I will walk through a wall to get this job!

Hey Guys, one of the common questions I got from the students who finished my sales training is – what I meant by “being unapologetic'” while pitching yourself as an expert to your clients. Even though I tried my best to explain my point with the help of ‘new restaurant’ and ‘new movie’ example but it seems some of you guys couldn’t relate to it.

Guess what! This morning I was listening to this podcast interview of M Sanjayan on Tim’s Four Hour Work Week podcast while I was out for my morning run. And he shared a hilarious story of how he got himself a top CEO job using a very similar advice he got from his personal board.

I have uploaded the 2 mins. a snippet of that podcast interview on my sound cloud for my own reference and I insist you guys listen to it if you want to gain an unfair advantage over your competing candidates, agencies, and consultants when you pitch yourself for a job or a business deal.

Listen to this 2-min audio as many times it takes until you rewire your brain to become unapologetic when pitching yourself for a deal or a job.

Quick note though: I am not sure if it would be a good idea to say it (I will walk through a wall to get this job) as it is to your client during the sales call but yeah – make sure you convey this idea assertively that – You’re the best person they can find anywhere to solve their burning problem and you will do whatever it takes to solve their problem. And you should get the job!

You’re welcome! 🙂

Free Training: How to make a Sales Call and Convert more Prospects into Clients?

I still remember how it was like – making my first few sales calls. One of the clients whom I was pitching to was based in Germany and I was trying to sell him a $34K Web Development project. I had worked really hard to understand his complex requirements, create a specification document and get the proposal right. I knew I had done a job with the proposal because the client had already expressed that he was ok with the cost & timeline. All he wanted was to speak with someone from the team on phone before he could make the final decision.

So it was me against this German guy and his partner on Skype. I was so nervous when I started the call that I was hoping that no one picks up 🙂

As much as I wanted that sale to meet my sales targets and justify the salary I was paid, I just wasn’t sure how to take it forward on a Skype call.

Needless to say, the call was a complete failure and I couldn’t convince him to hire us. Even worse, he ended-up hiring our competitor company in Chandigarh.

I know I didn’t do a good job with the way I conducted the call. I went into the call unprepared. I was worried about even the smallest things (which appeared big then) such as whether he will be able to understand my Indian accent. I kept blanking out as I was trying to roll my tongues on the R (aaarrrrs) and blowing extra air on every P (ppphhiii) (Yeah, the client was German and like I said, I was clueless…)

I was under pressure also because my previous 3-4 calls were absolute failures too and I wanted this one to convert really badly.  I guess I wanted that sale so badly that I blew it.

Fast forward now – as I am writing this post, I must have done hundreds, if not thousands of sales calls and perfected my skills to an extent that I am able to convert almost 1 out of every 4 sales call into a paying client.

But not having the sales techniques I have developed now; and going on sales call like a nervous cat who is just been asked to jump into a tub of cold water – the memories and pain of losing those sales is still fresh in my brain.

But it doesn’t have to be this way for you. I have put together the above free training video to help you go on your next sales call more prepared and with the right mindset to convert your prospect into Sale. 

You can use the principles in this training video to conduct sales call on Skype or Phone (locally or internationally) to sell services such as: Web Development, Digital Marketing,  Designing, Writing, etc. Follow the techniques and you will sound 10x smarter to your clients and you will close more calls.

I wish someone had created a resource like this for me when I started. Nevertheless, you guys have me 🙂

Watch it and let me know what you think…

Want to learn more advanced Sales techniques and digital marketing? Apply to my Accelerator Program

Become an Amazing Business Writer in 5 Minutes.. Seriously!

Following my Free Training Video on Writing & Blogging, I have received several emails from my students and readers. Many of them have shared their writing challenges, while others asked me to share my feedback on their write-ups. I read some great copies and some really shitty drafts (I am proud of you guys!).

After reviewing these copies, I am able to spot a pattern in their writing mistakes and with this post, I want to share that pattern with anyone and everyone who wants to become a ‘powerful’ writer:

The students whose articles were unimpressive used too many words to communicate their idea, and thus their sentences and paragraphs looked fuzzy, unorganized and thus – weak. 

And now – here is the permanent remedy to cure weak writing.

I want you to read this snippet from one of my favorite write-ups on writing. Read it at least 5 times now and once every day until this simple idea gets hardwired into your writing brain muscle:

Business writing is about clarity and persuasion. The main technique is keeping things simple. Simple writing is persuasive. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. Don’t fight it.

Simple means getting rid of extra words. Don’t write, “He was very happy” when you can write “He was happy.” You think the word “very” adds something. It doesn’t. Prune your sentences.

Humor writing is a lot like business writing. It needs to be simple. The main difference is in the choice of words. For humor, don’t say “drink” when you can say “swill.”

Your first sentence needs to grab the reader. Go back and read my first sentence to this post. I rewrote it a dozen times. It makes you curious. That’s the key.

Write short sentences. Avoid putting multiple thoughts in one sentence. Readers aren’t as smart as you’d think.

Learn how brains organize ideas. Readers comprehend “the boy hit the ball” quicker than “the ball was hit by the boy.” Both sentences mean the same, but it’s easier to imagine the object (the boy) before the action (the hitting). All brains work that way. (Notice I didn’t say, “That is the way all brains work”?)

That’s it. You just learned 80% of the rules of good writing.

You’re welcome.

Image credit

Be Honest with yourself (No it’s not that simple)

Are you an honest person? Obviously, you’re not!  We all lie in one form or the other. And the most damaging lies are not the ones we tell others but the ones we tell ourselves. And the tragedy is that we have become such master liars that we can literally ‘kid ourselves into kidding ourselves’. Wait a minute – what the rat-ass is that supposed to mean. Let me explain because if you can understand this seemingly obvious concept, you can unlock doors to some massive positive changes awaiting you. So pay attention.

Knowing when someone is lying to us is easier than catching ourself lie to ourself. It’s like proofreading your own write-up. You read the paragraph 5 times and it reads perfectly. Gleaming with confidence, you show the same write-up to a friend and she spots a typo in her first glance even before she starts reading it. You just wrote ‘the’ twice (the-the is my favorite typo).

Call it a rare design flaw in God’s creation but our brain is not that good when it comes to finding its own faults. It has evolved to be seen right, to be seen as a hero.

When I ask you – are you honest with yourself? Your brain says YES the next second. Why? Because that’s how it’s designed to work, fundamentally to protect itself. But protect against what you must wonder? It protects itself from pain. The pain caused by our own actions or by others; actions or words that don’t go well with our self-image. Being called a liar doesn’t go well with our own self-image. So we lie.

When something challenges or disturbs our self-image, our brain lie as an impulse reaction. It tells itself a beautiful story that goes well with its self-image.
So when we light another cigarette, put a slice of pizza in our mouth, order another round of alcohol, open a porn site (yet again), open Facebook or Instagram every 5 minutes, talk to an ex, hit the snooze button of an alarm clock – we’re telling ourselves stories.

Has it ever happened to you – someone telling you that how much they love you but instead of feeling their love, you feel used? Can you imagine what story they are telling themselves?

Likewise, the people who cheat with their business partner, justify their misdeed by telling stories of their hard work, sacrifice and how they deserve what they actually stole.

When we lie to ourselves, we bury the lie deep and plant a fucking garden to conceal it. Lie, what lie? Look at that magnificent garden – your mind tells you.

What a tragedy.

Self-dishonesty is the biggest roadblock to self-knowledge and it’s a bigger problem because everything in our life flows from our self-knowledge – wealth, confidence, love, happiness, respect… literally, everything starts with self-knowledge. Without it, we make bad career decisions, bad financial investments, put our time and energy into wrong places, make wrong friends, choose wrong business partners, even choose a wrong life partner. Without self-honesty and thus self-knowledge, we can never know what we want and what makes us happy.

Instead of doing things we’d like to do, we do things ‘we like to like’ to do. Our life becomes a loop of lies, wrong decisions, and resulting unhappiness and the only way to break which is being ‘actually-actually’ honest to ourselves. Again, not the story of being honest, but actually being self-honest.

So next time, you tell yourself a story, catch yourself in the moment and ask – Is this a truth or a story I am telling myself to avoid pain? Introspect.
Now – let me ask you again – are you an honest person?

How to Blog in any Niche or Vertical (even if you think you’re not a Writer)

Just wanted to let you know that I have made one of the modules of my digital marketing course free and accessible to everyone for a limited time period – It’s a free training in blogging & writing…

Here is what you will learn:

  • How to come up with topics & ideas for writing?
  • How to have your own writing process? (I will share mine)
  • The essential rules of writing that I wish I knew when I started
  • How to write titles that make people read?
  • How to publish your articles in top media publications, such as Forbes, Moz, etc?
  • How to stop making grammar mistakes starting from today?
    And a more…!

Why did I make it free?
Because one – I promised you when you subscribed that I will provide you free resources from time to time. And two – I have noticed that many of my students and others who are interested in joining my digital marketing program have convinced themselves that they can’t write. I can see their frustration and the paralyzing effect of their writing inability on their personal and professional growth. So I thought – I should share my own blogging techniques, strategies, and workflow.

Anyway, make sure you attend this free training while you can because I might soon delete this video to limit its access to my paid students.

Thoughtfully Honest or Mindlessly Blunt?

We all have friends and relatives who wear ‘I am blunt’ as a badge of honor. They seldom call themselves a liar, selfish or greedy person in public introductions but they are fine calling themselves a blunt person; as if they have accepted that it’s part of their personality; as if it’s acceptable in our society to be blunt.

On the other hand, my friends who see their blunt nature as a weakness tell me how helpless they feel in their professional and personal lives. They’ve shared with me how they find themselves buried under guilt because of the pain they have caused to themselves and to others with their blunt nature. They are unable to point at the source of their pain but they suffer every day.

Why they can’t point to the source of their pain? Because their blunt nature is deep seeded in their urge, to be honest. Honesty – which is seen in our society as one of the un-challenged heroic traits. They think of their bluntness as their honesty; nothing less, nothing more.

We speak bluntly when we’re in a hurry to judge; the cost of which is bigger than we can imagine. 

Marriages crumble, employees lose their job, egos get shattered, people get murdered, and there are others who go into irrecoverable depression, just because someone couldn’t keep his or her mouth shut or didn’t make an effort to use the right words, at the right time – to tell his / her honest truth.

People who call themselves blunt are unable to distinguish between honesty, bluntness, and offense. They keep crossing lines and before they know – people start looking at them as a conflictive personality. They can’t stop being “honest” (at least in their own eyes) and thus their miseries continue to pile-up. They start feeling ignored and it only makes them blunter. They feel the people around them don’t deserve to be treated well (because few people treat them well).

Wherever they go, conflicts follow.  They live with one big relief though – at least they are being honest.  

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against honesty. Of course not. The last thing you want is to be a liar or develop a reputation of a liar. Being dishonest would be the worst thing.

What I am against though is when people take shortcuts, act sloppy in the name of honesty and hurt others and even themselves. They run into troubles, miss opportunities and suffer because of their mindless pursuit of honesty. They act honestly not because they are honest, but because it’s an easier option for taking.

When someone says they are being blunt, often what they are seeking is an approval for being sloppy. They are about to take the easier option to judge the other person without checking facts or listening to other person’s story and yet come out as a hero. 

It’s easier to call someone fat & ugly than to talk to them about their medical or mental condition. It’s easier to tell your wife that your friend’s wife is a better cook than to first ask how was her day? What has lead to that food that’s on your table?

It’s easier to say the first word that strikes your brain than to take few seconds to think of the right words before saying it. 

If you’re blunt, you will frequently fail to get the desired outcome. You will offend more people with your honest brain farts and get you into avoidable conflicts. Being blunt is also a sure way to get less done. Demonstrating your management skills to outshine your boss (because you honestly think that you’re better than him, even if you really are) will only make him insecure and thus will only delay your promotion.

People also use honesty for their own selfish reasons. Just because they’ve made a mistake and can’t live with the burden of it, they decide to tell it to others using harsh words, so that they can feel better about themselves.

If it’s our duty, to be honest with others, it’s also our duty to be kind & compassionate to them. Honesty doesn’t give us a license to hurt them.

Our honest truth is a reality for someone and he or she is living it – a battle you know nothing about. And if we want to practice radical honesty, we must first practice it with ourselves. The biggest lies are often the ones that we tell ourselves, not to others. When we’re honest with ourselves, we know about our shortcomings, our own weaknesses, our own incompetencies as a person. We’re able to empathize with others more and hence we are more motivated to be diligent with our words.

Indeed we must say the truth even if it’s the most brutal and painful one. Often life doesn’t give us any other choice but, to be brutally honest. But what about the times when we do have a choice. Moments, when we can save someone from a heartbreak or pointless humiliation by keeping a harmless secret, limiting the information or using the right words to express the truth. The times we can be thoughtfully honest but not mindlessly blunt.

Artist: Sophie Blackall

Inspiration is for amateurs

“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will, through work, bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea’.”
Chuck Close

How to start a Profitable Consulting Business in India or anywhere in the world, in any industry or niche?

Read the original post at Yourstory!

We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.
– Confucius

Before I tell you about how to start a consulting business in India or perhaps anywhere in the world, let me rewind the clock by 4 years when I made the decision to begin my entrepreneurial journey and recently started I was working as a Business Development Manager in one of the best companies in the Chandigarh tri-city, drawing a decent 50K per month salary, which even though should have been enough for my lifestyle in those days (no girlfriend, no wife, no kids…) but given that I had other financial commitments, such as rents, EMIs, credit card bills, it was tight. I wanted to earn more but considering non-financial factors such as my employer company was so cool – I could play video games, table tennis at office and the fact that people & culture in the company were so amazing, it just kept me hanging…until my entrepreneurial itch become unbearable and my monkey brain started pushing me outside my comfort zone.

And then the big day came – my 30th birthday. When I blew those 30 candles, I wanted to stop ‘spreading’ and start growing in one direction. I wanted to consolidate. Suddenly, I stopped taking interest in others and started taking interest in myself and do the things that I really wanted to do. I always wanted to live my life on my own terms. I wanted to create something I could call my own. But now at 30, I was feeling anxious about my aspirations because I felt that the time was running out.

Going to the office with those mixed feelings was weird – I was happy with my job but was unhappy being in it. I also became more inquisitive. Why are we doing it? Why aren’t we focussing on that? Would I have done it differently? Not a productive thing to do if you’re an employee. I used to tell myself how I deserved more and that I am capable of achieving a lot more. I wanted more challenges, more money, more growth, more freedom than what my job could offer. I had been doing same things for over 6 years of my job – leaving home at 9, coming back around 8 – working on other people’s ideas, taking instructions even if when they made little sense.

It was a risk I had to take for myself. And so I did. I resigned from my job and the reason I gave to my boss was an honest one – ‘I want to do my own thing’.

Why am I giving you all this background? Because I want to tell you that you’re not the only one who is anxious, confused or even scared. The process of leaving a full-time job and starting an own venture is one of the biggest decisions we take in our lives. My friends who have gone through this process tell me how they felt they were playing with fire. Though, it wasn’t how I felt when I made my switch. I was a bit more strategic. I found my first client in the first month of starting my business, giving me a net-profit of $3000 in my first month. But that’s a separate story.

So I am writing this essay for those who are about to start their consulting business and need an extra-push and guidance from someone been there and done it, to help them prepare, start and grow. These tips will help you if you’re starting a consulting business in UI Designing, web development, quality assurance, testing, digital marketing, accounting, etc. It will also help you if you’re an independent writer, nutritionist, photographer, journalists, accountant and looking to get high paying clients and grow faster. Let’s dive right in.

1) Relax – the worst case scenario isn’t as worse as you might imagine
It’s comfortable getting a fixed salary in your bank account every month. Pretty much opposite of what entrepreneurship is about, especially consulting business when you’re starting out. Thus, let me acknowledge the ‘extra’ nervousness you might feel when you have a family which depends on you for a living. Leaving a settled job then and starting your first company becomes twice as hard. All the internal chatter – ‘I have kids going to a good school’, ‘What if I don’t get work for 3 months’, etc.

Indeed, the stakes are high because your adventures and mis-adventures affect not just you but your whole family. Thankfully, the worse case scenario isn’t as bad as you might think. The worse case is that your business might fail miserably and you won’t make a single dime. What will you do then? Simple, go back and get a new job. Obvious, right? No, it isn’t. I have seen how my friends seem scared to death thinking about the worst case scenarios. Like the world will come to an end if their decision doesn’t work out.

2) Can’t find a partner? Start alone…
Starting your first business alone is often frightening. You look for support – a comrade, a business partner. It’s only natural. When we’re children, we look for parents and teachers to support us. As we grow up, we look for a life partner. When we start a business we look for a business partner. We seek help and moreover – we don’t want to fail alone. Nothing wrong with that but what’s important is that you partner with someone for the right reasons. Someone who can add real value and that’s why it’s important that you take your time. But you don’t have to wait until you find someone. Start alone. You’re more likely to get better partnership opportunities after you start.

3) It’s hard to sell a service, it’s easier to sell a solution
Consultants who solve average problems, make an average income. The consultants who solve burning problems, make bigger names and bigger incomes. So when you decide to become an independent contractor or consultant, you must ensure that the problems you solve are burning in nature. The problems that give your potential clients sleepless nights. Let me give you few examples: weight problems, financial problems, data security problems, fitness problems, nutrition problems, technical problems, relationship problems, etc. People who have these problems really suffer and thus see value in paying a premium to ensure they solve it as soon as possible.

So while pitching clients, don’t sell them services, processes, and systems. Your prospects and clients don’t care about them. Believe me – they even don’t even care how hard you work. The only thing they care about is whether or not you can solve their burning problem. If you can prove them that you can solve their burning problem better than anyone else, consider yourself hired.

4) Price yourself high
It’s funny when you start charging for your services. I still remember how it felt. I was nervous and even scared. Who would ever pay me for my services? How do I justify? What do I say? What do I charge? What if they say no? All the internal chatter. Four years into running my consulting business, I finally learned that for my ideal clients who are convinced that I can solve their problems, the price is trivial. They will be happy to pay me a premium to get their problem solved. Paying me high will only increase the overall value they derive in hiring me.

On the flip side – if my clients are telling me that they can’t afford my services, it’s not an operational or management problem. It doesn’t mean I should lower my price – It’s actually a marketing problem. It means I am reaching the wrong audience. I just need to tweak my marketing to attract the clients who can afford my services and filter out the ones who can’t.

5) Start with a niche to develop an expertise
The most terrible way to start your consulting business is to create a generic business that solves everyone’s problem. When everyone is your potential client, no one is. It’s the surest way to guarantee failure.

Want to guarantee success? Start with a niche. For example, if you’re a fitness expert who helps clients shed weight and gain muscles, what unique value are you offering? How are you different from other fitness experts out there?

A better way would be to target a niche. So instead of saying, “I help my clients shred weight and gain muscles”, you can create far more value for your clients by ‘adding your expertise’. Thus, your clients are more likely to hire you and pay you a premium price if you say that – “I help women in the age of 40s to 60s shed weight and gain muscle mass”. Or, “I help women between 25 to 35 lose pregnancy weight and gain muscles”. Now that’s specific.

Targeting a specific niche was of the best business decisions I made when I started my own consulting company Instead of providing digital marketing consulting to anyone, I chose online fashion retailers. Not only my clients pay for my expertise in online fashion, but the marketing is far manageable when you’re a niche player. My website ranks globally on the first page for ‘Fashion e-commerce” and other sets of keyword phrases.

6) Package yourself as a specialist
Let me ask you a question – who makes more money – a general physician or a brain surgeon? You got it. A brain surgeon because he is a specialist. A brain surgeon sees fewer patients and yet earns exponentially more than a general physician, who works with more patients every day and yet makes less money. Why? A brain surgeon is a specialist and general physician is a generalist.

When you start your consulting business, you have to make a deliberate decision that you don’t want to be a generalist. For example, instead of saying I can help you with your digital marketing to grow your business (the general physician way), your clients will see more value in hiring you, if you offer them to grow their sales using Facebook paid ads. In other words, a Facebook marketing expert can charge higher and thus make more money than someone who calls himself a digital marketer. Similarly, a fashion copywriter or a sales copywriter can make more money than a generic copywriter who does all kinds of writing.

7) Getting clients results is more important than getting new clients
When we’re about to start, our biggest worry is how to get clients? Valid concern. But often consultants and contractors get so busy chasing new clients that they forget the most important thing – ‘getting clients results’. How many inches have you helped your clients lose? How many zeros have added to their sales numbers? I am talking about success stories and case studies. In the business of consulting, a portfolio means nothing if there are no success stories. Getting new clients can’t guarantee growth but getting client’s results can guarantee exponential growth.

Luckily, If you follow my above 2 advises of focussing on a niche and becoming a specialist; getting your clients’ results won’t be that hard. When you do the same thing repeatedly for clients in the same vertical, you become world class at it. Success stories follow automatically.

8) Separate your business and personal accounts
I have struggled in keeping-up my finances for a long time. I started as a proprietorship firm. I was accepting payments in my savings account and I used to spend money from the same account. I did the same thing with my credit card. I had two credit cards and I was using them randomly for personal and office transactions. I realized my mistake later when I sat down with my CA to file taxes for the first year of my business. There were hundreds of ATM, credit card & online transactions and I had little recollection of why I made each one of them. I couldn’t even identify many transactions and didn’t know if they were personal or professional? It was one royal mess.

You don’t need to repeat my mistake. When you start, make sure you use separate bank accounts and separate credit cards for personal and office expenses. Don’t mix things up. For personal expenses, transfer a fixed amount from business account to your personal spending account. Furthermore, you can have a 3rd bank account and you can use it as a savings account (never spend from that account). This is the only way you can know your profits, expenses, and do savings. It’s basic stuff. Can’t believe, I didn’t know about it when I started.

9) Prepare yourself mentally & physically
Running a business is tough. It requires mental & physical strength. That’s why it’s important for you to keep working on your brain muscles to manage your stress before it manages you. Here is what I do to manage my own stress:

– Meditate: I meditate for 18 minutes daily. Why 18 minutes? Because that’s how long this guided meditation video is. Sometimes, I switch to Sam Harriss’ guided meditation. This morning ritual works like magic and resets my brain every before I start my day.

– Workout daily: I spare at least 30 minutes every day in the morning or evening for running. You can go hit the gym, swim, dance, do yoga or whatever you find most moving.

– Develop a reading habit: There is a direct correlation between the habit of reading books and success. Need proof? Try to find a person who is successful & happy and doesn’t read many books. I am yet to find such a person. I read 30 mins in the morning and then 30 mins before I go to sleep. Obviously, I read longer over the weekend.

“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.
― Marcus Aurelius, the Great Roman Emperor

10) Fire bad clients
When you get paid to do someone else’s work, it’s easier to fall into the victim trap. You have to deal with thankless clients who have the habit of writing their email subject in upper case (I hate it when someone does that). Everything is marked as urgent and all their task emails end with an ‘ASAP’. They are just waiting to be upset about everything and rarely appreciate good work.

Let’s not judge them. I am sure the clients I fired had their valid reason to be arrogant and unreasonable. They had pressure from their investors. They had issues in their personal life. Their website got hacked. They skipped their breakfast when they wrote that unpleasant email. Or may be that’s the only way they know to get their work done.

Having worked with dozens of such clients, I know it’s always hard to get results to such clients. And on the other hand – the clients whom I have served the longest and delivered the best results are always friendly, reasonable and professional.

So what do I do? I screen my prospect clients from their survey responses and the way they talk to me during the sales call. And after the project is over, if I notice synergies missing, I wait for the right time and fire the client to minimize further damage. Furthermore, I can tell you from my own experience that every time I have fired a bad client, God goes out of its way to ensure I get a ‘nice’ client almost immediately.

11) You don’t have to be an asshole to be profitable
I started my career in business development and got my sales training under some of the most skillful salespeople when it comes to selling software & marketing services. I had weekly and monthly sales targets and almost everything was fair as long as I achieved them. It was OK to lie to a client. It was OK to over promise and under deliver. The delivery wasn’t important, closing the ‘damn’ sale was. Even though, I always managed to keep my sales supervisors happy but at the personal level – achieving my targets never made me happy. I knew that the way I was selling was wrong and unethical. I changed multiple companies in the process until I joined my last company (before I started my consulting business), where I learned that I need not be an asshole salesman to grow. I learned working there that I could be honest to my prospects and yet close the project at a premium rate because clients value honesty. I don’t need to fake. I can be nice & honest to a client, get them awesome results and still make tons of money.

12) Develop a consistent writing routine
The best opportunities have knocked my door because I have a writing routine. My write-ups got featured by Forbes. I got featured in the management textbooks of Bloomsbury and Fair child publications, which is read in the colleges and universities around the world. I got contacted by Swarovski, Switzerland to work with them and other unicorns offered me some amazing business opportunities. All because I follow a simple routine of blocking 6 hours every week for writing. And see – you have found me today because I spent around 15 hours writing this piece together and if you like it – may be you contact me and we do amazing things together.

There is little value in keeping your knowledge and daily experience to yourself. You forget them and they never see the light of the day. On the other hand, there is an unmatched marketing value when you develop a consistent writing routine. Even if you can spare just 4 hours every week, it’s great. Remember, writing is the easier part of the overall writing process. What’s harder? To sit down on a chair for 2 hours.

And if you think you’re a good writer but just don’t have time for it, let me tell you – it’s easy to never write and tell yourself a story that you are a writer. If you think you can write, just start writing. Moreover, better good writers are also better thinkers. When you learn how to write, you automatically learn how to think clearly – a skill which helps you make better business decisions.

13) How to scale-up your revenue beyond 6-figures
There are only so many clients you can work with when you’re an independent consultant or contractor. And thus, there comes a time when you feel limited in terms of your income potential – when you want to scale-up your growth by being able to work with multiple clients at the same time and go from 6-figure income to 7-figure and beyond.

How do you do that? Build softwares or informational products for your target audience. And that’s the best part of starting a consulting or freelancing business. When you spend so much time in solving problems of the same target audience, you start to know them as well as they know themselves. You know about their problems fears, and desires. You know what keeps them up at night and you know their emotional triggers. Smart consultants know that this knowledge is worth gold. You can use it create million dollar informational and software products. For example, a fitness expert who specializes in helping women in their 40’s lose weight and gain muscle can create an online training program. Similarly, a quality assurance consultant can use his knowledge and experience to create better softwares for its target niche.

If you look at my consulting website – I sell ebooks & online courses for online fashion retailers and fellow consultants to increase my revenue potential.

14) Keep working on your communication
I know this is one is obvious but this essay won’t be complete without it. Consulting business is a business of communication. It doesn’t matter whether you’re helping your clients lose weight, gain muscle, get secured, make money, save time, etc; your client’s perceived and actual value depends greatly on your communication with them -how well you communicate during the sales process to turn them into a client and then how you communicate with them to keep them as a client. The best example is to look at the best doctors – the ones who are most successful and make the most money are the ones who are the best communicators. They have the ability to make a patient feel better just by talking to them during the diagnosis.

If you want to grow your business rapidly, be ‘strategic’ with the way you communicate with your prospects and clients.

Now is the greatest time to join the consulting & gig economy. Uber drivers are getting paid for taking people from point A to point B; and ecommerce consultants like me who get paid to help online fashion retailers market their ecommerce business. If you’re an amazing photographer or a journalist, you don’t have to go and work with Times of India. You have more options. You can start your independent brand by your own name. Just blog, share and there you go. You might make less money at the starting of the curve but if you get your ducks in a row – you can command more freedom, more money, and more satisfaction by doing something you actually love doing. 20 years from now, the independent consultants and contractors will only have brighter future with more growth options.

I hope you learned something new from this article and that you use it as a resource as you start your own consulting business. If you have any queries, leave them as a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.

The Self-defeating Inner Voice

‘Listen to your inner voice’ advice is like learning to make a cup of tea when the only part of the recipe you heard is “…and then you add milk…”. Add milk? How much? When? What do I add before that? Cow milk? Buffalo milk? Milk causes cancer… doesn’t it? In the end, you’re only left with milk; there is no tea.

What’s the most challenging part of quitting your job and starting your own business? I can tell you from my own experience and conversations with my other solopreneur friends that after you take the decision and start your business, your biggest enemy is your own self defeating voice and mental chatter. And that’s why starting your own business is harder when you have worked few years in a job set-up; when you get used to of the idea of working under a bosses and managers, taking directions from others and getting rewards and punishments for it.

But then – what happens when you quit the job and become your own boss, when no one cares what time you reach the office, how many holidays you could apply, how many hours you put in a day or how productive your were in those hours? Well, that’s when your inner devils try to become your boss and take over.

If you have been through the process of leaving your job and starting your own entrepreneurial journey, you will would that it only feels liberating for a week and after that – a fight starts between you and your inner voice. This or that? Now or when? Me or them…within couple of weeks you start wishing you had a boss again.

Not that you didn’t have an inner voice when you were an employee. Of course you always had an inner voice but when you have a boss at work, you are so busy listening to her that it’s easier to ignore all the internal chatter.

I can tell you from my 4 years of relationship with my own inner voice – listening to my inner voice without moderation only made me a mess and had a paralyzing effect on me, making it much harder for me to be disciplined, creative, and efficient – the most essential skills you need to successfully run a business.

Here some real life examples of some of my inner voice in the first year of starting my business, as I can still recall them very fresh in my memory.

Morning – when I wake up (my phone alarm ringing)
Hmm, Nice distant music playing, who cares, I am not listening..
Aah, wait – it’s about to end, can’t leave it unfinished (I often find myself stuck the climax of my dreams, especially the morning ones)
You poor thing – you worked so hard yesterday – you need more rest

Before I go for my morning run
You’re too late.
Look it’s so sunny already
Look at those dirty shoes, buy a new pair first

When I sit down to write an article
Dude, this table is a mess – clean it first
What a bad topic – who wants to read that
Wipe that god damn dust on your laptop screen
I need another cushion to rest my back
This is rubbish. Nobody is going to read it.
Aren’t you feeling hungry? Let’s take a round to the kitchen

When I am about to send quotation to client 
Dude, you’re going to give him a heart attack with that price
Can you even deliver what you’re promising him
You need to add more meat to this proposal
He isn’t going to buy, you’re wasting your time

You can imagine how rest of the day goes, if I keep listening to every inner voice.

Every time I had to write a piece of article, get on a client call, send a quotation, I have to defeat my inner voice, ignore the brain farts that keep telling me – ‘why I shouldn’t do it?’.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t listen to your inner voice. It’s impossible to not listen to yourself; after all that’s your brain talking to you and you got to listen. All I am saying is that if you want to start a business as a solopreneur – you will have to learn to stick to your plan and build the brain muscle to moderate your self defeating inner voice. You should know when to listen to him and when to shut him up and get things done. Without developing this ability, if you let your inner voice take over your actions – you will find yourself running in circles.

Just sit down, stay there – commit yourself to get it done now. Get used to of the discomfort. Perhaps, learn to make peace with it. That’s the only way you can calm your self defeating voice and get yourself into the zone of creation when you will make amazing art, write winning emails, create kick-ass proposals  and get things done.

Image Credit: The sound of silence