How to Build a Lucrative Business by Renting Your Expertise

Renting your expertise to high-profile individuals, celebrities, and corporations could be your way to millions.

There are gifted people around the world who often underestimate the power of renting their brain for profit (just a colloquialism), rather than underestimating their value. The name implies it all — renting your expertise, not giving away your time. This is not a new concept, but there are specific factors to be aware of when you are approaching a “time based” model that is not as easy to scale as an online product model, but the rewards are worth it.

The world needs your knowledge, so do not second-guess your ability to build a high-growth business model and demand by using your own intellectual capital as your primary product. When we discuss building a successful business, renting our time to others is rarely the first thought that comes to mind, so we try to develop content, products and concepts that are outside of our knowledge base.

You can rent your time and expertise to high profile individuals, celebrities and corporations; while creating a demand for your expertise. After renting my brain successfully for a few years, I had the funding needed to pivot and begin my first company, with an outstanding team. In addition, many of those who rented my brain in the past became our largest clients and referrals once we were established, which allowed us to set our valuation early for future investors.

From artists, fitness instructors, private chefs, leadership consulting, to speech writing and more; there is an increased demand for premium level expert advice. Building a multi-million dollar business by renting your time can work, once you implement these six strategies.

1. Market yourself as a leader and expert, consistently.

Create a level of urgency for potential clients. This is your moment to highlight all of your achievements, credentials, etc within your respective industry. It is time to begin networking, speaking at industry events, investing in social media ads, creating actionable content, sponsor events, media interviews and podcasts, to create a buzz about your services.

2. Pre-qualify your “renters” or customers.

Create a due diligence process that allows you to select from a pre-qualified base of committed people and businesses. The number one mistake that entrepreneurs make is chasing customers, who are not committed to taking action. Creating a pre-qualification process allows prospects to understand your vetting and selection process, which will also view your required criteria for acceptance.

3. Establish clear boundaries .

You will encounter prospects, who have created savvy methods to “pick your brain,” rather than rent your expertise. Be clear about your value, your time, business hours, methods of contact and minimum requirements for engagement.

4. Price your time wisely .

More than your expertise, you must charge a premium for renting your time. There are executive speech writers in my industry who charge upwards of $300/hour to write one speech, with a three hour minimum to reserve their time. There are also celebrity matchmakers, who charge $10,000 for a lunch and learn VIP consultation with their clients. Remember, your time has value. Do not underestimate your price because you are worried about competitors in the market.

5. Collaborate with other established experts.

Avoid the pitfall of becoming the “lone wolf” of your business. You will accomplish more by collaborating with more established leaders than building your company alone. Become the resident expert for other industry experts and gain access to consistent referrals from your collaborative efforts.

6. Treat it like a business.

Check with your state or local municipality to register the formal entity for your company. Although you are renting your expertise to others, it requires a board of advisors and a formal team to help you manage the influx of opportunities and offers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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