I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me

I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.

Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.

His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. Continue reading

What Are You Building Right Now That Will Be Here in 40 Years?

Tucked away inside Parade Magazine’s annual “What People Earn” list was a celebrity earning an estimated $27 million in 2016.

The only quirk was that he hadn’t done a single thing in 40 years—because he died in 1977.

And yet Elvis—the King—is still out-earning most of his modern-day peers (only Michael Jackson earns more posthumously). Continue reading

Why Is Your Brand As A Consultant Important?

I learned the true value of a distinct consultant brand AFTER I left one of the global giants to build my first firm.

We positioned ourselves as the funkier alternative to the big boys: filled with mastered degreed refugees who’d fled the big firms, jonesing for more flexibility and creativity. When The Wall St Journal called us mavericks and outliers, we were thrilled.

Not everyone loved us, but no one ever forgot us. Continue reading

How To Get Your Swagger On

Do you ever hesitate before hitting the real (or metaphorical) send button on something you know will put you smack in the bulls-eye for criticism?

Maybe it’s a risky new program that is a big dream of yours, a controversial blog post or even a push-back to a client who’s gone down the rabbit hole.

There is that inhale where you pause—for a moment or a few days—thinking that you’d be better off staying silent. Playing small. Continue reading

The Difference Between A Professional And A Hack

If Turning Pro author Steven Pressfield were whispering in my ear giving advice on two recent projects, I’m pretty sure he’d have said: hire the pro—not the amateur—and never EVER the hack.

We got it half right.

Guy #1: The client needed to hire a “cheap” resource to shoot and edit a quick turn-around, 30-minute talking head interview video. None of my usual local resources was available or within his budget. So he went with an amateur recommended by a pal of his. We knew it could go bad—and he’d need to be closely managed—but the client wanted fast, local and cheap and pulled the trigger. Continue reading

Being The Right Amount Of Social

Getting social media right for your business is a bit like driving a stick shift—you have to find the right balance of clutch and gas or you’ll stall out.

That balance is different for every car—a Prius doesn’t handle like a Ferrari—and every business.

The key to being the right amount of social for you—not too much and not too little—is to be unfailingly strategic in your choices. Continue reading

Your Marketing Doesn’t Have To Be A Life Sentence

Your brand is the promise—implied and explicit—you make to your ideal clients and buyers.

It’s the essential truth of your firm, your services and products and, well, you.

It’s the emotional tug to your sweet-spot audience that creates evangelists to your big idea.

Marketing is digging for your clients and buyers and letting them know you exist. Continue reading

How To Delight Clients By Being Different

Unless you were the star athlete or prom queen, being “different” in high school was challenging at best.

Your peers liked conformity—you were expected to follow the unwritten rules of their time and place. So if you were the nerd, the intellect with their head always in a book, the artist with the flamboyant, homemade outfits—you were different.

The lucky ones found their high school tribe and learned how to recognize kindred spirits when they went out into the world. Continue reading

Why I Stopped Asking For Referrals. Should You?

When I first moved to Los Angeles, you could count all my local contacts on both hands and still have plenty of fingers left over.

So I joined a networking group chock-full of potential referral sources and made a conscious decision to devote a day a week to building alliances.

For the first time in my professional life, I started asking for referrals from non-clients. Continue reading

How To Grow Your Consulting Practice Consistently

Dealing with the crazy-urgent—client emergencies, project deadlines, a last-minute media request—is easy for most entrepreneurial consultants and advisors.

We’re hard-wired to deal with the immediate and often take great pride in our ability to manage amidst chaos.

But focusing on the daily spadework of building a vibrant practice and business? Not so much. Continue reading