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
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
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
It’s one thing to feel brilliant. To master your craft and build seemingly endless wisdom to offer your ideal clients.
It’s another thing to actually get your brilliance used.
To have a steady stream of clients, readers, buyers (take your pick) who not only absorb your advice, but also weave it into their own work, creating new strengths and building their own successes. Continue reading
Losing your way when you’re running a business based on ideas—air, really—is easier than we’d like to think. It’s happened to clients, it’s happened to me and I’m willing to bet it’s happened to you.
You take on a client for all sorts of made-sense-at-the-time reasons, but your work together takes you down a slippery slope.
You tweak your sales and marketing messages over and over again, losing your voice and, well, you, in the process. Continue reading
Growing up as I did in a giant consulting firm, you learn one constant: the client work ALWAYS comes first. (And of course its corollary—billable time/selling billable time trumps anything else you might deliver.)
You could get out of any internal meeting, anytime, anywhere with a cheery wave and an “I’m off to see __________” (insert the name of your client-du-jour).
Ditto internal projects, no matter their ultimate importance to the firm. The partners who didn’t want to be bothered could use a steady stream of client excuses for their failure to deliver on their non-client promises. Continue reading
One of the first questions I ask new clients is about their business model: how do you make money right now?
Answers run the gamut—services, products, books, speaking, retainers, project fees, hourly/daily rates, leveraged services by team members.
But it’s the rare consultant who is 100% happy with their business model as it stands today. Continue reading
The old formula: love + business = disaster.
The new formula: love + business = brilliance.
Love is a word business schools—not to mention consulting and advisory firms—shy away from. We are taught to make our case with value propositions. With analysis. With cold-hard logical facts.
But here’s the thing. Continue reading
Let’s try an experiment.
For just a few moments, visualize your very best client projects and relationships. The ones where you’ve done your most game-changing work. Where you’ve moved the needle—significantly—toward getting your clients what they most want.
Got the picture? Continue reading
If you hang with me long enough, you’ll figure out I’m a foodie.
Hopefully not the insane variety (“I shall only eat that gravy if you replace the trumpet mushrooms with shitake”), but rather firmly ensconced in the Mediterranean food-is-at-the-very-center-of-life camp.
So when we moved recently, finding my new local food sources was right at the top of the list. Continue reading