Lemonade Makers: Chris Hand, Personal Marketer
Profiles of people who turn economic lemons into lemonade.
This week?s Lemonade Maker: Chris Hand
Location: Upper West Side, New York City
Before recession: Running a visual communications agency and recruiting marketing executives.
Now: Building CareerHandlers, a personal marketing agency designed to help job seekers launch professional campaigns.
When did you notice a shift in the economic climate?
In the branding world, we often see indicators of economic downturns well ahead ofthe game because companies and individuals tend to do fewer start-ups and aggressive marketing campaigns. At the end of 2007, with my company YellowCouch, we began to see things slow down in all sectors.
What was your ?ah-ha? moment?
I began work in executive recruiting for marketing positions in a career shift from the visual communications field. In exploratory meetings, I quickly saw that large advertising firms were having similar problems as my agency ? just larger-scale?and I started to realize that the economy was probably in for a major correction. That was my ?aha? moment. When the shit hit the fan in autumn, 2008, I saw the job loss firsthand. We began to get more and more requests from people who needed work. That, coupled with economic news and daily layoffs, convinced me that there must be a better way for people to find work and communicate their talents. I decided to couple my expertise in branding and marketing and apply that to individual job searches.
How are you turning economic lemons into lemonade?
Job-seekers aren?t yet using the Internet to its fullest potential for their job search. They present themselves in a one-dimensional way, either by posting a resume or utilizing social networks to share information that?s relatively similar to resumes. On a resume, you?re just a name. Nothing visual. But what if you had a customized, 3-diminsional web portrait? You could provide links that give context and information at the click of a button. Maybe you?ve done a mission in Africa for a year. People want to see pictures ? both for verification and visual interest. We live in an advanced entertainment economy, so we have to be visually entertained. It?s about coupling pictures with words, and making important information readily available if an employer wants it. Consider CareerHandlers as your personal ad agency or branding firm. We will build and host your customized website while helping you strategize on how to present yourself in the best possible light. It?s vital to show prospective employers that you?re willing to go the extra mile.
How is your business model tailored to new economic realities?
The new economic reality means increased competition across the board. We all will have to fight harder to be noticed, and that takes time, money and innovation. The business model for CareerHandlers is being built for the increasing numbers of job seekers in the market and capitalizing on their eagerness to present themselves in more meaningful and appealing ways. We have seen fantastic initial success with tests and know that people are willing to invest to brand their job search.
Any tips for other readers thinking of starting a new venture?
The most important element is obviously to understand your target. What are their thoughts, needs and more importantly, their aspirations? Consumer needs and wants are shifting daily as the economic climate shifts. People don?t think and feel as they did a year ago ? or even a month ago. If you can truly empathize with potential customers then you can create a product that has a higher potential of filling a need and converting it to a sale.
--Posted by Lynn Parramore, Recessionwire.com Read more: The Incredible Shrinking Severance Check
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