The Fastest Way to Make a Million Dollars…

… is to help someone else make 20 million dollars.

That’s it. The fastest way to improve your own financial position is to improve the financial position of others. Help others reach their goals, and you can get compensated through commissions, service contracts, and future opportunities.

Sound counter-intuitive? Let’s break it down.

Everyone is an investment

When hiring service providers, a company seeks one of two things:

1) To grow revenues

2) To reduce risk (which increases profits)

It’s really that simple.

Marketing consultants, web designers, creatives, analysts and salespeople exist to grow revenues and increase market share. We are an investment in the future, and there is an expected return.

Lawyers, accountants, human resources, business analysts and coaches exist to reduce risk and increase profits. They are also an investment in the future, but their value may be harder to calculate.

Companies expect growth from their sales and marketing consultants, and are willing to pay handsomely for results.

How are you returning client investment?

Consultants love to complain about their clients. We complain about their lack of vision, lack of funds, or a lack of resources to accomplish their lofty goals.

“Clients just don’t get it!”

Clients shoot down good ideas, can’t grasp the future, and don’t understand why a certain fad technology is going to be a “game changer.”

“Clients are luddites!”

I used to be leading that charge, lamenting how I got myself involved with clients who didn’t share my future-centric vision.

That changed the day I learned the answer to the question: What is the quickest way to making 1 million dollars?

It’s all your fault

Who should you blame if a client doesn’t accept your proposal?

“The client, obviously! They acted all interested in what I had to say, and now they have gone radio silent.”

Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. Your client made the right choice in doing nothing. Because we spewed acronyms instead of addressing their one fundamental question.

Client: “If I make this investment, what type of return can I expect?”

Our work lives exist in a web of three-letter codes. PPC, SEO, SMM, GTM, CSS, SVG. We deep dive into technologies, and bore our clients with the details behind our expertise.

The curse of knowledge.

We embroil ourselves in groupthink, try to outdo our peers, and develop serious cases of FOMO.

And yet we can’t provide the fundamental answer to our clients biggest question: what will I receive for my investment?

Speak in terms the client understands

You are the only one who cares about the widgets you are peddling.

So go ahead and pat yourself on the back for being able to recite the game-changing emoji capabilities in the new iPhone. And while you’re at it, correct any newb who calls it the iPhone X by saying “it’s technically pronounced iPhone 10.” See where that leads you. If it fast-tracks you to millionaire status? I will change the name of this blog to “XXX is awesome.”

But if you want to create wealth for you and your company? Then start to speak in terms your client understands. Let’s practice.

Instead of saying “you should increase your PPC budget,” focus on the results they will get from this increase.

“For every $1 you spend with Google, you create $20 in sales. The only problem is that your ads stop running at noon each day, because the ads are running so efficiently that your budget runs out. We recommend that you increase your budget by $40,000 a month in order to meet demand. If current numbers are an indicator of success, this will generate an incremental $20,000 in profit.”

Who doesn’t want an incremental $240,000 a year in profit?

Give your client $240k a year in additional profit, and your fees seem nominal.

What your client doesn’t need to hear is that with your management fees, you also stand to make an extra $60,000 a year in pure profit based on their increased spend.

Their wins become your wins.

Align yourself to the source of revenue

Most companies treat marketing as an expense. Yet the whole point of marketing is to increase market share and drive growth. Why would growth be counted as an expense?

Probably because most marketers are full of crap. Or your client has been burned in the past by over-promising and under-delivering.

Or perhaps it’s because marketers do a terrible job of marketing the value of their services.

Here’s a simple tip: Ride the wave of client revenues, instead of riding out fads. It’s much more profitable for everyone.

Most companies budget between 5%-10% of expected revenues each year to marketing and advertising. Most of that money goes to purchasing media from Google, Facebook or hundreds of traditional sources. They refer to advertising spend as “working dollars,” because they believe that advertising money is working for them.

How do they refer to the money spent on marketing service providers?

Non-working dollars. Ouch.

Breaking out of the non-working dollar trap

By now the message of this post should be clear: clients don’t value the amount of work you do. They value the results you deliver.

This represents opportunity.

Instead of struggling to gather all of the knowledge or hone your expertise, focus on their needs. Yes, this almost sounds like I am giving dating advice.

What does your client need to do in order to see a major increase in revenue growth? How are your solutions going to get them there?

If you can’t answer that question, the bean-counters win. They will treat you as an expense. As a non-essential.

It’s that simple. Our entire lives are focused on being the best at what we do. On being great marketers. Analysts. Developers. Creatives.

And yet we leave ourselves vulnerable to some nerd with a pocket-protector who deems us non-essential. Double ouch. 

You know where this is heading

When it comes to the value you provide, instead of waiting for your clients to magically “get it,” show them your value.

Focus on areas where you can make an impact. Treat your services as an investment, and then deliver out-sized returns on that investment.

Guess who wants out-sized returns on their investment? Every freakin’ company in the world. Deliver, and you won’t be able to keep up with the demand you create.

The fastest way to make yourself a million dollars is to help someone else make $20 million dollars. When providing that type of value, a million dollars is just a drop in the bucket. It’s a rounding-error.

And if you don’t want to make a million dollars? No problem! These principles apply no matter where you are in your business journey.


  1. Pingback: How to Make 6 Figures as a Consultant | Agency Sage by Jeff Sauer

Comments are closed.