Hiring employees is a tried-and-true way to grow a consulting business—structured right, you can make decent bank on the spread between what you charge clients and what you pay your people.
But scaling as a soloist gives you way more options—with a heck of a lot less risk.
You just want to be sure you do two things: separate your income from the hours you work and maximize the time you’ll spend in your genius zone.
With that in mind, here are four not always obvious ways to scale your soloist business:
Niche down into a highly lucrative segment of your client base. Not sure what that might be? Pay close attention when you get a client that you fall in love with.
What is it that makes them so perfect for you? Hint: it’s probably that they work the way you like and happily pay your not insignificant fees.
As you watch how your new ideal client thinks, talks and acts, they’re giving you clues on how to attract people just like them. And a formula for scaling: increasing your fees while focusing on a smaller target of ideal clients.
Add advisory options. There is doing and there is advising. Guess which one pays better?
If you’re used to the doing, advisory can look like an illusion—”well, yeah, I can get them to pay me $5K a month, but when I do implementations, I get $100K.”
Sure, but do the math. If you’re getting $100K for a year’s worth of implementation and it eats up a third of your time, your realistic max (unless you can raise prices) is $300K while you’re working flat out.
If you had five advisory clients, you’d also hit $300K, but you’d be working significantly less—and in a different way.
If it’s not your genius zone, steer clear, but if you dig advisory work, you can scale by seeking out clients who value you in this role.
Build productized services. How does this scale since you’re the one doing the delivery? It cuts down dramatically on the time and expense of selling.
You write some sales copy for your productized service (assessments, a strategy, etc.) and publish the price on your website so your prospects pre-qualify themselves. Since it’s all up there—including some powerful testimonials—you’ll typically have only a single sales call before closing the deal.
You may even be able to outsource some part of it to a VA or contractor to streamline the process and free up even more of your time.
Raise your prices. Well, “duh”, you’re probably thinking. But we’re not talking about a perfunctory 5% bump in your fees to existing clients—which, let’s be honest, you probably agonized about for weeks.
Nope, let’s be much more aggressive, at least for new clients.
If you have flat fees—like say for specific or productized services—keep raising them. You can try annual increases, but if you’ve been doing this awhile, try increasing your price with every new client until you find the ceiling.
If your work is more bespoke, you can value price every project, linking your price to the outcomes you deliver.
Sure there are other options to scale—developing books/products, membership options and courses—but these four will reliably scale your authority business quickly so you have the time—and the revenue base—to scale yet again.