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.
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 if you have enough cash to sustain a week, a month, or a 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, sebatical, walkabout, or vacation is time that you can spend:
- Working on your own products (ebooks, courses, trainings, software…)
- Working on improving your business (reading books, taking courses, attending trainings, improving operations, making a marketing plan, updating your website…)
- Improving your underlying business systems (marketing, sales, funnel optimization, service optimization, messaging…)
- Not working (book that ticket to Costa Rica and send 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, I think, is to budget for it. Heck, think of it as ‘hiring’ yourself for a week or a month to work on your business.
That sounds fun to me.
It doesn’t have to be ‘feast’ or ‘famine.’
It can be ‘feast’ or ‘freedom.’