The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

Ep 149 The Framework For A Successful Consulting Business w/ MJ Patent

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 149 The Framework For A Successful Consulting Business w/ MJ Patent 

Part of the TGIM (Thank God It's Monday!) series hosted by Tom Alaimo.

Thank God, it's monday. Welcome back tothe Pavilion podcast where we break down the tips, the tricks, the tacticsthat you need to be successful as a revenue professional. I'm your host TomAlamo This episode 1 49 excited to get into everything with you folks. I'vegot a great episode today with M. J. Patton. MJ is the co founder and Ceo ofAL Video and she is, she runs the consulting slack channel for Pavilion.Right? So that means there's a channel where everyone talks about consulting,some people do it full time. Some people do it on the side, Some peoplemaybe are in between trying to do it. And she essentially runs all thoseconversations, helps to answer questions, connects people in the rightpositions. And so she's an expert in this space. So if you are consideringlaunching a consulting business, if you are in that mode right now and you'retrying to figure out, you know, specific questions around how do youprice it? How do you grow your business? When do you start hiring employees? Wecover all of these different types of questions and even when it's the righttime to take the full plunge and go full time, if that's right for you. SoMJ is a wealth of knowledge. I love talking to her. We're going to get toher conversation one minute after we give a quick shout out to our sponsor.This episode is brought to you by Sandoz. So send also the leadingsending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams tostand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout thecustomer journey by connecting digital physical strategies. Companies canengage, acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. Now let's getstraight into our episode. All right. The second most famous MJ that I knowbehind Michael Jordan MJ Patent, Welcome to the Pavilion podcast. Howare you? Good. Thank you for having me. Yeah, excited to uh, to get into abunch of different topics. One thing...

...that I want to kick off with, I wasjust doing some linked in research last night and saw your code of conduct Rule# one don't be an a hole and had to bring that up because I got a chuckleout of that. Yeah, I think in work environments sometimes you do end upRunning into those type of individuals and it doesn't breed a very goodculture in the organization and I am a strong component that you should treateveryone nicely. You never know when you're going to run into thatindividual 20 years from now. So really be make sure that you treat them withrespect. So that way they remember you as a great person instead of an a hole.I live by that. Yeah, that's a good that's a good rule to live by. I feellike if you do that, you're already like 80% of the way there to a happyand successful life. Right? So one thing I wanted to get into with you onis I know that you're the head of the consulting channel at Pavilion as wellas newly head of the phoenix chapter as well. So congrats on on both of thoseand Pavilion kind of sucking you into the community but I'd love to just wrapwith you a little bit about consulting. I see this is just maybe it's alwaysbeen a big topic but it feels like it's growing because of covid remote work.People have more flexibility. I think people are strongly considering. ShouldI do more consulting on the side and or should I leave my full time job as a VPof sales or marketing and you know do consulting and and maybe have some moreflexibility that way. So I'm curious I'm curious to learn about your journey.Like did you start kind of like dip your toe in, did you go all in at acertain point? How did it start for you? Yeah, so I always wanted to go intoconsulting from you know when I started out in my career but I took the moretraditional route and I started in the...

I. T. Channel I worked at a serviceprovider and I ran marketing there and then went into the value added resellerspace and then most recently I was in an I. T. Distributor and every singletime I came into an organization it was usually because they were trying tobuild something and I was considered I guess a change maker because of that, Iwould have to work with different parties try to create a vision and thenexecute on that. And that's the thing that I love about consulting, I lovegoing into an organization and I love solving for a problem and building itup and then honestly afterwards I end up getting bored and I've had thisconversation with my my last executive where I told her straight up listen ifI'm not working on projects that where I'm building something I'm going toleave, this doesn't bring passion to me and I want to be working on passionateprojects. So she was doing her job of always assigning me to things where I Igot to have that hands on experience. So when it came to consulting severalyears ago this was I would say four years ago I was working for a companyand I was miserable, the culture wasn't the right fit. And every day I wascoming home and I was telling telling my husband, man, I I really just wantto leave, I can't do this anymore, it doesn't fit with my values um you knowwith my principles and one day I ended up finally leaving and I decided youknow this is the best opportunity for me to go into consulting and if I'mgoing to do it, this is this is it. So I ended up you know reaching out to mynetwork, having conversations and I was introduced to a leader at tech data andthey were looking for help with their...

...internal and external communicationstrategy and they just went through an M and A, they acquired a portion ofAvnet technology solutions and I came in to figure out how to unify eightdifferent service organizations under a single mission and brand and thatproject we had to take the new service organization to market within ninemonths. It had all new messaging, all new positioning, a different story, newwebsite, content, etcetera. It was intense but I loved every moment of it.Even you know, working 100 hours a week was great because we were buildingsomething and it was super exciting, exciting and they actually asked me tostay on board and you know run their global marketing, which I did because Ilove the organization I was working with but that that's when I reallystarted to do consulting and like I said, I enjoyed every moment I knewthis was the right path for me because of the type of individual I am. But youknow, I I ran into hurdles early on in my career when I was talking to otherconsultants about going down this path, there was one individual in particularthat came to mind when I said yes I want to go and become a consultant. Hesaid well you have a problem because one year a woman and two you're tooattractive mm So yeah, who says that right? So now that I owned my ownconsulting firm, I'd love to write to him and be like, well, guess what? I'msurprised you haven't yet. Yeah, well it's the whole don't be in a whole kindof, you know? Uh so I I don't think it's good to put it out there. But yeah,that that was one of the biggest motivators for me was to prove thatperson wrong that I could actually do...

...it and I could be successful doing it.And now I've gone from being a solo consultant into actually buildingconsulting firms. So I have a partner, we have a very specific go to marketstrategy, going after service providers and companies in the E channel andreally harnessing the experience that we have in that space. So what what ledto the decision of you wanting to grow the firm rather than you just run yourown your own business by yourself? Yeah, I think for me it was really aboutcreating more value for our clients. So my background is all in marketing. Butover the years, what I've realized is that there's a huge gap between theseorganizations between marketing sales as well as the product side and theirsilos in the organizations and those silos are the things that are actuallyholding back a lot of companies from consistent revenue growth. So me justfixing a portion of the problem isn't really fixing the revenue problem in anorganization. We have to attack it from multiple angles. And so my partner forexample, he, his entire background is in product management and we come tothe table looking at an organization holistically and how can we impact bothrevenue functions in order to get them back on track and then hit thatsustainable and scalable growth. Like I said, I don't think you can do that ifyou're just fixing marketing or you're just fixing sales, there's a biggerproblem there. Mm So when you're working on the consulting channelwithin pavilion, I'm sure there's a lot of folks that are early in theirprocess either have never consulted before or their in their first gigs andprobably have a ton of questions. What are some of like the common mistakes orhurdles that you see people come when...

...they're early on in the process? Yeah,I think a lot of people think that they need everything in order to get started.I need to build out a very expensive website. I need to hire a lawyer. Ineed to get an accountant. You know, a lot of upfront costs and the thing isyou really don't have to do all of those things. For example, you couldset up a landing page and leverage that in order to just explain what yourservices are and what value you're creating for your customers. You canleverage your linked in and promote yourself that way. You don't need tospend 5, 10 grand with a web developer in order to stand up your business,there's a lot of discussion around, should I get an LLC right from thebeginning or should I go as a 10 99? You can actually do a lot of work as a10 99 until you build up your business enough to then turn into an LLC.There's different schools of thought on that and we end up getting a lot ofdebate around what do you really need to get started? And it's really, youjust need an opportunity. You need one client to get started. Yeah. And how doyou, how do folks generally find that client are people doing a lot of, is ita lot of promotion, you know, for themselves on linkedin and other places,is that you just know someone and you keep getting referred down the line,like what's what's usually the process look like. Sure, usually it happensfrom your own network. I was actually just talking to someone earlier thisweek and they had questions because they were getting picked by their theircoworkers or or their professional network, asking about different thingsthat they should do from a sales organization standpoint. And so theystarted out just helping, but now it's...

...getting so so busy that they're they'restarting to build out a consulting practice instead. And it just happenedfrom referrals and usually that's what ends up happening as a services. And ifyou think about a consultant, it's a services organization that you have,even if you're a solo solo entrepreneur, you end up building from your ownnetwork and the people that, you know, and having conversations and asking,hey, what are you dealing with and how can I solve that problem? Right. Do youfind that folks often have any form of like imposter syndrome when they firststart big time. Usually it's around how much should I charge? And well, so whenI first started, I was nervous about asking for my rate because I didn'tknow if someone was actually going to pay me that amount and there'sdifferent ways you can price if it's hourly or project or whatnot. But Imean even today I have this debate with my partner, are we charging enough orare we charging too much? Is someone going to actually see value in this?And there's a lot of this impostor syndrome because you just don't knowuntil you get out there and I think if you do your research and you know whatthe market value is and you know, your experience, I think that's enough databehind you in order to position yourself, you know at that price range.One of the great things about our community is that we have bi weeklycalls and you can tap into other people in that community and ask them and mypricing too high, what are you guys pricing for these type of services andpeople will give you that type of information. So that way you feel moreconfident or you can talk through these issues. There's the whole debate ofshould I be charging hourly or on a...

...monthly schedule or on a per projectbasis? We still have this debate and some people do a mix of all of them.But I mean that's one of the great things about Pavilion and thatcommunity is the fact that you have people that you can actually tap intoand you don't have to pretend like you know everything because most of us arejust trying to figure it out every day. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I'mcurious if you could tell me a little bit about, I know you just released andhave been talking about the go to market maturity model. So I'd love foryou to educate me on that a little bit. Sure. So one of the things that allvideo and audio is my consulting firm, we ended up building a services, go tomarket maturity model because what we realize is that in a servicesorganization, unlike in traditional product or hardware organizations,there is no product management equivalent. Usually you have delivery,then you have sales and marketing and delivery is in the middle of actuallydelivering the services right. But then they are given the pressure of the sameresponsibilities as someone who would actually be in the product marketing orproduct management function in a traditional organization. And that'snot that's not fair. That's like you telling your own product, hey, you needto also manage yourself, right? That doesn't make sense. But because thathappens in a services organization, there's specific inputs that are notbeing gathered and then fed into your revenue organization. So what we endedup doing is building out this maturity model that an organization goes through.So that way companies can identify where are they and then what needs tohappen for them to mature both their service management functionality, theirmarketing and sales. So they go and mature and lock step and thereforereach sustainable and scalable revenue...

...growth. Mm I love that. And where wereyou you were just on the webinar talking about that. Yeah. So I I endedup having a webinar where I spoke to the four reasons why service revenueends up being inconsistent and then how to fix it. Was it just a solo or wereyou like on a on a back and forth with someone else? I know it's a solo solowebinar and we we ended up creating it because a lot of these issues, theseare issues that service organizations end up running into because they'remissing that function area of a service management function in theirorganization. Do you want to know what the four reasons are? I would love toknow the four reasons. So reason one ends up being too many go to markets, Ithink this is something that's common across the board and a lot oforganizations where you know, they go after the healthcare market as well aspublic sector, after SMB solutions as well as enterprise. All of those aredifferent go to markets and they end up stretching out their teams becausethey're not focused right? So we find this is one of the issues that a lot ofthese organizations run into. They're just lacking that that focus No two.And to being, having their portfolio go stale like I said, because there's noone who's actually managing the services organization and looking atwell what are the expectations of our customers? How has that changed? Whatshould our roadmap for our services look like? How should we be bundlingour services etc. You end up having a portfolio that may be made sense 20years ago, but today things are very different and people are consumingthose services very differently. And now in order to make up for that gapthey have to put a significant amount of resources and money into that to fixit. Reason three ends up being...

...ineffective enablement because we'remissing that function. Not understanding clearly about why do youwin, why do you lose being able to clearly define the ideal customerinstead of going after every single deal and spending tons of time onwriting S. O. W. S. That this is where the team isn't receiving the type ofinput for them to be effective and it's not just sales not having the rightenablement. It's also marketing not having the right enablement. And lastlyit's about internal misalignment. Time and time again. We see even smallorganizations where they're less than 20 people where they're not speaking toeach other, they don't really understand the services that they'reselling. They don't agree on the value that they're creating. They don't speakto I. T. And HR. And finance for future planning. So that way they have thoseinvestments tabled for later on. So it's that misalignment that's reallycausing them to not be able to execute on the strategy that even if they'refocused they're unable to execute. I love it. You nailed it. I can tell thatyou recently did a weapon on this. You know, your facts stone cold. I want toask you for a minute about recently taking on the head of the phoenixchapter as well. So shout out to phoenix down there first. When did thathappen in second, what's the what's been like one of your biggest takeawaysfrom that additional responsibility and probably starting to meet a lot morepeople in pavilion in the area. Yeah. So I have been in the role for twoweeks. All right, We're fresh. So it's exciting. I'm stoked to help grow thatchapter phoenix overall has been...

...booming. I moved here from Chicagoactually eight years ago and I haven't looked back, I'm so excited to be inthe Valley of the Sun, but overall our population has skyrocketed and we'vehad a lot of people move in from the midwest as well as from California anda lot of professionals have moved into the area, phoenix overall has beenknown more for industrial type of work. And so eight years ago having a set ofprofessionals in marketing and sales, it was actually hard to find localtalent and I think that has changed significantly as more tech companieshave actually moved into the valley, which is super exciting. So the idea ofhaving Pavilion now have a stronger presence in the valley, giving thisoutlet for revenue executives to make connections, build their own networkand have really a support system. I think it's fantastic. So I'm excitedabout that journey and really, you know, putting some structure behind it, morecommunication, more events and more opportunities in front of those leaders.I love it. Yeah, phoenixes, phoenix Scottsdale, that whole area, I feellike has really blown up the last few years and is one of like the up andcoming cities, I'm personally a fan of some dry heat. So, uh, that's appealingto me as well. Um, but I was, I didn't, I thought that I saw Chicago Blackhawkson your mug or or your bottle there. So I wasn't sure if I was miss missingthat or not, but the Chicago makes sense. Yeah, that's accurate. I have alot of hawks materials and you know, I have a flag at home, I love it. I wantto get a few more questions in with you before we take off. Number one oppositePavilion, great source of networking, building relationships. I'm curiouswhat's your Number one tip or your...

...philosophy when it comes to networking,business relationships, things like that. I think you really get what youput into it at the end of the day. If you know, Pavilion is fantastic inorder to build your network. When I first joined and I joined almost a yearago and I found the first month, I wasn't really sure about where I shouldbe connecting, how should I participate on what that. But once I really foundthe areas that I was very passionate about and adding value and you know,reaching out to people and just having a conversation and getting to know themthings just blew up. And I've become, like you said, I've been sucked intoPavilion big time, but it's, it's because of the people I have had thepleasure to meet during this. A lot of my close friends now are actuallyPavilion members that I've met because of networking and Just having a 15minute conversation and having some coffee and asking what are you dealingwith and you know, just introducing myself. I think it's been a reallygreat experience and I think for anyone who is considering joining or is amember of the Pavilion. I think you really need to be looking at this as anopportunity to get to meet people from all over the world and not being awhole, you know, just build connections, right? Yeah, absolutely. It's a yeah,it's just an amazing opportunity to meet these like minded people and it'sso easy right at, you know, the click of a mouse or whatever, you know, justin the slack channel or some of the events, it's just been, it's so mucheasier now than it was, you know, years ago, right? We had to go to Dream forceor some major conference to connect with people. Yeah. And um it's likeadult dating, you know, um well, I...

...guess professional dating, um Iremember just going to some industry events and you know, walking up tosomeone at a table and be like, hey, what did you think about that? Such a,you know, it's super awkward and I'm not that kind of person, so, but I I doenjoy this and you know, everyone is just so nice. I think that's thebiggest takeaway from me is no one has an ego about them. They are willing tohelp, they're willing to jump on a call and you know, time is so expensive,right? It's such a valuable thing and I have not run into situations wherepeople said no, I don't have time for you and I think that's that's amazing.Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I'm curious were big learners on thispodcast, curious any books that have, you know, greatly impacted your career,your life, if that's too big of a question, you know, something thatyou've read recently, that you've liked anything like that. I do have a bookthat I absolutely adore and I I tell everyone, well I have two books, soI'll tell you 11, but I'm curious how is it okay to swear? Well man, now wehave to re record this, so that way I can, you know, throw uh there's noswear words. And so the first book I would say was extremely important to meon a personal and professional, you know, route and it's the subtle art ofnot giving a fuck. I had a I had a feeling that was what was going to beYeah, and I just, I adore that book for me, you know, several years ago, Iended up being, I guess a workaholic,...

...some people would term it as that. Andthat book really helped me put things into perspective of, you know, focusingon the things that really matter to me and there are aligned to my values andI love that because now, you know, I'm married, I've been married for almost adecade now. I have a two year old and I put them, I always put them first and Iwould say that maybe five years ago, that wasn't the case. Um, so I, Ipersonally loved that book because it helps kind of you know, changed myattitude around things and and why I was going after the things I was goingafter and maybe the reasons that were motivating me previously weren't thehealthiest motivations compared to today, you know, So I, I personallylove that book. The other one would be the five Dysfunctions of a team andthat book specifically I love and I would end up purchasing those books foranyone who would report into me. It's because I think they are fundamental inorder to breed a strong culture in an organization. And even if you have afew individuals on your team or you have a team of you know, 50, I thinkthings come out and drama happens and it's all because of communication. It'sbecause people are trying to save face. There's the, you know, the corporatepolitics and what not. And I think these five dysfunctions really breakthat down. And if you go through the exercises, you can actually breed areally great organization where people can feel like they can be vulnerable inthe organization where they can work towards healthy debate and become moreinnovative. And I suggested for any leader. But I also suggested for yourteams as well. I love it is that um, I...

...could be mistaken, but is that Patlynch peony, I wrote that book or then by making that up. Okay, awesome. Thoseare two great book recommendations. My last question for you who in thePavilion community should come on this podcast that you know that you'reconnected with, that you're enjoy talking to, learn from someone likethat. There's so many people that have opento. Oh jeez um well now you're gonna put me on the spot and if I don't saysomeone's name, I'm going to feel bad. So I would say my friend Misha, so Imet Misha actually through the consulting channel and she has beenabsolutely like amazing for for multiple reasons and I'm going tocompletely butcher her last name, Parikh Venetia Parikh. The reason why Iwould suggest her is because as a consultant and also someone who'sbuilding up their business and also as a woman in the text space, you know,there's not a lot of representation. And so me personally, sometimes, youknow, I run into days where you know, there's a lot of self doubts. I'm notsure if we're doing the right thing. Should I just go back to corporatewhatnot? And she has always been there in order to boost me up and say mjyou're on the right path, Keep going your kick ass and just being acheerleader and she herself has done some really amazing things and she justblows me away every day. So the fact that she could do so much and then onthe same time be you know, that sounding board and such a great personfor support, that's who I would...

...recommend. I love it. No disrespect toanyone else that NJ didn't mention correct, correct. I would have namedeveryone. I love it. Uh MJ appreciate you coming on, being generous with yourtime and your wisdom, if folks want to connect with you to learn more or justto chat, what's the best way to do? So Well, I would say Lincoln is probablynumber one. So MJ patent like the office or just hitting me up on slackor even email. I'm very, I'm available. I always love talking to people sothere you go. I love it. Mj thanks so much for coming on. Thank you. Allright, thanks for checking out that episode. All podcasts in october aregoing to be brought to you by the lovely people at Sandoz. So theydeliver modern direct mail, personalized gifts and other physicalimpressions that make your outreach more personal. I'll be back next mondaywith another episode. Until then feel free to hit me up on linkedin. My nameis Tom Alaimo and go out and get after it peace. Say something. Mhm.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (174)