clients, business, consultants, people, build, marketing, sales, specific, low yielding, important, read, revenue, tasks, va, book, spending, learn, hire, podcast, realize
Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Faheem Moosa
Faheem Moosa 00:00
And the first system that you’ve got to set up in your business is a marketing system because that’s what drives more revenues and drives, you know, it gives your business legs in order to survive and grow. So, as a business owner, you’ve got to, you’ve got to consider to learn marketing and sales.
Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. So you can increase your reach, have more impact and work with great clients. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.
Alastair McDermott 00:34
Before we get into today’s episode, I just want to let you know about a free resource that’s available. If you want to niche down, if you want to specialize your business, check out The Specialization Podcast. It is a free audio training course in how to niche down and it goes through the nuts and bolts of making a specialization decision and some of the things that you’ll encounter as you do that. It’s entirely free. You can find it by searching for The Specialization Podcast in your podcast app. So now on with the show. So today, my guest is Faheem Moosa, and Faheem is a former management consultant based in Toronto, Canada, he helps b2b consultants add 100k to 500k new revenue within 12 months or less. And his clients include former consultants from Boston Consulting, Accenture, Kearney, Deloitte, EY, and more. And I’m really happy to talk to him because I’ve been watching his content for the last couple of years on socials. And I really like that, both the way that you present the content and and what you have to say. So thank you for being with us.
Faheem Moosa 01:40
Thanks for having me, Alastair.
Alastair McDermott 01:42
So okay, we got a whole whole range of different topics that we can cover, the thing that we were talking about, just before we got on there was talking about consultants having to organize themselves to build the sales pipeline while they’re also working on projects, can you talk a little bit more about that, and about the problems that people encounter?
Faheem Moosa 02:04
Sure, when when people start consulting businesses, they’re really excited about the technical work. They’re experts in their field. And they’re excited about going out on their own and learning new projects and working on what they know really what they know best. But very soon, they realize that when they ramped down on their current projects, they’ve got to land the next one. And, you know, most of them don’t do much while they’re delivering projects to build the sales pipeline. So very soon, they realize that, because they don’t do that they experienced drops in revenue, the so called roller coaster income, which, which brings the revenue down. So it’s one thing to know how to build a pipeline, technically, how to do it, what marketing is, and what sales is, and all that stuff. But it’s quite another to as a consultant, as a consulting business owner to organize yourself and enable yourself to and and plan your week and plan your day and actually get that get get that done. Right? Everybody talks about, yes, consulting business owners should build a pipeline should stop being dependent on referrals, should be more on socials, build authority, etc, etc. But what’s being left out of that equation is that, you know, most consultants get it, it’s 2022 today, and most consultants get it, but where the challenge lies is, you know, how do you find the time to do both, to do to build a pipeline and to deliver high pressure client projects? And I think that’s the biggest problem in, in our community today.
Alastair McDermott 03:47
Yeah, absolutely. And so in, in your experience, or with the clients that you’re seeing, like, how do you fix that? How do you deal with that?
Faheem Moosa 03:56
Well, the first step is to understand where your time goes. This is classic productivity and priority management. How do you spend your your time, how do you spend your week? So the first thing I recommend is to do a time log in 30 minute increments and understand on a day to day basis where your time goes. And you’ll find that a lot of learn a lot of time goes in low yielding activities consulting business owners, they love to and this is common across many business owners, not just consulting business owners, but it’s more important for consulting business owners because they usually get hired to do the work for their clients. Unlike a lot of other businesses or small business owners, so understanding where your time goes will will shed light on the low yielding activities that you spend time on. And some of these low yielding activities are you know, designing, designing decks for example, like tinkering with your blog or things tinkering with your website or or, you know, graphic design or uploading, you know, articles to social and things like that. When you, when you take stock of where your time goes, you understand how much how much time you really have. And once you once you free up your time by hiring, let’s say, oh virtual assistant or kind of like, you know, eliminating some of those tasks that you do, you can free up a lot of time and do a lot of high yielding activities such as, you know, building relationships with, we’re building strategic relationships with people that you want to work with, or writing or creating videos, or, you know, starting a podcast, and things like that. So that’s one part of it. The other part of it is to time block, you know, again, I’m getting into the basic time management priority, priority management skills, but a lot of us don’t take take that into account. So when I say time block, it’s important to design your week as a consultant, and dedicate time to your business as if it were your own client. Right? So I suggest one day a week. If you can’t do one day a week, start with half a day a week, to dedicate to your business and use those 48 hours on doing various high yielding activities. Like, as I mentioned, writing, creating videos planning the following week with your, with your team or your assistant, and, you know, maybe doing some Strategic Outreach, to build your, build relationships, and so on and so forth. Those are the activities that you got to do on a regular basis. Even stuff like building relationships on social, time blocking and dedicating a specific time or a day in the week to get all that stuff done, is highly critical. That’s how you start to organize yourself and get into a rhythm of, you know, building a pipeline, trying to building a pipeline for for the long run. You can’t do it in bits and pieces, that’s when you get stuck and all and you know, that leads to all sorts of problems.
Alastair McDermott 06:17
100% with you. Yeah, so, so really interesting. I’m taking notes here. So one of the things I think that you said that’s really crucial is that we should be treating our own business, like it’s one of our clients. Because otherwise we fall into that trap. I know, there’s a lot of different ways of saying this in different cultures, but it but here, it’s the shoemakers, children have no shoes. And so we fall into that thing where we’re not, we’re not working on our own business in the same way as we would advise our own clients. And so I’m totally with you, I have worked now with with a VA, part time for I think three years and full time for the last year. And having having an assistant is is just like it’s a game changer having particularly having somebody full time because there is so much repetitive work that we can delegate. And, and also then I think when you’re paying somebody else to do work, you realize, actually, we don’t really need to do that. Whereas you might just spend the time doing it yourself. But it’s different when you’re paying somebody else. And I think, you know, I think I think bringing that kind of mentality into your own work is important. So yeah, I love it.
Faheem Moosa 08:21
Absolutely. And I always tell my clients that the best investment you can make is to buy back your own time. Right? Because when you invest in a virtual assistant, and you know, you can get a good virtual assistant for a few $100 per month, they do excellent work. But you’re not really investing in someone else, you’re actually investing in yourself, because you free up so much of your time where you can do higher level work that only you are suited to doing for your business. And, you know, get results down the line.
Alastair McDermott 08:53
Yeah, absolutely. And by the way, this podcast is a perfect example of that. Because when I started out, I think I edited the first six or eight episodes myself, and I put them online myself as well. Now, in part, I was doing that because I wanted to know what I was about to outsource. Because I was gonna delegate that to somebody else. I wanted to know what the components of that work. But, you know, if I had to actually do all of the moving parts, and there’s an amazing amount of moving parts and in putting out a podcast, lots of little things that need to be done. And if I had to do that myself every week, it would take you know, a day of my time every week, maybe more. Whereas I’m spending the most time that I’m spending now on the podcast is on the interview. And then with the kind of the show notes, I spent about two hours for a one hour podcast episode or two hours for a 50 minute podcast episode. So I’m really happy with that time that I’m not spending, you know, a full day or a day and a half. So, but I know that a lot of people, they don’t want to hire somebody else. They say, look, I want to keep my business just me. But what do you say to that?
Faheem Moosa 09:55
Well, that’s, that’s a strategic decision that that they can take. It’s Totally up to them if they want to do everything themselves, but if they have a goal of growing their business, for example, and they feel that it’s going to take them 80 hours a week to do that to do to, you know, deliver client engagements and build a pipeline. And if they’re okay with that, then that’s up to them that you don’t have to do it. But if, you know, running a business, there are two parts to it the way I look at it, you create wealth, and you create more discretionary time. Right? So if those are your goals as well, then it’s far more prudent to to hire somebody to take care of the low yielding tasks. But then if you want to do everything yourself, that’s totally okay. That’s a decision that you want to take. I know that, I think, I think it was Derek Sivers, who famously, you know, he runs a one person company, I think he does everything himself. So if you want to do everything yourself, that’s, that’s totally up to you. But a lot of people, you know, they they want to build a pipeline, but they can’t, because they’re so steeped in client delivery, and they look for solutions. What do I do? How do I get out of this? This situation? And for those folks, it’s it’s prudent to, to, you know, hire somebody and, and get all the low yielding tasks done?
Alastair McDermott 11:22
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then the other things you were talking about, you know, in terms of like doing an audit of your own time, and looking at where you’re spending your time, I actually use a tool called Rescue Time. And I used to use the paid version, actually, I just use the free version right now. And it runs on my PC, and it monitors everything that I do on the PC, I know that it can be used in, you know, it can be used where you can put it on your staffs computer, and you can track track people’s time, I don’t really like that idea. But I certainly like to use it for myself. And what that does is that allows me to classify, or categorize what I’m working on as productive, or very productive, or unproductive. And so you can actually get to like, look at your weekly and monthly, you know, how much time am I working every day and kind of get get an idea. So, I have found that to work for me, because when it comes to actually tracking my own time, and, you know, like you were talking about, you know, writing down what you’re working on, I’m very bad at actually doing that. So I found this, this tool to kind of do that for me automatically.
Faheem Moosa 12:24
Yeah, that’s very smart. Just to add to that, that’s really, that’s a really smart thing to do to use a tool to automatically track your time. But what’s also important is to track your time offline, because it’s not just the business low yielding tasks that you must track. It’s also what are you doing offline? Are you doing things like, let’s say, you know, cleaning your own house, or running errands, that you can outsource to somebody else, or, you know, other things, like maybe even cooking, like, if you’re passionate about cooking, that’s great, do that I’m not saying you know, don’t have any hobbies. But then if you’re able to do to track your time entirely in your during your waking hours and find pockets of opportunities where you can kind of, you know, let that let those let those tasks go, then that can be very productive and fruitful as well.
Alastair McDermott 13:16
Yeah, absolutely. 100%. Okay, so, so what you’re saying, really is, we need to make time for to build that pipeline. And so and that time is there, either we stopped doing things, we stopped doing the low yield tasks, we bring in somebody to help us, we audit our own time and and figure out where we’re wasting time. And that will that will give us that time, time back. So once we’ve you know, we’ve we’ve made a bit of time and actually start to block that out on our calendar. So you’re saying half a day to a day a week, which to some people will sound like not enough. And then to other people that will sound like a crazy amount of time. Like that’s a huge amount of time to dedicate to, to, to, to this, you know, to working on our own business. So what should we actually be doing with that time then?
Faheem Moosa 14:05
Well, it depends on what your what your outreach approach is, like, in the early days of a consulting business. You know, it’s very easy to grow your business using just referrals and warm prospecting. So if you’re in the early days of the business, you want to do some of that you want to make sure that you set aside some time to book reach out to people that you know, either in your you know, in a past life and I know people that you’ve worked with in the corporate world, or past clients or people that you know, you know, in your personal life that can introduce you to potential clients. So that also is a it must be a standard activity. It shouldn’t you should make time for that a little later in the business when you, when you realize that, you know, referrals are not very predictable. You want to make sure that you know this is my philosophy anyway, to you want to make sure that you build a brand and, and make sure that you create meaningful, useful content and you build an audience for yourself and a community, which then would people, you know, members of which will reach out to you when they’re ready ready to buy. That’s the philosophy I recommend for, for consultants anywhere where you need to be building a brand for yourself, because as an expert, we have so much knowledge that’s, you know, lying inside of our heads. So it’s important to continuously, you know, in a, in a structured manner, create useful, valuable and helpful content content, meaningful content, that adds value to you to your, to your audience. So a lot of that time where it must be spent in activities that help build your brand. The other thing that you need to be doing during that the day where in which you work for your business is to review, do reviews with your team. Like, every Friday morning, I review, I get together with my operations team as my virtual assistant and another manager and I do a review of the week and also plan the next week. What are we doing from from a business development perspective? What do we do from a content perspective? What are we doing from an operations perspective? And beyond that, I also meet up meet with my graphic design team folks that are creating various pieces of content for me, my editors, my graphic designers, et cetera, et cetera, and people who, you know, run my marketing calendar. Right? So Fridays is a time for all of that. Also, I use Fridays for, you know, doing interviews like this one, like today’s. Today’s Friday, right? So I only do podcast interviews on Fridays, unless, unless the the host insists that they don’t. It’s a show that I really want to be on. And, you know, the host insists that they, you I show up on another day. Fortunately for you, you have Friday’s open, so I picked, I picked Friday. So all my you know, podcasts, interviews, video recordings, and the like, are mostly done on Fridays. So, you know, I do a lot of work. I mean, I dedicate the entire Friday for for my business. And it also helps you to relax going into the weekend. Because when you know that you’ve sorted out your business, and your next week is planned to the tee, you tend to enjoy yourself more. And you know, you enter Mondays in a very relaxed state of mind. Otherwise, you’re going to enter Mondays in a very helter skelter state of mind, beforeyou know it, half the day is gone. You see. So that’s why I strategically use Fridays. And the other reason is, and I’ve been doing this from a management consulting days, I’ve been a management consultant for like 10 years. I also realized that Friday is a pretty light day, for me at least. So it was when it comes to client engagements clients too. I mean, client meetings, clients to kind of, you know, wind down by the time it’s like, you know, noon or one o’clock. And, you know, they don’t, for me, at least we don’t have too many meetings, and it’s not a very high pressure day. So it’s a natural fit for me to choose Friday for to dedicate to my business.
Alastair McDermott 18:25
Yeah, 100%. And I like to take Friday as as a light kind of a day as well. And I try not to have, you know, I have my calendar blocked after 2pm. You know, so they have the afternoon free for whatever I feel like doing really. But what what I heard somebody else call this, I heard somebody else, call it a CEO day, where you basically you take a day to do planning. Now maybe some of that is kind of like where you’re doing maybe a CEO day, once a month, and you’re looking more strategically and maybe at a higher level. But I do like the idea of you know, blocking time and saying this is this is the time that I’m working on the business. There’s there’s another thing I just want to dig into a little bit because he kind of gave us an idea. Can you just let us know a bit more like you talked about having an ops manager having a VA, also having graphics team editors, and you talked about marketing, your marketing calendar. So can you just tell us a little bit more about you know, the team that you have? Are all of them part time or all of them full time? How does that work? What does that look like for you?
Faheem Moosa 19:31
I don’t have any full time staff. I recommend that you can find amazingly talented people that you find a mentor, you know, there are amazingly talented people on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. I don’t I don’t usually use a poor guy to use. I’ve used them before. Right now I use Fiverr a lot and there’s some incredible talent over there who can really do all these low yielding tasks in a third of the time. They will normally take you. Right. So I don’t have any full time staff, I’m perfectly okay with hiring, not even part timers, but people that the, you know, the contractors essentially, right. And so I do have a VA, who, you know, they take care of my, my website, uploading stuff, socials, my my company page, and that kind of thing, invoicing, that I have an office manager who, who essentially is my first point of contact, they should kind of make sure that the the, the business development operation is going smooth, and also, you know, manages the VA trains, trains that person as well lies with the graphic design team, the editors etc. And then of course, I like I said, I have a marketing team, which, which, which include these graphic designers, and sometimes writers to edit and proofread, you know, longer posts. And, you know, the video folks who I do a lot of video, so the folks who do the transcriptions and the design, and so on and so forth. So it’s a small team, it may sound like a lot, but it’s just a small team. And it’s not very hard to manage these people are professionals, they know what they’re doing. And most of the time, they tell me what to do. Right? Okay, they say, here’s what I’d like you to do for the first two hours, just give me this, this information. And, you know, once I give them that information there, they work their magic and you know, stuff gets done. So, it’s not very, like you mentioned, you’ve you’ve delegated to a VA as well, it’s, you realize how much of a benefit and advantage this is only when you only when you do it, even you feel so much more lighter, you have so much more time you have space to think consultants, especially, you know, we focus we need to think a lot, right, we need to think a lot about how to serve our clients, how to deliver certain projects, how to put together, you know, reports and PowerPoints, etc. So there’s a lot of thinking involved. And to, to to serve our clients best, you need free space in your free time, you can’t get in the weeds of operational and, you know, administrative and, you know, marketing stuff like the you got to be thinking at a higher level. So it’s, it’s, it’s not a very hard thing to do to put together a small team. And there’s there’s a huge ROI.
Alastair McDermott 22:43
Yeah, I completely agree. I’ve been outsourcing delegating work online since 2005, or six. I’ve been running my own business since 2007. But I was even doing some part time work before that. And so I think I’ve outsourced to maybe 60 different countries at this point.
Faheem Moosa 23:03
Alastair McDermott 23:03
And you know, I started tracking I’ve put up put them all on a map about 2012 or 2013. And realized I covered the globe, basically, I had a VA in Australia, actually, for a long time.
Faheem Moosa 23:15
You should go you should go visit them now. All of them.
Alastair McDermott 23:19
I’d love to. Yeah. And now the travel is opening up a bit again. But I had a VA in Australia and the timezone difference was fantastic, because I would send her stuff at the end of my day. And it would be wrapped up ready for me the next day. I remember there was one time where I had an email from somebody late in the day, I think it was like my 6pm or 7pm. And they said, listen, the timeline has moved up on this, we need your proposal on our desk first thing tomorrow morning. And I wasn’t even in the office, I was added I’d been at a meeting. And then I went out for a beer with a friend. But I was able to email my VA in Australia, give her the basic stuff and say, look, here’s here’s where the documents are, can you put together a proposal for me and send it to me. And so I got up the next morning and it was it was done. It was ready. And so just that timezone difference. It was just incredible. So I know some people see the time zone thing as it can be awkward, but sometimes there can be benefits to that.
Faheem Moosa 24:18
Alastair McDermott 24:19
The other thing on building a team is just like you said, if you hire good people, they will tell you what they need. Like if you hire you know, a tradesperson to come into your house and build cabinets or you know, fix a door or something. You don’t expect them to ask you what type of screw that they should use.
Faheem Moosa 24:36
Alastair McDermott 24:36
They will know all of that kind of stuff. They will ask you, you know, where do you want the cabinet to go? You know how many you know what, like, what would you want me to make it out of what color do you want it to be? Or you know, how many shells should it have all of those kinds of things, but they won’t ask you, you know the mechanics of it. So managing people who are good is is typically easier than you expect.
Faheem Moosa 24:55
Totally with you.
Alastair McDermott 24:56
Okay, I want to talk about another another thing which is I just want to call back to the intro, you have a very specific promise that you make in your, in your, in your, in your positioning statement, I just I’ve got your LinkedIn profile here in front of me. So I’m just going to read it out again. You say I help consultants add 100 to 150k. That’s US dollars in new revenue in 12 months or less without burning out. Now, I just want to draw attention to the fact that this is so specific. And I noticed this when I first came across your profile, and came across your content online a couple of years ago, you’ve always had this really specific, I helped consultants add X amount in Y amount of time. And I don’t think you’ve changed the actual numbers, but just I’m just kind of generalizing it. That’s a very specific promise. And I kind of think of that as a big promise. Can you talk a little bit more about you know, why you say that specifically? And is this something that you suggest to your clients to you, as well as to have a very specific big promise?
Faheem Moosa 25:58
So my promises, I haven’t consultants, land or add 100 to $500,000 in revenue, or within 12 months without burning out? Right? So we’ve talked about without burning out piece, which, you know, encompasses all of the things that we’ve discussed the VA and delegation stuff. Now we come to the, okay, the real big promise, which is the end result, right? You, it’s, it’s really important to have a very specific end result. And yes, I do recommend to my clients as well, whichever, whatever type of consulting they’re doing, to figure out what the dream outcome is for their clients and incorporate that into your into your tagline. Of course, assuming that you know how to help them, go there, help them, you know, get their dream outcome. Right? So one of the reasons that you really want to be very specific is that people when they land, on your social or the land on your website, I mean, they’re, they’re, you know, they read some research somewhere that people take three seconds to decide whether they want to read more or not. So when you have that, that that much, that much of the attention, you want to make sure that you’re very, very specific and very, very clear as to what you do, and how you can help them and it has to has to have, has to strike some kind of an emotional response for them to say, Okay, this, I’m curious about this, and I wanna, I want to learn more. So that’s why it’s really important to be extremely specific, as specific as you can depending on your, your niche, your your market, and that the the purpose of that opening statement, a positioning statement is to encourage readers to say, I want to learn more, so let’s scroll down and read some more. So it’s, it’s absolutely important to be specific.
Alastair McDermott 27:53
I love it. And, and you get, so you’re really specific about the numbers. And so this concept of having a big promise, is that, you know, is that something that you incorporate always like, the, I’m thinking, like, the the traditional positioning statement is, I help these these types of people to get this type of results. And you’ve just gotten so specific with it. I just think it’s really fantastic. I’m just wondering about, I just think that it’s really, that the idea of this big promise is something that you can build in to everything that you do with your marketing, is it like, is it does everything depend on this, like, Is it like the, the zip the core piece behind all of your marketing?
Faheem Moosa 28:41
So, you know, my marketing has evolved, and my core, my, my ideal customer has shifted over the years. The reason I’m so specific about the results I can get from my clients, that is 100, get them to, you know, between 100 to 500k, within 12 months is because I’ve gotten results for my client, these are the results of my, my past clients, and I have not one, but several examples of clients that have gotten these results in that in that timeframe, like, you know, not just 12 months, but you know, some even in a couple of months, and some five months. So the confidence of putting something so specific and big in that headline comes from the fact that these actual real results that can be verified with you know, it’s all on my website, who these clients are and the results they’ve got. So, when you’re able to this is what I’m telling my clients, you definitely take the opportunity to promise something really big, but make sure that you can get your clients that promise you can’t just make a big promise just to make your positioning statement look good, but then not know exactly how you’re going to get your clients that kind of result. Now I’ve done this for so long, and I have a process for it. So I’m 100% confident that if a consultant comes to me, a b2b consultant comes to me, that is, you know, already doing already, you know, doing around six figures. And his is completely in a state of their business where they’re doing a lot of client projects, they don’t have time to do marketing, but they’re hungry for more, they’re hungry to put together a sales and marketing system, and they’re hungry to, you know, move past their plateau, their revenue plateau, most of my clients come to me because they’ve had a revenue plateau. And if when they’re hungry, and when they’re committed to doing the work, and exactly the way I tell them to do the work and organize their life and their business, I can guarantee that I can get them those results. So when you come in and you committed to doing the work, and you take the action, I will guarantee that I get the result that part of my fee is tied to a revenue figure, right? I get them to part of my fee is tied to them landing $100,000, at least in in revenue in that amount of time. So and the reason I do that is because I feel that as a coach, and as a mentor, you’ve got to have skin in the game. There’s a lot of coaches and mentors out there who simply provide you with information, and they’ll say, Okay, I’ll give you two months of group coaching, or three months or whatnot, and then you’re done. But then what happens is you get a lot of information, but you don’t know how to execute it. And then you know, you’re out of the program. So I don’t do that I have skin in the game. And I really, you know, make sure that I get committed clients who are hungry to grow, and who are coachable and who want to do the work. That would that’s what makes a makes my work fun as well, it’s very easy for me to have a three month group program and give them some, some videos and and some group q&a’s every week and then, you know, turn them what got what good does that do both for me and for the client, it’s not exciting enough for me to work just like that and just provide information, it’s not exciting for the clients, it will leave a bad taste in the mouth, for the client as well. So my philosophy is that I’m going to give you a big result. And I’m not an inexpensive coach as well, I do charge, you know, commensurate with the value that I that I bring in. But there is a specific type of client that I want to work with, I don’t work with with everybody. I work, I don’t work with people that are starting consulting businesses. Although I used to work. I used to help those types of clients, I work with clients who have already got to a stage, they’re probably doing high five figures or doing low six figures, but who don’t have a sales and marketing system have plateaued, you know, the revenues and who want to weigh out and want to grow and are committed to doing the work. So like I said, My business has evolved. And I’m very specific. And I know the types of clients that I want to work with now. And that’s why I’m very confident with the with the big promise, because it has worked for me in the past. And that’s what I’m promising.
Alastair McDermott 33:04
Yeah. So it feels like, I’m really interested in this, it feels like there’s two areas of risk there. I’m sure that you know, your experience, your confidence, your track record helps you with both of those, but I’m just thinking about somebody else coming along and listening to this thinking, Okay, the first risk is that I say that I that I say a number and then I get a client who can’t, who who doesn’t, doesn’t get that. And so what do you do to rent that? Do you have a very strict intake process? Or, you know, how do you how do you handle that?
Faheem Moosa 33:38
Yes, it is a risk, Alastair, and I am very well aware that, you know, sometimes clients who don’t do the work, who are busy with other stuff may not follow what I tell them, and they may not get to that outcome. And so I may not get the, you know, part of the fee that is tied to that outcome. That’s the that’s, that’s the risk that I that I take. And that’s just how it is. But most clients, you know, I do have very strict intake process. And I understand I make sure that I you know, make it very clear to them that this is what it’s going to be like, yes, it’s going to be it’s going to take work, I don’t I don’t have a magic wand, you, you have to do, you know, change the way you work change where you organize yourself. And, you know, take action, essentially, it’s going to be it’s, it’s fun work. It’s fun to do this kind of work, because you’re working on your business, you’re working on your growth, you’re working on learning new things, and new concepts and marketing new concepts and sales, new concepts in business strategy, and also in execution. So it’s a lot of fun work. But at the same time I understand that some people’s a minority of people may not may not, you know, do the work for various reasons. Maybe they get another client or maybe there’s some they’re going through some personal issues or whatnot, and that’s the risk that I take and that I’m okay with that because I really want to make sure that I am somebody that has skin in the game. That’s what I think coaches and consultants should be should have skin in the game and not just provide information. And if there’s a minor risk that I may not, you know, land my toe by full fees with, with with a small part of my clients. That’s okay.
Alastair McDermott 35:18
Yeah, I love it. The other thing, I think that’s important there is because like you mentioned, like you’re not the cheapest, and that, you know, the fees that you charge are commensurate to the value that you bring. But I think what’s important there is that when you charge more, people will take your advice more seriously, and are more likely to take action on it.
Faheem Moosa 35:36
Alastair McDermott 35:36
And I think this is why it’s better to work with, it’s better to work with clients who pay more, because because they have more skin in the game, and they’re more willing to take results, started to take action and get those results. So I think that’s that’s important as well, that’s because if you weren’t charging a lot, then I think you would have let you know people taking less action. So, ahm,
Faheem Moosa 35:59
Alastair McDermott 35:59
I think that comes into it as well.
Faheem Moosa 36:01
There’s a saying in the in the in the coaching and consulting world where people, people who pay more, pay more attention, right? When they have skin in the game, like you said, they’re they show up and they want to do the work, right? And if they don’t do they pay, like, you know, just a small amount, they’re not going to be invested in the whole process of that transformation. That’s why it’s really important to choose your clients that comes down to the core strategy, who you work with, who specifically are you going to work with, that’s a process that I take my clients through as well, because that’s the like I said, that’s a core of, of marketing strategy.
Alastair McDermott 36:40
What’s the biggest mistake that you see consultants making?
Faheem Moosa 36:43
The biggest mistake is, is is not learning sales and marketing. Consultants, like I said, earlier in the conversation, and many more, you know, this goes, this is relevant to small business owners in general, they start businesses, because they have technical expertise in something and for consultants is technical, it’s knowledge and expertise in some field or the other where they want to immerse themselves in, and they do that, but they don’t take, you know, the business part of running a business seriously at all, they feel that, you know, business will, will simply land on their land on their laps, for example. And that’s just the way it is, or sometimes they just don’t think about it. Right? And that is a mistake. But you know, sometimes you need to make those mistakes to learn what’s what’s really important, when you feel the pinch of revenue dropping, and when you feel the pinch of not taking that vacation or not, you know, doing all of you know, spending a lot of time and trying to pound the pavement and, and landing a new client and not spending time with your with your young children, or whatnot. When you feel that pinch, then you realize that, you know, I gotta, I gotta like, get my house in order. So they, they make the mistake of not learning sales and marketing as a business owner, you must learn sales and marketing, I’m so passionate about this point. Because it’s not a, it’s not a sales and marketing is not a set it and forget it type of thing, right, you got to learn it because everything changes even when you have when you build us build a marketing strategy, and you have a sales strategy. The world changes, you know, industries change, technology changes, there are political changes, the sociological changes, that, you know, your business has to respond to a lot of the things that are happening in the world, and consequently to your industry in your market. So and that requires sharp marketing and sales skills and understanding of marketing and sales. That’s what consulting business owners should, should should focus on. And they don’t they ignore it. But it’s not their fault, because they simply don’t know it. Right. So that’s why this year, what I’ve done is I share a lot of content. And you mentioned that earlier as well. So what I’ve done is I’ve started an event and community called the consulting growth hour, where every, every fortnight every Thursday, at noon, Eastern, I have a an event, where I talk about core sales and marketing topics. So I’m going to be doing 24 or 26 of these this year, where, you know, I invite consulting business owners to come in and join, it’s 100% free, there’s nothing for sale on the end and we go really deep, I don’t hold back on any kind of information that consultants want, or, you know, stuff that, you know, I can teach my clients. There’s a lot of information there that you can learn. Because I’d like consultants to learn about sales marketing, it’s so so important. It’s the it’s going to be the difference between success and failure. If they if they really want to grow their consulting business.
Alastair McDermott 39:51
100% I agree with you. And I have heard some people say look, I really love the work. I just want to do the work. I don’t have to do the marketing and my perspective on that is I’m really sorry. But if that’s what you want to do, then you need to go work for somebody else.
Faheem Moosa 40:05
Alastair McDermott 40:06
Because because the the sales and marketing part is not optional.
Faheem Moosa 40:10
Yeah. So I’m saying that when you if you start a business, then you got to start thinking like a business owner, right? If you want to, I know that a lot of consultants, they’re experts, and they’re passionate about what they do. And they’re very good at what they do, like the the ones that experienced consultants experience, folks that was, you know, who start consulting businesses, but you also have to realize that, you know, you’re becoming a business owner. And when you, when you become a business owner, you’ve got to look at your business as a product, right and set up systems so that that business is not just grows, but you know, it survives, right, and the first system that you’ve got to set up in your business is a marketing system, because that’s what drives more revenues and drives, you know, it gives your business legs in order to survive and grow. So, as a business owner, you’ve got to you’ve got to consider to learn marketing and sales.
Alastair McDermott 41:01
Yeah, 100%. I think that’s also why why I don’t like the dependency on referrals and word of mouth, because it’s very hard to make that a consistent system. And whereas it’s easier to build a pipeline, I think, maybe, maybe not as quick, but it’s certainly it’s easier to build a more consistent pipeline by doing other things, like building your personal brand, building your authority and things like that.
Faheem Moosa 41:29
Yeah, 100%. And here’s the thing, that’s what naturally fits consultants, right? When you think about it, when you think about, you know, the history of our industry, and the most famous consultants like Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, Jim Collins, Michael Porter, all of these, you know, management consultants, and hundreds and 1000s of others, who are you know, what successful, these the folks that were prolific educators, right, they wrote books, like they kept producing at a very high level, right, because they had a lot of knowledge. And they have a lot of knowledge. Some of them are not no not with us anymore, but some of them are around. So these folks have a lot of knowledge and they share that knowledge, right. And then they get invited to seminars and workshops, and they get invited to write articles for papers and trade publications and, and whatnot, and they build more relationships. And those relationships lead to more business, right? That’s the virtuous cycle that consultants have always been going through. And it’s no different today, the only thing that’s different today is that we have more tools. And it’s far easier to do if you ask me, like, I’m sitting here, and I’m talking to you, you’re in Ireland, you know, I don’t need to step out of my my office or my home office, to do a speaking engagement or to you know, do like a virtual keynote. For me, this is, this is like, a, not a panel discussion. But this is like an interview or in a conference where there are people listening in I’m I’m on a podcast, so it’s so easy these days, to build a brand, you but you got to know what you need to do what you need to be saying how to construct your sales and sales message, your marketing message, your positioning, and build an audience and you know, get your message out there. That’s what that’s that’s, that’s the marketing knowledge that I was talking about. That’s where you need to be you need to learn the, you know, the the channels are available. And it’s far easier today than it was four years ago, or even even 10 years ago. But you’re right, like, you’ve got to be good out there and build a brand. And it’s very natural for consultants to do that.
Alastair McDermott 43:29
Yeah, I think that’s such a great point. I don’t want to go into this anymore, because we’re coming up on time. Do you have a few minutes to answer a couple more quick questions?
Faheem Moosa 43:37
Alastair McDermott 43:38
Okay, one question I really love to talk to people about is their own mistakes or failures in the past business failures, business mistakes, did you have anything that you can tell us about that, in hindsight that you learned from? Can you tell us a little bit about what happened and what you learn from it?
Faheem Moosa 43:55
Okay, this may seem like I’m kind of, you know, being insincere, and I’m trying to, like, be a, you know, you know, trying to sell myself or whatnot. I’m not, right. My, the biggest mistake that I’ve made is not getting help sooner. I know that I help consultants, and I have a business and blah, blah, blah, you know, people are, I’m not trying to say that, you know, come and sign up with me or whatnot. But what I’m trying to say is that you need to learn how to run a business and how to do how to build a pipeline. And for me, what I found is the best way to do that is to hire somebody that you trust, and hire somebody who you can learn from that you are on the same wavelength with and, you know, shortcut your path to success. That’s what I refuse to do earlier. I get felt that you know, it’s I don’t want to make the investment. I can do this on my own blah, blah, blah. But you know, here’s the thing you you just don’t know what you don’t know you don’t know what it it would there are certain things that it will take you years to find out just by if you’re going to do this on your own read books and just go to YouTube videos and attend webinars and stuff. There are certain things that you learn with a good consultant or a coach for yourself that will take you months to find or figure out on your own. I mean, you can be successful on your own, don’t get me wrong, but in my experience is just gonna take you much longer. So I refuse to do this earlier in the, you know, when I started my consulting business, but the minute I, I started investing in myself and started learning on how to build a business and don’t forget, I don’t have I didn’t have a marketing background at that time. I didn’t have a sales background, I was I was a strategic planning consultant, you know, highly technical. But when I invested myself and learn marketing and sales, my business grew, and you know, it gave me back a return that was, you know, multi-fold. So you’ve got to invest in yourself. I’m not saying again, don’t, if you don’t want to invest in me, that’s fine, but invest in somebody else like find, find a coach for yourself, and learn. Right? That’s the, that’s the fastest way to shortcut your path to success.
Alastair McDermott 46:05
Yeah, and I, you know, I understand completely where you’re coming from there. I also do coaching. And I feel it’s a bit disingenuous, or it can seem disingenuous to recommend that people get a coach when you’re selling coaching. But the thing about it is, I also went through that period of, of not having external advice on that external perspective. And when I think about the last three, four years of my business, I had a podcast coach to help me actually had two podcasts, put coaches to help me with podcast, who like I got feedback from. I also got feedback from people like I hired Jonathan Stark, for example, Philip Morgan, to help me with specialization, I joined a group coaching program run by Brad Farris, and all of those, you know, all of those were very expensive, and hugely valuable, invaluable. You know, it, I think David C. Baker, has a quote in his book, you can’t read the label from inside the jar from inside the bottle. And I don’t know if he’s the originator of that quote, but it’s just that it’s really hard to get that external perspective on your own business. And so that’s why you need people outside helping you. So I completely agree with you about the coaching, you know, getting some kind of external help. And if you can’t afford it, then get find some peers, find a peer group, find some friends who are in business, who have that business perspective, who can give you some feedback, but do definitely go and get some external perspective on your own business.
Faheem Moosa 47:36
Alastair McDermott 47:37
Okay, so, last few questions are just buy books, do you have a favorite business book that you that you find really useful, or you think you’d recommend to people?
Faheem Moosa 47:46
Yeah, I’ve read a lot of business books. And I’ve read read a lot of good, good business books, I’m just going to give you the one that I think consultants should start reading. And it’s, it goes back to what we were what we were saying in the beginning of this show about how to organize yourself, because I think that’s the biggest one of the biggest problems that our community has, in learning, sales, and marketing is something that you can fix. But organizing yourself is genuinely hard. And you need to start doing that. So the book that I’d like to recommend is called “Deep Work” by Cal Newport, you might have heard of it. He’s one of my favorite authors.
Alastair McDermott 48:26
Faheem Moosa 48:26
So consultants should read that book. And it’s a great start. And it gives you some good ideas as to why that’s why Deep Work is important, and how to organize yourself and get really productive work done.
Alastair McDermott 48:42
Yeah, I completely agree with that. It’s a great book. And just the concept of, you know, I think in terms of, I think, in terms of kind of my background in software engineering, but I always think in terms of context switching, that there’s a cost to context switching, there’s a cost to switching between tasks. And that sometimes you need, you need to get to get into that zone of productivity, that kind of flow state, you do need to, you need to have a dedicated time and a significant amount of time as well. Not just, you know, not just half an hour here, half an hour there. It needs to be, you know, half a day. So yeah, that’s definitely a book I’d recommend as well. But what about fiction? Do you read fiction at all?
Faheem Moosa 49:23
I love reading fiction, and every time I get a chance, I do read a lot of business books these days, but I’m always reading one fiction book on the side. So I love reading fiction.
Alastair McDermott 49:36
What’s what’s your favorite or what are you reading right now?
Faheem Moosa 49:38
Well, you know, I like to read a lot of PG Woodhouse, because I love comedy. And, you know, he’s one of my favorite writers. I think he’s the funniest guy I’ve ever read. Right now. I’m rereading “Right Ho, Jeeves”, and if anybody wants to get into PG Woodhouse, that’s a great book to start off with. It’s incredibly funny. And you know, English writers are, you know, are a great read. I mean, their writing is so crisp and especially folks like PG Woodhouse, Douglas Adams is another one of my favorite writers.”Hitchhiker’s Guide” is something that I’ve read over and over again. But right now I’m reading PG Woodhouse, I like to Jeeves and Wooster part of the the series, I haven’t gotten to the Blandings Castle one if the Blandings Castle series, but if someone wants to get into PG Woodhouse start off with with “Right Ho, Jeeves”.
Alastair McDermott 50:32
Super. And I’ll link to all of those in the show notes. Yeah, that’s great, great recommendations. And I think I read some of his stuff years ago, but it’s probably something I need to revisit.
Faheem Moosa 50:42
You know, Alastair, you know, one of the the benefits of creating more time for yourself and investing in yourself is that you get time to do stuff that you want to do, you know, personal personal time. And for a large part of my management consulting journey, I was so stressed out and had no time that I’d stopped reading fiction, you know, but as I created more time for myself, I’ve started doing things that I like to do, and one of them is reading fiction. I mean, it’s, it just gives you, gives me so much joy to get back into just doing some doing things for pleasure.
Alastair McDermott 51:17
Yeah, yeah. I couldn’t agree more, 100% with you. So okay, well, where can people find you online? If they want to learn more?
Faheem Moosa 51:27
Best place to connect with me is on LinkedIn, it’s, I’m sure you’re linked to the you share the links, I’m not going to spell it out.
Alastair McDermott 51:37
Okay. Okay. So I’ll share your LinkedIn. And they can find consultingleap.com, as well. And can you just tell us the consulting growth hour? Can you tell us where to find that?
Faheem Moosa 51:51
Yeah, so the consulting growth hour if you connect with me on LinkedIn, and, you know, just say that you’re interested, I’ll add you to the guest list. And you’ll be notified every time there’s a new session.
Alastair McDermott 52:04
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being with us, for him. And I hope to chat to you again, future maybe dig into some of the topics that we didn’t get a chance to this time.
Faheem Moosa 52:16
Yeah, this has been a lot of fun, and I’m really grateful that you invited me to your show, Alastair. Thank you.
Alastair McDermott 52:21
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