focus

I’ve been sharing more of my business with you- the in’s and outs, the good days and bad. Not that I didn’t want to before, but I really didn’t know you wanted to know what I did personally to get through obstacles and gain business. Most techniques that had previously only been prescribed for Kristi have been working for you and my consulting clients.

So, I’ve gotten a ton of emails ( over 20) on how I’m picking up so many consulting clients right now and I want to give you some tips and a lil background.

First off, I’ve been consulting for about 2 years, but honestly, the first year (2011), it wasn’t a focus. It was something like, ahhhh yeah, you want a consultant, um, yes I can do it….. just pay me xxxx. Then we’d have our sessions and they’d be so freaking intense and helpful and I realized that some of the things that I just did myself, could be taught, could be helpful and relatable to other businesses and could make a powerful impact on others if I focused on sharing the knowledge I’ve gained and am gaining.

So the consulting isn’t new. What is new, is consulting being one of my focuses. Just as they tell you to listen to your body to learn when something is wrong or right for that matter, I have been listening and learning what things take a hold of my mind for hours or days on end and where my strong points lie.

I had a meeting just last night with a restaurant, who wanted to hire me for consulting…. I had to turn that one down. I suggested a restaurant consultant….see, all money ain’t the best money AND I need to work where I know that I can make improvements and change. He needs a restaurant specialist, so that’s the direction he’s going in, and I’m sure that now, I have his respect and possibly a referral in the future.

My strong points lie in

  • EXECUTION

  • Creation

  • Sales( high level sales)

  • Strategy

  • Innovation

It took a while to unearth what I felt my strong points were, what I felt energized about sharing, and how I could package that up in a way to help someone else. So, don’t worry if you don’t know now, it can take a little time, a few projects under your belt, some bumping your head and you can read some of the tips below. 

So focus. Focus pays a great deal in why the consulting side of my business is growing. I have learned throughout the years, that what we focus on, what we give our purposeful actions and attention to, those are the areas where we see change, growth, innovation, creativity flowing and experience days where ideas seem to drip from our fingertips. We must learn what should get our high level attention, our passive attention and our no’s. Don’t quite know how to say no, learn here. Moving on…..

As I’ve done with my own consulting clients, I’ve done with myself. We are in business CEOs. We have to really pare down and focus on our vehicles. Our vehicles that bring us to our goals and to make a concerted effort not to add anything to our plate that does not align with those goals or focuses.

Once we get ahold of those focuses, it’s amazing how our schedule clears up and how easy it gets to say, “ I’d love to, but that doesn’t align with my goals for 2013”.

Tips to help with the consulting side of your business here are some tips:

  • If you don’t have a portfolio, you will have to do some for free to get your name out there a bit and start building one. So, as with all of my advice, if you’re going to go free shhhhhhh go BIG shah! Why not?  Some of my free consulting gigs where the Houston Area Urban League and IBM. I worked in a couple of different areas for each and on a startup grant for small businesses with IBM. This was days after coming home from the White House, where I was recognized as a Citizen Innovator and Entrepreneur, but more importantly, where I spent an entire day with some UBER focused entrepreneurs from around the country and brainstormed on how we could help create other innovators like ourselves. All three of those projects were free, but were priceless in getting some really good practice under my belt, meeting other intelligent and ambitious entrepreneurs, working on some life changing projects and getting my name out there during the process ( I was VERY vocal and got consulting meetings almost immediately afterwards) 

  • Pick a specific niche. This is important. You cannot be the BEST consultant in 10 different areas, or even 5. This is again why I turned the restaurant down. The meeting let me know that my consulting strategy plan was working, but that I wasn’t currently as well versed as he’d need me to be in this area. This money looked good, but I could have also gotten a bad reputation if I took it and didn’t deliver as promised. 

  • After you pick a niche, determine your target market. If your prices start at $500 a session with a 3 session minimum, then you probably won’t be able to do startups. Just think through this. I always preach NOT hanging out in the “only free” market if you have paid products and services, but also understand who your client will be.  You might want to really work on your angles and strategy if you’re a career coach ( with a fee to work with you) and you’re only going after unemployed people ( true story). Think it through.

  • Make sure that you are sharing your expertise on a regular basis. Answer these questions:

    • How would someone know what I am very knowledgeable in?

    • Is it easy to contact me?
    • Am I sharing usable, actionable and relevant content with my audience on a regular basis?

    • Do I make it easy to hire me? Is it too many steps? Is my package confusing? Do I have a consulting package?

    • Am I trying to consult on too many areas? Just fyi, we all do this. The client I picked up yesterday, it wasn’t that she isn’t talented. Actually, she is VERY talented just as many of us are, but she is trying to consult in about 5 different unrelatable things. I’ve done this before and wasted time and money. We want to be specialists not generalists. Me and this client’s first mission is to scale her offerings down.

  • Create package options for your potential client and be open to creating custom packages if necessary. Make sure you can live with all of your package price options that you offer because you don’t want to be stuck working with a client for months on end and not getting paid because you gave them a deal of the century. You will regret it, you will start to resent them and probably won’t do the best job. If it’s sooo very low, consider making it free in leu of some other items from them or don’t do it at all. 

  • Figure out ways to make the consulting sessions easy for your clients. I have specific ways that I make sure we are organized, on task and stay on subject during the allotted time. If the session gets away from you and nothing was accomplished, it’s your fault if you don’t at least try to get in control of the time and session focus. 

  • If certification is needed or would greatly help your business….get it. It will pay off in the long run and many dividends to your business. If you have an MBA, that is your certification for many business related issues. The MBA’s whole program focused on making strategic recommendations to businesses. So, learn what would give you that edge in your industry and get it.

  • Set a goal. Yep, if you don’t set a goal, you are again, swimming in a tub. You won’t get anywhere CEOs. Set a plan to get 10 consulting meetings this month. Start off by networking, scanning your social media platforms, your contacts, read this, then start making calls and asking for meetings.

  • Start working on your relationships and building really strong ones. Put in the time, you will get it back later, trust me. One of my biggest deals in real estate came after 2 years and my biggest as a business consultant came after 8 months of wooing.

Determine if consulting is really what you want to do. You may not need to- as it takes time, effort, organization, energy and for you to have people in place in your business to take care of some things while you are working with clients. Your consulting might be through a video, a course, an ebook that you write and sell OR in per ( via live or skype) You don’t have to be in person to consult. The reason I purposely do only 4 individual clients per month is that some of our consulting is done through our blog posts, eGuides, our signature course, our magazine articles, our video series, and our global podcast. Also because I put a massive amount of research into each client BEFORE we meet. I know my limits and want to offer the best Kristi that I can.

What I can tell you, is that your focus truly does becomes your reality. Ever seen a bride determined to fit in her wedding dress? Come hell or high water I bet she slithers into that dress on the day and probably never again 🙂 We can’t reach the reality we want for ourselves if it’s getting the leftover time from our have to’s in life, our fun time, our private time, our Facebook, shopping, margarita, boyfriend, pedicure time.

Our focus has to be laser sharp on our goals and then POOF, before you know it, you’ll need a new goal to reach.


ps. If you want to see if your needs and my skills are a match, check me out here and here and then shoot me a message 🙂 If you’re not ready, just keep reading the blog- it’s always full of advice!