What’s more efficient? A horse buggy or a Tesla?
Obviously the Tesla, you’ll say. Better mileage, easier feeding, and way less poop to scoop.
The thing is, in scaling a consulting business, most people still think horse buggy.
I spoke to a prospect yesterday whose goal it is to grow his business to $5k/month. (He’s in Argentina, so the dollar goes a longer way there).
And he plans to do it via hiring people who do the work for him. He’d spend most of his time just selling new projects.
So far, so typical consulting business setup.
Sure, if you get to McKinsey level dimensions and have the brand oomph which allows you to charge $400 per junior hour and keep $300 of that, it’s a great plan.
But for solo consultants who want to scale, there’s a better way.
And that’s to build a course / coaching programme that allows people to do the work themselves under your expert guidance.
Take my business.
I started Kontent360 as an agency. And last year, when I was about to hit $200k in revenue, farming out most of the work to freelancers, one of whom I planned to hire full-time, I decided to take a breather.
And I thought: Is this really the way I want to go? This guy was great, mind you – someone I would have enjoyed working with. But I still had to check his work, make sure he was happy, coach him etc. Once I would scale towards $1m and beyond, people issues would take the majority of my time.
I didn’t want that.
I like people, but they are the most complex element in a business to manage and get right.
And so I want to delay the need to hire people as far out into the distance as possible. I know that once I hit ~$1m run rate myself, hiring someone full time will be unavoidable.
(How do I arrive at $1m? Simple: I’m starting with automated webinars and Facebook ads now. With that, my sales call volume will massively increase. I don’t think it’s realistic to do more than 4 sales calls a day – 20 a week. Say I convert 25% of them at $5k, that’s about $25k per week, ie. just north of $1m per year)
But to do this, you cannot be selling a classic done-for-you consulting type business.
It needs to be something where client delivery doesn’t take much time.
And a course & group coaching achieves just that.
In the end, people want their problems solved.
Take the problem I solve – getting clients on LinkedIn. Most people don’t know how to do that.
They could hire me to do it for them, and pay me a lot of money per month. Or they could pay once and have me show them how it’s done. (i.e. they could learn to fish instead of buying the fish from me).
It’s not for everyone, and I lost some done-for-you clients when I made the transition. Some people prefer to keep buying the fish. That’s fine, nothing wrong with that.
But I know that I’m setting myself up for a better life down the road when I have a $10m business with 3-5 employees as opposed to 30-50.
You may say that you prefer to work with people.
And go the old-school way of scaling a consulting business.
But make sure you make this choice consciously, fully in the know that another path exists.
That other path is thornier. I’ve learned that it’s more difficult to sell a course & group coaching programme than done-for-you projects.
And because you now need to build a product, your revenue will dip temporarily.
But you will pass that point.
And just imagine how good it’ll feel when you make 30-50k a month with only a couple of freelancers taking some discreet tasks off your shoulders.
It’ll be pretty good.
So, explore the other option.
For example, by scheduling a call with me and seeing if I can help you do what I did 8 months ago when I sold my first version of LinkedIn Bootcamp, even before having it built.
It was a rickety version of a Tesla, but it wasn’t a horse buggy anymore.