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Updated by Catherine Morgan on Oct 11, 2017
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Guest Blog Posts

Guest posts on other people's blogs.
What LinkedIn Recommendations Do and Don’t Do for Your Business | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

I have had some interesting experiences with LinkedIn recommendations recently. Most LinkedIn experts will tell you that all professionals need to have recommendations in their profiles and I agree with that. But are LinkedIn recommendations important for small business owners?

I think they are. If you’re a solo service provider, as many of the readers of this blog are, LinkedIn recommendations can give a prospective client some insights as to what they can expect if they work with you.

The language that a happy client uses may resonate with a prospective client. The prospect may think, “That’s my situation!” and feel confident that you can help them as well. Then, your sales conversation goes much more smoothly.

Living My Values Halved My Fee | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

This doesn’t happen often, but it has happened more than once. In each case, I gave my client my best advice, which was counter to my financial interest.

It was hard to do, but I slept better knowing that I had done the right thing.

Let me explain.

Because I am confident in the results that I help clients get, I work on contingency with many of my career transition clients.

Five Mid-Day Mojo Boosters | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

It’s Tuesday, but it feels like a Monday. Your get-up-and-go, got up and went. You have lots to do, but are struggling and not getting much done.

We’ve all been there.

As entrepreneurs, we ride the roller coaster of ups and downs. Some days we jump out of bed, and some days we wish we could stay under the covers.

So, what can you do to jump-start your energy? Here are five suggestions to help you get your mojo back:

5 Ways to Sanity Check Your New Service Offering | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

If you have a business that makes and sells physical products, you’ll want to come back tomorrow. I know zero about that. BUT if you’re a consultant and want to launch a new service offering, I can definitely help you.

Agency and the Gig Economy: Don’t Be an Idiot |

Not one – but TWO clients sent me this article “The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death,” published in The New Yorker, wondering what I thought about it.

In fact, I had lots of thoughts about it, and my blood pressure hasn’t been this high since I almost stroked out at my last job before leaving to start my business.

My immediate response to both clients was, “As opposed to 70 hours per week of white-collar indentured servitude?” Both sent an LOL response because they had experienced that – and then been unceremoniously let go by ungrateful employers.

Working with a Designer: 5 Essential Tips to Get the Best Results

Working with a designer can help you create a polished website or a visually appealing piece of sales collateral. But like the old joke about the United States and England being two countries separated by a common language, you may find that you and your designer use slightly different terminology or you have divergent views on the importance of certain tasks.

So, what are the real benefits of working with a designer and why should you engage with one? Emmy-nominated art director Jill Fiore says, “A good designer is also a visual problem solver. They can prioritize things in an eye-catching optical hierarchy of importance, whether it is for a website, a promotional piece, an app, a presentation or a logo.”

Working with a talented designer can be a great experience—if you know what to do. To help make sure that your project comes in on time and on budget, here are some things you need to think through when you are working with a designer.

Opportunity Cost: Your Time Is Precious

As a small business owner, especially a new business owner, you may feel like you don’t have a lot of money – but you have plenty of time.

This is a big mistake! Your time is also a precious resource that needs to be allocated appropriately and, more importantly, consciously.

What you may not be taking into account is that time you spend on one thing ensures that you are not able to spend time on something else. This is called “opportunity cost.”

Solo Business Owner? It Still Takes a Village.

I’ve had the same conversation with no fewer than five solo business owners over the last week. Whenever that happens, I know the topic is something we should cover here on Business Unplugged. My specialty is working with solo consultants and helping them find great clients and build sustainable businesses. There seems to be a pattern that most of them follow.

Initially, they are excited to be their own boss and be in charge. They think they have the knowledge they need to run a business because they are competent in their area of expertise.

They couldn’t be more mistaken.

Good Boundaries Make Good Clients

I know you have heard the phrase “Good fences make good neighbors.” I want to tell you that good boundaries also lead to good clients – and happier entrepreneurs.

I have learned a couple of really important things about boundaries over the last two weeks. I have learned the importance of not bending over backwards to help clients with either time or money. And definitely not both at the same time. This leads to a cranky entrepreneur.

10 Easy Ways to Look Professional So Clients Love You

Am I the only one who thinks common sense isn’t all that common anymore? In fact, on my snarkier days, I refer to it as (un)common sense. Want to distinguish yourself from the crowd? The best thing you can do is to act consistently like a professional business person. If you’re rolling your eyes right now, I get it – but many good business practices seem to have gone the way of the dodo. I have many pet peeves – and I’m sure that you have some to add to this list – but here are my Top 10.

Is Your Business a Good Fit for You? | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

Jonathan Fields is an entrepreneur, author, podcaster, friend of Carol's, and someone I have been following for the last five years. I absolutely love the tone and content of his Good Life Project , as it touches on many of the issues I work on with myself, my business, and my clients. He did a short podcast on an issue I have had to help my small-business clients and myself navigate through on occasion. He calls it “product-maker fit” – as opposed to product-market fit, which we think about (or should think about) all the time.

Small Business Lessons from Karaoke | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

Sooner or later you will end up at an event or bar with friends or colleagues who want to sing karaoke. Resistance is futile. Maybe you enjoy showing off your inner rock star. Or maybe you pick the shortest, easiest song that is more like talking because you can't stay on key to save your life. (Pro tip: Sometimes gusto and getting the crowd involved can make up for being tone deaf.)

I have no fear of speaking in front of a group, but singing karaoke makes me nervous. Weird, right? So when a friend suggested that we go sing, I said yes as an attempt to take myself out of my comfort zone.

TED Talks and the Way We Present | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

Lately, I have been immersing myself in the world of TED talks. Not only are the speakers often presenting fascinating topics, but studying their presentation and storytelling styles can be transferred to other aspects of my business. I am presenting my first TEDx talk on Saturday, May 30. What you may not realize, is that many of the most-viewed talks were not presented on the main TED stage, but at smaller, regional events like the one I will be speaking at.

Please Don't Ask to Pick My Brain | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

The working title of this post was "Be a Consulting Pro, Not a Consulting Ho." I can argue that consulting might have come before what is generally considered to be the world's oldest profession. And we are renting our bodies, too - our brains. Yes, fellow brain-renters, people pay us for our knowledge and expertise.

You're Never Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll or Start a Business | The Boomer Business Owner

As the Jethro Tull anthem says, "You're never too old to rock 'n' roll if you're too young to die." As a Boomer, I find myself thinking about this from time to time. Don't you? I work with professionals who range in age from 45-65. Many of them feel that they are ready to really make a big push in their careers or grow a business.

Got a Media Mention? Now Do the Important Things | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

It's easy to think that a media mention or radio/TV interview will boost your business. We imagine that our mention or interview will send us customers dying to buy from us, like the stories about Oprah mentioning a product and sales going through the roof. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Guest Blogging: The Right Way to Pitch a Blog Editor | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

Guest blogging on someone else's site can be a good way to gain exposure for yourself and your product / service, and to boost yourself and your company in search results. It is a sound business strategy for some types of businesses, especially service businesses.

I have been the editor for Business Unplugged™ for more than three years. During that time I have had the pleasure of working with many guest bloggers – some who were well known, and some who had never written a blog post. We run a meritocracy here: If you can write a great post that is of interest to our community, we will publish it.

How to Make Money Even If You Suck | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth
I am going to try to give some business owners the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don’t actually know they suck? Maybe they have skills from some time past and haven’t kept up with changes in technology? Maybe it’s a matter of perspective and experience? I don’t know…

What I do know is that it’s possible to have a decent business and not be very good at what you do. I have fallen for this and paid for less-than-satisfactory services a few times – so this is a word to the wise. Or a sound business strategy if you suck.
Can Social Media Save a Solopreneur's Sanity? | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth
I wrote a post titled "Solo but Not Alone" several years ago and it struck a chord with a lot of my small business owner colleagues. One of the things entrepreneurs need to manage against is loneliness. It may be lonely at the top in corporate, but it is REALLY lonely sometimes when you live alone and work from home. Sometimes it feels great and you think you are living the dream in your bunny slippers drinking from your giant coffee mug, just you and your laptop. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that great.
Productivity 101: Your Friend the Calendar | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth
"It's not interesting, but it works - pretty much every time and for everybody." That's what I say about my best tip for getting more done if you find that your days are consistently getting away from you, or if you find that you're not able to carve out time to do something that is important for your business. It’s Productivity 101, but sometimes the very best thing you can do is get hands on with your calendar. What does that mean? It means you’re schedule everything – professional appointments, personal appointments, fun things, time to goof off, etc.
The Magic Bullet for Entrepreneurs to Manage Overwhelm | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth
All professionals seem overwhelmed these days, but entrepreneurs and small business owners are even more likely to suffer from never-ending to-do lists. What’s a guy / gal to do? I have some good news for you. There IS actually a magic bullet. I can tell you definitively what causes overwhelm, and then you can manage against that.
Cranking Up the Volume of You | Phil Gerbyshak
What happens when you crank up the volume of you? What happens when you re-launch yourself as the fullest and brightest version of you that you can be? Let me tell you a story about someone you probably know - Phil Gerbyshak. What a difference a year can make!
Four Ways to Prioritize Your To-Do List | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth
I am the accidental productivity expert. I speak frequently on productivity techniques for finding more time and getting more done. In my previous corporate jobs, my managers always commented that I was a good time manager and project manager. But as a small business owner, I find myself struggling and juggling as much as anyone.
Entrepreneurial Shame: Dreaming of a J O B | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

I am going to say what a lot of you are thinking: Sometimes I dream about getting a job. My fantasy includes the joy of just executing on someone else's plan. What if I didn't have to be the CEO, marketer, business developer, administrative assistant, and janitor? Ahhhhhh...

How Training and Practice Can Improve Your Speaking | Business Unplugged | Carol Roth

Public speaking is a major fear for many professionals, but love it or hate it, when you are looking for funding or clients, you are going to have to get comfortable speaking in front of people. I happen to love public speaking. I think it is a blast, and have actively been developing my skills as a speaker through practice and training.