It was 20 years ago today …

20 things I’ve learnt since incorporating 20 years ago.

It’s 20 years since I signed up at Companies House and incorporated my boutique consultancy. To celebrate here are 20 things I’ve learnt, which you may also find useful:

  1. Start coaching others as a side hustle.
  2. Take plunges into the unknown and see what happens.
  3. Security comes from action, not position.
  4. Direct outreach has produced far more revenue for me than marketing.
  5. I don’t need 500+ contacts on LinkedIn to be successful. I can trace 80% of my revenues back to six relationships.
  6. It’s easy to waste time on bullshit marketing.
  7. It’s even easier to waste time on undirected networking.
  8. Audiences = training. Participants = facilitation.
  9. The client decides project values, not me.
  10. Start where the client’s mind is, then lead from there.
  11. Work is more meaningful when projects are based on agreed value of outcomes.
  12. Doing work I love is energising. Other work is wasteful of my talents.
  13. Single page proposals (letters) work for me.
  14. Clients value brief, regular, ‘just-in-time’ interventions far more than I imagined they would.
  15. Quarterly top-team sessions, just regroup and talk about business, add enormous value.
  16. Coaching and facilitation is most powerful when kept simple. (Action Learning and Open Space Technology are examples of this.)
  17. Some clients want “Just tell me what to do” interventions. Don’t be shy about compressing know-how into directives. (Thanks to Derek Sivers for this validation.)
  18. Get paid up front. Chasing money is a time and energy drain.
  19. Constantly improve and practice new skills. Find a coach to help.
  20. Not having fun? Stop, think, and reboot.

This week I’ll leave the bottom line for Paul and John

It was twenty years ago today,
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They’ve been going in and out of style
But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years,
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.