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

  • 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.


  • It’s from a guy who shows up there from time to time with a simple schtick: 

    He goes up to people on the beach who are in terrific physical shape and asks them what their workout routine is.

    I know. I can’t believe he hasn’t found me yet either. But here’s what I’ve noticed about these conversations, all of which relates to the way you market your business:

    #1. Everyone has a routine.

    I have yet to see any of these people respond with anything like, “Oh, I don’t know. Just living life I guess.”

    Instead, every single one of them has an approach they can clearly articulate and that they do regularly.

    #2. Everyone’s routine is different.

    Some emphasize body-weight exercises. Some are distance runners. Some swear by the gym.

    The guy on today’s post claimed to exercise four hours every day … but he eats as much of whatever he wants, including a nightly dessert.

    All to say that the “what” doesn’t really matter. It’s the commitment to an approach that makes the difference. 

    Solo professional marketing is very similar. 

    There’s no silver bullet, and it doesn’t really matter what you choose to do. 

    So long as you have a something(s) and a commitment to doing it regularly, 

    Enjoy your dessert.


  • I’ve had the same template for 10+ years so it seemed like a good time to give that and the associated web site a fresh look.

    Chances are, you didn’t notice. Chances are even greater that you don’t care.

    And that, my content-producing friend, is the point.

    Your readers, listeners, presentation attendees, and the vast majority of your children have little interest in your latest achievement.

    So while it’s fine to let them know when you launch the web site, publish the book, win the award, etc., just keep in mind that the more you shift the balance of what you share from what matters to them to what matters to you, the more quickly they will stop paying attention.

    (Photos of my recent vacation and what I had for lunch yesterday coming your way tomorrow.)