Devin Herz discusses the importance of prioritizing long-term goals and building a community in the early stages of growing your business, while also balancing your lifestyle goals – How do you want to spend your time outside of work?
Michael Zipursky, CEO of Consulting Success, weighs in on the topic for an insightful conversation about developing a successful plan. He has advised companies, including Dow Jones and Panasonic. He has helped launch new products into global markets. But more importantly, he has helped over 500 consultants from around the world.
Below is a transcript of Devin and Michael’s discussion that is filled with great nuggets to improve your consulting skills.
Devin Herz – Mike it’s great to have you here, I’m excited to have you on the show because I just know you’re packed full of great information. About eight years ago, I worked with Michael. I hired him as a consultant for myself and our business, and he really helped us develop a business model that has allowed us to build a seven-figure agency. So, Michael, I want to first say, thank you very much for all your help back then. You gave us some great insight and a great model to follow and looking forward to sharing some of your information and background. You’ve got over 35,000 consultants that follow you on a regular basis. They read your newsletter. You’ve got some great books out there as well. So, I want you to talk to us about your big pivot and turning point in your success.
Michael Zipursky – Yeah, In business for myself for 21 plus years now. I’ve been building consulting businesses for the past 13 years, working with consultants through Consulting Success. I think the biggest, I wouldn’t call it a pivot, but maybe just a shift that we made, really relates to my mindset. I think this is what’s exciting about business, is that we all can “Up level”. We have the opportunity to realize greater potential. It’s not usually the strategies or tactics that we’re missing. It’s the mindset and the belief that we can take bigger steps or, reach for something that maybe we thought was unattainable before. So, in our case many years back we started a new program that we had never offered before. It was a version of our coaching program. It’s changed quite a bit since then and really improved. But back in that day it was a different format, at a different price point, at a higher price point, than we’ve ever offered before. When we did that, things really shifted, and they shifted for the better and allowed us to create the base that we’ve built upon for many years since.
Devin Herz – We have been watching your growth and seeing everything that you’ve got going on. I think evolving is such a big thing right now and being able to change and develop the ability to see what’s going on. Trying to predict the future as best as you can with your business and being able to shift gears if need be. Understanding the fact that you want to build a business and we all want to have success, and that comes in many different forms. I think a lot of people are just focused on money and building this big business, but I think ultimately, we all want to have a good lifestyle. We want to enjoy the things that we want to do, whether it’s being out on the water or different hobbies, or spending time with family. Tell us a little bit about why it’s key to structure your business, to really support your lifestyle, and not the other way around.
Michael Zipursky – Yeah, definitely. So, if you think about this in terms of a triangle, what a lot of people tend to do is they will put their business at the top of the triangle and that drives all their decision-making. Therefore, they put their lifestyle below their business, and they must make sacrifices within their lifestyle. That means time with family, loved ones, you know, doing things beyond business that, have to essentially, adjust based on what you’ve structured in your business. But what I found over time is that when you actually flip that over and you move your lifestyle to the top, you get very clear to begin with about what is meaningful for you. What do you want things to look like? Where do you get fulfillment from? And the clearer that you can be around that, then you can make sacrifices or adjustments, inside of your business to support your lifestyle.
While that might be hard to see, and if you’re at an earlier stage in your business, you might think, no, that doesn’t make sense. I know I just want to make a million dollars or whatever it might be. That’s very common when you’re earlier on, what’s driving you is money. If you talk to any successful person, or someone who has made it to that next level, they’ll always say that it’s not about the money anymore. Recognizing that and seeing into the future, knowing that you can find a lot of people who have a great deal of money, but they’re not happy because they don’t have a good lifestyle. They don’t have a good balance of how they’re spending their time. They’ve given up on opportunities to build relationships with their family or just to have things that are truly meaningful and that are much more important than money for the long-term. When you get clear about that from the beginning and you really figure out what do you want from your lifestyle, then it’s much easier to structure your business model, your pricing, who your ideal clients are, all the other pieces inside of the business around that to really support your lifestyle.
Devin Herz – That’s such a good tip right there, because I know as a young entrepreneur, it was all about money, having the nice car, having the different materialistic things. As you get older, it definitely changes. For anyone that’s younger out there, trust that advice and just really understand how important it is to work towards a lifestyle and the things that you truly enjoy. You can have some nice things. You can still have some nice vehicles, whatever it is that interests you, but that freedom to do what you want to do, I think is worth more than anything in the world. I have friends now that are running multi-million-dollar businesses, but they’re traveling nonstop. They’re never with their family. They’re constantly stressing over things.
We’re here for such a short period of time on this earth. So really focusing on the things that you enjoy, to have that freedom and create that wealth of that business model that can really let you control your business instead of the business controlling you. Any other advice right now that you’re seeing, obviously we’ve all been through an interesting year to say the least. Are there any other nuggets that you feel you would pass on to our followers who are in all different industries?
Michael Zipursky – There are several things, but one of the most important that I would say right now, it’s been important for quite some time, but certainly will be in the future as well, is the importance of building community. When I look back at, and I wrote in my most recent book called “The Future of Consulting”, where I interviewed many successful consultants, and just people in professional services and everyone who really was able to not only just kind of survive the last 14, 15 months, whatever it’s been now through COVID, but actually see their businesses thrive during that time; our people who really started planting seeds earlier and had built a community. And when I say community, what I’m referring to is that you have a group of people who look up to you or see you as an authority, see you as an expert, who see you as a source of truth and of information.
And you can do that in multiple ways. You can do that by having an email list that you grow. You can do that by having a podcast, conducting executive round tables. Any way that you’re able to get people together where they come to you on a regular basis for new information, for new insights, to get your help. You then have a relationship with those people. And so, it doesn’t matter whether it’s less of an impact if there isn’t an economically challenging time or if there’s another pandemic. I mean, things happen in the world. If you look at history, there’s always ups and downs in the environment that we can’t control, but what we can control is how we create a community or how we create a solid base in our businesses.
And those who were not only able to manage, but to thrive during this really challenging time are those that had taken the steps in advance to plant seeds, to build relationships, to have a community that they can tap into. One very simple example to demonstrate this would be someone who, 90% of their income came from speaking. When the pandemic hit a lot of people kind of froze. They didn’t know what to do, and their income was gone. Then you take somebody else who also maybe did some speaking. That was a percentage of their revenue, but at the same time, they also had built up a following. They had an email list, and maybe an online course, whatever it might be. So even though a percentage of their income dried up very quickly, they’re able to go to their community and say, “Hey, you know, I can’t do this in person anymore, but we’re going to be holding a virtual workshop or we’re going to be putting together an executive round table or we’re launching an online program.” And so, they had that base to tap into, and they were then very quickly able to not only replace lost income, but actually grow beyond where they were before.
Devin Herz – It’s incredible how big authority is. I mean, people don’t like to necessarily be sold to these days. People don’t necessarily enjoy selling. Building relationships and then having those relationships, I think has just fueled so many other business opportunities for us with referrals, repeat business. Some of that is what I remember as you told us back in the day is you, build what we call our “Bay” of people that we can market to and have that loyal following with. They may not need you right then and there but, as you launch new things. Using testimonials from clients that you’re working with and building that authority is something that we really pride ourselves on, not for ourselves only, but for our clientele. Making them appear the way they are, of course, but also with the use of testimonials, getting people to support them, online branding, offline branding, having things look good is that first impression that people see, being that people are very visual.
So having all of that together, I think really sets you up for success to build that authority, figuring out that lead magnet. So, you can start to build your people in your following even bigger. I think that’s very important to figure that out, up front too. So that way, at least people are raising their hands to say, “I want to talk to you”. “I want to learn more”. If they don’t buy from me right then they are in our email lists, podcasts, all the things that Michael just mentioned are really the things that are going to keep people interested and then also potentially coming and buying from you.
Michael Zipursky – One of the things that I can add to is, consistency. This is such a powerful principle that I think a lot of people don’t fully take advantage of, but they could, and should. The more consistent that you are with your content or just being visible, right? That’s why follow-up is so important. As Devin, you just mentioned, it’s very common to reach out for example, or to have some kind of conversation with someone, and that may not move forward right away. But if you consistently get in front of those people, and you’re always finding ways to add value or provide proof that you’ve helped someone else like them with a testimonial or whatever it might be. If you do that consistently over and over and over and over then when they are ready, they’re already thinking of you. So, they’re going to come to you. But what a lot of people do is they try something, whether it’s a marketing campaign, an advertising campaign, some kind of social media, some kind of content, whatever it might be, they try something, it doesn’t work for them in a month or two months. And they go, oh, this didn’t work. God forbid, they actually send something once and they go like, oh, I didn’t get a good response and they give up. I think we’re in a society these days where people are looking for instant gratification, they’re looking for instant results. And they judge whether something is working without actually letting it run long enough. Instead of a short-term mindset, if you can look at business with a long-term mindset. Simon Sinek wrote a great book called the infinite game where you really start to shift your mindset from thinking about just getting results and kind of completing something in the moment, to this is infinite. This is long-term. When you have that long-term mindset, you look at your relationships in a different way. You look at how you connect with people in a different way. You look at how to provide value in a different way, but it’s all about consistency. The more that you show up, the more prolific you are, right? The more that you’re doing that repeatedly, the more that you’ll actually see growth in your business.
Devin Herz – I love hearing that because we do all sorts of crazy marketing campaigns for our clients. And a lot of times, people are ready to go. They know it’s going to be a long haul, but so many times you’ll have that first hit go out or we’ll run one week of ads just to get some testing. And we don’t have great results. You got to just kind of power through it and have that long-term vision because it takes time. I mean, if you look at these multi-billion-dollar companies, what are they doing? Advertising! Commercial guy’s in your face, they’re flying over with a banner. I mean, it’s nonstop. So, with social media, you have that ability to do things pretty inexpensively. Obviously, you’ve put some money behind it that also helps build a following. You’re now able to target people so granularly that you can get the people that you want. Get in front of those people, retargeting people. You guys have done a great job of keeping consistent with your newsletter and all that. We try to do a great job here. Of course, clients are always a top priority. So being busy and focusing on their success is very important to us, but just trying to keep content out there like this, because I may not get a ton of calls. You may not get any calls right away off of something like this, but things like this stay around for years online. If they find it, they see the topic, what we’re talking about, we can get a client from this five years down the line. It really just builds the authority. So, I highly recommend if you’re not doing anything right now, like a podcast or a show like this, you’ll find someone like Michael to help guide you. Our team at DMC is producing shows like this all the time now for our clientele. So, don’t stress over the technology and making things like this happen. There are some great people out there that are willing to help and grow successfully with you. Love all the information, Michael. You’ve been kind enough to give away a free 47-page consulting blueprint. I’d love to hear about that. Give our audience a little bit of insight on what that is.
Michael Zipursky – Yeah, sure. So, we’ve compiled, our most popular content and articles, and resources into one guide, which is the consulting success blueprint. We offer it for free. You can go to consultingsuccess.com/blueprint to grab a copy of it. You’ll also get some emails where I share more of my story, on building consulting businesses around the world. The ups, the downs, some pretty wild stories in there. You can unsubscribe from those at any time and still just get the blueprint if you want. But we get a lot of feedback from people that say they enjoy those stories. That’s what it’s about. I think you will hopefully find some value in it.
Devin Herz – I know I find value in everything that you do. Continuing to follow you after all these years and watching you do great things. So once again, really appreciate you being here and thanks for all the amazing nuggets, any last final words for our audience out there.
Michael Zipursky – Yeah, I think you, you hit on a really important topic too, Devin, which is just to spend some time getting clear about what’s most meaningful for you as a person, as an individual. And I think very often in business, we’re so focused on just the day-to-day of business that we lose sight of what’s actually most meaningful for us and where we want to be. But the clearer that you can be about what’s important to you, then the clearer you’ll actually become and more intentional you’ll become in your business. Business is one of these things that when you place your focus on something, you actually are able to attract it to you and achieve more progress towards it. Even though it might sound a little bit out there, I’ve certainly found that to be the case over the last 21 years. That would be just the final word I would encourage people to do. I hope that everyone becomes happier and more successful with that.
Devin Herz – I was just going to say, it’s all about being happy. Just keep that in your mind, smile. You know, we get caught up with things that happened in the past, which creates depression, and we focus on things that are in the future that we have no control over that causes anxiety. So, stay in the now, be happy. It’s great seeing you and keep up the great work.
Please go out there, follow Michael, get all the great information that he provides whenever you can. Remember to make sure that you’re evolving. Don’t be afraid to hire people to help fast-track you. And this has been another great DMC marketing nugget and here’s to your success.