There are not many ways to grow (or scale) past merely being a solo entrepreneur, freelancer, or consultant.
- You can “productize” a process (see Brian Casel’s approach for more about this), or you can develop a product that you can sell repeatedly, such as a workshop, or even a seminar.
- You can begin to charge more for developing a process or a product for a client (Seth Godin promotes this approach), but that only generates more revenues, which conflates the illusion of growth with the presence of revenues.
- You can take on larger and larger clients, with larger and larger contracts, which give the illusion of running a business, but is really just expensive freelance labor. And when the project (no matter its size) is over, then you have to let the people you hired go. Or try to get an equal size, or bigger, contract for the next go around.
- You can also develop a software product, funded through business revenues, that supports a piece of a business process and then sell that solution to other solo entrepreneurs, freelancers and consultants.
- You can produce white papers, blog content, e-books, audio content (podcasts, audio white papers, etc.), or even self-publish a book and put it out through Amazon. And then you can create more workshops and content around that.
But at some point, the solo entrepreneur, freelancer or consultant must hire other people to grow and must begin generating significant profits to support other people’s livelihoods, or else what you do remains as confining as the employment you left to start your project. Inspirational speakers from Zig Ziglar to Tony Robbins have made the leap. So have many others.
It’s a hard jump.
The hard part to solve with what I do, the way that I do it, through Human Services Consulting and Training is there are three elements for me to consider before growing to be large enough to potentially hire another person to do the work I do now:
Business philosophy – I want to hire somebody who is ethical and who will have such an ethical compass that they will be able to spot problems before even I see them. Not cautious, just prudent.
Personal philosophy – I want to hire somebody who has a strong, positive, moral core: The question “What will you do so that we can make a profit together?” has to be answered in a moral fashion, rather than just a financial one. After all, when (not if) an immoral choice has consequences, the name on the front door is mine. Not theirs.
Societal philosophy – I want to hire somebody who can believe, exemplify and live, the societal philosophy that’s on the back of all of my business cards “Helping YOU ethically attain PEACE in your life.” This is a societal call for peace through self-awareness first, and everything else second.
Even without these three considerations, scaling would be hard. Which is why so many solo entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants stay singular, stay small, and are frustrated by the level of impact they have in their niche—and outside of it.
I’m not frustrated. And I’m not in a hurry. I’m out here walking around, looking around for someone.
See: [Genesis 18:23-33] for a living example of this conundrum.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org