“If you’re not part of the solution there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem”
This definition of “consulting” certainly takes a darker view of what many we know call their profession…and it can often be the sad truth.
I want to give us more hope today…that maybe it’s not all that bleak for you consultants (or soon-to-be consultants) out there; and that it doesn’t need to be a money pit for you clients who may have been burned in the past by hiring the wrong consultant.
Regardless of all the evil lurking in the marketing world, if you hire well, the right consultant(s) can lead you and your business to places you never thought possible.
I remember when I left Boardroom Inc. in 2015, the company I helped build over 35+ years (with the help of many consultants!), I tried so hard not to tell people that one of the things I was doing was “consulting”–since all that meant to the folks in my town with real jobs (you know, lawyers, doctors, accountants etc.) was that I was now unemployed.
To them, consulting is not a job…it’s how you fill time in-between jobs.
And if I tried to explain to those same people that I wanted to create “a direct marketing education company with mastermind groups and courses” (while writing books too), they went to, “I wonder when Brian will need to sell his house.”
So is consulting a legitimate thing to do?
Of course it is.
Some of the most highly compensated people I know would be classified as consultants.
As I alluded to above, without consultants like Dick Benson, Gary Bencivenga, Jay Abraham, Gene Schwartz, Gordon Grossman and countless others, Boardroom would never have grown the way it did…and over my career I have witnessed the exponential growth of hundreds of other admired companies whose growth can be directly traced to having the best consultants on their payroll all the time.
From the consultant’s point of view, I will maintain that if you structure a consulting business as another way to get paid for your time, you might in fact be one of those people who is “consulting” as the thing to do in-between jobs.
That’s when it can suck….getting paid on retainer where you can be terminated at will, or getting paid by the project or by the hour, will probably have less satisfaction for you if you like building things.
This model will definitely create less long term security for you as well.
That is, you are only as good as the hours you have available and you never know when you will need to pitch new business.
It can be an exhausting cycle and it is a model that is hard to scale.
But there are ways to create a scalable consulting business.
The best consultants figure out ways to become indispensable to their clients and when they do that, they are compensated accordingly…with much higher fees, bonuses on performance, royalties and even equity in what they are helping to build.
And the most forward thinking clients figure out that the right consultant can be the key to their success and will pay accordingly.
Of course however you structure it, I recommend that you don’t call it a “consulting business” since you don’t want your neighbors thinking you will be destitute anytime soon.
This topic is one that I have not written about much in a direct way but it is one that many of you ask me about a lot…especially when I wrote about scaling a copywriting business and the new paradigm going from being a hired gun to going deep with only one (or maybe two) clients.
If you missed those posts, please read “The next million dollar copywriter” by clicking here.
Whether it’s copywriting or anything else, there is an art in figuring out how to share your super powers with the world while creating a steady income for yourself that is both active and passive…all with the freedom of running your own shop.
Hiring a marketing consultant (who is not simply “prolonging the problem”) is something I think about a lot…having hired many over the years and now technically being one.
Today I want to share an interview/discussion I had with my good friend and marketing genius, Joe Polish on this critical topic.
And I am not sending this interview to you because I am looking for consulting clients. On the contrary, traditional consulting is not really a big part of my business.
Rather I want to share this interview to get you thinking differently about this “profession” no matter what side of the desk you are on.
As stated above, it’s all about the consultant becoming indispensable to the client and the client being dependent on the consultant for things only they can do.
Despite the title being “How To Hire a Marketing Consultant,” I think it will be instructive whether you want to be (or already are) a consultant OR whether you want to make sure the next time you hire a consultant it’s a positive (and profitable) experience.
In short, in this interview,
Joe and I talk about about consulting as way to “harness genius” (either yours or others) rather than a catch-all phrase you use when you can’t describe what you (or someone else) does.
Joe and I also discuss many other angles including the best ways to scale a consulting business for yourself; or, if you are the one hiring a consultant, how not to feel ripped off when you pay someone to do something that seems easy for them and then thinking after the fact you think you should have done it yourself. In most cases it was money well spent if you have the right consultant.
I hope you will leave this discussion with a new perspective on how to truly value consulting whether you are the consultant or the one being consulted.
Let me know what you think.
P.S. I just signed the print order for Gene Schwartz’s, The Brilliance Breakthrough: How To Talk And Write So That People Will Never Forget You—for both the ground breaking book AND the accompanying workbook which has never existed before.
The set will be available in the next few weeks…stay tuned.
And I just did my regular spot check on Amazon and the cheapest copy available is down to $4,000 from $8,000…although there is one signed copy available for over $20,000.
You definitely want this book…but not at those prices!
Please wait for the new edition which will be available very soon.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to get you a signed copy from Gene but I will save you $19,800 or so…