The Consultants of Choice Foundation Programme development journey - in a series of graphs and pictures.
After banging my head into a metaphorical wall trying to meet a self-imposed deadline for something people don't actually want, I've got some great news for you all: The Consultants of Choice Foundation Programme is coming soon. here!
Here's quite an in-depth update on how the programme has been designed, and why. It's a bit of a yarn, so if you're just waiting to find out what's in it and when you can sign up, jump down to NUTS AND BOLTS.
If you're a nerd for thinking processes, research and data, you might enjoy this.
At the time of writing this post (March 2023) I've been building this programme for three months, and it's taken up a whole bunch of my energy (in between running Not An MBA, travelling, client work, et al.)
While creating the programme content, I've also written a bunch of guides and articles to get people thinking, posted about it on social media to create some hype, and have been gathering a waitlist (427 people and counting).
I figured I would bang it out by the end of March - videos, templates, resources, the lot. Turns out, I grossly underestimated how long it would take me to make - or rather, how dense I would need to go with it.
My initial hypothesis
My initial thinking was to pull together all the templates and resources that people need to get going - a sort of 'business in a box.' I thought that's what the barrier to people leaving their jobs was - they just didn't know what steps to take!
I was wrong.
When I started talking to people about it, running surveys, and getting stuck into the content creation, it became obvious to me that the biggest barriers aren't "what to put on my website" or "how to write a good proposal".
That's out there already. ChatGPT can probably do it for you. I do have useful input to heaps of these things, and COC will definitely offer support and templates for promotion, sales, and marketing - but it's not your top priority.
So I'm probably better off, to start, linking to good resources that other clever, hardworking people have made.
So, what DO you want?
What the data told me
There's a few clear themes that came out of my research process (which included interviews, desktop data review and a quantitative/qualitative survey of 365 interested students). Here's some key findings that changed my approach to this.
1. Most people haven't really started yet
Most of the people who want me to release this course are not currently consulting.
They're still in a job, or on a break, and considering giving it a go. A further 10% are contracting to a single employer, through a recruitment agency, which is essentially a job, with but more money and a little less security.
You need help with taking the leap and planning your new life.
2. It's not money that motivates you
Only 42% of you selected 'financial rewards' as the answer to why you're considering self-employment (it was a multi-response question).
Given 72% of you earn over $100K, that makes sense. You've probably found out already that money is not often enough to improve your life.
Instead, it's freedom you want. 80% of you want flexibility and independence. 64% of you want better work/ life balance. 57% - more fulfilling work.
You want to be unshackled to live a better life, on your own terms, doing work you feel good about.
3. You want to bridge the strategy/action gap
There was two clear themes in the responses - people who want to do more of the strategic stuff (strategy, coaching, mentoring, planning), and people who want to get in and drive better implementation and execution.
That makes sense. If you're getting weary of the corporate overhead and want a better ratio of effort:delivery in your work/life balance (see above) then of course you want to sort these things out.
I was pretty surprised to see that 67% of you might provide strategy and planning services as your consulting offer. That's great news, I can really help with that!
YOU WANT STRATEGY AND PLANNING CONTENT AS PART OF YOUR CONSULTING EDUCATION.
4. Your biggest challenge is product/market fit
Your top three fears and worries were: not finding clients, not being able to pay your bills, and hating sales and marketing.
All three of these fears are about product/ market fit (making and selling something people actually want), which adds up, because that's the overwhelmingly top reason that small businesses fail.
(It's also probably why positioning and service design were your highest learning priorities.)
This makes you lot smarter than most beginning small business owners, who focus on brochures, business cards and other stuff. You already know this is the priority.
You're not trying to funnel hack (what even IS that?), boost conversion or reinvent the wheel.
You want a clear understanding of hoW to match your experience to WHAT potential clients need - (and describe that well to others, so you can pay your bills. )
Perfect. Which brings me to...
Where I've landed
Looking at your problems, your preferences, and my goals for the next year of my business (all things you should be considering in service design, see what I did there...), here's what I've landed on: we need to go on a journey together.
If I try to film every video, create every resource and polish every workbook across the full eight modules* before I start, you will be waiting a year.
Plus, you don't even need 80% of it yet!
What you do need
What you need is immediate, useful support to:
- Get ready to take the leap into self-employment
- Design a business that serves the kind of life you want to live
- Define a target market and understand their problems and solutions
- Get clear on a compelling service offer that attracts great clients, earns great money, and serves your lifestyle.
I can help you with all of those things, and I've already made almost all of the resources you need.
The approach I've refined, in my own consulting business, to doing the above has always been pretty nerdy - lots of writing things down, research, and intervention logic models to analyse problems and design solutions.
(See below for a working-draft taster of the kind of worksheets we'll be using. I've gone full nerd and I'm very excited about walking people through these and seeing the brilliance that results!)
At first, I was tempted to pull a lot of that stuff out or change it before I shared it with anyone.
But then I remembered that 67% of you want to do strategy and planning work, and 42% of you work in the public sector. Which suggests to me that you'll probably love my nerdy little frameworks. So, strap in.
Nuts and Bolts
The Consultants of Choice Foundation Membership is opening very soon open for enrolment!
Foundation members will receive access to Stage 1 of the COC curriculum, and all subsequent program additions and electives as they launch, at a discounted monthly membership price - with added benefits.
Consultants of Choice Foundation Membership
Stage 1 course content:
Module 1: Plan your new life - Assess your readiness and design your self-employed life
Module 2: Define your value proposition - Convert your career experience into consulting expertise that solves client needs.
Module 3: Create a your consulting offer - Design, test and deliver compelling, high-value consulting services to your target market.
I asked you what you wanted, and you told me. So, here you are:
- Live, recorded group coaching calls to work through each module together
- In-depth workbooks with resources and templates
- Membership to the Consultants of Choice Circle community of peers
- Drip-fed video curriculum with short videos to support each module
(Your last priority. So it's last on my list too).
Let's build this aeroplane while we fly it - together.
The final membership price for all of the above (coaching calls, resources, community + curriculum) will be set by the end of 2023.
But as we create this together, Foundation members will enjoy the journey at a discounted monthly price and get access to all strategic planning courses on the AM Academy as part of your membership.
Update: Foundation membership pricing (only available until December 2023) is just $299 AUD/month or $799 AUD/quarter.
Pretty good, eh?
*The eight working modules for Consultants of Choice are:
- completed/ ready to launch:
1. Plan your new life
2. Define your value proposition
3. Create your consulting offer
- drafted/ in development:
4. Sales and relationships
5. Marketing and positioning
6. Delivering client work
7. Operational excellence
8. Growth and change
Self-employment is an alluring prospect. It’s a chance to live your life on your own terms, to achieve more fulfilment and meaning from your career,...