Kyle's career got started as a side-hustle while in college. He used to charge five bucks to review resumes or LinkedIn summaries or give feedback on college, personal statements.
As he went to grad school; however, he realized he'd need to charge more if for no other reason than to feed his growing Starbucks and breakfast burrito “addiction.” So he raised his prices to $25.
When he finished grad school, Kyle moved back to San Francisco for his first full-time job and contemplated ending his side hustle. Fortunately for Kyle and his clients, the side-gig kept growing through word of mouth and referrals.
SIDE-HUSTLE TO FULL-TIME
Kyle's side-business continued to grow, and he started to feel “pushed” in that direction, so he decided to make the leap. Despite having a pipeline of clients, the transition was incredibly difficult, and not because of the excellent salary, benefits, retirement plan, and free apartment in San Francisco.
Being a self-proclaimed planner, Kyle was anxious about starting his business. Like Warwick, Kyle had saved money and built up savings before leaving his job, which serves to calm his nerves by giving him some runway.
He was also nervous about running the business full-time but decided he would trust the process and “figure it out” along the way. Kyle realized later, had he tried to plan out his business, it wouldn't have worked out because he hadn't imagined all of the referrals he would eventually get.
Referrals typically make up 40 to 60% of Kyle's business, which is fantastic because the work he does, is short term and he continually needs to bring in new clients every single week. To keep these percentages high, Kyle put in place an active referral program which, more often than not, keeps his inbox full of client referrals.
Another source of clients for Kyle has been LinkedIn. He's on LinkedIn often during the day sharing his knowledge and life. What he has shared has resonated and resulted in over 50,000 followers on the platform.
One of the factors Kyle contributes to his business' growth is authenticity. Kyle calls a spade a spade, and he poured that part of himself into his clients, giving them the honest, authentic advice, they need.
He extended his authentic self into the content he publishes on LinkedIn, often going against traditional wisdom and posting aspects of his personal life. By sharing these real-life experiences, he has formed a deeper bond with his clients and at the same has built a following of future ones.
He attributes this to not only his authenticity but by creating for his clients a sense of human connection that we often need during our careers in times of challenge. As an example, Kyle has had a lot of people reach out to him as they are going through a divorce and wanting to seek out a new job.
Being his true self has drawn clients to him simply because they didn't want to share their story with anyone else. The more he shares about himself, both the positives and the negatives, the more people reach out to him ready to get started.
Kyle finds inspiration for his posts in various places, such as while walking or from a client session. He and a client will discuss something during a meeting, and afterward, he'll post something from the meeting notes.
One of the things Kyle espouses is utilizing the expertise of coaches. Being a planner and figuring out how to run a business as you go, didn't quite mesh, so he knew he needed some guidance.
One of Kyle's coaches challenged him to spend 70% of his work week only on activities that generate money. This isn't time spent marketing or posting on LinkedIn; this is time dedicated to revenue-generating activities such as writing a resume or updating a LinkedIn profile.
In addition to coaches, Kyle also has a personal board of directors he relies on to him with various aspects of his business and life. He leverages these individual's life experiences so he can learn their mistakes to avoid them and get to his goals faster.
Kyle is also very focused on the type of clients he works with, mostly senior managers and executives, who are often pretty far along in the career.
His clients are typically high tech and are looking to make a transition, so he helps them with job searches, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and even interview prep.