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entrepreneurial mindset study

Entrepreneurial Mindset Study 2020: The Mindset of Successful Consultants

By Michael Zipursky

Do you work on your entrepreneurial mindset? 

Are you taking care of your mental game just as much as your physical health & well-being?

At Consulting Success®, we believe that your mindset plays a major role in how well you do in business.

But we wanted to see if the stats backed it up.

This summer, we sent out a survey to our list of over 36K consultants and consulting business owners.

The questions focused on mindset: your collection of thoughts and beliefs that determine how you view the world.

As Ryan Gottfredson says about mindset and the psychology of success:

“Our mindsets are the mental lenses we use to view the world. They shape and drive our ability to think, learn, and behave in the most effective ways.

As such, they are foundational to our life success, work success, and leadership success. Thus, if we can improve our mindsets, we can improve our life, work, and leadership.”

We learned that mindset — among other patterns of thinking and their resulting behavior — had a profound effect on one’s level of success.

Read on to learn about how improving your mindset can improve your consulting business.

You’ll learn about the way elite consultants think so you can adopt their habits and achieve more success.


Entrepreneurial Mindset Key Findings

1. Consultants who consciously work on their mindset make more money. 14.65% of consultants who consistently work on their mindset make $150K+. 8.23% of consultants who don’t consistently work on their mindset make $150K+. So, out of the consultants who make $150K+, 78% more of them consistently work on their mindset.

2. Consultants who frequently seek out critical feedback see massive advantages over those who don’t. Those who constantly seek out critical feedback are more likely to do daily outreach to ideal clients, take risks in order to be successful, spend more time on marketing, work with mentors and coaches, feel more content with their lives and businesses, feel less depressed, and report higher annual incomes for their business.

3. Consultants who work with mentors or coaches earn a higher annual income compared to those who don’t. Out of consultants earning $150K+, 70% work with a coach or mentor.

4. Consultants who are making $150K-$3M+ tend to feel more content with their lives and businesses. 40% of consultants earning an annual income in this range said they are “very content” with their life versus 27% of those in a lower income range. Of those making less than $150K per year, only 10% of them said they were “very content” with their business, whereas of those making 150K+, 24% said they were “very content” with their business.

5. Consultants who work on their mindset reach out to have conversations with ideal clients much more frequently. 65% of consultants who work on their mindset reach out to clients at least weekly. 28% of consultants who don’t work on their mindset reach out to clients weekly.

6. Consultants who have crystal-clear goals and aspirations are more likely to take risks in order to be successful. 49% of consultants who write down their goals take risks in order to be successful. Out of the consultants who are only somewhat clear on their goals and aspirations, only 30% of them take risks in order to be successful. Consultants who write down their goals and take more risks also earn a higher annual income.

7. Consultants try to look for the positive in any given situation. 85% of consultants tend to look for the positive in a situation.

8. Consultants who don’t consciously work on their mindset are less content with their lives. 41% of consultants who don’t work on their mindset were at least somewhat discontent with their lives.

9. Female consultants are much more likely to engage in healthy mindset habits like journaling, meditation, counseling, or therapy than male consultants. 32% of male consultants don’t do any of these. Only 17% of women don’t do any of these.

10. Consultants who exercise 3x times per week reported much higher levels of life satisfaction. 35% of consultants who exercise 3x+ per week said they were very content with their lives.

11. Feeling down and depressed is an issue for solo consultants and consulting business owners. The most frequently chosen answer for “Do you often feel down or depressed” was “Occasionally”, at 42%. 48% of consultants feel at least occasionally depressed.

12. Realizing one’s potential is the most important reason why people become consultants. 39% of consultants polled listed “Realize my potential” as the #1 reason they become a consultant — with the next two most popular answers being “Be my own boss” (19%) and “Flexible schedule” (14%).

Mindset of Consultants

How do consultants see the world?

What mental models do they use in their personal lives and business?

We predicted that working on your mindset would be correlated to your success and business — and your overall well-being.

Here’s what we found.

Do consultants consciously work on their mindset?

entrepreneurial mindset of consultants data

61% of consultants frequently and consciously work on their mindset.

26% of consultants will work on their mindset if a problem arises.

Only 13% of consultants don’t work on their mindset.

At least some of the time, most consultants are consciously working on their mindset.

Do consultants believe they can change who they are?

do consultants believe they can change who they are

52% of consultants believe they can change every aspect of themselves.

47% of consultants believe they can change some things about themselves.

Only 1% of consultants don’t think they can change important parts of themselves.

Believing you can change who you are is known as the growth mindset.

If you want to start a consulting business, you’ll need to adopt and practice this mindset.

Do consultants look for the positive or negative in situations?

do consultants look for the positive or negative in a situation

49% of consultants said that the majority of the time, they look for the positive in a situation.

37% tend to look for the positive in a situation.

12% tend to look for the negative in a situation.

Only 2% of consultants look for the negative in a situation most of the time.

A healthy amount of optimism is a must to succeed in this business.

Do consultants have clear goals and aspirations?

consulting goals and aspirations

48% of consultants have somewhat clear goals.

45% of consultants have goals that are crystal clear and written down.

6% of consultants keep their goals vague and fuzzy.

Getting crystal clear on your goals is fundamental to actually achieving them.

In a study by the British Journal of Health Psychology found 91% of people who wrote down when and where they would exercise each week followed through.

Write down your desired consulting income, and how many clients you must reach out to every week to hit your goal.

How do consultants feel their value is determined?

how consultants believe their value is determined

34% of consultants believe that the majority of the time, their value is determined by how much they can help others be successful.

33% of consultants tend to believe their value is determined by how much they can help others be successful.

21% of consultants believe their value is determined by how successful they are.

And 12% of consultants believe that the majority of the time, their value is determined by how successful they are.

Focus on making others successful, and you’ll create more success for yourself — especially in marketing and sales.

Who’s success are consultants focused on: their success or others?

whos success consultants are focused on

34% of consultants tend to focus on their own successes — and 29% of consultants tend to focus on other’s success.

On the extreme ends of the spectrum, 21% of consultants are majorly focused on other’s success, and 16% are majorly focused on their own success.

Do consultants try and be around other positive people?

do consultants surround themselves with other positive individuals

83% of consultants consciously try and be around other successful, motivated, and positive-minded individuals — and 17% don’t consciously do this.

“Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are self-fulfilling.”

—Naval Ravikant

Do consultants journal, meditate, do counseling, or attend therapy?

do consultants meditate, journal, or take therapy

48% of consultants journal, meditate, go to counseling or therapy occasionally.

25% of consultants do them consistently, and 26% of consultants don’t engage in any of these activities.

There are proven benefits to journaling, meditation, and attending counseling or therapy. Have you made a habit out of them?

Daily Habits of Consultants

What you do during your average day can tell you a lot about where you will end up in your life.

Authors like James Clear have written extensively about the importance of habits —and how they can help you achieve success.

So, what kind of habits do consultants have as it relates to your mindset?

Do consultants read or listen to podcasts every day?

do consultants read or listen to podcasts every day

77% of consultants spend some time every day to read or listen to podcasts, while 23% of them don’t.

Looking for new reading material? Check out The Elite Consulting Mind.

And check out the Consulting Success® Podcast if you want to learn the habits, mindsets, and strategies of high-6 and 7-figure consultants around the world.

Do consultants consistently reach out to have conversations with ideal clients?

how often consultants reach out to ideal clients

Reaching out to ideal clients is one of the most important success habits to develop as a consultant.

So how many consultants do it daily?

Only 11%.

43% of consultants reach out to ideal clients on a weekly basis.

37% of consultants do it whenever they have to.

8% of consultants don’t reach out to ideal clients — and wait for clients to come to them.

If you don’t know how to have a meaningful conversation with a potential client, check out our post: Best Questions To Ask Your Consulting Clients

How much time do consultants spend on marketing & sales?

how much time consultants spend on marketing and sales

38% of consultants spend 30 minutes to an hour on marketing and sales every day.

25% spend 1-2 hours per day on it.

11% spend 2-3 hours a day on it.

18% of consultants don’t spend any time on marketing and sales — and 8% spend a whopping 3+ hours doing it every day.

“Your consulting skills may be good enough right now to implement the business you acquire, but I’ll almost guarantee that your marketing skills aren’t good enough to continually acquire business.”

Alan Weiss

How healthy do consultants eat?

eating habits of consultants

At least half of consultants report having a moderately healthy diet or higher.

However, over 1/4 of consultants have at least some unhealthy eating habits.

As we found in our health & wellness study for consultants, consultants with a very healthy diet tend to be in much better shape, enjoy better sleep, feel depressed less frequently, and feel more motivated.

Do consultants exercise 3x per week?

how often consultants exercise

Exercise is key to improving your mindset and your physical well-being.

65% of consultants exercise at least 3x times per week, and 35% don’t.

Consultants who consider themselves to be in good shape report vastly higher levels of motivation and higher levels of contentment with their business and personal lives.

Consultant Characteristics

What are some of the characteristics of consultants?

More importantly, what characteristics can you practice to become more successful in your business?

How you act is related to your mindset.

Here are some of the characteristics of consultants and consulting business owners.

How often do consultants seek out critical feedback?

how often do consultants seek out critical feedback

52% of consultants sometimes seek out critical feedback.

32% of consultants frequently seek out critical feedback, and 16% of consultants rarely seek it out.

Out of everything we tracked in this study, consultants who frequently seek out critical feedback tend to be the most successful.

Do consultants often take risks?

how often consultants take risks

55% of consultants take a risk every now and then in order to be successful.

38% of consultants frequently take risks in order to be successful, and 7% of consultants rarely take risks.

If you’re ever wondering when or why you should take a risk, remember this:

“All profit is derived from risk.”

—Peter Drucker

Do consultants work with mentors and coaches?

consulting coaching statistics

49% of consultants work with mentors or coaches to achieve their goals faster, and 51% don’t.

Frequently working with coaches and mentors correlated highly with consultants earning the most in their business.

Are consultants content with their business?

how content are consultants with their business

48% of consultants are somewhat content with their business.

26% of consultants are somewhat discontent with their business.

13% of consultants are very discontent with their business, and only 12% of consultants are very content with their business.

Are consultants content with their lives?

are consultants happy with their life

50% of consultants are somewhat content with their lives, and 29% of consultants are very content.

17% of consultants are somewhat discontent with their lives, and 4% are very discontent.

We also found that consultants who don’t consciously work on their mindset tend to feel less content with their lives.

How often do consultants feel depressed?

how often consultants feel depressed

42% of consultants occasionally feel depressed.

42% of consultants rarely feel depressed, and 10% of consultants never feel depressed.

4% of consultants feel depressed most of the time, and 1% of consultants feel depressed every day.

If you’re looking for help with this, our Health & Wellness Study for consultants will provide you with some best practices and habits that might help.

Consultant Demographics

We collect general demographic data on consultants with all of our studies.

Here’s a breakdown of those numbers.

Why do consultants start their own consulting business?

why consultants start a consulting business

Why do people start a consulting business?

  • 39% – Realize my potential
  • 19% – Be my own boss
  • 14% – Flexible schedule
  • 11% – Other
  • 8% – Was laid off from my job
  • 7% – Unlimited income potential

How many years have consultants been in business?

how long consultants have been in business

Here’s how many years the consultants we polled have been in business for:

  • 29% – Less than 1 year
  • 22% – 1-3 years
  • 17% – 15+ years
  • 16% – 4-6 years
  • 11% – 7-10 years
  • 5% – 11-14 years

Consultant average annual income

consulting income

49% of consultants we polled are making less than $25K — suggesting many are consulting on the side of their full-time job.

19% are making between $25K-$80K per year. 19% are also making $80K-$150K per year.

9% are making $150K-$300K.

2% are making $300K-$1M.

1% are making $1M-$3M — and a single consultant was making $3M+.

Age of consultants

age of consultants

The consultants we polled tended to be older:

  • 30% – 50-59 years old
  • 28% – 60+ years old
  • 26% – 40-49 years old
  • 13% – 30-39 years old
  • 3% – 20-29 years old

Consultant gender demographics

gender demographics in consulting

67% of consultants polled are male, and 33% are female.

There was no significant difference between men and women when it comes to mindset — but female consultants tended to meditate, journal, or engage in therapy and/or counseling more.

Where consultants live

where consultants live

Consultants all around the world took our survey:

  • 60% – North America
  • 12% – Western Europe
  • 9% – Africa
  • 9% – Asia
  • 5% – Australia/New Zealand
  • 3% – South America
  • 2% – Eastern Europe

Conclusion: Improve Your Entrepreneurial Mindset & Achieve More Success

Looking for practical, actionable tips you can use to improve your mindset?

Based on these results, here’s a checklist that you can follow to improve your entrepreneurial mindset:

  • Take care of your physical health. By exercising 3x+ time per week, you’ll not only improve your physical health but your mental well-being and mindset as well.
  • Commit to seeking out critical feedback. It might hurt in the short-term, but if you can get comfortable seeking out critical feedback, it will do wonders for you and your business.
  • Read books about mindsetThe more you learn about mindset, the more tools you’ll have at your disposal to improve yours.
  • Invest in your education and courses that will help you achieve your goals. There are no shortcuts in this business — but the closest thing you’ll get is by learning from someone who’s been where you are and has gotten to where you want to be.
  • Write down your goals — and make them explicit. How much do you want to earn in your business? How many clients do you have to work with to achieve that? How many clients must you reach out to each day? Get clear on those numbers — and look at them every day.
  • Reach out to your ideal clients daily. More meaningful conversations with your ideal clients = higher income and more success.
  • Join a group of like-minded consultants committed to your successSurrounding yourself with positive-minded people who want you to win is one of the best things you can do for your mindset, your business, and your life.

Working on your mindset will do far more than help you in business — it will help you in all types of situations you’ll face in life.

Are you working on your mindset?

Did any of these findings surprise you?

We’d love to hear your thoughts about this study.

Leave a reply in the comments and share your thoughts below!

You can take a look at our other consulting studies by clicking on the links below:

8 thoughts on “Entrepreneurial Mindset Study 2020: The Mindset of Successful Consultants

  1. Dear Michael,
    I am very grateful to you for the information and instrumental research for professional consultants. However, first, I would like to say a few words in general about my impressions from our communications, which have been actively working for several years.
    As an experienced manager with management experience in various industries, but often lost business due to nationalization and competition in my native country of Belarus, I looked for myself in consulting and teaching. Management consultant, especially crisis management, was new, but necessary in the Eurasian continent countries, especially in the post-Soviet planned economy. Therefore, I was looking for professional exchange in North America since 2000 in close cooperation with the American Institute of Management Consultants (IMC USA) and other institutions. Passed Consultant Certification and have maintained membership since 2009. At the same time, I have been researching and teaching for many years at leading universities in Belarus, Russia (RANEPA), and the USA (LIGS University).
    It was pleasing to know your work and your practice as a coach for consultants. Moreover, with your incredible enthusiasm in, how to involve the professional community of consultants in cooperation and partnerships. Of course, I was surprised how you work as an independent consultant for large companies and a coach and do not belong to the community of American or Canadian management consultants. Often in communication with my colleagues at the IMC USA and IMC Canada, I have reminded of your work and your efforts to consolidate consultants’ community.
    This year I was pleased to see that you reached out to the US consultant community, or did they contact you? You are even sponsoring the Annual Conference. I have no doubts that by making a preliminary presentation at a regular online webinar, you have brought a lot of excitement to the IMC USA community.
    There is also no doubt that your experience and reputation with an international reputation for coaching consultants will bring an Awakening to the consultant community. Incredibly valuable is the research you kindly offered us, after conducting thorough interviews with professionals worldwide, and carefully analyzing our responses and reviews.
    Formal communities of consultants in the USA and Canada and many others worldwide, which nevertheless follow the classical form of IMC, were formed 50 years ago and have long required organizational changes. It is necessary to remove many regulatory, administrative barriers that prevent young consultants from joining this prestigious community.
    Thus, I agree with your strategy, since I see an urgent need for modern knowledge, working in their countries, such as Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, where few professional and certified consultants. Please be sure that we have a great interest in new generations of managers to become and enter consulting as a profession and business. For this purpose, I have been collecting North America, Australia, Asia, Europe’s knowledge and skills for several decades and try to transfer and integrate the international experience into our young or immature community of Belarus consultants.
    Your experience and methodological developments of your team are very, very useful for our growth. Of course, I read and listen to Podcasts all the time, using the consultants’ competence in real transformation. Unfortunately, due to the non-profit organization’s financial weakness of Belarus (PA BAMC) and the existing restrictions in our country like Belarus, we cannot use more professional products that require high economic costs. Therefore, with gratitude, we use the free products kindly offered by the Consulting Success Community.
    We look forward to growing as our management consultants’ alliance with your support, and all kind references would be much appreciating. Your professional understanding of how to develop a community of consultants, according to clients’ needs today and tomorrow, is a precious resource.
    We will be grateful for the continuation of our cooperation and exchange. I hope, once upon a time we will achieve mutually beneficial cooperation, for example, is transforming the Consulting Success School through an agency’s agreement with our Institute for the Development of Education in Management and Communications Capital Institute “CAPITAL” (Capital Group). We will be grateful for other options for partnership in harmonizing consulting without borders and cultural differences.
    Let us be in touch
    Vladimir Biruk
    CMC, Professor.

    • Appreciate the thoughtful message Vladimir. Let us know how we can help support your mission – it’s great that you’re working so hard to educate and help the consulting community in your region.

  2. Leslie Earnest says:

    I found the results of the survey insightful. Also there were a quite a few learning points that were valuable.

  3. Sucheta says:

    Helpful and Informative Article ….Thanks for Sharing it

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