One year later, Design Resumes!

Photo by TonytheMisfit

Design Resumes is not a new company but 2010 for me was like the launch of a start-up. One year ago today, I resigned from Wausau Whitewater, my last non-profit management contract, to focus solely on building Design Resumes.

Hard choice.

I spent 12 years growing in expertise in operations and event management for the Wausau course, an international venue for whitewater kayaking and canoeing.

In 2011, Wausau will be the site of the Preworlds and in 2012, the site of the ICF Junior Slalom World Championships. I handed off the reigns to my very competent intern, Ashley Knutson, who just finished her Masters Degree in Sports Management and she took Wausau Whitewater through the 2010 season.

During my 12 years, I was part of the event management team for two World Cups and numerous other national and international events. I could walk away and give those events, training, and recreation marketing  to new operations management.

To accomplish my personal goals, I needed to look at life differently and my business with much more intensity. Social media is gaining solid ground, opening doors to new connections and opportunities. I came into this year with excellent marketing direction and advice for the first time in my career.

What were the obstacles?

  • I made this decision in the worst economy in 80 years.
  • Resume writers / career professionals do best in a good economy when people are confident to make career moves. The people who need us most in this economy, the unemployed, often are afraid to invest because they think it will take away from their ability to pay the mortgage — making decisions based on fear. Fortunately, I have also worked with some very wise job seekers this year who decided the investment was worth it and are now re-employed as a result.
  • Giving up the contract meant the loss of $12,000+, not a huge contract, but large enough to make a big dent in our budget if I failed.
  • March 2010 was the worst month in my company’s history, scaring me and making me second-guess my decision and impacted how I looked at other months in the future.
  • Start-up costs, professional development expenses, and an office remodel strained our budget even more.
  • Though I had some experience in social media and blogging, I was basically a newbie.

What was new?

  • My business transitioned from heavy face-to-face to very virtual using Skype, phone, and e-mail to replicate the same personalized style of service I built in my face-to-face business model.
  • We moved the January 2009 website from a Dreamweaver application that I marginally knew how to change to a March 2010 Headway-driven WordPress site which gave me much more control over content, layout, and changes and kept Kim Woodbridge, a WordPress expert on hand to help me with any hard changes.
  • I made sure I followed sound marketing advice throughout the year, a first in the history of my business. I never had a marketing plan or direction before.
  • I interacted with colleagues online, via e-mail, phone, and Skype as well as attending two career industry conferences to solidify my background and continue to stay cutting-edge in career marketing strategies.

The results

  • Design Resumes career industry-focused income rapidly made up for the loss of the contract with a 63.9% gain compared to 2009 year-to-date and total income will come close to 2009’s income.
  • I learned to not panic and call the month a loss in the middle of the month. I learned staying positive projects confidence in my online and real life interactions, often resulting in additional clients. Negative thinking projects fear and that never attracts anyone.
  • Blogging and online interactions via Twitter and Facebook built new friendships, alliances, and referrals.
  • People can find me online. In December 2009, my ranking was 1.6 million globally and 444,000 in the US. Today that ranking is 151,320 and 30,486 in the US.

The Future

  • I’m excited! The ground floor I built this year will expand next year.
  • I have more to learn, but I love learning!
  • I will continue 2011 with solid marketing advice to keep me from stumbling and to open new options for 2011.

Where does this leave me, one year later? No regrets!


  1. Rick Reyer on December 12, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Congratulations Julie, well done!

    • Julie Walraven on December 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      Thank you, Rick! I hope your schedule opens up so you can join us at the Christian Business Leaders Breakfast this year. I appreciate you stopping by!

  2. Kim Woodbridge on December 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    That is great! I’ve had some terrible months too and I would become scared that I had made the wrong decision but then something new would come along. And I’ve learned never to get frustrated by the 15th of the month – chances are the 2nd half will be super busy.

    I can’t believe it’s been a year since this site was launched – but now that I think about it I remember a wild week last December.

    • Julie Walraven on December 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm

      This site was March but you were on board when we moved the blog to the Dreamweaver site in April 2009 and to hostgator right after that when my old server was unresponsive. Then in March when we made the big move over to Headway, there was no way I was doing the blog and site move alone… having you to trust made all the difference.

      Yes, the panic on the 15th is very self-defeating and the rest of the month can ramp up to make up the difference if you hang in there. That was one of my key lessons.

      • Kim Woodbridge on December 15, 2010 at 6:01 am

        Oh 🙂 Well no wonder December didn’t seem quite right … still I’m so glad things are working out.

  3. Brent Pohlman on December 12, 2010 at 4:13 pm


    Great story! Keep going, you have great content on this blog and your brand will get noticed. It does take time and you have a good, solid year of experience.


    • Julie Walraven on December 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks, Brent! I am loving your content lately too! It does take time and practice. I have been learning the more I write, the more valid topics I come up with, and the more fun it is.


  4. Ted Bratton on December 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    It’s good to hear how you have progressed since you left Wausau Whitewater. I hope it keeps on going and things get even better for you.

    • Julie Walraven on December 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks, Ted, It has been an amazing year!

  5. Shahrzad Arasteh on December 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Congratulations, Julie!

    I am so delighted for you and well remember how great it was to meet you in person at CTL and get to hear about your new direction. I (and many others, I’m certain) had no doubt that you would be successful. It is wonderful to celebrate your successes with you and to look forward to hearing of more to come!

    Warmest wishes!


    • Julie Walraven on December 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Shahrzad, you ARE a delight! You are one of my favorite memories of Baltimore… not only our personal time together but your session with Susan Whitcomb on goal planning… You are a joy! (oh and don’t miss pics of both Teddy and Titan – the newfoundland 7 month old puppy on FB) 🙂

  6. Ali Davies on December 13, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Sounds like you have made some pretty big leaps this year and have build a strong foundation to move forward on.
    Hope 2011 will be your best year yet.

    • Julie Walraven on December 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you, Ali! We miss each other lately but I will always remember you for motivating posts! You too!

      • Ali Davies on December 14, 2010 at 4:59 am

        Thank you Julie. That is very kind of you to say so.

  7. Mark on December 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Cheers to your success Julie! I look forward to learning and sharing in 2011 🙂

    • Julie Walraven on December 13, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      Same here, Mark. I think you are my first South American connection so we are embarking on another phase of global connection for me … blessings!

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