strategic consultant to:  

~ serial CEOs & CTOs in software, Internet, technology & digital media
~ experienced consultants in all fields to maximize their practices

There is a key theme running through all the 12 characteristics of successful consultants that we have been exploring here:  it is self-discipline.

Reviewing the 12 characteristics, each of them requires a certain stalwart truth-telling (to yourself) and a willingness to embark on continuous self-improvement over time, no matter how experienced you may be in your practice.

  1. Expertise – to state your unique value
  2. Confidence, personal power, authority – to control your practice and your future
  3. Patience & Optimism –  to keep going
  4. Back up Capital – to keep you safe
  5. Ability to pitch and close, network, work a room – to attract clients, prospects and referral sources
  6. Financial calm – to survive the up & down of revenues, the free fall
  7. Ability to speak in public – to attract clients, prospects and referral sources
  8. Ability to speak and write in short succinct style – to attract clients, prospects and referral sources
  9. Zen Distance – to allow your client to fail; to cut your losses; to move on
  10. Strong network of referrals – to attract clients and prospects
  11. Strong pipeline of prospects – to close new clients
  12. Self-discipline – to maximize your practice, your success, and your wealth

In my experience working with consultants, each one could overcome or compensate for any specific lack of skill in one area or another.  But the occasional client who could not maintain the discipline of constantly refining and employing new skills to manage his or her practice did not succeed, in the practice or in our work together, both of which were short-lived.

I reviewed the notes on the prospective clients I had turned down over the past few years, as my practice is solely for maximizing already-successful consultants.  In those notes, in each case, I sensed an eagerness to learn but a “yes-but” hidden in their commitment to “do the work” of the new disciplines we would be creating.

So, ask yourself with that stalwart truth-telling, and review projects you have started and abandoned: do you have the discipline to grow and manage your consultancy over time, starting now?