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Breaking the Feast or Famine Cycle: Part 4 Leverage

Lever & fulcrum moving rock

Leverage: the action of a lever or the mechanical advantage gained by it.

Mechanical advantage is a measure of the force amplification achieved by using a tool, mechanical device or machine system. or wear. The performance of a real system relative to this ideal is expressed in terms of efficiency factors that take into account friction, deformation and wear. (from Wikipedia)

The first three installments in this series have  been about becoming more productive in our approach to business so that we land more business.  To stop the feast or famine cycle in its tracks.  But for many freelancers I have talked with there is a dilemma.  What does one do if still on assignment and lands an over-lapping assignment?  In other words, I cannot take on more work because I am working.   Or, how do I ensure that the work done by a Sub will meet my standards, the quality control issue.  This concern, if not overcome, guarantees that the feast or famine cycle will continue to plague.  Hiring subcontractors does require a change of thinking and the ability to demonstrate some managerial skills.   I have always been a firm believer in the Pareto Principle, a/k/a the 80-20 rule.  20% of our efforts result in 80% of our revenue.  The key is to know which activities lead to the 80% revenue generators so that one can focus more efforts in that direction.  Those are the high value-added activities.  The low-value added activities are ripe for offloading.   You want to optimize your time so that your high-value added efforts lead to direct revenue production.   The solution is a force multiplier, leverage.

Leverage can come in many forms, and even though we don’t have the technology to clone ourselves, the most obvious solution is more bodies.  So, think subcontractors.  Depending on the scope and duration of the new assignment a subcontractor (sub, or freelancer) could help you wrap up the existing assignment or scope out the new assignment under your direction.   This is hardly a new or innovative thought.  I know of a number of larger firms who operate almost exclusively with subs, assembling teams on an ad hoc basis.  If business development is not your strong suit you can even find someone to take on that responsibility for you as well.  Admittedly a bit of time will be required to vet your subcontractors but there are people who can help you with that task as well.  In fact, I have placed Freelance Consultants into a number of situations where my client’s need did not warrant a full time employee.   Virtual assistants and  Strategic Partnerships can be another force multiplier.  Strategic Partnerships are a source of referrals whereby fee-splitting arrangements can generate additional income for you.  The key is to focus on that which you do best, and let someone else do the rest.

Other sources of income can be another way to beat the feast or famine cycle.   If you have a body of work that can be packaged into a product(s) you might consider this option.  The internet provides a viable vehicle for conducting webinars using tools like GotoWebinar to capture a sizable audience.   The webinar I participated in last month had 100 attendees.  If your work is worth $25 a head, and why wouldn’t it be, you could generate $2500.00 in less than an hour if you attracted 100 participants.  If you happen to blog as a part of your marketing efforts, think in terms of turning your posts into a book.    More leverage.

Do you have a business or a practice?  There is a difference as my friend and marketing Guru Gregg Nettleton once told me.  A business can continue to function if you are out of the picture for a period of time.  A Practice depends on you, and cannot function without you.  Use outsourced services to pick up the slack, and ensure that you are managing a business.  Leverage is the key.  Focus on the high value-added activities and offload the low value added activities.  Think in terms of building a business to beat the feast or famine cycle.

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Jim Weber Bio
Prior to forming New Century Dynamics in 1999, Jim Weber spent 22 years with Fortune 500 franchising companies in the Food Retailing Industry where he developed a broad-based portfolio of “hands-on” line and staff experience in growth and turnaround situations.
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Bill Black brings over three decades of accomplishment-laden marketing experience in the food service and retail industries, having served as a Marketing Executive for some of America’s most recognized and loved brands, including Starbucks Coffee Company, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Krystal Hamburgers. Read more at: http://www.itbpartners.com/bill-black.html

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