Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in career development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jenna Cantwell, Owner of Cantwell Career Coaching, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cantwell Career Coaching serves customers who are passively or actively looking to enhance their careers. As the owner of CCC, I am passionate about cultivating customized strategies, roadmaps, and tools for my clients throughout all phases of the job search and promotion planning process, from start to finish. I create modern professional branding tools that tell a cohesive and engaging story of my clients' career journeys, including resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile updates. I also deliver job search assistance and career fulfillment coachings, such as interview preparation, salary negotiation, and job search/job offer counseling. I work remotely to serve a diverse clientele from various industries and experience levels (ranging from entry-level to C-level executives).
Tell us about yourself
Having a blended corporate recruitment and staffing background carved the pathway for me to start my own resume-writing and coaching business. I have worked with countless hiring managers in various environments, giving me insight as to what both a recruiter and hiring manager look for in resumes and interviews. I leverage my entrepreneurial journey to help professionals tell their stories and highlight their accomplishments. Resumes should not be one of those "to-do" list items that you pull together quickly yourself. If you found your dream job or it is essential that you get a new job, you need to outsource it to a professional who can write your career story in a way that magnetically attracts hiring managers. I thrive off of receiving glowing reviews, repeat business, and hearing the success stories of my clients who landed their dream job, received significant salary increases, converted to 100% remote, and are able to better care for their families because of my help.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment would be just ripping off the bandaid to start this business venture three years ago and pushing through during the COVID pandemic. It was a blessing to help so many people during a time of fear and the unknown. A lot of my clients were laid off, but I helped them navigate that difficult time and watched as they flourished into the happiest versions of themselves when they landed a job that they really wanted. The pandemic had a way of pushing people outside of their comfort zones, and I got to see how it paid off for them.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a business owner is when you're in the "down" phases of your business. There are ups and downs, and while you're down, you just feel like you are drowning. You try everything you can to get back afloat, including new programs, services, branding, etc. It is a lot of stress, but you just have to keep faith that things will be OK until you get back to the "up" phase. I had just finished year three of my business, and I had planned to grow exponentially, as I did in year two. However, that was not the case, far from it. The state of the economy, plus the decrease in hiring, has really put a damper on my business. That being said, I have had more repeat clients than I could have ever imagined, and I am blessed that I have been able to help who I can this year while trying to set myself up for a better year four!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- JUST DO IT. Don't overthink it. Of course, there are some logistics you need to handle, but don't wait until you are fully ready to start/announce your business. You will never be fully ready; just like being a parent, there is no PERFECT time. You make the decision to do it, and you commit to giving it your all, day in and day out, from then on.
- Don't pay so much attention to what every other business is doing. I made that mistake. I was told that I needed to focus more on social media, including platforms like TikTok, which I had never used. I invested a lot of money and time into this for over six months, and it did not get me anywhere; in fact, it took me away from things that actually worked for me. Figure out what is best for your business and your target audience, and steer away from the "norm."
- Continually advance your knowledge and skills... you may be an expert at something when you start, but times are ever-changing, and there is always room for growth. Take free or paid courses, network, join mastermind classes, read professional growth books, etc. Don't overload yourself with constant growth material, but don't forget to sprinkle it in, either. Life and business are all about moderation.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.