Turning Your Consulting Service Into a Product – A Short Five Year Plan

Turning Your Consulting Service Into a Product

If you are working as a service seller and thought that selling a product might be a much better alternative than selling your time for money, then here’s a long and hard plan to get you there.

While most plans focus on compressing your milestones, these shortcuts often rob you of deep domain knowledge that you’ll need to create your product-based operation. And while there are real shortcuts one could take and still get the same results, I’ve often found them to be more of an exception rather than a rule.

Here I’m illustrating five milestones in years to signify a phase as this gives better context like a class curriculum that requires a set amount of time. Of course some of these phases require a lot more time than a year while others can be accomplished in a much shorter time frame.

And just like failing a class, you can get stuck in one phase indefinitely until you find a way to pass.

Year 1 (Phase One) – Focus on your craft

No shortcuts here as craft takes a lot of time to develop. Mastery requires several years, 10,000 hours and a lot of sweat and caffeine. But you don’t have to reach that high level to start serving others with what skill level you currently have. You can start now.

This is the phase where you slowly find your unique voice and your style as you slowly grow and hone in on your ideal target market.

These two go hand in hand. One informs the other as feedback slowly leads you to a sweet spot where your service finds a welcoming audience and allows you to grow a stronger voice.

You might also call this the hustle phase as you thrash and struggle to find your way.

At some point as your competency grows, you can start to leverage that accumulated wealth of expertise, efficiency and personal brand to free up your energy to work on the next phase.

Year 2 (Phase Two) – Scale

By now you have found your niche and know where your potential clients hanging out. You have a good system in place to find and do the work. Sweet!

As your knowledge and understanding of your market’s needs grow, you are slowly building your personal brand and if you did well on phase one, some word of mouth will start to work in your favor.

Here your systems can help you scale up or down in learn or fertile seasons. Having a good system to source out overflow allows you to keep growing and not having to turn away projects that could cost you some of your long-term clients. Conversely, having a high and inflexible overhead when things are lean can put you out permanently.

If you have a good system that scales well, you can focus your energy on sourcing projects and acquiring good clients.

Year 3 (Phase Three) – Domain Knowledge, Custom Solutions and Building an Audience

Your experience in your field will expose you to common client and peer problems that keep coming up. You may have already solved these pain points long ago and thought of them as common sense solutions. But not everyone will see this as common sense and you can help others by sharing this knowledge in your platform or website.

Highly specialized set of problems can be a source for great content on your website and help grow loyalty as your audience refer to you for good information and trusted advice. More importantly, it serves as a foundation for testing and developing your future product ideas.

You may start writing content and build an audience from the get go and you don’t really have to wait till you get to this phase before you do so. But I caution that spending time on this phase prematurely might distract you from your craft and the foundations needed to build up to this. This phase could easily become a spinning wheel of distraction if you do it in the wrong order.

Year 4 (Phase Four) – By-Products

In the years of providing your service, you will accumulate by-products in different forms. These by-products may be things you’ve created to make your business run faster, custom solutions that you have created for your clients, templates, specialty knowledge that you have accumulated, helpful tools like software plugins, apps, and efficiency shortcuts etc.

For example, designers can have templates to help speed up production. Illustrators can have a growing collection of illustrations that were never used that can be compiled and sold as stock images. Business owners have systems of operation that can be used for other businesses. Things that you have accumulated in running your operations over the years can be packaged and used either as products or bonus items to sell with higher ticket services.

You can also create solutions to the most common and in demand problems that your clients have. That may come in a form of a software, a membership website, a template, an app or a book. These are needs that you have validated on your platform’s growing audience or via your clients directly.

Putting these complementary products along with your service and selling them to a growing community that you’ve built via your client list building efforts in phase three will put you on a path that tips the scale from a service to a product based operation.

Year 5 (Phase Five) – Grow your audience and community

Your by-products, tools, and domain expertise can grow and help you in your efforts to start separating the bond between your time and your income. In this area, you start focusing in growing and nurturing your community as your products start to do the heavy lifting.

Keep growing your audience and nurture your community with valuable content and helpful resources.

In the earlier phase you’ve used more of your personal time and a lot of grunt and on the later phase you use more leverage where your effort potentially brings you much better results.


There is more than one way to skin a lawn mower (like skinning cats make any more sense.) And a plan is just a compass that points you in a desired direction. You might very well discover something in the earlier phase that was never in your sphere of awareness that can open better doors. And that is the point of this journey. To discover what opportunities lie beyond the next door.

About Pablo Sanchez

Enjoys crafting simple animated business videos that get your big ideas across to a larger audience. Honey, I Can Explain! is the place to go.

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