Deciding What To Do

There are two types of consultancies

Like, I assume, millions of other professionals in the world, I began my professional career as a server. I worked at a slightly upscale American franchise restaurant that charged a premium for its slightly above-average food. I was among a mix of post-high school and pre-college graduation temp workers and lifer servers, all of whom brought their unique perspectives to the job.

That experience demonstrated to me how life often settles into binary situations, as I quickly understood there to be two distinct types of waiters. There were the “professionals” who languidly approached each table and read the specials off with a flourish and placed plates delicately down, but you had trouble flagging them down and they would seemingly disappear.

There were the “grinders” who maybe lacked a bit of polish of the “professionals,” but made it up in speed and availability - to them, the goal of their jobs was to get you your food and drinks as quickly as possible, and to be accessible for any questions that could arise.

I was firmly in the latter camp, and noticing this sort of binary approach has been helpful for me to better make decisions throughout my career. I’ll explain.

I love chatting with fellow consultants, especially those new in their journeys. I had such a call recently where a consultant starting his practice asked me a direct question: how are you positioning yourself?

He, like me, has had a varied career that could set his consultancy off in different directions. It hit me quite clearly that a binary choice lay in front of him - and indeed of all of us consultants whether or not we know it. He could lean into that wealth of experience and offer a menu of services (I do everything) or he could pick that which he was more compelled to make his next career and avoid everything else (I do exactly this).

It’s an important decision to make, and only you can make it. Whether or not I subconsciously made my own decision, I launched my practice firmly in the “I do everything” sphere, with a caveat. I tell my prospects upfront that I will always be honest if I can’t do something they ask of me (or, more specifically, if I feel like I won’t do a good job).

I do everything

What it is: A comprehensive approach to client service whereby the client dictates the needs.

The pros of this strategy are: Wider net of prospects, wider range of activities and deliverables, likely keeping boredom at bay.

The cons of this strategy are: More likely difficulties keeping on top of everything, harder to build stronger competencies and case studies.

Examples: Content strategy business where you work on whatever content

I do exactly this

What it is: A business strategy where you specify the services you provide and do not deviate from them.

The pros of this strategy are: Doing only what you enjoy or excel at, more straightforward management of your time, simplicity of marketing message.

The cons of this strategy are: More likely to turn away business, implies to prospects needing help that you could help them, but you choose not to.

Examples: Professional coach only working with Series B entrepreneurs

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both of these approaches. Either can help you build a successful business, but deciding which one is right for you will take time.

If you have any thoughts about the above or want to share how you chose your journey, email me at keith @