Ever heard the saying, "the best defense is a good offense"?
Well, in the world of the consulting it is reversed.
In consulting, the best offense is a good defense.
What do we mean by this?
Well, consulting is actually a risky business.
You need to execute a defensive strategy that lets you assert yourself, command the fees you deserve, and generally not get pushed around.
If you only have a few clients, or worse still, ONE major client... then the loss of that client is going to severely impact your income if that client leaves.
No matter how good you are as a consultant, you simply cannot control all the external variables and influences that may cause this to happen.
So if you're in a position where the loss of a single client is going to materially affect your personal and professional well being, you are essentially working a job without the security of an employment contract. No bueno!
For 90% of the consultants we speak to, if they stop working, their business dies.
Traditional professional services firms, mitigated against this risk by having partners that are also equity owners, and engage in business development and highly technical and valuable service delivery.
This prevents one person from having to shoulder the entire burden of the enterprise, and aligns the incentives correctly for the people involved, minimizing the need for management and even centralized leadership.
Do you have partners? Or are you a solo partner? *Hint* there's no such thing as a solo partner :P
Certainly you don't have to have a business partner in your consulting practice, but if you don't you are going to need to engage very capable people to assist you in automating as much of your business as possible.
*Hint* I know a few guys that are really humble and really good at this!
Even the big name one person brands you see all over the internet, are run on highly capable automated systems behind the scenes. Colton and I have built many of those systems, and they are intended to give the appearance of almost superhuman productivity through the use of technology and leverage. Cool stuff!
Long story short, a single person running a business entirely by themselves is not a stable model, and it inevitably causes unnecessary stress either personally, professionally or both.
If any or all of this makes sense to you, and you want to stop doing things the hard way just remember: you are not an expert at the business of consulting, so do yourself a favor and get some tips instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.
You'll thank yourself that you did.
So, I've been going to the gym for a few months now, but got a personal trainer last week...
WOW - you really don't know how much you don't know until you get an expert to help you personally.
I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner. It was an interesting experience to be a beginner in something again and get schooled by an expert... hard on the ego.
But like I tell our clients - let us be hard on your privately, so you can win publicly!