How much money do you need to start your new business?

August 31st, 2016

I’m not talking about buying a McDonald franchise… or staring a manufacturing business… I’m talking about how much money do you need to start a services business.

I have a friend who wants to start a marketing and PR business.  He is talking about getting funding to get up and running.

What he could do is approach angel investors (VCs would have no reason to talk to him), and get money to have a location, a staff, and pay for marketing material, memberships, his own salary and health benefits, and other stuff he needs to get started… OR, he could just put on his nicest clothes, hit the street, and find his first client who pays him money.

I call this option funding through sales. While it seems contrary to what the Silicon Valley trend has been, which is to get as much funding as you possibly could, I think funding through sales is a brilliant way to start your own business.

Now, taking off the rose-colored glasses, I’ll be the first to tell you that funding through sales is not necessarily the easiest, or fastest, way to success (and feeling peace of mind), and even paying your bills. In other words, it can be really hard to fund your business through sales.

In the early days of JibberJobber, I decided to not spend the six to twelve months looking for investors, and spent those six to twelve months working on my business, and working to increase revenue.  It was very hard, but I was also working on a product model, not a services (like consulting) model.

My message, though, is that business is really quite simple.  You have a service, which might be your time + your knowledge, and you find someone or some company who wants to pay you for that.  Then, you spend your time, and share your knowledge, and they give you money.  More succinctly, you provide supply to meet their demand.  You don’t need to get a fancy car, or buy a new wardrobe,  or even have any glossies printed out… you just need your time and your knowledge.  And they just need to pay you.

When I started JibberJobber I had a friend who I met at the local job search club.  He started a consulting business the same week I started JibberJobber. His income, within weeks, was over $10k/month. Mine was inching it’s way up to about $100/month. Again, mine was a product, his was consulting. Many times I wondered if I should have done some consulting just to float my company for a while.  It would not have been a bad decision.

Want to start your own business? Don’t think you need to get a secretary and office space… you might have everything you need to get your first, and tenth, customer.




How to help people help you in your job search

August 30th, 2016

Let me share the message I get from a lot of job seekers, almost to the word:

“I am looking for a new job… do you know of anything?”

Or, just as bad:

“Do you know any recruiters I should talk to?”

Here’s another lame attempt:

“Will you check out my resume?”

I get these questions regularly… and they make me cringe.

I don’t know you, or what you do, where you want to work, what title(s) you have had, or what titles you want to have. I don’t know what kind of recruiter to introduce you to, and honestly, I don’t want to introduce you to any of my recruiter contacts because if you came at me with such ambiguity, you’ll probably just send a generic resume to my recruiter introductions, which I bet will go to their deleted folder.

Please reevaluate your communication to people, when you ask for help, and see how close to those vague inquiries your requests are.

What is better than that?  Simply let people know exactly who you want to be introduced to.  For example:

“I’d like an introduction to someone who works in the XYZ industry.  Do you know anyone you could introduce me to?”


“I’m looking for project managers in the area… do you know any project managers here?”

The first part of this is exactly who you are looking for.

The second part is a simple yes/no question, asking if they know someone.  The next step would be to ask for the introduction, of course.

People want to help you… but they can’t if they don’t know how.  I realize that one of the most important things we can do, as job seekers, is to help people help us… and to do that, they need the right information, and an invitation to help.  Are you giving both of those?

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How to “make” people want to help you in your job search

August 29th, 2016

Let me share what apparently is a secret to most people: the secret to making (or getting) people to want to help you in your job search.

I say this is apparently a secret because in the 10+ years I’ve been intimately involved in helping people in their job search, it seems that very few people actually know about this tactic. Here’s an example scenario:

Scenario 1 (what happens 99% of the time)

You: Jason, can you help me?  I’d like an introduction to John Doe…

Me: Sure… let me make that introduction.

You: Thanks!

Then, I make the introduction, and I never hear back from you. I wonder what happened… I wonder if you even reached out to my contact, and if you did, how did it go.

Scenario 2 (what should always happen, but I hardly experience it)

You: Jason, can you help me?  I’d like an introduction to John Doe…

Me: Sure… let me make that introduction.

You: Thanks!

[shortly after I make the introduction…]

You: Jason, thanks for that introduction. I just reached out to John Doe and have a lunch set up for this week.  I really appreciate your willingness to connect us, and that you trusted me with your friend.

I don’t wonder, because you followed-up… I know that you respected the introduction, and so far, feel good about this new connection. I hope that lunch this week goes well, and honestly, would like to know how it goes (which means, another follow-up).

Now, the point of this post is to get more people to want to help you more.  When I experience Scenario 2… that is, when the person circles back and tells me that (a) they acted on the introduction I sent, and (b) what they did, I find myself thinking “who else should I introduce to this person?”

I’ve been on the phone with people while they tell me what they did after the introduction, and as we are talking I’m thinking of other names I’ll send an introduction to as soon as the call is over.

I trust that the person will treat my contacts right.

You may hesitate a little to “bug” the person who sent you an introduction, but let me tell you, it’s much better to “bug” them with a short follow-up message, reporting back, than to not talk about it again (where they’ll just wonder if you did anything).

Try it – today, circle back, follow-up, with the people who have given you introductions… even if you are just saying “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I just emailed this person and hope to have a conversation this week…”

That simple gesture shows you respect and appreciate their trust in you. And they’ll want to help you with more.



Job Seekers: Reinvent and Evolve

August 24th, 2016

One thing I’ve learned from the last ten years of being an entrepreneur is that I need to continually reinvent and evolve.

Ten years ago I thought my business was going to go down a certain path, and I could see “the end” of that path.

Very quickly, within a few months, I started to realize that the path was going to be really windy… not straight at all.  I had no idea I’d write a book, and then another, and then another… I had zero clue I would do thirty courses for Pluralsight, or that I would write blog posts for resume writers, or white papers for thousands of dollars. I had no idea I would get on planes and travel the US (and to Istanbul) as a “professional speaker,” or that I would even speak at chapter meetings for the National Speaker’s Association, or that I would have a DVD on how to use LinkedIn, and create a library of how-to videos for job seekers.

I just thought I’d make JibberJobber better and better, and make a bunch of money from people who appreciated it and decided to upgrade.

What I’ve learned over the years, though, includes:

  1. You need to reinvent to stay relevant. Let me emphasize the value of putting out new things so you can market them… people stop talking about the normal status quo, but they like to talk about new stuff. So create new stuff for them to talk about.
  2. You must stay loyal to your brand, core, and focus (which can actually evolve).  I would not take on jobs to write blog posts for pet owners… that is just too far outside of what I do, and what JibberJobber does.
  3. Build it and they will come is usually garbage. I love the idea, but once you build it, you need to let others know about it. This means you have to get past your insecurities about self-promotion and start reaching out to people.
  4. You might find new passions that you never had a chance to explore. I had no idea I’d get such a kick out of getting on stage, or setting up a webcam to do videos. I’ve been able to improve skills, from public presentations to networking to technical skills… it has been fun and rewarding, and I feel like I’m growing (that is, not stagnant).

There is more I’ve learned, but I want to focus more on what this means for job seekers than for me, as an entrepreneur.

I know the job search is uncomfortable.  Many times, it sucks.  But realize that this is your time to reinvent, evolve, realize your loyalties and define your core, reassess your focus, figure out personal marketing (which you’ll use the rest of your life/career), and understand yourself more.

Take advantage of this time… once you land your next job you might find yourself back in a rut with no time, too focused on work, and continuing to ignore yourself and the health of your career.

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LinkedIn: Should I put “unemployed” or “looking” in my Professional Headline?

August 23rd, 2016

The professional headline on LinkedIn is the line that shows up directly below your name. For example, here’s mine:


One of the most common questions I get about the professional headline, from people who are looking for a new job, is: what do I put here?  Do I put the title I used to have, or do I put that I’m open to new opportunities (or any of the dozen other ways to say that)?

For a while, my answer was to focus on your value.  What do you bring to the table? That is what you should put there.  The reason I said this is because the professional headline is one of the first branding impressions that someone can get about you, and in some cases, it’s the ONLY branding impression they might see of you on LinkedIn. Don’t be too generic or vague… have a solid branding statement that accurately depicts your strengths now, and where you are headed.

Then, I heard about a friend’s husband who changed his professional headline to show that he was a consultant (I think that is what he did).  He immediately had a very interesting reaction: people congratulated him for this big step in his career.  He did this so that he could “fill a gap on his resume.”  This is why a lot of job seekers become quote-consultants-unquote.  The unintended impact of changing from “looking for work” to “consultant” is that his friends essentially said “great job, now you have landed, and I don’t have to worry about helping you anymore :)”  He quickly realized what he did and changed his professional headline back.

The argument for putting “I’m looking” is that it let’s people know you are open, and could even use some help (networking introductions, referrals, etc.).  It also tells recruiters and hiring managers that you are available immediately, and don’t have to tie up the same loose ends that someone in a job would have to tie up.

The argument for NOT putting “I’m looking” is that it might make you look like used material, and worse, that recruiters and decision-makers might discriminate against you because you are not employed.  This is a real thing, but I think that since 2006, it’s gotten a lot better (since so many people were out of work).  My argument, especially in the early days, has been to focus on what you bring to the table (your skills, passions, etc.), not on your employment status.

Note: Do not put your past title… unless (a) it is the exact same title that you are looking for next, and (b) really, and simply, communicates what your brand is.

So, those are the two sides…. what do you think?  What should someone put in their professional headline, if they are unemployed, or looking for a new job?

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“Networking is the old way of finding a job.”

August 22nd, 2016

Last week I was talking to a job seeker who said he continually hears that “networking is the old way of finding a job.”


Are you kidding me?

I have not heard this, but if there is a trend right now where people say to discard networking, let me be the first to cry hogwash.

Perhaps people think that instead of talking to humans, you should focus on LinkedIn. Or Instagram, or Snapchat, or whatever the social media flavor of the year is.  Let me suggest that if you say “social media” over networking, you really don’t understand what networking is.

Why? Because done right, doing stuff on social media is indeed networking.

There are two key components to any job search: networking, and personal branding.

Social media provides tools for you to network with others, and to communicate your personal brand.

When it comes to finding your next job, networking. If anyone tells you that networking is the old way of finding a job, well, it’s pretty obvious: RUN the other way.

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Interview Response to “Tell Me About Yourself”

August 19th, 2016

My wife just shared this with me on Facebook… a very appropriate response for *some* people :p


Happy Friday!

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My Next Big Thing

August 18th, 2016

And I could use your help… I posted this on two LinkedIn Groups yesterday:

I’m working on a new project, which I hope to roll out in the next four months. I think this will be the biggest (most impactful) idea I work on since the inception of JibberJobber. I could use your help… I’m specifically looking for hiring managers and HR who are involved in the hiring process. (I am already talking to enough recruiters, for now) If you are a hiring manager and have a lot of experience finding talent, or work in HR in a hiring (or advising for hiring) capacity, please email me ( If you can recommend or intro someone to me, please email me!

Do you know anyone that is a hiring manager or in HR (that is heavily involved in hiring and growing teams)?  I’d love to chat with them.  My email is


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Two Weeks On Body For Life. The Results?

August 5th, 2016

Last week my 15 year old son and I started Body for Life.  I had a great run with Body for Life about 15 years ago…. and the experience left a terrific impression on me.

Now, my 15 year old is interested in fitness, and has some specific goals (he wants ripped abs), and that was all I needed to say “I’m in!!”

So I’ve been eating pretty good… I’d say about 90% loyal to the food part of it.  Working out has been better… so far I’ve been doing the workout program 100%.  I’m kind of tired, but it feels so good to get back into a healthy lifestyle.  Along with that, I hope to be more in shape. That is, I hope to look fitter.  That is, I hope to look less fat.

So over the last few days as I work out I’ll look in the mirror (which isn’t exactly where I work out, so I kind of have to drag my dumbbells across the room).  I’m expecting all of these lean meals and the hard parts to pay off… but looking in the mirror is encouraging.

I’m sorry… that last sentence didn’t have proper grammar. Let me fix it:

Looking in the mirror IS NOT encouraging.

I look… the same.

I feel different… more toned, and I know I’ve lost a little weight… I feel healthier, but I look the same. :(

In the book it says that you won’t see result right away… I think it takes weeks, maybe even after your first month, to see results.

Compare this to networking. Let’s say, like most new job seekers, you start “cold turkey.” You go through the pains of humbling yourself to make phone calls, making “mistakes,” and getting over yourself so you will actually talk to people.  After a couple of weeks you feel like you have moved mountains, and you are proud of what you have done, and how you have changed.

But when you look at the relationships, they seem to be going nowhere. You don’t have job offers.  You probably haven’t had interviews, and you might not have had anyone refer you to their friend, perhaps for an informational interview.

But I’ve seen this work… I’ve seen the results of body for life after ten weeks (it’s a twelve week program). And I’ve seen the results of networking after weeks and weeks, months and months, and even years and years.

Yes, networking is a years and years thing, but it all starts with Day One.  And then follows Day Two, and Day Three, and before you know it you’ll be on Day Fifty.  Then Day Two Hundred…

Yes, you’ll have cheat days.  That’s okay.  That is days where you eat anything you want (Body for Life), or days you don’t talk to anyone (networking).  That’s okay.  You move on, and stay disciplined, and consistent, and keep on keeping on.

And one day your waste line, bicep size, or network relationships will be so fit, and so healthy, that you’ll look back on all of your execution and discipline with pride and confidence, because that day, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

Just start today, and keep moving forward each day.


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“I’d rather jump off a bike than…”

August 4th, 2016

This morning I was out and about with my 9 year old daughter… we were at a park and she remembered a time when she had was about to crash into something.  As she was telling me the story, she said:

“I would rather jump off my bike than crash…!”

That simple phrase made me think about… what else?  Transitions!

I would rather leave a company, on my own terms, when I’m ready, than be blindsided by a layoff or firing.

Not the perfect analogy, but close enough.

I’m not suggesting that you “jump off the bike” now… but you’ll know when it is the right time.  No one wants to jump off a bike, but when it’s the right time, there are no other choices… so off you jump!

I jumped off a bike a couple of times in my career.  Then, in 2006, I flat out crashed.  Everything was different.  When you crash you are emotional, lost, frustrated, etc.

The most important thing I would suggest is that no matter how you end up off that bike, get prepared!  Network, get your branding where it needs to be, and use JibberJobber, starting now!

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