The 20% Rule

You need a time strategy to grow your consulting business.

If I won a dollar every time a consultant said to me "I don't have the time", I could buy a beer to every Boutique Consulting Club member.

Everybody has time. Choosing to allocate it to something else just means the activity is not a priority for you. And this is fine.

But the moment you truly commit to a goal, you need to get rid of this vicious excuse and mindset. If it's a important, you need to make time for it. Marketing your consulting business, for example, is a goal and priority for many of you.

The growth of my consulting business in the past years was a direct result of my conscious decision to allocate at least 20% of my time into marketing and business development. I repeatedly saw this work for dozens of other independent consultants. And that's why I advocate for you to do it too.

You need to invest at least 20% of your time in business development.

I know many of you are thinking, "Ha, that's impossible." Well, I did it. Most of my clients did it. And almost every independent consultant I know who makes high-six figures a year did it. So why can't you?

Here are the best ways to free up your time without hurting your business:

  • Narrow your specialization decision: Positioning yourself as a generalist will hurt your fees and reputation. Learn how to reject opportunities. When you say yes to everything you leave no time to marketing, and without marketing you will need to say yes to everything.
  • Stay upstream: Stop or reduce your implementation projects, and focus on strategy instead. As a trusted specialist, you should position and communicate your expertise to the extend where you can offer high-level advisory work. The roadmap or diagnostic is the value. Sell your brain, not your hands.
  • Standardize or productize some of your offerings: Offering highly customized services is the biggest draw on your time I could think of. They should be rarely sold, and priced accordingly. Take a look at your offering mix, and see how you can package some of them more efficiently. Also, never take on one-on-one engagements before performing a paid discovery or diagnostic.

As long as you treat your time as less valuable than money, your time will always be less valuable than your money. The only way to revert course is to be thoughtful on how you allocate it.

If you want to grow your consulting business, make time for it. At least 20% of it.

Thanks for reading. You can get more specialized and actionable growth insights for micro consultancies in our newsletter. Every Tuesday, you get one idea from Danilo, one quote from other experts, one number you need to hear, and one question for you to level up your consulting practice.

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