Today we’d like to introduce you to Brett Ellis.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Brett. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that I naturally gravitated towards the work.
I knew I wanted to educate people, but I had no idea how I was going to do that. This struggle stayed with me for many years, until I finally realized that my struggle was my purpose. I wanted to help other people discover and pursue their passions.
I got started by teaching K-12 Business courses and then working in higher education. I quickly became a go-to person for anything and everything career development. I completed a Certified Advanced Resume Writer course December 2016 while I was working full-time as a Residence Hall Director at Georgia State University, and my business was officially launched (as a side hustle) in January 2017.
Since then, I have taken on additional certifications and used them to add additional services for my clients like cover letter writing, LinkedIn coaching, interview preparation, salary negotiation, etc.
I left GSU in April of 2018 for a job as the Interim Director of Career Services at Kentucky State University. I couldn’t fight the urge that I made the wrong decision by leaving Atlanta, so I finally made the big leap of faith July 31st of 2018, and I quit my job to move back to Atlanta (without a job) and to pursue my business full-time. I haven’t looked back since.
I love to get people excited about their passions and careers. I have a talent for making traditionally boring topics like resumes, cover letters, and interviewing skills a fun and engaging experience.
My approach to career coaching is very authentic, fun, and forward-thinking. I like to encourage purpose-driven exploration and emphasize high self-accountability. Most of all, I like to “keep it real” when my clients and I are chatting. That’s why I’m The #CandidCareerCoach.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Man! Plenty of struggles.
The biggest challenge, in the beginning, was being a 1st-generation college student. I did well in my classes but struggled with almost everything outside of that. This is what inspired me to go into education in the first place to work with high school & college students.
I have experienced several negative work environments, terrible bosses, being unemployed (not having health insurance), and not being able to find a job. All of these made my life very challenging, but they have made me more relatable and experienced as a career coach. I can empathize with most of my clients because of this.
Several major career opportunities of mine have come from not getting jobs that I really wanted. All of these rejections hurt, but I almost always find a creative and productive way to bounce back. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I find a way to prove that I can.
Even now, my finances can put a lot of weight on my shoulders. I have to consistently remind myself that I am still in the early stages of owning a successful business. Income is no longer as consistent as it was with a full-time job, but I’m committed. I got a roommate, scaled back my spending, and go out less. Most of my income goes back into the business.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business continues to expand as my skills do. I started off as just a Resume Writer. As I took on more certifications, I added to my services. I began offering career coaching calls around just about every aspect of the job search.
I became heavily involved on LinkedIn around February 2018 because I saw it as the perfect place for my online presence to grow and a relatively untapped market. I started posting content more consistently and grew my profile over 7K followers in a year. Many people know me for my work on LinkedIn, and I have even met people in-person who have recognized me!
Now I mostly focus on career coaching and public speaking. I am focusing a lot of my energy in 2019 to land more corporate sponsorships, college/university workshop facilitation gigs, and student engagement consulting for University Career Services and corporate recruiting of Gen-Z employees.
What sets me apart from others in my industry is that I place a heavy focus on marketing. That’s why my business is called Brett Ellis Career Marketing Services. With technology, career development and job searching are more like marketing and sales, but the product is you. I am also self-taught in graphic design, so people enjoy my highly engaging visuals and characters. They are beginning to know my workshop sessions by name because of the branding (Resumes Evolved, LinkedIn or LeftOut, Improv & Interviews).
I am also not the most “polished” or expected person to be a career coach. Most are middle-aged women with backgrounds in HR. I don’t wear suits and ties, I curse with my clients and in my presentations, and I am not afraid to tell it how it is. It sometimes backfires, but overall my clients like me because they feel comfortable in an authentic space, and my work speaks for itself.
What were you like growing up?
I really had two main focuses growing up. I did very well in school, and I was a good baseball player. I come from a family where nobody left our small hometown and nobody finished college. I knew that my ticket out was either academics or athletics, so I worked hard in both. My family has always been very supportive in everything that I have done.
I was also very entrepreneurial, but not because I wanted to be. I had to. We didn’t really have money for anything other than necessities, so I knew that I needed to provide for myself at a very young age. I sold anything from decorated pine cones, candy, and pictures from coloring books to make money to buy snacks and drinks from the recreation center down the street from my house. Even when I went to college, I started a business creating decorative paddles for fraternity and sorority members to help pay for groceries, haircuts, and gas.
I used to pity myself for these things and envy my more-wealthy friends, but as I’ve grown older, I noticed how much stronger I am because of them. One of my sayings is, “Your struggles give you superpowers.”
I had a lot of friends and a big family, but I never really felt like I belonged. I just knew there was something bigger out there for me, and I needed to get there for myself.
I have always been the type of person who wants to see it all and try almost anything. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I am always aware that life is short. I don’t want to look back and have regrets.
- Professional Resume Writing – $200
- 1-Hour Career Coaching Sessions (Resume Review, LinkedIn Coaching, Interview Prep, etc.) – $60
- Group Workshops & Speaking Engagements – $300/hour
- Access to my email list with templates, how-to guides, & resources – FREE – http://bit.ly/2BSrJf6
- Website: www.brettelliscms.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brettelliscms/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brettelliscms/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brettellis1/
Darryl G. Humphrey II, Devvon Horn