Your Best Career Strategy: Start Thinking Outside the Cubicle.
Dancing Tango in Argentina, paragliding in Chile, drinking wine in the South of France, surfing in Bali, riding camels in the Sahara desert... What do all of these have in common?
I can do all of these things without taking off work. In fact, I can work anywhere in the world with a decent internet connection. I’ve also worked in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Thailand, Paris, the list goes on and on.
In the age of the internet, work is becoming more and more flexible for those who know how to solve problems and provide value. For most of us when we think of the word consulting, we think of suits, high-priced dinners and working 80 hours a week for one of the big firms, but The modern day consultant might wear jeans and a t-shirt or board shorts and sunglasses. They might work from a downtown co-working spot, a beach in Southeast Asia, or their living room.
Their job involves providing value to the client through online content and Skype calls, not mandatory flights from city to city every week and staying in fancy hotels. They serve individuals, and small and medium businesses, not the behemoth enterprises that make up the Fortune 100.
And look, I used to think that to make full-time living that I had to work in a cubicle, too. Then one day at a backyard party in Denver, a bearded man told me how he was making $2,000 a day online, and my life changed forever. I’ll tell you what he said that shifted my entire worldview in a minute, but first, let me show you the step-by-step process to become a consultant and work from anywhere in the world.
Becoming a consultant.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that it is simpler than ever to create a new career as a consultant.
I love coaching and consulting as a business model because: The margins are huge; the overhead is (almost) non-existent; it is location independent, you can do it from anywhere in the world; and you get to help people achieve a result, meaning the work is meaningful. The one thing required is that you have the ability to solve a painful problem for someone.
Related: 5 Blueprints for Your Brand's Story
That being said, there is a definitely a right way and a wrong way to get started. Save yourself years of frustration, and use a proven model to do things right the first time. If you’re interested in becoming a consultant and working from anywhere in the world, here are seven simple steps you can follow to get up and running this year.
1. Choose your market and your niche.
Step one in starting a consulting business is to figure out who you can help. If this is your first foray into consulting, start by listing the 10 biggest results you’ve gotten for yourself or others in any area of life.
Did you increase revenues by 20 percent at your previous job? Grow a tutoring business to 10 clients? Create a killer brand for your last freelancing client? Did you help your brother pack on 10 lbs of muscle? Teach your classmate how to get a scholastic scholarship? Help your best friend land their dream job?
These are all very desirable outcomes that you could replicate for countless other people. Figure out who you can get results for, and you have a starting point for your niche. If you still can’t think of anything, ask yourself “who do I want to be a hero to?”
2. Define your offer.
Now that you know your market and your niche, define your offer. What painful problem is your prospective client experiencing right now? That’s your “point A.”
Start with the pain. If there is no pain, you have no business. If there is a lot of pain, you will have a lot of demand for a solution to that pain. Think “hair on fire.” This has to be something that your prospect needs to get a handle on now.
Next, what is your prospect’s ideal situation? That’s your “point B.” Your offer is to take your client from point A to point B. This should be a major life transformation in one of three areas: wealth, health or relationships.
If you’re a fitness coach, that may be to teach skinny college students to pack on 20 lbs of muscle in one semester or less. If you’re a dating coach, that could be to help professional women in their 30’s who don’t have a lot of time to find the man of their dreams without going on 100 terrible Tinder dates first.
If you're a marketer, that could be how to land 20 new dental patients a month using Google Adwords. If you're a real estate coach, you might show realtors or investors how to buy their first rental property in the next 45 days.
There are endless opportunities here. Look to your past to see what sort of results you’ve gotten, or what sort of results you think you can get for someone.
Then, figure out what having this end result will do for your client. Will teaching them how to lose weight or get in shape lead to more energy, higher sex drive, lower medical bills and a longer life? Whatever result you provide, figure out the long term return on that result for your client. This is going to help your mindset and allow you to charge premium prices.
3. Give away free strategy sessions.
High-ticket consulting (meaning, you charge $2K to $10K, plus, per client), is all about selling transformation instead of information. As a consultant, you’re going to sell a result, not the process that you use to get that result.
Take the time to learn to sell, and you’ll have a solid foundation for starting off strong in your business. You don't need to be an extrovert or to have a typical "salesy" persona. The best sales script involves targeted questions, and a lot of listening. At the end, your prospect should close themselves. The easiest way to do this is by offering free strategy sessions.
Think about a trip to the doctor. The doctor will ask you to describe the symptoms of your pain, and then he will “prescribe a solution." He doesn’t care if you want to follow his advice or not.
Your sales process should work the same way. Figure out the pain, prescribe a solution. Be unattached to the outcome of the call. If the prospect asks you for more help, tell them how you can work together.
4. Close your first couple of clients.
Once you have a great offer, and you know how to sell, it’s time to get your first couple of clients. Reach out to people who you know are experiencing the problem that you solve, and ask them to get on a phone call with you.
Once you get them on the phone, find out what their motivation for making a change is. Walk them through where they are now, and where they want to be. Find out why they haven’t made the change on their own.
If they’re stuck, make an offer to help… and boom! You just closed your first client by providing a solution to a painful problem.
5. Get your clients results.
It’s important to be hands-on and to get amazing results for your first couple of clients. I use a combination of online content and weekly coaching calls to get clients results.
Build this content along with your clients so you’re not guessing what they want and need. Spend time with each client to figure out what obstacles they’re encountering, and add this to your online training.
Once you have the process down, it’s time to switch to a group model. Systemize your value delivery using online content. Get on a group call one to two times a week with all of your clients and help them overcome any obstacles. Create a Facebook group where everyone can start to interact and gain insight from one another.
6. Generate leads and scale your business.
You only need one to two clients per month to make the same amount of money as you would in an entry level job out of college, but what if you have your sights set a little higher, and you want to scale your business to $10K a month and above?
What if you want to prove to yourself that you don’t have to be an attorney or an investment banker to break the $100K a year or even the seven-figure-per-year mark? Or maybe you want to fund your next startup with consulting.
If you’re thinking any of these things, it’s time to scale your business. You need a reliable and predictable source of leads that will turn into sales. In the marketing world, we call this your funnel.
Related: The Science Behind the Sales Funnel
I personally have my Inner Circle clients use a simple outreach process to break the $10K-per-month barrier. After making contact with their ideal client, they conduct a strategy session and if it’s a fit, they close the prospect into their consulting program.
After they've proven their offer and have their first dozen clients, they can take their profits and reinvest in Facebook advertising to grow even faster.
7. Stay on track with a mentor.
I’m a huge believer in following a proven system and getting the guidance of someone who has been where you are to avoid mistakes, accelerate your progress and keep yourself on track when you encounter inevitable obstacles.
As Isaac Newton once said, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."
Whenever you want to achieve something in life that you've never done before, find someone with a proven process, who you like working with, and get their help. This process is personal to everyone.
If you’d like to attend a free training on how to start and grow a consulting business (and learn the secret that guy revealed to me at the barbecue that changed my life forever) head on over.