In the gig economy, almost everyone is a consultant.
What used to be something you did ‘in-between jobs’ has become a driving force in the 2019 economy and it’s a good thing.
Those with expertise are finally getting immediate access to those they can help, and those with problems are being sought out by the people who are the best people in the world at solving them.
This means more problems are being solved for more people, more efficiently and at higher prices.
This is capitalism at its best—and it’s not just a trend, but a sign of things to come.
But no matter which side of the fence you sit on, whether you make the foray yourself, or you’re pondering it, one thing can be clearly seen:
There are two types of consultants.
And they are not created equal.
They have a predictable flow of new business coming to them and because of this—they choose who they want to work with.
The clients they do work with, respect them.
They charge the highest fees and experience the shortest sales cycles.
They headline the events they speak at and command influence.
And they automate and delegate everything in their business to acquire true wealth: the wealth of time.
They are the Apex Consultants in their niche.
These consultants rely primarily on referrals to grow their business.
They utilize their own time to chase new clients, drum up new business, and fulfill the services they promised.
They take whichever clients they can.
They negotiate on prices on a case-by-case basis.
Their clients question their advice, no matter how true it is.
They are stretched so thin, that they have no time to focus on what is important: scaling their business.
And they constantly live on the verge of burnout, experiencing deep stress and anxiety, unable to ever fully relax because of how unpredictable their business is.
Knowing, that they need to keep pushing because if they don’t they have to give up on the dream and get another job.
Despite this, they know the lifestyle they want is possible, because they see others enjoying it.
So, they ask themselves…
What separates the top 1% of consultants from the rest?
At our organization, we’ve helped dozens of Apex Consultants build their careers from behind the scenes, and I can tell you the answer is not what you may think.
And that it has comparatively little to do with how good a consultant or entrepreneur is, or even how well connected.
In truth, the answer, is…
Specifically, leverage on the front and back-end of your business.
One the front end: marketing systems that reach your ideal clients, present you impeccably, leverage your expertise and create a predictable flow of ideal clients who know about you, what you do and are interested in how you can work together.
On the back-end: an optimized productized service, designed to solve the same problem, for a large homogenous group of people at higher prices—and is proven to get the result.
When you put these two forms of leverage into action in your business…
Fundamentally, you get to choose the level of scale you want to achieve.
Stopping at the level of income, influence, and free-time you want.
This is the Apex of your niche and your full potential.
But the reason most consultants don’t reach this level of success, is because they simply don’t know:
They are strategically misaligned, or profoundly under-leveraged.
Of course, there’s a lot that I can go into to help you create leverage and hit the Apex of your niche, but there are 5 main lessons that I think all consultants and entrepreneurs need to learn in order to get there.
So, here they are and how they relate to creating a wildly effective business as a consultant or entrepreneur—selling expertise to those who need it.
The truth is, most people in business are operating far below their total capacity. Especially, when a team is in place to lean on.
But you won’t know what you are capable of, or what level of supply you are capable of fulfilling—if you’re turning deals down.
So, step one to creating leverage is aiming for your breaking point.
Optimizing for one deal is hard and you’ll overcomplicate it.
But optimizing for 10, 20, or 30—that will create some efficiency.
Not based on ‘that would be nice’ or ‘hypothetically’ but based on necessity—one of the most powerful flow triggers on the planet.
And since you’re solving one set of problems, for a large group of people, you’ll get better at it quickly. With one client, feedback is noise. With a hundred, you’re able to see the patterns.
A then, the work done in one deal will benefit the rest, tapping into exponential growth.
In short: the first step to creating leverage is to question your standards for ‘enough.’
Sometimes it feels like a good idea to make a plan now to put you into a better position to succeed later.
And sure, at a point it’s good to be pragmatic.
But many consultants and entrepreneurs create plans to achieve their ‘mean goals’ thinking it will help them get to their ‘end goals.’
That is, the goals they make ‘in the meantime’ that they think will help get them where they really want to be in the end.
Unfortunately, life isn’t so linear.
It takes the same amount of effort to achieve your ‘in the meantime’ goals versus your ‘what I actually want’ goals.
The only difference is, by the time you get where you want to be, you’ll be older and probably more tired after slugging it out in the meantime.
Our brains are wired so that they only reward dopamine, the reward neurotransmitter, when they think we’re moving towards our primary goals.
So, when you tell yourself ‘this is what I really want’ and then you proceed to spend 6 months, a year, 3 years doing something else that you think will get you where you want to be, eventually, maybe…
Or at least help you be more ready when the time comes…
You end up being worse off, then if you actually just jumped straight into what you wanted in the first place. Because you don’t have the small joy of achievement to full you along the way.
Besides, every plan has a phase of failure and adaptation as you are forced to align with reality. So, why not just batch it all by endeavoring towards what you actually want, not what you think you should do in the meantime.
Most consultants and entrepreneurs are very intelligent people and sometimes they think they are too smart for their own good.
But really, you can’t be too smart for your own good — only not quite smart enough.
This is why most consultants and entrepreneurs totally miss their blindspots and don’t know, what they don’t know — and don’t create any contingencies against this.
They’re called blindspots for a reason. You’ve solved every problem in your life, with your brain, and it’s very good at doing certain things. But it is obviously missing a lot, else you wouldn’t still have problems.
The issue is, you experience your problems subjectively, not objectively. They are your problems after all.
This doesn’t make you bad at business, it just makes you human.
And the best contingency for getting objective help, is of course, other people.
Specifically, other people who have achieved what you want to achieve before. And nothing less.
So, find those who have done what you want to do before, and ask them for help. Pay them for help. Fly to them and get their advice if you have to.
The cost of being proactive is far less than waiting and letting your problems escalate over time. Because, if things are not getting better—then they are getting worse.
So, make sure they are getting better.
I use the term consultant and entrepreneur interchangeably, because in 2019 the two have become one.
Entrepreneurs have expertise and need to get better at selling and sharing it with those who need it.
Consultants run businesses and need to be able to use finance, strategy, marketing, and sales to grow it.
They both balance one another out, and they both share the common need of being able to eat risk and turn it into capital.
So, if you own a business or work in a large organization and you’re responsible for growing it, then you need to dial up your risk tolerance to 11.
An extremely high-risk tolerance is the strongest correlate with success, (along with persistence and number of calls made per day).
It will not feel good. Our bodies and our minds were not wired to calculated risk, only survival. But the world is far safer today than it ever has been.
And in business, the risks aren’t life or death. They are related to how long it takes you to succeed, and the range of your success.
Which leads me to my final piece of advice for this article…
Not all tasks are made equal, just like not all consultants and entrepreneurs are made equal.
And not all things will have an effect on your bottom line and your results.
Which is why, if you’re the owner of the business you should be especially careful of what you give your attention to.
You only have so many hours a day, and just like not all tasks and consultants are made equal, not all hours in the day are made equal either.
Only a couple of those hours are your peak performance and optimal decision making hours.
So, first of all, find out when you function the most, then plan what you’re going to do before you do it—to be objective about it.
After doing this, the top 1% of consultants we’ve worked with invest their time in this order:
This is called division of labor. And it’s a superpower of the ultra-successful.
These are 5 of the many super powers Apex Consultants share, but they are 5 of the most influential and worth your focus if you want to take your business to the next level.
There could be a whole book to break each of these points down (and our book is coming out 2020) and cover the forms of leverage and the technical step-by-steps.
But the truth is, if you know what you should be prioritizing and investing your focus into, then figuring out how to solve the problems is straight forward.
Because being under-leveraged isn’t often a case of being under-resourced, but rather having poorly invested time and focus.
Getting your daily renewable resource of decision making weaponized is the first step to getting help from others and creating more comparative advantages.
So, I hope that this article has been helpful to create focus and priority on what matters most.
And that these lessons from our organization shed some light on the fact that if you own a business, then that business relies on you.
You’re the greatest source of growth in your business and the limiter.
So, create the leverage you need to elevate and go beyond yourself.
To go beyond “good enough.”
And reach your full potential to hit the Apex of your niche.