Welcome to GSD Daily. Today we have a very exciting episode for you. We’re going to talk about how to start a consulting business right now. In today’s time, and space, and all that happy stuff. At first, I struggled a little bit to figure out if I wanted to talk about just coaching or just consulting.
I realized, as I was kind of going through and creating the slides for both, that they’re very similar. The output is different. The way people interact with their clients is different. But the client acquisition piece is the same.
What we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about how to start a consulting business, why they’re different, how they’re the same, what prices we can charge coaching and consulting, and really kind of drill into how you can make money with them, at the end of the day.
Right now, there’s so much experience and so much knowledge and so much expertise out there that isn’t being used, because people lost their jobs, or because people are not working, or they’re working from home, or they’re trying to establish a side hustle. There’s so much experience that really, really could help a lot of people, and a lot of business owners and a lot of just people make transformations in their life.
Being that it’s untapped, being that it isn’t bundled in a service, then sometimes it’s just hard to get started up. Today what I want to do is put a lot of that material out there. Hopefully, you can kind of latch onto some of it, and then explore what a consulting business or what a coaching business could look like in your life, or add it to something that you are currently doing.
First of all, for those who don’t know who I am, my name is Jason Drohn. I am the creator of Doneforyou.com. What we do is we specialize in helping people create and sell their stuff online, whether it is a business, or whether a digital product or whatever, building sales funnels, automating marketing, all of it kind of comes back to the create and sell the piece. That’s what we’re good at. And today, we’re going to talk about building and how to start a consulting business.
When thinking about how to start a consulting business, it’s interesting because, over the last four or five years, I have seen explosive growth in coaching. Consulting has always been there. Consulting has always been around. It’s easy to start a consulting business. Even like when I used to work at Pepsi, there would be consultants who walked through every once in a while. But coaching, in the last three or four years, has just been on an explosive journey.
And we’ve worked with so many coaches, so many coaches with their sales funnels.
Types of Coaching
At first, there was just like a life coach, or a coach, or a business coach. But now every kind of little tiny segment has its coach. And a lot of this is driven by coaches who are trying to differentiate themselves and kind of brand themselves as being a certain or special kind of coach. But some of the types of coaching.
1. Performance Coaching
You can think of somebody like Tony Robbins, even Brendon Burchard, kind of in that performance coaching world. Performance is whatever you think it is. So it might be how to get more done in a day, or it might be performed in business, or it might be a performance like athletic performance. So you can be a performance coach, and it’d still be within the vertical that you are a specialist in.
2. Skills Coaching
3. Career Coaching
Career coaching is another kind of genre that has crept up.
4. Personal Life Coaching
Personal life coaching has always been there. And any more like being a life coach, doing life coaching, it’s kind of a difficult sell because it’s like you can coach in anything. What do you coach in?
5. Business Coaching
6. Executive Coaching
7. Wellness Coaching
8. Relationship Coaching
9. Parenting Coaching
10. Spiritual Coaching
11. Wealth Coaching
If one of these sings to you, then it might be worth investigating. But really, it’s finding the niche, finding the thing that you’re good at, that you’re gifted in, that you like to do, and then figuring out how to help people there.
Being a Consultant
Now on the consultant side, being a consultant is a little bit different in that there are human resources or HR consultants, strategy consultants, technology consultants, or PR consultants. So these are very business-oriented things. Marketing consultants, legal, IT, social media consultants. The White House has consultants. So it’s just different.
What is the difference between how to start a consulting business and how to start a coaching business?
Coaching pulls out answers from the clients, while consulting tells the client what to do. So when you’re a coach, your job is to ask questions, focused questions, that get somebody where they need to go.
As a consultant, you advise somebody on the right thing to do. You tell them what to do. Or you write the manual that tells them and their team what to do. That’s what a consultant does. A good coach is a good listener. They seek to understand through thoughtful and sincere inquiry, without judgment. Consultants, on the other hand, provide solutions. Now, say you’re learning how to ride a bicycle.
A consultant would ride the bicycle for a while and write you a how-to manual on doing it. A coach would have you get on the bicycle and walk alongside you. So they would guide you, as you were riding the bicycle, as they were walking with you.
Coaching vs Consulting
Coaching is the building of capacity, and consulting is helping the client resolve a particular business challenge. When thinking about how to start a consulting business, a consultant is usually a subject matter expert who provides technical and professional advice to clients, based on their significant understanding, knowledge, and experience. Whereas a coach helps clients find their clarity and answers.
Now it’s very rare that a good coach is a good consultant. It’s also very rare that a good consultant is a good coach. It does happen, but a lot of times, when somebody says they’re a coach, they’re a consultant, and vice versa. They might be a consultant and they’re a coach.
Like myself, I’m a much better consultant than a coach. And a lot of our clients, are better coaches than they are consultants. It’s just, do you ask a lot of questions? Do you help your clients arrive somewhere through their inquiry, and their answers, to the questions you ask? Or do you just give them the answer? If you give them the answer, you’re a consultant, which is where I like to play. It’s not even where I play. It’s where I just end up being.
Now when you’re coaching, you help them explore possibilities for themselves that they might not see. When you consult, you take those possibilities and provide them with options, based on your knowledge and experience. So you still show them the possibilities, but then you say, “Based on what I know, these two are your paths. And you pick one and then I’ll help you get there.” So that ends up being a consultant.
Whereas a coach is going to say, “These are the four things that you can do.” And then start asking questions. And then those four things, it might be throughout a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, or whatever, but then the client ends up picking one of those four things and going that route. And then the coach kind of steers them that way by asking questions. But they do it on their own, as opposed to a consultant who is like, “You need that one right there.”
This top of how to start a consulting business is getting more and more popular every single day. We talked about this. Sales offers and processes between coaching and consulting are similar. So when we build a sales funnel for client acquisition, the process between coaching and consulting is the same because you still need to get somebody to raise their hand and say, “Yes, I need help.” That help could be coaching or consulting. It just depends on what the bridge is… as I hit my microphone. It just depends on what the bridge is into the sales call, or into the offer.
If somebody watches a video, clicks the button below, fills out a form, and says they need help with organizing their HR department, it could be a coach. The coach could help HR clients organize the HR department. Or it could also be a consultant. It could be an HR consultant. So the offer doesn’t matter. People are going to end up raising their hands and saying, “Yes, I need help.”
Now when you’re a coach or consultant, you’re selling yourself. You’re selling accountability, you’re selling the results you are providing. You’re selling transformation, at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter how you get there. That ends up being what your offer is, is transformation. So with the right website, the right sales funnel, which is usually like an automated webinar sales funnel, or a sales video.
We call them FQL sales funnels. Like two or three weeks ago, we did an entire workup on these FQL sales funnels for, let’s call it, a fully qualified lead video sales letter funnel. They watch a video, they fill out a form underneath, and then they’re into your process. That form kicks over to your calendar application, and then they go from there.
But generally, what you’re doing in your sales funnel on your website is you’re generating consultative sales calls. So to sell, after you start a consulting business, you have to relate your coaching or consulting offer to their business. When you’re looking at our grid, the grid is we have complexity on the bottom and price on the side.
Coaching and consulting end up being a high complexity, high price offer. So you are smack squarely in the middle of an automated webinar sales funnel with a sales call at the end. You can use a sales video if you have some testimonials and some case studies and stuff. You can use a sales video too, and then get them to apply underneath, or if you built a brand for a while.
That’s how you sell the coaching or the consultation. And really, the coaching or the consulting package is generally made up… generally, as in there are other things you can throw in here… but normally when you’re selling coaching and consulting, what you’re selling is you have the number of times you’re meeting every month. So the access frequency. Which is typically you meet weekly, you meet bi-weekly, or you meet monthly. Oftentimes weekly is too often, and coaches and consultants end up doing bi-weekly. It depends on what kind of coaching and consulting you’re doing and how quickly you start a consulting business.
If you’re doing executive coaching, executive consulting, weekly ends up being pretty frequent. Unless you have a very high-level kind of person, then the frequency of coaching ends up being… it’s just too frequent. It’s not enough time for your client to do anything. Because there are only seven days. Five days working. So you give them homework, you assign a task, you tell them to read a book, whatever. It’s unlikely they’re going to be able to do what you want them to do. So bi-weekly ends up working a little bit better usually. Or monthly, if it’s a slower commitment. But other kinds weekly work out great.
The other thing to think about is your modality. Is it video chat? Is it phone calls, or group calls, or email check-ins or Slack, Skype? Now, most of it is video. It is Zoom calls.
- video chat
- phone calls
Now with everybody craving community, craving being social while still being at home, everybody’s looking for video chat. So video chat has just become the default way that we communicate. But phone calls works. Group calls works. Email check-ins every once in a while, it’s a good idea, Slack, Skype, it’s also a good idea. And it might be that if you do a weekly video call, you have one kind of pricing tier. And if you do a monthly phone call, you have a different kind of pricing tier.
I have clients who charge $4,000 a month and they don’t get on the phone. It’s all email. Or it’s calling me when you need something. So it’s basically like a $4,000 support system. So it works for them. Their clients are happy to pay it because they’re being helped with things that are worth more than $4,000 a month. I mean, these end up being 50, 100, 150, $200,000 deals. So it just depends on what you’re offering.
The other thing to think about in your offer is how long you’re going to be on the phone, or how long you’re going to be actually in process with this person. Is it 15-minute sessions, 30-minute sessions, 60-minute sessions? So understand that it’s not just 60 minutes or 30 minutes. I mean, you might be on the phone for 30 minutes, but then you’re taking notes.
Then you’re thinking about this client and thinking about this deal and this project, and this whatever, a couple of hours a week, off and on. So this client, although you might be on the phone with them for 30 minutes, is taking up three or four hours of headspace. So what is that worth to you?
A lot of times where I get kind of caught in the weeds is I’ll do six or seven sales calls in a week. And then, in my head, I’m building all those sales funnels. And then at the end of the week, I’m just burnt. Because it’s like, wow, I built all this stuff. And it’s like, I didn’t build a damn thing. I built it all in my head. So all of that headspace was being occupied by all of these projects. So it’s just something to think about.
Scheduled in advance or as-needed calls. There’s another thing you kind of have to just wrap your head around. So do you want them like every Tuesday, or every Wednesday, every Thursday? Or every other Thursday you’re going to kind of pencil in a time for them? Or is it just as needed? Do they just call when they think they have something to talk to you about? Two different pricing for each probe. And then, of course, specifics to what you’re going to be helping your client with. You want to know what kind of transformation you’re going to be making in their life.
Possible Monthly Earnings
Now when it comes to how to start a consulting business, the most successful coaches and consultants, the ones who have done the best with us, are high ticket coaches. So these are people who are typically charging like $2,500 a month for four one-on-one sessions. So it might even be 2,500 a month for like two one-on-one sessions. That tends to be the pricing that works well. It’s 2,500 a month for four sessions. 1500 a month for two sessions… I don’t know that I have a slide on this. I do not.
Now, this sounds like fucking great money. 2,500 a month. But like I just said. So let’s say you’re making 2,500 per month for four one-on-one sessions. That sounds awesome, right? So there’s only 40 hours’ worth of time in a week. So you have one-hour sessions, four times a month. Now that one-hour session, like I just said in the last slide, that one-hour session takes up 30 minutes of notes, and then two and a half hours of brain post-processing time. So, I mean, you’re looking at four hours a month dedicated to that client.
So if you’re spending four hours on a client every single week, how many clients can you have? Well, you can have like 10, 12. Most coaches and consultants that I’ve worked with, end up topping out at about 10. So at $2,500 a month, you’re looking at 25,000 a month in revenue. Again, that sounds like great fucking money.
But then you start to factor in health insurance, and taxes, and technology, and computers, and the internet, and Zoom subscriptions, and team, your VA for scheduling the appointments, and the advertising for when one leaves and you got to replace them. So you start scheduling in all of that kind of business expenses, And now you’re looking at eight, 10 grand a month for having a full calendar that you are working your ass off for.
Does it make sense? Are you still excited about how to start a consulting business? I mean, you would be the judge of this. But does it make sense? Do you need more? Do you need to up your prices? Is it possible to do maybe bi-weekly sessions? Do you need to do less but make more? Do you need to jump into a video course plus coaching? There are lots of other ways which is the next thing. A thousand per month for group coaching. So it’s 10 per group and two calls per month.
Now you’re making 10 grand for two calls per month, and you don’t have near the headspace that you do on one-on-one sessions because the groups tend to coach themselves. You end up being kind of a moderator on these group coaching calls. So it’s just a different model, just a different way to think about it. Or 5,000 for three months, prepaid. So it’s 5,000 chunk upfront, and maybe this particular client is either bi-weekly schedule, or they schedule whenever they want.
It’s up to you. It’s your business. How you structure it is totally up to you. You need to provide a transformative and accountable result to them. That’s what you’re selling. You’re selling the transformation, you’re selling the accountability, and helping them work through stuff.
Now, using tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting, you can most likely target the entire country with your advertising. Perhaps all English-speaking areas of the world. I mean, we have clients in the UK, we have clients in New Zealand, Australia. I don’t do straight-up coaching, but there is a certain element of what we do that is consultative. So it doesn’t matter where you go if you’re using digital.
Now everybody’s using digital. You have to use digital. So you can target all of the United States if you’d like. And then you can establish your credibility through case studies and testimonials on your website. Or just literally blanketing shit with live streams, or blog posts, or whatever. And then getting referrals from existing clients and friends is always a good one too, and social media helps with that a lot.
When you start a consulting business, you want to make sure to be accessible. So many people, when they’re working as coaches or consultants, they think that this is true, this is a laptop lifestyle. And at the end of the day, there isn’t a laptop lifestyle. You still literally need to be where you say you’re going to be. Also, you need to answer the phone. You need to schedule. Furthermore, you need to be sitting in front of a computer at certain points of the day, or your phone, or whatever. You need to provide the thing, the result, that people are paying you for. So you want to be accessible.
In your contract, you want to make sure you establish your working times communication preferences. Like if you don’t plan on working on the weekends, then have your hours in your contract. If you prefer to be emailed, then have that in your contract, or Basecamp, or Slack, or whatever. If you want to do coaching calls on GoToMeeting as opposed to Facebook video, make sure to put that in your contract. So that way, everything’s clear right at the very beginning.
If there are any services performed when you start a consulting business, which is a great upsell. It’s a great way to charge more money for what you do. So like done for you services, or do it for me services, DIFM, any kind of tech work, or written plans, or manuals, like any of that stuff. It’s great upsells. Either upsells or great value-adds to your coaching offer. And at the end of the day, every single individual consultant or coach we’ve worked with really tends to have a max number of people they can work with. 10 to 20 is usually the ceiling like I said. 10, if you’re doing weekly one-hour sessions. If you’re doing half-hour sessions or bi-weekly sessions, you can usually go up to 20.
It’s really important to know what your ceiling is, and also that you’re happy with that in terms of time and revenue. If not, it’s time to think about the products and team building. So go back to some of the sessions we recorded last week about creating video courses, creating memberships, creating e-books. There is this thing called assisted learning. I can’t remember if we touched on it last week or not.
What assisted learning is, is where you have a coaching component, but you bundle it as part of your course. So you might sell a membership site, or you might sell monthly, like a monthly video course where somebody logs in to get access. And then you sell, so then you have a coaching component to it.
So the course itself, I mean, it might be 2,500 a month to get access to the course plus you. And then you get on once a month with them, and then answer any questions they have about the training material or any questions they have about the thing. Or maybe you do office hours. Like in our accelerator, that’s what we do. We do office hours. So there are two times throughout the week, it’s a three-hour block of time that you can get on. We can all just rip through pages, or copy, or headlines, or ask questions, or whatever. It’s just how it works out pretty well.
That is how you start a coaching and consulting business, either full-time or as a side hustle. And really, it’s just about figuring out what you want to offer, figure out what kind of transformation you can make in somebody’s life, figuring out what kind of skills you can share, and what you’re good at, and what you like doing, and then offering that for sale.
Now, I have done this long enough that I know that sometimes there’s a big disconnect around the value your services have compared to how much you think you can charge for it. And what I will say there is, generally. So if you’re able to help somebody, if you’re able to make a transformation in somebody’s life, then you should be paid for it. So it doesn’t necessarily.
Anything business, anything money, investing, stock trading, like anything that has to do with money, of course, the ceiling is how much money does it have to do with. So if you are a business consultant and you can make an introduction to somebody… or a business coach… make an introduction to somebody that generates a hundred thousand dollars in sales, then, of course, your value is pretty high because you just generate a hundred thousand dollars in sales for this client.
Whereas if you are a coach, let’s say a stress and anxiety coach, or a parenting coach. Let’s say a parenting coach. So the parenting coach doesn’t have any immediate kind of… it doesn’t flip into more cash or more revenue. But by reducing the stress and anxiety of a person to then let them make more money at work, or let them be more of who they are, or let them get in shape, there’s value there. It might not be 2,500 or $4,000 a month, but it is something.
It might be $500 a month for a coaching call and a course or something. So your pricing would be related to the value somebody was getting. And of course, supply and demand. If you are, really, really in demand, you can charge more, of course. But really, just charge what you’re happy with and people will pay it. And I think that’s about it.
For Questions and Guide
Anybody has any questions, just go ahead and drop them in the comments here. And then if you would like us to go through and talk about your offer, we’re putting together some create offer kind of programs, creating coaching programs, creating that kind of stuff. So there’ll be more on that in the next couple of weeks.
If you would like to talk about putting together your sales funnel, your offer, your ad campaigns, or whatever, go to doneforyou.com/start, and we will put together an action plan for you.
And I think that’s about it. Tomorrow, I think we’re going to talk about agencies, then Wednesday is software. So if you have anything at all, let me know. Go to doneforyou.com/start, and I’ll talk to you soon, all right. Thanks. Bye.