I have a bone to pick with a phase in the consulting industry: feast or famine.

  • Feast. When work is good. You’re booked solid.
  • Famine. When work is bad. Your pipeline is dry.

I think there’s another part here that we aren’t seeing: the time and attention we’re able to put towards working on our own business.

When you’re in feast mode, you’re booked solid and turning away work. And it’s very tempting when the work keeps coming to say yes to ‘just one more’ project — and skip the time you’d spend working on your business.

Don’t get me wrong, feast is good. Making money is good.

But there is a cost here that a lot of consultants — myself included — often pay without realizing it: we give up the time we’d be spending on our business and focus on the client’s business.

Meanwhile, in famine, we switch from having a scarcity of time to having an abundance of time available to work on our business.

However, the critical question is always “Do I have enough cash to sustain another week/month/quarter with no incoming client work?”

If you don’t, then focusing on a strategy to get more clients makes the most sense.

But if you do have that cash, if you can afford to take a month off form client work, you’re now in the position to spend time working on your business (or not working, if you like).

This break, sabbatical, walkabout, or vacation is time that you can spend:

  • Working on your own products (e.g., ebooks, courses, trainings, software)
  • Working on improving your business (e.g., reading books, taking courses, attending trainings, improving operations, making a marketing plan, updating your website)
  • Improving your underlying business systems (e.g., marketing, sales, funnel optimization, service optimization, messaging)
  • Not working (e.g., book that ticket to Costa Rica and spend a month in a condo on the beach, swimming in the ocean every day)

I think there’s a freedom in taking time off from client work. And the trick is to budget for it.

Heck, you could even think of it as you hiring yourself for a week (or a month) to work on your business.

That sounds valuable to me.

It doesn’t have to be ‘feast’ or ‘famine.’ It can be ‘feast’ or ‘freedom.’

But that requires having the resources — clients, cash, capital, etc. — to free yourself up to work on your business.

If you want to escape from the Feast or Famine rollercoaster, what’s your plan? What steps are you taking? Hit reply and let me know.