Chapter 9. Moving to the Next Level: You May Be Ready for Dramatic Growth Before You Know It

My unscientific estimate is that only one in 20 people who enter the consulting profession as independent practitioners without a game plan or coaching help makes it to the point where they are supporting themselves in a comfortable lifestyle (in excess of $150,000 of annual income) within two years. And only one in 40 establishes a long-term, viable practice, meaning that the business continues to grow, the principal can take time off, more prospects call than have to be called, and so on.

Most of the experts in entrepreneurialism and small business start-ups agree that the three-year mark is the critical milestone. On average, people beginning their own business have run out of contacts, friends, and luck by three years, and must have forged independent marketing channels and attracted new business sources to survive beyond that point. If they've done that, then they probably have what the accountants refer to as a going concern. If they haven't, then they will probably go back to work in a corporate setting or return from whence they came.

Add to this the reality that at least three-quarters of those beginning a solo-practitioner consulting practice are experienced veterans of the workforce—in many cases, a refugee from a large company or an early retiree seeking a second career—and are unwilling to spend five or 10 years building that career. Consequently, people entering consulting not ...

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