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- Michael Zipursky Consultant, Author, & CEO of ConsultingSuccess.com

Consulting Habits, How To Start Your Day the Right Way

Consulting-Habits-Reading

Have you ever got out of bed feeling drained?

It’s likely that your usual morning routine does little to boost your energy.

Instead of being consumed by television, print or internet news first thing in the morning take a different approach…

Your internal drive, motivation and inspiration lacking?

Does any of that sound familiar?

How Consultants Deal With This

I’ve spoken with countless consultants that deal with this.

I’ve experienced it too…

The feeling that you need to push yourself…

It’s like climbing up a hill.

Even though you know the view will be beautiful you’re not enjoying the climb up.

Time to Take Action

So what can you do?

Let me share with you the single best way to overcome this challenge.

Instead of being consumed by television, print or internet news first thing in the morning take a different approach… Continue Reading

How to Take a Vacation While Growing Your Business

Vacation-While-Growing-Business

If you want to go on vacation – go for it!

There’s a false belief that people have been spreading…

That ‘perfect time’ never comes. So don’t wait for it.

That going on holiday means your business will suffer.

And that is not true.

I recently spent 5 days on a small island with my wife.

I was on ‘vacation’ and enjoying a great holiday.

But I also worked.

“Say what Michael? You’re on holiday but you’re working? That’s not a holiday!” you say.

It sure is.

The belief that you can’t ‘work’ while on holiday is absurd.

My business is part of my life.

I enjoy it – that’s why I do it.

I take an hour or two out of a full day to talk with clients and close deals.

You need it. Your body and mind need it. Your family needs it.

One day I spent 3 hours ‘working’. Then we had a great lunch. Went on an amazing hike to the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean. Then had a drink at the local pub. Followed by a relaxing evening with great food and wine overlooking the ocean where we saw porpoises and otters.

If you believe that spending an hour or two out of a day makes your holiday ‘a failure’ you’re focusing on the wrong things. Continue Reading

6 Reasons to Stop Charging a Consulting Hourly Rate

Stop-Charging-Hourly-Consulting-Rate

I get it. Society has made the hourly rate the standard way to get paid.

The news talks about hourly wages almost every day.

But if you’re charging a consulting hourly rate you’re not only doing a disservice to your client and your business – you’re also leaving a great deal of money on the table.

Here are 6 reasons to avoid the deadly hourly rate:

  1. Your client will always want you to work less because they’ll pay you less
  2. Your client will avoid getting you to do important work because they know it will cost them more
  3. Your client will hold back calling you and asking you for feedback because it might lead to more work
  4. You’ve grouped yourself together with every other person working on an hourly rate (plumbers, fast food servers, administrative assistants, etc)
  5. You’re incentivized to take longer to complete the work because you’ll get paid more
  6. You limit your ability to scale your business because more income means more work for you to do

Scare Clients With Your High Hourly Rate

Some consultants believe that charging  a high hourly rate fixes this problem.

Instead of working 100 hours at $150/hr what if you could charge $25,000 or $40,000 and get the work done part time over two weeks?

Instead of charging $150/hr why not $350/hr.

But how many hours a day are you actually able to spend on client work?

What if you want to grow your business to $50k-$100k+ per month?

Not only does this limit your ability to scale your business there are far fewer clients willing to pay ‘high’ hourly rates.

It simply scares them off…because they compare it to every other hourly rate they’ve seen.

The Structure to Growth

If you want to experience significant growth in your consulting business avoid the hourly approach.

Instead choose a structure that allows you to maximize the value you’re providing.

While minimizing your time involved.

Because the greatest wealth anyone has isn’t ruled by money – it’s the time they have to do what they want.

Structures that work well in this regard include project consulting work, retainer work – all with a focus on value over volume.

Both of these structures have several nuances. And they each require the right approach and positioning. Continue Reading

What Does Per Diem Mean for Consultants

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Per diem simply means “for each day” or “per day” (wikipedia).

As a consultant you’ll run into this word all the time. It’s most often used to describe the amount of money you’re given or allowed to use per day.

Let’s say you’re attending a consulting conference. Your organization may offer you a $400 per diem to cover your hotel, meals, travel, etc.

Instead of expecting your client to pay for your meals or travel, you can simply include it in your proposal as part of the project fee.

To clarify, if you’re an independent consultant you won’t be finding much use in a per diem. This is most common when working for a company or organization as an employee.

That said, some larger companies, government and organizations do offer contractors and consultants per diem in some situations.

Consultants sometimes wonder whether their client will offer them a per diem to visit the client site.

The answer is, yes, some will. However, I’m not a big believer in this model.

Instead of expecting your client to pay for your meals or travel, you can simply include it in your proposal as part of the project fee. Continue Reading

Why You Don’t Need Money to Succeed

Dont-need-money-to-succeed

Got on a call the other day with a consultant interested in my coaching program.

I asked “What’s the #1 challenge that’s holding you back from reaching the level of success you want?”

If you’re telling yourself that a lack of money is holding you back you’re fooling yourself.

His response, “I don’t have enough money”

“So if I wire you $10,000 right now, what will change, how will that give you a better chance at success?” I asked.

The voice on the other line went silent.

Listen, friend. Money isn’t what’s holding you back from success.

In the consulting business you don’t need a lot of money to take your business to the next level.

Unlocking your growth potential isn’t magic.

And it doesn’t require expensive technology, advertisements or a great increase in staff.

If you’re telling yourself that a lack of money is holding you back you’re fooling yourself.

If you’re waiting to ‘start’ marketing and promoting your business until you have more money – you’re simply delaying your success.

Attracting more clients, increasing your income and growing your business doesn’t take a lot of money. Continue Reading

Mountain Madness and Tasting Success

Mountain-Madness-Success

As we arrived at the base of the mountain we knew something was different.

Instead of bursting up a hill and taking a break, I’d take no breaks, climb slower and make it to the top.

We were about to start our climb to 3,700 feet. A straight climb up 2.9 km (1.8 miles).

Looking around at the parking lot we could see hundreds of people gathering.

Then we saw the sign.

It was race day.

In 15 minutes hundreds of racers would start the climb.

We had no idea it was race day.

So we had a choice to make…

We could both turn around and give up on the climb given the situation, or get moving fast and start the climb before the wave of racers came behind us.

“Let’s go for it” we decided.

We began by running up the steep rocky hill for the first minute. I could tell within that time that ‘running’ wasn’t going to last for very long.

Within a few minutes I was gasping for air. That’s when I decided I needed to adjust my approach.

Rather than aiming for speed, I’d focus on consistency.

Instead of bursting up a hill and taking a break, I’d take no breaks, climb slower and make it to the top.

Several minutes later the first racer flew past me.

Over the next 15 minutes men, women and children of all ages went by as I continued to climb.

At the quarter mark my mind started playing games on me telling me how I wouldn’t be able to finish – after all it was my first time doing this climb.

But the mind is what holds most of us back from reaching our greatest possibilities and accomplishments.

Reach the half way mark was hard. Now drenched in sweat my legs began to feel like jelly.

I continued on. Every time my mind reminded me of how hard the climb was, I focused on getting it done. Continue Reading

I Feel Silly…

Feeling-Silly

“I feel silly” the caller on the line told me.

“It’s weird. I’m a marketing consultant but I need help with my marketing. I need to get more clients” she went on.

I hear this more often than you can imagine.

Find a coach or expert that you can learn from. It may very well be the best investment you ever make.

Ever heard of the shoemaker’s child who has no shoes?

It’s not surprising…

You’re a consultant so why would you ever need consulting for your own business?

Why does a doctor need to go see a doctor – if he or she is already a doctor?!

We all need this…

When we’re busy working on our business we often fail to see the bigger picture.

We tend to run in circles when a straight line would get us to the results we desire faster.

The outside perspective of an expert can be invaluable.

I remember the very first month I got a coach for my business. It added 60% more revenue to our bottom line.

The next time I hired a coach it was a big leap. Continue Reading

Simple Consulting Solution to a Complicated Problem

Over-Complicating-Business

I was out for a business lunch at a local restaurant.

They have great food and are known for their service and attentiveness to customers.

This time however, something happened that reminded me of a mistake many business owners make.

Most things are meant to be kept simple and humans have a habit of feeling that more is better – when the opposite is usually the case.

We ordered our food and when it arrived we asked to have some hot sauce.

“Sure, I’ll get that for you right away” said the waiter.

Two minutes went by and no hot sauce.

When someone asks for a condiment like hot sauce once their food arrives, they want it right away so they can add it to the food in front of them and start enjoying it.

Still waiting for our hot sauce I got the attention of a waitress and asked her for some hot sauce. She said, “Right away”. But then we noticed that she went over to her POS system and entered in that we wanted hot sauce. Continue Reading

5 Ways to Get Bigger Clients Without Hiring More Staff

Getting-Bigger-Consulting-Clients

“I need more staff to look more professional and to win bigger projects.” I hear that all the time, and it’s simply an excuse.

If you want to build a consulting firm with several consultants that all produce value for your clients and company that’s great. I’ve worked and coached many consulting firm owners and showed them how to attract more clients and increase their revenues.

Use strategic fees and pricing to increase your average project size and compensation.

In this case, I’m referring to independent consultants or firms with less than 3 people who believe that adding more staff and consultants to their team will magically allow them to land bigger projects.

If that’s what you believe, get ready for a big slap of reality.

Adding more staff to your team is a fixed cost. It costs you money each and every month to keep those staff regardless of whether you’re bringing more money in. That’s not the road to rapid growth.

Other dangers exist as well. More staff means more bureaucracy and more distractions.

Instead, here are 5 ways to land bigger projects, clients and increase revenues:

Continue Reading

Getting Clients Is What Counts

Getting-More-Consulting-Clients

You’re a consultant and you know doing great work for your clients counts.

But it’s not the most important aspect of your business…

Getting clients is.

If you don’t get clients you have no one to do great work for.

And doing great work isn’t the hard part.

For success in this business you must be focused on your marketing and client acquisition.

For the vast majority of consultants I speak with – and I talk with many – attracting and landing their ideal clients is the challenge.

People see this all wrong.

Just the other day a consultant told me that he was thinking to split payment with his partners like this:

25% for the person that brings in the business

75% for the people doing the work

Why would the person taking on the hardest part in the process get the lowest percentage?

That’s ludicrous.

For success in this business you must be focused on your marketing and client acquisition.

It’s the only way you’ll enjoy a thriving business. Continue Reading

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