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Want to Get More Clients? Focus on High-Value Work

By Michael Zipursky

I was two years into my consulting business when it hit me.

I was trying to do everything myself.

My logic was faulty. I reasoned that I could do things better than someone else and by the time I trained someone on how to do it – I could have already finished it myself.

Then there was the “cost”. Like many early-stage consultants, 15 years ago, I didn’t want to spend more money.

Instead of you doing low-value work over and over again – your contractor or team member takes care of them.

I told myself that instead of spending money now, I would wait until my income increased before contracting work out and building a team.

I used this same idea to avoid investing in myself and my business in the early days.

These were poor decisions on my part. Ones I learned from and now have the privilege of sharing with our clients in our Clarity Coaching Program so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I made over my 17+ years building consulting businesses.

Here’s why trying to do everything your self doesn’t make sense:

1 – “I can do it better myself”. Maybe you can, but there are many tasks that you’re likely spending time on right now that someone can do just as good as you, and maybe even better.

Think about things like accounting, research, preparing presentations, spreadsheets, setting up email campaigns. Why do you really need to be doing all that?

2 – “I can finish it faster than training someone to do it.” Sure you can – the first time. What about the next time, and the time after that? Building systems and teams doesn’t pay off the first time you’re setting them up.

The really value comes from the repetition. Instead of you doing low-value work over and over again – your contractor or team member takes care of them.

In turn this frees you up to work on high-value work.

What is low-value vs high-value work?

Low-value work can be done for $10-$50/hr. This includes formatting documents, setting appointments, online research, going to the post office or bank, cutting the grass, or shoveling snow, etc.

High-value work creates a high-value result. Negotiations, writing promotions, meeting with clients, delivering a keynote speech, and following up with leads in your pipeline to name a few.

The more time you spend doing low-value work the less time you have to spend on high-value work.

“But getting people to help costs money”, is the next concern which leads to…

3- “I’ll wait until my income increases…” You certainly can but it’s costing you more than you think.

If you spend 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month, doing low-value work you may not be directly spending the money to hire someone to do it for you but it’s costing you.

Say you can get someone for $40/hr to do that work for you. It would ‘cost’ you $800/month ($40 x 20hrs).

If you shift from low-value work to high-value work you free up 40 hours of dedicated focus to create that $10,000.

This is what most people focus on. But if you’re only focusing on this you’re missing the most important part.

The Missing Piece

What if you spent those 20 hours on high-value work? What if you dedicated 40 hours to your marketing and landing clients…do you think you could land at least one client engagement?

What would the value of that be?

Let’s take a small engagement at $10,000.

If you shift from low-value work to high-value work you free up 40 hours of dedicated focus to create that $10,000.

Yes, it will cost you $1600 to get someone to do all the low-value tasks for those 40 hours ($40 x 40hrs).

But does it make sense to invest $1600 to create $10,000?

That’s a $8400 profit.

What if your average engagement is $30k, $50k, or more?

At $50,000 your profit is $48,400.

Shifting low-value work to others so you can focus on high-value work doesn’t ‘cost’ you anything. It’s an investment that makes you more money.

Would you like to have a step-by-step marketing plan to attract more clients? Would a marketing system and process that consistently puts you in front of your ideal clients help you grow your business? Learn more and apply for the Clarity Coaching Program for Consultants.

11 thoughts on “Want to Get More Clients? Focus on High-Value Work

  1. Basil Sawczuk says:

    Hi, read your “article” it does not tell you how to get more value clients just how to manage your budget to spend on marketing and sales. I note you have 17 yrs experience. Tell you what I have 30 years experience working for many of the FTSE100. Take a look at my book “Marketing & Selling Professional Services” (Available on Amazon) only the price of a “Consultancy hour”

    • Thanks for dropping by Basil and promoting your own work after showing no appreciation for the article provided here or adding value for others in the community. Wish you the best.

      • Audrey Roberts says:

        Michael, I just love your style! Such panache!
        Many thanks for the article. I, for one, am challenged to shift mindset from counting costs in my consulting business to investing in and building a supportive team. Even outsourcing can enable better focus on high value work.

        • My pleasure Audrey, feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for help and we can direct you to the right resource (from us or someone else).

    • Vikas says:

      Dear Basil, that information may be found in other article specifically written for that. This one is just for utilizing one’s time smartly.. When you have already written a book, why do you need to comment on someone else’s piece of advice. I think this is quite unfair and you should apply the learning from this article not to waste your time.

  2. Robyn D Munt says:

    Hi Michael, great article. I thought it was excellent, timely and provided sound advice for any entrepreneur.

    • @robyndmunt:disqus glad you found the content valuable and sorry it took a while for me to show that appreciation. Our comment notification system needs some work.

  3. What are some examples of “high-value work”, for reader’s sake? I didn’t seem to catch any mention of what that included exactly in the article. Love the ideas presented here though.

    • @bran_bran:disqus high value work can be negotiating a major engagement, giving a presentation, finalizing a client proposal, etc.

  4. Sameer says:

    Nice article, and very useful , one does tempted to spend too much time on low-value tasks! Delegation is difficult, specially for perfection freaks (and control freaks like me!)

    • It certainly is a challenge to start delegating for many, but once you do it frees you up and becomes much easier. Give it a go Sameer.

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