️Episode 042 – Design Your Independent Consultant Business Vision

When it comes to your consulting business, do you have a regular routine of evaluating your results? As entrepreneurs, to know where you’re going, it’s important to look at where you’ve been. That’s why year-end business reviews are so important. They enable you to jump-start the new year with solutions to prior issues and strategies for continued growth moving forward. 

This type of success habit, the year-end review, is the difference between you having a successful year or stagnating. It makes you aware of what you want to amplify, eliminate or adjust. 

Download your Yearly Business Plan Workbook for Independent Consultants at https://www.melisaliberman.com/plan

Then, listen in as I share how to conduct a year-end review process that’s both effective and fun for you and your business as you move forward into the next year: 

  • [04:27] What a year-end review should be non-negotiable as a success habit in our business
  • [06:18] What avoiding a year-end review is holding you back in your business
  • The exact process to make you year-end review effective and fun
    • [08:31] Part #1
    • [12:13] Part# 2
    • [12:58] Part #3
  • [14:37] Questions to include in your year-end review
    • What are my top 50 accomplishments from this past year?
    • What 20 failures did I achieve?
    • Who did I become this year? 
    • How am I different as the CMO, CFO, CEO, etc?
  • [16:58] How to execute the year-end process review


Ready for help figuring out how to leverage these strategies in your IC business and ultimately double your revenue without working more? 

  • I invite you to book an IC Success Blueprint call with me.
  • On this call, we’ll dive into your business and get clear on your goals and challenges and determine an action plan for you so that you can create the business impact, income, and flexibility that you desire. 
  • To get on my calendar, please visit www.consultmelisa.com


  • Click here to download the 27 WAYS TO LAND YOUR NEXT CONSULTING CLIENT


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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*


Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I’m Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can too, listen on to find out how.




today we’re going to talk about how to design your business vision for your independent consulting business. I’m so excited to dive into this topic, because if you’re listening in the real time, it is December, and it’s time to start thinking about the new year and what you want to accomplish and what you want to achieve. And I don’t know about you, but all back until I could remember I loved planning. I loved the new year I loved buying one of those Franklin Covey planners, you know, the ones that were like the thick kind of cushy binder with the inserts in it. And you could buy all sorts of different inserts and different like plastic bookmarks and sticky notes all the things right. I used to love buying all of that and sitting down with it at the beginning of the year, and mapping out my plan, and just having such a excitement for the new year. And that really has continued throughout my life. Even though the Franklin Covey planner, I think they just do still sell it. But now it’s on my iPad, something totally different, right. But the point is still the same the love of planning the love of the new year. And I don’t know about you, but for the last couple of years, it just hasn’t felt as fun. It feels kind of heavy, it feels kind of daunting, it feels like there’s so much unknown that it kind of inflated the excitement out of it, at least for me, you might be in the same place. Or you might be still loving planning, whichever it is. Today, I want to walk you through a process for you to get very clear on your independent consulting, business vision, so that you can achieve more than you ever have in the year to come. And including making more money making more impact and working less the trifecta. So that’s what we’re focused on focusing on today designing your independent consulting business vision. It’s part of a three-step process that I’m walking you through on this podcast where step one we did and impactful yearend review. So, if you haven’t yet listened to that episode, you can go back after this. After this, though don’t stop listening. These are very well contained within themselves. But go back and listen to episode 41. About the year-end review process. Today we’re going to work on the independent consulting business vision. And then next week, we’re going to pull it all together so that you have a really clear action plan moving forward. So let’s dive into today’s episode, and get really clear on your independent consulting business vision. So I’m going to talk with you today about why have a business vision why is that crucial to your success, why you might not have it, what are the common reasons, which aren’t the normal ones you would think of it’s deeper than that, that components of what you would want to include in a business vision to make it valuable. And then thirdly, the next steps for you to go put this into action. So that’s what we’re going to focus in on today. Before we get started, I do want to let you know that I created a workbook for you so that you can really pull all of these concepts together and put it to work in your business, including that you’re in review process that we talked about in episode 41, including today’s episode on setting your business vision. And then next week’s I’m giving you a preview already of next week’s it’s already in the workbook. And that’s how to pull everything together and make it into an action plan. So you can go down the load that at MelisaLiberman.com forward slash plan, that link will be in the show notes. Go download that so you can start putting this work into action for you and your business. And also, before we get started, don’t forget to book your independent consulting success blueprint call with me. I’ve been having these fairly frequently. And it’s been a great way to dive into each independent consultants business and figure out what your really your true goals are, what your business vision is, and why you’re not yet there. And what are the next couple of steps that you can take immediately to put that into practice. So go book one of those calls, and let’s dive into today’s episode. So the importance of setting a business vision to bring back the Franklin Covey planner and Stephen Covey, I’m sure you remember, it was probably in the 80s, when the book first came out The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but one of them is begin with the end in mind, right? If you don’t know where you want to head, you’re never going to get there. We all know this is seems like common sense, right? But a lot of times, we let it fall by the wayside. And when we let it fall by the wayside, we’re abdicating the success. We’re abdicating the direction, we’re abdicating our results of our business to whatever is coming. So whatever is coming to you, is where you’re taking your business doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where you want it to go. And so if you’re doing this or abdicating that success, you’re abdicating those results, and most likely watering them down for yourself. So the setting of a business vision, and refreshing that and referencing it frequently is so critical. Like if you think about what we’ve been doing in this in this series, last week was looking at your results, and really evaluating it and assessing it. That’s the as is state. Today, we’re talking about the to be state, what do we want to accomplish with your business? Where do you want your business to head? How much income do you want to make? What type of impact do you want to make? What type of flexibility and independence Do you want to have. So that’s why we’re focused in on this today and why it’s so important. And what happens is, if you don’t have a clear vision, you end up putting a natural governor or a throttle on what you’re able to achieve. So for example, you’re just naturally setting without even realizing it, an upper limit on your ability to generate an income, an upper limit on the types of clients and the types of results and the nature of the projects that you’re taking on, you’re setting that as an upper limit for yourself by your current view of what’s possible, you’re also creating essentially limitations by defaults, because you’re running your business off of that automatic or default thinking, your current thinking and belief systems about what’s available to you, what’s possible for you. And that’s why it’s so easy to perpetuate kind of the same results over and over again, a lot of times I see clients, independent consulting business owner clients, I see them where they’ve essentially replicated their corporate income, maybe making a little bit more working about the same. Now they have the added stress of running their own business. And they’ve essentially replicated what they already had incorporate. That’s not what you’re trying to do here as an independent consulting business owner, what you’re trying to do here is to continue growing, to have ownership over your own success, to have ownership over the amount of income that you make. And so without setting a clear vision, and stretching yourself toward that, you’re going to keep repeating what feels realistic to you, what you have a past history of making, what you feel comfortable kind of adding to that a lot of times we feel comfortable, well, if we increase our income by whatever we perceive the cost of living increase would be if we had stayed incorporate, and constantly comparing what we’re making to what we did make incorporate or what we would be making if we had stayed versus really looking at the potential of our business, and what you can be making as a result of you running a business and having full ownership over it. So if you don’t have that clear vision established for yourself, and you’re running on autopilot, you end up creating that natural ceiling for yourself. And you end up running your business that way and repeating results over and over again, which is a plateau or in some cases, a roller coaster of feast or famine. The other thing that happens without a clear vision is that you end up setting your schedule your business schedule by people-pleasing oftentimes, and feeling like clients will only see your work if you’re available. And so when you say to them, I’m you know, not available, or you know, I only work four days a week or whatever your whatever your desire schedule is, you’re not able to do that because you don’t have a clear vision and you let the client dictate it for you. So those are some examples of what ends up happening, where you’re abdicating the results and repeating the results that you’ve already got plus a little if you haven’t set that clear vision. So hopefully that really helps you to dig into why setting the vision is so important. And so then the next question naturally becomes if it is so important, then why don’t most independent consultants do it? Why am I not doing it? And logically we think things like, Well, I don’t have time, or it’s not going to make that much of a difference anyway. And so you just keep going about your business, you know, using whatever business practices are that you have on autopilot, right. But if we pull back the covers, we look under the covers to figure out what is going on. And why you might be avoiding creating this business vision, oftentimes, it falls into one or more of three categories. The first is you want to avoid feeling disappointed. If you set a grand business vision that would be wildly successful in your you know, in your mind. And you really define it and get clear on it and know exactly what it is. Oftentimes, it’s very common to think that I might not get this, I’m going to feel horribly disappointed, I’m going to feel like a failure. And so we don’t set the business vision because we want to avoid the disappointment. What ends up happening is we experience disappointment anyway, because we’re incrementally improving our business versus going toward that big vision and accomplishing all we’re capable of. So in a way, we’re failing ahead of time. The second reason most common reason I see why people aren’t setting a business vision is that they don’t, and this could be you too, you don’t believe what you want is possible. If you don’t believe what you want is possible. And you need someone else to tell you that it is or somehow you need permission that it is possible, or some kind of evidence ahead of time, that’s not going to happen. You have to believe that what you want that big vision, whatever it is, the big vision could be I want to create a consulting company, a midsize boutique consulting company that’s generating 10 million in revenue every year, your big vision might be I’m going to be the best solo consultant there is, I’m going to work three days a week, and I’m going to generate $2 million a year, whatever your big vision is. And it could be anything, I just give you a couple examples. Whatever your business vision is, you’re not going to get there. If you don’t first believe that what you want for yourself is possible. If you’re waiting on evidence to prove to you that it is possible, you’ve got it backwards. So that’s a second reason why I oftentimes see independent consultants avoiding the step of creating a business vision, because they just don’t even believe that it’s possible. And I’ll tell you what to do with these here in a minute. But the third reason why I find independent consultants, avoiding setting a business vision is a fear of success. This one is fascinating, right? On the surface who would be afraid of success? Right? None of us, but under the covers, think about it for you. Are you afraid that you’re going to land too much business? And you don’t know how to handle it? Are you afraid you’re going to have to turn clients away? Because you have so much business? Are you afraid that your quality is going to suffer because you have so much business? This is a very common reason why I find independent consultants really throttling themselves putting on that natural governor, not spending the time and the energy and the visioning to think about where they want their business to go. And so if you know now, you can probably identify with at least one of these reasons, avoiding disappointments, not believing what you want as possible. Fear of success, a lot of times, it’s all three of them. If you know and can identify these and own up to them, raise your hands, not enough from a place of judgment, they’ve done something wrong, you’re human, of course, it’s very natural to feel and think these things. But you’ve got to know that that’s what’s creating kind of this drag on your results. It’s not the market conditions. It’s not those external things. It’s you putting a drag a physical drag like you pressing the accelerator and the brake at the same time. That’s creating the lack of results, the plateau of results, the feast or famine. So this is why you are probably most likely avoiding creating the business vision. And I want to just bring this to light so that you can acknowledge it and move past it will really look at yourself in the mirror say yes, I do have a fear of success. I do have a fear of success. And that’s not a problem. I’m going to keep going anyway. I am afraid of disappointment. I’m a human. I’m afraid of disappointment. I’m going to keep on going anyway. I don’t necessarily believe that what I want as possible, but I’m going to start really building up that Evidence for myself ahead of time, so that I can get where I want to go faster. So note keeping that in mind what might be holding you back, let’s acknowledge it and move forward for you to create the business vision for you to create something that’s really tangible and lifelike, so that you know exactly where you’re headed and have that clarity. And so let’s move on to thinking about what are the components of what would be in a business vision. And again, I have all of this in the workbook for you relative to these components. So go download that workbook, the link is in the show notes, so that you’ve got all of this as well, I love the audio and the concept of podcasting. But I always love a good workbook to go along with it. So go download that. Alright, let’s talk about what the components of the business vision are. The components, I like to look at them in four boxes, the first are your financials, what is your goal? If you just look out three to five years, what is your goal for your business, let’s just pick a number, perhaps you’re at 250. Right now in revenue. Let’s say that you want to double that and get to 500,000 in the next couple of years, and you want your profit margin to be 80%. Just making up numbers here, to give you an example, get detailed on what that is, where do you want to be in the next three to five years, and then we’ll back into it into a more granular plan when we talks on next week’s episode. But in this case, we’re really looking at that three to five year vision of where you want to be. The next thing that you’re going to want is going to want to do is break it down into your offerings. What are you offering? What is your service offering? Do you have any kind of recurring revenue attached to that passive revenue? Whatever it is, what is are your service offerings? What are they priced that? What are they and who are they for? What is the average engagement length? What is the resource requirements for those offerings, like, just really think about all of that, in order to back into you hitting those revenue numbers? I’ll give you an example here in a minute. But before I move on, I want to touch on the other two components, which is your business schedule, what kind of business schedule Do you want to be running for yourself as a, as a consultant, employee working in your business for yourself as a owner, as the owner and all the C suite in your business, and then ultimately, as a person, what you want in terms of balance and time off, really get clear on what is that business schedule for yourself, and don’t filter it by what you think is realistic or possible. It’s fascinating to me what is actually possible, when you start really looking out there, one of my personal coaches that I work with, I don’t know, she’s at, like 39, or $40 million business, and she’s working three days a week, I would have never thought that was possible. So really thinking about, well, the sky is the limit of what you would want. And I’m not saying you should want 39, or how many of her millions she’s making. But think about it from the perspective of what really do you want without limiting yourself on what you think is realistic, or what you think is going to add so much stress or complexity to your life, there are always ways to figure out how to achieve what it is that you want, without having to take on the stress without having to feel like it’s even harder than it already is just different problems. So, think about that business schedule as a part of your business vision. And then finally, think about the staffing model. Who’s on your team? Do you have subcontractors working under you? Do you have some kind of partnership? Do you have support staff like a virtual assistant, what is your team look like? So those are the four main components of a business vision. And you can think about, you know, others that might make sense for you and your business as well to add to this, but I want to give you an example of if we look at the staffing model and the finances and the offerings, just to kind of wrap your mind around this. So, let’s say you’re making 250k right now. And that means you’re working on maybe two projects concurrently, or sequentially in a given year. one’s worth 150, for example, and another is worth 100k. That’s how you get to the 250. As an example, in your business, you’ve got two projects 150k 100k A little bit of overlap, or maybe they’re concurrent either way, that’s what you’ve got right now. That’s your as his state. When you’re thinking about your business vision. If your goal in the next three years, let’s say is to make 500k. So you want to double what you’re making, then you just want to look at that. How would the math work? For example, you might be able to shorten the amount of time that you are taking per project from 12 months to six and do two concurrent projects. For six months, 150k and 100k each to therefore double the amount of money you’re bringing in very, very rudimentary example. But just sit down and give yourself the benefit of thinking through what the different service offerings could be the amount of time the amount of resources, they take the amount of revenue they drive, in order to get yourself to the place where you can see the math, you can see how the puzzle pieces fit together in order to reach your business vision. A lot of times, we think it’s a lot more complicated than it really is. And if you sit down and figure out the math of it, it could becomes much clearer doesn’t necessarily mean that you ever end up, you know that the outcome of your business ends up looking in that exact way. But what it does mean is it helps you to see that what you want to make is possible, it helps you to rethink your service offerings in a different way. And it helps you to break through your current plateau, to think about what you’re offering and what you’re pricing it at and how you’re delivering it differently. Okay, so now, when we think about each of those four areas, which are the financials, what your service offerings are your business schedule, and your staffing model. Now, we want to just think about why do you want each of these? Why do you want 500k instead of 250? Is it because that’s what you think you should be making? It’s a lot harder to keep yourself motivated and moving forward when you’re doing something because you feel like you should or you’re guilted into it. Why do you want that revenue


number? Why do you want that staffing model? Why do you want that business schedule? Why do you want to offer those service offerings, get really honest and clear with yourself so that you have a really good reason that motivates you to keep moving forward? And you have clarity on what’s driving that a lot of times that as I start peeling back the onion with clients to ask them the question of why do they want that it comes down to reputation, I want to prove to people that I’m worthy, essentially, at the end of the day, and it becomes really hard to keep moving forward and doubling your business, when it’s driven off of a feeling of when I get there, I’m I’m going to prove to everyone that I’m worthy, I’m worthy of being a successful in my eyes consultant, as an example, it makes that climb to double your revenue to 500,000, or to a million or 2 million. It’s almost like you’re carrying a really heavy backpack when you’re thinking about it that way, versus really feeling compelled to build this business to show yourself what’s possible as an example, as a reason, just for the mere fact that you want to do it. It’s not because someone told you should or you feel like you have to or you’re proving something, it’s like I just really want to do this to prove to myself that I can feel so much lighter, right? So really get clear on why do you want the business vision that you’ve defined? And then ask yourself, Who do you need to become to achieve that vision? When I achieve the vision? Go back to our example, right? If my goal was to double from 250 to 500? How would I be thinking, what would I no longer be thinking? How would I be feeling? What would I be doing when I’m that version of me as a business owner? What am I not doing? When I’m that version of a business owner, ask yourself all of those questions. So think about your goal. And then think about who do you need to become in order to achieve the vision, because you need to become that version of yourself first, in order to achieve the vision. But you can’t wait until you’ve achieved the vision to become the person is the chicken in the egg again. So write all of this out, use the workbook I’ve made for you, Melisaliberman.com, forward slash plan, write it out in a lot of detail. reread it to yourself frequently. One of the things I love to do is write out this vision. It’s like a three- or four-page type vision that I do periodically, at least once a year. And then throughout the course of the year, I just highlights like when I’ve accomplished something or when, when a certain way I’ve described my business is now really the status quo. I just highlight it in green. And then the highlights just start growing. And then pretty soon you kind of reach a tipping point from a lot of whitespace on the paper to a lot of green highlighted space. It’s so fun to start seeing that vision come to life and giving yourself credit for achieving that vision and chipping away at it. Be sure you’re inviting the team, the team we talked about last week. So when you think about this business vision, think about it from the perspective of you as the CEO, and you as the chief revenue officer. You as the chief marketing officer. You as the Chief Operating Officer, you as the Chief Financial Officer. Sir, you as the consultant employee, and really getting a 360-degree view of this vision, and how you want it to look from all of those different vantage points, that’s the part that can be really fun. So that’s the way to implement this is to really think about it from all of those vantage points, write it down in as much detail as possible. reread it for yourself frequently use my highlighter techniques, so you can see your progress against the vision, and put this into practice for you. And your business has a standard operating procedure. I like to read the vision weekly, I like to revise it quarterly and yearly. And really never lose sight, like keep that business vision top of mind. So you know where you’re headed. And you can consistently have a bigger picture to look at when it’s so easy to get mired down in the weeds as you’re delivering for clients in parallel. So that’s what I’ve got for you today, go out and put this into action. And in order to do that, go download the workbook I made for you. The link is in the show notes. So you can follow along, do the year-end assessment that we talked about in the last episode, do today’s work on your business vision. And then next week, we’ll wrap this all up together into a plan of attack for you to hit the ground running in this next coming 12 months. Alright. And in the meantime, don’t forget to go book that independent consulting success Blueprint Session where we can really apply this to you and your business. On a call, I will give you a pre-assessment process. So you get really clear on where you’re at right now. And you and I can join the call both on the same page about the current state of your business, and really use the time to dive into your business and figure out what you really want, why you want it and the path for you to get there including the immediate next steps that you want to take. So go grab one of those because those have been incredibly powerful for the people who have already done this. And I would love for you to have the same experience. Okay, so thanks for tuning in. Don’t miss next week’s episode, which is the third in the series. The third step in you having your best year ever I can’t wait to see you then. Have a good one.


Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you liked today’s episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don’t miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find a benefit to and finally to put the ideas from today’s episode into action. Head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.

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