Building your authority as an independent consultant is key to your success, getting inbound clients, and being able to charge higher fees.
In this episode you’ll hear Rochelle Moulton share a framework to build your authority.
The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command higher fees, and work with better clients.
Building your authority as an independent consultant is key to your success, getting inbound clients, and being able to charge higher fees.
In this episode you’ll hear Rochelle Moulton share a framework to build your authority.
Rochelle sees building your authority as three pieces that are all connected:
Back to positioning: you can’t monetize something until you know what it is. And secondly, it’s really hard to publish consistently, if you don’t know exactly how you’re positioning yourself.
I completely agree with this, because I found it really difficult to launch a podcast because I wasn’t positioned properly. It took years to get to the stage where I could do that, and one of the first indicators for me that I had a problem with my positioning was actually in the publishing part.
Rochelle talks about positioning as a number of different things together:
She says that ultimately, your niche – target market – is the most important thing, because until you really understand who you’re trying to reach, it’s going to be really hard to get to them in any kind of consistent, regular way:
“I don’t see ultimately how we can go to the monetizing and pollinating with any degree of confidence that they’re going to work until we’ve really dug deep on the positioning”.
Those are my takeaways from Rochelle: your positioning, how you monetize and pollinating, and then digging a bit deeper into positioning and what it’s made up of.
Link to know more about Rochelle
Rochelle is a brand strategist and marketing midwife dedicated to grafting your brand of genius into a flourishing authority business. Her forte is turning consultants and big thinkers into authorities.
She has considerable consulting pedigree having worked at Towers Perrin and Arthur Andersen, and she has built three of her own consulting firms, one of which she sold back to Arthur Andersen.
I met Rochelle through Jonathan Stark, with whom she co-hosts “The Business of Authority” podcast.
Rochelle Moulton 00:00
So the process is how do you build authority? How do you position yourself for that? How do you grow it? How do you stay on message? How do you market? Well brand first, how do you brand yourself and then market yourself to your ideal audience so that you build authority? And there’s typically it’s staged, right? You know, start out with your business and say, I’m an authority you work through a process of increasing your expertise and your knowledge and how the marketplace sees you.
Alastair McDermott 00:37
Hello, and welcome to Marketing for Consultants! This is the podcast that helps independent consultants and subject matter experts to get more clients without having to beg for referrals or make soul destroying cold calls. I’m your host, Alastair McDermott, and today my guest is Rochelle Moulton. Rochelle is a brand strategist and marketing midwife dedicated to grafting your brand of genius into a flourishing authority business. Her forte is turning consultants and big thinkers into authorities so she is perfect for the show. She has considerable consulting pedigree having worked at Towers Perrin and Arthur Andersen, and she has built three of her own consulting firms, one of which she sold back to Arthur Andersen. I met Rochelle through Jonathan Stark, they co-host “The Business of Authority” podcast together, so the first thing I asked her was to talk a little bit about authority, and why that’s important for consultants…
Rochelle Moulton 01:24
Well, I think that there’s a real advantage when you’re in a business like consulting or the big thinker business, which we can talk about a little differently. It’s all one thing, I think, but there’s an advantage to being seen by your ideal clients as an authority. And so the process is, how do you build authority? How do you position yourself for that? How do you grow it? How do you stay on message? How do you market well, brand? First, how do you brand yourself and then market yourself to your ideal audience so that you build authority. And there’s typically it’s staged, right, you don’t start out with your business and say, I’m an authority, you work through a process of increasing your expertise and your knowledge and how the marketplace sees you.
Alastair McDermott 01:51
Right. And so let’s talk about some of that. So first of all, you talk about being a big thinker is that like being like Simon Sinek, or something like that.
Rochelle Moulton 01:51
It kind of is, I mean, and part of the reason I put big thinker in there is because I tend to have two kinds of clients right there. There’s consultants who are saying, I want to grow my business, I want to get better, I want better clients, you know, and it’s all very kind of business focus. And then there are people who usually have run their businesses, they’ve been very successful, but there’s something else that they want to do. And it’s a big idea. And those are the people I think of as big thinkers. And then they come in and say, it’s not so much that I want to make money on this new idea. It’s that I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t pursue it. So they keep their business, they’re doing that. But then they’re investing in something that’s going to change the world. And so I think of those people as big thinkers.
Alastair McDermott 03:04
Right, they’re driven.
Rochelle Moulton 03:05
Yeah. And you might not know their name right away. But they think, big, and they’re thinking with a service mentality, a giving mentality. They have an idea that they believe will transform their corner of the world. And sometimes their corner of the world is really big. And sometimes it’s smaller. But the idea is so profound, that I just think of them as big thinkers.
Alastair McDermott 03:31
So one thing I’ve always been really jealous of Jonathan about is his mission of rid the world of hourly billing. And it’s so simple and encapsulated. And I actually talked about this another solo episode, the podcast, where I was thinking and talking about my own personal mission. And I think that I have a really stereotypical mission, which is to help people like me, overcome a problem that I’ve I’ve overcome in the past myself, and that’s what this is.
Rochelle Moulton 03:58
Alastair McDermott 03:59
I think that’s really typical. But it doesn’t feel to me like that’s a change the world kind of mission. So I’m just wondering, like, do we need to look beyond that do like, do I need to look beyond that? Is that something that you’d recommend? You know, or is that possible? Does it have to kind of come to you?
Rochelle Moulton 04:14
Well, I think, you know, given what I do for a living, obviously, I believe you can get there. I don’t think it typically just comes in this flash of inspiration, which I think people think of sometimes it does. But what’s helpful to get there is to go through a process that says, here are the things I value. Here are the experiences I’ve had in my life and my work, here are the things that matter to me. Here are the values that I have. But to answer your question really specifically, I don’t think one has to have this overarching vague idea. I think it’s easier if we do because it becomes our North Star.
Alastair McDermott 04:52
Rochelle Moulton 04:52
And so for me, that’s why I use the phrase be unforgettable in my own marketing because the thing that’s really important to me is that people are able to be authentic and that they can really find joy in using their talents to express something out in the world that serves a specific audience. I just think that’s so important. And I’m not a believer in, oh, let’s work on my weaknesses, right? I want to find somebody else to handle the things that I can’t do that I’m not good at, or they’re things that maybe I want to get I’m okay at that I want to get better at but it’s really about the individual strengths and talents and passions and putting that in service to an audience. I just, I love doing that. It’s why I’m here. I don’t mean here at this moment. I just mean here generally, is to encourage people to do that.
Alastair McDermott 05:45
Right. So okay, there’s so much to unpack there. Can we talk about for a minute, the concept of being unforgettable? So for somebody who’s an individual consultants who wants to be an authority, what does being unforgettable mean? Or how does that look?
Rochelle Moulton 06:00
Okay, so being unforgettable, I think people think about it as like a fame thing. And this is not about fame, this is insight out, were unforgettable when we are in service to something that deeply matters to us. And so it doesn’t matter. If I think that’s a great idea or you think that’s a great idea. It’s the person it’s comes from the inside and says, This is what I want to do, we can use Jonathan as an example, because he talks about it so much is to rid the world of hourly billing, you know, he means it is absolutely 100% clear on what that means. So the be unforgettable, is, it’s always about being in service, it’s not about fame, but it’s about getting really clear and how you bring those things about yourself to bear. So as an example, you know, before you hit the record button, we were talking about your cycling, and that you cycled for an hour to be able to go and sail. So maybe that’s something that you talk about, whether it’s in the podcast, or you just mentioned it in a blog post. It’s not the focus of your consulting or your work, but it’s part of what makes you who you are, and makes you interesting and relatable. So it’s bringing in those little pieces, but the core of it is what is the mission that you’re here to do? What do you get so excited about doing that you can imagine yourself doing it for a really long time. And we all own businesses, right? We don’t have somebody else paying our salary, we work hard, we have a lot of risk associated with what we do. So let’s make it something that we love to do that we’re really good at, and that we can use our best talents and passions and experiences to make it happen.
Alastair McDermott 07:47
Right. So it’s about being really clear about something that you’re really passionate about,
Rochelle Moulton 07:53
And how you transform your audience. Because again, this is all about service. So you have to be clear about how is the client or the buyer better off after you’ve worked with them than they were before? What’s the transformation, and that’s where your big idea is your big idea is buried in that transformation.
Alastair McDermott 08:10
Right. Okay, let’s shift gears from and I just want to talk about your backstory. I talk to Philip Morgan very regularly. And one thing that Philip refers to himself and me in the same way were side door consultants, we came in through the side door where as you’re more of a kind of prototypical front door consultant. So can you tell us a bit about your background in consulting and how that brought you to where you are now?
Rochelle Moulton 08:33
Sure. Yeah, I definitely front door as I’ve been a consultant almost all of my career. So yeah, I started in consulting with a firm as a global HR firm, then called towers Perrin. They’ve changed names so many times, I think it might be Watson something now. So I worked with them for 10 years, I started out in a very technical area of Employee Benefits of all things, and then eventually worked my way into doing M&A work. And what I was doing was the human side of mergers, acquisitions and spin offs. It was how do we take these two companies coming together and create a human resource strategy and programmes that’s, that will work for the combined entity, same thing if we were spinning it off. So I was there for 10 years, and I basically worked my way up. I mean, I started as a junior consultant, and I ran a practice eventually. And I started and ran a satellite office. I was based in Chicago most of the time, but I ran a start up office in Indianapolis from Chicago, and had a lot of clients and you know, loved it until I just decided that, you know, I want to do my own thing. I wanted to be able to serve my clients. I wanted to be able to sell work. Selling is kind of a dirty word in consulting, I wanted to be able to sell the work and I wanted to run a business. I really wanted to learn how to run a business. So after that 10 years I started I co-founded a couple company called Quest Consultants with a partner and grew that over six years, we had a, we had like a core group of about six consultants. And then we had sort of a secondary contract group of total of about 20 people. And then we sold that to Arthur Andersen. Wow.
Alastair McDermott 10:20
Which was yeah, yeah, it was. It was a big deal. Yeah.
Rochelle Moulton 10:24
That was a big deal. And if that, you know, I tell the story, it’s really was my first realisation, or maybe my second of the value of authority. My first realisation was when I started this little company, and in a nobody had heard of us. And when I was convinced I was never gonna say, Hi, I’m Rochelle Moulton, you know, formerly of towers Perrin. And but people valued that the fact that I’d come from there had value to my authority and to my brand. And then the second piece was when we sold to Anderson, and I really realised that having built a name for ourselves, it added a zero.
Alastair McDermott 11:02
Rochelle Moulton 11:04
Alastair McDermott 11:05
Yeah. I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of really fascinating things to dig into there. Let me let me go back to one thing, because because you said that, you know, you sold to Arthur Andersen and you were able to get an extra zero because of your authority. That’s amazing in itself. But when you use the word soul there are selling there, it doesn’t seem to have the same dirty context that it does when it’s used in consulting. So why is it that sales is a dirty word in the context of selling consulting services, but not the consulting firm? Because it seems to be this kind of strange contradiction?
Rochelle Moulton 11:38
Yeah. I never really thought about it that way. It’s true. And well, the firm that I grew up in, you know, selling was a dirty word. And we never said sales. We said marketing. Yeah. So if you heard a consultant, when I was there, in that firm, at that time, say, marketing, they meant selling, they were not talking about the kinds of corporate marketing campaigns that we’re all familiar with. This was definitely about selling. And when I started my firm, selling wasn’t a dirty word. I refuse to make it a dirty word. But it was integrated into the consultation process. So I didn’t believe in having separate salespeople, because I felt like the things we were talking about were big, transformative kinds of projects. And it’s not that a salesperson couldn’t talk about those. But I didn’t meet the right people who could. So our model was, if you are going to work on the project, you are part of the sales process.
Alastair McDermott 12:38
Rochelle Moulton 12:38
And there’s, you know, you just can’t separate those.
Alastair McDermott 12:41
Yeah, it’s amazing. I did a survey of over 1000 consultants at this point, the number keeps ticking up as people find the survey online. And so one of the questions I asked was was about, you know, sales and marketing being negative words. And about 25% of respondents said that, yes, they would, they would consider those negative words in the context of consulting. And there’s, there’s a book that I found, and I can’t remember which of the books that I find on the world of consulting. And and one of the one of the guys said that, you know, that it mentioned, the word sales in the context of a client would could, could be a fireable offence. So it’s, it’s really amazing to see, to see just how entrenched that is, you know, so, yeah, it’s, it’s fascinating, when considering that that’s what we do, you know, like, when we go in to help people like, it’s, it’s, it’s an intricate part of the process, you know?
Rochelle Moulton 13:33
Yeah, I mean, I look at sales as being helpful. And I always did, I mean, I had, you know, I used to tell a story of this one client, who would call me in and say, Okay, I want you to work with me on this. And he would describe the situation, I got this, this is not the one we’re not the right firm for you. And he’s like, but I want to work with you guys. I said, This, isn’t it, we’re not going to do this is not the right project for us. And then he came with a second one. And I said, this is not the right project for us. We, you know, this isn’t right. And the third one, I said, bingo, this is right. And the reason was, it was the first time I was going to work with someone, I wanted to make sure that he was going to be hugely successful. And you know, when you just think about it that way, that’s still selling, but it’s I’m putting the needs of the client and the project ahead of the short term, you know, yay,
Alastair McDermott 14:27
Very serious responsibility.
Rochelle Moulton 14:28
Yeah. And, you know, they don’t make you sign anything. We’re technically we’re not fiduciaries. But that’s how I’ve always thought about it is I don’t, I want to be able to work from my best. And in that big firm, I came in with a full team behind me and I wanted us to do our best work. So if it wasn’t the right project, wasn’t the right project. I just always took a long term view of that.
Alastair McDermott 14:50
Rochelle Moulton 14:51
But that was, you know, that wasn’t the norm there. It was in and I think part of it was that there were a lot of people who were very technical actuaries and they love to do their work. And they were really good at it. I mean, no complaints. It there’s some brilliant people there. But they just this feel that somehow selling that is dirty was was ingrained in them from the beginning with the culture of that firm.
Alastair McDermott 15:16
Yeah. And, and yet they will happily congratulate you on the sale of your firm.
Rochelle Moulton 15:21
Yeah! Way to go!
Alastair McDermott 15:25
Yeah, it’s amazing.
Rochelle Moulton 15:26
Alastair McDermott 15:26
So, okay, so I’m really interested in, in positioning in particular. And, you know, it’s something I’ve been working a whole lot on in my own business and repositioning. And it’s almost felt like, like turning a ship slowly over time, because it’s taken so long. But can you talk about a bit about positioning in the context of, you know, positioning yourself as an authority? So like, what is positioning to you? And how does that work?
Rochelle Moulton 15:52
Well, let me let me sort of draw the picture first, so we can see where positioning fits. So I think of building authority as three pieces that are all interconnected. And the first one is positioning. I’ll talk about that in a second. Then the second one is monetizing, which is how do you create a system to make sure that you’re monetizing your authority because at least the people that I work with ultimately are looking to monetize it in some way. And then the third piece is what I’m calling pollinating. Right? And we usually think of it as publishing, right? Being authority is all about publishing, I think it’s pollinating. It’s, if you think of a bee on a flower, it’s how do we spread these ideas that we have this big idea, from flower to flower to flower, so publishing is one way. And the other way is through relationships. And it’s relationships that are one to one. And it’s there’s some relationships that are one to many. And it’s so some people would use the term engagement, but I think of it as relationships. So let’s go back to positioning. You cannot monetize something until you know what it is. And it’s really hard to publish consistently, if you don’t know exactly how you’re positioning yourself.
Alastair McDermott 17:06
Bought the t-shirt on that one!
Rochelle Moulton 17:07
Yeah. But I mean, yeah, you can do it. I mean, we’ve all done it, right. I’ve done it, too. You can do it. But it doesn’t tell a consistent story. And it’s not really building your authority. I mean, it might get you some new email subscribers or a bunch of likes, and YouTube, but you’re not really building something
Alastair McDermott 17:24
Its so hard. Yeah.
Rochelle Moulton 17:26
So to me positioning is it’s a few things. And it all comes back to what’s your big idea. And when I do work with clients, I pretty much never start with a big idea, because I did that last, actually. But when you think about positioning, we usually tend to focus on the big idea like, oh, be unforgettable. Oh, that’s your positioning? No, that’s the big idea. So positioning is what is your vision? First of all, what’s your big idea? What’s your vision? Why are you here? And then the story that you’re going to tell about how did you get here your origin story? And why are you here? Why is this so important for your audience to get? And, and then for consultants in particular, I think it’s really important to have a point of view. And what the point of view to me is, it’s the planks of your belief system ties to the big ideas, it’s a little bit more of the how, right, so what has to happen for this big idea to have to occur in your audience. And then it’s who’s your target market? Who are you trying to get your niche, and your niche ultimately, is the most important thing. Because until you really understand who you’re trying to reach, it’s gonna be really hard to get them on any kind of a consistent, regular basis. So it’s, it’s that it’s the story, oh, I left out values. It’s also your values. And, you know, marketers look at this and say, you know, what, are they, you know, what are the markers of your brand, I think of it as values because most of us are running solo businesses or with very few employees. And so your values are the business values. And so what are the values that you want to express in your brand, and that’s about positioning to so there could be someone else who does exactly what you you’re doing, Alastair, but their values are different. And so they might come across, maybe they’re like a comedian. Right? Fast talking funny, quick, quick, quick, quick, quick. It’s different, versus a more thoughtful, introspective approach. So you can have similar big ideas, but still express them in a very different way. And that’s what’s really important with positioning. So I just I don’t see how ultimately we can go to the monetizing and the pollinating with any degree of of confidence that they’re going to work until we’ve really dug deep on the positioning.
Alastair McDermott 19:58
Right and So point of view on picking a niche, are those the key parts for you of positioning and the values?
Rochelle Moulton 20:09
Well, it’s, it’s the big idea.
Alastair McDermott 20:11
Rochelle Moulton 20:12
the values to me, I have to have the values, I can’t work on a brand strategy without the values, but the values are more how we’re going to roll it out, I see is more of the action plan, right as the implementation, it’s important, it is strategic. But for me, it’s the big idea. And the point of view, because the point of view is where you have a chance to really distinguish yourself from other people in your space. And when you tie that then to your origin story, or your vision of where you want to go, that’s when you really start creating whitespace.
Alastair McDermott 20:48
Right. So this is this is where you talk about finding finding a hill and put planting your flag. Right?
Rochelle Moulton 20:55
Yep. Yeah. And that’s the scary part. And I just want to be clear, because I think a lot of people think, Oh, yeah, I started my business, I should have this all clear. And I’m gonna plant the flag now. And I’m gonna go forward. And it doesn’t work that way, as I’m sure you found. It didn’t work that way for me, either initially. It’s that it takes some time.
Alastair McDermott 21:12
Rochelle Moulton 21:12
To niche. And most people start out more general and then gradually narrow, as they decide who do I want to work with? What kinds of work do I want to do some people migrate from doing very hands on kind of work to being more strategic. So it’s, there is a, an evolutionary process in that, but I think the important thing is to claim the hill.
Alastair McDermott 21:36
Rochelle Moulton 21:37
whatever hill that is, even if it’s too big of a hill right now, it’ll narrow down but claim it so that you’ve got this consistency that you can build into all of the things you’re working on.
Alastair McDermott 21:47
Right? So I’m fascinated by the the finding of the point of view, because it’s something that it feels like you can’t force it. And I like I’ve worked on this on, you know, for myself, and I’m trying to help other people with this. So how do you how do you find that point of view?
Rochelle Moulton 22:07
Hmm. So let me describe it in two different ways. Because when I work directly with clients where I am doing this for them, I always write the first draft. And they always adjust because once they see it, they’re like, Oh, I get it now. And they can start to play with it. And if you’re starting from scratch, you’re doing this for yourself, that’s kind of a shortcut to do this is to start with a statement, I believe, and create essentially a manifesto. And there’s a gazillion examples of manifestos around, you know, around the digital world. But what that does is it helps you get clear on what really matters. And it doesn’t just have to be what you believe about your area of expertise, like what do you believe about websites, what makes a website great, what makes a consultant website great. It’s also you can add things on how you like to work with people. So I believe every person has value and worth, that’s going to tell you something about how you interact with people. So what I suggest is that, people try this and just keep an open, you know, shoot a paper or something open on your computer. And for the first time, sit down and just keep writing until you can’t think of anything else. But keep that document open for probably a couple of weeks. Because your subconscious is going to keep working on this and something will happen with a client, you’ll go Aha, like you’re like, I don’t work with assholes, I’ve seen less, right. So keep that open. And that I believe, can become the planks of your belief system. The ultimate test, when you turn that into a point of view, is to make sure that no one else would say that exactly the same way that you are. So that it’s I like to look at something and go, Oh, Alastair wrote that,
Alastair McDermott 24:03
Rochelle Moulton 24:03
I can tell that’s his voice. And that doesn’t happen in a nanosecond, you know, first you want to get clear on your point of view. But then you need to start editing and narrowing it down. But just start by, you know, throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Alastair McDermott 24:18
So that means it like it can’t be too short, if that’s the case, right? Because it’s got to have a little bit of your personality in there.
Rochelle Moulton 24:25
Alastair McDermott 24:26
So is that point of view does it come across like, like a statement or a paragraph or something like that? Is that Is that how it ends up – kind of presenting?
Rochelle Moulton 24:35
Well? Yeah, I think it can be different for everybody. I tend to think in bullet points with this kind of thing. And they’re not sound bites, that’s that’s something else. They can have elements of sound bites to them, but I think of them as bullet points. And I would say I mean, I can’t imagine having fewer than five, right? Just as an example. Cause you’re building it out. And, and so words are not so important because very few people actually use the point of view, like on their website, they don’t really use it as a marketing device. I don’t think of it as a marketing device. Actually, I think of it as a positioning device.
Alastair McDermott 25:16
Right. But you don’t need to wordsmith it the same way like you would like your positioning statement.
Rochelle Moulton 25:20
Alastair McDermott 25:21
Rochelle Moulton 25:22
I do think it’s important, though. And one of the things that when I work one to one with clients, they usually love to play with this, because this is something they can really get their hands on, because it’s about how they work. It’s about how they affect the change that they want with their clients and their buyers. And so getting really specific, I think, helps. And then you can pull the sound bites, which are that little marketing messages, you can pull them out of there.
Alastair McDermott 25:46
Rochelle Moulton 25:46
But I like to write it, it’s really for the person, or the firm.
Alastair McDermott 25:51
Rochelle Moulton 25:51
If it’s, you know, more than one person.
Alastair McDermott 25:53
So if you create a point of view statement, or a point of view, let’s just call the point of view. If you create this point of view, and you have those words there, how do you then use that? Like, do you test concepts against it? Or do you use it to? You know, is it the prism that everything is run by or viewed through? How is it actually put into practice?
Rochelle Moulton 26:15
Yeah, I like your word as a prism. Typically what happens and it depends on the stage that the business is in. But it’s definitely a prism for products and services.
Alastair McDermott 26:27
Rochelle Moulton 26:28
And the things that we don’t think of products and services, things that we don’t think of as products and services, but that we use in the same way, like maybe a free speech that you do, or a podcast, right, where you’re not monetizing the podcast, but it’s part of your plan. So what that point of view does is it allows you to see what products and services tie to that. And make sense, given where you want to go with your big idea. So it could tell you, oh, a podcast would be a really good idea. And this is the angle from the point of view. So let’s see, is there anybody else out there that has a podcast with that angle? Oh, yeah, there’s tonne of those. I know, maybe that’s not the right one. What about this, or maybe there’s 10, other podcasts, but they don’t have your sub angle. In other words, if they’re about marketing, but they’re not about marketing for consultants, and so you absolutely use that point of view, it’s probably the most important thing. When you get right down to it, we’re always looking for that big idea. Because the big idea is the nugget that is going to emotionally grab your audience and your ideal client and pull them in. But you got to have the point of view in order to get to the nugget.
Alastair McDermott 27:44
Right. Okay. Okay, so we have to take a step back, we have positioning, and then monetizing and then pollinating. And so what we’re talking about here is we’re talking about the positioning being, having that distinct point of view, or I think, distinct point of view is a term I think Ian Brody uses and then puts up or your point of view, as we’re talking about, and then having a niche. And is there anything else I’m missing from the positioning?
Rochelle Moulton 28:15
Well, the vision, your story, writing, the story is part of it. The story is about you. But it’s the story you tell about that, that helps to engage people in your mission.
Alastair McDermott 28:25
Okay. Let’s talk then about monetizing. So is this about choosing the right business model? Is that Is it as simple as that? Or is there more to it?
Rochelle Moulton 28:35
Well, it starts with the business model first, and to my way of thinking, the business model needs to reflect a way for you to monetize what you need to monetize people have different visions for their business. So one person might say, well, I want to create this, you know, global business, and I want this these people. And so we have to design a business model that gives them the ability to get there. Right. And other people will say, Well, I want the business model that really suits how I want to work. So I don’t want to go to meetings, I don’t want to go to client meetings, I’m fine having a zoom call, I don’t want to go to client meetings. So so you designed it this way. Or you say, you know, I’m not so interested in working one to one, I’d like to work one to many. So then you design some group programmes or you design training where you can have a lower price point with a wider group of people. So it’s about finding the right general model first. And then I think it’s about what are the what are the piece parts that go inside that and how are you going to charge for those like a product service ladder?
Alastair McDermott 29:44
Right. And that ladder then is usually some sort of entry level products. Maybe it’s a maybe it’s a it’s a free opt in, and then an entry level product and then a kind of a premium product. Yeah?
Rochelle Moulton 29:54
Yeah. Yeah. And there can be all sorts of spots in between depending on whether you are more of like a b2b corporate consultant, where you’re getting, you get three big projects a year, and that’s your year, or you’re more of a retainer kind of person, like a lot of PR and communications people where you’ve got, you know, monthly retainers, and those come and go, or you have, you know, something like what you just described? Yeah, very distinct.
Alastair McDermott 30:20
This is the ladder. And okay, let’s talk about the pollinating part, then. Because this, this is interesting, I’m fascinated by that word. And he talked about so publishing and relationships. So can you talk a little bit about how, how that all fits together?
Rochelle Moulton 30:36
Yeah. So the this, this whole concept, the way that you build authority, or that you spread, any idea, really, is that it has to reach a lot of different people has to reach a lot of your target audience people, okay, so this is not about, you know, just indiscriminately spreading, you know, dandelion pollen around the world, this is about finding, you know, your people your niche and spreading that idea. And so one way to do that, is by publishing. And, you know, it’s, you know, in universities, academia, it’s publish or perish, it’s kind of the same here. I mean, you can build a nice little business without publishing, but you probably are not going to build any real authority. So publishing means, you know, typical kinds of things that we all think of it could be a blog posts, articles, they could be published on a wide variety of platforms, the podcast, video, could be in some sort of audio series, there’s all kinds of different ways to publish, but we must publish in order to build authority. But I do think that it’s tempting to think that all we have to do is when we just put it out there, we just publish, you know, put it out there. And yeah, hopefully, people sign up for our list, or they read our piece on Forbes, and they come in and engage with us. But really, relationships are the fuel the underlying fuel. And what happens is when you have a relationship is all of a sudden, it’s a different prospect for publishing your content. And an example is, you know, Jonathan Stark, and I co-host the Business of Authority, that’s a relationship. And that’s how we came to do that, and had we not had that relationship, neither one of us would have that particular asset. So relationships are really the fuel. And it can be as simple as that you’re, you treat a member of the media like a human being and get back to them quickly and help them and you follow up. Or it can be something much bigger, where you have, say, a Facebook group of a couple 1000 people and you’re interacting with them. That’s a relationship too. So I think it’s really important to think of that as kind of the connective tissue that keeps your audience together. And it’s not that you’re in the centre, and they’re all revolving around you, it’s actually that you’re getting lots of different relationships and from side to side, so your your idea can spread faster, as other people start to own it for themselves.
Alastair McDermott 33:14
Okay. Right. Very interesting. And is there any other pieces to this puzzle? Then we have positioning monetization, then pollinating. And is that you you set up your positioning, you pick your business model, you monetize? And then and then you just full steam ahead on this concept of pollinating?
Rochelle Moulton 33:32
Yeah, and I mean, it’s not that you have to do those necessarily in lockstep order. I mean, you can start publishing while you’re still working on your positioning, because if especially if you’re doing this by yourself, I gotta say, this is really hard to do for yourself. Because it’s, I mean, it’s hard to see what’s unique and special about you from the inside. Right?
Alastair McDermott 33:54
Rochelle Moulton 33:54
So there’s, there’s a process. So you can, I found that by starting to publish, as you’re still working through the other things, you start to work out some of the kinks. In fact, it takes away some of the fear about putting things out there, especially when you you’re pivoting is all of a sudden, you’re coming with a different message, and it kind of feels like oh, everything I put out has to be perfect. has to be exactly on point. Exactly. On brand experiment. It’s okay.
Alastair McDermott 34:21
Yeah. Um, the other thing is writing is thinking. And the process of writing really helps. I think Philip Morgan talks a lot about that. And I know that Louis Grenier, who I had on recently, is all about experimentation, and you know, just chip us and put it out there and react and responds to putting stuff out there. The other thing is, I know that David C. Baker says, it’s very hard to read the label from inside the jar.
Rochelle Moulton 34:49
Alastair McDermott 34:50
And that’s, it is very hard to to to work on your own business and to see everything about your positioning in particular, when when you’re on the inside of it, and it’s good to have somebody on the outside to bounce those ideas off into to tell you what you’re missing.
Rochelle Moulton 35:04
Oh, yeah, I mean, I hired people for me. I mean, this is what I do for a living. And I thought, you know, I don’t have the, the two years this is gonna take for me to figure this out myself, I put it together. And then I actually hired somebody to write a bio for me many years ago, like, I think it was 2011 maybe. And, and, and I spent a lot of money for this, you know, short bio, and I didn’t use it, but I used like three pieces of what she wrote for me that were genius. And were worth every penny, I probably would spend three times as much to get that because I couldn’t see it myself. And, and I worked with a brand advertising specialists to help me narrow down this be unforgettable, I’d already use the words, but somehow I couldn’t cut kind of get there. So sometimes you just need to jumpstart something, you just need to go find somebody to help you. It’s in don’t suffer alone, basically. For too long anyway,
Alastair McDermott 36:02
Let me use that to segue into your group coaching. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Rochelle Moulton 36:07
Oh, yeah, so it’s about a year old now. And it’s called authority nation. And it is a group, they’re mostly consultants. But some people have like a service style, you know, intellectual property style business. And we, we have a call a zoom, call twice a month, we crowdsource the topic. So we have one topic per month, and I spend, you know, could be 10 minutes, sometimes it’s, it’s as much as a half an hour, I’m strategically setting up the topic, and then we open it up. So it’s questions. And probably the thing that people find the most interesting is I always go out and find examples of people, you know, in that space, who are doing interesting things, or who did something like that is a lesson on what not to do we have those two. And so we’ll go you know, kind of back and forth, and we’ll talk about that we’ve got a, you know, a hot seat, where we go through somebody’s business. So it’s a mix of that. And then there’s a Slack channel for in between the sessions.
Alastair McDermott 37:06
Cool. Where can people find out about that?
Rochelle Moulton 37:09
RochelleMoulton.com, everything is there, you can see the business of authority. You can see the blog posts, and you can see the programme.
Alastair McDermott 37:17
Cool. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. You just said the words what not to do, can it can I ask you about that? Is there any business failure that you’ve experienced that you can tell us about what you learned from it?
Rochelle Moulton 37:30
Oh, gosh, I you know, it’s like which one?I’ve had plenty. I’ve had plenty. Um, well, it’s interesting. I, one of my business failures, was actually not in consulting per se, but it was when I was in between it was after so I sold my firm to Andersen and then Enron happened. So I was out of a job. And I was trying to decide what to do next. And I’d started this idea of that I would that I would coach and this was 2002. So yeah, that’s almost 20 years ago now. And so coaching, high profile people wasn’t really a thing yet, when when corporations use coaching, it was to get bad performers out the door. So I had this idea that I would do this coaching. And then I realised that what people might the people I knew, which were people who ran HR for Fortune 500 companies, they didn’t get it. They’re like, why would I hire a coach for somebody who’s already doing great. So I was like, this is a bad idea this isn’t working. So I decided I would follow my avocation, which is cooking, I love to cook and eat and food and all that stuff. And so I spent almost a year good nine months, I thought I was going to open a spice shop, and did all of the research. And it was a terrible idea. I couldn’t figure out how to make money. I still don’t know how people make money in retail. I couldn’t figure it out. So yeah, so I spent a year just kind of like, wondering what I’m going to do next. It was sort of like everything like I was experimenting with wasn’t working. And so yeah, I was it was not a good, not a good time, did not feel good.
Alastair McDermott 39:12
How did how did you realise that? You need to stop that and, you know, put the brakes on say, Okay, let’s do something else. What?
Rochelle Moulton 39:20
Well, for me, it’s it’s action. So I actually went and looked at physical spaces, and I got quotes on rent. And then I got quotes on insurance like what like, I never had it like a physical space that was a like a retail store. Like you have to have security and you have to have employees and you have like was all this stuff. And so I kept doing that. And then at the same time was also experimenting with products. I was making things and I was trying some different business model ideas. So I was doing all of that. And then I was like, This is ridiculous. I’m not going to make money at this. And you know, I’m not going to be a dilettante. That’s not how I want to spend my life. I want to make a difference. But the people that I’m working with and this is not it, this is fun for me, but it’s not a business. And so yeah, it was it was for me it was action. I just had to see it and put it together. That’s just how my brain is wired. I have to see it.
Alastair McDermott 40:14
Two final quickfire questions, because we’re just coming to the end. What is your favourite business book? And what is your favourite fiction book?
Rochelle Moulton 40:24
Tough picking one. But my first reaction on the business book is The Trusted Advisor, which has three co authors, one of which is David Maister. Who’s just amazing. But yeah, but but Oh, good. But also Charlie Green, who we’ve had on the show a couple times and
Alastair McDermott 40:40
“The Trust Equation”.
Rochelle Moulton 40:41
Yeah, yeah. And he’s a friend now. But he’s, it’s just a brilliant book about trust, and you don’t have to be an advisor to get value out of it. It’s, it’s brilliant. Um, boy. Did you did you say fiction or nonfiction
Alastair McDermott 40:57
Fiction, teah, do you read fiction?
Rochelle Moulton 40:59
I do. But I, I don’t know if I can tell you a favourite. I have this genre that I read that nobody ever believes when I tell them. I love these spy novels. I love them. And the better that they’re like all over the world,
Alastair McDermott 41:14
Like like LeCarré, John LeCarré and things like that.
Rochelle Moulton 41:16
But he’s a little too… I have trouble with his books, frankly.But I like –
Alastair McDermott 41:23
They’re a bit old school in their point of view, are they?
Rochelle Moulton 41:25
Yeah, I like some of the newer, the newer Clancy books that are… classic Tom Clancy books that he hasn’t written. Mark Greene, he has written a bunch. Yeah, I like those kinds of those kinds of books that have a, you know, a flawed hero. And that usually they’re travelling all over the world and, and having adventure, but mostly what I read besides that, I read biographies that I really, I just love those. And those for me are that’s that’s my passion.
Alastair McDermott 41:53
You’re not the first person to say that. That’s, I’ve seen that as as a common thread as well. Rochelle, thank you so much for being with us today.
Rochelle Moulton 42:02
Well, thank you. Alastair it’s a pleasure.
Alastair McDermott 42:04
Absolutely. So that was a fantastic conversation with Rochelle. So I have some takeaway points and notes here. Rochelle talked about how she sees building your authority as three pieces that are all connected. So there’s your positioning, which we’ll come back to in a second. How do you monetize, so creating some kind of system to make sure you’re monetizing. And the third piece she calls pollinating, and that has two parts. One is publishing, which is spreading your ideas from flower to flower mind to mind, maybe that’s your big idea. And then the second part of the pollination is through relationships and engagement. Okay, so that’s positioning, monetization and pollinating. So back to positioning, you can’t monetize something until you know what it is. And secondly, it’s really hard to publish consistently, if you don’t know exactly how you’re positioning yourself. So it’s all about positioning. And I completely agree with this, because I found it really difficult to launch a podcast because I wasn’t positioned properly. And actually, it took years to get to the stage where I could do that. And it was one of the first indicators for me that I had a problem with my positioning was actually in the publishing part. Okay, so what is positioning, Rochelle talks about positioning as a number of different things together, your vision, your big idea why you are here, your values, your origin story, so how you got here, your point of view, and your target market or your niche. And she says that ultimately, your niche is the most important thing, because until you really understand who you’re trying to reach, it’s going to be really hard to get to them in any kind of consistent, regular way. And I don’t see ultimately how we can go to the monetizing and pollinating with any degree of confidence that they’re going to work until we’ve really dug deep on the positioning. And again, this just gone back to, you know what we’ve talked about before with many guests like Jonathan Stark, and Sara Dunn and Philip Morgan, that positioning is absolutely crucial. So, that’s my takeaways from Rochelle, your positioning, how you monetize and pollinating, and then just digging a bit deeper into positioning and what it’s made up of. So thank you for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe and share this episode, anybody you think could benefit from it. The show notes and all the details from today’s episode should be right there in your podcast player, or there should be a link to them, or check out marketingforconsultants.com. Okay, thanks. See you in the next one.
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