liberman webinar

The Four Steps to Double Your Independent Consulting Revenue in 2023

February 2, 2023, Thursday | 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Content

Featured Speakers

Moderator:

Emily Stringer, Manager, Executive Advisory Services at MBO Partners

Featured Speaker:

Melisa Liberman, Executive Coach, and Founder of Melisa Liberman, Coaching LLC.

01:15 Introduction of the event, MBO Partners, and the speaker 

04:39 Objectives and webinar agenda 

08:04 What does doubled” mean for independent professionals?

15:36 The four components of independent consultant business growth

17:05 Component 1: The inventory

25:02 Component  2: The Value

36:05 Component 3: Client demand

42:51 Component 4: Who you’re being

51:03 The doubling formula for independent consultants

52:13 Q&A

1:00:05 Closing remarks

In this exclusive event, independent consulting coach Melisa Liberman gave freelance business owners and independent professionals a walk-through on how to double their consulting revenue. 

Structured as an interactive Q&A session, Melisa offered actionable insights into key areas, including:

  • Uncover the most common root causes of underearning as an independent consultant so you can avoid them
  • Identify what’s holding you back from having a consistent, thriving pipeline of ideal clients
  • Build a roadmap to double your independent consulting revenue this year without overworking or growing a large team

[00:00:08] Emily Stringer: All right. I'm going to launch us. Melisa, It looks like our participant number is ticking up. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to Four Steps to Double Your Independent Consulting Revenue in 2023. We'll give everyone a few minutes to get settled here before we officially get started. I see our participants are still logging in, so we'll give everyone just a minute here, Melisa

[00:00:43] Melisa Liberman: Sounds good.

[00:01:08] Emily Stringer: All right. It looks like our numbers are leveling off. Let's get this thing started. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's webinar: Four Steps to Double your Independent Consulting Revenue in 2023, featuring Melisa Liberman, Executive Coach and Founder of Melissa Liberman Coaching, LLC. My name is Emily Stringer, and I'll be your moderator this afternoon. A little background on me, I work as a program manager at MBO partners, and I've served in an advisory capacity to independent consultants using our services for the past 12 1/2 years. I've spent quite a bit of time with this organization servicing folks just like you, and we know this is a hot topic, and we look forward to bringing you all the goods. Here at MBO Partners, we are contractor engagement and compliance specialists and are the chosen workforce optimization partner for over a third of the Fortune 100. Our mission is to make it easier for large enterprises and top independent talent to work together. We make it easy for independents like you to start, run and grow their businesses through our unique dual-sided platform. Leverage the MBO platform while you work with one of our enterprise organizations, find your next project in our marketplace, share ideas, and earn cash for the innovation challenges on Mindsumo or join other like-minded independent professionals for networking and community building in MBO Advantage. There's something for everyone here at MBO. MBO has always been committed to advancing the next way of working, and we are far from done. Before we get started today, we have a couple of housekeeping items. 

First and foremost, we will be emailing a slide deck and a recorded copy of the entire webinar to all registrants within the next week. Secondly, please ensure that you are muted. Finally, at the end of today's presentation, we will host a formal Q&A session. You can use the Q&A function to send us any questions you would like Melisa to answer. In addition to our housekeeping items, you can follow along virtually in several different places. Visit us on the web at www.MBOpartners.com/insights. Follow us on Instagram at MBO_Partners. Or follow "The Great Realization" or MBO Partners on LinkedIn.  

At this time, it's my pleasure to introduce you to our speaker, Melisa Liberman. She's a former software executive who helped build a SaaS software company from startup to exit. For the past 10 years, Melisa has been an independent, as a business coach who specializes in working with independent consultants, Melisa is passionate about helping her clients create businesses they never imagined were possible. Melisa developed a proprietary scale IC framework that helps her clients profitably and sustainably scale their businesses to $1,000,000 without sacrificing their business-life balance. She's the host of the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast, and you can even take her Proprietary independent Consulting Pricing Assessment to uncover your opportunities to improve your consulting grade structures. Melisa, at this time, I will turn it over to you.

[00:04:39] Melisa Liberman: Okay, great. Thanks, Emily. I'm so thrilled you're here today. I think doubling our income in 2023, our revenue and our income in 2023 is such a fun goal because it not only adds to the bottom line but also is something that will help you to center yourself around growth, personal growth, and business growth and being able to think more like a business owner as you are running your consulting practice. So, it leads to personal growth, professional growth, and more money in your bank. So with that, let's talk about the objectives here really quickly. You have what you'll leave here today with, and then we'll dive into the agenda and start into the content. So the goal for today is to leave here with really, at the end of it, your path to doubling your income and your revenue, your revenue and your income in 2023. So building out and I will share with you the 4 steps to build out this roadmap. I think we advertised it as 3 steps, but as I was building out the details of the content, there was just something about it that really there was a 4th step that I was embedded into everything and realized it really earned its own spot.

So today, you're getting the bonus, which is the 4th step, which in a lot of ways can be the most important so that one's at the end. Don't miss that, because it's one of the most important of the 4 steps. And so, as we go through this roadmap and talk about these 4 components of doubling your revenue, we'll also touch on why you might not be there already. What are the obstacles and the things that are standing in your way from you having accomplished this goal already and make sure that as you're moving forward through 2023, you're thinking about these 4 components that I'm going to share with you today, and also being aware of and watching out for these blindspots and obstacles that prevent most of us from hitting this goal. 

[00:06:50] So with that, the agenda for today is we're going to go through these 4 steps to double your consulting revenue. We're going to talk about doubling your inventory. We're going to be talking about doubling your value. We're going to talk about doubling your demand. And then that 4th step at doubling who you're being. And as Emily said, we'll have time for Q & A and to pull all of this together at the end. So be sure to put your questions in so we can get to those, I'm excited to see what questions you have. But first, if you want to follow along with this, I created what we're going to talk through today into a workbook format for you. So it's got additional prompts and questions to truly help you build a roadmap. I don't want to tell you you're going to have a roadmap and then not leave with one. So let's make sure that you have this roadmap and that you're applying what we're doing to your business in real-time. And Emily will put the link to the workbook in the chat so you can go and download this and really do some of this work as we go so that you're not just here to listen, but you're actively listening and putting what we're talking about into action for your business. 

[00:08:04] Okay, so let's start off and really define why you are here today. What do you want to take away from today's webinar? And very specifically, what does "Doubled" mean for you? Precisely. So take a moment and think about what "Doubled" means. It might. You know, it's very easy to just say, well, I made $100K last year or I made $250K last year, so I want to double that. But think about it from a big-picture perspective. How do you want to think about the container within which you are creating that doubling of revenue? Do you want to work more? Some of you might not be fully utilized, and so you do want to be working more. Some of you, a lot of you, are probably working more than you would truly want to be working. I find that so often. I was just recently working with a client who came to me after 20 years of being an independent and not taking any time off in that, you know, going on vacation but working through it. And so it's important to think about the constraints around which you want to double this money. What is the schedule look like for you? And emotionally, what does this look like for you? What do you want to feel more of, and what do you want to feel less up? And so an example here, jot down your sentence for yourself as I'm talking here, an example might be I want to generate $500K in revenue by 12/15. That gives you a little buffer for the holidays, and I'm going to do this working 4 days a week and 44 weeks of the year. Adding, even adding the emotional side to it. I'm going to feel fulfilled 80% of the time and overwhelmed, you know, 10% less, something like that. So that gives you an idea and an example of really, think about for you, why you're here and what doubled means for you so that you can get the most out of what we're talking about today, these 4 steps. 

[00:10:08] So as we dive in, I just want to give an example because sometimes we think about this concept, I want to double my revenue, but then we don't really think about it in a tangible way. I was working with a client on this the other day, and he gave me his goals and I asked him how he felt about the goals, and he said overwhelmed and that they were impossible. And so we broke it down, and it became just this one simple step of what does it actually mean to double? It became so much more doable. Even though his goal was doubling, it felt so big and overwhelming. And when you really break it down into what it means for you and your business, and that's what these 4 steps are going to do here, it helps you to see that it's so much more possible than you might be thinking it is. So with that, I just wanted to give you a few examples of what this might look like for you and your business. 

[00:11:03] So let's say you're making $100K-ish right now, and you want to double that. To get there, there are really 3 examples that I'll share with you today. There are so many more, but here are a couple of examples. You could double your bill rate from $100 to $200 if you're working by the hour, that gets you another $100K. Now, whether or not that's possible with the time you have available. Well, we'll talk through that here in a moment. But think about it very simplistically, you could be working on more strategic projects for clients who are valuing the type of work you do and, very simply, double your bill rate to get yourself from $100 to $200. Another example would be that you could sell 5 $20K strategy planning type projects, and that's another $100K, or you could add two $5k per month retainer clients, which quite frankly is a very low number for retainer clients, and that creates a $120K for you. So those are some very simple ways, even if you don't want to increase your - even if you're not at the place mentally where you want to increase of rates that you're charging, you can add in some of these services that are very simple for you to get to an additional $100K. 

[00:12:22] The second example, let's say you're around the $250K mark, and you want to get to half a million. Very simply, you could do these three things, increase your current pricing by 30%. Which is not out of the norm. There are so many price increases going on in our world at the moment. This is not out of the norm. May not be for your existing clients, might need to be for new clients or it could be for existing clients. You've got to figure out for you what that means. Then you could, in addition to that, sell seven 15K assessments, so coming in and doing some form of an assessment for your ideal clients, which by the way is a great lead in for additional work, that's another $105K and then selling one just one $8k per month retainer client, which is almost another $100K that gets you to an additional $276K. I gave you a little buffer there. So then, the last example here is you want to go from half million to a million. 

[00:13:25] So you might increase your pricing by 20%, that's another $100K. You might sell one for one assessment per quarter, so four of those, that's another $100K and you might sell three $10K per month retainer clients, which quite frankly is more in the ballpark of what retainers, what clients are, what consultants are charging for retainers where clients really value those, and so that gets you to $560K additional revenue. You wouldn't even need to increase your rates, and you could get to an additional $460K. So this gives you some examples of how you can get to the very tangible examples of how you can look at your business and start thinking about how to move from where you're at now to double where you're at right now. And so you're going to want to be thinking about these as we go through today's content and breaking down the steps to get to these types of service offerings. So you might be saying to me, well, most of this is great, but I don't have any more time. I'm fully booked. I'm working 60 hours or 70 hours already every week, generating the money that I'm making, and I don't have the capacity to sell these other things. And I would say to you, the problem you want to start solving immediately is the fact that you are trading your time for money, and you have used up all of your inventory. I'll start talking with you about inventory here in a second, and people are not paying you the amount of money you want to be making for your inventory. So if you're already saying to me, this is impossible, I always love talking about this on the podcast, but. Melisa. Dot, dot, dot. Like all these reasons why this is possible for you, you're going to keep creating the same results. So think about as we go through the content today. How could this work for you? What could change for you instead of arguing for your limitations? I say that with love. Stop arguing for your limitations and start getting where you want to be. 

[00:15:36] Okay, so let's talk about very specifically these four components of independent consultant growth. Your inventory. That's the first one that we're going to dive into here in a minute. You have an inventory that you're selling. They're not products like something on Amazon, but you have inventory. And most of us, as independent consultants, don't think about the inventory that we have to sell. The second thing you want to be thinking about is the value, the value you're delivering. And this is really the combination of what the amount you charge for what you do and the client's willingness to pay. And their willingness to pay can be influenced heavily by the way you’re positioning and selling the work that you do and the value and outcomes that you deliver. And then the third component of this growth triangle is client demands, creating more client demand for what it is that you want to do and what it is that you are doing and the types of services that you want to move into. 

If you're not yet doing what you want to be doing. And then the fourth component, and this is the one that I really wanted to call out on its own today is who you are being. This is one of the most important pieces of this and almost always overlooked, and so I want to make sure that we call this out very explicitly, and that's what we'll do in the fourth step here. 

[00:17:03] Okay, so let's dive into the inventory. The inventory. Your inventory is made up of the services you sell your clients and the boundaries around when and how you're going to deliver those. Most of us don't think about our consulting business as something that has inventory. We think that's where a service or a product base is a company, and we don't think about it in the sense of being in control of selling that inventory. We think we'll take what comes to us and figure out how to make it work and kind of hope that the numbers all line up. But if you can flip the way that you think about your business in the way that you have services that you sell your clients and you have boundaries around when and how you'll deliver them, that's what ends up creating this double phenomena - doubling phenomenon without you having to work more to create that doubled revenue and income. 

So I'm going to give you, I'm going to go to another slide, and then I'll come back here in a second. What I want to encourage you to do is to reverse engineer your inventory. Think about those examples I just gave you. What are the services, what is the total number that you want to generate this year? Let's just say half a million. You want to generate half a million this year. What does that look like for you? What is your consulting service one, two, and three that you want to deliver? You don't have to be that many. But as an example, what are those? What are the average contract values and how many of those do you need to sell this year to get yourself to that $500K number? I don't know if you can see this is pretty small, but this gives you an example here. I walk through this very specific example in episode 67 of the podcast, so you might want to go back and listen to that. But basically, what we're talking about here is figuring out what is the type of work that you want to do that fits into the schedule, into the schedule, those boundaries that you want to deliver against. So it might be that you want to do less implementation, less kind of roll up your sleeves, less being in the weeds type of work, and you want this year to move into more advisory type work, retainer based work, or strategy and some kind of white light type of delivery. Not heavy, heavy lifting type of delivery. That's an example here. So the average contract value might be $60K for advisory over the course of the year and $150K for that strategy and delivery type work. And so then you figure out how many of those I am going to do and then break it down. So you see that very fairly simply with six clients, it could be six engagements, I'd say it could be for the same clients even that you can get to this half a million number with the schedule that you want to be keeping, with the inventory that you want to be offering. And so then you can back into this episode goes into more about even the lead gen side of it. 

How many conversations you need to have and how many opportunities those conversations lead to as an example. So here, where the concept of inventory is creating the math for you in your business so that you know exactly how you're going to get to this, the goal that you've got. So you may be asking yourself, how am I - these questions, it's going to be really important to ask these questions. What types of work do you want to offer? What will you charge for that work? and how much capacity do you want to provide for your inventory? How much do you want to work daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? Are you going to bring on other people to augment you? Maybe you bring on a bookkeeper so you can offload some of that invoicing and accounting side of your business. Maybe you want to bring on you have a client who just brought on a couple of data analysts who they're in their PhD program, and so she she brings them on to do a lot of the heavy lifting for her data, the data work that she provides to her clients, and then she validates it and packages it up, makes the conclusions and gives it to the clients so you don't have to create some overwhelming company or firm. But if you want to bring on some additional help to create more capacity for you, that's part of this plan. 

[00:21:38] You thinking about what that might look like for you. Okay, so now let's talk about this first component of doubling your revenue. The three obstacles to watch out for, this happens by default for so many of us because we're really kind of socialized and are thinking about things as an informal employee lens. We've been doing that for so long, and so you may be thinking that you need to work more in order to earn more. You're going to have to work more hours to double your revenue, and that's just simply not the case. In fact, a lot of those examples that I just gave you are very much in the direction of working less, providing more value, but working less to provide that value. So don't get caught in the trap of, well, this is impossible for me because I don't have any more hours in the day. If you design your inventory in a way that matches up with the math, you can do it in such a way that you end up working less to deliver, deliver more value and ultimately more revenue. Also one of the obstacles that I see so often as you're thinking about what your inventory is, is we start worrying about specialization. I'm sure you've heard the concept of niching down, of deciding on and creating a specialization for yourself. And so many times the pushback that I get about this is I don't want to leave money on the table. I know I can do all of these things and I love varieties, so I don't want to be kind of pigeonholing my inventory into very specific things. But what ends up happening is you dilute yourself, you dilute your messaging, you dilute your positioning, you dilute what you're known for. So don't fall into that trap of I don't want to kind of plant a flag about what it is that I do. 

Broaden this out and think about this from the perspective of I'm going to create my inventory that is thematic is centered around some kind of theme like I am, you know, provide fractional marketing services to software, mid-sized software companies, whatever it is for you. Doesn't mean they can't take on more work. But really, as you're thinking about your inventory, think about the inventory that you want to be delivering that matches up to those types of specializations that companies might be wanting to hire you for and be looking for that type of specialization. So don't put a whole lot - I'll say it another way, which is don't put a whole long list of menu items there, really think about two or three services that you could be providing and focus more on the depth versus the breadth. And then also, I find so often with independent consultants, the things that come most naturally to us, we discount their value. We just overlook them as an expertise. We think that this is just something everyone does and that you’re overlooking or discounting your specific expertise when you're building out that inventory is another way that you could be blocking your ability to double your revenue without really needing to do anything different than you're already doing. So watch out for those blockers as you're thinking about what that menu looks like, what the math looks like. 

[00:25:02] Okay, now let's move into, pivot into component number two: The value. Why is this important? Money comes from value. Most of us think, just by default money comes from time. Money comes from value. If you think about things that we spend a lot of money on, it's not about the components of the thing, it's not even about necessarily the time that's spent like an iPhone, how much did you spend on that? $1,000, 1500 dollars? It's not because of the components. I don't know how much Apple spends to build one of these, but it definitely is $1500 dollars. We pay that because of the value that it gives us, the connectivity, the experience, the features, and benefits that ultimately come from that phone. Not because of the parts that are made up of it. And the same thing for you. The money that you are acquiring, generating from your clients is coming from the value that they see in the work that you're delivering. So in order to double the value, which is the second component of this four component plan, you want to be in order to double your money, you want to be doubling the value. When you double the value, you double the money. You might be in a position right now where you are doing more of contracting type work or staff augmentation-type work. And I'll touch on that here in component three, I think in more detail. There's nothing wrong with that. I did it for a long time myself, not a problem. But think about what it is that the client is hiring you for. Are they truly hiring you for you being an extra pair of hands that has less value associated to it? You get it. You would be paid less for that. Or are they hiring you and are you positioning yourself in a way that is just demonstrating and describing and helping them to see the outcomes that you're delivering for the time that you're spending? Could be the same exact role that you are signing up for, but a very different way of looking at it and therefore a very different way of being compensated for it. So let me give you some examples here. Let's break this down a little bit more into three main buckets: positioning of yourself, the offers that you provide, and also the sales process by which you land new clients. If you're in whatever you're making right now, that's your as is and then if you were to double that, this is what it might look like. 

So from a positioning perspective, a lot of times the consultants that I work with, when we first start working together, we realize when especially when you have a goal of doubling your revenue, we realize that you might be coming across more tactical, more passive, more waiting, kind of wait for the client to tell me what they need, and then I'll go do it. Reactive and kind of in a learning mode like, okay, I'm still learning how to be a good consultant or I'm still learning how to do this independent consulting thing. Quite frankly, I hear this from, it might be someone you might be having done this for one year or 20 years. I still hear this, so it's not about the amount of time you've been a consultant. It's about the mindset that you've got as a consultant. Your as is revenue is also driven off of things like are you valuing the type of work that you do and what you deliver to your clients based on what the calculation might be if a full time employee did that? So many of us base our pricing off of that concept and end up getting stuck in whatever revenue number you are in right now. And then thirdly, your sales process. Usually the sales process is focused on, again, calculating some kind of pricing based on time. It might be reactive to the client, they've got a budget to figure out how to fit into the budget. It might be based on what you are thinking is reasonable. Most of the time when we think of a number, if we don't know the number that the client is wanting, thinks this is worth or wanting to pay - we guess, and most of the time we're wrong. At a client the other day who is going to propose to her client a $60K engagement, and I started digging into it and asking her a bunch of questions and we realized it was actually a $120K engagement. She got nervous. She said, but she told the client it would be $100K, and then the client came back to her and said, I think you might not have enough room in there, are you sure it's $100K? So she went back to the $120K, Right. So think about from an As Is perspective, what is driving your current results and the way that you're showing up with your positioning and the way you're positioning your offers and your sales process. And when you want to double that, what it looks like is stepping into the version of you as a business owner, as a consultant who is more strategic, who is thinking about yourself in a more strategic way, who is positioning yourself in a more strategic way. Asking questions, being leaderly, being collaborative, showing up as a peer to whomever is hiring you versus a subordinate. Making offers that are based in understanding the qualitative and quantitative outcomes that are perceived by the buyer and the stakeholders. And running a sales process that's centered around understanding and calculating those benefits, both organizationally, what are the benefits of the work and the ultimate outcomes that I'm delivering, and also to the person who's buying them. That person's bonus is attached to the work that you're doing. It's really important to them, figuring out what those qualitative and quantitative outcomes are. You don't even have to price it this way necessarily. You could still break it down to a day rate if that's where your level of comfort is. But knowing this puts you in such a different mindset in the way that you are recommending and proposing to these clients. 

Thinking about that money comes from value, not from the time that you're spending to deliver the outcomes. That's the second piece of this 4 piece process of doubling your revenue. Now the blockers that you could be hitting when you look at these particular components, I've already touched on this, thinking like an employee versus a business owner. This is really important. Number two, enabling your potential client to think this is similar to hiring an employee. Most of the people - the buyers that we work with as consultants. Their most recent, their most common frame of reference is hiring employees, and so they apply that lens to bring you on board, to engaging with you. Most of them have not yet hired consultants before, or if they have, they treated them like employees, that you know, maybe not legally, but certainly with for all intents and purposes of process. Even if they have hired consultants or consulting firms in the past, it's so rare compared to hiring an employee, and so that's the lens from which they approach this. They don't have it, they don't know any better until you tell them. So that's why I use this word - enabling. You are enabling - if you're letting them lead the process and take you down to some interviews and then give you, you know, negotiate an hourly rate, you are enabling them to treat you that way. Again, I say this with love. We all do this. I did it. Not a problem, but be aware of it. Understand that that process, if you're letting them lead the process and take you down those steps, is going to lead to you making less money, less revenue than if you are leading a sales process and helping them to understand how your process works to design the very best approach for them that will help them to get the ultimate outcome that they want. So you're not only selling your services, but you're also oftentimes selling the process, too, for them to buy the services. Also thinking that you're not worth double the value. A lot of times when I say to clients, my consulting clients, you know, let's raise your rates or let's do this retainer or you told me you wanted to do this retainer. What is it about it that is you're pausing or hesitating. And a lot of times I hear things like, I don't think that I know enough to be an advisor. I don't think that my advice or my guidance is worth that much money, and that's on you. You are not giving yourself the credit that is due. And I see this time and time again, if I were, you know, back to that example where the client ended up having to tell my client that she should be charging even more than what she was comfortable with after we already worked on this. She got herself up to a certain point and then the client ended up telling her. And this story is not a rare story, this happens so many times with independent consultants where at some point I think the clients just start feeling guilty and tell the independent consultant that they're working with, you know, on this next engagement, you might consider charging more, but because they know what other other consultants might be getting. The fourth blocker here is thinking that providing more value takes more time so I'm going to keep hammering on this. Providing more value does not take more time. A lot of times it takes less time, and thinking that your clients won't pay more. Now, look, some clients are not going to pay more. That's just the fact. I will agree with you about that, but there are a lot of clients out there. There are plenty of clients out there who will pay more for the value that you provide to them. If you're positioning it in a way where they understand and can get their arm around, their mind around the value as it relates to the outcomes that they're getting from you. Okay, So check the time here. 

[00:36:05] Okay. Number three, client demands to double your revenue. You need to double the demands for what you do. So kind of going back to the client, you know, it may be that your current client will pay more or very, you know, nominally, they'll make they may agree to you raising your rates a little bit. You want to get to the place where you're thinking about how can I double my demand? So I don't if I don't want to work with that client because they're not willing to budge on my rates. I have plenty of demand out there. In fact, I have more demand than I have inventory. 

So let me just share with you a kind of the trajectory here of what an independent consulting business looks like from a demand perspective. Most of us start off in some form of dependency, and that sounds like a harsh worker did this a little bit. But, you know, we're dependent on, I spent maybe five years in this bucket, so I'm not, if I'm calling anyone out, it's also I'm calling myself out to. The dependency. So where the work comes from, those we know. This is a great place to be when you're when we're first starting out or even if you want to augment, you know, working with recruiters or agencies or marketplaces. I had great, great success working through the MBO marketplace, giving myself to a quarter of a million through that process. So this, there's nothing wrong with this at all, but we're taking what we can get in this kind of first phase of generating demands. And we take what we can get because we don't want to leave money on the table. This is the first step of a demand process for your consulting business. The second step looks like starting to create demands might be pounding the pavement. You might be on a lot of networking calls, you might be at a lot of networking events. You might be reaching back out to the people that you know, you might be driving referrals and collaboration partners, making yourself known. It's kind of pounding the pavement and you might be providing a wider menu of services, but you're starting to have a little bit of control over your own pipeline. It doesn't mean that you give up any you know, you might still be feeling it was a little bit of this, too. Not a problem but this is where you are being much more proactive than reactive. Then the next step of doubling the demand on this spectrum is becoming known for what you do so that you're creating inbound opportunities. This relies on you having a clearer specialization. Like I am a fractional CFO for mid-sized software companies. I am a specialist in helping integrate companies from a merger and acquisition perspective in the healthcare arena. Like what is the thing that you do? And it becomes clear the problem that you solve so that you can be speaking and writing about it, so that you can be known for what it is that you do. Now, look, it doesn't mean that you don't do other things, too. 

A lot of us love variety, but it's kind of like I love describing it in this way to my clients. This is you having a menu like you go to Starbucks and there's a menu there. There's a lot of things on the menu. Don't put that many things on the menu. But you know, there's like a menu there at Starbucks and there's like a secret menu. I don't know, you could Google it. Apparently, there's all these other concoctions that you can ask for. Don't put all of them on the menu. Put two or three on the menu to become known for what it is that you do, and you can still have the variety. This isn't giving up the variety. This is you being so clear about your inventory and helping people to find you so they can consume your inventory. And then finally this becoming sought after, building up so much a reputation being known for what you do so that you've got more demand than you've got supply or inventory. And you're building those retainer type relationships. They don't have to wait for this point at all but that's what it can look like, speaking and writing and authoring and really having a wait list of people and trying to figure out how am I going to handle this waitlist?. Somebody's going to raise my rates, and make the capacity worth each of my services going to be worth more to my business because I've got so much demand. Or am I going to add in some creative ways of increasing capacity like subcontractors or other other support type stuff? What would that look like? So that's when you think about how you're going to double demand, what that trajectory looks like. So the four obstacles I most often see blockers to doubling your demand are being inconsistent. You might be really good at filling your pipeline. So many consultants have made it to that second step of creating demand but you're not consistent at it. And so then you've got this feast or famine situation happening. We don't want that to happen for you. And there are reasons why that happens for so many of us, it might be fear. It might be, quite frankly, a fear of landing too much business, and so we throttle ourselves and end up making the same amount over and over again. You might feel entitled. This happens a lot where we have an idea that the business should come to us and based on our background and in our experience, we should be able to make X amount of money. But then we don't truly put in the work from a business owner perspective to make that happen and then we're mad, we're mad at ourselves. But it comes from thinking that some sentence that includes the word should. 

The other one that is so often a blocker that I see is feeling that the demand is out of your control, thinking that the demand is out of your control. You have control over the demand. Got to figure out how to create it, but it needs to be fully in your control. It might be that one particular client you have no control over whether they'll engage you or not - that's true, but you certainly have control from a macro perspective as to whether or not you make this happen. Okay. 

[00:42:51] The last one. And as I was teasing here, as we've been talking in my mind, the most important one, because it really influences those first three tremendously. And that's who your being as you do this. How do you think about yourself in this? $0 to $20K-ish band. We're often thinking of ourselves as a contractor, an extra pair of hands. Just a fill in the blank for me, I spent, like I said, a lot of time in the zone. Just a project manager. Was my sentence, my phrase, or I think you think you're bad, right? Or you hate business developments. How you think about yourself, these are not facts. You are not a business development that is not a fact. It's a way you're looking at things. You might give me a whole lot of evidence, but I can - in talking with you, I can guarantee that I can figure out how you're not, You might not be great at it, but I know for sure in talking with you, no matter what your situation is, that we can find areas that you're not bad at in business development because you're a consultant, and as a consultant you sell concepts, you sell change, you sell action, taking action to your clients. And that's the same thing that is required in business development. We just freeze when we think about sales or business development. 

So how you're thinking about yourself as a business owner, as a consultant in the way that you do your work will lead you. If you're thinking these types of things into this band - plus or minus. The next band, we start thinking about ourselves as a consultant, as an advisor, as a business owner. And we're starting to think we could be okay at business development. And then finally, as you move into the next band, you are thinking about only yourself as a business owner, as an expert, as a thought leader, as a peer, to whomever you're working with, that you're good at business development. I would never in a million years tell you that I would ever think of myself as good at business development. I hated sales. I would kick the sales person under the table. In fact, I interviewed him on my podcast for next week about, you know, I would kick him under the table when he was saying things to our potential clients that I had to deliver and I knew weren't true. Business development, like for me specifically, I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to sales of business development. And I would never be good at it, nor did I want to be. I've been able to move over to this zone, not because I started getting comfortable with making up things or embellishing or kind of doing those things that most of us are uncomfortable with from a tactics perspective. No, that wasn't it. It was because I realized that what I did as a consultant is essentially selling and changing my mindset around it and thinking about myself that I'm good at this. And then thinking about yourself as someone who belongs in the rooms that you're in, you belong as a thought leader. You belong as someone who is sought after for what it is that you do. And potential clients would be lucky to find you so that they could gain your expertise and the wide range of experience that you have, the way you think about yourself. The way you think about yourself as a consultant, as a business owner, these are all based on you, you giving yourself permission. There's nothing externally that you need in order to start thinking about yourself in this way. Most of us don't give ourselves credit and we're hanging out over here ($0K - $200K band) or over here ($201K -$500K) when we want to be over here ($201K - $500K) or over here ($501K - $1M). 

Most of us don't give ourselves credit for what it is that we know and what's the value that we can provide, and how it is that we could be good at sales, and we keep ourselves stuck over here ($0 - $200K) because that's what's comfortable. Even though you want more money, it's more comfortable to make the amount of money you've been making because you're familiar with it. What to watch out for here as you're implementing this fourth component, the upper limit. If you haven't read the book by Gay Hendricks, we have it here on my desk somewhere, the upper left of the. No, it's not called that, shoot. Now I forgot the name, I'll think about it here in a second or someone knows. Put it in the chat. It is a phenomenal book - Gay Hendricks. The Upper Limit sounds like if I earn more, it's going to be hard to sustain it. That's it. Making an assumption that earning more requires working more, right? If I earn more, am I going to be worth it? If I charge more, is what I'm doing going to be worth it? Who am I to fill in the blank? Make $1,000,000 a year? Who am I to charge more to my clients? Making more money is going to set me apart from the people in my sphere. I'm going to outgrow them or alienate them. We worry about that as humans. It's called The Big Leap. Someone probably put it in the chat, then came back to me. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. So, so good. This looks like self-sabotage or plateauing or making the same amount of money year, after year, after year, after year, and going up maybe one year, and then bringing yourself right back down to what you were used to and feeling like, Oh, it's the economy, it's the recession, it's the whatever external thing, when in fact you're the one who was doing this to yourself because you hit your upper limit and didn't do the work to overcome that. Okay, let's pull all of this together and then we have a little, we have about 15 minutes for Q & A. In order to double your revenue without working more or less, you want to be working more, double your revenue within those constraints that we talked about in the first step, you want to start brainstorming in answering a lot of the questions that I gave you today, and I put a succinct list here. If you download that workbook that I shared with you, it'll give you more questions to be thinking about as well. 

You want to start thinking about and put your business owner hat on and think about your inventory. How can I double the value of my inventory? Including the constraints and the boundaries I want to put around the inventory. How can I double the value of what I offer? Your positioning, the actual offers that you have, the type of work that you do and the sales process that you use to lead people through. Ask yourself, how can I double my client demands? Most of us feel like we don't have control over this. You know, any meaningful control over this, you do. You're just not asking yourself very high quality questions to figure it out. Which is great because that is solvable. And how can I double who I'm being. Thinking the way you think about yourself, influences the way you carry yourself. Influences how - what types of questions you ask of your potential clients? Influences the way that you say to your potential client when they say to you, well, I want to interview you? And you say, No, that's not my process. My process is X, Y, and Z so I can fully understand what it is that you, your problems, and the potential solutions to those problems and come up with a couple of proposals for you about how we can tackle those problems and get you where you want to be. That's an example of who it is that you're being. Ask yourself, how can I double who I'm being in order to double my revenue? 

[00:51:06] Okay, Emily, I think we're ready for the Q&A. A couple of things before we dive into that, and I think Emily will put these links in the slides as well, if you need that - the slides and the workbook that we just went through, we just went through the slides, it also is a workbook, you can go to this link and download that for yourself. And also Emily, referenced it at the beginning, I have a pricing assessment that I've created for independent consultants, specifically. This will help be one of the very first ways to put what we've talked about into action, so you can go take that at icpricing.com, and then I would love for MBO anyone listening here, either in live or the replay, if you'd like to grab a little bit of time on my calendar, I've set aside time for 20 minute - iC growth review calls, so those are complimentary. We'll just hop on a call and really talk about how you're trying to apply this work that we talked through today and where you might be getting stuck and help you create a plan moving forward. 

And then if you're interested in more about what it looks like to work with me as your coach, you can go to consultMelisa.com. All right. With that, Emily, what questions we have.

[00:52:13] Emily Stringer: Awesome. So the most popular question we had was when am I getting a copy of this presentation? So before we get into our true Q & A, I just want to let everyone know that we do commit to getting a recorded copy of this presentation to all of our registrants no later than the middle of next week. Keep an eye on your inbox, and you'll see that copy. So Melisa, from there, we'll jump into our actual Q&A.

[00:52:39] Melisa Liberman: Okay.

[00:52:42] Emily Stringer: So just to lay some groundwork, we had a couple of questions come in around starting your business. So let's start there. So first and foremost, how do you start independent consulting from scratch?

[00:52:55] Melisa Liberman: Oh, yeah. It's so much fun. That was ten years ago for me. A couple of things, you may be in a current position right now. If you are working full-time and you want to start an independent consulting business. I think that's a great way to do it in some ways. 

I, you know, I'll say it this way, having that ability to have a consistent income while you're building out your business gives you a lot of, you know, it's essentially seed money for you. And so thinking about what type of, it's a great way to do it because you're able to take on clients and think about your inventory in a very specific way. You only have X amount of hours per week to deliver for clients. And so thinking about your inventory in that way and designing the types of services and the pricing around those services based on what that inventory might look like and then going out to figure out what types of clients want to purchase that inventory essentially, those services. So that's a great way to do it. 

Another great way to do it, if you're not currently employed, is really starting on - I love starting on the demand side. I love you know, if we go back to that slide, which I will up here just as we're talking, if you think about this, start here, start here and start talking to all the people that you know, figuring out what problems that they're having that they're not able to solve with their existing staff because there's either a skill gap or there is a you know, they don't have enough capacity and start creating clients for yourself. I did this for a long time like I was referencing. I was in this dependent bucket for a long time. Again, there's nothing wrong with being in the dependent bucket if you know that's where you're at and you're thinking about it that way. I did, you know, it's like testing out. You might not know exactly what it is you want to do or specialize in or be known for. And so taking on a variety of different types of projects, whether you find those from past to colleagues or marketplaces or agencies, and getting a lot of variety and reps under your belt so that then you know and can start moving up this chain from a demand perspective. I would also just add, there's a ton of resources on the MBO website that you can use to figure out like all the mechanics and things like that about starting a business. 

But the last thing I'll say about that before we move on, Emily, is don't worry about perfecting things. Whatever you decide to do is most likely not going to be the direction of your business for the next 20 years, so go get into action, land your first clients, land your first 33rd clients, and then start refining from there. Don't fall into that trap of trying to. First, you need a website. You most certainly do not need a website to land your first clients. Like don't go out perfecting things just go land a client.

[00:56:01] Emily Stringer: That's great advice, Melissa. I think that's perfect. Next question up, What are some of the biggest mistakes you see independents make with business developments?

[00:56:11] Melisa Liberman: Yes. So some of what we touched on today already, I see just a lack of consistency. This idea that somehow we have to have a big chunk of time in our day to, you know, to set aside and if we don't have that, then we can't work on business developments. And so when we have this idea in our head or that we're not good at it, and so then we're not consistent and then or we try to overcomplicate it by thinking that we need to do things like, like posting on LinkedIn every day or whatever it is. None of those things are required. It can be the most simple process, the most simple process. I have one client right now doing this, what she calls what we call together the two by three, two days a week, either two days a week or three days a week, she reaches out to two people in her network, that's it, and has created a 300K plus pipeline from that. So you can, I have a standard operating procedure on my website. I can put up the link in the chat here, where you can literally go and download the exact steps that you want to be taking. It's about creating consistency, and it's about believing that what you're doing is going to work. If we approach something thinking, Well, this isn't going to work, but I'll do it anyway, you're not going to get the results that you want. Or if you're hiding because you're uncomfortable with, you know, with the process, and you're kind of doing it, but you're checking the boxes, you're not going to get the result that you want. 

So it's really about consistency, believing that it's going to work, and then figuring out how to make it work for you.

[00:57:49] Emily Stringer: Absolutely. You hit on my biggest piece of advice. Your network is your network. Work that network.

[00:57:56] Melisa Liberman: Yeah, (inaudible) 26 minutes a day.

[00:57:49] Emily Stringer: Absolutely. Along those lines, do you have any tools or platforms you suggest? Besides, you know, the typical LinkedIn or having a website?

[00:58:09] Melisa Liberman: For lead generation, Emily?

[00:58:14] Emily Stringer: Yes. Tools.

[00:58:16] Melisa Liberman: Yeah. To your point, it's your network. It's your network. It's whoever, so I wouldn't even say it's LinkedIn. It's whoever you're connected to in linkedIn, I guess, will be the kind of the second stage there is who's in your network. It's getting introductions to people that people in your network know. And it's figuring out, you know, how do I, what is the audience that I want to be in front of? I want to be in front of - let me pause for one second and go back. 

Most of us discount the value of our network. We think, well, I've exhausted that or I don't want to bother them or I don't want to ask, I don't want to be needy and so we just completely overlook it. I've had clients like this say to me more, so I'm not like, I refuse to talk to my network. Let's go meet new people, and it's great. I'll meet you where you're at. Let's go meet new people. And so they go and meet new people and they realize that the conversations aren't that challenging, that sometimes they lead somewhere and sometimes they don't. And then, they start feeling more comfortable to go talk with their existing network. And that's where there's such a treasure trove of either work or referrals to work that you're most likely overlooking because most of us do. And then the second component of this is getting yourself to the place where you once you kind of move up that demand spectrum and start to become known for and sought after what you do. Thinking about who else says is already working with my ideal clients? Are there software vendors out there already working with my ideal clients or other consultants doing something complimentary to me and starting to build up a network and relationships around those types of individuals as well?

[01:00:05] Emily Stringer: Awesome. Melisa, I think that's fantastic. So, guys, we are at 2:00 here, so our time up, unfortunately, its over, but we have about 22 questions in the queue. So for those that we have not gotten in touch with, please feel free to reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you. LinkedIn drop at MBO partners and email info@MBOpartners.com. Schedule a time to speak with Melisa. We will do our best to get to all of you and all of your questions as quickly and efficiently as we can. And you know, I think it's amazing we've had a such great interest in the subject matter. So with that said, we will get things wrapped up here. We'll be in touch related to the questions and we look forward to seeing everyone online again soon.

[01:00:51] Melisa Liberman: Great. Thanks for having me, Emily.

[01:00:53] Emily Stringer: Absolutely, Melisa. Have a great afternoon.

[01:00:56] Melisa Liberman: Bye.