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One Surprising Tactic That Will Grow Your Consulting Firm

What if there was one simple mindset shift that could improve all aspects of your consulting practice and virtually guarantee you’d win more clients? Better yet, what if the approach was not obvious and would reduce your stress? That mode of thinking does exist, and it can be summed up in two words:

Be prolific.

George Gershwin, unquestionably one of the greatest American composers** wrote an astounding number of hit songs and enduring classics, despite dying at the tender age of 38. Gershwin said he wrote six songs a day so that he could “get the bad ones out of the way.”

Two precious gems glitter in that example:

1) Success is, at least in part, a volume game. The more you do, the more you try, the more you put yourself out in the world, the more likely you are to achieve your aspirations.

2) Not everything you produce has to be great. Or even good. My sense from many, many consultants is the greatest impediment to ramping up their marketing efforts is their overwhelming desire for excellence or success at every turn or, perhaps more importantly, the fear of failure at any turn.

When your internal critic insists every blog or article or white paper has to be Pulitzer Prize material, picking up the pen (or keyboard) can be daunting. If every conversation with a prospect has to wow them with value, you’ll be reluctant to pick up the phone. For that matter, if any conversation that doesn’t lead to new business is considered a failure, then outreach is an understandably scary endeavor.

In contrast, when your entire goal is to be prolific, and you don’t concern yourself with whether the song you’re pounding out at the moment is worthy of praise, you free yourself from the painful shackles of overly high standards. You eliminate the stress of performance anxiety.

Take Gershwin to heart. What are some of the ways you could be more prolific in your consulting practice? Let me offer a few thought starters:


Blogs, articles, whitepapers, reports and books are a staple in your marketing diet. Write more. Much more. Isaac Asimov, the great Science Fiction writer, comes to mind. He penned or edited over 500 books. Plus hundreds of short stories and over 90,000 postcards and letters.


Speak more and don’t be as judicious about the venue, the audience or the quality of your delivery. Tony Robbins says he became an excellent public speaker because rather than booking one gig a week, he booked three a day. Was every speech a tour de force? Of course not.

Titles and Teasers

The two most important parts of any article, blog, speech, or similar marketing vehicle are the title and the teaser (or hook at the beginning). Rather than writing one title for your piece, write a dozen. Get the bad ones out of the way and find that Rhapsody in Blue.

Product Ideas

You don’t need to nurture every idea to the market-ready stage. Companies and individuals famed for their innovation are unremitting idea generators.

Metaphors, Infographics and Instagraphics

Metaphors are the spoonful of sugar that make your consulting advice tasty.**  Develop new metaphors constantly. Occasionally a chestnut will emerge. The visual companion to metaphors are infographics and “instagraphics.” Create a killer portfolio by generating a vast number and selecting the best.


The core of most independent consultants’ business-development efforts is direct outreach. Make this tactic decidedly more effective by increasing the number of one-on-one contacts by an order of magnitude and, importantly, worrying less about the outcome of each.

Research, Polls and Thought Leadership

Become a recognizable voice of authority in your field by turning up the volume on your visibility and credibility. Polls are insanely easy to field and provide fodder for compelling insights. How often can you poll your industry? Quarterly? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? Not every poll has to yield fascinating results.

These are just a few examples of how you could write six songs a day. How else could you be more prolific? Please post your thoughts below. Other readers will appreciate your input.


  1. Lisa Hamaker
    April 1, 2015 at 3:24 pm Reply

    This is so great David. I made the “big announcement” about my book today… I had been planning on it, but then found a few excuses not to— then just did it—partly inspired by this.

    Additionally, I love your ideas about generating lots of stuff and keeping the good ones, especially titles.

    THANK YOU! Lisa

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:36 am Reply

      Congratulations, Lisa! What a terrific, inspiring example of being in action and setting fears aside to launch your valuable content into the world. Fabulous!
      I’ve heard that the difference between pro golfers and amateurs is the pros focus on the short game; it’s not as exciting as driving the ball, but putting is where the money is made. When it comes to writing articles and blogs, the title (and hook) is the short game. Pros in our business spend a lot more time working on those than amateurs do.

  2. Fred Diamond
    April 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm Reply

    Thanks. Best advice you’ve published to date. Right on target.

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:36 am Reply

      I’m glad it resonated so strongly with you, Fred! Thanks for posting and being part of the conversation.

  3. Christopher McCarthy
    April 6, 2015 at 8:42 pm Reply

    Excellent post, David. Your advice and examples are inspirational, as are you.

    • David A. Fields
      April 9, 2015 at 10:34 pm Reply

      Thank you, Chris! I’m glad the post resonated with you. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. Baldwin H. Tom FIMC
    April 29, 2015 at 10:04 am Reply

    Congratulations on your unique approach in reaching other consultants — art and text and creativity! Love it!

    There is another aspect that may be useful to others. If one has a patented process (or unique approach) that can be used in multiple industries, then writing in multiple industries MAY make sense. We aren’t convinced yet, but we have developed case studies around what we can do with our uniqueness in two different industries — healthcare and policing. Now that’s disparate! There is danger here to be jack-of-all trades and master of none and we are trying to manage that dilution reality. Regardless, case studies provide a packaged story that serve as powerful attention getters. In fact, mini cases used as elevator speeches have always worked for me.

    • David A. Fields
      April 30, 2015 at 9:39 am Reply

      Baldwin, your example is very instructional. You’ve chosen two disparate, disconnected industries, not dozens of “near-in” targets. Two targets that are seemingly distant still implies thoughtful focus, whereas the scattershot approach many firms are lured into does, as you point out, dilute their message. I totally agree about the power of case studies. If the proof is in the pudding, giving prospects a quick taste is always a good idea.

      (By the way, on the surface, the intersection of policing and healthcare is actually quite alarming.)

  5. Laurie Davis
    May 8, 2015 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Thank you for knocking down the brick wall that has been standing in front of me: Excellence every time. Growing up I heard repeatedly that “anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I now agree with you that that is not always true.
    Gotta go finish that blog I started.

    • David A. Fields
      May 10, 2015 at 11:10 pm Reply

      Good for you, Laurie! Breaking through those limiting, childhood messages can be extremely liberating and set us up for all manner of successes. Thanks for sharing!

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