General Information

  • HP-LinkedInLogo

    3 Common LinkedIn Profile Mistakes That Make You Look Boring And Lazy

    Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Web Site Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | Cancer Volunteer

    LinkedInLinkedIn was founded on May 5, 2003, a date they affectionately refer to as Cinco de LinkedIn. It’s hard to believe that LinkedIn has been around longer than Facebook (founded February 2004) and Twitter (March 2006).

    Even harder to believe is how many people continue to make the same mistakes with their LinkedIn profiles. Your LinkedIn profile is the online representation of your personal and professional brand. If it doesn’t match up with who you are in “real life” (and makes you look boring and lazy when you really know you’re exciting and energetic!!!!!), then you’ve got a branding problem.

    The good news is that you can easily fix these common profile mistakes. Just schedule a little time to get it done and you will quickly remove yourself from the list of lazy and boring LinkedIn profiles!

  • Tech Soup Logo

    Happy Turkey Day… And Why 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profits Need to Know About Tech Soup!

    Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

    Happy Thanksgiving from Blue Gurus!

    Happy Thanksgiving!Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!  We appreciate you so much, regardless of how we are connected.  Friends, family, clients, peers, referral partners, vendors and more… lots ‘o love.

    It has been a great year and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of the people that believe in us and cheer for us.

    Traveling for Thanksgiving?

    If you are traveling this week, be sure to have back up plans in case of airport closures on the east coast and other delays based on weather.  (More info on that here.)

    Tech Soup for Not-For-Profit Organizations (NFPs)

    Tech Soup LogoIn the spirit of giving, I wanted to share a conversation I recently had with Theresa at Marian Hope, one of our web and social clients.  They are a 501(c)(3) not for profit and were asking me which Adobe software they should purchase for working with images.

    I started talking about how much the Adobe Suites cost (hundreds of dollars before Adobe came out with Creative Cloud licensing) and then remembered that they were probably a not-for-profit that would qualify for Tech Soup!

  • HP-LinkedInLogo

    LinkedIn Has Reached Critical Mass in Kansas City – 571,267 Profiles

    LinkedIn LogoPost written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

    We’ve been doing LinkedIn training since 2009.  We’ve worked with dozens of companies and hundreds of people in the last 5 years.  Here are some interesting things we have learned along the way:

    There are currently 571,267 LinkedIn profiles in the Kansas City area (as of 11/13/2013)

    We have around 2.5 million people in Kansas City (Census info here) so 571,267 profiles represents a significant amount of our population.  There are all kinds of variables at play here, but no matter how you look at it, most working people have a LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn is no longer just a social media site, it is a core piece of the way people connect to do business, share information and find a job.

    If you don’t have a strategy involving LinkedIn for your sales team, you are missing a huge opportunity to grow more quickly.

  • Mic Halloween 2

    BOO! 5 Spooky Business Trends

    Happy Halloween from Blue Gurus!

    The air in Kansas City is filled with the smell of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, TWIX, Kit Kats, M&M’s, Snickers and more! So much chocolate. So many kids (and adults) in their costumes. And with the backdrop of the gorgeous leaves changing colors all across the city, it’s a great time of the year.

    But there are also goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and witches among us…and I’m talking about in business. I’ve noticed a lot of things going on in the business world that might spook you if you aren’t careful. Here are just a few:

    1. 70% Disengaged

    Mic Halloween 3According to a recent Gallup “State of the American Workforce” study, 70% of American workers are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” in their work. (Only 13% of employees WORLDWIDE are engaged in their jobs.)

    So most of the people you see at work aren’t happy. And most of the leadership in those organizations aren’t doing anything about it. That has to change.

    2. Brand Schizophrenia

    I’m seeing a lot of situations where a company’s branding efforts don’t align with the success they’re having. So maybe they’re having a great year, are innovating, are making money, etc., but their web site is outdated and hard to navigate.

    Or, just the opposite, a company’s branding efforts are solid, but their culture and execution needs a lot of work.

    I’m seeing the same thing with individuals. Many people still don’t realize that we’re all brands now. I continue to see people that have horrible LinkedIn profiles, but are actually very solid business people. On the flip side, I’ve seen great LinkedIn profiles, but the person’s profile oversells who they are and just how successful they’ve been.

  • Austin Durbin

    The Power of Picking Up the Phone

    Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

    Wow.  It’s been an interesting three weeks since we got back from Vegas!  We had the usual catch up to do with emails and phone calls, but we also faced more challenges than normal….and one of them in particular could have been avoided.

    Austin Durbin

    Austin Durbin

    But before I go there, I wanted you to know that there are a ton of great things going on in our world:

    • Mic and I are heading out to Hillcrest Country Club with Jason Moxness (Alterra Bank) and Joe Pribula (Wells Fargo) to play in a charity golf tournament for a 2.5 year old boy named Austin Durbin who is battling leukemia. The funds raised will help his family pay for medical expenses. If you’d like to contribute, they’ve set up a PayPal account.
    • We recently sold a couple of big projects including additional LinkedIn training classes for current clients and a WordPress website project for a new client that will be completed by the end of the year.
    • We’re taking our wives, Trista and Missy, to the Chiefs game on Sunday. Big thanks to our friend and client Jacob Wayman of Kansas City Internal Medicine for the invitation!
    • We donated time to a group of MBA students working on a class project studying innovative businesses (we were honored to be chosen for a case study.)
  • Cocktails at The Cosmopolitan

    What Happens In Vegas…Ends Up In A Blog Post

    Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | Social Coach | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk Fanatic | Sushi Addict | Cancer Volunteer

    Cocktails at The CosmopolitanIn early October, Jason and I took our wives, Trista and Missy, to Las Vegas for four nights for the 1st Annual Blue Gurus Retreat!

    We wanted to get away for a few days to relax, have some fun, see some shows, play some craps and celebrate what has been a rewarding and productive year for the company.

    We were fortunate enough to stay at The Cosmopolitan, a gorgeous property in the CityCenter area right in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

    A BIG THANK YOU goes out to our friend Paul Buchheit for hooking us up with wonderful rooms that had incredible views of the Bellagio Fountains and the Strip! We enjoyed a couple of cocktails with him when we got into town and it was a great way to start the trip.

    View from The Cosmopolitan

    Here are a few of the highlights from the trip as well as a few correlating business tips to think about:

    1. On the night we arrived, the four of us went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay. It was a great show with lots of sights, sounds and music.
    Business Tip: Don’t wait to start having fun. Jump right in.

    2. On the second night, Jason and Trista saw Terry Fator at The Mirage and Missy and I took in O at The Bellagio. Jason and I both had high hopes for the shows and both walked away a bit underwhelmed.
    Business Tip: Be optimistic, but know that sometimes people and companies just can’t live up to your expectations. 

  • Downtown Kansas City

    A Wake Up Call – Hourly Pricing vs.Value Pricing

    Downtown Kansas CityPost written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

    My friends at Karbank Real Estate Company let me use their corner office today… I thought I would share the great view of downtown Kansas City from the 39th floor.  And that is what gave me inspiration for my blog post today… sharing the perspective.

    Best month ever… again.

    Back in July, Blue Gurus celebrated the best month of revenue in the history of the company.  It is an awesome feeling to hit a milestone like that.  Just two months later, here at the end of September, we’ve beaten the July number by 31%.  We have hard work and great clients to thank for that… but the most interesting result for me is the realization that I still have a lot of work to do!

    Make sure you celebrate the wins along the way.

    Downtown Kansas CityI know quite a few business owners that are never satisfied with their wins.  They don’t take the time to celebrate their wins along the way and are left feeling burned out.  I don’t want to make that mistake, so Mic and I are taking our wives to Vegas this week for the Blue Gurus annual retreat.

    Hourly pricing

    Before I started Blue Gurus, I had been in the world of hourly consulting for more than a decade.  It was what I knew.  It seemed fair to me… get paid for the amount of time you put in.  If you have to do more for a client, they pay more.  And yes, if you don’t have the meeting because of things outside your control, they pay less.

    My mindset was all about hours and not about VALUE.

    Mic has been challenging me for years about our pricing model.  I remember having the discussion with him in the first 6 months of him starting to work with me.  That was more than 3 years ago.

    I had to see it to believe it.

    Over the past 12 months, we’ve focused on adding retainer clients to Mic’s book of business.  Our pricing for those retainer engagements is based on the value that we are providing, not how long it takes to get the work done.  It is more profitable work and we are getting fantastic feedback and kudos from the companies that we work with.  We have enjoyed some great successes over the last two months.  The ironic dilemma for me is that Mic hasn’t had to work as many hours to generate the same amount of revenue.  What a wake-up call.

  • Mic Johnson, Blue Gurus

    MICOLOGY: A Personal Journey To Life And Career Happiness

    Around 5 years ago, right as the Great Recession was picking up steam and the markets and world economy were in a tailspin, I was unemployed, sitting alone in the basement of my house, and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do next in my career.

    I was scared.

    I was embarrassed.

    I was ashamed.

    I was alone.

    I was lost.

    I was depressed.

    I had no idea how to get out of the funk that I was in.

    Ironically, I didn’t take the advice you so often get when you’re in a situation like that. I wasn’t “pounding the pavement” looking for my next opportunity. I wasn’t going to “get back out there” and get a job just to have a job. I wasn’t going out and meeting people every day. I didn’t make it my job to find a job. I wasn’t scouring the job boards every day. I wasn’t going on informational interviews.

    By now, you’re probably asking yourself “Mic, why weren’t you doing any of those things? What were you doing? How did you survive?”

    The answer isn’t easy, but I want to share it with you in case you’ve been in that situation, find yourself in that situation in the future, or know someone who may be there right now. But before I do, let me preface this with a couple of very important points:

    1. All of those things I mentioned above are often good and necessary things to do when you’re looking to make a career change.

    2. Everyone has financial challenges and realities they have to figure out during the career change process.

    So why wasn’t I doing all of those things? Because I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living and I felt that I was starting to lose myself because of the career choices I’d made.

    You see, throughout my career, I worked for big companies, small companies, in a home office, and in cubicle farms. I made good money, had good benefits, and so much more. I had been in customer service roles, inside sales roles, worked in communications, and eventually worked as a recruiter for several years.

    But I wasn’t happy.

  • Downtown Council of KC Logo

    Downtown Council of Kansas City – Why You Should Get Involved

    Downtown Council of KC LogoPost written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

    We have been doing business with the Downtown Council of Kansas City for years.  We created their current website.  We trained their entire team on LinkedIn, WordPress, social media best practices and more.

    We help them execute their weekly blog posting.  We meet with them on a monthly basis to work on new projects online and offline.

    But that is the Downtown Council for us as a client…

    Getting Involved In The Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC)

    We joined the DTC this year and I wish we would have done it sooner.  If downtown Kansas City is important to you, whether for business or personal, you should seriously consider getting involved.  If it’s for business reasons, your company should be happy to cover the annual dues out of their sales and marketing budget.

    To learn more about being a member, check out the Become a Member page on their website.

    Board Meetings – July

    At the DTC Board Meeting in July, I learned a ton about the streetcar initiative.  I also heard some crazy statistics… did you know that housing in the downtown area is at 97% occupancy???  Things are growing so quickly downtown that people are having a hard time finding a place to rent!

    I met Scott Rowe with Arvest Bank on the elevator as I was leaving.  We followed up with a coffee meeting and now Blue Gurus is doing LinkedIn training for a group of Arvest producers in September.  There is no question that the board meetings are a great way to stay connected to downtown businesses.

    Downtown Council Board Meeting - September 2013 Downtown Council Board Meeting - September 2013

  • WHY

    Why? Why? Why?

    Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach|LinkedIn Trainer|Social Coach|Rational Optimist|Jayhawk Fanatic|Sushi Addict|Cancer Volunteer

    nsync 1998 When I first wrote the title for this blog I imagined N’Sync singing “Why? Why? Why?” instead of “Bye, Bye, Bye.” The infamous boy band was on my mind after watching them perform at the MTV Video Music Awards the other night. I didn’t watch that by choice. My wife made me. I guess she wanted me to know very clearly that she would leave me in a heartbeat if Justin Timberlake came calling. But I digress….

    I woke up this morning thinking about why it’s important to ask “Why?” Maybe I need some therapy on why I wake up thinking about blog post topics, but I’ll save that for another day.

    With “Why?” on my mind, I started brainstorming around all of the different directions I could take the blog post. Then, as my wife Missy and I were getting ready, I ran the idea by her. And she not only said “I’m not even awake yet”, but then asked me (ironically, I might add) why I would write a post about the question “Why?”

    I thought to myself, “She’s not a blogger. She doesn’t get it.” But maybe she will after reading this. (P.S. – Missy, if you’re reading this…I LOVE YOU!)

  • TEDxKC

    Were you at TEDxKC? We LOVED It! [PICS]

    Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

    The fifth annual TEDxKC event was Tuesday, August 20th.  The event sold out in a couple of hours again this year, but thanks to our very own Melissa Zarda, we were lucky enough to get six tickets for the live event!

    Mic invited Pam Berneking from Alterra Bank, and I took Trent Peters from Umbrella.  I wish we could’ve taken all of our clients, because it was an evening filled with excellent speakers and musicians.

    If you missed the TEDxKC event, you can watch the entire 3+ hour program here.  (It’s crazy that 37 other people were watching the video as I was writing this blog post.)  My favorite musician did an amazing “letter to his niece Adeline” a little after the 1 hour and 18 minute mark. I highly recommend you watch at least that part!  The entire recorded event will also be aired multiple times on KCPT in the coming months.

    TEDxKC Jason and Trent Mic and Pam