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Building A Business – A Part-Time Resume Writing Business

by Anne Brunelle

Many people dream of being self-employed. The vision of being “my own boss,” “the one in charge,” is very strong. As an employed career professional, a part-time résumé writing business seems like a logical way to get started.

While self-employment may be a widely shared dream, it is not appropriate for everyone. Starting a business and making it work means taking full responsibility for your time, effort and goal-setting/achieving. If you choose to build a part-time résumé writing business, you will be most satisfied if you take the development of it seriously. Don’t think, “It’s part-time, it’s not like a real business”. If you do view it this way, you do yourself, your business and possibly your clients, a disservice.

Even though your business is part-time, you need to create a business plan. A business plan will help you determine the parameters of your practice, putting your concepts and objectives into writing will keep you and your business moving in the direction you want to go. Unless you are anticipating borrowing money from a financial institution, the business plan does not need to be too detailed or elaborate, but, for your own sake, it does need to answer these questions:

Why am I in business? [this is your vision or mission statement] Who do I serve? [this is the clientele you are hoping to work with] What services do I provide? [this is an explicit, detailed list] What makes me and my services special? [this list includes your specific skill set, experience, networks, etc.] What are my goals? [this list could include a specific skill set you wish to develop; a certain number of clients you wish to assist; enough money to pay for a specific household item or vacation – your goal(s) must be measurable] How will I know that I am successful? [this is your definition of success, but likely includes meeting your measurable goal(s)]

The hardest part of this is usually goal-setting. What, besides helping your clients, do you hope to accomplish? Since you are planning to build a business, not a volunteer service (which you may be doing elsewhere), making money is likely one of the goals.

This segues nicely into the next issue: pricing. There are several ways to determine what you should be charging, but there are a few questions to ask first:

Do you know what to charge to cover expenses? (what are your expenses?)
Are your prices competitive? (you do not want to drastically over- or under-price your competition – market research is required)
How important is low price? (remember, clients need to know your work is valuable)

Coming back to the goal-setting issue – you need to decide how much you want to “take home” in a year. Add to this the amount of taxes you are likely to incur with your business income. The sum of these two amounts is the gross amount you will need to make to meet this goal. How many résumés do you hope to write in a week, a month, a year? Divide the yearly number of résumés you hope to write by your gross income, and that is how much you need to charge per résumé. This is a tough reality check – you must use this formula to alter your income expectation and prices.

Once you have established your yearly income goal and the number of résumés required to meet it, keep the following formula where you can see it:

Number of résumés per year ÷ 12 = Number of résumés per month
Number of résumés per month ÷ 4 = Number of résumés per week

This formula determines how many résumés you need to write in a week to reach your financial goals. Keeping this formula close at hand will help to remind you of what you need to do achieve success as you have defined it.

Building a small business is rarely easy – building a part-time résumé writing business is no more or less easy than building any other service-based business. You know you have the skills, you know these skills are needed, you just need to convince yourself that your work is worth the money you plan to charge, and then market your business so that you will write the number of résumés required.

Anne Brunelle is the Founder/Director of MakingChanges (, a part-time coaching business, specializing in résumé writing, career transitions coaching and image consulting. She has worked with clients from across North America at all stages of their careers, both one-on-one and in groups.



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