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Emily Kapit is the founder of ReFresh Your Step – a career advisory company that she started after leaving the Finance industry to go out on her own. Through many iterations of her company, she has successfully scaled her original service of providing resume services to be a full career advisory with a staff of people working with her.
She shares her launch motto, which is growing organically – without being afraid to change directions and taking the blinders off. Following her own advice, she walks us through how she has scaled her business and her ultimate networking strategy.
TOPICS DISCUSSED INCLUDE:
- Different iterations of the company
- How and when to scale
- How to get deal with the growing pains and change of scope
- This is the way it needs to be, deep breath and let it go
- Reframing the change to clients
- ABN – Always Be Networking
- Not networking, but connecting with someone with commonalities
- Marketing without marketing
- Reaching out to groups that you would naturally want to join
- Asking around the well-connected people in the community
- BNI organization – networking connections
- Reframing when things don’t go as planned
- There is always going to be the next step without a safety net
- Planning – being strategic and the growth potential is there
WANT TO GET IN TOUCH WITH EMILY?
MORE ABOUT EMILY KAPIT
Emily Kapit, MS, CPRW, ACRW, is the founder, lead resume writer, and head career strategist at ReFresh Your Step, LLC, a career advisory firm based in Miami, Florida with clients located nationally and internationally.
Emily specializes in writing highly tailored, targeted resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other professional documents. She is one of South Florida’s only Certified Professional Resume Writers (CPRW) and one of the very few ACRWs (Academy Certified Resume Writers). In addition to written documents, she also collaborates with clients on targeted job search strategies, effective networking tactics, and comprehensive interviewing techniques.
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Melissa Anzman (00:00): This is a launch yourself podcast with Melissa Anzman episode. Number 17, featuring Emily Kapit.
Melissa Anzman (00:07): Hello, hello, and welcome to the launch yourself podcast, career, business, and brand advice to help you be seen, make an impact and deliver at your maximum potential. And now here's your host, Melissa Anzman
Melissa Anzman (00:25): Welcome to the launch yourself podcast. I'm your host, Melissa Anzman today. We're going to be chatting to my friend, Emily Kapit. Emily is a founder lead resume writer and head career strategists that refresh your step. A career advisory firm based in Miami, Florida with clients located nationally and internationally. Emily specializes in writing highly tailored, targeted resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other professional documents. She is one of South Florida's only certified professional resume writers, and one of very few Academy certified resume writers. In addition to written documents, she also collaborates with clients on targeted job search strategies, effective networking tactics, and comprehensive interviewing techniques. I'm so excited to welcome her to the show. We have been friends for many, many years, and her story is great. So please a warm welcome to my friend, Emily. I'm so excited to have my friend Emily Kapit on the show today.
Melissa Anzman (01:26): Emily runs a very successful career advisory and resume writing business. Her and I go back, I can't even count the number of years. It's been a while and we met randomly through one of my college hallmates friends. So funny. Yes, so random. But since we have met, we've been fast friends and friends for a while, and I'm so happy to have her in my life. And she helped trailblaze a career path for my, for me. In some ways in that, you know, she was very successful going out on our own. She stuck with it. I saw her digging in and being so focused on the end result in the end that her eyes on the prize. So yeah, I knew that she'd be a great guest on the launch yourself podcast. And today she is going to talk about how she creates growth for her business, how she turned it into a successful business through organic growth. So welcome to the show, Emily, thank you so much for having me. I'm happy to be here. Absolutely. So here at launch yourself, we define the launch as a specific point in time when you purposely decided to take action to fulfill your maximum potential in your career, business or brand. So with that in mind, could you perhaps share some information insight into what your launch is? Sure. Well my launch really happened originally several years ago. Back when you and I first met, actually I, when was still working at Lehman brothers
Emily Kapit (03:00): Up in New York. And I just saw that there were a number of people particularly in my peer set, who very much dislike that they were doing in world. And it really intrigued me as I wanted to help them. It wasn't exactly sure how, but it started me on a path of, I want to get into this business. I want to be able to help my peer set and then people younger than me and older than me and all the sectors, all levels really discover what it is that they want to do and put together a strategic plan for getting there. So my launch started then, and then there were a few sort of relaunches along the way as my life changed and as the company changed and, and our goals changed. So we had an additional relaunch as I moved to Atlanta obviously after Lehman.
Emily Kapit (03:46): And then once again, after that, you know, we launched the business with a total refocus and very much so sort of switching from the original goal of doing career advisory for the young professionals. I relaunched to really focus more on first stop the resume writing business for everybody. And then once the resume was done is that just seems to be a great platform, a launching point for so many people with their career search, then looking at, okay from here, job search, LinkedIn profiles, networking. So along the way, we've had a couple of relaunches for the business and a lot of it had to do with what is our organic growth? What are we seeing is working? What are we seeing as not working quite as well as we had intended and how can we evolve the business to better suit our clients.
Melissa Anzman (04:39): I love that insight because I think what I've seen with a lot of my clients and a lot of entrepreneurs in general is, you know, they have this idea and something gets them off, off the main path, but it's successful for them. They're making money, they're earning an income, they're enjoying it, but they don't want to do it cause it wasn't the original path. Yes. And, and it sounds like that's not quite the best advice that you would give your, your path.
Emily Kapit (05:06): And, and I think it, you know, I, if I had to, if I went from now back to my past, out, back to myself from say 2009, 2010 and said, Hey, your main focus of this company is going to be resume writing. My past self would say, Oh no, it's not. That can't be, that would be really boring. And, but now I'm sort of laughing at that because originally I did not intend resume writing to be the focus. It's something I'd always done as I have a journalism background. And so I, I do know how to write along with the recruiting background, but that wasn't going to be my focus. And then it just so happened that people were coming to me for resumes, and then they were successful with those resumes and then they were referring other people. So the business just really grew.
Emily Kapit (05:52): And so one day I honestly just had this rule say to myself, listen, this is what's working. And so I, I sort of had to take a step back, reframe my perspective on everything and commit to really looking very hard at that, making the resume business successful. And once I committed it became something that I, you know, I do truly enjoy just wasn't my original focus. And at this point, it's, it is our, our main driver. We do quite a bit of career advisory and networking techniques and LinkedIn profile writing and all of that. That's all really a huge part of refresher step, but the, the resume writing is our launching point you know, for our, for our clients. And and I'm first and foremost, a resume writer, I think first and foremost, I'm an entrepreneur, but really, very soon after that resume writer.
Emily Kapit (06:45): And and I never thought I would be the only ACRW, which is an Academy certified resume writer. One of the only ones in the Southeast. And there's not very many of us worldwide, never thought I would think about that level, but but I'm there now and it's it's been very, very satisfying, but it's been a matter of evolution to see exactly again, what works for us, what doesn't work for us and being very open to that. I've always sort of likened it to, and I tell clients this with their own job search. I think the analogy works here as well. It's sort of like having a general path in front of you and knowing sort of where you want to go, but not putting blinders on being able to see what's off to the left, what's off to the right and, and making modifications as needed as you continue going down that path. And for me, I veered towards resumes and that opens up the whole world. So it's been great. I love it. You,
Melissa Anzman (07:45): Yeah, it, it, it has. And for me, you know, seeing you go through the launches and the iterations and the evolution of your business has been exciting and interesting to watch because, you know, things don't happen overnight. People don't become successful, you know, from a monetary perspective or six figure incomes plus overnight, it's, it's tweaking, it's working, it's doing, can you talk a little bit about how your process was, and maybe you know, how long it took for you to really feel like, Oh, wait, this is working, this is successful. This is what I'm doing. Yeah,
Emily Kapit (08:27): Yeah, absolutely. And I'll say that the idea of success has evolved just as much as the company has, and I'm really right along with it. I remember feeling successful even back in late 2008, I launched the company right as Lehman filed for bankruptcy. I'd left before, but I, I watched the company right around then in response to Lehman filing actually. And I remember clients started coming to me almost immediately because they, they knew the work I had done back then. And I remember feeling successful then just cause I was like, Oh wow, this is actually going somewhere crazy. And then, you know, we reworked a few things and originally when I was doing refresher step right at the very beginning, I was finishing up my masters and I felt that, you know, once I finished, I was like, okay, I'm going to fully, fully commit to refresher step a.
Emily Kapit (09:19): And then I got a really interesting job opportunity to use refresher step for some consulting work in Atlanta that was very much within the same space, the career advisory space, but, but a bit of a different population. I remember it's when I, I stepped away from that and really fully committed to refresher step relaunched the business and the website and our sort of growth pattern that I started to feel like, okay, this is really going somewhere. And that, cause it was, it was just me and it was just me focusing on it and clients were coming in. I was in marketing. I've never really never really done marketing, but clients are coming in from organic searches online as well as referrals. But I think most recently it's been really interesting to see how the business has grown with the new team we have in place.
Emily Kapit (10:13): We did bring in a team of writers in late 2013 for a couple of reasons. And one of them really was because I, I couldn't handle the business myself anymore in terms of how many clients were coming in, cause clients were going to be waiting for weeks and weeks and weeks. And I didn't want that. I, you know, I wanted them to get their, their documents right away and start moving forward with their job search. So we brought in a team of client, our team of writers rather and of coaches and and being able to, to see the company continue to be successful, knock on wood with with me from overseeing the business a lot more and working with them and seeing the clients really respond very well to that has been sort of magical for me in the sense that like I said, it's been, it's been magical for me in the sense that this is my first time that I'm managing the business and, and not, and, and really seeing the clients work with others and enter managing the full process from start to finish.
Emily Kapit (11:19): And that's been very cool. So I'm very excited to see where it goes from here. And, and again, if you had told me back in 2008, that in late 2013, the company would have, you know, a staff of writers. I don't think I would have believed it. I'd be very happy thinking about that. And it sort of would have made a lot of those very late nights a lot more enjoyable. But, but to see the company continue to grow throughout it all has been really cool. Yeah. That's awesome. You found a way to scale,
Melissa Anzman (11:54): Right. And you, and I talked about this a lot of how are you going to scale it? Like if it's just you doing the resumes, how does that become a commodity that you can continue to increase your opportunities and you found a great way that works for your company to do that.
Emily Kapit (12:12): It does. And which doesn't mean that it's necessarily easy. Cause you know, you have there are always going to be challenges whenever you're, you're dealing with growth with the company. And it's like growing pains. Right. but we did have to find a way to scale it. We had to just with, with my own development, the company's development, we needed a way to keep our, our, you know, sort of influx of clients happy. And me working somewhat normal hours. Cause as you well know, there are no job hours. You're, you're an entrepreneur, but I had to find a way and this, yeah,
Melissa Anzman (12:50): I'm laughing because her and I tend to happen to be online a lot really late. So chatting to each other after hours, isn't abnormal for either one of us. So with the scaling of it, cause I think that's a really important part of your business and, and a new launch, like really the step forward where you're going. How did you, how are you adjusting to that? How hard or easy is it to let control go a little bit?
Emily Kapit (13:20): It, it has really been sort of a mix of hard and easy, which is an interesting response. I know I, I'm not, I'm really not copping out there. In some ways it's been really difficult to just say, all right, writers, you take it. Because I like to, I like to, I like to write and I like to be working with the clients. And sometimes they get these really interesting clients that I would have loved to take on their case, but I, I just don't have the bandwidth. So then I give it to my writers, but then it's getting easier as I see just how well they're working with the clients and how successful it's been for them. That makes it a lot easier. So, you know, I am, I also have no choice, but to let it go in order to to let the company continue to expand.
Emily Kapit (14:11): So it's a matter of saying, okay, this is just what needs to happen right now, deep breath, let it go. And, and that has really worked very well for me to sort of give myself as these check-ins of this is the way it needs to be deep breath, let it go. And you know, I let all my clients know that I stay very involved in the process. And I reframe it for them. If, if you know, I had to happen this morning where a client said, you know, I called you to work with you. Why am I going to work with another writer? And I said, listen, you're now getting two highly certified writers for the price of one. And all of a sudden it clicked for him. And he said, Oh, I didn't think about it that way. You're totally right.
Emily Kapit (14:52): So in reframing it for them and letting you know, and I see their positive response helps me to then feel more positive about it too. But it's true, you know, it's, they really are getting shoe writers for the price of one, two highly certified ones. I do stay very, very involved, no documents go out without me going through it in very much detail. And, and that has allowed me to, to still be in the process. I still handle everything on the backend. It's really just a matter of connecting client to writer and letting them talk. And then and me staying involved throughout.
Melissa Anzman (15:29): So one thing you mentioned a little earlier, it's a little off topic, but that had my antenna off was you know, you haven't, you grew your business without advertising. Now I know you, so I have a little insight into this, but you are really good getting out there and making connections, being in front of people, relentlessly networking and, and doing that. And that's not something me as an introvert that I enjoy at all. Like, I need a lot of your help with that in general. So could you talk us through sort of your mindset around that and you know, how you get motivated to do that in your plan?
Emily Kapit (16:13): Absolutely. I mean, at this point, my perspective has been for a long time of essentially ABN always be networking. But I look at it, I look at it a little bit differently cause I, you know, in lots of ways, yes, I, I am more of an extrovert. That being said, I do still have to push myself, but there's a difference. I think, between networking, even if that sort of the phrase in my head, sometimes there's a difference between networking and connecting. And so I honestly, wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I always try to make connections with people. Even if it's for a friend you know, I'm going to be friends with you and then all of that, or if I think it can lead to more of a business thing, I'm always connecting with people. And I feel like the difference between networking and connecting.
Emily Kapit (17:00): It's basically the depth networking is a very like surface connects or surface relationship where, Oh, this is who I am. This too. You are, this is what we do kind of thing. How can you help me? How can I help you? Whereas connecting with someone, it takes it down to a much deeper level where you're really finding something in common with somebody, whether it's, you know, you both like the same sport team or kids go to the same school or whatever it might be. You're finding something on a deeper level that connects you and that makes you mm, more memorable. And I find that if I, I don't always feel like networking with people, but I can connect with people cause it feels more real and like, and it feels less like work. So if I can go to a party and I know I'm exhausted, but I'm going to connect with people and just sort of relax and enjoy myself, I've actually really found that I'm more successful in, in building relationships with people that way.
Emily Kapit (18:03): Then if I, if I'm at like a networking event and just trying to meet everybody in the room, you know, so it's really trying to build some sort of a, a deeper connection with someone. And then it's a, a matter of follow up. So there are, there are definitely nights where I might have a set of business cards and I will have taken notes on the back of them. You know, this person went to my same undergrad, you know, this other person also says that she has she has dogs and I have a dog, you know, I make little notes. So we, when I follow up with them I can sort of call those details back. I will not remember them unless I write them down, but I'll be able to say I was so great meeting with you. You know, I, I know that you also went to university of North Carolina at chapel Hill. So did I, you know, what was your major mind was journalism? And that way I'm sort of building again, even from there deeper connection. And a lot of times people then connect with me on LinkedIn. They connect with me on Facebook. Social media is my best friend in terms of keeping up with people and that's what lends itself to marketing without marketing, you know? So I hope that answered your question.
Melissa Anzman (19:14): No, absolutely. You know, I'm always interested in hearing your answer to that. I bug her all the time about, so I don't want to do this. How do I do this?
Emily Kapit (19:24): It's always two in the morning we have these conversations.
Melissa Anzman (19:27): Right, exactly. So with that though, that's sort of the in person networking, which I tend to actually have a better time with as well.
Melissa Anzman (19:36): How do you,
Melissa Anzman (19:37): How would you advise, so both, both of that answer someone to get involved locally, like how do you make that first connection of like getting into their local space?
Emily Kapit (19:49): So I would say, be true to yourself. What is it that really interests you first and foremost? So, you know, for me, and I can answer this from my perspective you know, we moved my husband and I used to several different places and every time we moved, we reached out to the local young professional groups. And one that we thought, like we would have a natural sort of intrinsic motivation to, to join anyway. And we did, we joined them, we started going to events and you know, I wasn't reaching out to a bowling league cause I don't bowl or if I did, you'd laugh at me. So I reached out to ones where I would naturally want to join it anyway. And that helps. So then you start making inroads there. And then from there, I started to sort of asking around it, I sort of started to get to know who the other well connected people in the community that are within sort of my age range.
Emily Kapit (20:42): Key people. I was already sort of naturally becoming friends with as it is. And I would ask them, Hey, you know, from a business perspective, what would your thoughts be on different kinds of organizations that I should join? And once you start talking to people within the community whose opinions you're starting to trust those are the ones who can open doors for you. I listen, I, I, I definitely don't want to recreate the wheel every single time. And if I can, if I can ask people for assistance, I certainly will because they know better. They're already in that community. They already know what works, what doesn't. So I ask people. And so from there I've found that organizations like, like BNI some people know BNIs and people don't, but it's a, it's a networking organization where you're basically everyone's giving each other connections for their own different sectors and, and whatnot.
Melissa Anzman (21:33): Emily, can you share with us part of, part of what I really liked doing is sort of peeking the curtain or peeking behind the curtain, I should say, and sharing how to get through the scary moments and how to push past when things don't go as planned. Can you give an example of that and how you've managed that?
Emily Kapit (21:53): Sure, absolutely. It's definitely a phrase that I have used a few times throughout this podcast reframing you know, things are not going to go as planned, but there's always going to be a lesson to come out of it. And I know that sounds a little cheesy, but in actuality it's, for me, at least been very true. So, you know, every once in a while you're going to get the, the challenging client or the challenging situation where, you know, someone who they say the customer is always right, but they're very, oftentimes the customer is very not right. And you're just sitting there like scratching your head, like, Oh my God, how do I handle this one? And I, I tend to reframe, so, you know, every once in a while we'll have that client and I'll say, okay, what I learned from this is, you know, how to better identify or go with that intuition of this is not the right client for us, or if we have a challenge that we have to push through, then it's a matter of, okay, now I know I have to change this step within the process, or I need to add this to the process or something like that.
Emily Kapit (22:57): I always try to look for what the positive messages that's coming out of it. And that has helped me to just, you know, deal with it when when challenges have come up with within the business and that's gonna happen. Inevitably regardless of whatever business someone's in. So for me, again, it's just been a matter of trying to find the good reframing the situation and using that going forward. So in effect it doesn't happen again. So that's been helpful for me.
Melissa Anzman (23:27): Absolutely. And you're so calm and, and collected to the client, which I think is great because you're able to really learn from it and take a step back and know
Emily Kapit (23:39): There were definitely moments where I get off the call or I, I finished an email where I'm just like, Oh my God, but it's, and I honestly want to have the reaction I want to have and not try to push that down. I do while I'm in the midst of it. If I'm, if I'm face to face with a client or on a call or whatever, you know, I obviously am going to maintain that professional appearance, but once I have a minute to breathe and react, I will because then that's going to help me get it out and learn from it and move on. But it's a matter of staying calm in the moment, which I know is, is not always easy.
Melissa Anzman (24:16): No, but you do it, which is awesome.
Emily Kapit (24:19): Thank you. And I know you do as well, and it's just a matter of just saying, alright, breathe, let it go. Right.
Melissa Anzman (24:25): I like to push my view button if I'm on the phone. Right. Like I can mute it, take the breath actually out loud.
Emily Kapit (24:32): I have to do that one of these days. That's a great tip. Thank you.
Melissa Anzman (24:37): Yeah. Yeah. I learned it while I was, I was given a performance review over the phone. That's a whole nother story. That was a whole nother day. Oh my God. Yeah, absolutely. But it was a good tip that has served me well. What's been the hardest part of sticking in it for your business through sort of the ups and downs and how have you managed it?
Emily Kapit (25:02): I think the hardest part for me has been really finding it in myself to commit the business because there were a few years where I was presented with opportunities that allowed me to use the business for consulting and where, you know, you sort of you still through the business, but but you know, obviously losing a little bit of, of money because it's consulting and all that. And the scariest thing for me was making that leap to just do the business. So I, you know, was doing running a career advisory arm for a nonprofit in Atlanta. I was doing subcontracting work for the ladders which is all very, very helpful and relevant and great educational experience for me, but really making that commitment to just be truly the head of refresher step was in some ways, incredibly terrifying and in other ways, immensely gratifying cause you just don't know what's going to happen.
Emily Kapit (26:08): And you're sort of losing that, that padding, that like, you know, that cushion, you're losing the safety net and you're, you're flying out there as an Acrobat, hoping that you're just going to be able to catch the next bar. And so far so good, but but there's always going to be the next step that's going to be without a safety net. But it's, you know, again, it's, it's reframing, it's looking at it from a, a positive perspective and of course planning, like I, you know, I can't gloss over the fact that there've been lots and lots of planning in about, you know, being strategic and making sure the growth potential is there and the right partners are there in the support system in terms of a team and all that. So there's lots of planning, but then there's, there's definitely that, that moment of alright, gulp, go for it. You know,
Melissa Anzman (27:00): Mhmm, which brings me to one of the best questions I like, which is what's next for you?
Emily Kapit (27:08): Sure. you know, we just made this immense change by, by adding the team. So right now we're concentrating quite a bit on keeping that going. I'm looking right now towards towards 2015 where we're going to perhaps add a few more of team members and, and see how that goes. I, for myself and looking to really get back into the, the powerful connecting, networking stuff. As Melissa know, the, I took a step back as our family expanded a little bit. But I that's. My next thing is to get back into that and, and start presenting again, we've been asked to do some presentations going forward throughout the the South Florida area where some really, really great organization. So to start doing that again and then looking forward to doing some more national presence kind of stuff.
Emily Kapit (28:04): So we're working with our business development team on getting that together. I'm doing some great presentations nationally. We've been working on a really cool product to go within our, our resume writing portfolio is something that our clients who don't necessarily want to commit to a full resume rewrite, but do want some assistance can utilize this product. So we've been working with some attorneys on getting that together. So lots of great stuff on horizon, I'm looking forward to to blasting it all out there as stuff gets finished. So lots of good stuff looked out.
Melissa Anzman (28:40): I can't wait. I can't wait to see some of all of that. Some and all of it, I should say, come to fruition. I know it's going to be great. Thank you so much. Could you just remind everybody before we go, where they can find you online?
Emily Kapit (28:51): Absolutely. our main website is refreshyourstep.com. So again, refresh your step.com. You can also find me at facebook.com/refreshyourstep Twitter, of course, @refresher step LinkedIn. I suggest just finding me and you'll find all of our information there, but linkedin.com/in/emily capite. So yeah, those are all the main places to find us. And of course the just, just reach out, you know, I'm always happy to answer questions in emails, email@example.com.
Melissa Anzman (29:28): Absolutely. We'll be sure to have all your contact information in the show notes. Thanks again for coming Emily so much for having me really appreciate it. I hope you enjoy today's episode with my friend, Emily, Emily has successfully taken, could be easily a one man shop and scaled it to a high income generating activity company with a staff under her. So I hope you learned a lot from her today. If you like to get the show notes for this episode, you can go to launchyourself.co/session17. Again, that's launch yourself.co/session 17, and please be sure to subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes and leave us a great review until next time.
Melissa Anzman (30:11): Thanks for listening to the launch yourself podcast. Join the conversation at www.launchyourself.co.
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