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With Gift

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A prospective client traveled from Chicago to Denver to meet us.  When she returned home, she sent a follow-up e-mail, and I replied.  She had given us a book, so I returned the favor via Amazon.

"How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life" by Alan Lakein literally changed my life. He suggested living within a mile of your work, and I adopted his idea. For 29 years I've lived less than two miles from my office, saving me thousands of hours in commuting time, and adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to my consulting revenues. There are two e-mails in this series: hers to me and my reply.

From: Sabrina Kotschwar [mailto:sabrinakot@gmail.com]
Sent: March 29, 20— 5:50 AM
To: wsfrank@careerlab.com
Subject: Boyd

Hi Bill,

Enjoyed our breakfast the other day.  I've sent the Boyd book I mentioned. That acronym I couldn't quite recall was the "OODA Loop" (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action)."

The "Your Money or Your Life" book was by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

Can you tell me the name of the book that caused you to live near where you work?



Hi Sabrina,

I'm glad to see you made it home safely. I enjoyed our breakfast, too-plus the other time we spent together.  Everyone here really enjoyed you.  You're an interesting lady with a bright future.

I gave some thought to your idea of getting a temporary job quickly, then finding something more ideal later.  It sounds good on the surface, but my experience is that it takes just as long—sometimes longer—to find something that's not quite right, where you're underemployed.  Somehow the market suspects we have greater aspirations.

The time management book I mentioned is called "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life," by Alan Lakein—and it's on its way to you via Amazon.  I couldn't let you send me a book without returning the favor!

Best of luck, and we'll look forward to talking further next week.


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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.