Behind-the-scenes advice for busy solo professionals courtesy of Michael Katz, Blue Penguin Development

  • that was entirely based on yesterday’s “Today I.”

    Not that many years ago, I would have thought this was “not allowed.” I thought every idea I had and expressed had to be new and original.

    Now I think of it differently. It’s not so much about new information, it’s about developing a consistent, coherent “platform” of my point of view. That, necessarily, involves repetition.

    Today, I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that on a given day, 80% of the words that come out of my mouth in a business context, I’ve said before.

    And that’s not just okay, that’s the point. People don’t hang on every word we say or write. They miss a lot and even when they hear it in the moment, they quickly forget it.

    If you want to become known for something, you have to keep saying it, in different ways and in different contexts.


  • (each way) to have lunch with my friend Nick Miller (chapter 17 of my book for more on Nick). Terrific guy and very smart. Every time I meet with him I come away with at least one great idea.

    And every time lunch with him pops up on my calendar that day, I never want to go. “45 minutes? Ugh. That’s half the day by the time I go and come back. I have more important things to do.”

    But of course, I go, because it’s too late to cancel. And I never, ever regret it.

    All that to say that we need to separate long-term value (e.g., idea-inducing lunch with a smart guy) from short-term urgency (e.g. I got stuff to do around here today). The best, business -changing ideas always come from the long-term moments.

    P.S. I think I just came up with my newsletter topic for tomorrow!


  • who was trying to avoid my questions about how he was going to differentiate himself from his peers (other “management consultants”).

    It was a little uncomfortable at times, since I just wouldn’t let it go and I thought I might be annoying him. But in the end (two hours into it), we made great progress and he apologized to me for “being difficult.”

    It’s usually easier to not push so hard, but I find that if I just keep asking myself during those uncomfortable moments – “what’s best for him?” – I’m able to stay with it and the client is almost always happier at the end.


  • – my personal list of things I don’t do and/or require related to my work.

    One of them is a minium fee for “getting on an airplane.” I love speaking to groups and in the past, when someone would call and invite me to speak at a conference, it was hard for me to say no. Eventually I came up with a rule: I need $xxx to get on an airplane, minimum.

    Last week I was invited to speak at a conference and they made me an offer on the speaker’s fee. I told them my rule. I wasn’t really negotiating, I just said I can’t do it for less.

    Interestingly, because I had already decided on it well before they called, it almost felt like it came from something bigger than just me, and so it was easy for me to stand behind.

    Five minutes ago they sent me an email agreeing to pay the fee. That simple rule was worth $2,500.00 – the difference between our two numbers.

    What are your rules?!


  • I changed my email signature to include a promotion for my next One Year program.  Subtle, but when you think of how many people you send email to every day, it’s a simple way to raise awareness among your inner circle.