How to Start Positioning Yourself for Productized Consulting

The other day I was talking to a friend and they mentioned they wanted to get into productized consulting. Specifically he was interested in serving as a CTO for companies and somehow packaging that.

I told him it was going to be challenging for a couple reasons:

  1. He just got into freelancing and
  2. Serving as a CTO doesn’t solve a specific enough pain for businesses

I wasn’t telling him this to discourage him. In fact, I loved his ambition. I just thought he was getting a little ahead of himself.

What he and I suspect you actually need is a better road map to get into productized consulting.

Damnit Jim, I’m a Consultant, Not a Freelancer

The first thing you need to do is to start positioning yourself as a consultant instead of a freelancer. I love Brennan Dunn’s definition of a consultant being someone who is both a freelancer and a coach. Coaches in sports are valuable because they help guide their teams to success.

As a ‘coach’ of your clients the role is no different. You just need to know where your client is with their business today and take the appropriate steps to guide them to success.

“Show Me the Money!”

Success can mean any number of things. If you want to get into productized consulting though, it should mean one thing: making your client more money.

That is why something like ‘being your business’s CTO’ is a hard sell. It may help a business but what exactly about it helps make the business more money? The technology recommendations? The strategic planning? The hiring?

If you can’t specify exactly how you’re going to help make a business more money it’s going to be hard to sell them on your packaged services.

Aim Small, Miss Small

This brings us to the second stop on the path to productized consulting: focusing on a consulting niche. Niche here means the value being delivered and not the business type. Good examples are

conversion optimization (e.g. Nick D’s Draft Revise) team training like (e.g. Jeff Casimir’s Jumpstart Lab) adding a payment model to a site (e.g. Pete Keen’s Payola)

Once you’ve identified the niche to work in, experiment. What tools do you like to work with? What makes your clients the most money? What gets them there the fastest?

As you discover the answers to these questions, share them in the form of case studies. By doing so, you’ll start positioning yourself as an expert in your niche. Your experience is what makes you an expert and even though it’s packaged, clients are still paying for access to you.

Productizing Your Consulting

The final step: package your service. Be sure to keep the following in mind:

Do you need help figuring out where you’re at and planning your next steps? Leave me a comment below and I’ll help you brainstorm.