Tips to Building Your Own Brand from a Seasoned Business Consultant

For Terry Rice, business consulting is not just about performance, but the personal element as well. “I help professional service providers leverage high-performance tools and routines so they can scale their business without sacrificing their health or personal life,” he says.

Rice has worked as a consultant since 2007. This includes helping emerging and enterprise level clients achieve their business goals while working at Adobe and Facebook. “This may sound cool, and I learned a lot from these experiences, but I’m no longer interested in working with larger brands,” he says. That is why in 2015 he launched TerryRice.co to make his services available for all types of entrepreneurs. “I believe all businesses, no matter how large or small, should have access to the critical resources and guidance needed to grow.”

Rice continues, “Once I started my own business, I discovered it was much more enjoyable to work with other entrepreneurs who had a passion for what they do.”

Fortunately, he also worked with numerous startups as an advisor with organizations including Techstars and the New York University Entrepreneurial Institute. He’s led workshops for consultants, freelancers and other business professionals at General Assembly. Rice calls this section of his resume his “unfair advantage.”

“I’ve been able to teach — and learn from — thousands of business owners, which helped me get a clear understanding of their challenges, and how I can help,” he says.

Here Rice gives us a glimpse into his professional and personal realms, and how the interconnection between both ultimately contributes to his holistic success:

Tell us a about a regular habit that helps keep you on track during the daily grind:

I enjoy listening to Audible. I highly recommend “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday and going to CrossFit. As you probably know, the first rule of CrossFit is finding an excuse to talk about it. I should note, my free time is rather limited since I have three kids at home. However, this is another unfair advantage that I have. Since I’m so time constrained, I’ve been forced to become extremely efficient in regard to how I work. In turn, I’m able to pass these techniques on to anyone I partner with.

What kind of qualities help you succeed as a business consultant?

Curiosity, grit and a constant focus on impact. I’m also extremely solutions oriented, my approach to most challenges can best be summarized as, “It is what it is, now what’s the best thing we can do from here?”

These characteristics have been extremely beneficial in my overall career, but my ability to listen as opposed to waiting for my chance to speak has been invaluable to my role as a business consultant. The more I know about your challenges, the better prepared I am to help out.

What makes your approach to business success different from other advisors?

I believe every entrepreneur should have access to the critical assets and content needed to scale their business. By eliminating the challenges and frustrations that come along with this process, I can help others achieve their desired time, lifestyle and financial freedom. I do this by developing the custom digital assets and strategy needed to grow your personal brand and business revenue.

Could you share a major obstacle you faced as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome it?

I’ve had many obstacles! And still do to this day. I’d say one of the most challenging was not realizing how important it was to work “on” my business as opposed to just “in” my business. As an entrepreneur, it may seem like chasing the next paycheck is the most important action item at any given moment. But, if you spend time working on your business; you’ll be able to automate, delegate or outsource many of the tasks that waste your time, energy and talent.

Your .CO website plays an important role for your business. Explain how. 

I didn’t realize how critical building a personal brand is to your success. Unfortunately, just being good at your job is a prerequisite, and you don’t get rewarded for it as much as you might initially think. People want to work with individuals they know, like and trust. So, you can’t do that without developing a personal brand, which involves having a great website. My first one was horrible! And it should include content that highlights your expertise along with your perspective and personality.

Tell us about a time you had to focus on work-life balance, and how this experience influences your consulting practice.

When my daughter was three years old, I was faced with a very difficult decision. Should I accompany her on a field trip, or accept a paid speaking gig? Now, at her daycare, parents only had to accompany their kids if the child was two years old or younger. So, technically, I didn’t have to go. But I know how special it made her feel every time she got to sit with me on the bus, and explore new experiences together. So, I turned down the paid speaking gig and went to a Can Museum with my daughter instead. Who knew you could create such great sculptures out of recycled cans? We had an amazing time, and I look at the pictures to remind myself about the benefits of entrepreneurship. At any given moment, you have the autonomy to focus on the people and experiences that matter most.

I humble-brag about the results I get from my clients, and the feedback I receive from the content I produce. Clearly – and immediately – understanding the impact of your work is a gift for anyone. And, fortunately, the impact is largely positive! Beyond that, I enjoy the fact I get to help smaller businesses and solopreneurs. If I can help them increase their revenue by 20, 30 or – in some cases – 60%, that can have a huge impact on their life. That’s how I want my legacy to be defined. I helped people monetize their knowledge so they can spend time on the people and experiences that matter most, just like I’ve been able to.

What do you tell your clients about the entrepreneurial journey ahead?

It’s going to be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. You can save time and avoid confusion by studying other people who have found success in a similar field. But, make sure to find people who are just a few years ahead of you. Someone who has been at the top of their game for years may not have modern tactics that will be useful to you. Also, get clear on the vision you have for your life. What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to be perceived? What experiences do you want to enjoy? You need more than just a monetary goal, you need to know exactly what your day to day looks like. Once you have that vision, you’ll have all the motivation needed to overcome the associated challenges.

When did you gain clarity on the “vision” you had for your life?

I previously worked at a 9-5, but normally didn’t get home until 7:30 or later. This was pretty common in my industry, especially living in New York City. At that time I had a baby on the way and realized I’d barely see her if I didn’t make some changes. I didn’t want her calling me “Terry” instead of dad! It was an extremely tough choice at the moment, but once I went for it, I was all in. It felt right, even during the tough times. I knew my life had more meaning, and I’d be able to focus more on my health while also spending more time with my family.

As a business owner who is focused on personal online branding, why did you opt for a .CO domain for your business website?

Well, some photographer in Indiana already had the .com version of my URL. I was bummed at first but then I realized a .com almost seems too old fashioned these days. It doesn’t reflect the speed, contemporary feel or innovation that comes to mind when I think of a .co. Some of my core values are curiosity, resourcefulness and forward-thinking. I feel a .co strongly aligns with this, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.

What advice do you have for other web entrepreneurs?

Do it! It will quickly become part of your personal brand and position you as an innovative, forward-looking organization. Anyone who says a .com is better clearly doesn’t keep up with modern times. A .co reflects the growth mindset, innovation and adaptability – and that’s what you want to align yourself with!

Any final words of inspiration for aspiring business owners?

Here are some words of inspiration for anyone who is thinking about starting a business, but feels like they may be too old. Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that the average age at which a successful founder started their company is 45. “And, even if you are over 45, go for it! In a few years you’ll still be a few years older, but you could also be a few years older with your own successful business.”


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