“He left the corporate rat race a year or two before me and told me what he loved about working from home was that he could work in his underwear.”

Consulting May Be The Best Choice For You
Why Expertise isn’t Enough: Time to Close Sales, Perform Work, Manage Details.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.

So, how can you tell when people are in transition – that is between jobs?

The tell you they are  consultants.

Between Jobs or Trusted Expert?

Even before the Great Recession, more than 11 million people looked for work and there were only 4 million job openings — about three people for every available regular job.

The reasons are familiar to you by now.

Employers are hesitant to hire new workers so they turn to temporary staff, contract workers and consultants.

The so-called “1099” crowd.

Whether you’ve been forced into it or decided to chose the professional advisory path you should seriously consider how you will be offering your unique talents, knowledge, skills, interests and assistance as a consultant.

What are the keys to success?

Actually they are very straight forward.

  • You need to possess some expertise that you’ve mastered in your career to date.
  • Then, all you need to do is identify an adequate number of prospects who need or want your special knowledge.

That’s it.

But, Wait That’s Not All

Pretty simple, right?

Most consultants I know, myself included, dwell on the mastery of their expertise — further developing their specialty to the exclusion of the self-promotion part.

  • Feeling like used car salespeople, we equate promotion with sales and fail at the most important part of the consulting business.
  • Promoting your services to the target individuals and organizations who need you.
  • Many professionals give up.
  • And, probably 80% who do secretly want to trade their variable income streams for a steady pay check with some benefits.

But, for them, the consulting option can turn into long-term retainers in recessionary times.

And that leads to “permanent” employment.

Is becoming a trusted advisor right for you?

Starting your own consulting “business” like a start-up venture requires planning and preparation.

If the benefits of a flexible consulting career far outweigh any inconveniences, obstacles or risks and you’ve got the knowledge you may be ready to take the leap.

But if you’re not sure don’t give up just yet.

  • Spend some time evaluating your options.
  • Develop plans for dealing with the small problems that may crop up before you jump.
  • Face it you’re basically managing a small business.
  • Only in your case the product is you.

Yes you need valuable expertise.

But, you must be willing and able to develop your business.

  • Close sales.
  • Perform the work.
  • Make time for administrative details — invoicing, collecting, filing estimated quarterly taxes and managing you accounts.

The list goes on.

But you get the picture.

So is being a trusted advisor for you?

Consulting can be a great career option for the right person.

Like other ‘Preneurs you are your own boss.

  • Other than your portfolio of clients, you report to no one else – except, of course, to your spouse or partner.
  • And you get to choose which clients to take on and which projects appeal to you.
  • I enjoy the flexibility.

Establish your business, get all the moving parts synchronized and then enjoy the variety of your lifestyle pursuits.

Your time is your own.

If you have kids, take time off to coach little league or watch your kids soccer match.

Fulfillment and Flexibility

And, you control your earning power directly.

  • Sure you need to compete with other experts in the marketplace, set your rates up or down within the range your clients are willing to pay.
  • You can also decide to take on extra assignments to earn more.
  • Or, you can specialize in the challenges larger clients face and which command higher fees.

Best of all, your consulting business probably won’t require a large capital investment as a barrier to entry.

Especially compared to buying a business or purchasing a franchise.

Many professionals choose to work from home after saying goodbye to their former boss and corporate career.

But, check into any local zoning restrictions or deed restrictions first, of course.

Many successful businesses started out as a “third bedroom consultancy.”

  • You’ll value the low overhead expenses as you establish yourself.
  • No rent.
  • No office utilities.
  • No rush-hour commuting.
  • And, one of the most attractive features may just be the fact that you can claim tax deductions.

One of my former colleagues who left the corporate rat race a year or two before me told me what he loved about working from home was that he could work in his underwear.

That’s not the reason he’s a former colleague.

Another told me he loved the Fridays when he could invoice someone.

And, he wasn’t a lawyer!

Of course you have to weigh the tradeoffs.

Lots of hard work, long hours and stressful deadlines to complete proposals and negotiate contracts.

Maintain a Pipeline of Submitted Proposals

The stereotypical consultant is the one you see in commercials rushing through airports, narrowly missing fellow travelers.

She’s waving one arm to make a point as she speaks on her smartphone with an earbud in one ear.

Another colleague told me that he knew when the 70 hours a week he spent plus traveling finally got to him.

He finished an international assignment and looked forward to relaxing for a few weeks at home between assignments.

After he arrived home late Friday evening, he got up around 6:30 or 7 am the following Saturday and discovered that he didn’t have eggs or milk in his refrigerator.

Where Do I Fly To Next?

His local grocery store was about two miles away.

So he jumped in his car.

About an hour later he discovered to his horror that out of habit he’d been on auto pilot commuting in and out of traffic on the 405 freeway just moments away from the LAX exit.

Being your own boss means the buck stops with you.

If you haven’t been marketing and selling,  the bucks might not be depositing themselves into your business banking account.

Sure you can still be successful, but getting over your shyness, distaste of selling and disdain for meeting new people represent personal grown areas to be developed.

Desire and expertise count.

But the most frequent reason why independent consultants fail is because they don’t generate enough clients and the revenue that flows from new business.

Without a boss and an assistant to keep you on track and organized, you need to become a self-starter and self-disciplined to focus on priorities.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

You’ll need to become an expert at project management with assignments unfolding at different phases and timelines.

One of the most helpful bits of advice I received from a successful colleague was not to book more than three days a week.

  • A day to manage the administrative details to keep them from falling through the cracks.
  • If you don’t, your reputation and brand as an expert will suffer.
  • And, you need another day devoted to marketing and networking to keep the pipeline full.

The good news is you’ll be able to find apps and software programs to help you stay on top of your business as the volume grows.

Make what you can predictable for your own sanity.

But, if you’re the type of person who is a freak for total consistency and a predictable routine you never would have kissed your corporate job goodbye.

  • I must admit to a certain thrill associated with the erratic nature of my schedule.
  • A mix of short days and long nights.
  • A variety of clients and duration of projects.

    Invoicing and Managing Multiple Contracts

Sure, I’ve negotiated multi-year retainers, but most often, especially as you establish your business,  you’re the specialist engaged on a temporary project to solve a problem and then move on.

Managing your cash flow is a beast.

  • The unpredictable nature may stretch you to the edge.
  • You may go weeks or months without income.
  • Not only do you defer payment until the project is over, or based on meeting milestones, but your clients may stick to a 90 day disbursement policy after you invoice.

If you don’t have a pipeline full of projects you could be forced to tap into the money you saved for a rainy day.

  • Don’t forget that not every hour you work is in fact billable.
  • You’ll need to devote many hours to just running your business.
  • Expense tracking, for instance.

And when you roll up your time devoted to  just invoicing and collecting your fees for each of your clients, it can be significant.

Although my “underwear wearing” colleague said that was one of his most enjoyable tasks – billing someone.

Add costs for taxes and insurance to the frustration of spending extra non-billable time for all those administrative tasks and the romance of consulting begins to fade.

Knowledge Products for Making Money While Your Sleep

Especially when you need to devote more billable time and expertise to your clients, and you realize there just aren’t enough hours in the day.


(5) Choose the ‘Preneur’ business model that brings out the best in you – freelancing, consulting, franchising, Internet marketing or establishing a Knowledge ATM.



“Find one or two lifestyles that describe you, then the logic goes other neighborhoods that attract the same  “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle would appeal to you.”

Peel Away the Outer to Find Your Inner Appeal
An ongoing case study: How to convert thousand lesser fans into a thousand true fans, so they buy enough to support you and make a little profit?

Here’s the part I’ve always hated.

Crafting the sales message.

And, there’s a little irony.

To be successful you have to appeal to human motivations and I earned a masters degree in psychology.

The problem for me has always been that as a professional knowledge worker — in my case a consultant, coach and trusted advisor — we were trained not to advertise or to market ourselves

The path to a thousand raving fans was taken one referral step at a time.

No Advertising or Sales

Not by running ads.

Or by selling.

But by transforming clients with so much value they became enthusiastic advocates.

Can you advertise and sell online without crossing over into the “scam territory?”


For the last few years I found plenty of information and inside intelligence that online marketers and other less scrupulous “Make Money Online” entrepreneurs misused.

But some of it could and should be used by legitimate consultants and lifestyle business owners.

Formula for Attraction

How can you convert a thousand Lesser Fans into a thousand True Fans?

So they buy enough to support you and make a little profit?

Keep these tips in mind.

One of the things that motivates you is to avoid unpleasant things.

Will your “knowledge product” – book or ebook, for instance – save your true fans from making a fool of themselves?

If Only You Knew in Time

Remember high school and how embarrassed you felt from time to time because you didn’t know or understand what everyone else did?

Television ads reminded us how bad our breath smelled or our stinky body odor offended the those around us.

We didn’t have a clue.

Others did though.

Or so the ads implied

There’s that whole wall of worry.

Stuff that makes us uncomfortable.

Things like worrying about having enough money …

  • for paying our monthly bills,
  • for our doctor visits,
  • for the car payment and
  • for what the insurance company won’t pay because of our high collision deductible.

As an entrepreneur you wake up abruptly at 3 a.m. in the dark doubting your ability.

  • Money is running out.

    Gotta Get Back To Sleep
  • Did you seriously underestimated the market for your product or service?
  • Can your knowledge product or service offer peace of mind ?

During the Great Recession we all worried if we would keep our jobs.

If we lost them we worried we might not find another one that paid as well located within a reasonable commuting distance.

Just before the Memorial Day holiday a couple of years ago one of the Chief Marketing Officers who volunteers to mentor our Executive MBA students shocked me.

I knew he lost his job, which comes with the territory when you reach age 50 and finally pull in the big bucks.

What I didn’t realize was how traumatic his situation was.

Now What?

He lost his house because he couldn’t make payments on his mortgage – a wapping $6,000 a month.

And he had to find and move into a two bedroom apartment that long weekend.

Plus lease a storage unit for all the stuff that wouldn’t fit.

Not only did he and his wife suffer the loss of their home and their wealthy influential lifestyle that came part and parcel with it, but their basic feelings of security disappeared that weekend.

Neither he nor his wife could qualify for for social security or medicare coverage.

At least not for another 12 years.

But, the truly shocking part he told me was he had taken out and spent equity loans while he drained his 401K accounts to make his lavish lifestyle “ends meet.”

In my chapter, “Why Careers Are like Real Estate Markets,” I described the dilemma many like my CMO friend faced.

They find themselves at the cross roads between “Doing What You Love vs. Doing What You Hate” and “Living in the Same Geographical Location vs. Moving to a New Preferred Community.”

“My passion and location stories described four different communities …  ‘Wealthy Influentials,’ ‘Wireless Resorters,’ ‘High Country Eagles,’ and ‘Permanent Temporaries.’”

Here’s a snapshot of each.

Permanent Temporaries don’t anticipate the future well and have a hard time adapting to new work realities. 

Many become consultants and entrepreneurs because they can’t find full-time employment. 

Guarded Gate Communities

They aspire to live in, or return to, the guarded-gate communities of the Wealthy Influentials. 

What if they’re forced to relocate, where do they go?

When forced to move to lower cost-of-living neighborhoods they choose small university towns populated with High Country Eagles in higher quality-of-life communities. 

But, they long for face-to-face project-based work as a way of affiliating with other people on a more regular basis.  

Succeeding at interim work demonstrates their value in a new organization. 

What about the trade offs?

Between projects they miss the teamwork and seek to counterbalance the isolation and extreme independence they are forced to endure being on their own – no matter if they’re  interim middle managers, trapped urbanites or just starting over in a new marriage, neighborhood or way of life.

Wealthy Influentials live in neighborhoods that showcase their status and affluence

Viewed from the outside, it’s as if they’ve cornered the market with a wealth-generating machine. 

Like my Executive MBA Mentor once was able to afford …

They find a safe haven for high margin income, pay for a high cost of living, accumulate peak real estate appreciation, and live in a secluded, secure, and mature suburbs or an upscale metropolitan center. 

Selling products or services to this group means offering highly personalized, luxury, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

What if you found yourself in a similar situation?

How about …

Quality-of-Life Lifestyles

Wireless Resorters share the love of a new quality-of-life community with High Country Eagles. 

They realize that with the ability to operate anywhere there is Internet access, anyone can move to unspoiled smaller towns and rural regions. 

Many moved to the mountains areas that became destination vacation  areas like the ski resorts in Colorado.

All four lifestyles populate thousands of thousands of communities from coast to coast.

Across the western region of the United States you’ll find residents in Wealthy Influential neighborhoods like Del Mar or Coronado in California; 

High Country Eagle towns like Sedona or Bisbee in Arizona or Angel Fire and Taos in New Mexico; 

Permanent Temporaries parts of Reno, Nevada or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; 

or, in some of the better known ski resorts attracting the Wireless Resorters like Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs in Colorado.” 

What if you could find the perfect town for you with just the right kind of neighborhood you’d love?

Claritas, now Nielsen Segmentation, helped pioneer market segments initially based on each new census update.

They linked consumer behaviors for “shopping, financial, media and much more …” with household lifestyles living in specific zip codes across the United States.

Household Shopping Lifestyles

If you’ve ever received direct mail addressed to you or “current resident” those marketers are taking advantage of household data.

The key to their business model unlocks a specific zip code.

In their PRIZM segmentation you can slice and dice over 60 different lifestyles ranging from high to low degrees of affluence and status.

By age and life stage.

Type in your current zip code and they’ll supply you with the top four or five lifestyles in your community.

Find one or two lifestyles that describe you, then the logic goes other neighborhoods that attract the same  “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle would appeal to you.

Try to search for that lifestyle in their segmentation database and build a “Bucket List” of awesome zip code neighborhoods.

Can’t do it.

Doesn’t work that way.

  • But, what if you devoted the time to reverse engineer it?
  • And, you “mobilized” your lifestyle business?
  • Once you authentically built your virtual community of a 1000 raving fans?
  • You could move them with you, right?

And, you’d be able to zero in on regions and communities varying from …

  • high to low  density,
  • from urban to suburban, exurban, rural and
  • remote populations.

You wouldn’t have to worry about making a living solely from the locals.

Instead, you’d live that quality-of-life that can bring out the best in you.

More on that later.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.


He and his wife recently purchased the Palmetto Guesthouse on the island of Culebra located in the Caribbean. 

Your Own Tropical Paradise With Room for 1000 Fans
Integrate his tips and like him you can start your next adventure bringing your raving fans with you to the home of your dreams.

In the winter of 2007 – 2008 on the AnyWired freelance site, Mark Hayward, who wrote “MyTropicalEscape” and “Culebra Blog,” guest posted.

We found out about his much anticipated big time jump from moonlighting to daylighting.

Not to just anywhere, but to a Caribbean Island under gently swaying palm trees on beaches bathed in soothing island currents.

“He and his wife recently purchased the Palmetto Guesthouse on the island of Culebra located in the Caribbean. 

Mark’s fulltime job ends next week so he is looking to blog or work online fulltime.” 

Before setting up your income generating blog Mark said to create a plan and write down how you would like to be perceived by your readers.

Picking The Right Voice
  • “practical, 
  • humorous, 
  • sarcastic, 
  • authoritarian, 
  • combative, etc.”

Mark also recommends reviewing the sites that you go back to again and again.

“Have you purchased anything from them, or clicked on their ads? 

Analyze specifically what it is about those blogs and the emotions they evoke that have you coming back.” 

Integrate his tips and like him you can start your next adventure bringing your raving fans with you to the home of your dreams.


(16) Describe your voice, how you would like to be perceived by your growing audience of fans — practical, humorous, sarcastic, authoritarian, or combative.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.