The side door

Philip Morgan

I've put off doing this for a few days because it makes me so nervous. Makes me feel naked.

I wrote about something I feel really strongly about. I'm afraid I'll get criticized for it, and have resisted sharing it here.

But yet, it's closer to the core of why I show up the way I do in my business than anything else I've ever written, so I think the right next step is to put it out there anyway.

It's my vision for what's possible for you and your career. It's something I'll turn into an email course that I'll use as a podcast CTA, but for now I'll just send it to y'all as my daily email for the next 7 installments of that email.

The first time someone sent me an email asking for advice changed my career forever.

And it changed it dramatically for the better.

That change is what this email course is about.

“Course” is probably not quite the right word for what this is. It’s more of a call-to-arms—a manifesto perhaps—on what’s possible for you and your career. It’s written through the lens of my own experience and my experience working with lots of people who are creating this change in their own career.

What’s the change?

It’s a fundamental shift away from getting paid for what you build and… well, it takes several forms:

  • Away from getting paid for what you build and towards getting paid for the value of what you build.
  • Away from getting paid for what you build and towards getting paid for access to your thinking.
  • Away from getting paid for what you build and towards getting paid for helping clients make better decisions.
  • Away from getting paid for implementation and towards getting paid for strategy.

You may not shift entirely away from implementation. After all, implementation work can be enjoyable, challenging, and profitable.

But if this email course is finding you at the right time in your career, you’re probably doing mostly implementation but you’re hungry for something else.

It might be a hunger for more control, because you think your clients would be better off if they willingly gave you this control.

It might be a hunger for more impact, because you think you have something to share or teach your clients or peers.

It might be a hunger for more profitability, because you keep having to jump to Hot New Technology X because your old skills keep getting commoditized.

And finally, it might be a hunger for more stability in your business, because you’d like to change your business model away from a few big clients towards many smaller clients/customers.

Over the next 6 days, I am going to give you a high-level roadmap or framework for making this kind of shift in your business.

This framework is not a quick fix for a sick business; it’s a cocoon in which you can incubate a fundamentally different and—if the timing is right for you—a fundamentally better business.

It takes real work, and anyone who tells you different is bullshitting you or trying to sell you a quick fix that won’t work. At the outset I worked 6 to 7 days a week for about 2 years to make this shift in my business. I’ve seen others do it in about the same amount of time.

There is an alternative, but it’s not easier cheaper or faster. The alternative is to get an MBA (~$130k for a top-10 school), do a stint working for a big 4 consulting firm (maybe 5 years; partially offsets the cost of the MBA but at the cost of your freedom though you can look at it like a “paid consulting internship”), and then either set up your own consultancy or work for an agency in their strategy division.

There’s nothing wrong with this alternative, but it would feel like prison to me. If it would to you too, just know there’s another route available to you. It’s more risky, more entrepreneurial, and if you—like me—value freedom more than safety, it might be for you.

I call it getting into consulting through the side door.

The first step is specialization. I suppose a real masochist could get there without specialization, but I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t avail yourself of the benefits of specialization.

So that’s the first part of this framework: specialization.

I’ll tell you about it in the next email, landing in your inbox tomorrow.