Guts, Grit & Great Business Podcast
With Michael Zipursky, CEO of Consulting Success® and Coach to Consultants. He has advised organizations like Financial Times, Dow Jones, RBC, and helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets, but more importantly, he’s helped over 400 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add 6 and 7 figures to their annual revenues. Over 35,000 consultants read his weekly consulting newsletter. Michael is also the author of the Amazon Best Sellers ACT NOW: How successful consultants thrive during chaos and uncertainty, The Elite Consulting Mind and Consulting Success®, the book.
Join us in this powerful conversation about the keys to creating a successful consulting or coaching business. We discuss how successful consultants thrive, Michael’s start to his own entrepreneurial journey and the role of sports in his early life, the importance of focus in business, and the difference between creating a job for yourself as a consultant versus becoming a business owner.
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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- Focus on what’s going on to move the needle forward.
- “I’m not a fan of the word mistake or failure.”
- A lot of people are very uncomfortable trying to narrow it down in business building.
- The more focused you are the better.
- Be prepared to make that commitment and take those actions that are necessary.
- Anything good means that you have to work hard and do things that you haven’t done before.
Check out these highlights:
14:20 If you have kids and you are concerned – doesn’t mean what you see right now is going to happen in the future.
17:23 “If I want something then I’m going to go after it until I get it.”
18:28 “I don’t judge success instantly.”
25:00 Even if you are an introvert – if you follow the path that serves you best, you’re way more likely to get there.
25:26 Many of the things that are going to create the most value are going to be the most uncomfortable.
27:21 “By getting focused you’re going to create a lot more opportunities. You’re going to be able to dial in your ideal client.”
29:43 Don’t worry how perfect things are. Identify who your ideal client is and start having conversations with them.
33:00 The most important thing is that you know how and when to shift, pivot.
36:20 “With motivation comes a lot of failure.”
41:25 How can entrepreneurs get more done in less time right now?
How to get in touch with Michael:
On Social Media:
FREE GIFTS FOR LISTENERS:
Free Blueprint on how to start, run and grow a successful consulting business: https://www.consultingsuccess.com/blueprint
Get Michael’s Latest Book for FREE (Written during Covid!): The Act Now Book: How Successful Consultants Thrive During Chaos and Uncertainty: https://www.consultingsuccess.com/ActNow
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 00:00
Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit, and Great Business.
Michael Zipursky 00:05
I think that’s why I’ve also seen over the years, so many people who don’t necessarily have the educational or the academic, you know, “smarts”. And so you’ll see people that aren’t as like smart as you, yet they’re significantly more successful. How can that be? Well, it’s because society has, you know, trained many people to think that education or whatever it is, is actually what equals success, but it doesn’t, what equals success is taking action. And those that don’t, you know, question so much and they’re not aiming for perfection, there is out there having conversations, trying things, even if they don’t have all the information, they’re still trying things and they’re learning firsthand. And that’s what actually allows them to then make better decisions faster than anyone else. And that’s why they’re so successful.
GGGB Intro 00:46
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit, and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:19
Welcome I am Heather Pearce Campbell,The Legal Website Warrior® and attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington. Welcome to another episode of guts, grit and great business. I am so excited to bring to you today. MICHAEL ZIPURSKY and red. Tell me Michael, is that the way that you say your last name? I should have asked you.
Michael Zipursky 01:39
Yeah, you’re close.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:40
Michael Zipursky 01:41
There you go. You got it. Second time,
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:42
Zipursky. All right. So welcome to MICHAEL ZIPURSKY. Michael and I met through a group that I just joined a few weeks back and his experience is phenomenal. I’m super excited to have Michael here today and for for the folks listening. He’s going to be the perfect fit for you. And Michael, I know that you don’t know me that well yet, but I serve largely coaches, consultants, online educators and experts, speakers and authors. And these are all folks that need to hear what you have to say. But Michael is the CEO of consulting success and coach to consultants. He has advised organizations like Financial Times, Dow Jones RBC and helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets. But more importantly, he’s helped over 400 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add six and seven figures to their annual revenues. Over 35,000 consultants read his weekly consulting newsletter. Michael is also the author of the Amazon bestsellers act now, how successful consultants thrive during chaos and uncertainty. That sounds like the perfect book that everybody needs to be picking up currently, the elite consulting mind and consulting success the book, Michael will include your gift and some additional contact information for you on the show notes. So stay tuned, because we’ll give you that link in just a bit. Here’s some fun facts about Michael. He has been building consulting businesses for 20 years, he has started six companies sold two and made his first million by the time he was 31. He has also competed against an Olympian which I’m curious to hear about. He speaks Japanese we were just swapping travel stories. And then I love this a green smoothie as his go to in the morning. So Michael, welcome. I’m already such a fan and I don’t even know you that well yet. I’m so happy to have you.
Michael Zipursky 03:38
Hey, Heather. Yeah, thanks so much. Great to be here with you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:41
Yeah. So talk to us about how you got started in the consulting world.
Michael Zipursky 03:47
Okay, I thought you’re gonna say talk to us about your green smoothie in the morning.
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:49
Well, that too. I do want to hear what goes into your green smoothie. I’ve tried quite a variety.
Michael Zipursky 03:54
Yeah, well, that’s more of my wife’s doing but I’m happy to tell you what she puts in in every day. And it’s a lot of goodness. And it’s always fun to try and get our daughters to drink that. But we’ve we figured out how to make that happen.
Heather Pearce Campbell 04:07
Is this the happy green smoothie? Like you’re happy to drink it down? Or is this the you know, quickly chug the green smoothie?
Michael Zipursky 04:14
No, this is a good green smoothie, but for my wife and I mean, we would probably be okay, even if it wasn’t the sweet one. But to get our, you know, our daughters or especially our older daughter to drink, it requires a little bit of finesse, a little bit more banana and an apple and excuse my voice. I’ve been talking a lot here today. So it might think, Yeah, might be a little bit, you know, not as clear as usual. But hopefully it’ll it’ll be clear for everyone.
Heather Pearce Campbell 04:38
Yeah, you know, sounds good to me. And I similarly have I’ve had a gruff voice for about a week and I have no idea if it’s because I launched a podcast and I’m doing like many interviews a day on top of my regular work, which is a lot of calls but I laugh because my sister who has always had a slightly deeper voice than mine, like even as a kid, I had teachers But like teased her a little bit about having this deep bedroom voice. I feel like for the last week I’ve had like, I’ve gone down a notch and I’ve got this gruffness. So I’m right there with you.
Michael Zipursky 05:10
Awesome! So you want to know how I got into the consulting business
Heather Pearce Campbell 05:14
Yeah, in the consulting world.
Michael Zipursky 05:16
Sure. So I started with my cousin Sam, who to this day is is my business partner we’ve we built, as you mentioned, many businesses together over the years, just out of high school, we started our kind of the first company together. And that was in kind of the web design and development area back in the early days of that. And that was a great experience. And then we what a year and a half or two later, we started our second company, which was called conquer culture, conquer culture. Conquer in Japanese means relationships. So essentially, relationship culture, we’ve always been very big on long term thinking and building relationships with people. And that’s kind of the way the business should be done, or at least focused on. And so we work with all kinds of different businesses in Vancouver when we started that company, but when I went into university after my first year actually decided to go over to Japan. And I ended up actually opening up our branch office for that company over there and had a really great opportunity to work with some very large organizations, as you mentioned, like Panasonic or Sumitomo Omron, a whole bunch of other, you know, multibillion dollar organizations really helping them with their English language communications and marketing materials for those English language markets. And so I spent about five, six years building that business over there. And when I came back to North America, I started a separate, or a new consulting business, this time really focused on lead generation for professional services firms. And so our clients were, were actually law firms. They were investment companies, insurance businesses, other consulting firms. And really just got to kind of see what it was like to to help others to generate leads, which was something that continued to be in demand and people are always looking for. And so around that time, both Sam and I, we had done a few businesses together, but we were kind of doing our separate thing. And actually, we were at a family barbecue one day, and we said, You know what, it’d be really great to do another company together. But this time, we should do it online, because we both love travel. And we both love seeing the world and cultures and all that kind of stuff. And my wife who’s Japanese, at that time wasn’t my wife, but I was, you know, spending more time in Japan, and I’m a big family guy. So I had this vision, even at that stage that I wanted to ensure that we could always go back to Japan and spend time with her family. This was before kids and so forth. So we said, let’s start something online, we didn’t really know what we’re going to do, initially. But we decided, let’s put out some examples. And you know, kind of stories from the trenches of what it’s like to build a consulting business.
Michael Zipursky 07:44
And so we shared a lot of content, a lot of you know, I was writing a lot of articles just of what was working, but also what wasn’t working really as a way to provide value, hoping that people could gain and avoid some of the, you know, the mistakes that we’ve made, we didn’t have a clear monetization plan, we just thought we’d put it out there and see what happens. And the response was pretty significant. So much so that, you know, we saw our numbers kind of in web analytics climbing every single month. And then we had a lot of people saying, Hey, this is really great, you know, free content articles you’re putting out there, do you guys have a course we can go deeper into? We said, No, we don’t. But let’s build one. So we put together a course all about how to you can become you know, kind of take your skills, your knowledge, your experience, and then transition that into becoming a consultant. And that did very well. And then people said, okay, you know, you got we have the course this is really good. But can we work with you directly? Is there some way that we can, you know, you can coach us and we said, well, we don’t have a coaching program. But let’s build one. And so we create a coaching program. So fast forward to today, we’ve now been running consulting success for almost 11 years, we’ve had over 7000 consultants go through our training programs, we’ve personally worked with over 400 consultants and many different industries all around the world, really helping them to optimize their consulting business models and put marketing systems in place, and really to grow businesses that allow them to make a great impact, while having a lot of freedom and a great income at the same time.
Heather Pearce Campbell 09:04
Hmm. I love that. There’s a couple pieces that I want to dig into one. I love your approach. I mean, even the you’ll have to remind me the word in Japanese but the rotational, okay. Concave, concave with concave. Yeah, I love that. I mean that you guys had the vision to focus on that aspect. It sounds like you know, even from the start and going back to starting your first business right out of high school. How did you decide to do that?
Michael Zipursky 09:33
Well, it started even before then. So actually, when I was 15, I went to Vietnam. So my cousin Sam, is both three years older than I am. And so he was 18. I was 15. And, you know, I think you’ll appreciate this being a lawyer but I had to convince and persuade my parents to allow just the two of us to go to Vietnam and this is back when Vietnam was only open to foreigners to the outside world for seven years like it I don’t I don’t know. seven years since they opened it to the world. So it was quite new. Very few people were going and, and we actually went, we started in the north. So we started in Hanoi, and we went all the way up to allow a chi right on the Chinese border. So there was this 15 year old, you know, seeing the world. And as you and I were speaking before, I was originally born in Toronto, but my parents at a young age moved us to Israel. And so when I came back to North America, I really felt like an outsider. And that’s a whole other story I’m happy to get into. But the main thing was, is that I’ve always had an appreciation for different languages in different cultures. And so there we were, in Vietnam and salmon are just talking about like, we should do some kind of business together. And we didn’t know what it was. But Sam was very, you know, he’s the creative guy, more of the kind of the strategy and management guy. And we thought, well, at that time, Sam was actually starting to DJ, and we’re both into music. And so we said, let’s start a record label. So I actually had bought a book about that. And we came up with the whole idea, we came with a name, it didn’t go anywhere. We didn’t do anything with it, but we got excited about it. And what that led to, though, was that when when we came back, when I was finishing up high school, we started that first company, which is called fingertip media, which we should have kept the domain name, but we got rid of it a long time ago. And it’s a pretty good one. But but that was, that was where we started, right? It was it was just kind of that that experience of just taking different, I guess, you know, experiences or things that we had seen. And we were excited from a young age, like even before that time, I was starting to study a little bit about business, I was reading books, I was never into academics in high school. In fact, I didn’t read a full book until I was in grade 10. I always read those like, they’re called Coles notes was like summary books. And I was not a good student, because my whole background was sports. And so that’s kind of the tie into the whole, competing against the Olympian thing, which is that I was very competitive and track and field. But not if you look at me now you might think, oh, yeah, you were probably a runner. Well, no, I was actually much bigger than I am today. And I was doing shotput and javelin, javelin and discus. And I competed. I was topping all Vancouver city. And but I made it the provincial select state. And there I was typically either second, so silver or bronze, but I could, I could never win the gold because I was competing against this guy named Dylan Armstrong and Dylan Armstrong went on to to get a bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics. And he was, you know, a mutant of a guy. He was massive, even at that age. So anyways, that’s kind of my story of how I got into all this stuff.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:31
No, I love it. I mean, it brings up a couple of questions for me. But first, the funny thing is, so I did track for one year like my last year of high school, I actually had gotten stress fractures down both the front of my shins playing volleyball and running. And so I was overly active. But I really, I had stopped spring volleyball because I couldn’t jump the jumping. And the repetition was just like it was killing me. And so I stopped, but I was like, Well, I can’t run in track, even though that’s what I wanted to do. But I can learn to throw so for a year, I did discus and shot put and javelin in track. Yeah. It turns out that I couldn’t place for the most part in shot, put, and javelin, but I could regularly place in discus. So get that down. Yeah. But it was a fun little experiment, I have a huge amount of respect for people who are really good throwers. Because, like my sister who’s quite a bit smaller than me when and younger. But when she went through high school, she ended up being a javelin thrower, and she could wing that thing. And she was small. Anyways, yeah, it takes a massive amount of technique, and strength.
Michael Zipursky 13:43
As we’re talking right now, just one thing to share for all your audience. Because, you know, as I’ve gotten older, and raising kids, and all that kind of stuff, I hear these concerns that parents have around, oh, you know, my kid is they’re not reading or they’re not doing this, or they’re not doing that. But what’s interesting is like, if I look back, again, I didn’t read a book, and like a full book until grade 10. And the first book that I read was, I think, the Godfather, and then Shogun or something like that, like, you know, big 500 page books, right? And then, you know, fast forward to this to this day, like I’ve written three best selling books, 1000 articles like it just so just for everyone out there. If you have kids, and you’re looking at them, you’re going I’m concerned, cuz they’re not. This doesn’t mean that what you see right now is what’s going to happen in the future. So I just want to raise that I know maybe it’s going off topic, but hopefully, it can help some people.
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:31
No, I love that. It’s it’s a really valid point. And I mean, I’m a parent, I’ve got two children, one is seven and special needs, right? And one is still two and She’s feisty as I’ll get out. But it’s, it’s a lot of fun. And as a parent, you can’t help but worry sometimes because if you don’t have other kids the same, like it’s really hard to know, what’s typical, what’s within the range, right? We all want our children to do well, but I echo what you have have just said, which is that I came from a family of six. And I remember periods where my mom was extremely worried about, like, one of my sisters who was really late to even begin to read. My, like, my mom thought she needed to be in special education. And she, she didn’t even like walk until she was like three unit. I mean, and so everything was delayed, and she is perfectly fine as an adult. She’s a brilliant teacher, she teaches kids, you know, like, I joke right now in the middle of COVID, that her household and she’s not mama for girls, is the only household in the world probably that is actually like, she’s doing a better job at home with her girls all at home than school could ever do for kids, right? Yeah. And my mom was so worried about her. So I agree like, kids. And the same is true for some other siblings that just had things going on and totally approached it at their own pace. And that’s just how it goes. But I love that I love I mean, I love that reminder. And I think it’s really important for all of us who are in the parenting zone. So a question I have for you. It sounds like the entrepreneurial instinct was strong in you even pretty young. Would you say that you come by it naturally?
Michael Zipursky 16:14
You know, I don’t know if so I guess part of it man should be yes, like an initial my initial response to be yes. But I think that comes not from a place of entrepreneurship. It comes from my background in sports right at from a young age. And I think that started because when I came back to North America, I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t speak English, I saw my first language. And I as I mentioned, I really felt like an outsider. I felt like I had to prove myself and the way that I tried to establish myself, as you know, like a boy, I got into sports. And so I was very, very competitive from a young age. And then even when I then went into into college, I remember that there were certain like programs I studied, it was an Asian and business studies, initially diploma two year diploma that I did before I did the four year degree. And there was a part of that program that that I didn’t want to do. It’s like, every course was about it was geography and culture and language, which is all good. But I also want to take business classes, I want to take international law, I want to take marketing, I want all these things. That wasn’t part of the program. But But But to me, if I want something, then I’m gonna just go after it until I get it. And so I remember I talked to the head of the program, I said, listen, here’s why I want to do these things. Here’s why I think it’s important. He said, I said, Okay, well listen, if you write down and you kind of give me a nice letter explaining why this is so important to you, I’ll see what I can do. And so I did, and I changed that program. And another friend of mine kind of came along. And so we both took these other classes. You know, another example is even before that, when I was trying to save money so that I could travel as a Vietnam, I did all kinds of jobs and the way that I would get a job. This is you know, before being able to go online and you know, apply for things I would pick up remember like that big yellow pages, books, if you’ll remember those, right, you’d use them to like, raise up your computer monitor, whatever. So I would open that up. And I would just go to like a section like landscaping or whatever it was. And I would just pick up the phone and call every single company on every single page until someone would give me a job like you have any Are you hiring? Are you hiring? Are you hiring? That I think is what really sir has served me well, when it comes to entrepreneurship, because I’m persistent. But you know, I’m I’m disciplined I, I won’t give up. And so I don’t judge success instantly. I’m not expecting to get results right away. But what I am expecting is that I’m going to figure out and get what I want, as long as I’m not, you know, as long as I’m truly committed to it. And so I think that commitment has really played the biggest kind of part in the success that we’ve had, or what we’ve been able to accomplish. And it’s an important lesson that I’ve learned, and I’ve shared with many clients over the years, you know, the difference between being interested and being committed, those that are interested, might have made plans, and they’re thinking things and all that kind of stuff. But those that are committed are the ones that are actually taking action.
Heather Pearce Campbell 19:00
No, I love that. And I think it’s a huge, a huge part of anybody on their path, whether it’s personal development, whether it’s business, right, the difference between being interested in being committed is really the thing that makes it or breaks it. I was just wondering if you have found like in your work with all these consultants, right, and you can tell us a little bit more about who your clients are, like, in my mind, I’m wondering, are they folks that are trying to leave the corporate world and go out on their own? Or are they entrepreneurs that have previously done other things and they now really have found their true love. I think some people keep themselves out of the entrepreneurial marketplace thinking like, oh, doesn’t feel like a natural fit. I want to but you know, it doesn’t like I didn’t have a parent that was an entrepreneur. I wasn’t trained in this or you know, I don’t know about how to do it. How would you describe the folks that you work with? Are they on both sides of that?
Michael Zipursky 19:55
Yeah, it’s a really great question. So yes, I mean, we have we have two kind of parts to to our business and who you work with. The first is those who are currently employees, or in corporate, they want to transition into starting a consulting business and become consultants or their new consultants. And they’re really looking for kind of a proven process and system to help them make that transition successfully. And fast. The second group are those that, that are really looking to move their business to that next level. And that might range from anyone that might be doing, you know, six figures all the way up to 3 million $4 million per year in annual revenues. And so we support those, those two different groups. But I think in terms of your question, it’s a really good one, you know, people who are thinking about making that leap? And can they really be successful. And so here’s what I found is that we have a lot of clients who, you know, would definitely consider themselves to be introverts, or to be people that are technical, and they’re not the most comfortable with the idea of promoting themselves, right marketing. And, and that’s okay, right. But what, what really the distinction and observation that I have between those that are successful, and those that struggle is whether or not you’re actually willing to, you know, to become a business owner. And so you can be a consultant, or you can label yourself as a consultant. But, but essentially, if you break down the way that you’re working, you’re really a contractor, right? You really have a job, you might have one client or a couple clients, you’re going from one project to the next. But your main focus, if you’re in that first camp is doing the work, right, the deliverables. That’s not a business owner, right? Yes, you could be called a consultant, but you don’t have a business, you have a job.
Michael Zipursky 21:32
The second group is those that really look at themselves, what we call it an entrepreneurial consultant, or a consulting business owner. And yes, they’re focused on delivering and providing great value to their clients and serving the highest level, but they’re also focused on and they recognize the importance of marketing, and of spending time building their business. And to do that, you often have to kind of cross that bridge of, you know, like an uncomfortable kind of a river below you, where you’re venturing into uncharted territory, you’re doing things that you’re not used to doing. And that requires, you know, sending emails to people or reach out to people that you don’t know, or picking up the phone, right doing things that again, you’re maybe not comfortable to do. But they’re the things that actually help you to build your business. And so even though some people might not feel comfortable with this idea of promoting themselves and doing marketing, because they’re introverts, or they’re quiet people, or they’re just they tend to, you know, focus more on doing the work. Once someone has made that decision in their mind, they’ve kind of expanded their mindset to, okay, yeah, I really want to build a business here that creates more value, that’s there’s more long term, more freedom, more impact, more income, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, once you’ve made that commitment to yourself, and to, you know, your family, or whoever it is that you’re doing this for, then then it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, you can be successful, because you start taking those steps. And the interesting thing about business is once you start doing things that may even be uncomfortable for you, you start seeing results, right, you start going well, okay, that wasn’t that hard, or Wow, that actually worked. And so now what what previously was uncomfortable becomes comfortable, or at least more comfortable. And so I empathize with those who find that challenging. But if you actually really want to build a business, then you need to be prepared to start doing some things that may not be the most comfortable for you right away, knowing that the the outcome of or the reason that you’re doing that is is a strong enough driver to help you to do those or to take those steps.
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:24
No, I’d love that. And I think, you know, remembering and reminding people this idea. I mean, I think regularly as humans, we crave homeostasis, right? We want comfort, like the innate part of us wants to be comfortable, be safe, you know, we want sameness. And yet, the only way to get what we want is to continually make ourselves uncomfortable, like really in every area.
Michael Zipursky 23:50
Yeah. People, as you said, like, they want to remain comfortable or stable, right. But the reality is, there’s no such thing as staying in the same place, you’re either going up or you’re going down, because the marketplace is always moving. And so even though you might feel like, okay, I’m at a good place, I’m just gonna stay where I am. You’re not even if you stay where you are, the market is moving. And so some people will be investing themselves and taking actions and taking steps. So that means that they’re not moving up, which just means that you’re moving down, you know, it’s a seesaw, right, and it doesn’t stay. So it’s important to recognize that if you want to actually remain where you are, you have to keep doing things. And if you want to go up and keep doing even more things or doing more of the right things, but you can’t just stay where you are.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:31
That’s right. It’s like trying to stay in the same spot in the middle of a river, right? It just you’re gonna move in one direction or the other. So it sounds like you’re saying for anybody that wants to become a consultant grow, you know, really not give themselves a job but grow a business, that with the right steps with the right plan, even if they’re uncomfortable, even if they’re introverts, like there’s a path where if you follow the path your way more likely to get there. Right?
Michael Zipursky 25:02
Definitely 100%. And I’m not just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that everyone should go down that path, right, everyone’s different. And it’s important that people, ultimately, you know, go down the path that’s going to serve them best and create the lifestyle that they want and connect with what’s meaningful for them. But if you if you want to be successful, if you want to have a successful consulting business, in this case, since we’re talking about consulting, you can certainly do it as long as you’re prepared to to make those you know, to make that commitment, and then take the actions that are necessary. And the reality is that anything good means you have to work harder that you have to do things you haven’t done before. Because if you know, if you already did it, like you would already know what it’s like. But since you want to achieve new things, you have to do things that you haven’t done before. And many of the things that are actually going to create the most value are often the things that are uncomfortable to do.
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:47
Right? Well, and based on your vast experience helping so many people cross that bridge, right? We’ll just call it the bridge over the uncomfortable River. What do you find, talk to us about a couple of the biggest blocks that you see that keep either people feeling stuck in their business or not making progress? What are people doing wrong really frequently?
Michael Zipursky 26:08
Okay, so there’s a few things here that I would bring up. The first is being too general. So more specifically, what I mean there is, it’s very common to see people who have come from the corporate world or been employees or been in different businesses, and they have, truthfully, they have a lot of different, you know, experiences and, and skills and, you know, areas of expertise. And so how do they take all of that and narrow it down. So for a lot of people, they’re very uncomfortable, trying to narrow it down, because they feel like they’re actually gonna lose opportunity. But in in, you know, business building, and especially when you are, you know, getting started and you don’t have a billion dollars, you know, in your bank to, to just throw stuff and see what sticks, the more folks you are, the better, right, so it’s, you can either choose to be like a minnow in a vast ocean, which is a generalist, or you can choose to be that that large fish or a big fish in a small pond. And that’s the specialist, that’s the expert. And that is, even though for a lot of people, it feels kind of counterintuitive, it’s like, well, decreasing, getting more folks doesn’t mean that I have does not mean that I’ve less opportunity, but actually, by getting focused, you’re gonna create a lot more opportunity, you’re gonna be able to dial in, not only who your ideal client is, and be able to find them and identify them and contact them and start conversation with them much more readily. But your messaging will also resonate significantly more because your messaging cannot be tailored specifically to that person. And so a lot of people, they try marketing or their attempt at marketing or their attempt at messaging, and they go like, Yeah, I’m not really seeing traction, I don’t really know why it’s because they’re, they’re casting a very wide net. It’s like, Yeah, I’m a business consultant. What does that mean? Right? Why do leadership? What does that mean? So getting really specific about who do you really help? Like, who are they? What are the problems they have? What are the results you help to to enable? What’s the outcome? And then why should they choose you like what’s unique about what you bring to the table. So that would be the first thing that I would mention, is just getting very clear. on that part.
Michael Zipursky 27:58
I think the other one that comes up a lot, is, you know, just in the sense of like perfectionism, right? People are and especially I see this with consultants that we work with. I think a lot of professional cert people in professional services are just professionals. In general, when you’re coming from, like the corporate world, you have a lot of hesitation around putting things out there because you want stuff to be perfect. So it’s like I want to get to my business plan is right, my website has to be just perfect. My messaging has to be on point this that I need all these things on your business card yet, so I can’t go out there. So people create all these reasons not to go out into the marketplace and not to kind of, you know, share it with the world what they’re thinking or doing or planning to do. And that’s the worst thing you can actually do. Because the reality is there’s perfection does not exist, that the moment you get closer to where you think perfection is you’ll realize that you actually want to do something different or move to that next level. And so as I like to say, like progress is much better than perfection. And the other thing that I often talk about is, you know, thinking does not create results action does. And if you want to make, you know, better choices, or better decisions, if you want to really be able to identify what to optimize, and where to make improvements, you need to get feedback from the marketplace. And so essentially, the more data that you can collect, the more you know, the better decisions you can make. As you have more data, you can identify what’s working, what isn’t. But you can’t get that data, if you’re just thinking if you’re just you know, in your office or home office, or whatever it is, and you’re just playing with your website or updating your business plan or you know, writing content, if you’re just doing those things, you’re not getting feedback from the marketplace. And so that’s actually what can help a lot of people is don’t worry about things being just perfect. Identify who you believe your ideal client is and then start having conversations with them as quickly as you can. The more that you do the the more information you’ll have to actually make better decisions for your messaging for your website for your products for your offering for you know, all that kind of stuff.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:47
No, I love that and for anybody listening, I mean the power of those three fundamentals that Michael just covered are huge. I remember so I hired a business coach really early on in the process. I’m launching my second business, right? And he gave me some really good advice. And you know, part of it was about being very, very targeted. And luckily, the first thing that I chose ended up working well for me, right? So. But do you sometimes find that people have to change that niche or have to test it in the marketplace? And then retest it? Try it again. So maybe they intended to work with this particular niche. But the messaging was off, or the the niche? Wasn’t there, like, talk to us about that part of the journey?
Michael Zipursky 30:29
Yeah I mean, so I think you’re hitting on something really important here, which is, this is a journey, right? So often, people are focused on the destination. And they’re, you know, they’re yearning for results in like instant gratification. And that’s understandable. Because in the world that we live, it’s like, you can pretty much get almost anything instantly. But in business, it doesn’t work that way, way. You need to be prepared to put in the work. And so yeah, sure, sometimes people try things, and it doesn’t click, it doesn’t resonate. But actually, I was just talking to a colleague earlier today. And he said that in the US, there’s every year there’s over 400,000 patents that are filed, yet only 2% of them actually go to the market is think about that, right? Like there’s there’s just a lot of activity, but not all, not a lot of it lands, well, your chances in business to succeed, I believe are significantly higher if you do the right things. But it doesn’t mean that everything you do will work out of the box right away. And if you’re going to judge success by you know, whether you’re able to hit a home run the first time you you step up to the plate, you’re not going to last in business. But if you look at it like well, you know, to get to the Hall of Fame, you can still strike out seven out of 10 times, right, like 300% batting average. And that’s that’s Hall of Fame, kind of, you know, status, like that’s that level, that means you’re striking out seven out of 10 times a lot of people look at it, you know, they step up to the plate, they strike out once they go home, I don’t know if I’m cut out for this may take another swing. Oh, two times. Yeah, this is clearly not for me to give up. They go home, right? Or they were they jumped to like the new shiny object or the new whatever it is, and go I think this is better, because this looks more exciting, right? That’s like the, that’s the fight or flight kind of mindset, right? But it’s just pulling people into different directions, because they can’t be focused enough. But once you go, this is okay. I’m just going to stand up at the plate, I’m going to keep swinging and keep, you know, if I if I strike struggle that time, that’s okay. Then let me figure out what I do wrong. How can I improve, and then you improve, improve, improve, improve, and all of a sudden you start hitting singles, doubles, triples, homeruns, whatever. I don’t know why I’m choosing baseball. But you know, you’re in Seattle. And you know,
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:27
it’s a good one. I got to I got a hubby and a son who loves baseball. There you go. Right for me.
Michael Zipursky 32:32
Yeah. Hopefully it resonates with some people. But yeah, we don’t have a major league team here. But anyways, you know, so I think that that’s the way that I look at it is that even though you try things, don’t expect it to work right away. But the most important thing is that you’re you’re willing to, to shift or as I say, in the, you know, in the startup world to pivot. And that’s why having conversations in the marketplace is so important. I’m not a fan of the word mistake, you know, a lot of you or failure, people will like, oh, yeah, I’m so scared to fail. There’s no such thing as failure in that sense. As long as you pick yourself up and you, you take from that experience, it’s a learning experience. And in fact, what I’ve observed in conversation, and heard in conversation, as well, from so many successful people over the years is that if you quote unquote, fail, that’s great. Like, the faster and the more that you can feel, it means the more that you’re learning and, and you can then identify very quickly, what doesn’t work. So you’re now closer and closer to what does work. And I think that’s why I’ve also seen over the years, so many people who don’t necessarily have the educational or the academic, you know, quote, unquote, smarts. And so you’ll see people that aren’t as like, smart as you yet they’re significantly more successful. How can that be? What’s because society has, you know, trained many people to think that that education or whatever it is, is actually what equals success, but it doesn’t, what equals success is taking action. And those that don’t, you know, question so much, and they’re not aiming for perfection, there is out there having conversations, trying things, even if they don’t have all the information, they’re still trying things, and they’re learning firsthand. And that’s what actually allows them to then make better decisions faster than anyone else. And that’s why they’re so successful.
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:10
I love that there’s a there’s a couple things about what you just mentioned, I mean, one is the willingness to try and to keep going and stay in action. Like I think people who are able to be almost experimental about everything that they approach, but versus viewing it as a personal reflection on them right are much more able to get back up versus somebody thinking like, oh, this reflects on me, this reflects on you know, how I am doing personally and I think you’re right, there’s something to that piece around. People who’ve been accustomed to not being top of the class actually have more skills in the department of trying right and getting back up and trying and trying and trying was really interesting because I was talking with a friend about this the other day, but here I launched a podcast called guts, grit and great business. And of course, I was familiar with Angela Duckworth book on grit. But the day like the day before I recorded, I think my first solo episode, I was like, I should probably read that book, I haven’t read it right, I should probably. But what comes out significantly in that book is what you just said that people often tried to attach, like, and try to measure or predict success based on some of the standard metrics, like who was top of class or, you know, all of these things that people tend to relate to success. And that’s actually not it at all. Like when you look at some of the most elite programs in the world for like, Navy SEALs, or West Point, or some of these things that have, you know, really high requirements, both academically and otherwise to get in. It’s not the folks that are at the very top of the class that actually end up being most likely to succeed. It’s those who have the endurance to keep going.
Michael Zipursky 35:54
Right. Yeah. And another, I think another way to look at it, too, is like, r&d, right? So if you consider what you’re doing on a daily basis, as research and development, your sense you’re trying, right, you’re innovating, and, and within innovation comes a lot of failure. But if you look right now, at the companies that actually have the biggest r&d budget, I was actually just having a conversation with with a colleague and friend, Jonathan, this earlier today about this, and he was sharing things that the companies actually spend the most on r&d, their companies like Apple, Samsung, Amazon, you know, the top in their industry, they’re the biggest brands in the world that most of us know and think of, if you just think about that, like, why are they so successful, they’re so successful, because they’re always innovating. Well, what we’re not seeing all the quote unquote, failures that they’re having, we’re just seeing the successes, but they wouldn’t arrive at those successes, if they didn’t, you know, go through all those experimentations and kind of potential, you know, learnings to, to, to kind of have those those runaway successes. And that’s why it’s so important to really focus on the journey, and not just the destination, because, listen, the reality isn’t, I think what’s happening in the world right now with with COVID. And just everything else, like Life is short, we no one knows what’s going to happen. And so if we’re just so focused on the destination, then it means we’re going to be probably quite unhappy most days when we’re not getting what we want. But if we just look at what we’re doing every single day and go Yeah, you know, I didn’t, didn’t get what I wanted today. Like, I still haven’t achieved that goal. But I don’t know, like it was kind of fun, and I just learned some things. And then you can put a smile on your face, because you’re still probably better off. Yeah, then most people like I wrote act now, as you mentioned, just in the middle of this whole COVID thing. And I did because I want to just help people I saw some of you are like frozen with deer in the headlights. They didn’t know what to do. They’re, you know, they’re stuck. And so actually, we wrote that book and publish it in about three weeks just to get it out there. And one of the things that I shared in that book is that there’s so many people who are always focused on negatives, like it’s like, what’s wrong and all that, you know, just but if you look at even with everything going on with COVID, right now in in North America, let’s talk about Canada in the US for a moment. Mexico as well, the I’m Tom Kennedy in us, like, for most of us, even with all of the challenges going on, which you know, like I’m, I know, they’re really bad stuff, lots people dying, I know, people who’ve got we’ve been personally affected. Most of us are still better off than the vast majority of the population. Even in the best of times, right? We have running water, we have food, we have electricity, we have a warm, you know, blanket and pillow like, and so on.
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:24
We have the option to isolate right to socially distance.
Michael Zipursky 38:27
Exactly. Right. And so I know man went off on tangent A little bit. But like if you if you take that and transition that overlay that on top of business, it’s the same thing you can choose to look at every day in business as and finding what’s not working, get kind of pulled down by that. Or you can look at it and go Well, yeah, that didn’t work out. But if I’m going to put those lenses instead of putting the negative lenses on for the positive lens lenses on, and I’m going to focus on what did work. And yeah, this didn’t work. But now I’ve I know, I’m one step closer to finding what what does work or, you know, it seems like sales are down for the first week and who is gonna be a bad month? Well, that’s okay, I’m just gonna keep working hard. And all of a sudden, a week or two go by, it’s like, Whoa, we’re having the best month we ever had, like, those kinds of things happen. But they can only happen if you’re focused enough on the positive and you keep going. But if you stop and you get all negative, at any point, then you’re just gonna get dragged down, you’re not gonna make the progress that you want.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:18
No, I think that’s so right. And I think it really helps for us to surround ourselves with people who help us focus on the positive. I think sometimes we miss the point, especially as we’re learning a new skill or learning a new thing. We can be really hard on ourselves. Like, my personal example is, you know, I feel like last year, I was really starting to learn the whole like speaking from stage and making an offer, you know, to a group of entrepreneurs who were a fit that needed my services and my first event speaking from stage right, I, I think maybe I enrolled, you know, eight or nine ended up being about 11 people but I basically covered my costs, and I was beating myself up pretty hard. It wasn’t a hard sell. Like it was basically a presentation and I had like, two minutes. It was a very soft like, here’s what’s coming next. But I remember talking to one of my mentors later and he was like, Are you kidding me? You covered your cost and your trap? Like, that’s awesome. My first event went like this, you know? And he told me his story. And I was like, Oh, that just minor shift made me feel like okay, well, that’s information I didn’t have and feedback I can take moving forward. And then the next event I closed like, 30% of the room, right. But I think I would have been more intimidated to do it again, if I hadn’t gotten that feedback about like, no, actually, it was a solid start, right. So I think helping, I mean, keeping people in our lives that help us with our perspective is really important. And obviously, you’re a mentor to hundreds, if not 1000s, of consultants, and I’m sure help them with that exact piece. So I have one question, because you’ve got a long series of questions that we didn’t even get to on your sheet, and you’ve got a wide array of expertise. But I’m personally motivated to ask you this question, especially in the time of COVID, being a mom to two little people in trying to balance work. How can an entrepreneur get more done in less time?
Michael Zipursky 41:11
You got to focus on the right things. And by that by the right things, I mean, you know, it’s taking like the 8020 approach, right? Plato’s principle that 80% of the output comes from just 20% of inputs. So really, you have to find you have to identify what are the items, what are the actions that I can take, they’re going to have the biggest impact. Too often people kind of fool themselves that into thinking that they’re being productive, because they’re spending a lot of time doing things. But time spent does not equal product, true productivity, you can be, you know, very busy doing lots of stuff, but not see your business move forward at all. And so more than ever, because we have more distractions, more hype, more noise in the marketplace, it’s really, really critical to get focused and to identify what is actually going to move my business or whatever it is in my life that I want to achieve. And for the most, and what’s the most direct path, and then to start your day off that way, and just be very focused on not necessarily having to do a lot of things, but just do the few things that are going to have the biggest impact. And when you do those, you can have some really big breakthroughs and kind of back to we were talking about earlier, oftentimes, those priority items are the ones that are the most uncomfortable for a lot of people, but they’re the ones that are gonna actually help you the most to grow your business and to, to see the most progress. But if you just focus on those things, and work away, you know, work at them over and over again, and get better at them. That’s when all of a sudden you start, you know, seeing that, that things do work, and you’re making a lot more progress, and then it becomes more enjoyable, but you got to first start to do those things. So yeah, we’re always focused on not, you know, how much can we do? And how much can we accomplish? But what is actually going to move the needle the most, and what’s gonna have the biggest impact what’s gonna create the most value for those that we want to serve in the community? And that’s where we invest into.
Heather Pearce Campbell 42:54
No, I love that. I think it’s I think a lot of people are in a pinch right now, especially parents, as I talked to other people who are parents, running businesses, right having to homeschool their children, like, I don’t know, the ages of your children, but we’re having to do so much right now in the same period of time, and with very little support. Right. So I think, I mean, I can speak for myself, personally, the list feels long, and my ability to get clarity around it feels compromised.
Michael Zipursky 43:21
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, really kind of interesting topic. Because especially from a business perspective, the list is never ending. I think that’s one thing that I’ve learned a few years back and once once I really embraced it, it kind of set set me free, or at least, like a little some weight off my shoulders, because the list could just keep going every single day. It’s like when I come home from the office and I’m you know, talking to my wife or whoever it might be, it’s like yeah, how was you know, how things go? They were good and so yeah, I guess got so busy Oh, like you have more to do, it’s like wow, always have more to do it just it never finishes. But when I recognize that that’s actually the reality. It’s also a great separation between work and personal life because you know, that you can’t ever finish it. So if you try to you’re just going to be unhappy and that’s why I think it’s even more important kind of to bring this back to what you the topic around Less is more is once you know that then it’s even more important to focus on the things are going to have the biggest impact because there’s always gonna be more stuff so if you focus on those things, then when you’re done for the day, you can just kind of free yourself and go okay, I got as much as I could done today I focused on things are gonna have the biggest impact it’s not going to finish anyways, I don’t want to burn myself out and you know, neglect my family or whatever else it might be so I’m done and then I’ll come back tomorrow and restart, and I’m not gonna ever get it all done. So I might as well just enjoy that process. Focus on creating great impact serving those that I want to serve adding value. And that just seems to work.
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:52
Yeah, no, I love that. And I think that the shift when we I’ve tried to look at it because I have been I’ll be honest for several weeks on end and across next state of overwhelm, because I can work until like one or two at night, and I feel behind on client work and everything else. But the other thought I’m having is like, you know, how would it feel to be done with the pile actually not have any work? Like, that wouldn’t feel good to be like I’m done. And there’s no work lined up next. Right? So there’s also a gift in that chronic, chronic file of things.
Michael Zipursky 45:24
Yeah. For sure. I mean, there’s, I guess there’s something to be said for, like if there’s, there’s, there’s ways to create more leverage in your business, right with team members or processes or productization. So there’s things that are certainly important. And that’s, you know, we kind of dive into that stuff, a lot of our clients that are looking to create, not just more work for themselves, but a lot more freedom, but kind of at a elemental, or, I guess, kind of basic level. I think the reality is that you there’s always stuff to do. And if there isn’t something to do, then it usually means you’re out of business, or you’re not in this world anymore. So that’s right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:57
We don’t want to be in that place. Well, and maybe, on that, on that point, it’s a good transition to talk about your gift. I think you’ve got a blueprint as a gift. Is that right?
Michael Zipursky 46:08
Yeah, yeah. So actually, there’s two things maybe that I could offer people. So the first as you mentioned, is we have a consulting blueprint. So for anyone that wants to get into consulting, or is already an existing consultant, and just wants to kind of access some of the best practices when it comes to developing your messaging, putting a marketing system in place, how to really engage with clients to add more value, and really how to grow a consulting business. You can go to consulting success.com, forward slash blueprint. And we have a very detailed guide there that you can access for free. The other thing I just want to mention is the act now book, which we published, quite recently, specifically for what’s going on in the world. As you said, the subtitle is how successful consultants thrive during chaos and uncertainty that’s available, I mean, get it on Amazon paperback Kindle, also on Audible. But if you want a free copy of that, they can go to consultingsuccess.com/actnow.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:58
Awesome. Well, I love that. And I didn’t ahead of this call, I didn’t even know that you wrote that book in the midst of COVID. And for anybody listening, Michael got busy and wrote that and published it in three weeks. So
Michael Zipursky 47:10
Yeah, it wasn’t, it was definitely a team effort. I don’t want to take the, you know, all that for myself. Because really, everything that we do here is a team effort, I’m very fortunate to have a great team, you know, that we’re working here all together. So without them, it wouldn’t have happened. But it just felt like it was the right thing to do, given what was going on in the marketplace, that there’s just a lot of people that need support. And I believe now more than ever, you know, for all of us to come together and support each other because that’s, you know,
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:39
Certainly, but it’s true. Well, I I am very happy to share both of those resources. For anybody listening. You can also find the links to Michael’s gift, including a free copy of his new book, on the show notes page, which is legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Michael, I’m so happy that you joined us today, you have such an interesting and fabulous background. And I love sharing you with my community because so many folks need what you have any final words, final thoughts for people before we sign off today?
Michael Zipursky 48:14
You know, I just want to thank you, Heather, for everything that you’re doing. I know you’re serving a lot of people and adding more value to them into their lives. So just you know, one appreciate you for what you’re putting into the world.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:26
Thank you, I so appreciate that. Well, I couldn’t do it without folks like you agreeing to come on and have some you know, interesting conversations and share your gifts. So it’s awesome. I really love it will take care. I’m honored to be connected with you. I will be in touch but folks, be sure to go check out Michael’s business has resources, they will serve you well. Thanks, Michael.
GGGB Outro 48:48
Thank you. Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more. See the show notes which can be found at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us to keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.