Transcript

Episode 181: Lessons After Consulting for One Year—with Zack Pike

Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. So on this episode, I brought on someone who is just past his first year as a consultant. Zack Pike is joining us and he's going to take a look back and talk about what you need to do to prepare to become a consultant, what are some of the first things that you need to do once you take that leap, and then what are the things that you have to do and pay attention to along the way so that ultimately you've got that thriving consulting business and that good life that you really want to have. And he's also very generous in sharing with us some of the things that worked well, some of the mistakes he thinks he made, and some of the things that he wishes he had learned earlier because it would've made things a whole lot easier. So tons to learn in this episode. Let's get started.

I want to welcome to my show today, Zack Pike. Zack, welcome to the show.


Zack Pike: Thanks, Deb. I appreciate being on.


Deb Zahn: So let's start off, tell my listeners what you do.


Zack Pike: Yeah, good question. I run a small data science consultancy that focuses on the consumer goods space and specifically consumer goods brands that sell in retail. We're experts on retailers like Walmart, PetSmart, and Home Depot and stuff like that. We help them understand the kind of chaos that's in that system from a data perspective. And the reason we do that is to help them better allocate resources. So if you are a brand that sells in Walmart, you've got a certain amount of resources to allocate out there. They have different impacts in different places. We help them understand that picture.


Deb Zahn: Fabulous. Fabulous. And I do love data, so I appreciate that. But today we're not going to talk about that. We're going to talk about some of the wisdom and insights that you've gained that will help anyone who's listening, who's thinking, "Ah, really, should I make the leap? Should I become a consultant?" Or if they do, what should they be doing as soon as they actually take that leap? So I appreciate you coming on and being willing to share that. So how long have you been out in the consulting wilderness?


Zack Pike: Actually, October 1 will be one year.


Deb Zahn: Wow.


Zack Pike: So I'm right at the year mark.


Deb Zahn: Congratulations. And what made you want to do that?


Zack Pike: Well, like a lot of people out there, I had been wanting to do my own thing, honestly since college. Really, even before that. That was my overall objective in life, was to kind of run my own thing. I had kind of dabbled in it. I'd done some consulting work throughout the years on the side. I had started some smaller businesses just as like little hobby businesses. But then my kids got to a point where I had a little bit of extra time. I've got three kids between eight and 12 years old, so we're kind of out of the early years of that stage. My career had been at a point where I'd had a lot of really great success that I could lean on. I had a really strong network. And so it finally just made sense one day to make the leap. There really wasn't a major trigger, it was just something told me like, "Hey, it's time. You need to make this happen."


Deb Zahn: Nice.


Zack Pike: So about a year ago is when I did that.


Deb Zahn: Congratulations. And you listened to that, which is a good thing.


Zack Pike: Yes.


Deb Zahn: So what advice would you give to someone who is kind of itching to do the same thing but they're really uncertain about whether or not they should go for it? What would you tell them?


Zack Pike: Yeah, like I said, I struggled with it for a long time. I kind of did some things on the side. I had some success on the side. I made great money doing that work in addition to my main income. But the thing that held me back and that holds, I think, most people back, is finances. If you're going to jump out on your own, if you're going to do it ethically, depending on how your agreement is with your employer, my employer agreement was pretty strong. I was a CIO of a sizable marketing agency. So it wasn't going to be ethical for me to start my own thing on the side, get it going and then leave. I did cut it off clean on both sides. That requires a little bit of a backstop from a financial perspective.


So when people talk to me about this, the thing I tell them all the time is get your financial life in order. Give yourself six months of runway. I mean, the thing that was always in my head was if I could work on something totally focused for six months and it doesn't work, then I can go get another job. But if I do it for six months, chances are something's going to work out. That involves saving. It involves not taking vacations. If you're going to do this, you have to commit to it. And that's been my biggest advice.


The other big piece is your mind will tell you not to do it, but you just have to do it because it's terrifying. And it gets more terrifying when you actually make the jump. But I have some really good friends who have done the consulting thing. They started their own business. And one of them who's done really well, we were at lunch one day and I was struggling with it and he was like, "Zack, if you try it for a year and it doesn't work, you just go get another job. It's not like you'll never go back to the workforce. You may not make what you were making today. You may have to work yourself back up, but you're going to find another job. So it's not like it's a doomsday event if it doesn't work out." And when he told me that, I was like, "Oh, that is so simple, but that makes sense." You can always go back. So yeah, when people ask me that question, that's usually what I say.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. I found that kind of soothing myself when I took the leap. And I took the leap first into the firm and then I took a second leap to become independent. But the money part, I want to echo that because one thing have to realize is even if you're really good at getting clients right off the bat, you're working your network, you're doing all the stuff you need to do, depending on your pricing model, it might take you while it'll get paid.


Zack Pike: Absolutely.


Deb Zahn: And big companies, as I've heard from some of my friends who tend to work with the larger companies that I can't say because people would recognize them, often take longer to pay because they can. So you got to recognize you're not just waiting for the gigs, you're waiting for the payment.


Zack Pike: Yes. And I'll just add one other point to that. Yes, think through what your sales cycle's going to be, and plan for how much your financial backstop is for that sales cycle. That's a really important piece. Because in some consultants, the sales cycle might be six months. You may expect not to have a client for six months, which means no income for six months. And then you've got expenses building up over that whole time. Yeah, yeah, that's a great point.


Deb Zahn: So for the folks listening, going, "Oh my gosh, I don't even know what a sales cycle is," can you give them a brief description of what that means?


Zack Pike: Yeah. It's like how long from the point of someone realizing they might need something that you offer to them actually making the decision. A lot of the sales process is timing, being in front of the right people at the right time. And you will talk to... At least in my experience, I've talked to a lot of people who were willing to talk to me, who were interested in what I was doing. They just weren't in a position to buy it yet. It's like, "Hey, we're focused on this other thing right now. I can't even allocate effort to this even if I did purchase it. So come back to me in six months or come back to me in a year." But in my world, it's a little bit larger ticket item. You got to have the right infrastructure in place for the companies I'm working with.


It depends a lot on what you're actually selling, which is another big aspect I hope we get to in this podcast because that was one of my biggest learnings. But it could be something where you're selling an easy-to-buy thing and they might be able to make the decision in a month. Well, that changes your world, right?


Deb Zahn: Yeah.


Zack Pike: If you think you can contact enough people to get enough clients in a month, then your backstop doesn't need to be as big, and you can think it's about things a little bit differently. But in my experience, the sales cycle tends to be longer.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. Well let's get into the selling part because. So this was my struggle when I first started, is I had thought, "Well, here's my resume" and I thought my resume was what I was going to go tell people about and not go tell them potentially what I offer that makes their life a better world to live in. What did you struggle with or what did you have to figure out in terms of the "What am I actually selling?" part?


Zack Pike: Yeah, that makes sense. So from a sales perspective, there were two really big insights for me. Honestly, I didn't really learn these until the past few months. It was a lot of trial and error. But the first one is your pipeline. So when I left my employer, I had a lot of success really early on. I had people who I had worked with in the past who found out I was on my own and sent me messages to talk. I had a lot of... My network, I hadn't really asked any questions of. I hadn't asked them for anything. So when I send messages, they're willing to talk. And that usually works into contracts and business.


And so while that was a good thing, it was also a bad thing because it did not force me to focus on having a pipeline of new business coming in. I was just leaning on the work that was coming in. And when that starts to dry up, then you're like, "Oh wait, I’ve got no pipeline," which means I'm talking to people in various stages of the sales process, I'm making new contacts outside of my network. If you want to build a large business one day, which is my ultimate goal, you have to stretch outside your own network, right? You have to get people you don't know to know you. And that was the biggest learning for me on the sales acquisition side, is to keep that pipeline full. Figure out what your pipeline is, right? What are the steps of your sales pipeline? I know you've done podcasts on that, which I actually listened to and helped me.


Deb Zahn: Oh, good.


Zack Pike: And then do not lose focus of that. It takes daily action. You're going to be busy with client work, but you have to find time to nurture those leads. You have to find time to keep the pipeline rolling because there will be a day when your business dries up and you're going to have to lean on the pipeline to say, "OK, what do I have out here that I can try and push over the finish line?" And if you haven't been working that for the past three months, now you got a three-month runway before it's ready.


Deb Zahn: That's right. And you have an income cliff that you didn't expect to have. Yeah. What I find a lot is that particularly because it can be rattling to someone's confidence to suddenly be a consultant and now you eat what you kill as opposed to you show up at work and what your job is. So when they finally get work, and I experience this, you finally get to feel confident again because you're doing cool stuff that you know how to do, and people love it, but then you're working in your business and you're ignoring working on your business.


Zack Pike: Yep. Exactly.


Deb Zahn: I had it happen one time and it only took me one time to learn when I was on this huge big contract. Even though I knew the deadline because I actually did the work plan so it's not like I didn't know when it ended, suddenly everything dried up because I hadn't been paying attention to the pipeline.


Zack Pike: I've been there. I've been there.


Deb Zahn: It's painful. It's painful. So how else would you help people think about what to prepare so when they step into their market, they've got their best foot, they've got the clarity, they have all the stuff they need?


Zack Pike: Yeah, so this is one thing. Figure out one thing that you are better than anyone else in the world at. Again, when I started down this whole path, I met with a lot of people just gathering insight, feedback, and thoughts. Some were people who had done their own thing. Some were people who had been in corporate America their whole life. There was one person that I have gotten a lot of benefit from throughout the years who told me that, he said, "Zack, if you're going to do this, you have to be something to someone. You cannot be everything to everyone." And that was a problem for me because in the data science world, a good data scientist can do a lot of stuff. There's almost nothing I should say no to because my world is figuring out problems that I don't know, that there's no solution to.


Deb Zahn: Right.


Zack Pike: So if someone says, "Hey Zack, can you do this data thing?" the answer is yes. But to be successful in the sales arena and gaining clients, you have to say no to a lot of stuff so that you can be the best at one thing. And for us, it's this whole retail store system segmentation thing. And that's all I talk about. And again, these are learnings for me. This only came up for me in the last three months when this clicked in my brain and I was like, "Oh, it actually is better to do less because now when I'm talking to someone in 30 seconds, I can explain to them what I do and they get it." Before, they're like, "Well, what about this? And what about this?" And then it's like you walk away from the discussion and they don't really think of you for anything.


Deb Zahn: That's right.


Zack Pike: That's the problem. Sales is timing. You need to be in someone's mind at the right time. And the right time is when they need something specific. And if you are the person they think of for X, you're going to be there when they need it.


Deb Zahn: Yeah because then you're the go-to. You're not a consultant who does data stuff.


Zack Pike: Exactly. Exactly. Yes. So that was a huge learning for me. And as soon as that clicked in my head, everything got better. My pitch deck got exponentially better. The way I was reaching out to cold leads was better. My content, I've been attempting to post a lot on LinkedIn and build a name for myself out there, the content I post on LinkedIn is much more targeted. I'm getting into the small niche communities that are the people I'm actually going after a lot easier. Instead of just being this data person, I'm now this retail data person that does this very specific thing. And so far on the sales side, it's working out as well, which is the opposite of at least myself I expected. How can you sell more by only offering one thing? But it's true. It happens, and I'm proof of it.


Deb Zahn: Yeah, it seemed I am too. And it seems counterintuitive. Again, I see a lot of people at the beginning do what you talked about, is they're trying to be everything to everyone and there is a fear of defining your niche, defining specifically who you want to work with, defining very clearly what your value proposition is to that person who cares about these things in this context. But I don't know how else you make decisions about who to reach out to, what to post on social media, how to do anything if you haven't answered those questions.


Zack Pike: It's way too broad. What I've learned is people run communities, right? We want to group up with similar-minded people, people dealing with the same problems as us, in the same industries. In the retail space, it's even tighter. You have grocery retail people, you have home goods retail people, and you have sporting goods. So even tighter the communities get, if you are just, "Hey, I'm a..." I'm going to speak on data, but this applies to anything.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. Yeah.


Zack Pike: "Hey, I'm a data analyst and I can do anything in this data world for pretty much any company." Again, you are basically nothing to know one, or nothing to everyone, right? That's the way it's been. You are nothing to everyone because you are everything to everyone.


Deb Zahn: That's right.


Zack Pike: It's hard. Like you said, counterintuitive. It's hard to flip your brain into this way of thinking. But if you look at any big successful company, you can probably think of one thing they do really well, right? "We are going to be Accenture," right? Accenture, it's a big consulting firm. They actually do do everything, but they're a gigantic company, right? If you are just getting started, don't try to be Accenture.


Deb Zahn: That's right.


Zack Pike: Do one thing really well and be the best in the world at it. That needs to be your objective, the best in the world at what I'm doing.


Deb Zahn: That's right. And so that when somebody thinks, "We need help with X," you are who they picture in their brain. Or when you show up and maybe they don't have an idea of what they really want, you've got something specific to talk to them about because otherwise they're like, "Ah, yeah, I mean we're doing stuff, but we don't really know." And then it meanders all over the place.


Zack Pike: Can I add one more thing to this and we'll jump to something else?


Deb Zahn: Yeah.


Zack Pike: The other thing I'll say is put it in front of as many people as you can. I have had so many meetings where I reached out to old contacts and just said, "Hey, I'm going down this direction and I'm just looking for feedback. Can we hop on the phone for 15 minutes and can I take you through it and just get your opinion?" I'll tell you, a few of those have actually turned into clients, which is not the expectation when I started it. But the feedback you will get from just that will drastically refine your pitch deck, how you talk about yourself, the content you post out there, how you set up contracts, how you structure pricing, all that stuff. The more people you can get it in front of before you put it in front of an actual potential client, the better it's going to be. So that'd be the other big piece of advice. Just try to get in front of as many people as possible.


Deb Zahn: 100%. And if you're thinking of a new offer, and I do this, a few times I've thought of there's something new I want to offer that I think is interesting and exciting and other folks aren't really doing it and I'm uniquely suited to do it, I'll call up some past clients I have a good relationship with and I'll say, "Here's what I'm thinking. What do you think?' And I've had them straight up say, "Yeah, we don't really want that. But you said one thing that sparks something. Here's what we would actually want that would be more helpful." And now I know not to waste a whole bunch of time building an offer and building all the artifacts related to that offer because I don't have a buyer.


Zack Pike: Yep. Yep, absolutely.


Deb Zahn: And I need to know that because I don't want to waste my time.


Zack Pike: Absolutely.


Deb Zahn: I love that. Now, you mentioned two words that I'm sure made some people want to go hide under the covers. You said cold calls. Again, I do think it makes sense at the beginning. You got to network. Work your network. Continue to nurture your network with the good care and feeding that it deserves. But you're right, you do have to get beyond your network, and cold outreach is one of the ways that you do that. How do you approach that?


Zack Pike: Yeah, so let me just say I have been terrified of cold outreach. I've been in the data space my entire career. I'm used to people cold outreaching me. Working as CIO for four years, you get a lot of people trying to get you to buy stuff. So I did have the benefit of I had seen how it typically happens. And I will tell you, I think in the thousands and thousands of emails I received throughout my career of people trying to sell me stuff, I responded to one. And it's only because he had a really good tagline. There were lots of other good taglines, but for some reason that one really hit me and we had a... I didn't actually end up buying anything, but I did respond to one. I'm a data guy, so that rate is not good, right?


Deb Zahn: Now that's a bad rate.


Zack Pike: If I responded to one, those aren't good odds. So when I started, again, I had a lot of success in the beginning, which was not good for me. I didn't really start the cold outreach stuff until maybe four or five months ago. I've tried a lot of different things. I have tried a little bit of email. Personally, I haven't had much success with that.


My biggest success right now is coming from being hyper-focused on LinkedIn. I am on this long, long journey to try and create a name for myself out there in this space so that when I reach out to someone, they have at least seen my name somewhere. That's my core objective with cold outreach. And I do that through posting my own content. But more importantly, I try to get involved in the conversations that are happening out there in the comments. And that takes a lot of time, which is something that as a really small shop I do not have. And I know a lot of other consultants have this struggle as well. But I try to get involved in the comments as much as possible, which I'm a very much an introvert, and getting over that hump...


Deb Zahn: Me too.


Zack Pike: Getting over that hump was a challenge especially in the beginning. But once I started doing it, people love it.


Deb Zahn: They do.


Zack Pike: I mean, your content, if you take a consistent approach to it and you do it for a long time, in the beginning no one is going to look at it. But over time you will start seeing your metrics start to rise. Again, the metrics aren't important, but you at least see people are consuming this stuff. And then you'll start getting likes and comments and you'll start engaging with people in the comments on your own posts, which then that's when it really gets exciting because you're actually driving a conversation. But it takes a lot of time and effort.


The other thing I do from a cold outreach perspective when I do feel like I want to send a message to someone, it's usually on LinkedIn. If I cannot connect with them, I'm sending them an email and I'm sending a video message. So again, me coming from a world where I was being marketed to and sold all the time, I did not read the emails and the LinkedIn messages I got. Maybe I looked at the headline, but I almost never opened them. My hope with the video messaging, so far the win rate's really high, is if someone opens it, that what it puts in the message box is a little gift of me like waving, so they see it's a real person and then when they open it, I literally record a... It's about a 45-second video for every message I send. So it takes a lot of time.


Deb Zahn: Personally for them?


Zack Pike: Yes.


Deb Zahn: Nice.


Zack Pike: I explain why I'm reaching out to them. I say their name, their company name, why I was interested in their company. I also don't reach out to companies I'm not interested in working with. I have to have some personal experience. Like I use the product or I saw them and I really like their merchandising strategy or something. And if someone watches that video, they almost always will at least respond to me. The hard part is getting them to watch it because a lot of people don't check their LinkedIn messages. They don't log in to LinkedIn, so that's a challenge. But if they watch it, they respond and most of them turn into at least a 20-minute phone call.


Deb Zahn: That's fabulous.


Zack Pike: So that's my approach. Now, again I try not to make those totally cold outreaches. I try to do it to someone who I have at least commented on their post, we've had some interaction. Because again, for me, when you're a consultant, you should be working with companies you want to work with. You don't have to work with a company you don't want to work with. So seek out the brands that you like.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. That's the whole point. That's the whole point of being the boss of our business. So I love that you talked about that approach, particularly with the video. I actually gave someone that advice last night in my membership. And the warming folks up, which is consulting at the heart of it is about relationships. And so cold outreach is, for me, new relationships. And if you think of it that way, then you're not going to do what has already happened to me four times this morning, which is somebody asked me for a connection request and then they immediately pitched me. And it's generic. I can tell, "I really like your learning content." That's one of my favorite "Clearly, you don't know who I am" signals, but you know you're building a relationship. So the commenting, adding value, celebrating people, that's building a relationship just like we do everywhere else.


Zack Pike: Exactly. There are two resources I have actually gotten a lot of benefit from. The video service I use is loom.com.


Deb Zahn: Oh yeah, I love that. That's what I use.


Zack Pike: I think Vidyard is another one people use. But there's this sales consultant, I think her name is Sam McKenna. Her company is Sam Sales. She actually used to work for LinkedIn a long time ago. She actually had a good point about connection requests, which your comment there. And I've done this and had success with it. When I send a connection request, I send it blind. Sometimes I'll include a message if I've just recently seen their post or something. But when they accept it, I just send a note off that acceptance that says, "Hey, happy to connect," or, "Looking forward to getting to know each other" or something. I don't tell them what I do. I don't sell them. Because at this point I don't even know if we're suited to work together. I want to interact with their content and kind of learn about each other. And same with me. That way, six months from now when there is an opportunity, we can connect in a genuine way.


To your point, if you're just sending your message on that initial connection, they don't know you. They have no incentive to talk to you, unless you just randomly hit on something they are thinking about right at that moment and they're willing to talk to someone they don't know, which is a losing endeavor. The win rate on that is like 3%, right?


Deb Zahn: Yeah, exactly. Because when I get them and they often say 20 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour, and I'm like, Well one, I'm not lonely. Two, I'm an introvert, so good luck with that.


Zack Pike: Right.


Deb Zahn: Third, so you're telling me I should have peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner because now you want to add half an hour to my day?


Zack Pike: Exactly.


Deb Zahn: And that's kind of how I interpret it as opposed to... I've sent videos to folks before who I've really liked what they put out, I genuinely have an interest in either helping them or working with them or something like that. And I live on beautiful rural land and so I go outside and I'm on a little walk to see this beautiful scenery. And that tends to catch people's attention, but it's also a little more personal. But I don't sell, if there's no reason to sell.


Zack Pike: Right.


Deb Zahn: That is the most common mistake. My favorite one is the one's, and this is one I got this morning, that they're LinkedIn experts, supposedly LinkedIn marketing experts, and the first thing they did is pitched me. I said (in my head), "Well, and you ain't a LinkedIn marketing expert."


Zack Pike: Exactly. Exactly. Yes.


Deb Zahn: That's great.


Zack Pike: There's a lot of that out there.


Deb Zahn: So anything else that you've learned in this year that you would just tell someone else, "Look, if you could avoid this or flat out, just don't do that."?


Zack Pike: Yeah, two things come to mind. The first one is protect your working time. Like I said, I have three kids, we're super busy. My wife's a school teacher, so it's really easy for me to prioritize personal things over work because I can do the work anytime, right?


Deb Zahn: Right.


Zack Pike: I can do it tonight at 10 o'clock or at 5:00 AM in the morning when someone has a dentist appointment that we have to run to. I do have the flexibility to do that, but you can very easily get yourself into trouble by saying, "Oh, I'm just going to take this personal thing and make it happen today" while you should have been spending that time on your pipeline, right? Again, this is something someone told me when I first started thinking about going down this path, this person said, "Hey, protect your working time." You're not going to an office every day. You don't have a bunch of coworkers who are setting meetings on your calendar, who are relying on you anymore, so it's going to be up to you to have the discipline to treat your life like you are still in that world because time will quickly get away from you. And so that would be the first one.


The second one is work with a good tax person. When you're out on your own... And really this is true for anyone even if you do work for an employer, most of us, our largest expense is taxes. So if you are working with a good tax person, they're going to help you understand, especially as a consultant or a business owner, how you should be leveraging the funds that are coming in to insulate yourself from having a tax bill that you shouldn't be paying. And they will help you understand the investments you can make in the business that will help you way down the road, "This is why the tax code is set up this way," that a lot of people just don't take advantage of.


And so that also was a big thing for me. I met with my tax person when I first went down this path and she walked me through, "Here's how you need to be thinking about your life now," which was very different from how I had thought about it before, but especially as the business continues to grow, it's going to be very, very important. And it's not expensive. Not expensive at all. But that would be my other suggestion.


Deb Zahn: I love that. So sort of last piece of advice. If you're standing in front of a new consultant or something that helped you the most, but something you'd say to the folks who are still like, "Ah, I'm not sure. I'm not sure," what would you say?


Zack Pike: That's a good question. If I could say one thing, I'd say just do it.


Deb Zahn: Thank you.


Zack Pike: If it doesn't work out, you can always go back to your corporate job or wherever you're at. You can always go back. If you're successful at what you're doing today, there will always be a job for you. But there will not always be the opportunity to jump out on your own. So if you're on the fence, just make the jump. Do it ethically. I think a lot of people try to do things on the side and try and build up a little business. And if your employment agreement is set up to allow that, then by all means do that. But a lot of times they're not. And just make sure you're doing it the right way and just do it.


Deb Zahn: Love it. I love that. Yeah because any successful consultant I know, when you ask them their biggest regret, they always say, "I wish I had done this sooner."


Zack Pike: That's mine.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. Me too.


Zack Pike: Yeah. I wish I would've done it 10 years ago.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. I had been itching to do this for so long and fear held me back. Yeah, I wish I had done it probably a decade earlier, and I could have. So now if folks listen to this and they like you but they also happen to have data science needs in the particular niche you work in, how can they find you?


Zack Pike: Yeah. So our website is magneticds.com. But really the best way to get me is on LinkedIn. Just look up Zack Pike, Zack with a K on LinkedIn, or Magnetic on LinkedIn and you can find me. I do check my messages and I do respond to comments. I post a lot of great content. I post about consulting and I post about the whole retail data science world. So LinkedIn is the best place to catch me for sure.


Deb Zahn: Very nice. And so you know this last question is coming. I'm going to ask you about that good old fashioned life balance and how you work that, however you define it.


Zack Pike: That's a good question. It's a struggle every day. I think for me it is being flexible enough to prioritize the things that really make me happy. And right now, at the point of my life that I'm in, that's like building relationships with my kids and their friends. Again, I've mentioned this earlier, but I really try to protect my working time during the day. This is my biggest challenge. But being able to shut that off at certain portions on the weekends and definitely in the evenings so that I can allocate the time I need to to being a good human for the little humans in my life. So that's the biggest thing from a balanced perspective is making... Because I have dealt with this, and I know other people do, I have gotten into situations where I've worked and worked and never stopped working and then I'm not happy at all and I don't know why. And when I stop working and I allocate the time I need to to the stuff that really makes me happy, I'm happy.


Deb Zahn: Go figure, right?


Zack Pike: Exactly. Exactly. Especially for consultants who are on their own and they're making all their own decisions, you still have to not let work take over your life.


Deb Zahn: Love it. I love it. Well Zack, I really appreciate you coming on and talking about this. Your generosity in sharing your experience and your insights is greatly appreciated. And happy work anniversary, October 1st. That's fabulous.


Zack Pike: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah.


Deb Zahn: Thank you so much for coming on.


Zack Pike: Yeah. Thanks.


Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode or you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I got a lot of other great guests that are coming up in a lot of other great content and I don't want you to miss anything.


But the other two things that I'm going to ask you to do is, one is if you have any comments, so if you have any suggestions or any kind of feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners, please include those. And then the last thing is, again, if you've gotten something out of this, share it. Share it with somebody you know who's a consultant or thinking about being a consultant, and make sure that they also have access to all this great content and all the other great content that's going to be coming up.


So as always, you can go and get more wonderful information and tools at craftofconsulting.com. Thanks so much. I will talk to you on the next episode.