My Happy Accident

By: Deb Wheatman, Founder and CEO of Careers Done Write

I like to call the founding and launch of “Careers Done Write” my “happy accident.” I began my career as many people do in Corporate America. My inaugural role started in the financial services industry – fast-paced and filled with chaos, and not filled with many women. But, I was young and up for the challenge. I enjoyed my role and made it through the tumult of the industry before moving on to a new position in the music industry. I love, love, love music, and  I thought the job would be fun.  There was a lot of exciting travel, and I was excited to contribute.

However, my initial excitement gave way to a pervasive sense of dread. I really liked the woman to whom I reported (I remain in touch with her to this day), but her boss was nasty, intolerant, rude, accusatory, and possessed many other unsavory characteristics, making the company an uncomfortable place to work. I made a swift egress from that company.

A year later, I moved on to a position with an advertising agency where I made positive contributions and was promoted several times over my tenure. That experience was a constructive one, and I learned a lot. Subsequently, I joined a large magazine publishing house with highly regarded and well-known publications. It had the reputation of being a difficult place to work (maybe you saw the movie).  And it was.

There, I met the woman who would become one of my closest friends and who changed my career trajectory, culminating with the founding of Careers Done Write.  As a writer since I was young, I love words. In college, I majored in communications and took many journalism courses. My friend approached me about filling in for a small, but growing, startup that needed a resource to do some résumé writing and career preparation. I didn’t know it then, but Careers Done Write was born from this initial interaction. I learned that I could leverage the written word as a powerful way to help others.

I learned some fundamental lessons during this time: people quit a boss, not a job; expect people to treat you with respect because it preserves your emotional and physical well-being.

The role with the startup expanded and, for a while, remained my side hustle. One day, I completed a résumé review for a woman that was comparing companies. The review led to a write-up in the Wall Street Journal’s Cranky Consumer Section as the “Best Résumé Review.” The rest, as they say, is history. I grew that business by over 300% – all while maintaining my full-time job. I appeared numerous times on national TV to discuss career-related matters and generated a significant contract from a business school in London. When a private equity firm purchased that company, my amazing, fabulous husband suggested I start my own company – so I did just that and formally launched Careers Done Write.

Beyond creating the name and the service offerings, I drafted a business plan that outlined the company’s value proposition and how I planned to deliver services. I created a website and began writing a weekly blog that I sent to my clients that signed up for my newsletter.

I followed up with my clients and quickly gained momentum.  I generated something of a following, remaining in close touch with the current and past clients, as they referred my services to other people – friends, colleagues, and family members located domestically and internationally. I built my reputation as someone who provided a high touch, high level of service.

My outreach was consistent. I joined LinkedIn in 2006 and began using the platform to advance Careers Done Write’s brand by sharing career-related content to help job seekers. I also started filming content and posting videos on YouTube – all initiatives designed to share valuable information and promote Careers Done Write’s services.

The business that I launched in 2005 continues to grow and has served thousands of global clients in their efforts to pursue new career opportunities, make transitions, seek board-level roles, and advocate for themselves as part of a career journey. It continues to be my pleasure to share my knowledge with careerists and advise people so they can achieve new levels of performance and professional success.

My company maintains an active role on social media. I have a small, dedicated staff with whom I work closely to advance the brand and the company’s reach. Over the years, I have conducted many public speaking engagements before audiences of varying sizes for well-respected companies and institutions of higher learning. I have used Careers Done Write as the platform to inspire people on their career journey while providing actionable information to support clients’ goals.

And, I have learned that developing, nurturing, and expanding your network is key.  Outreach across platforms, sharing your thought-leadership has been pivotal to my success.  You just might discover a new mentor, partner, or employee that can take you to the next level.

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