Episode 059 – Consulting Greed

If you’ve ever thought, “I know what I do is valuable. I know I’m great at helping my clients solve problems, save money, innovate, and become more efficient. I know that I’m great at what I do as a consultant, but I am afraid that asking the clients for more money will make me look greedy.”

Can you relate to this?

If you can relate, then your subconscious underlying thoughts about greed are running your business. This creates a dynamic where you’re underearning, overworking, and making things so much harder on yourself than it needs to be. 

In this episode, I share why thoughts about greed are so common for consultants, the impact of this greedy subconscious thinking on your business, and what to do about it so that you aren’t underearning. 

  • [01:23] Check out the IC Business Predictability Assessment: https://www.ic-scorecard.com
  • [03:09] What is greedy thinking
  • [06:11] Why thoughts about greed are so common for consultants 
  • [10:25] The impact of this greedy subconscious thinking on your business
  • [15:00] Examples of how this impact could be showing up in your business
  • [24:54] What to do about these thoughts so that you are not underearning




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


Welcome to the podcast, we’re on episode 59. And today we’re talking about greed. And I just have to tell you, when I wrote that word on the paper on my PowerPoint, I record I write these all out in PowerPoint first. When I wrote that down, I immediately felt nauseous and felt like I should definitely erase that word and, and start on a new topic. So that’s how I knew the topic was perfect today to talk about greed. Because this comes up all the time, when I work with independent consulting business owner clients, it comes up almost once a week, at least if not multiple, multiple times per week. And so today, I want to talk with you about this idea that we shouldn’t be greedy, and why it’s so common, how it impacts your business. And once you realize how it’s showing up for you, in your business, what to do about that. Before I dive in, though, I want to just share with you a reminder, which is to go take that independent consultant, Business Growth assessment, I’ve been seeing so many results coming in from those of you who have taken it. And it really does a great job at highlighting key areas of your business plan your demand generation plan your capacity plan, and your delivery plan. So those are the four key pillars, really do a great job at highlighting the areas of your business that you might be surprised, are missing, or aren’t yet fully fleshed out, and helps give you some next steps about what to what and where to focus so that you can start growing your business without working more. So with that, go check that out. We’ll put the link in the show notes. But the short URL is I see the letters I see or independent consultant, ICbizeval, super simple. If you go to that URL, it will take you right to the assessment, you fill out about 26 questions, and then it gives you an entire PDF report about what the results mean and what to do next. So with that, let’s get back to greed, greed, greed, crazy topic for today. So today, again, the agenda for us is we’re going to talk about why those thoughts about greed are so common for consultants, then we’ll then I’ll cover the impact of your some of this greedy subconscious thinking on your business. And I’ll give you a couple of examples like very specific examples to see exactly how this show could be showing up for you in your business. And then ultimately, the third topic is to really dive into what to do about it for you so that you aren’t underearning. Okay, so let’s just talk about what is greedy thinking. So at first, some, oftentimes, what I find as I’m working with consulting business owner clients, is that first, they feel like greed is not an issue for them. That you know, they know, they say logically right, I know what I do is valuable. I know I’m great at helping my clients solve problems, save money, innovate, and become more efficient. I know that I’m great at what I do as a consultant, but I’m just not that great at selling. I don’t like selling myself those types of things you might relate to the something around that that lines right. And as we start digging in through our coaching relationship was and we start talking in more detail about pricing, about negotiating about submitting follow on or extension proposals. Then we start finding what I like to call the thought cockroaches. I never grew up in Colorado, and I’ve spent most of my adult life and most of my life here not adult life but most of my life here and we don’t have cockroaches at least that I know of. But when we moved to Hawaii this it’s an amazing place right one of the drawbacks is the cockpit the cockroaches like they’re just hiding in crazy, you know to hide, hiding when we moved out and we had people come to spray for them. Like you know all the mitigation and all that.


But when we moved out there were like a few dead cockroaches under the furniture really bad. Really not. Not pleasant right. But these thought cockroaches are essential, those subconscious thoughts that are running the show. Because they’re 6000, the studies show between 6060 1000 thoughts a day going through our brain. So let’s just take the lowest number 6000 Thoughts are going through your brain every day. There is no way most of those are on purpose. They’re just subconscious thinking, thinking that we’ve thought over and over again, sometimes for the full course of our life, that’s just happening subconsciously relegated to the part of our brain that just operates on autopilot. So these subconscious thoughts are like the cockroaches, they’re just operating under the radar that we don’t even realize. And they’re great at hiding, right. And then you shine a light on them and they scurry, they’re so fast, you can’t catch the cockroaches most of the time, Kimberly, today we’re talking about greed and cockroaches. Super fun, okay, and these cockroaches are hard to kill. And then if you kill one, it seems like 10 replaced them. It’s like this sort of thing going on in our brain, over and over again, that are hiding from us, and really running the show in a lot of ways in what we do so. So those were the thought cockroaches. And so today, we want to really shine the light on the greed want related ones for you, and to show you where those cockroaches are potentially running your a good chunk of your business. And as a result, creating a dynamic where you’re potentially under-earning where you’re overworking and where you’re making this so much harder on yourself than it needs to be. So let me give you a couple of examples. Because greed is usually like I was describing to you earlier, it’s never kind of the first thing that comes up when you start thinking about where the sticking points in your business might be. But as we start peeling back the layers, that’s where it starts coming out. So for example, one of the questions that I often ask my clients is, why did you propose that specific pricing, and so they give me a lot of logic, you have the same type of logic, I’m sure whether it’s some logic of how you calculated your hourly rates or some logic about how you built up your value-based proposal Pricing Proposal. But as we start as I start poking holes in it, or you say like, Well, why why not this? Or what about this? Or what were you thinking when you did this, a lot of times, that kind of caveat at the end is, and I didn’t want to be too greedy. Another example, if a client is asking you for an extension, sometimes I had this the other day, and I’ll go into this in a little bit more detail in a minute with the example. But ask the client asked for an extension and you accept it, you just say Craig, I’m going to I have a line of sight to my revenue for the next nine months or 12 months or whatever the timeframe is. And then I asked you Why are you going to negotiate to renegotiate or negotiate on the pricing? What are you going to propose for this next round? Oh, no, you know, we’re good to go. This is working for all of us, I’m not going to shift the pricing. When it’s too late. They’ve already budgeted this amount. And as we start digging into the layers, that sentences like I I just want to be grateful. And they and I noticed that I’m thinking I don’t want to be greedy. I’m greedy, I could lose it all. As in the client, if you ask for a price increase, do not ask for a price increase. Let me rephrase that. If you propose a price increase the idea that they’re going to decide immediately that you’re greedy, and then literally escort you out of the building. So many of us are operating on these like underlying thinking, and it causes us to justify underpricing not proposing increases on our extensions or follow on work and operating off of our business have these thoughts of like it’s better to take what I can get versus nothing at all, or I shouldn’t be greedy, those types of thoughts.


So many, so I’m going to kind of encourage you here to say where might you be running your business from this place of not wanting to be greedy? And what that really means is it just shuts down the entire thought process and business case analysis of you figuring out what could I propose that’s above what I’ve normally been pricing something at what could I propose that is potentially more than what they might be expecting but you know, really build up a business case for Right. When you think this is greedy, in some form or fashion, I’ll share with you some more flavors of that here in a minute. If you think this, what I’m what I might offer is going to be greedy, it immediately puts you into the zone of I’m a bad person. Some we’ve all been taught these greedy people are bad. And it shuts you down from being able to really effectively think about how to approach pricing, and how to propose that type of pricing that aligns with the value you’re delivering to your clients. It literally is like, the door slams, and you keep on going, and you shut the door on your ability to charge more to make and ultimately to continue growing your business. You end up kind of at this revenue plateau. A lot of times I find when people are running their business with this sort of underlying greed cockroach going on. So ask yourself, Where might I be running my business from the perspective of not wanting to be greedy? I will assure you, that almost everyone does this at some point. So nothing wrong with you nothing broke up with you as a business owner. But what is so important is to figure out where this might be happening, and then be able to start working, working to overcome it. So I’m gonna give you some examples of this, you can start digging in further. Up first, I want to talk a little bit about the impact of this. So we learn a lot of times, especially money-related lessons and belief systems, we learned very early on when our brain is the first kind of imprinting, imprinting, belief systems, and thoughts. And so it’s like, starting at four years old, right? You can probably relate to this, I think back to my childhood in the 70s. Like, my mom driving the like, brown station wagon, I don’t think we had, we definitely didn’t have car seats. But a lot of times are just like loose in the back, you know? Anyway, that’s the picture that I’m painting here. And our parents are, you know, at that time, and for you, too, it’s like, our parents just start teaching us these lessons, society starts teaching us these lessons, our teachers teach us these lessons, don’t take more than your fair share. When you get more, someone else gets a less, as if there’s sort of like a finite pie of, of, you know, of whatever it is that we’re, you know, like money. For example, there’s a finite pie of money, I think we all know, there’s no finite pie of money. Logically, they print more money every single day. No finite pie, and now someone made up cryptocurrency like it just made, it’s literally just coming out of nowhere, there’s no finite pie, you should be thankful for what you have, implying you shouldn’t want more, don’t get too big for your britches, you’ll lose it all. As if somehow staying smaller is it will keep you safe. These are lessons and so many more greedy people are bad. So many more, so many lessons that are imprinted upon us from such a young age. And so subconsciously, we end up you know, avoiding any perceived appearance of greed, of wanting too much of being a person who’s ungrateful of being that kind of person who wants more than other people.


We avoid the perception of that a lot of times because we don’t want to be kind of marked or labeled as a bad person. We don’t want to think about ourselves as being bad people. And we certainly don’t want other people to think of us as being bad people, a bad person. So this is the impact of these, like underlying greed, cockroaches, is basically there triggering these old thoughts, and belief systems that you’ve that you most likely have if you’re like most of us that have been built up in your brain for the last how many ever years since you were four. And then that causes you to get into a situation where you want to stay safe. You want to avoid being seen as greedy, whatever greedy is, and therefore you end up offering the safe things, offering the things that you feel will kind of fly under the radar and not kind of hit this trigger point. What it isn’t a real one, right? What is the trigger point that somehow if you ask for this amount over this amount, somehow you’re greedy, but a lot of us have that in our brain that there is that kind of trigger point somehow So ultimately, then the impact on your business is that you’re letting these belief systems about greed and about money, run your business. And that’s what’s creating the results that you’ve got right now. And I, for a lot of you, you’ve got great results. But you can have even better results once you start cleaning up some of this some of these cockroaches. When you’re letting these belief systems about greed and about money, run your business, it’s like, you’re letting the four year old version of yourself run your business, you end up choosing what feels comfortable, and not considering the alternatives. You end up dismissing anything related, that feels like it’s a negotiation. I’m not good at negotiation, I’m just gonna stay away from that I don’t want to be seen as greedy. I’ll take what they offer, it’s, it’s fair enough. And then it ends up justifying the status quo. So ultimately, this creates the dynamic right of undercharging under earning, which we’ve talked about on this podcast, several times that underearning isn’t just for this project, it creates a situation where it’s compounding quarter over quarter year over year, because you use the pricing that you had last time as the basis or the pricing next time, and so on, and so on. And you end up also working more than that than is necessary, it’s going to make up for the difference. So that’s why it’s so important to really figure out what these belief systems are about money and greed and start taking more control over them that they’re not just the way that that world works, you actually have a choice in this. So let me give you a couple of very specific examples. The first is I’ll expound upon that example. I started earlier about the extension. So a client comes to me and says great news. I have a, my clients, my consulting clients want to extend me. And so I ask what is your plan to adjust these rates. And then my clients, the consulting business owners, as well. So I don’t, that’s not part of this process. It’s just, that we’ve got these rates set in place. It’s really an industry standard type of rate. I really love that I have line of sight for the next nine months about how much money I’m going to be making. And this is going to, you know, I might get a little bit of a bump. But this is just how it is. It’s I’m really excited. It’s like a lot of really good logic, right? You might agree. You might be saying the same thing to yourself when someone wants to extend most of us do, right? But then I ask how is this not true? How is it not true that it should just be the same exact same rate going forward? And so then we start dialoguing even more about it. Let’s talk about what is going on in it. What are the results this client is getting? Why do they want to extend you? What is the value they’re seeing in the work you’ve already done? And what will be the value of the work that you’re doing going forward? And how does your current pricing kind of compare to all of that? How have you done price this in the past? And this? I love this question. This particular client had done something similar incorporate and so had been pricing this type of work for his prior company


in a much different way than he’s pricing it for himself. Because all of a sudden, when we put ourselves into the equation, it feels really uncomfortable. And then we talked about the worst-case scenario, which you know, a lot of times that worst-case scenario is just running our business. without us even realizing it. It’s like the cockroach going on running the business. And we don’t even realize that we just want to avoid the worst-case scenario. But when we say the worst-case scenario out loud, the likelihood of it happening is fairly low. Very low, right? And so we just keep digging in to figure out why not adjust the rates, why not propose a rate increase? And so then we play with that, like, let’s, let’s talk about it, let’s talk about if it’s possible to raise your rates at this juncture, then what comes up? And then this is where we get into the heart of it, right? We’ve gone from the logic being part of it, which you know, you’re a smart person, you’re a consultant, I guarantee you’re a smart person, you can logic your way into or out of anything. But as we start peeling back the layers and taking away some of that logic, then what comes up is those underlying thoughts. And in this example I’m giving you the thought was I’m greedy. If I asked for more, I should be grateful for what I have. This is what we’re taught when we’re four years old, all the way through. So where you are now, I’m greedy. If I am not grateful for what I have, of course, you’re not going to ask for a rate inst extension, if you think you’re being greedy, because it, we equate it in our brain to you being a bad person. Is this is these are all made up concepts. First of all, first of all, what is green? Like, what number hits that threshold that somehow it’s, it’s okay to ask for versus now I’m being greedy, there, it’s arbitrary, then let’s just say you are being greedy, whatever that means, does that really make you a bad, you know, a bad person. All of these mental constructs are what ended up running your business and cause you to underearn. So this particular client, and I’m giving you an example of a particular client, but I can assure you when I’ve had multiple, so if you’re one of my clients, and you’re listening to this, and you think it’s about you, it might be, but it’s probably about another client that I have, where we had the exact same conversation. So it’s, I’m telling you that this is not just a one-off, this is very, very common. Okay, so then we coach back and forth on this concept of greed, I’m greedy, I should be grateful for what I have. And we ended up coming to some conclusions about, you know, if this were me selling something to, you know, as on behalf of a corporate employer, I would be proposing a rate increase. This is not about the business, this is about me. And I’m making this personal. This is what the client is saying, right? I mean, he was making this personal versus really looking at it from a business perspective, and what the value was to the client of having him, you know, extended for a longer period of time. We also identified that the worst case, the doomsday scenario was so unlikely, and if it ended up happening, there would be so many more opportunities to bring on other clients at the pricing, that that increased pricing model. So this doesn’t have to mean that he’s a bad person, it’s a business transaction. It’s a, it’s a decision about what amount of money he’s going to charge for his capacity. And what that based on what value the client is getting, and taking himself out of the equation, and also just acknowledging that this greediness is underlying it, and start to unravel that as well. So hopefully, that example gives you a really good kind of picture of how this works. I’ll give you one more and then we’ll wrap up with me telling you, how to apply this to you in your business. So the second example is a scenario where a client said to me to a consulting business owner clients, so I’m using so many words, apply it, I need to make sure that it’s clear what I’m talking about. So a consulting business owner client of mine said to me, you know, what, I sent a I worked through the process and we came to what I thought was a verbal agreement, I sent the proposal and then I got not right now.


And so then of course worry sets in and then all the all that mind chatter starts creating getting created, I lost this deal. You know, I lost this deal. I was too greedy. I feel regret I feel shame all the things right. That’s, that’s what the client was describing to me. So the first thing we did together was just acknowledged those emotions, right? It’s so it would be so natural to be feeling regret and shame when you think you lost the deal because you were too greedy. Again, that is one interpretation of 1000s you could potentially have. But we oftentimes go to this sort of dark place of I was greedy, I was a bad person, and I did the wrong thing. And those are the thoughts that create regret and shame. So the first is just really acknowledging the emotions not trying to dismiss them. Because building your muscle for feeling bad is part of owning a business. There’s an entire episode about this with the link in the show notes, but being able to just be okay with regret and shame can make your business growth go so much faster. So you can go listen to that episode when we’re finished here. But then, you know, often really just looking at the other component to this is when we’re having these feelings of like fearing this clients example regret and shame, then you, We treat that as a sign we did something wrong. Who was I to ask for that much money. I was greedy. And now I’m being punished for it. And so it can be very natural to come to those conclusions. And then start making decisions from that type of judgment. And end up letting your letting that emotional kind of spiral run your business, either from kind of running away, sometimes you might be tempted to, like send a new proposal with, with better, lesser pricing, just get out of the regret and shame. Or you might decide I’m gonna decrease my pricing and the next proposal because I was, you know, I did a bad thing. Without using the logic to figure out how I just better articulate or bring the client along. So they’re so that this doesn’t happen that you know, going forward, you definitely don’t want to be running your business from the lens of wanting to avoid negative emotion, that’s going to end very badly. Or at least make your business grow so much slower. And more painfully, I’ll just say that. So what I worked on with this particular client is helping them get into another emotion. So getting out of the thought process of ideal lost this deal, because I was too greedy. And getting into a more curious mindset. Curious mindset of if you weren’t being if you weren’t judging yourself for being greedy? How would you approach this not right now, or even a no response. And so as we start taking away that regret and the shame, because we were judging ourselves for being greedy, then we can start accessing more high-quality thinking. So things like what came out of this particular example, I’ll ask more qualifying questions regarding the budget, before I craft a proposal next time, I’m going to increase the size of my pipeline. So I don’t feel dependent on anyone given client, I’m going to remind myself that nothing has gone wrong like it’s normal to not have a 100% close rate. In fact, if you have 100%, this is a tangent. But if you have 100%, the close rate is probably an indication that you’re undercharging. And then ultimately reminding yourself over and over again, that this is not personal. What would you be thinking if this was a situation where you were proposing consulting work on behalf of a corporate employer, oftentimes, that will take that sort of breed that regret the shame out of the equation and help you to access higher quality thinking. So you can come to some new hypotheses, new solutions to try out.


So hopefully, those two examples give you a really good picture of how this greed comes into play and how it’s not just on the surface, usually. But once you start digging in it’s, it’s, I find that it’s such a common thread that is holding so many independent consulting business owners back in their businesses. So that’s why I feel so passionate about this today. So let’s just wrap up by saying, What do I do? So now what do I read might be running the show, in some ways in my business? What do you want to do about that? So here’s what you can do. Do you want your for yourself for your old self running your business? Probably not? I’m sure the answer is no to that. Right. So with that, I’m going to give you two next steps. The first is, when you notice resistance to increasing your pricing, or to negotiating, or getting into any situation that might lead to negotiation, you’ve got to dig into these thoughts about money and greed. So really similar to those two examples that I shared, just keep looking for the underlying reasons of why you might be logical in your way to charging less than you could be to not increasing your prices, to not avoiding negotiations. And really getting more into the root cause of what your money beliefs are, what your beliefs are about greed that is potentially most likely running the show. And not letting all of those logic things keep you in the status quo. Rob, you have that opportunity. And the second thing that I’ll suggest to you recommend to you is to take yourself out of the equation. Similar to the examples I gave you, how would you approach this situation? If you made the proposal you were making the proposal on behalf of an employer, when you take yourself out of the equation? We got to work on this from two angles. I’ll say this another way, got to work on this in two angles. One is replacing a lot of that old outdated belief system about money and greed. So you can operate more on autopilot in a way that serves you. And number two, we can change the circumstances in some way and say, you know, what, if I wasn’t putting myself into this equation, and I was just posing this on behalf of an employer, what would that look like? So taking you out of the equation can also be a really valuable way to look at this, but you want to be doing both so that you’re improving the quality of your business owner mindset, as well as going to taking yourself out of the equation for a moment so that it’s easier to do so. All right. So that’s what I’ve got for you today. I want it before we wrap up. Just another quick reminder to go take that Independent Consulting, Business Growth assessments. And I’ll give you really detailed feedback on those four areas of your business so that you can start getting unstuck and overcoming whether you’re in a feast or famine type of a cycle or at a plateau, help you to move on from those into the next level. So go take that it’s that I see that letters I see business. Sorry, ICBIZEVALl.com. So we’ll put that link in the show notes and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Take care

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