Small Consulting Projects and Clients: Are They Really Worthwhile?

Video Blog Summary:

The question today is should you ever take on a small project?

Does it make sense? Is it worthwhile? Is it a good strategy?


Well, let’s explore this together.

In the vast majority of cases, I would suggest against taking on smaller projects. Why? Because when you work on larger projects you have the ability to create greater value for your clients.

Create Greater Value

And as you’re creating greater value and working with larger clients on larger projects it also allows you to earn greater compensation.

You can make a lot more money by working with larger clients on larger projects than you can with smaller clients on smaller projects.

There are certain situations where taking on smaller projects really does make sense and can be a very effective strategy.

Going back to what I shared in the previous video around value versus volume, if you’re working with significantly smaller clients on smaller projects you’re really creating a volume-based business because you have to work with a lot more clients in order to earn the same income that you could achieve with working with significantly fewer clients at higher fee levels.

There are certain situations where taking on smaller projects really does make sense and can be a very effective strategy.

When You’re Getting Started

The first is if you’re just getting started as a consultant. You have expertise but maybe you haven’t put that expertise out into the marketplace yet, and so by working and taking on smaller projects it allows you to start getting results for clients that you can turn into testimonials, create case studies around.

You can then take that consulting expertise and that experience that you’ve now developed as a consultant into the marketplace and start to use that to land more clients and to build up your track record and experience as a consultant. Continue Reading

Improving Your Consulting Brand: No More Excuses!


It really amazes me.

In fact I’m actually quite surprised.

Once you have a good logo it can be the base for your visual identity.

At the amount of consulting “professionals” I deal with and come across that don’t have a nice looking and professional logo or visual identity to represent their brand.

It’s not that they don’t run a successful business or aren’t good at what they do.

In fact it’s most often the opposite. They are experts and great at what they do.

The problem I often see is that their logo and overall visual identity really haven’t been designed properly and that gives a mixed message to potential clients.

What is a visual identity?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and just make sure we’re all on the same page here when I talk about having a professional logo and visual identity.

Your visual identity is a small but important part of your overall business or personal brand. It’s the visual side of things. It’s the way you present yourself to the world.

At the forefront of this you have your logo, and then the colors you use, your website, the fonts you use, any print material like business cards and brochures, etc.

Why is it important?

In this day and age it’s more important than ever.

We are visual people and receive thousands of messages each day.

In order to stand out among all the “noise” out there we need have a visually appealing brand.

Not only that, whether we like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover, it’s just human nature. Continue Reading

9 Ways to Get More Consulting Clients


So you want to get more consulting clients?

Okay, let’s explore that together. But before we do it’s important that we get clear on WHO your ideal consulting clients are.

To get more clients you want to get your message in front of them.

Because if you don’t know WHO they are how can you market to them? Makes sense, right?

Who Is Your Ideal Consulting Client

So who is your ideal client? What type of client do you want to attract? At this stage you want to figure out the criteria to identify your ideal client. Once you’ve done this properly you’ll be able to effectively move the marketing process forward.

If you rush this part and don’t go through the steps the right way you’ll lack clarity on whom your ideal client is or you’ll have the wrong ideal client in target. This is so important it’s the first step I take consultants through in my coaching program. I call this process “Ideal Client Discovery.”

All of your marketing – your value proposition and marketing messaging – will be based on this. So it’s critical that you have your REAL ideal client in sight.

The More Focused the Better

To get more clients you want to be focused. In fact, the more focused you are on who your ideal client is, the better.

You’ll be able to identify exactly who your ideal client is, what their title is, their industry, their location, etc. And that allows you to target your messaging and marketing exactly to them.

This can be very hard for many consultants.

They feel that narrowing on a specific ideal client is restrictive. That they’ll lose opportunities because of their focus on a specific ideal client type.

I get it. Yes, this process can be a hard shift to make in your mindset. Yet, it’s a very important one.

The most successful consultants and companies have a very clear focus early on. It’s how they make a name for themselves. It’s how they establish their brand and became known as authorities.

Finding Consulting Clients

Once you’re clear on WHO your ideal client is and you’ve really FOCUSED down to ensure you’re going after the right ideal client it’s time to find them.

Marketing isn’t about choosing a popular tactic. Just because one type of marketing is working for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.

If the same marketing tactic worked perfectly for everyone, there’d only be one marketing tactic. Right?

Start with Questions

So before you dive into deciding what marketing tactic you’re going to ask yourself, “where are my ideal clients?”

Where can you get in front of them?

To get more clients you want to get your message in front of them.

What events do they attend?

What blogs and websites do they visit?

What publications do they read?

What associations or groups are they part of?

These are just a few of the many questions that can guide you to getting in front of more ideal clients.

9 Tactics to Get Consulting Clients

There are many ways to promote your consulting services. The tactic you choose will depend on who your ideal client is and where you can most effectively and efficiently reach them.

Here are 9 (of many) tactics consultants can use:

1. Webinars
Webinars are a great way to educate and provide valuable information to buyers and ideal clients. Done effectively not only can you demonstrate your authority live on the webinar you can do it in front of many people at one time. Most webinars are a series of presentation slides (think PowerPoint or Keynote) that you take attendees through. It’s a great way to identify the problems prospective clients are having, offer possible solutions, and ultimately make a clear offer. The offer is where you’ll provide an opportunity for the attendee to work with you. Too many people use webinars strictly as a way to present information. The most effective webinars are the ones that engage the attendees making them part of the conversation. Continue Reading

How to Build Rapport and Make More Consulting Sales


Have you ever felt uncomfortable asking for the sale?

You were speaking with a buyer, your ideal client, and for some reason it slipped out of your hands like a wet bar of soap. You thought the sale was coming and then it was gone.

Your first focus should be on building rapport with your buyer. People don’t buy from people they don’t like. So job one is to establish a foundation for the relationship. One that you can build on.

Consultants often become frustrated in situations like these. They know they can help the buyer and yet they can’t seem to win their business.

Has this ever happened to you?

Let’s explore why this happens and how to deal with it so that you can start winning more business.

Opportunity to Make the Sale

Entering into a conversation with your ideal consulting client is essential to make the sale. It’s your best opportunity and without the conversation your chances of winning the sale are slim to none.

But you don’t want to start the conversation with the focus on making the sale. Why?

Because before you enter the conversation you don’t even know if you can really help the buyer. Are you the best person to do so? If not, there’s no point in making the sale, right? As consultants we’re not in the business of just selling our services. We’re in the business of providing value and results for our clients.

Since we know that every sale starts with a conversation here’s how to get it started…

1. Build Rapport with Buyer

Your first focus should be on building rapport with your buyer. People don’t buy from people they don’t like. So job one is to establish a foundation for the relationship. One that you can build on.

Your initial conversation can be about a variety of things: the weather (yes, I know that sounds sooo boring but people love talking about the weather), your location or where the buyer is from, anything you have in common, specifics about their industry, hobbies, etc. The important thing is that you want to start the conversation with a topic that the buyer wants to talk about. Not something they will find boring and certainly not about selling something to them.

Note: This initial conversation topic shouldn’t take up your whole meeting. Even a few short minutes to break the ice and build that rapport and friendly feeling is sufficient.

Another note: Be genuine. This isn’t a show. You’re not an actor. Don’t make things up. Be honest, transparent and real.

Now that the conversation has started on the right foot it’s time to move to the next step… Continue Reading

3 Reasons to Push Past Your Fear and Become an Authority


It comes down to confidence.

I was speaking with a new client in the advertising industry. He wants to grow his business and attract more clients.

Focus on finding and getting in front of the decision maker. They are the ones that can hire you. That can write you the check.

One recommendation I offered is that he should start speaking at conferences and events in his industry.

He agreed the idea would help him to win clients.

And that it would further position him as an authority.

But he had a concern…

“Michael, the thing is…” The tone in his voice changed. “The people at these events will be VP and C-suite level and the highest position I’ve held is a Senior Manager.”

“And…?” I asked to have him share what he really wanted to know.

“Well…” he continued “I feel a bit uncomfortable, will they listen to me? Is it right for me to speak in front of people at that level?”

“Of course it is…” I said.

I went on to explain:

First, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable. If you always feel comfortable in everything you do it means you’re not leaving your comfort zone. You’re not pushing yourself. Passing boundaries and entering new growth stages.

Know that feeling is natural. Embrace it. Know that though it will feel hard as soon as you TAKE ACTION on the thing you feel fear about, that fear will melt. You will have conquered it. You will have grown.

Second, remember that your ideal clients don’t have your EXPERTISE. If they did, they wouldn’t need you. While they may have a higher position and title than you have had…though they may be older and have more years of work and life experience…they don’t have your LEVEL of experience and expertise in your area of specialization.

They look up to you. They may know the general landscape in your industry. They may even have some detailed knowledge. But most aren’t specialists and don’t have the DEPTH that you have. The expertise you’ve cultivated and developed. Continue Reading

10 Proven Marketing Tactics for Consultants and Coaches


“What type of marketing works best?” It’s a question I’m asked over and over again.

Each year we run our Marketing for Consultants survey which provides insight into this question.

I recently decided to ask some friends (who are consultants, coaches, and solo professionals) what type of marketing is working best for them.

Especially what I wanted to explore was ‘what type of marketing is generating the highest quality leads and opportunities?’

And ‘WHY they believe it works so well for them?’

Below you’ll find answers to these questions from 10 experts. I’ve also provided my thoughts on the responses and a BIG takeaway for you at the end of the post.

(If you enjoy the post please share it)

Hugh-Culver-1Hugh Culver

What type of marketing works best for you? I have been using webinars for five years, but only recently added a piece to the marketing formula that has really improved our results. Our new webinar formula is to schedule a full year of webinar dates, one per month. When I connect with someone who also serves the speaker/expert market I invite them to promote one of our dates. Because SOS is a monthly service, we can afford to be more generous with our partners. If I don’t have an affiliate lined up I run the webinar regardless off our list.

Why does it work so well? Each affiliate webinar grows our list and generates income for us and the partner – nothing new there. The trick I’m finding is to have the full year of dates already pre-booked. The set dates motivate the partner to take action and make a decision.

Laura-Ashley-TimmsLaura Ashley-Timms

What type of marketing works best for you? High end Business Development events – i.e. where we pay to attend a select event with guaranteed mutually chosen meetings with around 10-20 of our target corporate level clients (these are often from C-Suite level top FTSE 500 companies or Global equivalent) – held across UK or Europe.

Why does it work so well? It works because we mutually select each other – they get to see our passion and quality – we can follow it up and build on the relationship with other added value sessions

Stefan-DrewStefan Drew

What type of marketing works best for you? Leveraging “Creating Business Growth” the book [I co-authored with several other marketers] is bringing me in high value clients.

Why does it work so well? In a world full of white papers, social media posts and ebooks, a lot of serious business people in my niche still regard a physical book as being something that is only produced by people with expertise and authority.  So I’m emailing key decision makers in the £10-60m turnover section of my niche and telling them I’m sending them a copy of my book.  I also tell them that, unless they object, I’d like to set up a strategy meeting with them once they’ve read the book.  A week or so after sending the book I then phone them and check if they received the book and ask when they would like to meet. I also find most gatekeepers take me far more seriously as they’ve also seen the book.  In most cases they either get the decision maker on the phone for me or set up a date for a meeting with their boss. Continue Reading

Current Client Value vs. New Client Value


All clients are valuable.

As consultants our job is to serve our clients and to provide them with value and results.

It’s far easier to win more business from an existing client than it is to win a new one.

We should leave them in a better place and in better condition than when we started working with them.

I’ve said for many years that as consultants we’re in the marketing business, not the consulting business.

Without a client – which comes as the result of marketing and promotion – we lack the opportunity to do the work we are skilled at.

Don’t Get Lost

One thing that gets lost in most conversations about consulting and marketing is the value of current clients.

Consultants often fail to realize the importance of marketing. And when they do they first turn to trying to attract new clients.

That action is accurate and prudent. However it often leaves an even greater opportunity neglected.

BIG Opportunity

And that opportunity is to grow your business through existing and current clients.

It’s far easier to win more business from an existing client than it is to win a new one.

Yet consultants often win a project, service the client and move their focus to the next client. Continue Reading

How to Turn a Short-Term Project Into a Long-Term Profitable Client Engagement: Case Study with Barb Langlois


Barb Langlois, a registered nurse by education, helps emerging leaders and mid-level leaders in healthcare organizations improve their communication and conflict skills. She also helps with team building so these leaders can engage with their teams better—and then their teams can produce positive results for patients and clients.

This was a real eye opener for Barb. She knew that she had to learn how to get clients, as it’s these clients that would help validate  the real value of her services


Barb wasn’t seeing the results she wanted in her business; the big challenge for her was simply getting clients. She knew about content marketing, how to write an article, and how to hold a webinar, but what Barb didn’t know was how to turn all of those tactics into leads. As a result, Barb was giving out good content, but wasn’t getting any return back on the content for her business. The response and traction needed to attract  clients was lacking—the number of new leads was stuck close to zero, and she needed a way to capitalize on the content she was providing to help grow her business.


Barb came across Michael Zipursky’s coaching program while at a conference that Michael was speaking at, and took up an offer for a free coaching call that Michael had offered attendees.

What was really revealing to Barb during the free coaching call was the way Michael was asking questions, including if Barb could live with the current state of her business—which she acknowledged that she didn’t want to any longer. She was ready to create change.

Barb had continued what she was doing for a number of years, which produced the same results and not getting enough clients. It was just the same clients doing the same things. What made things worse was that her existing clients had started to train their own people on the work that Barb was offering, meaning her services were slowly being phased out as they were no longer needed.

Barb gave herself an ultimatum: an “all in” year where she gave herself a year to get on track or close the business. Continue Reading

How to Reach Buyers When They Are Ready to Buy


The average price of a home in my city is well over $1M. What’s amazing is that even at that price houses put on the market sell in days.

We recently listed ours and within two days it sold – above asking price.

I’m not going to drown you in the deep bubble of what real estate has become in this city.

No. This story is about marketing…

A week or so after the sale I got a letter in the mail.

The envelope didn’t have my name on it. Nor did it have a return address.

The only thing listed was my home address.

Curious I opened the letter and this is what I found:


Timely isn’t it?

This is a smart marketer at work.

This is the essence of marketing.

It doesn’t matter that I won’t use their services – because I already made other arrangements.

What I love about this example is that a percentage of people definitely will call up this moving company and end up hiring them.

This marketer has done one thing very right – and that is to put their message in front of my eyes at the right time… Continue Reading

Marketing for Consultants Survey 2015: Results Are In

We asked over 20,000 consultants how they are marketing their services and growing their business. The responses came flooding in. Below you’ll find an infographic with the results from the survey as well as a breakdown with some key insights.


– On average consultants spend almost 40% of their time networking. Followed by 12% of their time speaking and giving presentations.

– The majority of consultants income comes from networking (30%) followed by referrals (28%).

– 80% of consultants spend less than $5000 each year marketing their business.

– 31% of consultants make less than $30,000 a year from consulting. About 23% make more than that but less than $100,000. 31% or so make between $100,000 and $500,000. About 4% make over $500,000

– Consultants making over $100,000 a year noted that Writing articles and creating reports generated significant revenue for them. Even more than speaking and presentations which many of these consultants said they spent time on.

– A higher percentage of consultants making over $100,000 a year are women compared to consultants making less than $100k each year. There was also a higher percentage of men that took part in this survey.

– Consultants making over $100,000 a year spend more on their marketing than consultants who earn less.

– The survey was taken by consultants of all different levels of experience. Over 20% of consultants have more than 10 years of experience as consultants.

– The #1 reason people became consultants was to “By my own boss” at 40% of respondents. Followed by “Flexible schedule” coming in at 22%.

– Over 50% of consultants work with 6 clients or less per year. 36% work with between 7 and 20 clients each year.

– Project fee is the most common way consultants are paid at 40%. Unfortunately over 21% of consultants are still using an hourly fee and just 3.4% know how to use an ROI based fee model.

– About 45% of consultants report that their average client project is valued at $5000 or less. 19.7% of consultants have projects valued at $10,000 to $25,000. Only 5% of consultants have client projects valued at $100,000 or more.

– Over 76% of consultants are solo independent consultants. About 20% of consultants have less than 5 employees.

Want help to improve your marketing and consistently attract your ideal clients? Get in touch here

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