How to start a consulting business with Amy Rasdal
Ep. 257
| with
Amy Rasdal

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On today’s episode, we’re talking all things consulting. If you’ve ever wondered what a consultant actually does or how to get started, this episode is for you.

Amy Rasdal is on the show today to help so many of you figure out whether you could start your own consulting business with the skills you already have. 

And she’s the perfect person to help us navigate the world of consulting. Amy traded her corporate job for consulting 15 years ago and makes more money than most executives. The advantages are freedom, flexibility, control, interesting work and excellent pay. She has been running her own multiple 6-figure consulting business for more than 15 years. As the founder of Billable at the Beach®, Amy has helped hundreds of people start their own successful consulting businesses through speaking, workshops and various programs over the past 10 years. 

If you’d like to get in contact Amy to learn more, here is all you need:




Free Email Course 3 Action Steps to Generate Revenue NOW!

Book Land a Consulting Project NOW!: Build a life of freedom, flexibility, and inspiring work running your own 6-figure business

Show Transcript
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hey, welcome to Lessons from a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are, it's ultimately you are unfulfilled. Then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams. Hello my friends. Welcome to another episode. I'm so excited you are here. Today is gonna be a really good one. I'm so excited for you guys to hear this interview with Amy Raselle. I was so excited to have her on because she helps people become consultants and when she reached out to me, I, I don't normally take guest pitches. I don't normally have people on that. I don't personally choose and reach out to myself. And yet when she reached out I was like, I have to have Ron because I'm gonna be honest with you guys.
Speaker 1 (00:55):
I don't even know what consultants do and I know a little bit and I know there's a lot of people in, especially nowadays that can take their expertise from their job and create their own business, their own service with that expertise. So I know a lot of you listening want to get outta your nine to fives, want to explore something different. Feel like there has to be something more. And a lot of what I've had on the podcast are people that have quit their jobs and have gone on to do something completely different that have gone on to create businesses that have nothing to do with their previous roles. And that's gonna be for some of you, that was for me. I didn't really wanna do something with the law, but I wanted to like get out. That's great. But I realized there's a large percentage of you who maybe just don't like the system within which you're working.
Speaker 1 (01:44):
You may actually love what you do. Maybe you are a software engineer and you love coding. Maybe you are a product manager and you love doing it. You just don't like the environment in which you work. You don't like office politics, you know, whatever it might be. Maybe you're a, you know, accountant and you wanna just have more freedom and flexibility, but you wanna keep doing the work that you're doing. Consulting is a really interesting avenue and a really fascinating way to start a business with zero overhead and be able to even do it on the side. And I wanted to learn more about it and Amy is the person to teach us about it because she left her high, you know, status job as an executive over 15 years ago and makes more than most people in this suite. Now as a consultant, she started her consulting work 15 years ago, like I said, and she started a company called Billable at the Beach, which you know, I love, which helps people kind of find that freedom and flexibility and control they're looking for with the work that they wanna do while getting paid the same if not more.
Speaker 1 (02:47):
She has been running this multiple six figure consulting company for 15 years and she teaches other people how to become consultants. And I really wanted her on because I wanted to learn like who can be a consultant? How do you become one? How do you even start this gig? And I think that it could be a really viable option for a lot of you who are feeling as though you are stuck doing work that you might love but just not in an environment that you love. And so I'm so excited to dive into all things consulting, what it is, who it's for, how to get started. And so hopefully you guys can find another path, another path out. And I will say, even if consulting is not for you, I want you to listen with the ear of really understanding how many more opportunities are out there than maybe you think are possible.
Speaker 1 (03:37):
I think for so many of us we're very quick to think like, well I couldn't do anything else. Well there isn't anything else. Well I have, you know, I make this much money and I can't change it. And if this episode does nothing else, then to show you that there are other avenues, maybe this one isn't even for it for you. Maybe you don't wanna be a consultant, maybe you do. There are other ways. And I, when we start believing in the possibility that like maybe there's something else I can do other than corporate America, that's when we can start looking for it. That's when we can start finding it. That's when we can start like asking more questions. So regardless of whether you wanna be a consultant or not, I think that this episode can really open your mind and the doors to what other ways are there to make money in our society now that maybe weren't available before and that maybe I was closing myself off to. So without further ado, let's jump in and chat with Amy. Hi Amy. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Speaker 2 (04:35):
Thank you so much for having me. And can I just take one second to say I love the idea of just saying quit because aren't we all raised to never quit? Yeah. So just coming out and saying it, I love it. So thank you so much for having me .
Speaker 1 (04:53):
Of course. Yeah. And that's exactly what we try to do here I think is really destigmatize this word that, you know, when you really think about how insane it is to think that you have to stick with something just cause you chose it like 15, 20, 30 years ago just so you wouldn't be a quitter is insane. And so we are very much doing our part to try to uh, normalize changing your mind and deciding that you've outgrown something and finding something new. And especially with the change in technology and the change in industries and all this stuff like uh, really normalizing that it's okay to quit.
Speaker 2 (05:25):
I think it's so important. I have a daughter who's just finishing her second year of college and when she went off to college I really wanted her to know. Yeah. And I didn't say quit, but that's really what I meant. If you hate the college, we can change it. If you don't like your major, if you don't like your roommates, we can fix all of those things. What I really meant, but I wish I would've said is you can quit. And that doesn't mean that that you quit your whole life. That just means we need to find a different path. So important.
Speaker 1 (05:58):
I wish more parents were like that. So I'm so excited to have this conversation and I was just telling you why I was so excited And we're gonna talk about all things cause I don't really know much about consulting, so I wanna really learn more about what that even means. Cause I know there are so many people that likely could have very successful consulting businesses and don't know that they could even be a consultant. So we're gonna get into all the things, but usually the way we start here is like getting an understanding of your own journey. So I would love to know kind of what led you to, uh, consulting and billable at the beach and your quitter story, like how you started in corporate America and kind of found your way out.
Speaker 2 (06:36):
Yes. So I'll start a little further back, but I'll make it fairly quick. Yeah. I am a silicon kid. So my dad was an early Silicon Valley semiconductor guy. So I really grew up not really knowing that there were careers outside of technology startups, , because that's what everybody I knew was doing. So my longer term career goal was to be a technology startup, C e o. I started out as a software engineer. I went to business school, big fancy business school on the east coast. I had grown up in California. Mm-hmm. out of business school. Then I set about, so I worked for a few years writing code as a software engineer. And then out of business school I set about kind of getting, systematically getting my cross-functional rotations. So I had been an engineer, I did marketing, I did operations, I, you know, all the things so that I could be a C E O someday believing that I needed a basic experience to operate from.
Speaker 2 (07:36):
I started out really big corporate out of business school. I was lucky enough to work for a medical device subsidiary of Eli Lilly. So really big corporate, lots of great training programs and mentoring and all that kind of stuff. I jumped off and started doing startups, first venture funded, and then I did a bootstrapped one and I didn't really set out to quit, but what happened to me is that one of the startups that I did along the way, as is more often than not the case, although we don't like to admit it with startups, it crashed and burned. So I was intending to find my next executive position. At that point I was on the executive staff, I was at the VP level, um, at that company I was VP of operations and acting, VP of engineering. So I was covering both of those roles.
Speaker 2 (08:28):
Again, a long history as a technology person, although I did some marketing too and a consulting project fell into my lap. It was 20 hours a week for three months and I thought, okay, this is perfect. Our startup crashed and burned. So there was no severance pay , you know, any of that kinda stuff. We were just out of luck. There was no money left and that's why we stopped operating. Um, so I thought that was perfect because then I could be really selective at a higher level in my career to find really the most perfect, which doesn't exist , but the best possible fit in terms of culture and product and all that kind of stuff. Well, goalie I four or five weeks into that consulting project and I said, cancel the job search. This is the life I'm now a consultant, an independent consultant.
Speaker 1 (09:21):
I love that.
Speaker 2 (09:22):
And I have never looked back on that decision. I have, however, made every mistake that I could possibly make along the way. .
Speaker 1 (09:33):
Well I love that you say that because that's actually one of, that's one of the biggest things we really coach on and we talk about is because there's really no other way, right? Like what is the way where you start and you never make a mistake, you start a business, you know everything, you know exactly how to do, you get all your ducks in a row. Like we're sort of waiting for that and we, we wish that that is the path, but that's just never the path .
Speaker 2 (09:55):
No, it never is. And honestly, now that I look at at you saying that, that would be kind of boring too, wouldn't it? Yeah,
Speaker 1 (10:02):
Totally. Did you
Speaker 2 (10:03):
Have all the answers and follow this path with no twists or turns Yeah. Or excitement along the way? ,
Speaker 1 (10:10):
Absolutely. But ok, I wanna slow it down because this is where, admit my own ignorance, and this is why I wanted Amy on the podcast because, and I, I don't really take guests, I don't take people that like send me emails and when she sent it I was like, I have to have her on because I don't even know what it means to be in consultant. I know like in the coaching and consulting world, I hear a lot of like, I'm a consultant and so I just wanna even understand like when you say you got this consulting gig, what, what were they asking you to do? What did that even mean?
Speaker 2 (10:35):
Sure. And so I'll talk just a little bit about what that first one was. Yeah. And then kind of how I define consulting, because I don't own the definition of consulting. Right, right, right. There's different ways to look at it and there's kind of some new things cropping up in the world of consulting over the last few years or so. So my very first project, it was actually really interesting, it was for an organization called One Legacy, which is the Southern California, Oregon Procurement Organization. They are the organization that is responsible, they're, they're a nonprofit. Just to get ahead of that, in case anyone's thinking, oh no. Mm-hmm , that's responsible for procuring organs for donation. Mm-hmm , they're regionally organized throughout the country. So it's a nonprofit, you know, highly regulated kind of thing. But it was so interesting to learn about the world of organ donation and they needed someone to come in and really manage, they were doing a rebranding.
Speaker 2 (11:33):
So they were previously called Southern California Organ Procurement Organization. And it sounds a little scary in what is that even? And they renamed as one legacy. And it's the whole idea around, it's your legacy that if you're in a tragic position or a family member of not being able to use your vital organs anymore, let's make sure that we leave that legacy to give life to somebody else. And it was such a great intro. Um, I felt a lot of passion about the topic and so I really was in charge of program managing all the different bits and pieces, the rebranding of the website, the messaging. I didn't create all the messaging and so on. But really tying all those pieces together, there were a lot of religious pieces of making sure that they addressed in Southern California. It encompassed all of Orange County, Los Angeles and up into Ventura County. So there's every ethnicity, socioeconomic, religious background. It was super complicated. And that's one of the things that I'm really good at is tying together lots of different complex pieces.
Speaker 1 (12:47):
So if I'm understanding this correctly, as a consultant, they bring you in, let's say, I'm assuming like a, in this situation they obviously didn't have like a director of marketing or somebody that, so they bring in someone that has that expertise to then oversee a limited project. Like it's not an ongoing basis. It's like you're gonna come in and help us. Whether for you that would be that marketing piece, like overseeing the marketing implementation of rebranding and all of that and how that works. Or let, I'm sure you know, that could be like coming in and overseeing, putting systems in place for their operations or something. They would hire a consultant to come in and do that limited role and oversee it and implement it and then be done with the contract. Is that Yes.
Speaker 2 (13:26):
Right. Okay. Yes. So you just said something really, really important that's consistent with my definition of a consultant. I believe that a consultant is a superhero with a superpower making super pay and why not? Right? Right. And so for all of us, just a quick note and you know, I'm good at tangents, but we're all here thinking about either we have or we're really thinking about quitting. The idea is that you can and you can still, you can quit. And a lot of the people that I work with are, are corporate folks. Yeah. So you can quit your corporate job and you can still have a fantastic career. And a lot of people think, well if I'm gonna quit then I'm not gonna make good money anymore. I'm making really good money right now. And that's also not the case. You're not giving up on your career. It can be a fantastic career path. And guess what? I make more money as a consultant than I did as a corporate person and so do most of the people that I work with. Yeah. So I wanna be really clear that you're not not sacrificing your career trajectory. Mm-hmm. or your pay.
Speaker 1 (14:34):
Speaker 2 (14:35):
So superhero superpower, super pay, in my world of consulting, you are not going in and making yourself indispensable to day-to-day operations. You are doing something special for a limited period of time. Now that could be three months, it could be nine months, it could be 18 months. My most typical engagement is nine to 18 months. And even that first project was supposed to be 20 hours a week for, for three months. It took a little bit longer to get all of it done. Another just brief example of a project that I might do, I have a lot of technology experience, so I do a lot of product development program turnarounds. So a company that's developing a product and it's not, it's not meeting its launch schedule. Right. And we can all, whatever we do, we can kind of relate to that. And so I'm really good at going in and figuring out what's the problem?
Speaker 2 (15:31):
Is it the technology? Is it the people? And I'm really good because I have all that cross-functional experience to go in and figure out what that is. It's the idea that maybe there's a lack of capacity, maybe there's a lack of skillset. I also do a lot of stuff. I really enjoy the adrenaline rush of jumping in when there's kind of a crisis of some sort. And that could be a wide range. It could be something external, it could be something internal, somebody's left or something crashed or whatever. I really love jumping in when things are a huge mess. And I think it's the satisfaction of getting it all back on track and then feeling like, hey again, kind of superhero superpower, super pay. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (16:16):
Well I guess so I'm guess I'm wondering because the reason I really wanted to have this conversation, cuz you're right, I think a lot of people in my audience are in corporate America and a lot of them have specialized knowledge and are, you know, have higher education, really great jobs. And I think that a lot of times there's this idea that like, you know, we fantasize about quitting and leaving and they think they have to start a completely new business. And consulting seems like it's such a wonderful way to even bridge the gap. May, you know, for some people they might like their work but they want more flexibility or they want more freedom or they wanna work for themselves or whatever it might be. And I think that a lot of people don't realize, like you might already have the skillset to be able to just take that skillset and like you said, I mean do it more project based on your own schedule. And like you, you create that into a business as a consultant rather than having to find another job or to scratch the whole thing.
Speaker 2 (17:09):
And I'll take that one step further and say, it's not just that you might already have the skillset. Yeah. You do already have the skillset. I love that. So I'm pretty unequivocal on that answer. I can't even think of an really, the only example that I can think of that that wouldn't be the case is if you're really fresh outta school. Mm-hmm. and you really haven't worked more than a year or two. Okay. So I think that kind of, if I were to define the ideal, it's kind of more around the 10 ish year mark of experience. Mm-hmm. , but not always. So I have one uh, woman who's been in my programs, she was only five years out of school, but she happens to be an expert in sustainable packaging. So like Coca-Cola, all these big, how do you, how does your toothbrush come packaged? All this stuff of packaging that's so hot and important right now. And there really aren't people who have 10, 15, 20 years of experience in that. So that 10 or 15 years is not a hard and fast, but it really isn't somebody who's only Right. One year of work experience. So it's the idea of having enough experience.
Speaker 1 (18:20):
I love that you say that because that was my next question is I think that, you know where my brain goes to, so I'm sure a lot of other people's brains went to is like, well yeah, you were in the C-suite or you were vp, you're high up. And so sure the people that are, you know, the c o o, they can go and be a consultant and do operations for someone or someone that's a cfo F O could go and do consulting for the financial department for a company. But I think there's a lot of people where they're like, well I'm kind of in the middle management, like I've worked here for 10 years. I maybe am a manager but I'm not in, you know, the uh, the C-suite. Can I also just be a consultant?
Speaker 2 (18:57):
Absolutely. And in some ways it's easier if you're not coming from the C-suite. Mm. Because what clients are looking for is really more subject matter expertise.
Speaker 1 (19:11):
Speaker 2 (19:12):
And it's funny, as I work with, I have a program that helps people start their own. Yeah. Uh, independent consulting business is I work with people. Those C-suite people sometimes have a harder time really focusing in on what they do because companies don't, now interim is different. But where I really find my sweet spot in terms of consulting is right under that executive level, really making that executive team look good. Mm-hmm. Filling in with very specific expertise and skillsets that will fill whatever gap they might have for whatever reason not taking their place. And those are the people that are hiring me. Those are my champions. I wanna make sure they don't feel threatened by me. Oh I wanna make sure they don't think I'm coming after their job.
Speaker 1 (20:04):
Speaker 2 (20:04):
So that's kind of an an interesting point. So you can be an individual contributor, that's totally fine. You can be sort of mid-management, you just have a, have to have a certain amount of expertise in a particular subject. So that could be one subject that goes really deep or it could be a little bit more like me where I have a couple of pretty deep areas but a little dabble or you know, more than a dabble on all the functional areas. So I can do a little bit of everything. And so I'm really good at tying all the pieces together. And there my deep experience or expertise really is high level project management. Hmm. Okay. So all of those versions, if you are in the C-suite, you can absolutely do it too. But you're probably gonna have to pick a focus area. I'm gonna take just a really, uh, quick minute to talk about something too that's become really fashionable right now and that's fractional. Mm-hmm fractional cfo F fractional marketing fra. So now I purposely have taken kind of a soap pop box position against fractional. Okay. Partly to be obnoxious and attract attention .
Speaker 1 (21:19):
Well first can you explain what it is for some people that may not know what it, that doesn't become popular.
Speaker 2 (21:24):
So it's really popular right now to be fractional and that is going into a company. So in my world it's superhero superpower, super pay do not become indispensable to the day-to-day operations of the company. You come in, you be a superhero, you move on in the next place. Maybe you come back in a few years if they have something else for you in the world of fractional, you're gonna sign on to be the fractional VP of marketing and you're gonna maybe take 10 hours a week or 60 hours a month and you're gonna sign on for a year or two years or kind of an ongoing retainer type of thing. Right. Now that sounds really great to most human beings cuz that's stability. Right? Yeah. I see this kind of steady paycheck, but to me I push back and I say, you are wanting to quit. Yeah. Right. You're here today because you're interested in quitting or you have quit. That to me just sounds like a part-time job. Right.
Speaker 1 (22:26):
Speaker 2 (22:27):
Do you want a part-time job or do you wanna be a superhero? . . Right? Yeah. And if you're going to kind of negotiate for that stability that every day, what do you think is gonna pay more? And there's this perception that what I'm proposing as a superhero is more risky that other side smells more like stability. Yeah. And I think all of us have some attraction to that. Almost all of us have some bills to pay. Sure. I don't think there's very many teenagers here today listening . Right. All of us have accumulated things in our life that we need to pay for, whether or not we have partners or families or any of that kind of stuff. So there's an attraction, but I think stability is gone. Hmm.
Speaker 1 (23:14):
Say more about that.
Speaker 2 (23:15):
Even when you have a full-time corporate job, you can walk into your job. It used to be, oh I don't know, it's probably been 15 or 20 years that if a company was doing a layoff, it was usually big and everyone usually kind of had wind of it ahead of time. You kind of knew it was coming. You still didn't think it was gonna be you, but you kind of knew it was coming. Now a lot of companies are eliminating one position at a time. So a quick story I um, the pandemic kind of wiped out this opportunity for me. But I spoke every month the first Monday of every month for 12 years at an outplacement services firm called Lee Hack Harrison. Some listeners may have heard of it. For those who haven't, when you get laid off from a bigger company at a higher level, you often get some kind of outplacement services.
Speaker 2 (24:10):
And that is help finding your next position, kind of polishing up your resume, helping you with interviewing skills, helping to figure out what your target jobs and companies and all that kind of stuff might be. So every month I spoke to a group of people who had been laid off. So I was working on a project here in San Diego and I had a team meeting every week on Wednesday. So there was a woman who was at my meeting on Wednesday and when I went to speak to people who have lost their jobs on Monday morning in she walks and I'm trying to be cool , you know, and maintain confidentiality but I'm sure some kind of surprise must have registered on my face. And she came up to me and she said, you're probably wondering why I'm here. She said, I walked in on Friday, there was one position eliminated, it was mine. I had no idea it was coming. And here I am.
Speaker 1 (25:04):
Yeah. That happens a lot. I mean this is what we deal with. I deal with a lot of people that come to me who were blind sidedly laid off and had no, no idea it was coming. And I think that we, like you said, have seen this for a really long time. But just that this illusion that having a full-time job or being in corporate America is safe is just that it's an illusion because it's safe until it's not. It's safe until they Right. Don't do layoffs or the economy is not down. Um, and so I think that we all, you know, everybody has to grapple with that reality is that like it can happen and it often does happen even when you don't think it's going to. So I couldn't agree more with that.
Speaker 2 (25:42):
And I'm not at all saying that the corporate world is terrible. I had great years and now they're my clients and it may be good for you and what you're looking to quit. It might just be changing or redefining or setting boundaries. There's a lot of ways to approach that. Yeah. But I think all of us really need to acknowledge that more than ever before we really are responsible for our own careers and we need to take ownership of it.
Speaker 1 (26:11):
Absolutely. The next question I have is that I'm, I know I already know, like I know the objection, I know what people are thinking and I, I, I think like let's say somebody is thinking, well I have this expertise or I have this specialty, I've worked in this, let's say like you were just saying like I'm a software engineer and I code in this language or I've done this work for 15 years but there's so many people like me, there's thousands of other quotas. How could I make it as a consultant? Right. I think like we have this idea that like other people are special somehow or have something more than I have as opposed to like can I just with this skill, like I think sometimes we think our skill is not unique enough. Like I'm a lawyer and I know this type of law, but that's not, and there's tons of people that practice that kind of law. What would you say to that?
Speaker 2 (26:54):
There's nothing special about me either. , right? Yeah. In some ways there's sort of everything special and nothing special about any of us in a way. There's always other people who can do the same thing who have the skill. But what I would say is there's nothing that makes it so that you can't And there are always clients who need it. And at the end of the day what's gonna make you special honestly is your relationships. Mm-hmm. and the good work that you have always done. And the fact that almost all, because every now and then we've annoyed somebody and usually they deserved it. . Right. . Um, sometimes, you know, they, we've annoyed someone that we don't feel too bad about it cuz they sort of deserved it. But you're good at what you do. You've been doing it for long enough, the people that you've worked with would jump at the chance to work with you again. And so there's always a market for it. And it's a question I haven't been asked exactly that question before. So I'm thinking about what else do I wanna say? What is it that's special about me? I think my biggest thing is that that there's nothing special about me and that I did it. And as you move,
Speaker 1 (28:10):
I love that answer. I love that. I'm just gonna stop you for, because I think that the problem with the question that we all ask this is that there needs to be something special but there doesn't, and I think a lot of us believe that one, it's easier to believe that other people have something unique cuz that lets us off the hook from kind of trying. It's like, well they have something I don't have so I can't do it. Where it's like, no, it's just normal people that are trying and doing it. And you could too. But I think that sometimes, especially with business, what I've found and I had the same beliefs before I became an entrepreneur, is like believing that I'm missing something. There has to be something more to this than just trying Right. Than just learning the systems and learning how to do it.
Speaker 1 (28:50):
And one of the things that I've realized is when you're not in that world, do you think, well why wouldn't they just hire someone? Or there's probably other people that are doing it. And it's fascinating cuz there's all these companies that are looking for somebody as a consultant and everybody's thinking someone else is doing it. So no one's you know, putting it out there or they don't have those relationships or they don't know where to find that person. And it's like that opportunity was there, it's just a matter of like reaching out and grabbing it.
Speaker 2 (29:15):
Yeah. I was kind of feeling like, boy that wasn't a very good answer. But
Speaker 1 (29:18):
No it was great. It was great. Cause I think that is the truth. Like I try to relay the same thing. I think a lot of times, you know, I don't do consulting, I do coaching and I think a lot of times people want to think like, I have something special that made me able to create a business out of this or that I'm just a better coach. And it, it truly is fascinating to see how many people could or want to do it but stop themselves because they wanna wanna differentiate. And one of the things I always try to relay and I, I'm very open on this podcast about all of my mistakes and how many times I fail and it's like there's nothing special or unique. I'm just trying constantly over and over again and failing and learning and growing.
Speaker 2 (29:56):
I have these, you know, certain little quotes that I like and one that I like is 80% of success is showing up. Yeah,
Speaker 1 (30:03):
Speaker 2 (30:04):
I just keep showing up and showing up and fighting through it and just kind of persevering because you're also an entrepreneur. Um, sometimes it's scary.
Speaker 1 (30:14):
It's scary all the time For me, ,
Speaker 2 (30:17):
It's scary all the time. And one of the things I get asked is in consulting the hardest thing for everyone in consulting, the actual doing the work, that's the easy part. That's what we've all been doing for all the years. The hard thing is keeping your pipeline full of high quality projects. Yeah. So people sometimes say, oh you know, that must be easy for you right now or you must just be used to it. And I came to a point, I don't know, 10 or so years in where my pipeline's a little bit slower and I'm kind of hitting a dry spell. And by the way, we all hit dry spells , none of us like to talk about it. Right. But we all hit dry spells. It's like the people that we know who maybe invest in real estate or flip houses or play the market, you always hear about all the times when they made all the money. Totally.
Speaker 2 (31:05):
And they don't talk about the ones where they they lose. Right. And it's like me talking about startups, you always hear about all the startups that succeed. Yes. But guess what? Most of them crash and burn just like the one that pushed me into consulting. So I was, I was laying there awake in the middle of the night thinking, ah, you know, what am I gonna do? And maybe this is gonna be the time. Always something comes in mm-hmm , something works out, I do the work, I figure it out. But what if this is the time that it doesn't? And I thought, oh Amy, this is so silly. Why do you feel this way? It always works out. And then finally I said, you know what Amy? It's okay. Yeah. You're always gonna have the occasional sleepless night. You're always gonna occasionally have that thought. What if this is the time that the straw that breaks the camel's back? Yeah. , it's okay. Embrace that. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (31:57):
Speaker 2 (31:59):
Fear. There's always gonna be fear about something. So instead of trying to think that it's kind of continuing that idea of from little kids never quit. And that's what got some of us to where we are right now. I mean you got through big time law schools and all that stuff because you didn't quit, but it actually is okay. You know, so embrace that fear. Don't expect that it's gonna, you're never gonna have fear.
Speaker 1 (32:24):
Yeah. I couldn't agree more. And that's the thing is I think that we do think there is a time and place where we stop having that experience. Like, oh, once I know enough, once I've built it and it's like your brain just moves to the next fear cuz it's also trying to keep you safe. Right. , it's always that, like you said, that fear is what gets you to get up and do the networking and market and do. And so it's a good thing to have and it's so beautiful. Like how easy things can be when you just accept it. Like of course I'm gonna be scared sometimes. And of course I'm gonna think that thought that like this is gonna be the time where I don't get any clients and I know that like I'll do the work and I'll find 'em and whatnot.
Speaker 1 (32:57):
But like can I just be okay with that fear coming along? Because we're always saying like I'm doing something wrong. Why am I shouldn't be scared. If I knew what I was doing then I wouldn't be scared. If I knew how to build a business, I would feel secure all the time. It's like nobody feels that, you know, like you're always Yeah. Kind of in your head worried about what's gonna go wrong or whether you're doing it right or whether you should be doing it better. So really just accepting that like yeah this is just part of that journey and that's okay.
Speaker 2 (33:22):
And I think something that you said is really important. You said fear's, what keeps us safe? Yeah. So in the world of survival, I'm gonna tell another really quick little story. I was on vacation with my whole family and I really love those challenge courses where you put on a harness and you walk, I won't even climb a ladder without a harness, but if you, if you give me a safety harness, I love to walk on tight ropes. Right. And zipline and all that stuff. So we did this thing, it was the first time I'd ever done anything like this where we climbed up this in a safety harness, this giant telephone pole, like 60 feet to a zip line. So I didn't think I was scared, but when I got to the top, my arms and legs were shaking like crazy. So I did the zip line, it was super fun.
Speaker 2 (34:07):
And I came down and I was talking to my older brother who's my hero. Mm-hmm . And I said, you know, I think I was kind of a wimp because when I got to the top I was shaking. He said, Amy, that is not being a wimp. You're supposed to be scared when you're 60 feet in the air, your body is supposed to be shaking. Yeah. Yeah. And I thought, oh yeah. So I think what you said about fear, that kind of saying, okay, fear come on in, I understand that you're there to keep me safe. We can live together is really important.
Speaker 1 (34:40):
Yeah, absolutely. So I do wanna transition into asking you about how then people can start this cons. Because you were saying like the hardest part is that pipeline. So I wanna know like, you know, if someone is like, maybe I could do it, where do they start?
Speaker 2 (34:53):
Yes. Um, so first of all, I wanna tell you you only need four things. And spoiler alert, all of you already have all of them. Great brain power, business experience, a phone and a computer.
Speaker 1 (35:10):
Speaker 2 (35:10):
It. So all of those have those. Even my daughter, by the time she was 12, had her own phone. Some kids even younger these days. So that's all you need. And I would hazard a guess that everybody who's here with us today has those four things. Mm-hmm and the way to get started is really easy. You don't have to spend money, you don't have to rent a s a storefront, you don't have to invest, you don't have to buy a franchise. And those are all great options for career paths, but this one doesn't cost anything. So when I was, I, I talked about how I fell into it accidentally, but then I decided I wanna do it. So I'm sitting there, I've talked about my background, I have all this business experience, I went to a fancy business school, but I never started my own consulting business.
Speaker 2 (35:55):
So I was sitting there thinking, well I know there's stuff you have to do to start this business, but I didn't really know is it a huge mountain or is it a tiny little hill? And I wanna tell everyone right now, it's a tiny little hill. There's only two things that you have to do to start your business. You need to land a project and get a check in the bank. That's it. You don't have to name it, you don't need a business bank account, you don't need a logo, you don't need a website, you don't need any of that stuff. And it's really important to focus on revenue because what happens and uh, man, I did this often people like to hide behind. Well I need a logo. Yes and I need a website. And what they need to do is outreach. They need to reach out to people and let them know what they're doing.
Speaker 2 (36:48):
So I also have put together, I was teaching the, I was doing this myself and then teaching it to other people long before I kind of put this catchy little name to it. So it is three simple things that you can do to land a project and get a check in the bank. Okay? I call it my my Zippy three action steps to generate revenue. Now the first thing that you're gonna do is define your value proposition. Your value proposition is just a fancy business term for the goods and services that you're gonna sell. As consultants, we sell services, not televisions or software products or something like that. It's your elevator pitch. So that is your superpower. So you go through and you figure out. Now it can be a little tricky to figure it out, it doesn't have to be perfect, right? Mm-hmm. , I'm sure that we have some either existing or recovering perfectionist listen here with us today, it's seems, um, specifically comments among the, the female variety of human beings.
Speaker 2 (37:53):
, , I'm actually not one, but I have a daughter who is one. So I think about it a lot, but it kind of 80% is good enough. So what is it that you're gonna do? What are you gonna sell? Kind of your service offering. So you figure out what that is. Just a quick little paragraph, an elevator pitch, short and sweet. It doesn't have to be perfect. Then the next thing that I want everyone to do is make a list of the people that you're gonna tell. I'm now doing consulting and by the way, you don't have to sit here right now and say I am a hundred percent in on consulting. You really can just stick a toe in the water. You can try it. I mentioned that I spoke every month at an outplacement services firm. Most of those people really wanted another job, but for some of them they knew that it might take three, six, even nine months if they were very specific about what they were looking for and what geography they wanted to be in.
Speaker 2 (38:51):
So some of them just wanted to round up a few projects to do while they were looking. So it's perfectly fine to just kind of stick a toe in in the water. These three steps will work for that too. You don't have to make a total a hundred percent commitment. Yeah. So you have your value proposition, you make your list of people that you're gonna tell, Hey, this is Amy, remember me, I'm doing consulting now. Here's what I do. Do you have anything that might be interesting? Kind of should we talk? You do an outreach. So I want you to make a list of people to tell. And I have a strong technical background. I actually have a strong introvert side to my personality. There are days when I long to go back to my coding days where I just sat in my cubicle and nobody bothered me and I just wrote code and I pushed a button and shipped it and I didn't have to, you know, even speak to anybody.
Speaker 2 (39:41):
So I attract a lot of really hardcore engineers in billable at the beach now. And even my most introverted engineers can come up with at least a hundred people. Wow. So the best place to start is who have I worked with in the past? It can be last year, it can be five years ago, it can be 20 years ago. It's all fair game. A great place to find those people if you've lost touch is LinkedIn. So if you're not on LinkedIn right now or you've just kind of done the obligatory profile but you're really busy with whatever job you might have right now, that's completely fine. Invest a little bit of time in sort of figuring out LinkedIn. But you can search on companies. So if you used to work at Facebook or Google or Hewlett Packard or whatever it might be, you can search on companies and kind of find those people.
Speaker 2 (40:32):
And it may be that you have email addresses for those people, but you know that it was at the company and they've left that job or whatever. So it's a great way to find people. It's also family, friends, friends of your parents. If you have school-aged children, other parents can be really great sources of connections. I've definitely gotten projects from other, you know, people that I've met on field trips and you know, working at the the Halloween Carnival and some of that kind of stuff. So don't underestimate also your doctor, your dentist, your estate attorney, your car mechanic. Um, let all of those people know what you're doing. Mm. And I have learned this, this these three action steps. So you have put together your value proposition, you've made your list and then you've done your outreach. So the easiest way to really hit all of these people quickly is via email.
Speaker 2 (41:32):
Yeah. Now I'm not saying one email to a hundred people, it's a one-to-one relationship. Yeah. at this point I use one of those email marketing, you know services. But you don't have to learn that right now. You can sit down, kind of make a little template in Word or Google Docs of your pitch and sit down every once in a while in front of a baseball game or out by the pool or whatever it might be. And just take your list and send out 10 at a time or five at a time. You do that once or twice a day and by the end of two weeks you will have put together your value proposition, made your list and reached out to a hundred people. The reason why I'm saying go ahead and hit a hundred people. If you can't, that's fine too. If a hundred seems overwhelming, start with a few.
Speaker 2 (42:24):
Mm-hmm. , you know, whatever doesn't, yeah. I don't want you to be overwhelmed by this, but I have learned since I've done this so much myself and taught it that out of every hundred people, these are all people who know you more or less and know that you do good work. Cuz all of us do. You're looking for someone that has a project that's appropriate for your skills and the budget to pay for it. So out of a hundred, you'll get three to five people who'll come back and they'll say, Hey goalie, I might have something. Can we talk? And out of those three to five odds are that you can close one or two of those to get that land a project, put a check in the bank. It's pretty simple and you really don't need anything.
Speaker 1 (43:12):
I love that. I love that you break that down so simply because I think that we love to complicate things because it helps us hide. So I see the same thing where it's like I can't start, you know, whether it's my coaching business or any of the businesses, I don't have a logo and I need a website and I need my social media. And it's like you don't need any of it. You don't need any of it to start. And I, I agree with you at like my number one advice for people is like just get started to see if you even like it. Like what if you do it and you're like, I actually hate consulting. You know, we don't need to spend years putting together a business plan and figuring out so that we can try it and figure out whether we like doing it or not.
Speaker 1 (43:44):
Right. And I think that the same exact thing that I really coach people on is like, just re that. It's amazing how much can happen through outreach, through whether it's even for looking for a job by the way. Like if you're looking for a job, reach out to your own network and let them know you're looking for a job. And there's so many, you know, jobs that aren't listed and people that know you and stuff. But we have these mental blocks of like, it's embarrassing or what if they judge me or what if they, you know, I don't wanna bother them or whatever. And it's working through those to kind of get yourself to take the actions that you need to take. But when you break it down, it's really simple. Like just tell people what you do and it's amazing how far that will take you.
Speaker 2 (44:21):
And there are some people that think, oh well you know, I don't wanna impose. Yeah I don't wanna be like selling to people. And by the way it is selling and that's not a dirty word, but put yourself on the other other side of it. First of all, you know we're, we're in the mechanics section of the discussion right now. Not mindset, but I'm gonna slip in one and I'm not a mindset coach, but you have gifts and talents and honestly whether you're a consultant or whether you're a coach, like what you do, you owe it to the world to get those gifts and talents out there. You really do. I mean think of what you're doing helping people, you know, destigmatize the idea of quitting and you come at it. I mean I was a lawyer, I was an attorney and guess what I, I quit that and I'm still here and not only am I still here, but I'm thriving.
Speaker 2 (45:16):
Mm-hmm , right? So we owe it to get our talent out there. So put yourself on the other side of your email. How many of us have been sitting there in our corporate job or whatever we do thinking I have this deadline or I need to get these certain things done, I don't have the time to do it or I don't know how to do it or I'm not quite the right skillset. And all of a sudden this email comes across your desk that is somebody that you know that you would jump at the chance to work with again and you think, oh my gosh, it's like a miracle that this came across. So it really isn't imposing and a lot of people are just gonna think, my gosh, I haven't heard from her in so long. Right. This is fantastic. Totally. So it, it's these relationships and it's not an imposition.
Speaker 2 (46:02):
So it really is those three simple steps and that's all you need to do. And I like your idea about what if you hate it. There's another interesting thing too and I don't know if you sometimes see it with your people. I do get some people that I talk to who say, ah, you're telling me to go after corporate clients. That's been so toxic for me. I wanna get out of it. But if you start to really untangle what it is that's toxic about it, it's very possible that you still really love the work that you do. Yeah. But it's all of those other things. It's somebody else being responsible for my career path and my promotion and my pay and telling me that I have to go to Washington DC tomorrow when it's my five-year-old's birthday and you know, those kinds of things. Those kinds of things you're now gonna be able to control. So it might be the, the perfect storm of things that come together.
Speaker 1 (46:59):
Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much Amy. This has been so helpful because I do think that it's a lot you don't know what you don't know and I think there's a lot of people that could have consulting careers that just don't even realize that their field, there are also consultants, you know, in their fields and for their positions. I will say one last thing I recently so fascinating. I was talking to my husband, I didn't know this and he works in private equity and VCs and people that are buying up companies and we were talking about how when you are setting up your business to be bought for instance, if you know down the road you wanna sell your business, there's a number that everybody is very concerned about and it's earnings before interest tax, I can't remember And
Speaker 2 (47:41):
Depreciation. Yes. Yeah,
Speaker 1 (47:43):
Depreciation . Yeah. So basically it's like, it's like profit, right? Like it's like if you make 10 million in your company but your ibida is like 2 million, which is like that's the earnings before all like all this other stuff. Your evaluation is based off of that number. So there's a point to all this. One of the things that he was fascinated about with, we were talking about this bigger company, is that when they wanna be sold their earnings, let's say they make 2 million in EBITDA and in that industry your valuation is like at a 10 x multiple, your company would be valued at 20 million. That's what you would be bought out just for like simple numbers. What was fascinating is that oftentimes consultants and these one-off expenses aren't counted against ebitda whereas like salaried employees are right? That's your overhead that you're gonna have to pay all the time.
Speaker 1 (48:29):
So a lot of these companies love paying consultants and pay consultants a lot of money because in the grand scheme of things it's an expense. Yes. But it doesn't get count in what they would get bought at. Right? So I say this to say, cause I think a lot of times we think like why would a company pay for me? Why wouldn't they just get an employee? Why? There's a lot of reasons. There's a lot of reasons. Maybe it's just, you know, they don't want a whole marketing department, they wanna do like one project. Maybe it's because it won't, you know, count against their EBITDA and they just need somebody to come fill in. There's a million reasons and I think once you kind of know this, I realized for me it was really fascinating to learn that. I was like, oh that makes so much sense cuz I would look at these companies, I'm like, wait, they paid how much to have a rebranding? Wait they did how much to do what? And then you start realizing kind of this like numbers game that they all play for, you know? Anyways, it was just an interesting tidbit that I think goes towards why consultants can really find a lot of gigs out there in corporate America.
Speaker 2 (49:22):
Well and just the point that you just made speaks to my assertion that you can actually make more money and not less mm-hmm because I've had a lot of work where companies lay off their full-time employees to increase their ebitda. Yeah. And then they hire me on a consulting basis at twice what they would've paid a regular employee because it doesn't affect that number.
Speaker 1 (49:48):
Yeah. Which is crazy and like there's like so many, you know, like things that are wrong with corporate America, but it is what it is and that's the system, right? That's the system we live in. And it's worth knowing that like that those are the things that are happening and why they're happening so you can understand. Um, so I think instead of having the thought that like they would never do it, it's like no they're actively looking for people to do this stuff. So that's great. This is all very helpful. Where can people find you if they want more information, if they're considering now consulting and just wanna learn more?
Speaker 2 (50:16):
Yes. So my business is called Billable at the Beach cuz don't we all want to be billable at the beach or it can be mountains or pickle bar court or you know, wherever your dream, your happy place is thinking of being billable from. So Amy Rasol is my website. I talked about my three action stuff to generate revenue. Now I have a free email course that takes you a little deeper into that. So if you're sitting there thinking, Hmm, that was kind of interesting but I didn't quite capture it, you can jump and grab, I have a lot of free resources. I have a book. So if you search Billable at the Beach on Amazon, you'll find a short and sweet book. It's, it comes in paper, it comes in Audio , um, all the different formats. I try to make things really easy, short, sweet, practical, really focus on land a project, get a check in the bank. If I can do it, you can do it. Yeah. It really is not hard. It's really easier than you think. Yes.
Speaker 1 (51:17):
So great. And that's such a great name. So everything can be found at and we'll put um, that stuff in the show notes, and especially even a link to that, uh, three action steps guide that they can get. So you guys should all check it out and go out there and start your own consulting companies so you can be billable at the beach or the mountain or wherever you wanna be billable at. . Thank you so much for joining me, Amy. I really enjoyed this discussion.
Speaker 2 (51:42):
Thank you so much for having me.
Speaker 1 (51:45):
Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome, and we start working on what does, and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life, and you will get the coaching tools and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to lessons from a club and get on the wait list. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.