“A consultant is an entrepreneur without a business.”
I heard someone say this once on a podcast. It irked me for a second, probably because there is a grain of truth in it.
But then I realized, it’s just not necessarily true. It’s describes a poorly functioning consulting business.
If you’re a consultant, you do have a business. But the extent to which that is true depends on one thing: leverage.
Allow me to explain.
Your knowledge is a form of leverage. It’s your knowledge that creates value, some of which you can capture in your fees.
Your marketing skills and relationships are a form of leverage. These people and skills help attract opportunities to you.
Your systems and technology are a form of leverage. These things let you run more efficiently and operate parts of your business without your direct intervention—allowing you to do more.
Your hires are a form of leverage. When hire people—whether to do design, admin, or anything else—you create leverage by doing more, winning back your time to do other things, and tapping into their expertise to drive you forward faster.
Your intellectual property is a form of leverage. When you package your expertise into digital products and rely on the other forms of leverage to help sell them, you can create scale in your business that is akin to, or greater than, any other business model out there.
As a consultant, you have a choice. You can trade time for money, or you can create leverage through the use of any of these levers above (and others).
Do you run a business or do you own a job?