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Trajectory: “This is Houston….”

Trajectory: “This is Houston….”

Someone in the Mentor Program asked a great question recently: How much business do you need and at what fee levels to make seven figures AND lead a quality life?

Early in my career, I was traveling 80% of the time and coordinating up to 34 projects a year. Yes, you read that correctly. No staff, but a bevy of subcontractors at times (whom I never allowed to read my books on value pricing). I realized that I was making money but losing my life, so I managed the easiest two variables to change the dynamics.

First, I constantly raised fees as my brand grew and my track record was talked about. Second, I diversified my offerings. (Technology, by the way, turbocharged those two initiatives in the mid-90s and beyond.)

One $100,000 contract is far more lucrative than ten $10,000 contracts, so I moved toward higher fees (easier than you think when you provide options and your brand is strong). That was combined with diversifying into speaking, coaching, products, teleconferences, high-end workshops, passive income, and so forth. This year, 2007, I’ve had record income traveling less than 20% of the time (and even then often with my wife along).

You have to view your career not as an event but as a trajectory into the future, and plan where you’d like to be at approximately what point. Just like the folks at NASA, if you’re off by a couple of degrees at the outset, you tend to miss entire solar systems and galaxies, not an encouraging prospect as you wander through the void.

Strengthen your brand at every opportunity, so that people come to you (making fees irrelevant), and diversify as much as your talents allow, providing for less labor-intensive opportunities. This extraordinary profession allows you both of these options.

Remember, this isn’t your life, it’s your business, and it’s the marketing business. If you fall in love with your methodology, and aren’t secure unless you are physically present and doing something, you simply have a traditional nine-to-five job with an unenlightened boss who doesn’t care about your quality of life. You can’t quit and you won’t be fired. You’re in a doom loop.

Change your approaches so that you’re providing fuel for your life, not burning up your life as fuel for your work.

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 1

  • Shama Hyder

    December 17, 2007

    I will definitely be taking this advice to heart Alan as I plan my own trajectory for 2008 and beyond.

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