Setting up your own business involves choosing a market, building a client list and sales funnel, and running different forms of marketing among other components, which can be daunting for a first time business owner. This why it can be easier to start out with a coaching, consulting or basic ‘done-for-you’ service, because all you have to do then is get that first client to start you off.
Ryan Levesque, creator of the ASK Method, shares his experience of consulting and starting his own agency; discussing all the pros and cons and his signature strategy, The Wait List Strategy.
Ryan’s consulting and agency background
Ryan became a consultant after he was approached by multiple people to implement what he was using to launch his businesses at the time, essentially the beginnings of the ASK Method, for other businesses. At first he was reluctant as it was not his plan at the time, but he eventually started consulting and had about 5 or 6 clients, who he was charging about $297 a month. He soon realised he could charge more for his expertise, which was one of the big lessons he learnt.
His success grew as well as the demand, and before long he started his own agency creating ASK Method funnels for businesses. While the funnels were successful, there was still a demand for consulting services. He decided to scale down his agency and consulting business and focused on teaching the ASK Method.
From the whole experience, he learned there were many pros and cons to both consulting and running an agency.
What to be mindful of when consulting or running an agency:
Consulting can be great as clients are paying a premium for your expertise; you get one on one time with the client, which produces the best results; you are just the creator, the implementation is someone else’s responsibility; and you may be able to negotiate a royalty deal on your work, which means more money in the bag if the project is successful.
However, in consulting you are always running the risk that you work with someone that does not get the job done. There are also clients who may not respect or choose to stretch professional boundaries by calling at all hours or asking for more than what was agreed upon. This is why it is important to have an agreement drawn up beforehand so that all expectations are clear throughout the process.
Agencies are great because there are many people who are willing to pay to have an expert work their magic on a business or project.
However, there are a few things you need to be on top of to make an agency run smoothly and make you money.
You need a good timeline to complete a project as hang ups can cost you, big time! Have a team you can trust and rely on, who is lead by someone who understands all aspects of the project. Agencies can normally charge a higher premium because of the all inclusive service they offer. However, it is very important to do a cost-benefit analysis to ensure you are using the best model.
Ryan’s ultimate advice for Consultants and Agencies: The Wait List Strategy
You need to know how to sell yourself and sell your service. The best way to do this is to NOT sell.
This sounds crazy! But it is the best way to get clients to come to you and want you to work for them.
This is Ryan’s signature strategy, called the Wait List Strategy. This can be difficult when you are starting out as you want to accept every client so you can earn enough to cover all your expenses. Even more experienced consultants may feel the need to say ‘yes’ to every client. However, you need to resist this urge. The wait list is designed so that you and your client will have the best chance to achieve the best results.
Here is how it works: Clients will put more value on what they can’t have. In this case, your consulting services are then in a position where they are more desirable and exclusive. Your clients will then be more likely to implement what you advise them on. If it is too easy, it can create doubt and clients can second guess themselves. If they wait to work with you, they will feel lucky that they will be getting time with you and will be more willing to work harder to get better results.
Ryan firmly believes in the Wait List Strategy, but there are two other strategies he feels work well with his signature strategy.
Number One: Specialize. Be known for doing one thing exceptionally well. Be the expert in that field so that whenever someone wants advice on that one thing, your name is the one to come to mind.
Number Two: Create demand for your service through your positioning and marketing. Make sure everyone knows you are the expert in your field, and show them what you can do for their business.