Marketing & lead generation - Part 2

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Professional email address ideas for common names

Your professional email address may be one of the first ways you make an impression upon prospective clients, employers and contacts. And it’s one thing to come up with a professional-sounding email address if your name stands out. But if you have a name like Robert Smith, Jane Jones, Meiling Li, Jose Martinez or Mo Khan, there’s a good chance your name has already been taken. So what do you do then?

First, read our post on Seven terrible secrets revealed by your email address. You want to be sure that you’re not making the common mistakes that people with any old name might make. So start there.

But, say you’ve already done that. What do you do when your name is taken?

What you can do about your professional email address when your name is taken

Before we get started, it’s important to know any rules related to the host for your email. For example, Gmail does not treat periods as periods. So email to jane.jones and janejones goes to the same person. It’s the same account. If there’s already a janejones, you won’t be able to sign on as jane.jones or jane-jones. But other email providers may allow you to do so.

Click here to send these tips to yourself right now.

Combine your names

  • First name + last name = RobertSmith
  • First name . last name = Robert.smith
  • First name – last name = Robert-Smith
  • First name + middle initial + last name = RobertTSmith
  • First initial + middle name + last name = RTrevorSmith
  • First initial + middle initial + last name = RTSmith
  • First name + middle name + last name = RobertTrevorSmith
  • First initial + middle name + last name = RTrevorSmith

Modify your name:

  • RobSmith
  • RbtSmith
  • RobTrevSmith
  • RobertTrevSmith
  • RTrevSmith

Invert your name:

  • SmithRobert
  • SmithRT
  • SmithRob

However, if you invert your name, some people may forget and transpose the names. Then RobertSmith may start getting your email.

Combine your name with your business, profession, degree or city

  • RobertMLTLaw
  • RobertLawyer
  • RobertChicago
  • RobertSmithLawyer
  • RobertSmithChicago
  • RobertSmithLogistics
  • RSmithMBA
  • RobertSmithMD

Honestly, the best way to solve this is to set up your own professional email address, where you can customize your email to what works for you. Bluehost, our affiliate partner, includes free email addresses and a domain with their $2.95 a month web hosting package. Click here to visit them. 

Business email address examples

You can use name combinations, but, if you have a business, you may want to make sure that you don’t run into multiple people with the same name. You could add a last initial to a first name, such as ChrisD or JorieT. But, if you’re setting up a business email address, we strongly recommend that you set up a business domain and website.

Associations

Did your college give you a lifelong email address? Find out if your old email address is still available or sign up for an alumni account. MoKahn@almamater or mkhan@alumni.almamater may be an easier find than MoKhan@ major email provider.

You can also check with your industry, professional or other associations to see if they offer a lifetime email address.

Set up your own domain

Buy a domain and simply forward the email to your favourite email provider, regardless of whether you have a website set up. You don’t need to have a website to forward your email. Click here for hosting information – we are Bluehost affiliates.

Set up an email address for a specific purpose and forward it

Some people find that they can stick with the long, unwieldy or typo-prone email they’ve been using for years. They do this by setting up a separate email account and forwarding it. So jobhuntrobert@ may be forwarded to RobertTrevSmith82. Some email providers will even allow you to set it up so that you respond from the same account, meaning no one will ever know your secret identity, at least not when you’re replying to recruiters.

Set your email to show your name, not your address

Make sure your email is set up so that messages say, “Jane Jones” or “Jane K. Jones” not “jjonesengineer@”. And use your full name. A client, recruiter or business contact scanning a list of recent emails or trying to search a huge history will not be able to tell “Jane” from all the other “Janes”.  And, honestly, if you’re not in elementary school, most people will need your last name to help distinguish you from others.

Whatever name you choose, keep it professional. And bear in mind the norms for your industry. In some cases, an email such as “TheRealMeilingLi”, “MrJoseMartinez” or “OhThatJaneJones” may produce a smile without reducing your credibility. This may go over better if you’re a graphic designer than if you’re a corporate tax attorney, so weigh up your choice.

Combine a Personalized Email Address, Website and Blog

You may have figured out how to set up a solid email account. But, to be honest, a generic email account will never bring the same respect that one with a brand behind it will.

Problems with Generic Email Addresses

You’re creating future problems. A generic email address from Gmail or your Internet Service Provider may suffice, but what if the email provider changes, closes or falls out of favour? Suddenly, you have to update all your contacts, but possibly also all your logins and accounts elsewhere.

You’re losing a chance to brand. With a personalized domain name, you can build on your professional brand identity, whether you own a company or not.

Creating a Personalized Domain Name

You don’t need a website to have a personalized domain name. In just minutes, you can set up a domain like FirstName@DomainName.com and set that email to automatically forward everything to your favoured email address. You can even configure Gmail or other email accounts to respond using that email address too. If you ever change Internet service providers or email accounts, the change will be invisible to your clients and contacts, since youre FirstName@DomainName.com can just point to the new account.

That being said, it can be even more powerful to sent up that domain to include a business card page, a profile, your professional social media contacts, or, ideally, your professional blog or website.

Why Build a Blog

If you receive my Six Tips for Building Your Expert Status emails, you already know I’m a huge fan of building your professional status by publishing and building authority. Building a blog is faster and easier than you might expect.

With a blog, you can publish and share articles or comment on other articles and content you share. It’s a way to build your voice, your professional brand, your credibility and more.

Why get your own website

With your own website, you can build an online presence – as a professional or as a company.  You can present your professional image, articles, photos…whatever you need to build out a brand. It can be a simple 5-page website or something far more sophisticated. Find out how to set up a website or blog here.

How to move forward with your professional address and website

Whether you’re building a domain name, blog or a website, you can take some of the same steps:

  1. Pick a focus
  2. Choose a platform
  3. Find somewhere to host your blog
  4. Select your domain name
  5. Set up and design your blog
  6. Start writing and posting
  7. Go live!

1. Picking a Focus for Your Blog

Take a few moment to consider:

Are you creating a blog or a website? A blog presents your posts. A website can offer up information about you, your resume, portfolio, services, testimonials – whatever you want. Setting up a website only takes a little more time, if you just want something basic.

What will your website or blog be about? Is it about you, your company, an approach, a specific topic?

Got an idea? Great! Let’s move.

2. Choose a platform

To put together a blog or website, you need a platform. I’ll come right out and say I prefer WordPress. You could choose something else, like HTML, Drupal, Wix, Shopify, Weebly or another service. But I like WordPress. I find it easy to use and I use it for all my personal and business sites…and it’s what I usually recommend for clients, too. It’s open source, has a ton of plug-ins, a large user community and it’s free.

3. Find somewhere to host your blog or website

Think of this part of your blog or website experience as the campsite for your tent! You’ve got all your camping gear ready, now where will you pitch your tent? You need somewhere to keep your blog or website. I suggest starting with a hosting provider that provides a lot of prepackaged services, if you’re just starting. You can always move up to your own server or more customized packages, if you’re more experienced or if your budget allows. I’ve signed up as an affiliate partner for Bluehost. I take you through all the steps to signing up here.

4. Select your domain name

A domain name – the URL for your website – should tie into your brand and your message. Your own name, your business name or another strong brand will likely work best. I like using the name suggestion tools at Nameboy and Webnames when I’m stuck for ideas. You can buy a domain name at one place and then port it over to the place you choose for hosting, but you may find it easier to keep everything at one place, if you’re still learning all this. Bluehost does both, which is one of the reasons I partnered with them.

5. Set up and design your blog

I recommend using one of the packaged themes, until you get a bit more used to things. You can also cruise through the templates at WordPress or ThemeForest.

6. Start writing and posting

You can just make a list of topics and start writing. But, for best results, you might want to create a bit of an editorial calendar – a list of what you’re going to write and when. I keep mine in a spreadsheet, but you could just as easily write it down or put it in a document or on an actual calendar.

7. Go live!

When you’re all set, release your work to the world! You can choose whether to use word of mouth, a marketing campaign or other strategies and tools to tell others.

If you want to set up your own site, you can look at the hosting packages at Bluehost, along with my post on how to sign up and set up your blog, website and domain. I’m an affiliate partner, which means I receive a commission if you sign up. These aren’t the only places you can get set up, but, when I took a look around for some packages to recommend, these seemed to be the best fit for Consultant Journal readers.

Looking for ways to build your expert status? Get our special mini course, 6 Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status.

Consulting business names – 25 ideas for great brands

Looking for fresh consulting business names? Whether you’re giving a name to your upstart business or looking for ideas for consulting business names to rebrand your existing practice, it can help to review best practices. When it comes to choosing a consulting business name, you need to do more than thinking about just the words that appear on paper.

consultant business name

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25 Ideas for Consulting Business Names

  1. Identify your niche, mission statement and business direction. Before you dive into naming your consulting business, make sure you have a solid sense of your business, your market, your pricing, your goals and your direction.
  2. Look for a name that is easily understood. Good, clear names work better than invented terms, unless you have the brand power to help people understand.
  3. Avoid narrowing your business to a geography. If you need to move, expand or sell your business, a geographic name could become a liability. “Duluth Business Consulting” may be confusing if you move even a few cities away.
  4. Likewise, opt for a name that gives you some wiggle room. Some names can date your business – remember all the dotcoms? Others may limit future offerings. I used to hire a company named “Copytime” to do all my photocopies. I was shocked later when I discovered they could also do offset and digital printing, stationery, packaging and custom mailouts. It’s no surprise that they rebranded and grew the business when they came up with a name that showed they did more than print copies.
  5. Consider whether the name can deliver unexpected benefits. Early on with my business, I chose the name Abakai Management Company as an umbrella name for my other businesses. At the time, Yellowpages directories and online directories usually listed companies in alphabetical order. Since only AAA could come before “Abakai” and most professional consulting firms shied away from putting AAA in their names, I got tons of leads because I was first in directories under Marketing. “Abakai Management Company” sounded like it had been around for a while, compared to a lot of the dotcom names of the time. I eventually rebranded years later, but that name worked for a long time.
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Likewise, you often see other companies listed in directories using similar tactics, such as A1 or AAA. This tactic is increasingly less important, but worth thinking about if you do work in a relevant field.

  • Think about whether other people will join your firm or whether you’ll sell it. “Robin Smith Consulting” might work now, but what if you add a business partner or a few employees? Will you still be comfortable having your name on everything? If you go to sell your company, what brand equity will be lost when you leave, especially considering so much brand equity in smaller consultancies is tied up with the owner in the first place.
  • Take a look at the international portability of your name. If you’re planning to do business with people from other countries or cultures, find out how the name translates. The Chevy Nova worked in the US, but it meant “no go” to Spanish-speaking customers.
  • Stay away from puns, unless you’re a coffee shop. Witty names like Hazbeans and Higher Grounds might work for some, but a professional consulting firm needs a professional name. Find another way to stand out.
  • Figure out whether you want to stand out or blend in. This will help you figure out if you want to go with something more memorable and out there – such as Menopause Chicks – or something more familiar – such as Acubalance Wellness Centre.
  • Make it memorable. Choose something easy to remember, but stay away of anything so quirky that people remember it by “that place with the weird name”.
  • Check to see if you can get social media handles. While marketing trends come and go, you don’t really want to find out that all variations on your name have already been taken on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels, if you really hoped to use them.
  • Make sure the domain name is available – and make it a good one. If you can only get chosennamewithlongwordsstuffedbehindit.com or chosennamefromunexpecteddomain.ly, you may want to keep looking.
  • Check to see whether the name has already been trademarked. Take a look at the US Patent and Trademark Office and the trademark office in the countries where you will do business. While a trademark need not be registered to be enforceable – prior use goes a long way – a quick review of what’s already trademarked can save you from future hassle.
  • Find out if anyone else already uses the name. Avoid choosing a name that is already in use. It can lead to mix-ups and brand confusion. And another company’s prior use of the name may be enough to establish a trademark, so you’d just be shaping up to get into legal trouble later. Choose something that stands out.
  • Ensure the name is available where you plan to do business. In most places, you need to register a business name, although there are some allowances for using your own name. Find out whether you can register the name with your state, province or country.
  • Choose something easy to spell. You and your employees will soon tire of spelling your name over and over. And you want people to be able to get your name right in emails and social media. So choose something easy to spell.
  • Find a name with a positive connotation. Give clients a shot of optimism with your business name. There’s a reason “Mr. Clean” shows up on shelves, not “Mr. Messy Kitchen and Bathroom”. Include information about what your business does. Marketing, business strategy, accounting, sales – those are all broad terms that avoid the limits of things such as “social media” or “Year 2000 Planning”.
  • Choose something short. You’re going to have to fit your business name on business cards, emails, ads, stationery and more. Find a short name.
  • Take a look at the portfolios of naming companies. These will give you some tips for what’s trending and perhaps what works.
  • Consider the future of your business. If you want to eventually sell your business or have employees, you may not want to name the business after yourself. Do you want your name on things other people will be doing? Do you feel comfortable marketing under your own name now?
  • Check the initials, domain name and anything else that makes sense. Property Management Systems sounds good till you have to start abbreviating it. “Rogers Exchange and Hedge Management” might sound good till you write it as “rogersexchange.com”. I know a very successful independent publishing company that recently rebranded when the owner found that it contained an anatomical description.
  • Test the business name. Consider running some cost per click ads to test market ads using your chosen name or domain name. (Be sure to offer legitimate ads, given advertising laws.) Look at click-through rates. What works? What doesn’t?
  • Run your business name (and the domain name) through trusted people and even prospective customers. Do you have to explain the meaning? Can they understand it without having you spell it out? Do they like it? Can they see recommending your business to others?
  • Consider talking to an intellectual property lawyer about ways to protect your business name and other intellectual property.
  • Set up a Google alert to monitor the web for references to your business name. You’ll know if anyone starts using it.

 

Above all else, choose a name you like. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your business name.

Working on a business plan? See Write Your Business Plan Now.

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed up with bag piper band

Red Hot Chili Peppers vs The Red Hot Chilli PipersWhat happens if you confuse Red Hot Chili Peppers with a bag pipe band called The Red Hot Chilli Pipers? You may know the famous alternative band, Red Hot Chili Peppers. A client emailed me recently to say she’d been looking at their videos on Youtube. She was looking at one clip that featured bag pipes and thinking Flea and the boys looked a little less gaunt than usual.

But, somewhere along the way, maybe after a video or two, she realized she was watching The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. She had been duped! This wasn’t the band she was looking for. You’ve heard about brand confusion – this was band confusion. And it’s made worse by Youtube’s autocorrect spelling feature that seems to pull up both bands in search results for either name.

Turns out The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a popular Scottish bag pipe band. I kid you not. Check out their amazing covers of Thunderstruck, We Will Rock You, and Chasing Cars.

My client wanted to know how on earth this was possible. How could there be The Red Hot Chilli Pipers in a world where Red Hot Chili Peppers no doubt trademarked their moniker long ago?

My first thought was maybe that the Peppers never trademarked outside the US, although this seemed unlikely to me. A quick search of the UK trademark database revealed that the RHCPeppers registered their trademark in 2002. (In fact, they made several filings for different intellectual properties related to their name.) The RHCPipers, on the other hand, attempted trademark registration in May 2011.

I thought about this for a bit. It seemed a bit unusual that the Pipers had gone to the trouble of filing, but then withdrew their application. I assumed that the Peppers must have got wind of it and blocked the submission. Some cyber sleuthing reveals that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lawyers posted about the trademark situation and brand confusion. (Or is that band confusion?) It sounds like the Pipers can call their band The Red Hot Chilli Pipers because it falls under the realm of parody, but that perhaps they are unable to register their trademark or perhaps even sell wares under that name.

Let this be a lesson to all of us. If you go to the trouble of creating and marketing an intellectual property, make sure you can use it. In the case above, there’s no doubt in my mind that a pipe band playing on the name of the Peppers probably got more fame than one with a more bland name. But, with success, they now may be stuck with a name that they can’t legally use on t-shirts or merchandise. And t-shirts and merchandise are the main source of revenue for most independent artists.

If you’re starting a business and you want to be clever with your name, make sure you’re not so clever that you land in legal hot water. Take time to look at registered trademark databases. At the very least, search online to see if your name is similar. Even if you pass the muster of your state or provincial name registry, find out if anyone else is using the name. For your brand to work, it needs to be unique and legal, not just memorable. Otherwise, you may be building and marketing an intellectual property that you don’t even own. (Incidentally, I’ve left all the videos on Youtube, rather than embedding them here…I don’t want to break any rules either!)

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How to use LinkedIn to build expert status

Using Linkedin to build expert statusHow to use LinkedIn to build expert status – Are you wondering whether LinkedIn can help you build your expert status? Curious whether LinkedIn is anything more than just a fly-by-night social media portal?

LinkedIn is a unique social media site that can be a powerful tool when used appropriately. And one of the most effective ways to use LinkedIn is as a tool to help you build expert status.

Here are five tips to help you build your expert status on LinkedIn:

1. Be a valuable member of influential groups

Have you joined a LinkedIn business-related group yet? If not, a quick browse in LinkedIn offers a window into many online business groups. 

But don’t just join industry organizations. Consider frequenting complementary groups and becoming known as the resident expert in that group in your niche.

And don’t just post your own status updates. Answer others’ questions and demonstrate your expertise by giving back.

Not sure where to start when it comes to LinkedIn groups? Check out which groups your peers and colleagues have already joined.

2. Share your favorite book recommendations

Check out the LinkedIn "Amazon Reading List" application. It’s a great little app that allows you to share the business-related books that you like. Your chosen books are displayed right on your LinkedIn profile. Or, better yet, if you’re a published author, you can load your reading list with your own books–peppered in with a few other useful picks, of course!

Displaying your reading list on your LinkedIn profile is an effective yet subtle way to demonstrate that you’re active in your industry and that you’re an expert in your field.

3. Officially associate yourself with the movers and shakers in your industry

Are there big-wigs in your niche? Use your existing LinkedIn network to ask for an introduction from one of your existing connections so that you can be connected with the movers and shakers in your niche.

Become an expert by affiliation.

4. Ask for referrals from your best clients

You know who they are: the clients who think that you’re the greatest. The clients who love your work and what you do.

Don’t be afraid to request a recommendation or testimonial from your biggest fans. Nothing speaks louder than what someone else has to say about you!

5. Fill out the LinkedIn Honors and Awards section

If you’ve been nominated or won awards, don’t be shy. List ’em in LinkedIn! 

Never been nominated for anything? No problem. Why not join the board of an industry association instead?

Take action on at least one of these tips on how to use LinkedIn to build expert status to see results today. Increasing your expert status can do wonders for your business, so have the confidence to see yourself as an expert!

Related Posts:

 

8 reasons the economy means opportunity

Opportunities for consultants in a bad economyWorried about the economy? Don’t be.

When you’re a consultant you’re in control. You create your own business, your own contacts and your own client list. Being in control is one of the many reasons why consulting rules.

Here are 8 reasons the economy means opportunity for consultants:

1. Layoffs mean gaps that need to be filled

Fewer employees in the workforce mean that there are unmet company needs that can’t be filled by regular employees.

2. Less competition

When the economy is threatening to go sour many on-the-fence consultants looking for a change take the opportunity to get back into the regular 9-to-5 workforce.

3. More short-term contracts and one-off projects

Many companies are hesitant to take on new employees during so-called “bad” economic times and turn to consultants instead.

4. During a down-turn companies get serious about growth

During a shaky economy companies tend to get serious about marketing and planning their future. This can mean more work for consultants who offer strategic advice.

5. Opportunity to diversify your client base

If your regular source of work dries up during tough economic times it can be a great time to tweak your primary target market. Try government or healthcare or other industries who are less affected by the economy.

6. Look for new opportunities that weren’t there before

Downturn in the economy? Consider the market and whether that downturn has opened up a new opportunity in your service offering.

7. More time on your hands? Get focused.

Finding yourself with a gap in your schedule due to a slow economy? Take the time time think. Have you been too reactive when it comes to accepting new clients? Why not take this opportunity to go after the clients that you really want–rather than take the jobs that come knocking on your door. If you’ve been running from project to project without a chance to catch up or plan strategically, get serious about your business and go after the clients that will really take your business to the next level.

8. Work-life balance

Many consultants take few vacations and operate on a boom and bust schedule, often working erratic schedules if they are driven to grow their business. Finding yourself with a bit more free time? Relax. And take a moment to catch up on your work-life balance.

So don’t get sucked into worrying about the economy. Focus on the opportunities that are out there and how you can provide value in your industry.

Do you agree with these 8 reasons the economy means opportunity?

Related posts:

 

Marketing – Turn a necessary evil into self nurture

Marketing – Do you look at marketing as a necessary evil? If so, stop thinking of marketing as a necessary evil. Instead, start thinking of marketing as an exercise in self nurture.

Marketing doesn’t have to feel like a necessary evil

When you think about "marketing," do you think of expensive advertisements, pushing your business on others or awkward business card exchanges? Do the words "cold call" send shivers down your spine?  If so, you need to flip marketing on its head.

As a consultant, marketing doesn’t have to be a hard sell; it can be subtle. Marketing can be as simple as intentionally expanding your network of friends and contacts. As I wrote in a recent article, becoming a consultant is as much about knowing stuff as it is about knowing people.

Think about it. When was the last time you hired someone to provide a service for you? Odds are that you hired someone based on who you know–for example, someone in your social circle–or from a referral made by a friend or colleague.

Turn marketing into self-nurture

Expanding your social circle can be very self-nurturing. We are social animals, even those of you who consider yourselves shy. Needing to expand your network for marketing purposes can be an excellent reason to connect with inspirational, like-minded entrepreneurs and colleagues. And there are few things as pleasurable or self-nurturing as meeting new friends who share similar experiences, such as running their own consulting businesses

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with cold calling and sometimes it’s necessary. But there is no need to think of marketing as a hard sell where you push your services on absolute strangers. Instead, approach marketing as a reason to expand your network and enjoy some much needed social interaction during the process.

Related posts:

5 must-have marketing tips
Finding new clients – Part 1
5 building blocks of a successful consulting business
Small business training

 

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.

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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 – hotsexythang@domainname.com and coolseattleguy@madeupdomain.com.
  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 – robandjulie@mytownslocalISP.com.
  3. Too generic. You put a date in your address to set you apart – jane2007@gmail.com.
  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 – consltnt@gmail.com or propaytner@hotmail.com.
  5. Nonsensical. youcanseetheanswer@gmail.com or rotememoryrobots@yahoo.com.
  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 – newyorkfloriststore@yahoo.com or rsmith.consultant@hotmail.com.
  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 – angela_coopersmith1980@gmail.com.  

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 jane@realestatemagic.com or dsmith@atlantabanker.com, 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.

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Welcome, Entrepreneur Magazine readers

Consultant Journal is featured in Entrepreneur as part of a story on launching a consulting firm. Being featured in Entrepreneur feels like I’ve come full circle* in my business.

You see, when I was still in college, I dreamed about starting a business. I’d go to the library, read business mags, and scribble business plans on the backs of my notebooks. Later, when I moved East to work for the federal government, I’d go to the library at night, read more business books, and leaf through tattered copies of Entrepreneur. I think I read through the entire backlist during my time there. By the end of that summer, I’d landed my first contract, despite still being a university student.

So actually ending up in Entrepreneur is, well — this is trite, but it’s true — the stuff dreams are made of. It just goes to show that you can take steps to increase your expert status over time.

How about you? What business dreams do you have? What do you want from your life?

 *Okay, not entirely full circle. I’d still like to be on the front page for the $1B IPO. I admit it. But then where would my work-life balance be? 

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Dreyfus model of skill acquisition

The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition is a helpful concept to understand when interested in building your expert status. The Dreyfus model was developed at the University of California during the 1980s, and this model of skill acquisition is still relevant today.

The basic premise of the Dreyfus model is that students progress through five stages of expert status in this specific order: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.

In their paper, "A Five-Stage Model of the Mental Activities Involved in Directed Skill Acquisition," brothers SE Dreyfus and RL Dreyfus discuss each skill level in great detail. In short:

Novice – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Novices adhere to specific rules. Novices do not think outside the box, nor do they exercise "discretionary judgment."

Advanced beginner – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Advanced beginners take a more holistic approach to the project at hand than do novices, but advanced beginners have a limited understanding of the big picture.

Competent – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Competency is achieved when you start deliberately planning your projects and when you have created routines and structures in your work.

Proficient – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Proficiency is achieved when you can effectively prioritize different elements of your project. You know that you’ve reached proficiency when you truly grasp the whole of what you are trying to achieve.

Expert – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

In the words of the authors, experts possess an "intuitive grasp of situations based on deep, tacit understanding." Experts forego rules. Instead, they make decisions based on analytical approaches.

Are you interested in learning specific, actionable tips that will help you jumpstart your expert status from novice through to expert–just like in the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition? Get Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status for free when you subscribe to Consultant Journal’s newsletter.

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Why build your consulting website using WordPress

Whether you are a just getting started as a consultant or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, chances are you will need a consulting website. Gone are the days where a business card will suffice when it comes to marketing your consulting business. You’re going to need a website.

The good news is that building a website is not as expensive as it used to be. And websites are becoming easier and easier to update and use.

If you are in the early stages of getting your consulting website set up, I suggest finding an IT consultant who is familiar with "WordPress" and having your consulting website built on WordPress.

What is WordPress? WordPress started out as free blog publishing software, but it is now used for more than just blogs. In fact, WordPress has been used by the Wall Street Journal, Ford, universities and many other large organizations. 

So, why build your consulting website using WordPress? Here are the top three reasons why you should build your consulting website using WordPress.

1. Inexpensive:

WordPress is free to use and inexpensive to install. Most IT consultants and firms are familiar with WordPress, and setting it up for you is a snap, which is generally reflected in the price.

Quick tip: Ensure that your WordPress site is installed on your own domain name (for example: www.yourbusinessname.com) rather than at the free WordPress blogging site (for example: www.yourbusinessname.wordpress.com).

2. Easy to use

WordPress is easy to use. And its popularity ensures that there are many online tutorials available for free. These tutorials can help you learn how to update your own website without having to rely on your IT consultant for every little change, such as changing your phone number or mailing address.

3. Standardized

If, in future, you would like to change the design of your consulting website, it will be easy to change because WordPress is standardized. You can easily buy new designs for your website, which most IT professionals should be able to install for you.

Are you looking for an IT professional to help you build your consulting website using WordPress? Check out the consultant directory.

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