July 2nd, 2007
Sherri Edwards, today’s second featured anti 9-to-5er, is a no-nonsense career coach I’ve interviewed for several articles on women’s careers, as well as the book. What I love most about Sherri is that she doesn’t mince words. If you were to hire her to help you nail a six-figure salary as an online marketing manager but you had zero experience in marketing and on the web, she’d probably say something like, “I’m a career coach, not a miracle worker.” But give her something to work with — say, those crummy negotiation skills you’d like to improve, or a resume that isn’t doing a good enough job showing potential employers why they should show you the money — and she’ll work her magic on you in no time. So without further ado, meet Sherri…
The anti 9-to-5er: Sherri Edwards, Seattle
My job: Career coach, consultant, and trainer. I officially started my business, ResourceMaximizer, in 1997. I help people develop career plans and build tools based on strategies tied to business (or not-for-profit) trends, current market conditions, and individual skills. This may include a path for formal skill development or other roles the person needs to build experience in, prior to becoming that “six-figure online marketing manager.”
What makes my gig anti 9-to-5: I work out of my home for the most part and work all hours. I offer workshops, facilitate a networking group, and consult with clients here. I do a lot of phone/email consulting. I also do training for organizations and businesses at their locations. I schedule work pretty much when I want to be available and tend to work very unconventional hours (or days).
What I did in my former 9-to-5 life: My last two positions were managing staffing businesses. Prior to that, I was in business management and sales in a number of industries. I always worked hard, but someone else made the profit.
How I made the anti 9-to-5 leap: I just decided enough was enough. It took no cash investment — only time. My business has been built predominantly on referrals over ten years and has continued to grow. I do a considerable amount of public speaking and presentations but do not spend money on advertising. I limit the bells and whistles and am able to keep my costs and fees lower than others in my field.
My biggest obstacles: Naivety. Expecting that what I had to offer would be sought after by what turned out to be some pretty unproductive targets in the beginning. Also, I didn’t say “no” when I was asked to offer pro bono [freebie] consulting / training / presentations. (I don’t do that anymore!) I learned the hard way to choose which venues / audiences were good investments of my time.
My tips for other cubicle expats: Actually, I have never worked in a cubicle, so I guess I cannot imagine someone adapting easily from a very structured environment to one where everything is a free-for-all that requires considerable juggling. I have worked in circumstances where I managed my own schedule for more than 25 years, and for at least 15 of those, I have worked out of my home.
My advice would be to know up front that it is important to be hugely organized and disciplined to be able create your own structure and be productive. In my business, I cannot dictate when people will need me, but I can schedule things in manageable ways to be able to accommodate most people without killing myself. I think it is less about the industry, but more about analyzing one’s style / nature before they jump off, to make sure they will be happy and effective in whatever they pursue. As far as my particular line of work, it is important to have an area of expertise and develop a niche. It may take research to determine more closely what that might be.
What’s that link again? ResourceMaximizer.com
Entry Filed under: Anti 9-to-5 profiles