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

  • It was for my Penguin Program, the sale price for which ends today.

    It’s not even lunchtime (I eat late) and I’ve sold more of these today than in the previous five days combined, since I first announced it. That’s usually how it goes; many people need a reminder.

    Of course, there’s a limit to how often you can/should promote things.

    But in my experience, most nice people – like you – don’t do enough, out of fear of “annoying people.”

    That’s your inner critic speaking, telling you that what you have to offer is not worth reading, let alone buying. 

    Do your best to ignore it.

    If you don’t let people know about your valuable work, who will?


  • Well, actually, many more than that.

    But these 23 are all about the same thing: These are all people who emailed to request a free download of my “activity tracking sheet” that I mentioned in my newsletter last week.

    I offered to send it for free to anyone who sent me an email to request it.

    Instead of doing that, why didn’t I just set it up as a “click here to download”? The interested people would have gotten it immediately, and I wouldn’t have had to respond to 23 emails.

    I did it that way because it gave me 23 chances to interact with people who read my newsletter.

    And interaction leads to connection, leads to trust, leads to referrals, leads to clients. Plus, it’s kind of fun.

    Is it less efficient? Definitely. But I’m not playing the efficiency game; I’m playing the get clients game.

    Which game are you playing?

    P.S. If you’d like a copy of that activity tracking sheet, just send me an email. (See what I did there?)


  • It came from the company that manages my email and related services (Cumulus Global), and included a handwritten thank you note from the company owner.

    It was significant: an Anker 521 Power Bank. I know, I had no idea what that is either.

    But when I looked it up (it’s a thing that charges many devices at once and/or when you are away from a power source), I discovered that it retails for $50.

    What did I do to deserve this? Apparently, I left them a 5-star google review earlier this year (I had completely forgotten).

    I don’t know how many of these they send (it was branded with the company name) and for the same $50 they could have sent (for example) 10, five-dollar Starbucks gift cards.

    The thing is, while both are nice gestures, only one moves the Wow needle.

    And moving the Wow needle is what marketing is all about.


  • I have nothing against 10 am; it’s a very pleasant time of day. And the newsletters themselves were perfectly fine.

    But sending a newsletter at the top – and, only slightly better, the bottom – of the hour, has two problems with it:

    #1. Lots of people do the same thing.

    These are crowded times.

    You’ll have a much better chance of getting your newsletter read if you avoid the times when other people are sending theirs. Examples include 9:47; 10:15; 11:21 (I could go on).

    #2. Meetings start at the top and bottom of the hour.

    Which means that just as your newsletter arrives, I’m getting on a call or walking into a conference room. 

    And when the meeting ends, I clear the backlog as much as possible of whatever came in while I was gone, including, possibly, your newsletter.

    If, instead, you send your newsletter 10 – 15 minutes before the top or bottom of the hour, now you reach all those people who are sitting at their desks waiting for the next Zoom to begin, eager for something to read. 

    Don’t make me list the possible times again.


  • From…

    … a colleague thanking me for connecting her with another colleague who she just hired.

    … a guy I worked with 20+ years ago who invited me to have lunch after I sent him a message last week on LinkedIn.

    … a guy who saw my LinkedIn post two weeks ago and was inquiring about working together.

    … a guy I played basketball with for 15 years who has since moved away, and was responding to my “hello” from six months ago.

    … a woman responding to a comment I made about her newsletter last week.

    If, as I do, you rely on “staying in touch” as a marketing strategy, there will be weeks where it feels like nobody is listening. But then, suddenly, it all comes back in a rush.

    It’s unpredictable and random, but over time, it always works to bring in business. Just keep stirring the pot.