January 12th, 2009

When I got laid off I had a hefty amount of money in my savings: $1,000.  I was actually pretty proud to have accumulated that much money, considering we were living paycheck-to-paycheck, and we had recently moved to a more expensive city.

Just a few days later, both cars were at the mechanic, which cost… $1,000.

There went our entire savings.  It’s amazing how fast $1,000 can go.

I’ve been thinking about how much money I would want to conduct a job search.  I’m not talking about how much money I need to live – mortgage or rent, food, utilities, car payment(s), etc… I’m talking about the amount of money I would want to get my job done right.  Here’s what I’ve come up with – this is kind of a “would be really, really nice to have” job search budget:

Formal network meetings: $100/month.  Many professionals-in-transition are free or less than $5, but many networking opps for employed professionals can be $25+.  These are places where many job seekers don’t go, but decisions makers do.  Good place for you to go, right?  For the record, my personal must-go-to event, if I’m in town, is $40/meeting.

Get my resume professionally done: $500.  This can be all over the board, with new resume writers doing it for less than $100, and more experienced writers going through a more thorough process for over $1,000.  I’ll go middle-of-the-road on price because I know a lot of my resume writing partners are around this figure.

Job search coaching: $1,000/month.  I’m not sure what the price would really be on this, but I want to budget high so that if the job search goes on a long time I won’t have to cut this expense.  I may be way too high here.

Career counseling: $0 – I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted, so the “what do you want to be when you grow up” counseling wouldn’t have been helpful to me.  Maybe my job search coach would add a session or two, or refer me to a book, but I didn’t feel it was necessary.  Some of my partners specialize in career counseling, and I know it’s valuable for many people.  Oh, if nothing else go take the Myers-Briggs test for free to see how quirky you are ;)

Paid job boards: $540. I’d probably want access to Execunet ($219 for six months), Netshare ($200 for six months) and The Ladders ($120 for six months), just to keep all my bases covered.

Full-time job search Virtual Assistant: $300 – $400 a month for 6 months.  There are many options here.  Let me recommend you listen to the free 90 minute teleseminar you can find at Replace Myself .com.  I recently hired a VA who used to do job search admin work for clients.  It’s not uncommon, and you can have them do all the tedious, time-intensive things (apply to job boards, look for new opps, find blogs to comment on, search for contacts you should develop relationships with, etc.) you can’t do since you are doing a lot of face-to-face networking!

Job search tracking software: $99 – $250.  When I started my job search I might have spent a few hundred bucks for ACT! (a couple hundred dollars online, plus $40 for the book so you can figure out how to use it, plus you better get some backup software on your computer!) or something like that.  Now, there is only one option I consider viable, and that is (drum roll) the premium level of JibberJobber :p  You can do it month-by-month, at $9.95 a month, or just bite the bullet and get 12 months of premium for $99.

Travel for intown interviews: $40/month. I figure I’ll use about one tank of gas each month for networking, interviews, etc.

Travel for out-of-town interviews: $1,500.  When the search gets long, moving becomes quite viable.  I don’t expect to do much out-of-town interviews, but if I had to it sure would be nice to have a fund just for that – airfare, car rental, hotel, food, etc.  This should cover at least three trips, and could include information interviews or just a week of going to local networking opportunities.

Interview clothes: $500. I didn’t have any nice clothes since I had spent years in a “business casual” environment.  One of the reasons I was so qualified to write the popular Dress for Failure post a while back :)   I would spend about $100 on new shoes, a few hundred on a suit, and the rest on shirts, belt, socks, etc.

Realize two things:

  1. You don’t have to have all of this money for your job search. I had none – after I had to fix my cars.  Of course, there is another discussion to be had about your monthly living expenses, which is not included here.
  2. I am probably missing stuff… or some of this stuff wouldn’t apply to you. But it’s what I’d want to be ready for, if I were to start a serious job search again.

Total cost for 6 months: $11,800

Total cost for 12 months: $20,020

High, isn’t it?  The biggest cost is the job search coaching, which I might be way too high on.  But consider this.  If you make $5,000 a month, and are out of work for six months, it costs you $30,000 to be out of work.  And $60,000 to be out of work for a year.

Not that that’s the only consideration in these expenses, but it certainly helps put it into perspective.

What do you think?

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Arkansas, Speaking and My Fifth Revenue Stream

January 9th, 2009

A few days ago I blogged about having multiple streams of income, and said I’d share mine with you.  As I mentioned, I didn’t like the feeling of losing 100% of my income because one person could successfully politic his way into my job, or because one boss was crummy, or because a company didn’t handle management or finances well.

Not that any of those are reasons I got laid off, but over the last almost-three-years I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why people get let go.  Rockstars and rainmakers alike, there is just no such thing as job security.  That’s why I like the idea of creating income security.

Let me introduce to you my fifth income stream: “professional speaking.”

(I refer to my multiple streams of income as revenue stream, since I run my personal income like a business, since I’m the CEO of Me, Inc.)

When I was writing my first book on LinkedIn I asked my publisher how much money I would get from each book sale. How much would I get if someone bought it on Amazon vs. through an affiliate vs. through my website vs. if I were to buy it directly from him and sell it to people I met??  How would any of those change if I sold an ebook instead of a paperback copy?

I asked and asked and asked, with different scenarios.  At one point he said “Jason, you won’t make any money from selling books.  No one does.  If you want to make money, you do that as a speaker or consultant.”  He shared an example of someone who hadn’t made any money from book sales, but had made a significant amount of money from speaking and consulting.

However, I wasn’t interested in that.  I was running JibberJobber, which is an awesome replacement for the job search spreadsheet (and much more), and working towards something really big.  As the CEO I wore many hats and just couldn’t imagine fitting any hourly billing into my day.  Even though the money seemed good, I figured it would be a major distraction, and at a certain point I would have to make a decision about growing JibberJobber.

Then, one day, I got a phone call about speaking at a conference.  Long story short, the money was right, and the opportunity would allow me to strengthen JibberJobber’s brand while on the road.  Shortly thereafter, I got another call.  And another call.  And another call.  I realized I was able to generate revenue quickly and brand JibberJobber face-to-face at the same time.  Last year I spoke over 60 times, and even changed my JasonAlba.com site from a blog where I whined about things to my speaker site.

It became a real win-win.

I don’t see myself speaking forever.  I doubled my rate this year, so I’ll do less speaking than I did last year.  And, speaking is only ONE of TEN revenue streams for 2009.  I enjoy it, and some people say I’m good at it, and it helps me get to my big goals.  But if something happens to my speaking career, I’ll be fine.

As I write this I hope it doesn’t come across as bragging (I still pinch myself as I love where my career has evolved, since I got laid off almost three years ago).  I hope that some of you are thinking of how you can diversify your income, and make your employer’s paycheck less important.  How?  As you have other sources of income, you rely less on your employer’s paycheck (and their quirks, and the market volatility, and the stock market ups and (mostly) downs).

It’s a beautiful feeling.  I’ll share the other revenue streams in later blog posts.

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Twitter in the Job Search??

January 8th, 2009

I’m in Conway, Arkansas today… I wrote a cool blog post while on the plane but it sounds too braggy, so I’m trying to figure out how to tone it down.

I also have a scathing blog post to write to college and university people (excluding career center professionals).  It is a result of a discussion at dinner last night that reminded me about one of my biggest pet peeves with the educational system.  I need to noodle on that one a bit more, too.

For now, check out this very quick read on using Twitter in your job search – great stuff from an industry expert: Using Twitter for Job Search

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The Sky Is Falling … No It’s Not!

January 6th, 2009

The sky is falling!

Alcoa announces they are cutting their “global workforce” by 13%, or 13,500 employees, by the end of 2009.

No it’s not!

FBI plans large hiring blitz of agents, experts.

I think Obama will create a ton of jobs.  That could be good.

It could also create a ton of bureaucracy… who knows.

Here’s an interesting thought.  Today I was shovelling a few inches of fresh snow from my driveway.  I was thinking there has been snow and ice here for too long… I barely remember when we didn’t have snow and ice on our driveway!

But I know in a few months it will all be gone.  And in a few months after that, it will have been so hot for so long that I won’t be able to remember this cold, icy time.

Just like this recession.  It’s cold and icy right now… and perhaps hard to remember how good it was.  But there will come a time when it will have been good for a long time, and maybe the cold and icy wears off.

(for the record, for me, I can’t imagine the cold and icy wearing off anytime soon.  It cut too close to the bone)

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Are You Hungry Enough To Be Creative?

January 5th, 2009

I try not to blog about job search strategies because I think they are… well, boring.

It’s really a lot of the same old stuff, which a lot of other bloggers regurgitate again and again.  It’s not wrong, it’s just principle-based, and getting too far away from principles takes you to weird places.

Having said that, I think too many people are doing things wrong in the job search (I certainly was), or doing all of the same things that everyone else is doing, so they are in a bad rat race, and not differentiating themselves from the next competitor.

Enter a simple idea, and $1,200.  I heard about this on Twitter… Julie Sarpy paid $1,200 to rent a billboard for three days on a busy expressway in Dallas.  Supposedly it’s been working – two offers and a bunch of phone calls and emails.

You know what I find most interesting?  She is looking for work as a “fashion consultant or a personal assistant.”   I am not sure what her salary range is, but I”m guessing it’s not super-high.  In other words, this is not a rich person shooting for a huge salary using a guerrilla tactic.  It’s a regular person using a marketing method to get her back into the land of “steady paycheck.”

Are you hungry enough to try something like this?

If so, pick up Dave Perry’s book, Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters.  Dave has a brilliant mind and the experience of a savvy recruiter necessary to share tons of tips, tactics, techniques, and strategies to get out of the box everyone else is in.  Some of the stuff takes guts, for sure, but it’s about getting back to “steady paycheck,” isn’t it?

Oh yeah, I thought this was cool in the story about Julie Sarpy: “After seeing a media report about a man using a sandwich board to hunt for a job…”  That man is Joshua Persky, who has acknowledged JibberJobber in his job search :)

Resume Pie slices your job search into easy pieces. Surely you’re capable of writing your resume. But, can you emotionally detach yourself from the document? Can you review it critically – the way a human resource person would? Will your resume elicit a phone call from the interviewer? Will your resume give you the opportunity to sell yourself in person? Resume Pie is a community of professional resume writers who get you in the interview door.  Resume Pie is a JibberJobber Career Expert Partner.
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Mathew Reinbold On The Change We Need In 2009

January 2nd, 2009

Matthew Reinbold is a local Utah blogger who has a sharp, critical mind.  One of the best posts I’ve read from him addresses the change we really need in 2009, at a very personal level.

I bet/hope it’s not something you haven’t heard before, but before we hope that Obama can change what needs to be changed, or that we can reverse Global Warming, or that we might recycle ourselves out of a sure road to hell, check out this very simple change that Matthew calls for.

Read his post here.

What he talks about is a significant part of career management, and one reason why I was able to stop my job search and move forward with my entrepreneurial dream.

what where
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JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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