Building a Business Shouldn’t Require You Stop Having a Life

There’s a trend that’s been growing for some time now. You see it when you log onto social media. You’ve watched YouTube videos about it. You’ve probably heard your entrepreneur friends talking about it. This interesting new business mentality is the 24/7-never-stop “hustling” no-matter-what mentality.

Spending excessively long hours working on your business has become the new badge of honor. You’re not considered a true entrepreneur unless you work until you drop. You see entrepreneurs bragging about working at 3 a.m. and working all weekend. You hear them say they have no time for anything but business-related tasks.

If you buy into this trend you will eventually hate your business. Here are a few points to consider when it comes to business-life balance.

Your business shouldn’t eclipse your life.

I don’t know about you, but I built a business to take control of my life. Most of us are building a business to give us freedom and control of our life. We want an income that allows us to do whatever we want in life without worrying about financial security. The concepts of the Four-Hour Work Week might not be exactly what we’re looking for, but it’s pretty darn close. We want to build a scalable business that gives us flexibility.

It’s important to work a little longer or harder as you build a business, but only within the proper business-life balance. There are consequences when the balance shifts too far towards business. Many relationships have ended because entrepreneurs focused on business neglected their partner. Families have fallen apart because an entrepreneur didn’t have the right balance. Read more ›

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The Difference Between Consulting and Done-For-You Services

It’s important to understand the difference between “consulting” and doing done-for-you. Over the last five years, I’ve done consulting gigs at companies in 60 countries. I’ve only done some done-for-you work three times in that time.

Consulting

When you’re consulting, you go into a company’s offices–or get Skyped in–and train their employees on a topic. It’s a one-off (or several one-offs) training on your topic(s). Once you’re done, that’s it unless you negotiate additions to the contract. Things like licensing your online courses and/or setting up training programs (you consult on wellness so you set up a wellness program for their employees and so on for other topics).

Your obligation ends once you give the training. You don’t do the actual work. It’s important to understand that companies don’t attach a specific result to a consulting contract.

For example. They don’t say that if you consult their company on sales, they need to make an X number of sales after your training. If you consult on digital marketing, they don’t say that their digital presence has to grow by a certain number after your training. You get the point.

Companies pay a generous consulting fee for the knowledge you share–not for a certain result. They are paying you for your expertise. They understand that it’s their responsibility to implement and get the results. You give them the map and teach them how to use it, they’re the ones that drive the car and get to where they need to go. Read more ›

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Paid Travel and Large Publications Exposure

Paid Travel Pro Tip. It’s a dream of many to travel the world and do it for free—and/or get paid—while you experience new countries/cultures. I’ve traveled to 60 countries over the last five years for consulting gigs at various companies. All of my expenses of each trip were covered by the companies, and I was paid a generous training fee.

In today’s tip, I want to give you four ways to travel for free and/or get paid to experience bucket list destinations.

1. Travel Hack. This is where you use credit cards from airlines, hotels, and other credit card offers to get points, perks, and miles. People who travel hack get several credit cards through large point/mile offers. These offers can literally give you hundreds of thousands of miles/points to use for free flights, airport perks, and hotels. You would need decent credit, an income source, and be responsible enough to pay off the balances. Entrepreneurs such as Chris GuillebeauNomadic MattThe Points Guy, and others teach travel hacking.

2. Freelance. You find work—mainly online—in a variety of industries. You do this work remotely and normally per project. Some of the work includes website stuff, social media management/marketing, design jobs, teaching a specific skill, coaching, being a virtual assistant, or you can even have a 9-5 job that allows you to be remote. You can find work through places like Upwork, Fiverr, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and other places. Chris the Freelancer is a great resource to learn freelancing and the digital nomad lifestyle.

3. Teach English. Many places all over the world are looking for people to teach English. A lot of times, you don’t need a degree. There are programs/groups you can join that will train you on the basics, then you can start looking for paid gigs. You can post ads on Craigslist and other places to get gigs on your own. You can make an income and/or get your travel covered. Nomadic Matt says that you can find English teaching work in all kinds of countries that pay well. For example, you can get $80K a year in the Middle East, $2K-$5K a month in South Korea (where I just left), and several other countries where they have a huge need for English teachers.

4. Book Paid Consulting Gigs at Companies. This is how I travel to 35 countries a year. It’s by FAR my #1-#3 income source. Companies pay a generous training fee, cover all of your travel expenses/pay for your family to join you, license any online courses you have, and buy training programs that run on autopilot—you sell it to them and they setup/implement. I have been able to make an income from all of these streams at companies on six continents. Read more ›

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One Simple Strategy to Find High-End Executive Coaching and Consulting Gigs at Companies

The hard part of getting high-dollar (five to seven figures) coaching and/or consulting opportunities is finding the gigs. Today’s Pro Tip is a place where you can find leads for both.

Every single city in the United States publishes a business journal. In my hometown of Milwaukee, it’s called “The Milwaukee Business Journal.” The web address is bizjournals.com/your city. Your city/state has one. They even have them international in a different format.

In these business journals are the names of local companies, their CEO’s, the phone number of the company, AND the email address of the CEO. They are more often found in the print version of the journal, but the online version in most cities will publish the same information.

Think about this. You have the name and email addresses of CEOs and local companies. You can then take that information and do some research on each company and its CEO. You can find companies where your skill set would benefit their employees in a consulting training. You can find CEOs that could use your high-end coaching services. You have the opportunity to pitch and book great consulting gigs and/or sign executive coaching clients. Read more ›

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I WAS DESPERATE!

When I started my lifestyle business in 2012, coaching income was my everything. I took every discovery call I could get and chased down anything that looked like a lead. I made all kinds of deals to lock in business. I gave away the farm more than a few times. Some months, I was on fire, other months were super slow. I frequently cried myself to sleep.

It took years to understand that you can’t just rely on one source of income in a lifestyle business. You need multiple streams so that when one goes down, the others keep you from going crazy and being constantly worried about money.

I was often worried about money because it was sporadic. It pushed me to do desperate things like private messaging friends trying to get them to sign up for coaching, posting about my services in all kinds of Facebook groups and responding to every “pick me” post where someone asked about hiring a coaching. I came off as needy and that repelled people from wanting to work with me.

Everything changed after I came out of my funk in mid-2016. I finally understood that what I have to offer is valuable and I was giving it away. I beat my self-limiting beliefs and raised my prices by 8x. I focused on growing multiple streams of income. It made all the difference. As the other streams grew, I focused less on getting coaching business. I focused more on putting out quality content–the clients started to come to me. These days, I don’t take on one-on-one coaching clients anymore unless it’s a special circumstance.

I make money from consulting at companies (and all the extras–see below), book royalties (three published books), sales of my online courses (I have six that I sell online and license to companies), booking fees from speaking/consulting gigs that I can’t do because of schedule conflicts (I give them to other speakers/consultants and take a fee), content creation (several business publications pay me for articles, audio recordings, and videos that I make for them), affiliate income (I promote a very small number of people I truly believe in), and online group classes (I run three live classes a few times a year). Read more ›

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One Underrated Strategy to Book Paid Speaking Gigs

The hard part of building the speaking part of your lifestyle business is finding events that pay. A lot of events don’t have a big budget to pay speakers. Most want speakers to share their knowledge/expertise for exposure and the chance to get clients from the audience.

When you’re starting out, that makes sense. You can get video of yourself speaking (for your website) and develop the experience that makes you a better speaker. You can even lock in a few clients. After you’ve been in the speaking industry for a while, it’s not a great strategy–in my opinion.

You can get fantastic at selling from the stage and make killer money that covers you speaking for free. BUT, what if you could have it both ways? (Don’t worry, I’m not going to sell you anything in this post)

The reality is that there are too many events that pay speakers AND let them sell from the stage. Why wouldn’t you want to get compensated and have all the extra sales be the cherry on your cake? There are events all over the world that will pay you a fee, cover your travel expenses, and let you sell your books and programs.

There’s an industry that speakers often overlook. It’s an industry that pays well and will let you sell. One of the most profitable industries to book paid speaking gigs is the MLM/Network Marketing industry and their events. Read more ›

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The Benefits of Consulting Companies Worldwide

If you are in the online/Internet marketing space, you see a lot of the same things. You hear about passive income and creating products to sell. You hear about social media marketing and all the hot-at-the-moment social strategies. You see someone doing well with something–like Live video–and everyone follows the trend. This year the “hot” things seem to be messenger bots, Facebooks ads, and funnels. You can’t blink without seeing a new expert in one of those categories. What happens is that there are many entrepreneurs who want to make money and see the trending ideas as a way to do that quickly.

There are a lot of entrepreneurs who have been at this for years without making any real money. So, when someone posts about making a bunch of money with a new trend, it’s alluring. While there may be real opportunities in the trends, it’s for those at a certain level in their business. The real money that’s made day in and day in out comes from establishing a foundation in something and going deep.

Most entrepreneurs look to the online/Internet marketing space while ignoring a space that has been around as long as business, in general, has been around. That space is the consulting at companies space. When I say “companies,” I’m talking about every day, mainstream businesses. The kinds that have lots of employees, operations, budgets, and structure. Not so much the soloprenuer or Internet entrepreneur type businesses. These can be midsize to large companies that you hear about and use their services.

It’s estimated that 57% of businesses worldwide don’t have a website for their business. The fact is that these larger companies move slower than we would, which creates a lot of opportunity for consultants. Companies spent $42.4 billion dollars on training in 2014 according to Bloomberg. They paid outside consultants $39.3 billion dollars last year according to Business Week. When I tell you the opportunity is good, I mean it. Today, I want to share some benefits of consulting at companies and why more entrepreneurs should be considering it.

Bypassing the Crowd

I don’t have to tell you that the online space is crowded. Think about how many Facebook ads you see every day from different entrepreneurs trying to sell the same type of training. Think about how many of the same podcasts, Facebook groups, online courses, marketing strategies, and a bunch of other stuff that is being marketed to the same people on a daily basis. A lot of people online are frustrated, tapped out, and/or looking for something more.  Read more ›

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I Had to Fire a Team Member (and a Pro Tip)!

In a recent post, I talked about having to fire one of my team members. I want to tell you what happened. Hopefully, it helps another entrepreneur not end up in the same situation.

A few weeks ago, I walked away from a consulting deal that I was negotiating with a company here in Asia (not the one I’m consulting for this trip). They wanted to own all of my content after I presented it at their company. I said no and offered to create content just for them–they said no.

They offered six-figures in the deal but said they had to own the consulting trainings that I’ve been giving at companies all year. My attorney and I tried to offer many other options but they were adamant. They wanted to own the content so they could repackage it and sell it as their own.

I walked away from the deal. I know what my content is worth. I made an honest effort to accommodate them but they were stubborn. That usually doesn’t turn into a good business relationship.

My team of virtual assistants has access to certain parts of consulting deals and the companies that I consult for. This former virtual assistant mainly dealt with the companies on my behalf.

She went to this company in Asia directly and tried to sell them my content on the side. Since she has access, she could have easily done it. One of my other team members saw what was going on and alerted me. Read more ›

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5 Lessons Learned Growing My Business From $5,000 a month to $500,000 a Year

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 19 years old. My first business was a vacation-relief service for independent vendors. It started with just myself but grew very quickly. By year two, I had six employees, operated in three states, and the business generated half-a-million dollars a year. I sold that business in 2012 to run my second business. Today, I operate a global lifestyle business. I’m the author of four books that have sold over 100,000 copies, I get paid to write for various publications, I sell digital information products, and I travel to 30 plus countries a year to consult large multinational corporations on digital marketing. I’m currently in Asia on a five-country consulting tour.

I started each business making around $5,000 a month and grew them to $500,000 a year. It took a lot of hard work, failure, beating limiting beliefs and strategy to get here. There were many times when giving up felt easier than dealing with difficult circumstances. I pushed through and now get to travel the world doing what I love for a living. There were five important lessons that helped me grow these two businesses. If you are stuck at a certain income level in your business, see how these lessons can be applied to what you do.

1. Social media is not enough.

Everywhere you look, you’re told that social media marketing is the key to your business’ marketing efforts. There’s no denying the power of social media, but it isn’t the only way you market your business. The organic reach of social media is low and the algorithms keep changing. All of the social media platforms are now publicly traded companies that generate profits for their shareholders by charging you for more reach. Social media marketing is a great part of a diverse marketing plan. It isn’t the end all be all.

When I realized that I needed more than social media, I was able to put together a comprehensive marketing plan that grew my potential customer base. This plan involved getting interviewed on podcasts, writing for large authority publications (such as this one), paying for ads, and getting exposure through speaking and consulting gigs. The combined strategy took my business’ email list from 3,000 to over 50,000. That, in turn, led to explosive revenue growth.

2. Low-tier pricing only brings problems.

I kept my prices too low for too long in both businesses. My thought was that I could get more customers but the lower prices attracted clients who weren’t a good fit, so I worked very hard for not-a-lot-of-money. There are a lot of articles about the kind of clients you attract with higher pricing. You have probably experienced this in your business. You work less for more money, you attract high-end clients and you get paid by the value you provide. The reality is that the lower end pricing will attract customers who aren’t satisfied and will always ask for more. It will create unnecessary headaches. Read more ›

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6 Steps to Getting Your First Consulting Contract

In 2014, companies spent $42.4 billion on training according to The Training Industry Report. After locking 34 international consulting contracts this year, I can attest to the fact that solopreneurs and lifestyle entrepreneurs have the opportunity to add significant income through paid consulting at companies. The opportunity is there, you may just not have known how to find it.

Getting a company to hire you and give you a consulting contract may test the limits of your comfort zone. You wonder if you’re qualified to approach a company. When you think about the details, you get frustrated because you’re not sure how to build a consulting business.

My first business was a service company in the bread industry. My second business is a lifestyle business that involves a good deal of paid consulting with companies all over the world. How I book contracts is not a mystery and you probably have the skills and knowledge to land deals. Here are six steps to building a lucrative and freedom based consulting part of your lifestyle business.

1. Make a list of your areas of expertise.

To get the contract, you have to understand what areas you could possibly train on. Tap into your experiences to see what you enjoy and are knowledgeable about. Write those areas down somewhere. List as many as you can come up with.

Once you have this list, start to see how you can combine topics. Look for a “core” topic that could cover several of the ones you listed. Companies want to see that you’re an expert at a main topic. Your website, social media presence, and email list need to show your expertise in a topic if a company is going to hire you. Get clarity and demonstrate what you can consult a company on. Read more ›

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