Episode 081 – Landing Too Much Consulting Business

This may come as a surprise but believe it or not, for some IC business owners having a full pipeline is a source of anxiety. They worry that there will be too much work to handle, and that they could damage the relationship with a consulting client. 

Without some intervention, it’s common to self-sabotage and kill the momentum that you’ve created in your independent consulting business.

This fear ends up stunting the growth of your business, your revenue, and your ability to take more time off.

And so I want to share with you today how to proceed if you do land too much business. 

I share insights into the business owner mindsets that work best when it comes to landing new client work, and then I’ll give you practical examples on how to handle this situation.  

To put this into practice, here is an additional resource to support you with this work. 

  1. I am hosting a Quarterly Success Planning Workshop where I will outline for you the exact process that I teach my clients so that you can hit the ground running in Q4 and finish the year strong. 

Key points in the podcast

  • [05:24] Today’s agenda
  • [05:46] Register to join the Quarterly Success Planning Workshop:https://www.melisaliberman.com/quarterly-workshop 
  • [11:48] Why are you really worried about having too much consulting work
  • [17:06] Some practical examples to handle the situation when you have too much consulting work
  • [20:27] How to overcome the fear of having too much consulting work



  1. Discuss working with me as your coach – Click here to schedule your consultation
  2. Check out my YouTube Podcast Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUrsHqeAFDkcI8Kqc4QssEQ
  3. LinkedIn 
  4. Website 

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


Welcome to Episode 81. I’m so excited you’re here. And today, I can’t wait to dive into this topic. I think I say that every week. But I truly love all of these topics. So today, we’re talking about what happens when you’re worried about landing too much consulting business. So when your pipeline seems too full, that you couldn’t handle all of the work, and believe it or not, some of you might be thinking, well, that’s a good problem. But for most of you, and you’re probably in these pockets, it’s fairly irrational to feel that we are worried that we have about landing too much business. And I’ll walk you through why it’s typically irrational. And it’s up stunting and stalling and plateauing, your, the growth of your business and the growth of your revenue and your ability to take more time off. So it’s so surprising to me. But it happens all with almost every client at some point or another, where they come to me and say, you know, Melisa, this is working my pipe, I’m starting to get a steady pipeline. Now I can see the growth of my pipeline, my pipeline is growing to the valuation that I, you know, the target that I had created, but I’m worried, I’m worried that I’m going to have too much in the pipeline. And I can’t, and what am I going to do when that happens? And so what ends up happening is, it’s like this, a little bit of a panic. And then, without some intervention, what ends up happening is you end up self-sabotaging yourself because you start worrying about having too much business, you panic, or you freak out a little bit. And then you start going back into your old ways of not consistently working on lead generation and end up self-sabotaging the results you’ve created and the momentum you’ve been creating. And so I want to just share with you today what to do about what happens if you do land too much business and this concept of worrying about landing too much business that ends up creating a result that you don’t want the self-sabotaging. So, you know, and this, a couple of things, before we dive into the meat of this, this happens, I noticed with almost all types of clients, perhaps not those of you is an independent consultant who has no business, you know, nothing in your pipeline at the moments that you’re probably not at the place where you’re worried about getting too much business. But shortly when you start booking a client or filling your pipeline, this worry sets in for almost every independent consultant I talked to and worked with. And so a few examples of this client who have come to me recently with this worry, one of them being fully booked and resistant to generating leads, knowing they need to do that and want to do it for the sake of the health of their business. But just really having a hard time getting into the zone to do the work to generate the leads because of feeling this worry about what happens if I land too much business. The second example is someone who’s partially booked. So you may be partially booked, or you’re booked right now, but you know where your gap is in your utilization


and resist feeling that resistance to generating too many leads. When I have too many leads. I don’t want to have too much business. I don’t want to get myself into a quote-unquote bad position. And so that’s what we’re talking about today are these different examples of situations where you may be working on client work right now, fully booked or partially booked, and worried knowing that you need to create a repeatable process an engine in your business to generate leads and generate new opportunities for yourself. But feeling that resistance or you might be in a situation where you’re not currently working and have started to get some traction in generating opportunities and are starting to work worried that it’s going to be too much that it’s going to get too full. And so again, that self-sabotaging comes into play. So this shows up in almost every independent consulting business at some point or the other, whether you’re partially booked, fully booked, or not currently booked at all. So this is an important episode for you to make sure that you don’t sabotage yourself and unnecessarily slow your growth or create a plateau in your business. So today, we’re going to talk about this concept of landing too much consulting business. The agenda is. First, we’re going to talk about what’s going on. So what’s going on? Why are you worried, and then I’ll teach you a process to escape the fear. And then I’m going to give you some practical examples at the end to handle this situation. So that is our agenda for today. Let’s talk about it first; before we dive into the agenda, I want to remind you that when we’re airing this episode tomorrow, September 30, it is the quarterly success planning workshop. So I want to remind you that, if you’re listening in real-time, don’t forget to register for that. If you happen to be listening after September 30, what I’m about to share still applies, you can go to the quarterly success planning workshop page, and I will have resources there for you. So go to that page, and learn about the quarterly workshop. But three reasons why I would love for you to join me in the workshop is number one, let’s just get your q4 plan done and off your to-do list. And you can do that in collaboration with a group of other independent consultants and me walking you through the process so that you’ve got a clear and solid plan for q4. Now you might be saying to yourself; I don’t want to I want to slower q4, I want to take time off. That means it’s even more important for you to make a plan so that you are careful and meticulous with the time that you are spending on your work and have planned to create that spaciousness and time for the holidays. So important, because I know you, and if you’re like most of us, if you end up if you don’t have a plan, you end up defaulting into work mode, more often than not, right, and let’s put some guardrails around that for you. The second reason I want you to join me tomorrow is to have an expert me guiding you through that seven-step process I’ve created a proven seven-step process that will help you to define that q4 plan so that you are maximizing the time you’re investing in your business. And then finally, let’s just go all in on your business and q4. And again, by all in, I don’t mean let’s, you know, let’s burn the midnight. What is the candle at both ends? That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is by going all in, it can look like you have the best quarter in terms of balance in terms of reaching your goals in terms of having peace of mind and confidence, and creating that momentum going into q1. So that is why I would love to have you join me tomorrow in the quarterly success planning workshop. You can go to I see the two letters, I see workshop dot info for more details. And we’ll also put that link in the show notes. And again, if it’s after September 30. And this workshop has already happened. Go to that page anyway because I will give you in, I will give you instructions on what to do next. So that you can create your own quarterly plan. Alright, so with that, let’s dive into today’s topic. We’re worried about landing too much business.


Again, you may be in a situation where you’ve got some success generating demand. And that next question naturally can become, I’m worried about generating too much business. So this comes from starting to get a little bit of momentum and results as it relates to creating a lead a formal lead generation pipeline. Or it could happen when you just have people coming to you and asking you to work with them. They know you from their warm market, and you create your pipeline that way or some combination of both. But at the end of the day, how am I going to handle this concern about what happens if I create too much business? So when my clients asked me this, And like I said, it happens often. Okay, well, so this process we’ve been working on is working to generate my pipeline. Now I’m really worried about it getting too successful. So my first question to them is, okay, so what happens if you end up landing more work than you can personally take on? What would you do? This is where we uncover the crux of the issue. They haven’t figured that they haven’t even answered that question yet for themselves. They create a concern. Oh, no, what happens if I’m too successful? If we just boil it down? Right? It’s the issue of what happens if I’m too successful. What if I’m too successful at learning how to generate leads for my business? That’s the truth, the true problem, right? So when they think about what happens if I’m too successful, it creates this freeze response. It’s like, I don’t know, this sounds dangerous. I’m going back to doing what I was doing before, which is safer, more recognizable, and more comfortable. Rather than answering the question, what is the question? How would you handle this? When I pressed them to answer the question, okay, great. What happens if your pipeline process, your lead generation process, your demand generation process? What happens if it is so successful that you generate more business than you can handle? What would you do? So then, usually, there’s some form of a long pause. And then they have answers, so many answers; I’m going to share some examples with you here at the end what would you do if you had more business that you weren’t able to personally handle? But the key here is that we oftentimes ask ourselves questions in our brain on defaults that go on answered. And when they go on answered, our brain does not like these open loops. And it starts creating and generating and Compounding this fear and worry. And then, to get rid of the fear and worry, we started slowing down and not doing what was working, which had been creating some sparks of success for us. So let’s first talk about what are you worried about; in this case, Get clear for yourself, what are you worried about? Because truly landing too bit much business is not a problem. It’s the goal. Why on earth would you set a goal that somehow you’re like threading this needle of having enough business having just enough business to fill your capacity,


that leaves you no wiggle room. And it’s like constantly trying to thread this needle of how many hours you have available to work on your business and how much roughly every client is consuming. Not saying you should be charging hourly; that’s a different topic. But when we look at the number of hours you have, as an asset in your business, have to work on delivering in your business, the goal is not to somehow, like create a balance there. Let’s create as much business as possible and then figure out how to satisfy and solve that business without making it complicated. We’re in an independent consulting business for a reason. We like streamlined, uncomplicated, you may have been in this situation in the past where you’ve managed people before a lot of people, and you just want something simpler; we’re not trying to recreate what you had incorporated. But certainly, when you land more business that you can personally deliver against, there are more solutions than just the obvious ones that come to mind: getting you to know, hiring a sub to do the work, or turning the work away. And again, I’ll give you a few of those examples. But right now, what we’re talking about is, when you start noticing this worry, this fear of landing too much business, getting very clear. The first step here is getting very clear on what you’re worried about. Some common worries are I won’t be able to handle this. I’ve done something wrong generating business I can’t support or catastrophically, I’m going to ruin my reputation by generating more business than I can support and then somehow leaving these potential clients high and dry, like those are the common worries, but for you what might you be worried about? Is it one of those or something else? Then you go back and ask yourself, Is it true So let’s go through an example. Is it true that you would ruin your reputation if you generated too much business? Or is it true that you would? Do you’ve done something wrong generating more business than you can support? Or is it true that you can’t handle this? Like, let’s just go through that one? Would you be able to handle it? That’s what I asked my client. Okay, so let’s say you generate more business than you, then you can personally deliver against what you would be able to handle. Your brain is telling you we wouldn’t be able to handle it. And this is not a good situation. But would you be able to handle it? How would you be able to handle it? Again, there’s a pause, and they start coming up with answers. Yeah, this is how I would be able to handle it. I had one client who realized she thought that she had never been in this position before. Oh, I don’t know how I would handle it was kind of the beginning of our conversation. And by the time we started getting into this depth, she realized she had done this before, where she had generated more business than she could handle. And she already knew how she would handle it. Our brain creates this amnesia for us to keep us in our comfort zone. So you’ve got to start unlocking that by asking yourself these questions. The next question I asked her was, what would you do if you couldn’t handle it? So first, we want to know, would you be able to handle it? How would you be able to handle it and unlock those answers? Then we asked what happens if you truly can’t handle it. I don’t know what handling it means. Really? That’s a good question: What does it mean to handle it? Handle it? Like hope the clients are roughly around the time they need to be helped to solve the problem they want? That could be a definition of handling it. Right? So what would you do if you couldn’t truly personally or somehow handle it from your company? What would you do? She gave me a bunch of other examiners now we’ve come up with the answers to how she would handle it and how she might be able to help the client even if she couldn’t handle it. And then finally, like, what if you couldn’t do any of these things? What would you do? And that Brett brought up more answers. So now we have all of these different solutions in her playbook that she didn’t have before because she was stopping at, oh, no, what if I generate too much business? What am I going to do? That’s not a good position to be in, and creating that self-sabotaging; it’s so important to recognize when you have that worry, sometimes it’s very blatant. And sometimes it’s very


sneaky, and start diving into it much more deeply, like I just walked you through, rather than letting it self-sabotage you without realizing it until it’s too late. So let’s just I’ll give you a few examples here of answers that that client gave me and other clients have given me as I was walking them through that process Is it true? So a few examples of doing this is creating a waitlist? These are the practical answers for you that you might consider as you’re building out your own playbook on how would you handle it if you end up if everything all the stars aligns and you end up creating more business than you can personally deliver against. Create a waitlist, subcontract someone to support you, and have the client wait. So now, as we think this, we don’t even explore this option? Because we think it is we’ve done something wrong, we shouldn’t have gotten ourselves into this position. How on earth can we possibly ask the client to wait? But that is an option available to you. Have the client wait and figure out a legitimate reason why that could benefit them. Don’t make something up, but how could it benefit them to wait? Perhaps you give them some kind of, you know, pre-work that they could be, you know, doing some pre-work or maybe you can work with them an hour a week to do some requirements gathering whatever it is. Have them. One of the options is that they wait for you. An option is that you say no. You know what? I’m so glad we’ve had these conversations. Think about it if you think your sales process is incredibly valuable, which is a whole nother episode. But if you’re thinking about how valuable your sales process is, helping them get clarity on what they need and why they need it. And the bit as in this case, to sell it internally to build themselves and other people. Why is that not valuable? It’s not that the work once you start the work; the value that starts your work is the value created throughout that process if you’re doing it right. And so saying no to them and saying, Look, I, it turns out that I don’t have availability to do this, you can’t wait. So let’s find another solution for you. And again, you could refer them to another consultant; I always like including that kind of work in my pipeline. So that I’m not only just generating clients, but I’m also creating potential referral partners. I’m also creating potential subcontractors if I want to get into that business model at any level, like constantly thinking about the pipeline from a supply and demand perspective, not just from a demand perspective. So those are some of the strategies. I’m sure you’ve thought of most of those yourself. Maybe not say, maybe not telling the client to wait. But ask yourself, what would I what, what could I do here when I generate more demand that I can personally deliver against? And answering that question for yourself through the layers I walked you through so that you can build up a business plan that isn’t a concern contained by the number of hours you have available, build a work. Another strategy could be to increase your pricing so that it does take down the demand a little bit, naturally that way. So those are some of the strategies that you can implement when you’re creating more demand than you have supplied. Okay, let’s talk about the next step of this process. Because I think it’s so important. Shifting your perspective. And we’ve gone through this process of really answering the question and forcing our brain to get creative on how would I handle it when I have too much business that I can’t deliver against all of it personally.


The one thing that you’re missing out on in this challenge in this particular business challenge, too, is making sure that you’re thinking about it as a CEO of a business and not the person who’s delivering because I can guarantee you when I know you’ve been in this situation, I’m sure yourself. I was running a professional services organization at the software company I helped to create if I let the consultants. These consultants are delivering against the work, if I let them run the show, they would be doing the same thing. We don’t have time to take on another client. I don’t know there’s not enough of us to do all of this work. They will be the ones if it’s like the fox guarding the hen house analogy. If you let the Fox Guard the henhouse, you’ll limit the amount of work you have. Because your human brain is designed to keep things under control and not feel out of control, not feel overwhelmed and inadequate because you can’t handle it. You cannot be letting the Fox Guard the henhouse here. Do not let the persona of the consultant who’s delivering the work that one version of you run your business, you need to step out of that mindset and get into the mindset of the CEO who’s running your business. That’s another persona from which you’re running your business. No CEO would be saying to themselves; I should; what happens if I generate too much business, I shouldn’t generate too much business. I better throttle my business. There are certain times when I will take that back. Some CEOs would think that in certain situations, but for the most part, there is no CEO out there just generally thinking I shouldn’t generate too much business, I better throttle my business, I better create a lead generation process that doesn’t create too much business. Of course, a CEO isn’t thinking. That a CEO is thinking about how do we create as much revenue as possible and get good at delivering against it, get efficient at delivering against it, figuring out how to balance our pricing with our capacity and our profitability, figuring out how to adjust our offerings to make delivering easier and less dependent on the person delivering it. Those are the types of questions that are the CEO persona, and you should be asking and answering for yourself. So don’t get into this situation where the foxes guarding the henhouse. Look, if I was a consultant In my own business, like thinking back to that software example when I was running my own business, I would have wanted it to be slow, not because I was lazy or not because I didn’t want to work hard. I love working hard to my own detriment. But that’s a different topic to write about. It’s just because we don’t want to get ourselves in a situation we don’t think we can handle when we’re the fox guarding the henhouse, right? But I can tell you repeatedly that when the CEO or the chief revenue officer, the person in charge of sales, when they would bring business to they would land business. And I would think, Oh, I don’t, there’s no way we can possibly handle this. I had no choice. I would figure out the answer. And usually, it would force me to innovate in the business and get creative business. And that’s what I’m imploring you to do here, too, is to think of yourself the in those other personas, the CEO, the CEO, the CRO, whatever it needs to be pushing yourself as the as in your delivery team, even if it’s you as the delivery team, to think about your business differently. And think about how you would handle more business than you can quote, unquote, handle yourself and get


more efficient, get more creative, get more


clear on your pricing, capacity, and profitability so that you’re running this business as a business and not as the consultant who’s just bringing in work and delivering against it like AI. Now I lost the last word, like an assembly line, that’s a word, like an assembly line, don’t create an assembly line for yourself. Right? So that’s what I’ve got for you today. Think about and open up your mind about this idea of landing too much consulting business and see that it’s the goal for yourself, not a problem. And then go to work solving how you would approach it when you land more business than you can personally deliver against Okay. All right. Thank you for being here. Don’t forget to go register for the workshop at IC workshop dot info. And I will see you again next week. Take care.

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