6 Principles I Use to Run a Million-Dollar Consulting Business While Traveling the World


– Hey, it’s Michael Zipursky here. Hope you’re having a great day. I got quite a few
comments and also messages about my last video, where
I just put out a question, which really was, would you
like to know how we’ve been able to run a million-dollar
consulting business while still traveling a lot? And so, in my case, when I said
traveling, I mean traveling because you want to, not
traveling because you have to, and so, in the last 12
months or so, I’ve traveled for about five months with my
family in different countries and cities around the world. So here is, today, I’m gonna share with you the first principle. There are six principles that
we’ve used in our business to build and run a successful business and still have a lot of
freedom, time to travel, time to do on hobbies, family time, whatever is meaningful for you, right? This is what we’ve been doing. So, number one is a simple business model. This is a very, very important principle. In our case, we have just
two to three core offerings in our business. We don’t have 10 service offerings. We don’t have even five or
six or seven different things that we’re focusing on and
that we need to coordinate because this is what I’ve really
observed in the marketplace is that a lot of people
believe that in order to grow, you need to add, you need
to add more services, add more products, you
need to build more of this and build more of that in
order to grow, but for the type of business that is meaningful for me, which means having a lot of
time to spend with my family, not just locked up in some
office, working with my nose to the keyboard until I
can’t concentrate any longer. That doesn’t sound like fun to me. I want to be able to work
closely with clients, add a lot of value, and still
have a successful business with a lot of freedom, so
having a simple business model is key because what I’ve
seen, really, to be able to grow your business,
it’s not about addition, it’s about subtraction. The most successful businesses
that I’ve actually analyzed, typically, are very, very focused. They don’t try and add a lot
of things, especially early on, until they’ve reached a really
critical level of success, they remove a lot of stuff. They’ve simplified their product, they’ve simplified their service offering, so that they really are very,
very focused, and that means that you can be more focused,
that you can be more confident and more clear about what you’re offering because you don’t have
a lot of complexity, you don’t have a lot of
baggage, you don’t have to try and decide, well, do I offer
this thing to that person or that thing to that person,
or which of these 10 things should I put forward? Which these 10 things
should I try and focus on on my website ’cause that’s
a lot of distraction. So you can run a very successful
million-dollar business, even seven-, eight-figure business, with just having two or
three core offerings, and that makes it a lot easier for you to know what you’re
offering to the marketplace, it makes it a lot easier
as well for you to be able to decide where do you put your focus, and what do you improve
on, ’cause if you have five or 10 different things you have
to try and scatter yourself to improve, which one
do you improve first? It’s really hard to make
significant improvements and add more value to
anything that you’re doing if you’re all over the place. So principle number one
that we’ve used consistently that has really helped us is
a simplified business model, and again, you don’t need
many different products or services to run a successful business. We’ve been able to achieve
this with just two to three that we focus on consistently. We’re always working to
improve them to add more value for our clients, but also allows us to get really, really good at them, right? If you’re doing a lot of different things, it’s hard to get really good
at any one of those things ’cause you’re spending so much time on many different things,
so we focus on just a few, get very, very good at them,
and continue to improve and to improve and to improve
on them, which allows us to kind of reach the level
where you become world-class, like you’re achieving mastery because you’re very, very focused. That principle has really
helped us, and I think, these days, so many of us are
surrounded by so much noise in the marketplace, so many
opportunities, so many options. Almost every day, I mean,
certainly, every week, we get people saying, hey, would you like to partner with us on this? Can you promote this thing for us? Just a lot of different offers, a lot of different opportunities,
and these opportunities could be really good. They could certainly add
more revenue to our business, but in the short term,
not in the long term, and so by saying no, right, subtracting a lot of
opportunities that could be good but they’re not the right
ones, we’ve been able to stay very focused
to consistently achieve and make progress towards
our vision and goals for the period that we’re focusing on, and it’s worked out well. It’s been really efficient for
us, really effective for us, and that is the number one principle. So here’s a bit of a takeaway for you that just maybe a question to consider. What is your business model right now? How many different services do you have? How many different product
offerings do you have? And is it too complex? Could you maybe strip
away some of the things that aren’t working very well for you, really get focused on the ones that are creating the most
revenue, the most impact, and put aside all the
other ones that aren’t? Give that some thought. Well, principle number
two is team and support. This is really important, I’ve found, and I’ve kind of seen
with clients as well, to be able to get to that
next level in your business, and in our company, so, we
have, for example, Vincent, who handles a lot of our customer, we call it customer happiness
or customer support, but also handles our technical
side of the business. Then we have Tsavo who
does a lot of our content, assists with marketing and
other areas related to that, and then Sam, my cousin
and business partner, who does client enrollment,
does goal-setting and mindset work with our clients, and we also have a few coaches,
three coaches right now, who assist in some of the work that we do, who were actually clients who
have gone through our programs and have now achieved real success in their businesses as well,
so, that’s kind of our team, and in addition to that,
we also have a whole bunch of contractors and different
people that we work with who are experts in their own areas. We don’t necessarily need their expertise every single day all the time, but we tap into their expertise on
a very regular basis, and that really rounds out our
team, but here’s the thing. You don’t need to go
out and hire a big team. You don’t need to bring people
on full-time right away. You can actually just do it
gradually, but the key thing that has allowed me to
be able to travel a lot, to have a lot of time
to spend with my family, is that we’ve set up a team,
we have a network of support. So I don’t have to worry
about, oh, an email’s come in, and I need to respond to
it at this exact moment, because I know that there’s
someone there to support that. I don’t need to worry about,
okay, I’ve recorded this video, now what happens with
it because I have a team that can help with that. So my suggestion to you is
regardless of what size business you’re in right now, look at how you’re currently
spending your time, and ask yourself, are there certain tasks, certain activities, that you
yourself don’t need to do, identify the ones that you
are doing frequently yourself and remove yourself from
them by getting someone in to help you, and that, again, does not need to be a full-time employee. It can be a contractor, it can be someone part-time initially. It can just be a few
times a week or a month or whatever it is, but take
that off of your plate, and what you’ll find over
time, and what I’ve found over time is it as you do
that, it becomes very clear which of those activities
and tasks happen very often, and then which makes sense to bring someone on more full-time or in a part-time capacity or contractor or as an actual employee. And then once you’ve done that, right now, you’re creating this
team, but you can do it in a very inexpensive way to start, if you’re just a solo consultant or you’re just kind of getting
started, but it allows you to gradually build up, and
what you’re gonna also find is you’re gonna have a lot more freedom, which leaves you a lot more time to spend on high-value tasks and
working with your clients and working on the things that really move your business forward as opposed to the lower-value tasks, the ones that maybe you’re
not as good at, or the ones that just aren’t as beneficial
or valuable for your company. So that’s principle number two. It’s all about building a team
and having a support network around you that can help
you to run your business. Doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money, doesn’t have to use
tons of time to set up, but it’s something that
will really benefit you going forward, and if you want to be able to run a million-dollar
consulting business and have plenty of time for
what’s meaningful for you, whether that’s travel,
hobbies, family time, then putting this into
practice will really help you. The third principle is
about process and systems. We’ve put into place some
really great processes and systems. We’re always looking to
add more and to improve, but here’s what we’ve done
inside of our business just so you kind of have a
sense of some of the things we’ve done, right? Can’t cover them all in this video. Want to try and kind of
keep it short to the point, and have it no fluff, just
kind of give it to you quickly, but one of them, for
example, is onboarding, so when we bring on a new
client, we have a process, we have a system of how that gets done. There’s some manual components to that. There’s also a lot of
automation that’s now connected to that, and so there’s
consistency, where, previously, we’d have to send out a whole
bunch of emails manually and manage a whole bunch
of things manually. Now we have a large portion of that that is done automatically. So there’s automation involved,
makes it a lot easier. The clients still has a great experience, and it makes it a lot more
efficient and effective for us. Another one is scheduling calls. So, for example, actually,
just getting a call coming in right now, but
I’ll pick that up later. Another one is, so I mentioned
scheduling calls, right? Rather than going back and
forth with someone to try and figure out a time
for a meeting, or a time to have a conversation, we’ve used, as probably you might likely
use, and if you’re not, you certainly should, a
link to an online calendar. So that allows people to
see when I have availability or when someone on my
team has availability to have a conversation. Makes it a lot more efficient,
a lot more effective. These are like little
things that you might think, well, yeah, that’s just something small, but it really does add up. Another one, so, I was talking
with a client recently, we had an event, a mastermind event for our highest kind of
level clients in Toronto, and he was like, “How do you do this? “That’s really surprising,”
is what he told me, and I didn’t really think anything of it, but here’s what I’m talking about. When we do our podcast, so
the Consulting Success Podcast that goes out every week,
one of my conditions for doing this podcast was
that I could just jump on, interview our guests, or talk myself if it was kind of like a
solo cast, and that was it. I wouldn’t have to do much
else, and so that’s the way that we’ve set it up. We have a system in place
for, we have a process in place for it, so that
when the podcast is recorded, it gets uploaded to a Dropbox folder, and then we have a team
that does all the editing and does the posting and
does the transcriptions, it puts up the blog post,
images go up, distribution, all that’s done, and
same for finding guests for our podcast. We have a lot of people reaching
out to us directly saying, hey, I’ve been a successful consultant for many years, whatever. We’d like to come on to the
Consulting Success Podcast, and certainly, we always welcome that, and we consider those people,
but we also have a company that goes out and finds
potential guests for us, and also helps to get me
placed on different podcasts. So there’s lots of
these different services that are part of internal
teams that can help you to create systems and
processes to manage it, and so that’s been a really
big part of what we do because if we didn’t have these in place, it would really mean
that we have to do a lot or I’d have to do a lot
of these things myself, like I have to record the podcast and I’d have to upload it
myself, and I’d have to then go and edit it myself, and then
I’d have to put up an image for it and I’d have to go transcription, and there’s so many little moving pieces, and it might seem like,
oh, yeah, that’s a small, doesn’t take me that long,
but when you actually add up how long it’s taking you by compounding, whether it’s done every day
or every week or every month, it’s a considerable amount of time, and that’s just one thing, right? You look at many things,
everything you’re doing in your business, and it really
can make a big difference. So just my suggestion, my encouragement, (mumbles) my respectful
offering to you here today is look at what you’re doing
consistently in your business. What can you build better
systems and processes around, and make sure that you
start to implement those. Leverage automation, leverage
tools, leverage services that can still allow you
to connect in a human way to your clients, but
just making that process a lot more efficient for
you so that your business runs smoothly, because that
will create a lot more freedom for you and also allow you to just run a more successful business, which is also what is,
I’m sure, important to you as it’s important to us. All right, so there you have it, that’s principle number three. The fourth principle is
a really important one, and it’s what I call prioritize. This is all about prioritizing
your most important work and ensuring you get that work done first. I think a lot of us know
there’s certain things that would really help us to
move our business forward, but we don’t take action on them because maybe they’re
scary, maybe they’re things that we haven’t done before,
maybe there’s, right, some fear around them. As an example, for a lot of
people, picking up the phone and calling a prospective
client or following up with a prospective client is really scary. The fear of rejection, the
fear of being too pushy, just the uncomfortable nature of it, yet, that can be really important to do. Another one might be creating
a certain piece of content that is really gonna be important for you, but you hesitate on it for
one reason or another, right? So whatever it is that you have identified that’s really gonna help you
to move your business forward, the highest-value activity, get that done and get that done first in your day. Prioritize, because you can
spend your time doing 10 things in one day, but if those 10
things aren’t the most valuable, if they’re not high-value, if they’re not kind of like highest level of effectiveness for you, then
that’s not time well spent. I think a lot of people,
and I see a lot of people these days, get confused
with productivity, and productivity to some
just means being very busy and doing a lot of
things, but productivity and doing a lot of things
does not equal success. In fact, if you look at the
people who are most successful, they tend to do fewer things,
but to do them the right way and to put a lot of focus and
energy on those few things because those are the
few things that help them to move their business forward the most. That’s being smart. Another one here, right, is just getting very
clear on what those are, so what is the most valuable work for you? A little process, a little kind
of list that you can create of what that looks like for
you and for your business is time well spent because
if you start your day doing things that are low-value, then you’re gonna typically
put off the things that are the high value, again, because they’re kind of
uncomfortable, right? You have to venture into
the zone of the unknown, and that can be scary,
but if you write down and get very clear on what
specific tasks, activities, initiatives are highest value
for you and you start your day with those, and you do
it every single day, or as often as you can, right,
you’re gonna feel like wow, I’m making a lot of progress. I know that I feel that way. Once I’ve prioritized, then I know, okay, on my list right here, what I need to do, and that’s what I focus on, and yes, I could be doing other
things, but this one thing or these two things are highest priority. Even if you get one thing done
per day that is high-value, you will feel so much
better about your day because you’re gonna
make a lot more progress, and that is what business
is all about, right? It’s about progress,
about building momentum that leads to you getting
the results that you want. So, one final thing here just
to note about this principle is that you want to, and
should, I would encourage you to remove as many distractions
as you can, right? The one thing that is the enemy of getting productive work
done, of getting real work done on valuable tasks or
activities, is distraction, and distractions can come from your email, they can come from Skype, they can come from any notifications on your phone, they can come from
going to YouTube, right? All these things can create distractions. So if you really want to
prioritize and you really want to make more progress in your business and you want to accomplish
more in less time, so you then have more
time available to travel, to spend with loved ones, and so forth, has been talking a lot about, because that’s what’s important to me, I’m just sharing my own example, yours might be a little bit
different, but if you want to have more time for
those things, then you need to make sure that when
you’re spending time on priority items, that
you’re spending real, concentrated, focused time. So remove those distractions,
close your email and don’t look at it, or only
look at it at certain times. Don’t have that tab open
that shows one, two, 30, whatever, every time you
have a new email come in because your eyes are gonna go to that, and then you’re gonna try and look at it and that’s a distraction, right? Don’t have any other browser tabs open, make sure your phone is turned off, make sure that your Skype
can’t get any kind of pings or notifications or just
anything that might distract you from what you’re working on. You want to remove those
things and really focus on your number one
priority item for that day, even if that is something
that might be hard for you or a little bit uncomfortable,
put in your effort into it because if what you’re doing
is really meaningful for you, if it’s a strong why, like you
really want to accomplish it, then don’t let distractions or even things that seem challenging
or hard get in your way. You take action towards it, right? Take a step towards it, you’re gonna feel, first of all, really happy, right? Your self-esteem’s gonna
go up, your confidence is gonna go up, you’re
gonna be able to realize, wow, yeah, I can do this,
nothing is gonna stop me, and you do that once,
it becomes a lot easier, you do it again, it becomes
significantly easier. You just keep doing that,
momentum builds and snowballs, and you’re going to get to a place where you’re gonna look back and be like, wow, I really made a lot of
progress on these things, as opposed to just being all
over and being distracted. So that’s my offer to you here today. That’s just what I’ve
found as a principle, that’s principle number four, that has really played a
very big role in helping us to achieve this level
of success and freedom that is meaningful for us. So there you have it. I hope that principle
is beneficial for you. Hope that you’re already
implementing it, but if you’re not, then a great opportunity to do so. Let me get now to principle number five, which is sacrifices, and this is something that a lot of people don’t talk about, but I think it’s important to
be very honest and transparent about what really goes on if you want to run a successful business,
and what I have observed and what I’ve seen, and what I’ve felt is that you have to make
and you have to be willing to make some sacrifices in
order to achieve the level of success that you desire. So here’s a few specific
sacrifices that I’ve had to make, and they’re not really
big, they’re not crazy that you think, oh, wow,
Michael, you made these amazing, so that must be so, so tough. It’s, they’re not really
tough, so as an example, when I’m in Europe, and my
family is, it’s late at night and they want to go out for
dinner, or in some cases, they’re just going to bed,
they might be in the room down the hall while I’m
at the kitchen table, taking a call with clients
or doing a group call with some of our clients and I’m working. Why? Because the hours, right,
the timezone is different, and so I want to try and keep
some consistency with clients. That’s a sacrifice. Another one is when I’m in
Japan, I have to get up, I don’t have to, I choose
to get up very early, and I’ll often be on calls,
again, with clients at 6 a.m., or in some cases, I’m up at 5 a.m. Well, why? Because that allows us
to run the business. Our clients are all over,
all around the world, but there are some things
that we keep consistent so that our business is consistent, and that’s a sacrifice, right? Well, what does that mean? That means that sometimes
I can’t go out to an event or I can’t go to have a
drink with some friends. I have to have an earlier
night because the next day, I have to get up very
early to accommodate that. That’s a sacrifice. It’s not a big one, it’s not a crazy one, but it’s a sacrifice. Other times, I remember
when we were in Costa Brava in Spain, right, just a
little bit north of Barcelona, my daughter and my wife
wanted to go to the beach and to play and I wanted to
go, I’d love to go with them at that time, but I also
had to get some work done. Well, that’s a sacrifice,
but it’s not a big sacrifice in the scheme of things because
I know they’re gonna go now, and I’m gonna join them. I remember when I was in Tel
Aviv in Israel, same thing, they wanted to go to the
beach, and so they went, and I’ve had to do a bit of
work, but an hour or two later, I joined them, so it’s small sacrifices, but these are things I think, sometimes, even when you’re in your
own local area, right, when you’re at home, you
have to make some sacrifices. You might have friends say,
hey, can we meet for a coffee, can we meet for lunch,
can we meet for a beer, or whatever it might be, different things that call upon your attention,
and you need to have, or I need to have, but
I want to encourage you to also maybe consider
that having some restraint or just prioritizing and just
kind of deciding what you need to sacrifice in order to
achieve what you want. I know when I was much younger,
running my first business, many kids, friends that were
going to different parties, or were going out a lot more. I wasn’t, and I chose not
to because I was focused on my early businesses. So looking back, maybe,
yeah, I would have enjoyed spending a bit more time playing, but when I look at what
I’ve been able to achieve because of that focus and the
dedication, the sacrifices I made, it was well, well worth it. So, this all has to be played,
like I’m not suggesting by any means that you
sacrifice time with your family or that you sacrifice things
that are really important, but having a balance,
I think, is critical, and so principle, here,
number five has allowed us to run a successful consulting business and still travel and have
plenty of free time and freedom to spend with loved ones and
family and to do the things that we want is sacrifices, right? You make a small sacrifice
for a much bigger return. The impact you have from
doing something small is significantly larger, and
that’s, I think, a principle that has served us very well, and so I wanted to share that with you. This is the sixth principle
I’m gonna share with you. I’ve gone over already the other five, but this is the last one, and this really kind of like
brings everything together. This is a really important
principle, or at least, point that I’ve followed, that
we follow within our company, and it’s made such a
big difference for us, and here’s what it is. It might sound simple, but it’s
really critical for success. Principle number six is decisions, and here’s what I mean by it. Being very clear on what you
want to do, what you will do, what you won’t do, having
a filter that you can use, or criteria that you can use, to make decisions strategically. Applying kind of critical thinking or taking in different
opportunities that come your way, and knowing whether or not
it matches the criteria that you’ve set helps you to
make better decisions, right? So if you want to achieve
something specific and you know that it means you have
to not do certain things, when an opportunity comes your way, you can decide very
quickly, does this match, you can ask yourself, does
this match the criteria that I’ve set out? No, it doesn’t, no, it doesn’t, yes, no, and then you can decide
whether it’s a go for you or a no go, but that, this has
been really important for us. The second part of
decisions is the difference between being committed
and being interested. So there’s a lot of things
that I think many of us are interested in, right? We look at some opportunity
or sign that we want to achieve a goal. Yeah, this kind of seems interesting, you do some reading online
about it, maybe you get a book, maybe you go to a conference
or a seminar about it, and you take in a lot
of information about it, but you don’t actually act on it. Well, that’s being interested. There’s nothing wrong
with being interested in certain things, but being
committed is different. If you want to really be successful, you have to be committed
to what you’re doing, and being committed means taking action, not just absorbing information,
but actually taking action, and my observation is that
in order to take action, you have to remove a
lot of potential things that you could do to get very clear on what’s gonna really make the difference and then take action on that. Another part of decisions is the decision to play
big, right, to think bigger, whether that means that you’re used to selling $5,000 offerings
and now all the sudden, you start selling 25,000 or 100,000, or million-dollar service offerings, but most of what we do
as people, most of us are very focused on just
getting something done, which is good, but my
observation and experience has shown me that it takes
almost the same amount of energy and time and effort and infrastructure to achieve whatever this is
here, and to achieve something that is all the way up here,
so, if you think bigger, then you can often get
a much bigger result without putting in a lot more work, but you need to decide to do that. If you always just decide to
kind of stay where you are, to play small, you’re gonna stay there and you’re not gonna see big
results, but if you decide to play bigger, to think
bigger, to act bigger, you will start seeing
bigger and better results, and I’m not talking about just bigger in terms of making a lot more money to go and buy a Ferrari that you
can sit on in your driveway and take a picture of yourself and put it on Instagram, right? I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is thinking bigger in terms of what you want to achieve, the impact that you want to
have, be able to spend more time with loved ones, traveling
the world, whatever it is that’s meaningful for you, that’s what I’m talking
about thinking bigger, and, of course, bigger
finances in terms of income and benefit from a revenue perspective also is attached to that. So the other and kind of, I
guess, final decision point here of this sixth principle,
which is decisions, is to stay away from complexity. Stay away from complicated
business models, stay away from all the noise
and hype in the marketplace. Be very clear, become very
clear on what is meaningful for you, what is important to you, so that you can truly
realize your own potential. Making that decision will
allow you to actually start to achieve it, to make
progress towards it, to generate more momentum. Following these principles, I’ve outlined six different
principles for you, right? Starting off with a
simplified business model, then with having team and support, then getting the right systems
and processes in place, then with prioritization, and next, we talked about making sacrifices, and this is the final
one around decisions. So, I hope that these
principles will benefit you. I know that they’ve really allowed us to create a highly profitable business that has given us the
ability to travel the world, has allowed me to spend a
lot of time with my family and loved ones and do what’s
what’s meaningful for me. So I hope this has been
beneficial for you. Let me know in the comments below or if you have any questions, I’m happy to share even more detail around any of these
points, and the other thing I’ll just say is if you’re
looking for some help in this area, I mean
if you would like help to productize your service
offering or to find ways to scale your consulting business further, just to develop your
consulting business further, then reach out, I’ll put
a link in the video here or somewhere around this video that you can get some more
information about how we work with consultants to help them to grow their consulting
businesses, and really, to achieve the kind of
lifestyle and impact, and financial success
as well, that we’ve had. So I’d be happy to do that. Just reach out and we can
share more information and provide you with more information, but again, I hope these
principles have been beneficial to you and, yeah, let me know if they have or if you have any other
questions, all right? Have a great day, take care.

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