build a successful solo professional business
(Please fill in the form below and we will remind you!)
Do you know what you love and love what you do … but have trouble getting enough clients to build the business (and life) you want?
Would you like to learn a comfortable, systematic, easy approach to selling and positioning yourself?
Would you enjoy learning in a group setting, with a small class of energetic, supportive, committed peers?
Are you inexplicably attracted to penguins, and/or middle-aged men named Michael who kind of look like them?
If you answered “Yes!,” keep reading. My Tactical and Practical Solo Professional Breakthrough Year (TP-SP-BY) program may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
(If you answered “No,” click here to watch amusing videos of monkeys riding bicycles.)
Hi, I’m Michael Katz.
And I’ve got a program – a year-long program for just 15 solo professionals (are you one of them?) – beginning on Tuesday, April 8th.
The program is a year-long, group version of what I do one-on-one with clients: Help them market themselves more easily; position themselves more clearly; package their services more profitably; communicate who they are more authentically; and thrive as successful solo professionals.
It’s very practical and workshop-oriented. And while you’ll learn how to use and develop plenty of “tools” along the way, it’s really about learning an approach to building and marketing your business that’s both comfortable and effective. And that will earn you the money you need to live the life you want.
What I Didn’t Know When I Had a Job
I never intended to be a solo. I went to college, I got an MBA (Boston University) and I began working for other people. All perfectly fine … for a while.
Because 15 years into it – the last 12 with the same company – I knew it was time to move on. I’d grown tired of sitting in the same old meetings, debating the same old topics and pretending to care about the same old problems.
Most important, I had a strong sense that while I was “good enough” at what I was doing, I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do. So on Friday, June 23, 2000, I left.
Uh oh. I ran into big problems, almost immediately.
Even though I had 15 years of corporate marketing experience, I didn’t know anything about success as a solo.
Pricing, packaging, positioning and many other important things that don’t even begin with the letter “P,” were mysteries to me. Most of all, I had no idea how to get clients – few of the things I’d learned as a big company employee carried over to the world of working on my own.
Lots and Lots (and lots) of Mistakes
It was like starting my working life all over again. So I made a lot of mistakes.
Not disasters (usually); mostly just wasted time, wasted effort and wasted money – and lots of wasted nights laying awake worrying – as I tried to figure things out and find my way.
It was a learning experience, but I wish I knew then what I know now about being a solo. I could have gotten here much faster.
Today, thanks to an understanding of how the pieces fit together and the implementation of a systematic approach to running and marketing my business, my phone and email ring regularly – it’s the rare week that I don’t hear from two or three prospective clients who have an interest in hiring me.
But it’s actually a lot more than just that. Because my approach emphasizes relationship-building and natural communication, and because I now have a very clear vision of the work I want to do and the people I want to do it with, my clients and my work are a perfect match for me.
That means the work is good, the client interactions are enjoyable, and the need for what I used to think of as “selling,” is practically nonexistent.
“I am amazed at what we have created… really amazed. I have created a lot of good work throughout my career… but this is entirely different. I am still blown away by what a game changer it is and how deeply grateful I am for your wisdom”
Kathy Rowell, M.S., M.H.A
Katherine S. Rowell & Associates
“Thanks for all your help and ideas, Michael. There is no chance that I would be enjoyng the success I’m having without your assistance!”
Two Types of People
Most of the solos I’ve worked with since 2000 fall into one of two categories:
- Some hire me to work with them individually. This works spectacularly well (if I may say so), but it’s not cheap. Particularly if you want to keep me involved for an entire year.
- Some sign up for my online webinars. Also spectacular and waaaaaaay less expensive than hiring me one-on-one.But the webinars are one-time events: You attend the webinar, you learn some important things, and you put some new ideas into practice. Good, but not life-changing.
A New Insight
Three years ago, I began to realize that there was another, as yet underserved, group of solos who fall somewhere in-between.
These are the people who, while they understand and appreciate the benefits of my approach, don’t like either option #1 or option #2.
They want something in the middle, option #1½, if you will: More than a one-time webinar; less than a consulting arrangement - and with a heavy dose of group interaction, accountability and learning along the way.
They want to participate in a hands-on, long-term, business-building program in which they…
- Are shown a step-by-step approach that they can learn to run themselves
- Benefit from the electricity, focus and support that working in a group provides
- Have some access to me, but without having to commit either the time or money involved in a more traditional consulting arrangement
- Have an opportunity to meet, learn from and interact with other solo professionals
- Build their confidence as they gain clarity about the unique value they bring
- Benefit from simple, helpful, support materials and real life examples
- Have enough time, over a long enough period (one year!) to learn things, make adjustments and internalize a better approach.
If this sounds like you, keep reading. (If it sounds like someone else, move over so they can see the screen.)
The fun begins on Tuesday, April 8th*
(*Feel free to have fun on your own until then. View a complete program schedule here.)
The program is priced at a very accessible $395 per month (you’re welcome). (Click here for payment options.)
Enrollment is limited to just 15 committed, success-oriented people (a small enough group so that we all get to know each other).
Here’s what working with me over the course of this one-year program includes:
- Live access to 12, one-hour, group “teaching calls” (one each month, $4000.00 value). I’ll do most of the talking, but we limit session enrollment to just 15 people and keep the lines unmuted throughout, so that you have time and space for questions and to make these as much like in-person sessions as possible. (View a complete program schedule here.)
- Live access to 12, one-hour, “office hour calls” (one each month, $3,500.00 value). These are done “round-robin” fashion with each class member reporting on progress for the month. They occur in addition to the monthly teaching calls mentioned above. They are intended as a convenient way to share what you’re working on, ask questions, and get additional guidance in putting the pieces into place for your business. (View a complete program schedule here.)
- Four, 30-minute, private phone sessions with just you and me ($700.00 value). You can schedule these at your convenience, from the start of the program through the end of time (or until I die, whichever comes first). Save up your questions and, when you’re ready, we’ll schedule time together so that we can talk specifically about you and your marketing progress. These are recorded and given to you in MP3 format for review.
- A private, group bulletin board and online community just for program participants ($4,500.00 value). This is our “marketing gym.” It’s where we share ideas, samples, exercises, questions, challenges, victories and encouragement throughout the month.
- Resources, exercises and worksheets for use between calls – the same ones I share with my one-on-one clients – to help you systematicaly and steadily apply the concepts we discuss in class.
- Frequent emails from me (2 – 4 each week) with short, tactical tips and insights – these keep you energized and on track, and help you to apply the things we learn throughout the year.
- A copy of all the slides and all the recorded sessions. This way, if you need to miss a session or simply want to review after the fact, you’ll be all set. These are yours to keep forever, beyond the end of the class.
- Surprise things – both fun and useful – that I will send to you throughout the year. “Like what?” Stop asking, I told you it was a surprise.
“Hi Michael: I just have to say, ‘Thank you!’ You’ve helped me take the work I love and connect with the people I like most, and as a result, my practice has flourished. Last month was my best month *ever* and this month surpassed even that. Since I entered the program, things have gone to an even higher level at a greatly accelerated pace!
“I love the classes – the material is fun, helpful, accessible, and most important, doable, and it has helped me to take actions I have been dragging my feet on for quite a while.
“Your recommendations are so natural and easy to implement. I continue to be surprised. I’ve been in other coaching programs where the recommendations didn’t quite fit, and as a result, I never took action or took such small steps that it didn’t create the overall shift I was looking for.
“Finally, a marketing system I can use! Yea!”
Brynne E. Dippell, Ph.D.
Spiritual Guidance for Heart and Soul
(Maybe next month will be your best month ever!)
I Can Teach You My Approach
There’s nothing about my approach – something that combines Expert positioning, Authentic communication and Relationship marketing – that’s particularly difficult or that will require you to become somebody you’re not.
And I can teach it to you. In fact, over the past 13 years, I’ve helped hundreds of solo professionals learn how to create the businesses they want, easily, naturally and effectively.
This Isn’t a “Lecture Course”
Many marketing “courses” are all about getting as many people as possible to sign up at once, packing them into an “auditorium” (virtual or otherwise) and teaching at them.
That’s not what this is about. There are only 15 people in this class and it’s very, VERY hands on and interactive. The calls are all unmuted and 100% live. We use an interactive, private group forum for sharing ideas, assignments and encouragement. I send emails to the group 2 – 4 times a week. Everyone in the class spends time with me, one-on-one, throughout the year.
It’s a small group, supportive, learning environment.
The Group Format Holds Us Accountable
The most difficult part about a year-long class is sticking with it. Your business has ups and downs – your life has ups and downs – and to get the most out of a program like this you need to stay on track and engaged.
That’s why I offer this in a small, intimate format and why I’ve set it up in a way that keeps everyone connected, committed and moving steadily forward: We’ve got a private group forum where we post homework and share feedback; we’ve got an online tracking system for posting progress and sharing encouragement weekly; we have a “buddy system,” in which class members are paired up, on a rotating basis for a month at a time.
In addition, all of our calls – 24 in total over the course of the year – are live and completely unmuted, so that we can share and learn together as we go.
In short, I’ve done everything I can to support your steady, forward progress.
I Won’t Be Making This Up as We Go
This approach works, simple as that. It’s filled with tested exercises and assignments, real world examples, and plenty of insights, all intended to help you create a simple, workable system for refining your focus, communicating your expertise and marketing your solo professional business.
It’s based on 7, simple “breakthroughs,” all of which work together.
“One of the things I wanted to get out of this course was ways to improve how I package and price – and sell – my services. I was just comparing this year to last and saw that I had almost a 300% increase in number of clients over that time period. THANK YOU!”
Latady Physician Strategies
(We’re not even distant relatives. Honest.)
Breakthrough #1: Leverage your existing relationships.
Your existing relationships are your most valuable business resource. If you’re like most professionals, however, you don’t do much to systematically stay in touch with the people you already know. This breakthrough will change all that! We cover it first in the program so there’s time to watch your relationships grow and produce over the course of our year together. We’ll cover:
- The benefits of a single, electronic contact list
- How to categorize your contacts and relationships in a meaningful way
- How to develop a simple stay in touch plan (that won’t take over your life)
- Why repetition creates marketing leverage
- Why repetition creates marketing leverage
- How to use low-tech, high-tech and in-person tools for building relationships
- And more…
Breakthrough #2: Clarify your positioning; Simplify your message.
Word of mouth – the best marketing tool ever invented – only works if I understand what you do and remember who you are. In this breakthrough, we’ll focus on techniques for boiling down the words you use to describe your business, your capabilities and your services. We’ll cover:
- How to explain what you do in a way that others can understand and remember
- How to develop a compelling story that explains your business while positioning you as a trusted expert.
- How to write an effective bio
- Practical techniques for building word of mouth
- The importance of a “1-1-1 marketing message” and how to use it
- And more…
Breakthrough #3: Identify your ideal client and work scenario.
Doing “any work” for “any client” in “any situation” will never get you to where you want to be. The key to becoming a thriving, successful solo professional is to do work you love and are really good at in the service of people you enjoy. And the key to that, is specifying your perfect client and ideal work situation. We’ll cover:
- How and why to script your “ideal day scenario”
- How to pinpoint and find your perfect client
- Tested steps for identifying your individual strengths
- How to obtain and use client testimonials
- How to create services based on the things you are uniquely good at
- And more…
Breakthrough #4: Use your authentic voice and personality.
As a solo professional, your biggest competitive advantage is your ability to make a genuine, human connection with clients, prospects, colleagues and others. Most solos, however, ignore this advantage and instead remain anonymous and unmemorable behind a façade of bland professionalism. This topic is all about using your authentic voice and personality to stand out and be remembered for who you really are (something your larger competitors can’t touch). We’ll cover:
- How to develop your personal story and why it’s your best marketing weapon
- How to build trust, word of mouth referrals and inbound traffic through the use of emotion and natural language
- Getting past your fears of communicating authentically
- Tactics for easier, more engaging writing
- How to create consistency across all your communications
- And more…
Breakthrough #5: Position yourself as a leading expert.
Being seen as an industry expert opens doors: It leads to inbound client requests, increased referrals and inquiries from the press. It also allows you to charge higher fees. In short, it takes all of your business-building efforts and makes them more effective, more efficient and more productive. In this segment we’ll focus on what it takes to position yourself as an industry expert. We’ll cover:
- How to describe who you are and what you do in a way that positions you as expert
- Why narrowing your focus is the most effective path to expert stature
- Why experts create content – and where to begin
- Getting past the fear of calling yourself “expert”
- How to get paid for your expert point of view
- How to avoid the mistakes that perpetual non-experts make
- And more…
Breakthrough #6: Develop profitable packages and simple pricing.
Making money efficiently is a necessary part of being a successful solo professional. It may not be the point of what you do, but it’s very much in the mix. It’s also the source of much anxiety and confusion among those of us who work alone. This breakthrough is about setting fees, developing packages and communicating easily and consistently with prospects on the subject of money. We’ll cover:
- Why and how to switch from charging for your time to charging for your value
- How to set and raise fees effectively
- How to sell comfortably
- How to establish a payment schedule and fee structure that makes everyone happy
- What to do about clients who don’t pay on time
- Developing residual income through product sales and affiliate arrangements
- And more…
Breakthrough #7: Put the pieces together well.
There’s a lot of detail involved in running your own business – much of which can get in the way of both your profitability and your happiness. In this breakthrough, we’ll talk about building easy systems and using simple tools to make sure your business runs as efficiently and “hands off” as possible. We’ll also dive into the emotional side of things; the roadblocks – fear, doubt, uncertainty – that can stop you cold.
- Getting your support team together – selecting the professionals you need
- How, when and if to hire a virtual assistant
- Online resources that help your machine work efficiently
- Staying energized and connected to your vision as a solo professional
- Vanquishing the Monday morning blues (and other success roadblocks)
- And more…
“Thanks for everything you’ve taught and discussed. I have always found your classes thoughtful, smart, entertaining and full of sound, useful advice and direction.”
Chief Content Creator
Content Marketing Partners
OKAY, I’M INTERESTED! HOW DO I ENROLL?
Hang on, hang on, let me summarize what you get first:
- Live access to 12, one-hour, group “teaching calls.”
- Live access to 12, one-hour, group “office hour calls.”
- Four, 30-minute, one-on-one phone sessions with just you and me.
- A private, group bulletin board and online community just for session participants.
- 2 – 4 weekly emails from me with practical tips and insights.
- Access to resources, exercises and worksheets that I share with my clients.
- A copy of all the slides and all the recorded sessions, to keep forever.
- Intriguing surprises throughout the year. (Do you like brownies??? I’m just saying…)
The entire program is just $395 per month. (Click here for payment options.)
Still thinking about it?
I understand, but here’s the thing. Nothing on Earth compares to working without a job, being proud of what you accomplish every day and feeling what it’s like to thrive based on your natural skills and abilities. That’s what work is supposed to be.
But to do that, you need a system for attracting clients and a plan for building your business.
And while figuring all this stuff out may never be your first love (or even something that comes naturally), at the end of our year together you’ll be equipped with the tools you need and significantly better off than you were before.
This program gives you the potential to make huge gains in your business. You’ll have the confidence, knowledge and hands-on practice necessary to make your business work as it should.
“He’s the perfect coach: unflappable, masterful in his use of humor to get results.”
Mariko Gordon, CFA
Founder, CEO and CIO
Daruma Asset Management, Inc.
(She’s right, you know. I cannot be flapped.)
“Michael’s One-Year Class was the best money I’ve ever spent on my business.Not only does he provide a complete paradigm shift in regards to how to market your business, he gives you practical tools to make it happen.
“I’ve studied with a lot of business gurus over the course of my career and Michael is, hands down, the best out there. Practical, useful, and funny as hell, I recommend him to absolutely every solo professional I meet.”
Sari de la Motte
(Doesn’t your paradigm need shifting?)
“A year is a long time. Is it really necessary?”
One-time learning events and short term programs can be great. I’ve been involved as both presenter and participant on a number of these and there’s no doubt about it, when done well, there’s a lot of value.
But they’re not habit-forming.
So while you may gain some new insights and learn some new things, many of the benefits (and most of the enthusiasm) can wear off in just a few weeks, leaving you right back where you were before.
And that’s a problem. Because when it comes to learning a new approach, habits are what you need. Little things that you do every day, every week and every month to stay visible, clear and energized.
Little things that over time – one full year – add up to an easy, effective way to grow your business.
“But what if I can’t attend all the sessions?”
Chance are you can’t – life tends to get in the way. And over the course of a year, it’s a near certainty that you’ll come up against a scheduling conflict or two. (View a complete program schedule here.)
That’s why we record everything. We’ll give you all the audio and all the slides. This way you can review them, at your convenience, as many times as you like.
“OK, but what if I don’t like working in a group?”
Then this program isn’t for you. The group interaction is where a LOT of the value lives. That’s why we limit enrollment to just 15 people per session, pair people together on a monthly, rotating basis and build plenty of opportunities for connection into the class.
The group is the juice that brings the energy. Your membership in the class comes with the expectation that you are there to give as well as take. If you don’t like that, you won’t like this.
“How do I know this is worth the money?”
You don’t. At least not for sure. That’s why I offer a full-price, no hard feelings, we can still be friends, have a nice day, money back guarantee. If you enroll in the program and at any point over the first 60 days, you don’t think it’s worth what you paid for it, I’ll refund the entire thing.
“Are there any bonus materials you can include that will make this even more worthwhile?”
You drive a hard bargain. But I understand; here’s what else you’ll get when you enroll in this program:
Three of my one-hour, prerecorded, on demand webinars. Recorded live, these webinars sell as standalone programs totaling $200.00 – but they’re included at no additional charge as part of this one year program.
Here’s what you’ll get:
How to be a Leading Expert. (75 Minutes, $67.00 value) Every professional wants to be seen as an industry expert. You can charge higher fees; prospective clients seek you out; colleagues send people your way; members of the press want your opinion; organizations invite you to speak; and publications (online and off) ask you to contribute. This webinar explains how to make this happen for you.
Pricing Your Professional Services. (75 Minutes, $67.00 value) If you’re going to work for yourself, you need to get comfortable with setting rates, talking about fees, negotiating payment schedules, etc. It’s not necessarily the point of what you do, but it’s clearly a part of the mix. This webinar focused entirely on setting fees and handling the money aspect of working with clients.
Beyond Social Media: (Simple) Relationship Marketing for Solo Professionals. (60 Minutes, $67.00 value) If you don’t have a system for staying in touch with everyone you know, you’re working harder than necessary to get clients. Not only does this relationship marketing approach feel better to most professionals, it’s easier and more efficient than trying to pound the pavement, learn networking tricks and master sales techniques. This webinar is about doing the kinds of things that come naturally to you, but in a broader, more systematic, ongoing way.
Six of my favorite business-building books. There’s a nearly unlimited supply of books out there with the potential to help you market your business better. I’ll send you the six that have made the biggest difference for me (okay, I wrote one of them, but it did make a difference).
These aren’t e-books or free downloads either. You’ll receive a package of actual books ($86.10 value) – the kind you can hold in your hand (or use to prop open a window) – direct from Amazon. We’ll discuss and review these as part of our work together and you’ll have them at your fingertips throughout the year (and beyond).
||Selling with Integrity
||The Pumpkin Plan
|The Referral of a Lifetime
||Book Yourself Solid Illustrated
||It Sure Beats Working
To sum up, here’s everything – and I mean everything – that’s included in this program:
- Live access to 12, one-hour, group “teaching calls.” ($4000 value)
- Live access to 12, one-hour, group “office hour calls.” ($3,500 value)
- Four, 30-minute, one-on-one phone sessions with just you and me ($700.00 value).
- A private, group bulletin board and online community. ($4,500 value)
- Access to resources, exercises and worksheets that I share with my clients.
- 2 – 4 weekly emails from me with practical tips and insights.
- A copy of all the slides and all the recorded sessions.
- Oddly amusing and often useful surprises throughout the year. (Have you ever pet a giraffe? No promises, but…)
- Bonus #1: Three of my on demand, one-hour webinars ($200.00 value).
- Bonus #2: Six of my favorite business books, delivered to your door ($86.10 value).
- A 60-DAY, Money Back Guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.
“I love your One-Year-er group. I find you’ve given me structure and expert advice on how to set up an effective marketing approach, and I like the way we work on one thing at a time.”
Kay Corry Aubrey,
Usability Resources, Inc.
(One. Thing. At. A. Time)
Time To Get Started
One last thing. The approach that my one year program teaches – one that relies on your existing relationships, your natural voice, your unique talents and a simple system for getting the clients you need – isn’t particularly complicated.
But I’m guessing that if this came easily to you, you’d already be doing it.
Whatever has been standing in your way – fear, confusion, overwhelment, lack of a supportive group of peers, or something else entirely – this program is about getting you past all that. It’s about teaching you a clear, systematic system for building and growing your business that you can use and rely on for years to come.
That’s my hope for this program and for you. That I can help you turn the development of your business into a natural, effective, energy-filled (maybe even fun) process.
I hope you’ll register and be one of the 15 solo professionals who join us beginning on Tuesday, April 8th. (Registration opens Wednesday, March 27th at 3pm Eastern. Add your name to the form at the top of this page and we will remind you!)
Blue Penguin Development, Inc.
P.S. I’ve offered a money back guarantee, to make this as easy and risk free for you as possible. Place your order, get started with us and see for yourself.
P.P.S. Still have questions? Just send me an e-mail or give me a call (my direct line: 508-497-0900), and I’ll be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
“For a solo professional, working with Michael is a gift you give yourself. He shares his vast knowledge of marketing generously. He coaches with humor and compassion, but tells it like it is.”
E. Starr Associates
“This class has fundamentally changed the way I approach marketing both myself and my business.”
Make Believe For Real