Webinar with MBO Partners – Starting a Solo Consulting Business

Oh my goodness, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I thoroughly enjoy working with solo consultants, helping them grow practices doing work that they love with clients they love to work with.

It was a blast to do this webinar with MBO Partners, a company that provides back-office support to consultants.

The first time I gave this presentation several years ago I called it “Off the Cliff: Is There a Net?” Here’s the presentation deck:

And here’s the webinar recording:

2016: Year in Review

Mira Vista

Snow-capped mountains ring Rancho Mirage

A lot of people were looking forward to dropkicking 2016. I have to say John Oliver’s skit had me doubled over laughing (and I watched it at least five more times over the next few weeks).

Still, there were some highlights, so here’s the recap. It’s always therapeutic to go through this exercise.

Overall, I had 19 speaking gigs and published lots of blog posts on topics related to career transition and small business. I am very proud of the content I created this year.

Major Client Wins

I might call this the year of the underdog. The clients I was able to help the most had lost their faith in themselves, or had been in an extended transition.

  • I helped a client who had been out of work for almost three years get back to work in six weeks.
  • I helped a client leverage her experience and land a great opportunity with a 70% pay boost.
  • I helped a client who had been out of work for 18 months land a project at a Fortune 50 brand in a little over a month.
  • I helped a stay-at-home dad of 15 years get back to work.  
  • I did a rush rework of a resume, positioning a client for a change of industry, and she immediately got into the interview cycle for a great job and received the job offer.
  • I helped an IT project manager who never really gelled in corporate gain enough confidence to try going out on his own as an independent consultant.
  • I helped one client go from entrepreneur to employee – and then to independent consultant.
  • I re-launched many more professionals who had lost confidence in their skills.

Winter 2016

view from tapas place

Eating tapas outside in downtown Palm Springs

I started the year in Palm Springs, one of my favorite places. That wasn’t too bad. I was there for a week, escaping the Chicago freezing weather.

Everyone was looking at me like I was nuts when I went swimming because it was only 65 degrees out, except the Canadians at the hotel – they understood. Continue reading

Why Gratitude Is More Important Than Ever

View from my balcony in Ojai, California

View from my balcony in Ojai, California

What a wild few weeks! As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, I realized that I should share some things I have learned about gratitude.

I’m sure that you’ve read about how easy and helpful a gratitude practice can be, but what you might not know is the incredible power it can have. Continue reading

How I Am Choosing to Get Past the Election

dark-before-dawnYesterday, on election day in the United States, I traveled across the country from Sarasota, Florida to Ojai, California. Sea to shining sea (almost). What a beautiful country I live in.

I woke up at 4:00 AM because I was still on Eastern time. I saw the election results. First, I was stunned. Then I went into shock.

I’m not usually one to talk about politics, but in this case I need to make an exception. It won’t cost me any clients because if you voted for him, you won’t be drawn to me or my teachings.

This November I am making a huge investment (for me) in my skills and my business. Last week I attended Michael and Amy Port’s Heroic Public Speaking Live event in Ft. Lauderdale. Now, I am in Ojai about to work with Max Simon of Big Vision Business on how to scale my business in a big way.

I am spending thousands of dollars on this. I found myself thinking that I would not have made that investment knowing what I know today. I feel that we are truly on the brink.

I can’t feel this way and do the type of work I do. Often, I have to help people out of the black pit of despair so that they can create clarity and confidence, find focus, and move forward. (That’s been my tag line for years.)

Therefore, I can’t be in the black pit of despair myself.

So, I started doing what I would do after any life disaster. I started looking for the lessons. And I started looking for a silver lining. Continue reading

Talking About Transitions: Re-Launch You

bridge and carsWe re-launch lots of professionals here at Point A to Point B Transitions. And sometimes we need to re-launch ourselves.

I have been missing my radio show, so we’re back. Here’s the new episode on BlogTalkRadio. You also can listen to it below.

Going forward, we’ll do some solo shows – but also lots of interviews with interesting professionals. You won’t believe the great information and advice people share. Check out some past episodes.

On the show, we’ll be talking about the new world of work, job portfolios, growing a consulting business, interviewing, having an easier transition – and so much more.

How a Viral Video Restored My Faith In Humanity

star-wars-chewbacca-maskI know I’m not the only one searching for some bright spot in the middle of this politically charged time. I’m not the only one who has questioned my relationship to others of my species. But this video, and the resulting videos, have brought sheer joy and laughter to me and to the interwebs – at a time when we truly needed it.

There are more than 142 million views (over 3 million shares) of the first video captured on Facebook Live as I write this. That is bananas!

Candace Payne, the “Chewbacca Mom,” exploded onto the scene with a hilarious amateur video in her car from the Kohl’s parking lot. Who would have expected it to go viral?

Now here’s the thing: You can’t plan to make a viral video. (If you could, we’d all be doing it!) But what you can do is be real, authentic, and tap into emotion, which is exactly what happened here. She wanted her friends and family to know that it was HER mask. Continue reading

Top 10 Tips for Acing the Interview

Woman-suit-by-elevator-300x300I spoke for the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) Career Day on May 7.

I was asked to present the content of my Acing the Interview talk in a 45-minute session. I often teach this content as an interactive two-hour workshop, so I distilled the content down to the most important points. It’s the ultimate cheat sheet.

Top 10 Tips for Acing the Interview

Tip 1: Get Comfortable Selling Yourself and Your Value

Welcome to Sales 101

  • If you don’t tell your story, nobody else will
  • We are taught from a young age not to brag or call attention to ourselves

Tip 2: Understand the Different Types of Interviews

There are several different kinds of interviews

  • Initial screening interview or “check the box”
  • HR interview – screening out OR selling you on the company
  • Interview with hiring manager
  • Interview with colleague / collaborator
  • Panel interview
  • Video interview
  • Presentation interview
  • Executive interview

Tip 3: Understand the Different Types of Conversations

Adjust your responses to the way the questions are asked

  • Short questions = short answers
  • Longer questions = longer answers with stories to back up your points 

Continue reading

SCORE and Sam’s Club Spring Training 2016

SCORE and Sam's ClubIt was so fun to be part of the sales strategies for small business panel at the SCORE and Sam’s Club Spring Training event on April 26. I was thrilled to be able to address the issues of solo service professionals.

About 250-300 attendees joined us at the conference center in Tinley Park. My colleague, Carol Roth, was the emcee and rocked the stage in a truly fabulous spring dress.

Carol Roth at SCORE Spring Training

The moderator of the sales strategies panel was my friend Mark E. Goodman of e-Conversation Solutions, who was able to talk to small and mid-sized businesses of various types.

My fellow panelist was a concrete manufacturer who talked about owning trucks and pricing out concrete driveways. Surprisingly, he and I were completely in sync about sales and customer service best practices. We complemented each other perfectly.

You’ll be proud to know that I avoided an obvious comment about cement shoes (which probably would have been well received in the Chicago area) as I was on my best behavior.

It was a great time and the audience was very engaged, asking a lot of good questions.

7 Low-Cost and No-Cost Tactics to Market Your Business

The Shift 1It was my absolute joy to share some of my hard-won knowledge about low-cost and no-cost marketing strategies with fellow business bootstrappers at The Shift coworking space in Chicago last Thursday.

I realize that I don’t cover small business topics that much on this blog. (I usually do it on Carol Roth’s blog, Business Unplugged.)

But I LOVE helping small business owners. And I have learned a lot over the past five years.

What a great group we had! Everyone participated and seemed to get a lot out of it. Here’s what we talked about:

Marketing Your Biz on a Bootstrapper’s Budget.
(A Big Bang for Small Bucks.)

Tactic 1: Blogging Strategies

Why you should have a blog

  • Thought leadership
  • SEO
  • Site ranking

Continue reading