Eight Lunches Update: Interested in starting a business?

July 28th, 2011

A few years ago I had a vision of a super cool book that would allow you to be the proverbial fly on the wall, listening to two entrepreneurs discuss their businesses, and what they are doing to be successful.

I introduced the first draft on my JasonAlba blog, and had a bunch of people ask to review it.  Unfortunately, I got overwhelmed by all the feedback and had to let it sit for a while.

I recently got the second draft done, and have been getting reviews, testimonials and feedback (click here if you are interested in seeing this second draft).

Karin Hermans, a wood floor expert in the UK, and author of the Wooden Floor Installation Manual (and many other wood floor manuals), wrote this:

Read it in one go; I’d buy it, promote it, rave about it ūüėČ

Really big improvement on the first draft, Paul now has 3 dimensions and it turned into a two-way conversation.

(Picked up two ideas from the story myself, I’ll be working on them over the coming weeks ;-))

One small idea to perhaps add at the beginning of the book? Suggest to the reader to read one chapter at the time, per week even. Then, because every lunch ends with “home-work”, the reader should do the dame home-work as Paul will do, turning it into more than just a business/guide book.

You could even add a few blank pages between the chapters for notes/home-work execution?

It’s an honor to get this type of feedback from someone like Karin, who already runs a successful business. Here’s another awesome snippet of feedback from¬†Ellie Cook-Venezia (on Twitter / on LinkedIn):

Grab EIGHT LUNCHES, the perfect primer for solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, small business¬†owners, managers and the like and head to your favorite sandwich shop and start reading! Be a fly on the wall as you witness two business owners engaged in conversation in this easy read that not only serves as a reference guide, but provides actionable ideas for you to implement. People at your favorite sandwich shop watching you read EIGHT LUNCHES will start the conversation ‚Äď so get reading, get talking, and start you own eight lunches and their actionable ideas!

I am getting more feedback, and hope to have the book in print in the next few months.  From here it is:

  1. clean it up based on the feedback,
  2. send to the editor,
  3. have layout done, and prepare to go to the printer,
  4. send to the printer
  5. mail out the orders :)

Not all feedback is as positive (although it’s all good, to help this be a better, stronger book). More on that later.

It’s a dream… are you living your dream?

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Substantiate Yourself: Part II

July 27th, 2011

One of my favorite concepts was (poorly) captured in my (wordy) blog post Substantiate Yourself.

Recently I was asked by a new graduate for my thoughts on her job search.  My advice started with this:

140 chars just isn’t enough to share a thought sometimes. ¬†Here’s the second tweet, linking to my Substantiate Yourself post:

She responded with this:

and I responded with this:

Again, 140 chars is not enough to get the point across, and I think even with that last tweet I failed to communicate it well.

Let me break it down here.

Very simply, this is what I have seen.

A job seeker is in a job search, and eventually gets branded as a job seeker (needy, helpless, hurt, desperate, really trying hard to be positive, staying active, etc.).

The longer they go, the more something might be wrong with them. ¬†I had that happen to me… even if no one thought that, I thought it about myself.

When I started JibberJobber, which was a small project during my job search, something changed.

I was different.

I acted differently.

I had a different attitude.

What’s more, I had something that people could understand.

I TOLD THEM who I was and what I did.

They did not understand, even though they nodded their heads, and wanted to understand, and to help.

I told them many times how they could help me, or what I was looking for.

It wasn’t until they could SEE a website (JibberJobber) that they “understood.”

I was perplexed.

How could they see one web interface and “understand” me?

They really didn’t understand who I was, but they thought they did.

Going live with my website PROVED I was good.

It proved something. ¬†I’m not sure exactly what it proved, or what they “understood,” but it was something almost-tangible that they could understand.

The point of the post Substantiate Yourself is to do something (sound¬†familiar? ¬†I wrote about doing it this week and last week) that can produce tangible, or near-tangible results so your contacts can finally “understand.”

Even if they understand just 10% of you, that’s more than before, and can open the door to more understanding.

What’s more, when they “understood,” they were excited about introducing me to their contacts, and getting an excited introduction is much better than a forced or obligated introduction.

How can you substantiate yourself?



Quit the Job Search?

July 26th, 2011

Thom Singer wrote a post titled 100% Of Those Who Give Up During A Job Search Do Not Find Jobs.

The problem with Thom Singer is he reaches into my brain and steals the post I was going to write, and writes it a few days before I do :p

Actually, I was thinking about this topic.

I meet many job seekers who have been out of work a few weeks.  They have the deer-in-the-headlight look, and are trying to figure out which way is up, which way is down.

I’ve also met job seekers who have been out of work for more than 2 years. ¬†They have a different look.

It’s sad to me to see the darkness that goes hand-in-hand in the job search journey.

And they say we’re supposed to be up-beat, and positive… it can be nearly impossible to do when you feel like you’ve been cut off from oxygen for so long.

Should you quit?

Thom Singer says if you do, you are guaranteed you won’t find what you were looking for.

I’m sure there are some who quit, and then the jobs find them.

I had three or four job offers after I quit looking (that’s after I substantiated myself).

But really, should you quit?

I think it makes sense for a lot of people to quit.

Maybe even you.

My thinking is partially inspired by Seth Godin, from his book The Dip.  He talks about being in a dead-end, or a cul-de-sac (sp?)

Perhaps you are looking for the wrong thing (a traditional job) when you really should be looking for something else.

I wrote about this idea to kick off 2011 on my blog.  It was the first post of the year.  I called it: The Job Search Rabbit Hole.  Did you miss it?  Read it РI think the simple analogy is powerful.

If you think about it, maybe you are going down the wrong rabbit hole, and you should quit.






Mistakes = Success?

July 25th, 2011

Last week I tweeted this (I’m on Twitter here):

I’m not much of a¬†philosopher, and I’m sure the smart folks out there can rip through my attempt at logic, but the point is, it’s generally better to do things, even if you make mistakes, than to sit around and wait until you know you’ll do them right.

Or to fear making mistakes.

Try, try and try again.  Learn from the journey.

It’s better to take the steps and move forward than to sit back and wait.

This might apply to something big, or something small.  My advice: do it.

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Why Aren’t Big (and little) Outplacement Companies Recommending JibberJobber?

July 22nd, 2011

This post is going to sound snarky, or like I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. ¬†In fact, I do have a chip on my shoulder. I’ve seen for-profit organizations not give the best to their clients for various reasons, and I’ve seen non-profit organizations (like church job groups) not give the clients the best. ¬†Below are some theories why. Of course there are very, very few exceptions to what I write below… but yes, there are some outplacement firms that do recommend JibberJobber heavily.

I recently got an email from a client of a really big (one of the top 3) outplacement firms in the world. ¬†This is a multi-billion dollar business, folks. ¬†Here’s part of the email:

I wanted to mention that I am working with the Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) outplacement service and this is where someone recently mentioned Jibber Jobber.

LHH has always emphasized the importance of having a tool to manage all the data that a job search will generate, but they do not recommend any specific solution. ¬†That is why many people default to using excel and then “out-grow” its effectiveness as you get a lot of data and try to associate information.

As a recommendation, if you could have companies like LHH put Jibber Jobber forward as a potential solution to manage data you may be able to drive increased sales.

I have been in the job search for over 4 months now and I would have liked to have known about this tool earlier in my search.

Ah, what a question!

Over the last 5+ years I have been trying to work with outplacement companies so they would heartily recommend JibberJobber, which I’m biased about, but I think is the best thing to organize and manage a job search.

In fact, in my mind, one of the companies that might acquire JibberJobber would be one of the top 3 outplacement firms (Right Management, LHH or DBM). ¬†None of them have anything that touches JibberJobber… that’s what I’ve been told from their consultants (job coaches and counselors) and from their clients.

I know there are some consultants at various locations that recommend JibberJobber.  They teach classes about it, tell their clients to get on it, put it in their newsletter, etc.

But not one outplacement firm, that I know of, solely and strongly recommends the tool.

Why not?

Here again is the last line from above:

I have been in the job search for over 4 months now and I would have liked to have known about this tool earlier in my search.

It’s frustrating that JibberJobber, which is five years old now, isn’t THE recommended tool.

Have I tried to get in.

Big time. ¬†But I hit brick wall after brick wall. ¬†I haven’t been able to network in. ¬†Most consultants haven’t been able to introduce me to anyone at the corporate level.

I did have an interesting conversation at the corporate level at Right Management, but the person there didn’t “get” JibberJobber. ¬†Why would anyone want to use it, he wondered.

No matter what I said, did or showed him, he didn’t get it. ¬†He said it would fail, like all CRM systems fail (when implemented). ¬†He never understood that I wasn’t trying to get Right to use it as their CRM, rather to offer it to their clients, WHO NEED IT!

A corporate person didn’t get it, and killed it.

I had another conversation with someone high up at LHH. ¬†Apparently he was responsible for developing a lot of the curriculum that LHH used world-wide (or, at least in the U.S.). ¬†The most I could gather from that conversation is that since he didn’t develop or design JibberJobber, and it didn’t fit in totally with the nomenclature of his systems, they wouldn’t even consider it.

So, we have pride, ignorance and kingdom issues.

Why isn’t outplacement recommending JibberJobber?

I think it comes down to them (a) not spending time understanding how vital this tool is in a job search, and (b) not taking time to learn what their candidates (the job seekers) needs are.

It’s unfortunate.

But for five years I’ve tried and tried, and now, five years later, I get an email like the one above.

It makes me wonder what other tools, techniques and strategies these groups are withholding from their candidates.

All I can say is this: if you are an outplacement client, please go back to your coach and counselor and consultant and let them know how valuable it has been for you.



You will face adversity. Don’t let it own you.

July 21st, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about my wife and her songwriting journey. ¬†If I were to tell you she simply declared herself a songwriter, then found a mentor (the very next day), and has been doing a lot of the stuff you need to do as a songwriter, you’d think she’s had an easy journey, right?

In fact, it hasn’t been easy. At all.

She has faced adversity almost every step of the way.  And at every step she has had a reason to quit, or postpone, or pause (and pausing usually means quitting for a long time).

She has faced adversity from family, friends, acquaintances, our bank account (not having money to do certain things), lack of knowledge, lack of skills, and unfortunately, from me.

You have a short list of people who are going to be really supportive of things you do – especially good things.

And then each one of them, somehow, lets you down.

I let her down, and for a while wasn’t able to support her. ¬†I regret that, but I had to share it because too often we think there will always be that one person who won’t let you down.

Having them let you down could be devastating.

Fortunately, she was able to continue to do what she needed to do without my support (yes, it is hard to write that).

I’ve had similar experiences with JibberJobber. ¬†I was counseled to not do it. ¬†I was counseled to not invest my retirement/savings into the business to finance it. ¬†I was counseled to get a real (traditional) job.

I know many successful people have faced adversity that we almost can’t imagine. ¬†It might be getting disowned. ¬†It might be lost friendships. ¬†It might not turn out well, and result in¬†bankruptcy¬†or loss of something valuable.

Adversity happens.  You have already faced it.  You will face it again, probably every single day.

Here are two things I’ve learned by watching my wife work through the adversity she faces:

  1. Just do it. Even if you don’t have the support, go to that next network meeting. ¬†Take the class. ¬†Start the business. ¬†Lift up the paint brush. ¬†Write that sentence. ¬†Try it out. ¬†JUST DO IT. ¬†Even if you don’t have supporters, or cheerleaders, just do it.
  2. Don’t tell friends and family. ¬†I love this concept… I think my wife picked it up from a workshop she went to. ¬†The speaker said it is hard for family and friends to imagine us doing ____ or being _____. ¬† They think of us as _____… why would we ever try something different? ¬†Telling family and friends is an almost sure way to get a lot more reasons why you shouldn’t do what you want to, or need to do.

I’m ashamed I could not be as supportive of my wife as she has always been of me, and my ambitions. ¬†I had to go through something – not sure what it was. ¬†I hate that I was the perhaps the worst adversity she had to face.

You too will face adversity.  The source of adversity might shock you.  But work through it.  The people who work through it are the people we have heard of Рthey are the Lincolns, the Fords, the Trumps, the ______.

Those who let adversity own them… well, we really haven’t heard of them, have we?

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Do you inspire others? I’d put money on it…

July 20th, 2011

Saturday night we were driving away from a friends house and my wife said “did you see the painting of the peaches by the back door?”

“No,” I hadn’t seen them.

“She said I inspired her to do it.”


About a year ago my wife declared she was a songwriter.  One day after she formally declared it, she met the guy who puts on songwriting trainings and workshops and networking locally.

My wife has been pretty busy raising our kids, running our house, and doing stuff that moms do.

Just like in yesterday’s post about JUST DO IT, my wife just did it. (more on that, and adversity, tomorrow)

She has shared some of her journey as a songwriter with friends and family. ¬†Many moms she has talked to have said “wow, I need to to do something for me!”

This lady, our friend, did. ¬†She got the equipment, set aside the time, and picked up the brush. ¬†She’s close to finishing a really cool painting… she has done something for herself. ¬†I didn’t ask, but I’m guessing she feels empowered, and reenergized. ¬†She has felt the rewards of pursuing something, even though she could probably think of 100 other things to do.

My wife inspired that, and that’s cool.

She didn’t set out to inspire anything, or anyone, by doing what she does (well, she wants to inspire through music, but I’m not sure she thought about how inspiring her example could be).

But she has inspired more than one person to do something.

She inspired me to get on the piano and start learning.

She inspired our friend to paint.

I know she’s inspired others.

Are you inspiring anyone?

I’m sure you are.

Just by showing up, you might be inspiring someone.

Your warm smile, firm handshake, positive attitude, down-to-earth personality… I don’t know what it is that is inspiring others, but I know you are inspiring someone.

Last week I saw my 10 year old son walking next to a 4 or 5 year old boy.  The young boy looked up at my son, who was about twice as big as he was, and I could tell he really admired him.

You never know who you are inspiring – you may never, ever know. ¬†But don’t stop. ¬†Don’t give up. ¬†Keep on doing, keep on being. ¬†You are helping someone in a big way.

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Do It Now! I give you permission.

July 19th, 2011

Last week I was consulting with a pizza franchise owner, sharing a number of ideas on how to get more sales through branding and online marketing.

We chatted for about 90 minutes, then I had to go to a quick meeting.

When I came back I put my hand on his shoulder and said:

“You know, I charge a lot of money to tell you what I told you. ¬†And you know what I find? ¬†Most people take lots of notes, and are excited, but they don’t do it.”

I’m amazed at how much someone will pay me to consult, and then not do anything.

He said it was like going to a conference, taking lots of notes, getting really jazzed, and not doing anything after you got home.

Because stuff at home (or at the office) becomes priorities, and fires, and you get lost in your daily work.

All the while, the great ideas sit in the notebook and aren’t acted on.

This reminds me of talking with one of my mentors (he doesn’t know he’s a mentor), Don Aslett. ¬†Don has at least 42 books published and has had an amazing career. ¬†We were talking about “ideas.” ¬†I commented that he had some amazing business ideas, and that somehow he was special because of that (I don’t remember how I said it – it was probably 10 years ago).

Don replied that we all have ideas, and lots of them. He said he had binders full of ideas (true story, I saw lots of his binders). Having an idea was easy. It was no big deal.

The big deal is if we ACT ON IT!

I’ve talked to dozens of people who have had an idea good enough to be big, at least for them, personally.

But they don’t act on it.

They don’t do it.

They sit on it, let the daily grind get them busy, and enough time goes by that they just don’t make any progress (or, they don’t make progress in the direction they need).

So here’s what I’ll tell you, even though probably one out of 10 will actually do it:


What are you waiting for?  Permission from someone to do what you know you should be doing?

Well, let me wave my magic JibberJobber wand and give you PERMISSION to DO IT.

Right now.



The Start-Up Of You: Critical Mindset Adjustment for YOU

July 18th, 2011

I got an email from JibberJobber Partner Linsey Levine linking to a terrific New York Times article by Thomas Freidman titled The Start-Up of You.

Linsey has been a JibberJobber partner for at least two years. She really gets it. ¬†Here’s her tagline in her email reads:

I help people in career pain, career limbo, or career depression
Get Unstuck: Get Clear, Get Focused, Get Moving

You can learn more about her at

Back to the article by Freidman… READ IT! Then read it again. I had to read it three times. It is awesome. Here are some of my favorite parts:

They (the companies he writes about) are all looking for the same kind of people ‚ÄĒ people who not only have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can‚Äôt, but also people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day, in a market that changes faster than ever.

But you would never know [what companies are looking for] from listening to the debate in Washington, where some Democrats still tend to talk about job creation as if it’s the 1960s and some Republicans as if it’s the 1980s. But this is not your parents’ job market.

Quote from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman: ‚ÄúNo career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it‚Äôs now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.‚ÄĚ

Another Hoffman quote: “For entrepreneurs it‚Äôs differentiate or die ‚ÄĒ that now goes for all of us.‚ÄĚ”

The last paragraph is brilliant… read the article.

How are you thinking about your career, and career management?  Is it just happening TO you, or are you driving and managing and directing it?



Favorite Friday: Cleaning Garbage Cans for $400/day

July 15th, 2011

A couple of years ago I was inspired by a blog post from Jeremy Hanks, CEO of, where he talked about a guy who knocked on his door asking if he could clean out his garbage can for $10 (or, both cans for $15).

Here’s the post I wrote after I read Jeremy’s post: Jeremy Hanks Pays To Get His Garbage Can Cleaned

It’s a nasty job, but homeowners aren’t really proud of the stench that accumulates over the years.

Jeremy was intrigued and paid the guy, and wrote about it.

I was intrigued, and inspired, and eventually figured out this would result in my fourth book (not sure what it will be titled yet, but it’s something like “101 Alternatives for Job Seekers: 101 ways to create alternative revenue streams while looking for a job”).

Since then I’ve found dozens of other real-life examples, and am compiling them for the book.

The idea, I think, all started from this ambitious garbage can man!

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