Monthly Archives: February 2008

Okay, but what do you REALLY charge by the hour?

A guy writes me today who sat through a three-hour talk I gave on value-based fees not too long ago. He wanted to know how much I really charge for an “average month of consulting” and how many hours I calculate with what rate. Then he asked if there were formulas in Million Dollar Consulting because he was unsure whether he should purchase the book (for $16!!).

My friends, it’s not hard to stand out in a crowd when the crowd is receding behind you as you watch. The greatest shame is that he wasted three hours of his time and used up a seat that someone else might have more profitably occupied.

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Consulting Opportunity

I’m looking for someone who has experience in actually performing or managing vendors in customer data cleansing and enrichment for very large customer databases (~3-5 million customers) to collaborate on a project. Please contact Curtis Bingham of Predictive Consulting Group at curtis@predictiveconsulting.com with brief highlights of your experience.

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Oh, Those Billable Hours!

Here is some great food for thought from Timothy Wilson:

Alan, In reading your blog today the following made me laugh:

3. “Your time is your value. One guy at a conference, whose name I saw on one of these blogs, actually told me that he could make more than I can through his hourly billing. Then he got in his Taurus and drove away. These folks discuss the best ways to increase hourly rates and billable hours. (There have actually been educational sessions at Institute of Management Consultants conferences about this.)”

I was at networking event where I met someone from a branch of the bank were I have my business account. He asked if there was anything he could do for me, I asked him about a service they provide known as First Research (it provides data on various industries.) Since it’s a free service, I asked for a report on the consulting industry. Here’s what the report had to say about the average hourly rate for consultants.

“Consultants are highly trained content experts and, accordingly, receive high salaries. The average hourly pay is about $24, eight dollars above the national wage.”

Average Hourly Earnings & Annual Wage IncreaseBureau of Labor Statistics

Not that you need any additional data to support value based fees, I just thought you might get an additional laugh out this in light of your conversation with the gentleman who truly believes he can make more via hourly billing.

Regards,

Timothy A. Wilson

T.A.Wilson & Associates

Getting Your People to ACT R.I.G.H.T™

Accountability, Communication, Team Building

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Amateur Hour

Every morning I receive Google Alerts telling me where my name or Million Dollar Consulting and similar phrases of mine are used. Most of the time I find very complimentary citations, rarely I find someone ripping me off (who is quickly silenced by a legal shot across the bow), and disturbingly frequently I find an Amateur Hour.

 

(The phrase originates with the old radio, then television, programs which allowed amateurs to demonstrate their talent for modest prizes. Today, on steroids and growth hormone, we have American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, et. al., and the Warholian Effect.)

 

Here are the signs of the amateurs in the consulting profession, with 21st Century technology available to virtually anyone who is not only interested in ignorance but also in its methodical distribution:

 

1. They don’t read. They think that something like “Good to Great” is an opus magnum. They can’t spell “Peter Drucker” have never heard of Warren Bennis and believe that the Wall Street Journal is too much trouble to tackle.

 

2. Labels are the identifiers of the day. There are limited categories for everyone and everything and life is not at all complex. You are a “High D” or an INTJ, and that’s that, all is explained and predictable. Next case. Or you’re dealing with management, leadership, or planning (or whatever), take your choice, and we’ll pull out that response tool. (“What about transnational cultural marketing?” “Oh, that’s just a form of planning, isn’t it?” In other words, we have a hammer, don’t ask us to tighten a bolt.)

 

3. Your time is your value. One guy at a conference, whose name I saw on one of these blogs, actually told me that he could make more than I can through his hourly billing. Then he got in his Taurus and drove away. These folks discuss the best ways to increase hourly rates and billable hours. (There have actually been educational sessions at Institute of Management Consultants conferences about this.)

 

4. Responses are programmatic. There is always a two-day program, or six-step process, or “flexible module” approach. There is a minimum of intellectual property and a maximum of reliance on pre-packaged, rigid, boxed approaches. Not only does no one read, no one writes, outside of brief, inarticulate blog entries.

 

5. The buyer is in human resources or training. They are talking to low level, irrelevant people who themselves have virtually no latitude for action but are, of course, enchanted with the latest faddish intervention: Future Lateral Search, Nanosecond Management, Outback Leadership. (Just today, Good Morning America had still another program on bettering yourself by trodding on hot coals. I thought I had somehow tuned in the 70s.)

 

6. The bizarre prevails as expertise. One woman claimed there is no reason to incorporate as a solo consultant. “My husband is a lawyer,” she confidently reported, while perhaps making a dozen people reading this nonsense vulnerable to suits in the future. (Who is going to get sued—good, educated consultants, or those who hang around these fringe sites?) Another suggested that the advice to purchase things like postage meters and copiers was ridiculous, because, “Who can afford that kind of expense?”

 

7. The feeling is that criticism, not success, should be the standard. I’ve had to have Amazon squelch two guys who use the premise of reviewing my books to launch personal attacks. I could care less if you don’t like my books, when 95% of the readers do, but to claim I’m running a “multi-level marketing program” or that I’ve never really consulted in my life is not only slanderous, but reveals an inordinate amount of self-anger. (I remember when I had my first Ferrari, in 1995, and I left it running outside of a coffee shop in the middle of January, before Al Gore had informed me that polar bears had become extinct and Memphis was about to become oceanfront. A guy at the door snidely asked if I were afraid I wouldn’t be able to start the motor again. I told him that when he could afford a Ferrari, he should then feel free to discuss them with me.)

 

I suppose every profession has it’s amateur fringe, but you won’t find a lousy cellist successfully offering lessons via the Internet or an inept skier forming lines for downhill lessons at Vail. The great thing about consulting is that there is no barrier to entry. The terrible thing about consulting is that there is no barrier to entry.

 

Be careful about whom you heed. Except me, of course.

 

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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You Are Not Taking Me With You

Do you hate your job, despise the government, disgusted with your weight and the relationship you are in? Are you disappointed with everyone and everything around you? So what should you do about it? Listen to this podcast and find out.

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Consulting Opportunity

I’m looking for 2 to 3 people, probably just starting out on their own; to facilitate two different sales classes I’ve developed. The rate would be $1,000 a day plus expenses. The individuals must have a strong sales background and be willing to follow my process. Contact: Bill Gager bgager@gager360.com

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And Speaking of Judging….

Without taking sides in the debate last night, I have to say that Hillary Clinton looked at Barack Obama when he was speaking the same way that my Shepherd, Koufax, looks through the window at a squirrel on the bird feeder: as if she wanted to grab him by the neck and shake him until he was lifeless. It seemed to me that Senator Clinton was actually resentful that anyone, in this case Senator Obama, had the temerity to be running against her. I guess that’s just me. I’d welcome other comments here.

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Let ME be the Judge of That (Episode 18)

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Nice Guy Finishes First

TOWN OF EAST GREENWICH

 

PROCLAMATION

 

WHERAS, Alan Weiss served approximately five years on the East Greenwich Planning Board, being appointed August 6, 2002; and

 

WHEREAS, only in East Greenwich will you find the Chair of the Planning Board in a red Bentley convertible and having an email address BentleyGTC@summitconsulting.com; and

 

WHEREAS, the rest of the story is that Alan Weiss, a member of the “Speakers Hall of Fame,” brought to every Planning Board meeting his insight, wit, and brevity, distilling the crucial facts out of lengthy discussion into well-crafted, legally defensible decisions; and

 

WHEREAS, the rest of the story is that Alan Weiss demonstrated leadership through the Board’s periods of transition, implementing procedures to educate new Board members; and

 

WHEREAS, the rest of the story is that Alan Weiss challenged the Planning Board and residents of the Town of East Greenwich with the “Strategic Downtown and Waterfront Planning Initiative” focusing on issues related to circulation, the environment and the content of the area, resulting in the creation of three planning committees comprised of volunteer citizens; and

 

WHEREAS, the rest of the story is that Alan Weiss shared his positive mental attitude and his experiences on the Planning Board with the citizens of East Greenwich through his “Opinion” and “Editorial” commentaries in the East Greenwich Pendulum.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that the Town Council of the Town of East Greenwich hereby recognizes ALAN WEISS for his unselfish, dedicated service to his community, contributing to the reputation of excellence that East Greenwich enjoys today.

 

Attest the seal of the Town Council of East Greenwich this 25th Day of February, A.D. 2008.

 

Michael B. Isaacs, President

John M. McGurk, Vice President

Henry V. Boezi, Councillor

Kim A. Petti, Councillor

Mark Schwager, Councillor

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Seminars Made Easy

So you want to create and run successful workshops. Listen to Alan discuss: How long should it run?  How many idea points? Should you use visuals? And how to make it outstanding.

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Podcast Series: The Way I See It | 1 Comment