Archive for the ‘Grab bag’ Category

Label makers for business

I use a lot of nifty gadgets in my business and it just occurred to me that I haven’t talked about them in ages. Well, I was just on Amazon to check on my print books, when I ran across this label maker.

Now, I’m an Amazon affiliate. I’ll be clear about that up front. But I use a label maker in my own business and it occurred to me that maybe other people could do the same. I got the idea to use a label maker from my client, who has franchised her business internationally. She’s always hip to new ideas. I bought my label maker about four years ago.

How do I use my label maker? Well, I put labels on my devices. In fact, I put my cell # and tell people to text me, along with my email. I figure people are more likely to text you than call you. I put labels on my storage boxes. I label things I take along to meetings. I put labels in books I loan out. I put them on water bottles I use at meetings. I put them on anything I cart along with me. I put them on anything I think I might lose or misplace.

I wouldn’t say labels have changed my life. I still label a ton of things with Sharpie markers:

But they’ve been a help. And maybe they’ll help you. I have a Brother label maker (in pastel pink!) that I picked up at Staples, but I noticed the above label maker on sale and thought maybe someone else out there would want to discover the magic of label makers.

Related – Office gadgets I can’t live without

7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them)

When it comes to your personal and business brand, your professional email address may be undoing all your hard work. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of email addresses – and I’ve had a chance to make observations through the eyes of hiring manager, consultant, client, volunteer and colleague.

Your email address brands you, even when you’re not working

If you want to be professional, you have to think about how your email address represents you. Even if you’re merely using your email address for personal reasons, it’s likely that many members of your business network see your personal address. That’s because everyone you contact becomes a member of your network:
  • Store owner who runs the mailing list for specials
  • Yoga instructor who sends you a mailer on upcoming classes
  • Meetup group you joined and never managed to attend
  • Parent class rep at your kids’ school – and  everyone on the shared contact sheet
  • Dating site people you saw once
  • Parent you met at the park and decided to join for coffee, since you both work in the same industry
  • Friend you met at fitness class, who knows about how to set up that thing on the computer
  • Guy you met at the charity event, who mentioned he could send you a discount code for an event at the art gallery
Most of those people may not profile as “business” or “professional” contacts, per se, but they’re part of your network and thus your professional life. In fact, even if you’re on mat leave, still in college, backpacking, vacationing, parenting, socializing or otherwise wearing your “non-career” hat, the contact you make may influence your future career and business. It’s all marketing and networking.

Consulting Course - Become a Consultant - Learn to Consult

7 terrible secrets revealed by common email address mistakes

These common email address mistakes can mar your reputation:
  1. Too flirty. You’ve got some flirty, cutesy or otherwise goofy email address, leftover from college, your Internet dating days or a drunken moment at Gmail – and
  2. Shared with your life partner, meaning you have no separate identity, control issues, a domineering partner, computer skills too weak to manage your own account or some other “issue” people dream up –
  3. Too generic. You put a date in your address to set you apart –
  4. Make you look less than brilliant. Unless you’re flickr, a modified spelling looks like you either created your address in desperation or that you can’t spell – or
  5. Nonsensical. or
  6. Unbranded. If you have a business or a professional career, it’s a mistake to use a generic email account, such as Hotmail or Yahoo – or
  7. Spam filter nightmare. Many email filters are set up to look for numbers, underscores, and superlative adjectives. Even if you can handle the branding issues, your email may end up in the junk mail bin –  

5 remedies for common email address mistakes

Relax – there are several solutions for typical email address mistakes:

  1. Get your own email account, if you’re sharing one. Your ISP and gmail offer a variety of options. Click here for my preferred provider – I’m an affiliate
  2. Change the name of your existing email account. Your ISP may help you. Or you can easily set up a new Gmail account.
  3. Set up additional profiles if you use Microsoft Outlook.
  4. Forward all your email to the account you check most, if you don’t know how to set up more than one profile on Outlook or your smartphone.
  5. Purchase a domain name and set up an email address to match. You can do this even if you do not run your own business. Consider or, for example. Click here for my preferred provider – I’m an affiliate.

It gets even worse

I wrote this article on common email address mistakes because of a random discovery on LinkedIn. For years, I’ve recoiled in mock horror upon seeing women sharing their husband’s email addresses. But then I saw something that shocked me even more. For whatever reason, it seemed even worse than the usual email address mistakes. I saw a husband and wife sharing a single LinkedIn account. It made no sense to me. Why would you share a career profile on a virtual resume site? It boggles my mind. But more on LinkedIn (and Twitter) later.
What deadly email address mistakes have you spotted? What tips do you have?
 Note: all email address given are fictitious and were generated for the purposes of this article. No connection to a real living or dead person or existing or closed business is made or implied. Any connection is purely coincidental.

Know what to charge? Get the expert Consulting Fees Guide here

Take our poll

So, are you consulting? Take our new poll and tell us. We added a poll recently and some of you have already started submitting your answers. To take the poll, scroll down the page and look in the bottom right sidebar. The information we collect is designed to help us make more informed decisions about the kind of content you may need. (And it’s kind of fun to see how you compare to others – you can view the results, too.)

Update: This poll is temporarily closed so that we can ask you for feedback on the teleseminar time slots. Please vote!

If you have ideas for future polls, just let us know.

Vacationing as a consultant

It’s May. I hit the beach this weekend and it was packed! It was hard to find a place to sit. The warm sand – a rarity in Vancouver at this time of year – felt really good. And it got me thinking about how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place, with beaches minutes from my home.

My career has taken me on many trips. Over the years, I’ve travelled to many countries, states and provinces. Increasingly, I look for ways to combine business with pleasure. I choose business events and meetings in places I already want to visit, so that I can satisfy my tourism bug at the same time.

Of course, being self employed, I often take work with me when I go on vacation. A good Wifi connection is paramount. But accessories, such as a laptop and smart phone help too. I like to check that Wifi and a good desk are included in the room.

No matter whether it’s for business or pleasure, I bring along a stack of business cards. I’ve made some great connections on trips over the years and I think that, anytime you make real connections with people, there’s a great opportunity to keep in touch.

Oh, and be sure to set up a roaming package for your phone. That little business trip to San Jose in February cost me about $160 in phone call fees. Ouch. I’ll be smarter next time.

What are your consulting vacation trip tips? (Try saying that fast!)

Readers – your feedback wanted!

[]I’m thinking of updating the ads you see over here to the right. You know, the ones for Consulting Fees, Discover Your Inner Consultant, and Become a Consultant. Now, traditionally, I’d just go ahead and put up new ads. But 50,000 people visited this site last month and I’d honestly like to know what you think. You’re the ones who look at this site and what you think matters to me.

So, as a sneak preview, here are the ads.

Consulting Fees Guide ad


Discover Your Inner Consultant


Become a Consultant Course

Do they speak to you? Do you prefer what I have now?


A few of you commented, emailed or DMd on Twitter to tell me you like the first two, but not the last. How does this one work for you?



Print, PDF and email this blog

I’m happy to say that you can now print, PDF or email blog posts from Consultant Journal. You’ll see the print & PDF widget at the bottom of posts. It also allows you to email yourself a copy of any post.

By the way, have you tried "Share This"? That’s the widget just below "Print Friendly". You can share any blog post with friends and social media contacts using Facebook, email, Twitter – you name it.

See below! Enjoy!

Help Consultant Journal provide better content in 2011

Every year at this time, I review my business plans for the coming year. When I started Consultant Journal, it was just a personal blog – a way to describe my life as a consultant and perhaps help other people out. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of helping other people start and run consulting businesses and I’ve also connected with many wonderful people who’ve helped me.

Consultant Journal is important to me and it’s important that I help meet your needs as readers and community members. With that in mind, I’m embarking on my first survey.

You can find the Consultant Journal survey at

The point of the survey is to help me deliver the content and materials that best fit with the needs of readers. If you have any suggestions now or at any time, I welcome your feedback.

Best wishes for a happy, prosperous 2011.


Desk jobs and joint aches, pains and health

If you work at your desk all day, you may not always sit in the best position. And that can leave your joints feeling sore. I recently wrote about joint health for BC Living Magazine and thought I’d share the article: Boning up on joint health.

Over the years, I’ve had problems with joint pains and joint health. I was in a car accident that gave me whiplash and thus knee pain, back pain, hip pain, nech pain, arm pain — you name it! Because I’m unable to take ibuprofen and I found myself pregnant or nursing during much of that time, I had to turn to natural treatments and natural joint pain solutions. For me, hot baths, physiotherapy, ice and heat, exercise, muscle training, Tylenol, mindfulness and other natural approaches were really my only options. I also chose a more ergonomic chair and made sure that I held my neck and body in good positions.

Do you have joint pain?

60 Minutes’ Mike Wallace on coaches and mentors

Mike Wallace has been co-editor of 60 Minutes since 1968. Early on in his career, Mike was coached and mentored by Harvard graduate, Arthur Goldsmith.

Mike was working on commercials, but his dream was to work in news. Arthur saw Mike’s potential and encouraged Mike to make the leap toward news.

"Arthur kept on me, and I paid attention," said Mike (expired link). "He told me that I wasn’t realizing enough of myself. And finally there came a time in my life when I said, ‘Arthur’s right. He’s right!’ So I gave up everything and it worked out."

Mike’s story illustrates one of the five reasons why professionals need mentors: an outside point of view.

When you’re working hard in a career you don’t love, it can be a juggling act to find time to think about the big picture. But a mentor’s role is to help you recognize your strengths and to help you consider your career as a whole.

Sometimes it takes the encouragement and insight of a mentor to propel you closer to your dream.

Mike Wallace recognized the power of mentorship. Mike’s mentor led him to a successful career in news broadcasting, which, for Mike, was the realization of a dream.

Where could a mentor take you?

Related posts:

Light posting ahead

I just wanted to say that, as my family is celebrating the Christmas holidays, I won’t be posting much over the next week. Whether you celebrate holidays at this time of year or not, I wish you all the best and hope you have a delightful 2009.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Consultant Journal!