Why Consulting Businesses Don’t Scale Easily (& How To Scale Yours)

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“Why don’t consulting businesses scale easily?”

Do you see this guy here?

The man with the brilliant mustache?

His name is Dr. Stuart McGill.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on spine biomechanics.

Dr. McGill’s goal is to help everyone suffering from back pain get back to pain-free living.

A three-hour assessment with Dr. McGill costs over $1000.

And his patients happily pay this fee.

They trust he is among the best in the world at figuring out what’s wrong with your back — and devising a plan to fix it.

Imagine that you’re suffering from back pain, and you’d love to see Dr. McGill, but…

  • You don’t live in Waterloo, Ontario (Where Dr. McGill practices)
  • You don’t have $1000 to spend on an assessment?
  • You’d prefer a DIY solution to fixing your back?

Dr. McGill can make a fine living from his clinical practice alone. But remember, his goal is to help rid the world of back pain.

He wants to find a way to help the people who don’t live in Waterloo, or who don’t have $1000 to spend on a consultation with him.

How can he do this?

One way he does this is through his book, Back Mechanic.

Back Mechanic is for your average person who suffers from back pain and wants to learn how they can fix it themselves.

In Back Mechanic, he distills the essentials of how to fix your back into a book format.

The process he takes his patients through in his $1000 assessment can be found in the book.

And it costs $35

With Back Mechanic, Dr. McGill has taken his expertise and created a product out of it.

The book allows him to help more people who don’t live in Waterloo or don’t have the budget to work with him personally.

Since his goal is to help as many people as he can get back to pain-free living, Back Mechanic enables him to help people around the world. At an affordable price, back-pain suffers can buy the book and use Dr. McGill’s expertise to fix their own backs.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Consultants, like Doctors, bill by the hour.

When you bill by the hour, your income is directly related to your time spent working.

There is only so much time in a day.

Sure, you can increase your hourly rate.

But at some point, your rate will seem outrageous to clients.

When you bill by the hour, it becomes much, much harder to scale your business.

And this is why consulting businesses — and any type of service provider who bills by the hour — don’t scale easily.

Dr. Stuart McGill has managed to scale his practice by putting his knowledge into a book, and then, selling it through his website.

Do you know what Dr. McGill said about his book, Back Mechanic?

It was the hardest book he had ever written.

Trying to summarize the vast amount of knowledge into a 150-page book that someone with no medical knowledge could read and understand was challenging.

But he did it anyway because he wants to help people get back to pain-free living.

Creating a product that summarizes your expertise into a product — aka, “Productized Consulting” — is difficult.

Most consultants don’t imagine themselves as product creators. They wouldn’t even know where to start.

But creating “productized consulting” offers will help you scale your consulting business.

Not only will this help you divorce your income from time-spent, but productized consulting will serve your most powerful intellectual property for introducing people to your higher-touch, custom consulting services.

Because Dr. McGill is known as “the back pain guy” (he wrote the book!) back-pain sufferers immediately trust him.

People are happy to invest higher fees for his more expensive services because he’s developed lower-priced products.


Because his lower-priced products — like Back Mechanic — demonstrate his expertise.

And some clients prefer a “Done-With-You” service more than a “Do-It-Yourself” service.

Consultants can learn a lot from Dr. Stuart McGill about scaling their business.

Just because you’re a consultant doesn’t mean you can’t package up your expertise and sell it as a product.

If you want to scale your business, create a productized service or product, and sell it for a fixed price.

If a medical doctor can do it (and many doctors aren’t entrepreneurial whatsoever — Dr. McGill is an exception), then you should be able to do it too (or at least try).

I asked consultant Kai Davis about the impact that productization had on his business, and here’s what he said:

“I stopped writing proposals. That was the primary benefit. The secondary benefits included the ability to double down on doing one (or a few) thing repeatedly, getting more efficient at it and effectively increasing my hourly rate.”

Can you imagine no longer needing to write proposals to win business? AND increasing your hourly rate?

Enough said.

(Time to get a little meta…)

One way consultants can begin to scale their business (without creating products) is to scale their marketing.

As a consultant, you deal with long sales cycles.

It can take months until your prospects are ready to hire you for a project.

They need to know you, like you and trust you before they’re ready to engage in a project with you.

To develop this trust and build a relationship, you must educate, nurture, and provide value to your prospects.

By using your digital presence — like your consulting website — you can educate and nurture your prospects at scale.

Nothing beats helping your prospects out face-to-face.

But what your digital presence lacks in the personal side it makes up for in scale.

In person, you can teach a small group of 10-15 prospects how to fix a pressing problem in their business.

Alternatively, through your digital presence, you can send thousands of prospects to one of your articles or videos on your website that helps them solve the same problem.

When you front-load your marketing by creating content (like articles, podcasts, checklists, videos, etc) to do your marketing for you, you’ll market your business even when you’re not marketing.

Your content will do the marketing for you.

The easiest way to start scaling up your marketing?

Start with your consulting website.

I’ve spent the last 5 years helping consultants get more clients through their websites. And I’ve put everything I’ve learned about how to write, design, and market a consulting website into my Consulting Website Template Kit.

And yes, you guessed it — this is my example of productized consulting.

There are consultants and boutique firm owners in my audience who don’t have the budget for a big custom website project — nor is that the right type of engagement for these businesses.

And my goal is to help all consultants get out of the feast-or-famine cycle by using their website to attract leads around the clock.

If I want to help as many consultants as I can, then I’m not doing anybody any favors by only offering custom website projects.

With this product, I’ve packaged my expertise into a kit to give consultants a simple DIY solution to building a lead-generating website.


Be like Dr. Stuart McGill.

You will win more business by helping more people.

And you can’t help more people by only having a high-touch, highly custom service.

You have the expertise. Turn your expertise into a product that you can sell for a fixed price.

This will separate your income from the amount of time you spend working.

And by creating these offers, many of your prospects will rather have you just “do it for them” — meaning these products will win you more work, more projects, and more clients.