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Marcia Passos Duffy, Publisher & Editor
Author of
Be Your Own Boss

Contact
HOW Profile: Kathy Sweeney, Resume Writer & Interview Coach
Kathy Sweeney
The Write Resume / Senior Executive Resumes
info@awriteresume.com
Phoenix, Arizona

Years working from home:
8 from home / 20 years in business
Hours per week you work: 70-80
Happy at home index: (1 – miserable / 10 – nirvana) 10
Success at home index: (1-starving / 10-fabulously wealthy)  8

What kind of business do you have at home?

I operate a resume writing and employment interview coaching business.
I compose resumes and related job search documents, including cover letters,
Linked-In / ZoomInfo profiles, job search proposals, executive bios, and
leadership addendum. After I complete the job search documents, I prepare
clients for the interview process, actually acting as a “hiring manager.” I conduct
mock interviews and critique the answers my clients provide to interview
questions I pose, and provide them with methods to improve the answers. I work
with clients all over the world; all of my business is conducted via telephone and
the Internet.

I also serve as president of the National Resume Writers’ Association – the largest
non-profit resume writing organization in the world. The organization has more
than 400 members, and is dedicated to educating and providing support to
resume writers and career practitioners.

What did you do before you started your home business?

Prior to owning my business, I was a hiring manager for two Fortune 500
companies.

Why did you start a home business, and why resume writing/interview
coaching?

I actually had an office for 12 years prior to bringing the business home. I was
tired of paying overhead and decided that I could conduct business just as
effectively as if I had a traditional office. I am also the single mother of two
children, so this business has allowed me to be home with them.

I started this business because of my background as a hiring manager. I saw a
need for individuals to showcase their unique background and achievements,
which was never evident in the resumes that were sent to me. I also noticed that
individuals had a tough time answering interview questions correctly. Since I
earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, with a minor in Technical Writing, I
could use my employment background and college degree to help job search
candidates.

What was your biggest challenge in starting your home business?

The biggest challenge at first was carving out my own space for my business.
When I first brought the business home it was in a bedroom. When my daughter
was born, I had to move from that bedroom and set up shop in the dining room.
However, I decided to purchase a new home almost two years ago, and
specifically selected the home because I could convert the dining room into my
home office.

What has been your biggest challenge staying in business?

The biggest challenge at first was transitioning from a local, in-person business to
a strictly Internet-based venture. In my business, credibility is critical since I have
never met most of my clients. The next toughest challenge is every month starts
out at zero, as my product is one that people do not come back a week later for
more services. However, my referral rate is 80+% because of the way I treat my
clients – they become like family to me!

What do you love about working from home?

I can work whenever I want and I do not have to sit in rush-hour traffic.  

What do you hate about it?

When the phone rings really late at night or very early in the morning from
potential clients in different time zones – people do not realize I am not in their
city and/or country.

How do you inspire or motivate yourself everyday?

I love what I do – I get to make a difference in the lives of the people with whom I
do business. The best inspiration I get is when I receive an email or phone call
about the success my clients have had in their job search.

How do you separate home life from your work life?

I have strict “office hours.” I feel this is very important, as home-based businesses
need to treat their venture as a “real business.” Although I work long hours, I shut
down the office at 7 p.m. and spend time with my children.  

Where is your office in your home?

My office is in the dining room of my
home.

What is your daily routine?

I wake up most mornings at 5 a.m.
I answer e-mails first and then start
writing for the day. Concurrent with
my writing, I answer telephone
inquiries and conduct consultations
or clients requiring resumes and/or
interview coaching. My day usually ends at 7 p.m.

What is your biggest (or proudest) achievement so far?

My proudest achievement is being able to support my family by earning a great
income. My second proudest achievement is earning credentials in my industry,
which are very difficult to achieve. By earning these credentials, I show my clients
that I am serious about this business and their success. I am only 1 of 26 people in
the world to hold the Nationally Certified Resume Writer credential and only 1 of
45 people in the world to hold the Credentialed Career Master designation.

What are you working on right now to grow your business?

I have expanded my business to include another subsidiary that is strictly focused
on resume writing and interview coaching for executive-level clients. I have also
expanded my network with recruiters, have committed to sending out press
releases at least once per month, and incorporated every type of technology
available.  

What advice can you give about starting a home business?

The best advice I can provide is to treat the business like it is a business. Find
something you love to do, learn everything you can about the profession, and
become an expert in your field. Find mentors in your industry and aspire to be as
successful as they have become. You can always learn something from everyone
you meet. Further, help other people in your industry to succeed. I believe in
cooperation, not competition. Finally, utilize every type of technology that will
enable you to work smarter, not harder. This includes newsletter services,
shopping carts, blogs, and my newest find, www.datadepositbox.com. This
service allows you to store every document on your computer on a remote server.
In my business, my documents are my life. If my computer crashes, I can restore
the system instantly. I can also access client files from anywhere in the world!

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do (or not do)?

I would do exactly what I am doing today. I have a passion for helping people. I
believe that success in business requires passion.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I ride my horses, go boating, attend NASCAR races, and travel. I also spend a
great deal of time just playing with my children.

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Kathy Sweeney
Kathy's home office