Once I became an expert I realized people would pay me to talk to them. I had become a “consultant.”
Remember from the third and fifth revenue streams I wrote that my publisher told me I wouldn’t make any money from book sales, but I would make money from speaking (which I didn’t want to do) and consulting (which I didn’t have time to do).
The first time someone wanted to pay me to consult I was on cloud nine. Compared to what an employer pays you per hour, consultants make a TON of money.
But I was worried about two things:
- If I were to charge that much money, I would want need to make sure I had something of value to offer. I did not want to be the stereotypical consultant who came in, made crazy/lame recommendations, and walked away with a check. I wanted to ensure that my services were perceived to be worth more than what the customer paid. That meant I had to think about what the “services” where, and be able to justify the offering.
- Again, the time factor. When JibberJobber started seeing more success, I didn’t have as much time as I did when I first started in business.
The money make it worth it, especially for the short amount of time I had to put in (and the fact that each engagement was a one-shot deal, without a long-term commitment).
So, let me go back to the first sentence of this blog post: “Once I became an expert…”
So many of the people I meet have expertise in something. Here are some examples of EXPERTS I’ve come across – I use them as examples because they are just like you – professionals who have developed expertise in something, but aren’t necessarily consultants.
- Jason King, in Seattle, is THE EXPERT on how to get the most value out of travel incentive programs. I spent a few hours in a rental car with him talking about business and I was absolutely amazed at his depth of knowledge on how to travel in a way that you get free trips out of it. I’m not talking about the normal frequent flyer stuff, I’m talking about stuff that would make you dizzy just thinking about what you are missing when you don’t take advantage of all of the goodies offered.
- Nancy Babyak, also in Seattle, is THE EXPERT is project management, product management and business processes on a large scale. I had dinner with Nancy and her husband, after knowing her on some email lists for a while, and have continued to be amazed at her expertise in this area. I don’t know anyone who has deeper experience in BPO, PMO, etc.
- Kakie Fitzimmons, in the Twin Cities area, is a marketing and communications manager who is THE EXPERT in developing a line of kids books. If you want to write a kids book (or a series), you need to buy some of her time and she’ll tell you how to do it! You can read about her business here (she doesn’t say she’s a consultant on this page, but my point is, as THE EXPERT she could develop a consulting stream of income to all of those authors of kid books).
- Fred Behle, in Salt Lake City, is THE EXPERT in facility management. This is the industry I came out of three years ago, and I have a deep appreciation for facility management professionals who keep large buildings running. From the stuff we see (paint, parking lots) to the stuff we feel (temperature) to the stuff we don’t think about (electrical, plumbing, etc.), Fred’s expertise would allow him to help companies who need to move understand their facility needs and possible challenges, and how to prepare for the change.
- Martha Sue Yeary, in San Diego, is THE EXPERT in golf. She is a member of the Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association (LPGA) and has created an awesome business teaching people to golf. She is passionate about helping those with disabilities, including stroke victims and people who have significant injuries (think war injuries) get back into a game they used to love. Martha is a true entrepreneur, and has had to figure out her own business, and I know that any business that approaches her to help them figure out how to use “golf” as a tool to empower or motivate their people, or create teamwork, or achieve many of their management objectives, they will get amazing ideas (and amazing results).
What is expertise? Is it self-proclaimed? Again, I contend that just about everyone reading my blog is an expert in something… it might be construction or handyman work (which I have to pay for, since I’m not blessed with any handyman skills), computer skills, presentation skills, cross-knitting skilz… the list can go on and on.
YOU ARE AN EXPERT IN SOMETHING.
You’ve developed that expertise probably on the job, or because it’s a hobby you are passionate about.
And it’s likely that there’s one person or company in this world who will pay for your expertise… even if they just pay you for an hour of your time to do a brain dump with them. Remember, if you can find one hour per month, and charge $83/hour, you will have made an additional $1,000 in a year. To make $10k, just consult ten hours a month.
Back to what I’m doing. Because I’ve been recognized as an expert on LinkedIn, and I have done a lot of consulting with individuals and companies on how to use LinkedIn, I’ve decided to make it one of my revenue streams. Here’s how it works (I welcome suggestions):
- I have an offering (product(s) and/or service(s)): I help people figure out their LinkedIn strategy, and help them know what they can do act on that strategy.
- I have a way of letting people know about it: Through my blogs, speaking, newsletter, Twitter, etc. I let people know my services are available.
- I have set a price: I currently charge $250/hour, and will do 1/2 hour sessions. You have to have a price so that when someone asks you are ready to tell them, AND you don’t want to underprice yourself where it makes you look like you are a hack (of course, this means you can’t be a hack!).
- I have a way to deliver my offering: I use webinars to deliver my services. It costs me about $100 a month to have the webinar software (I know there are free options, but they haven’t worked universally for me, and I need universal). If you decide to consult you have to know how you are going to deliver on your sale.
These are the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Pricing, Placement and Promotion. If you can define the four points above, for yourself, you might just have enough of a “business plan” (I use that term lightly) for your consulting business!
If you could define your expertise, and envision your offering, perhaps you could create a consulting revenue stream… right? This might be part of your strategy to pay the bills during this job search!
Here is a breakdown of the revenue streams I’ve shared so far:
- Revenue Stream 1: (not announced yet)
- Revenue Stream 2: JibberJobber Partnership Program
- Revenue Stream 3: Books I write
- Revenue Stream 4: (not announced yet)
- Revenue Stream 5: Professional Speaking
- Revenue Stream 6: Consulting
- Revenue Stream 7: (not announced yet)
- Revenue Stream 8: (not announced yet)
- Revenue Stream 9: (not announced yet)
- Revenue Stream 10: (not announced yet)