The business consultant who hit new
revenue records after writing a book
'I felt very much as if I wasn’t in control of my lead generation — it was a mysterious, seemingly random process that I was a participant in, not in charge of.'
Andrew Hollo is the founder of Workwell Consulting, and is best known for aligning diverse interests quickly and easily and synthesising the complex into workable strategies, so that his clients outperform their own expectations. He works with all types and sizes of public value organisations: from boutique think tanks of a half dozen people, to enormous government behemoths with tens of thousands of staff and budgets of tens of billions of dollars.
Having been an independent strategy consultant for 20 years, Andrew already had a strong reputation within a small group of government and non-profit agencies and had several inbound enquiries each week.
The challenge was that many of these enquiries were for small scale, lower impact projects with limited budgets, and weren't a match for Andrew's services. Ultimately, he felt like he had no control of his lead generation, and wasn't sure how to change this.
So he decided to write a book — From Impossible to Possible: Two Simple Rules to Transform Your Public Value Organisation.
Targeted at public sector and non-profit leaders, From Impossible to Possible helps readers overcomes many of the common hurdles that stop them from doing their best work, being the first definitive, step-by-step guide for public value leaders who need to lead change to deal with new, complex realities.
'My hope was that it would become an Amazon bestseller, reach the top of the NYT nonfiction lists, and I’d be invited on speaking panels with Malcolm Gladwell ... then I came back down to earth! What I really wanted was for it to create instant credibility when I met someone new, or boost my credibility among those I already knew.
I wasn’t at all concerned about sales of the book — I wanted to use it as a lead generator for consulting projects that start at $30k.
Behind the scenes of Andrew's writing and publishing journey
'The writing process was surprisingly easy. The editing and design process was surprisingly hard! I thought it would be reversed.'
Andrew was very organised with his writing process. He knew he had 11 main areas to discuss, which needed to be supported by stories - both his own war stories as well as stories about Australian and international organisations with strong strategic positioning and execution.
So he created a shortlist of organisations, and got an UpWork researcher to prepare 1000-word summaries on eight questions for 40 organisations. With these materials ready to go, he retreated to a villa in Bali for five days and wrote a 42,000-word draft in just five days!
'The key was this: DO NOT re-read your own work. Just keep writing. The editor will sort it all out - that’s her job.'
The editing was a different story, though. Andrew submitted a 52,000-word draft to Grammar Factory, which his editor then cut to 36,000 words!
'The most valuable thing my editor did was to test my thinking and writing severely — it was like a school teacher going through my work with her red pen. Fabulous work — she really engaged with my topic, with my readers, and with me. This was the most valuable part of the Grammar Factory experience for me.'
While the editing led to Andrew having to address a lot of feedback — including writing 10,000 new words — the process was fairly easy. He ran into challenges at the design stage. The internal layout ran smoothly, but finding the right cover design was a challenge, with our designer working on at least 10 versions with Andrew before we got it right.
Ultimately, though, Andrew got the result he wanted: a book that looked indistinguishable from a commercially published business paperback.
'They did that: from the design, to the selection of paper stock, to the printing itself — it all looks entirely like a book from a major publishing house. None of my readers guess that it’s self-published — not that I’d mind in the slightest if they did. A year later, I’m still proud to be handing out copies, and in fact am travelling to meet with a board of directors, with a complimentary copy for each of them in my bag right now.'
+20% revenue in the first 4 months of 2019!
One year after going to print, Andrew has personally handed his book to 1,000 people, while selling even more copies online. The most common response? His ideal clients can't wait to learn more about how they can work with him.
'We’ve read all your work, and we’re convinced you’re the person to help us.'
'I’ve re-read your book and marked up all the sections that are most relevant to us. Can you help us with some of those areas?'
'Your work is really impressive and I’ve shown it to our entire team, who really want you to work with us. Can we talk?'
And it's paying off, with 2019 promising to be his best year yet for revenue! At just four months into 2019, his revenue is already 20% higher than it was at this time in 2018, and he expects things to keep going up. From Impossible to Possible has been a big part of that.
'The book helps position me as someone for whom you’d pay a lot to get a great result — my negotiations with clients over fees are much easier, and their willingness to pay mid-five figures is much greater when they can see (in a book) the type of thinking that I’ll bring to their project.'