We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyle Elliott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
While I’ve now been running my business for a little over eight years, CaffeinatedKyle.com happened completely by accident. I never imagined myself running this multi-six-figure resume writing and coaching practice and working with some of Silicon Valley’s top talent. I started CaffeinatedKyle.com as a way to fuel my soy, sugar-free vanilla latte addiction. Seriously! I started working at 14 years old, so resume writing came naturally to me. One day, I thought, “Why not get people to pay me to review their resumes?” I found the platform Fiverr and started charging five dollars to review resumes and write LinkedIn profile summaries. Once Fiverr took their cut, I made around $3.75 per ‘gig.’ Each gig took me about 15 minutes, so this was a fabulous way as a college student to make $15 per hour for Starbucks and Subway money. I never expected this side hustle to grow beyond a side hustle. Yet, there was a huge demand for my services. Following my success with Fiverr, I started recruiting resume writing clients through Craigslist and LinkedIn ProFinder. Fast forward a few years and a few hundred clients later, and new clients came primarily by word-of-mouth and through referrals. Let’s jump to 2017. At this point, I was employed full-time at a university. I worked in my office from 9 AM to 6 PM, had dinner, then worked on my side hustle from 7 PM to midnight to keep up with demand. While this was sustainable for a bit, I started to get burnt out working so much. I either had to make the leap of faith and run my business full-time or scale back my side hustle. I decided to take the leap of faith. It has now been almost eight years since I started my side hustle. Instead of working with three or four new clients per hour, I now work with two or three new clients per week. I offer a very white-glove experience that includes career coaching, interview coaching, life coaching, and professional resume writing. Other career coaches, resume writers, and service-based business owners also hire me for business mentoring as a result of the success I have had growing my business without spending thousands of dollars per month on advertising.
What should our readers know about your business?
There are a lot of career coaches out there. I am unique in both my niche and the experience I deliver to my clients. First, I specialize in working with senior managers and executives in Silicon Valley and high tech. My clients have landed jobs at Facebook, Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, you name it. I help my clients land these jobs by rethinking, reimagining, and recreating their career stories so they can stand out in the saturated job market. Second, I offer a very bespoke experience that clients cannot find anywhere else. I call it the “Disneyland experience.” I want clients to receive a fun and memorable experience with CaffeinatedKyle.com that they cannot get with any other career coach or professional resume writer. I deliver insights that are truly one-of-a-kind. This helps my clients get unstuck and achieve what they never imagined possible. Oh, I’m also thriving in an industry where a lot of my peers are twice my age. I am very honored to be coaching some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent executives.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My partner J.V. and I recently moved from Benicia, CA (San Francisco Bay Area) to Santa Barbara, CA (Southern California) for his new job and to be closer to Disneyland. There is so much that Santa Barbara has to offer. Let’s start with coffee. If you couldn’t tell based on my company being named CaffeinatedKyle.com, I love coffee. Spices & Vices is a cute hole in the wall tea and coffee shop. I am also a fan of Handlebar and The Daily Grind. The Daily Grind’s sandwiches are to die for. When it comes to food, Mulligan’s Cafe & Bar at the Santa Barbara Golf Club is highly underrated yet super delicious. The same goes for Panino’s and their Italian inspired sandwiches. For dinner, Zaytoon is one of my favorites, although my partner and I have a rule of never eating at the same restaurant in Santa Barbara twice. Zaytoon has delicious, authentic middle eastern food and drinks. Be sure to request a spot next to an outdoor fire pit! J.V. and I are big on exploration. One of my favorite places to explore in Santa Barbara is the Funk Zone. The Funk Zone has shopping, cafes, and wine tasting rooms, all while being just steps to the beach. Of course, we have tons of beaches throughout Santa Barbara as well as neighboring Montecito and Carpinteria. Recently, we went on a kayaking tour with Santa Barbara Adventure Company, which was a blast. I highly recommend taking a tour. What I also love about Santa Barbara is that we are just two hours from Disneyland, yet don’t have to deal with the traffic, congestion, or smog of actually living in Los Angeles. We are also just 1 1/2 hours away from Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo, and 2 hours from Paso Robles wine country. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be where I am today without mentorship and coaching. I am a big proponent of finding people who are where you want to be three, five, or 10+ years from now and aligning yourself with them. Jill Katz (Assemble HR Consulting) and Wendi Weiner (The Writing Guru®) have been two of my biggest mentors throughout this process. I’m also incredibly grateful and lucky to have parents and a partner who unconditionally love and support me. I teach my clients how to ‘own their fabulousness.’ A lot of this stems from parents who taught me how to own my fabulousness from an early age.
Lin Marty Photography