Writing a nonfiction book based on your area of expertise is an easy lead-in for consulting and coaching opportunities. In fact, these opportunities will probably come looking for you whether you want them or not!
After I wrote my first book, The Business Startup Checklist and Planning Guide, I began receiving requests for consulting services. This wasn’t something I had planned on since at the time I was running my bookstore and building my business website and it never really occurred to me. But readers were looking for additional assistance and it made perfect sense to begin offering consulting services.
Over the years I’ve discussed this option with many authors and have been surprised by some of the resistance. It seems that some authors feel they aren’t qualified to call themselves consultants or coaches. But here’s the thing: you wrote an entire book about your topic of interest. In the eyes of readers that makes you an expert. And experts typically offer some form of consulting services! Also, avoid comparing yourself with others. That will get you nowhere fast. Clearly you have a lot to say about your topic and you have every right to own that. You may not have ALL of the answers, but you know more than most people.
The other important lesson I’ve learned over the years that even though your book might provide all the steps needed for your readers to accomplish something, many will still want accountability and personal support. We retain a very small percentage of the information we learn every day so many of your readers will want reinforcement. They will want you to help them along the path you’ve laid out before them.
Start by considering what kinds of programs you want to offer for your clients. There are two primary ways to offer your services:
Consulting by the hour – This is pretty standard in the consulting and coaching industry, though it lacks flair and I personally prefer to offer consulting packages. In this case you simply bill clients on an hourly basis, similar to how an attorney charges for his time. If you go this route, be sure to charge a competitive rate for your services. Just because you’re new to consulting, that doesn’t mean you should charge less than your competitors. You are an authority after all. I also suggest setting a minimum commitment level for clients, such as two or five hours. Filling your schedule with random one-hour client sessions can quickly feel like drudgery, especially if those clients aren’t encouraged to return anytime soon.
Consulting packages – This is my favorite option, both as a consumer and a consultant. You can design packages in any number of ways, specifically to meet the needs of your audience.
Your packages might simply be based on the time you commit to spending with the client. Many life coaches sell their services based on 90-day, 6-month, or even 12-month packages, which include weekly or bi-monthly coaching calls.
Your packages might also be created for some specific purpose. For years one of my bestselling packages was a Marketing Action Plan, which included a two-hour consultation with the client, a written action plan sent to the client after the session, and a follow-up call a month later to check on the client’s progress. Over the years I charged between $1,000 and $3,000 for these plans.
Another option is to offer your clients full-day visits with you, which would be considered a premium package and should be billed accordingly. When I owned my bookstore, I received many inquiries from people who were interested in opening stores in their own towns across the country. At that time I charged $5,000 for a full day consultation, allowing clients to follow along to learn all about the store operations.
Jason Davis, who is known as “The Dog Guy” and co-owner of the Folsom Dog Resort, offers a similar program to other dog training facilities. Companies pay substantial fees to send their staff to Jason for training programs that last one to three weeks, where Jason teaches them his dog training techniques and participants also learn about the business operations.
Your consulting packages can be presented in any way that you like. You might bundle up some books and workbooks for your clients as part of a package, or create a formal program that walks clients through a process week-by-week until they reach the end of the program. Get creative and figure out what your clients want.
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