When it comes to choosing a business model, many people decide to start out working with clients, doing coaching, consulting, or other done-for-you services.
With good reason… setting up your own business, choosing a market, building a list and a funnel, and running ads all involve more moving pieces than just getting your first consulting client.
Before I focused 100% on my mission to help as many people as I could learn the ASK Method through my online trainings and coaching programs, I had worked with clients implementing the ASK Method, for several years, in different formats.
I’ve done one-on-one coaching, consulting, and “done with you” funnel implementation…
…and I’ve also tried the agency “done for you” model.
So, if you are a coach a consultant or you run a service business… I know what works and what doesn’t!
And if I could sum up one of THE most effective strategies I’ve learned in just two words, it would be this: WAIT LIST.
I’ll talk more about what I mean in a minute, but first let me give you some quick background.
Part 1: How I Accidentally Became a Consultant
After I launched my third successful niche business (after Scrabble Tiles, the Orchid Care business, and the “Rocket Memory” business)…
I started making connections within the marketing scene in Austin.
And at a mastermind event, I shared what I was doing, and someone came up to me and said, “How much would it cost for you to do what it is that you do?”
Now, until this point my plan was to launch funnels in 10 or 20 different niches of my own and build my business that way…so I turned them down.
But that was the first time that I even considered working with another business.
The next seminar I attended, same thing.
And this time, I really considered it… and decided to give it a go.
I ended up walking away from that event with my first two consulting clients.
Around this time, I was hiking with Glenn Livingston, my mentor, and he said, “Ryan, you know my methodology better than I know it.”
He wanted to wind things down in his business because he didn’t want to work as much as he was working.
He asked, “Would you be interested in handling the overflow of consulting clients?”
And before I knew it, I had my first 5 or 6 clients.
I was charging $297 a month, just to get my feet wet, but I quickly realized I could raise my prices…and the rest is history.
Part 2: From Consulting to Agency
As the number of successful ASK Method funnels continued to grow, I began getting requests from people who wanted to know:
“Do you have a done for you option, Ryan? I want someone to build my funnel for me.”
That’s when I decided to build an agency to build ASK Method funnels.
And while the funnels we built were successful, and there continues to be a very high demand for ASK Method consulting and implementation services…
Eventually I decided to scale down both my agency AND my consulting business so that I could focus on teaching the ASK Method to as many people as possible.
(That means, by the way, that there’s a HUGE demand in the market for both consulting and done-for-you ASK Method funnels. These days I pass those leads on to my Certified ASK Method Professionals – you can learn more about that here).
There’s a HUGE demand for consulting and done-for-you ASK Method funnels…
My experience in running a consulting business and an agency has taught me a lot.
And there are definite pros and cons to each model.
Consulting: Pros and Cons
So, what are the advantages of consulting?
Well, when you do coaching or consulting, clients are paying a premium for your time and expertise.
And when you work with a client one-on-one, that’s the best way to help them get results.
And yet when it comes to the implementation, all the technical details and the investment in the project, well, that’s on someone else’s shoulders.
And if you negotiate a revenue-share or royalty deal, then you continue to earn money when the project is successful.
This arrangement also says to your client, “I’ve got skin in the game, so I’m going to do all I can to make this a success.”
A revenue-share or royalty deal tells your clients you’ve got skin in the game.
On the other hand, when you work with clients, you always run the risk of working with someone who’s not going to get the job done (there are ways to avoid this, which I’ll talk about in a minute).
And there are those clients who will try to stretch the boundaries of the relationship, calling you at all hours and making demands beyond what you agreed upon.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure the expectations are clear and agreed upon up front.
Should You Start an Agency?
Come on, who doesn’t want a done for you service?
There are lots of people who are happy to pay so they can have an expert do the implementation.
An agency allows you to scale to serve more done for you clients than you can handle on your own.
Just a few things to keep in mind:
- Have a very good timeline of how long it takes to complete a project, because small delays can add up to big costs for you.
- Put a team in place that you can rely on, led by someone who can manage all aspects of the project.
- Agency services, depending on what they are, tend to have a higher cost than information publishing or consulting. While that means you can charge a higher premium, it also means doing a careful cost-benefit analysis to see if this is the best model for you.
My BEST Advice for Consultants and Agencies
You could be the absolute best at what you do, but if you don’t know how to sell yourself, you’ll have a hard time getting clients.
In my experience, it’s not enough to be the best, not enough to be good…
You have to sell your services.
And the best way to do this is NOT to sell at all.
The best way to sell is NOT to sell at all.
“Not selling” means having people banging down YOUR door wanting to work with you.
And my signature strategy for creating this demand is by using a “wait list” strategy.
When you’re first getting started, the HARDEST thing to do is to have a wait list.
You feel this need to accept every client who wants to work with you.
It’s easy to have a wait list when you have a line of people out the door waiting to work with you…
But it’s a lot harder when you’re struggling to cover your expenses.
Even experienced consultants still feel the urge to say yes to everyone who comes through the door…
Resist the urge.
Graphic: Resist the urge to say “yes” to every client. Exclusivity brings clients to YOU!
This doesn’t make you inauthentic. Quite the opposite.
The wait list is designed to help you and your client have the best possible chances of success.
Here’s why: If you try to play with a cat by shoving a ball of yarn in its face, chances are the cat will stick its tail up and walk away from you.
If you want the cat to play with you, you have to gently pull the yarn away from the cat.
Instantly, the cat wants what it can’t have…and as humans, we’re wired the same way.
We tend to value more highly what we can’t have, and when it comes to consulting, if you can position it as something desirable and exclusive…
Your clients will be much more likely to implement what you advise them on.
If something is too easy, it creates doubt in people’s minds, and they wonder: “Is this the right decision? Why is this so easy?”
And they second guess themselves.
On the other hand, if they have to wait to work with you, and if they walk in feeling that they’ve lucked out by getting time with you, they’ll be willing to work that much harder to get results…
And that’s a win-win situation for both of you.
(Note: This “wait list” strategy is one of the reasons we only periodically open our free ASK Method Masterclass.)
So to sum it all up…
- Specialize. Do one thing and be known for doing that one thing (like becoming an ASK Method Specialist. You can get more information on becoming certified in the ASK Method here).
- Create demand through your positioning and marketing.
- Have a wait list. Just do it.
Now, It’s Your Turn…
- Have you considered consulting with others or starting an agency?
- What’s holding you back?
- What’s your biggest question about making it work?
Leave a comment below.