Making It: How to Be a Successful Online Entrepreneur
Making It Is About the Journey, Not the Destination (Michael Zipursky)
August 20, 2021
What’s the secret to becoming a highly successful consultant with a thriving business? According to Michael Zipursky, the world-renowned business consultant from Consulting Success, it involves clarity, a sense of meaning and purpose, and a spirit of adventure. In this episode, you’ll discover Michael’s secrets to success—and how traveling five months a year helps him to be a better entrepreneur and consultant.
Welcome to Making It! This weekly show explores the lives and stories of entrepreneurs as they share their unique perspectives on their success and the path to making it

     Episode summary: The world-renowned business consultant Michael Zipursky is our podcast guest for this episode. He’s a successful entrepreneur who runs a business called Consulting Success and approaches business with a spirit of adventure. “The main thing I've learned through this process is to test things, to try things. Let the marketplace really guide where you make your investments and where you focus”, he says.

     In this episode, Michael encourages listeners to resist viewing things as mistakes but to instead look at them as learning experiences. He also emphasizes focusing on what is meaningful to you, because if your life lacks meaning and purpose, it doesn’t matter how successful or wealthy you are. Michael is an eager traveler and finds immersing himself in cultures helps him understand each country’s people and history—and allows him to better serve people and businesses wherever they are. After all, he says, “making it isn’t about the destination, but the journey.

“I've learned over the years that a mistake is not a bad thing; a mistake is probably one of the best things that can happen to you.”  – Michael Zipursky

     Michael Zipursky is the CEO of Consulting Success® and is one of the world's top authorities on growing a consulting business. Michael has been building consulting businesses for over two decades, has started several companies, and has sold a couple of small businesses. He’s an in-demand speaker and the author of 5 books including Consulting Success System: How to Become a Successful Consultant. Financial Times, Dow Jones, RBC, Omron, Sumitomo are companies on his client list, and he helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets. But more importantly, he's helped over 450 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add six and seven figures to their annual revenues. 

     Michael speaks English and Japanese and loves traveling, music, wines, and foods of the world, and most of all spending time with his wife and two daughters.

     His company Consulting Success® is the worldwide leader in coaching and training for entrepreneurial consultants. Consulting Success is the most comprehensive learning platform for serious consultants and skilled professionals who want to grow a stable and reliable consulting practice that attracts high-value clients time and time again.

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:
  1. Mirasee
  2. You can follow Michael on Twitter (@MichaelZipursky) and LinkedIn (Michael Zipursky).
  3. Consulting Success
  4. Michael Zipurksy’s books 


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Music and SFX credits:

Track Title: Onwards
Artist Name(s): Matteo Galesi
Writer Name: Matteo Galesi

Track Title: The Sunniest Kids
Artist Name(s): Rhythm Scott
Writer Name: Scott Roush

Track Title: The Edge of The Sea
Artist Name(s): Cody Martin
Writer Name: Cody Kurtz Martin

Track Title: Sweet Loving Waltz
Artist Name(s): Sounds Like Sander
Writer Name: S.L.J. Kalmeijer

Episode transcript: 

     I'm Michael Zipursky and you're listening to Making It! I run a business called consulting success and we help consultants develop profitable, scalable and strategic consulting businesses. 

     To me making it is not about the destination, it's about the journey. Why not structure our days and who we work with and what we're doing so that we truly can not only make an impact and create great results for people, but also enjoy the process. And I think that's one of the greatest opportunities. And what I find most enjoyable about being an entrepreneur is that you can truly craft whatever you desire most. And what I've found over time is if you think about a triangle... at the apex of the triangle, a lot of people, especially in the early days of business, they will put their business at the apex at the top of the triangle and they put their lifestyle blow it. And what that means is they have to make all kinds of different compromises within their lifestyle. So that might mean their family or time with their kids or hobbies or other things that they enjoy. They have to make sacrifices within the lifestyle to be able to support the business above it. 

      And I think that should be flipped. Where at the apex we should put our lifestyle, meaning what we truly get fulfillment and enjoyment from spending time with loved ones family, whatever it might be and then put your business below it because you can make sacrifices or compromises inside of your business that support the lifestyle that you want. But if you're not first clear on what's the most meaningful for you and what you truly want to create, then how can you create a business that will align with that? 

     So I certainly felt imposter syndrome at many points throughout my career and journey and consulting. Now being 20 plus years in I look back and one thing I recognized is that those moments and times where you feel kind of acute pain or pressure or stress or fear; they're strongest in the moment, but when that moment passes and you look back upon it, typically the things that give us the greatest concern or pause are not really big deals. So in my case most vividly was my time building one of our businesses in Japan and going into boardrooms with Japanese executives and CEOs and presidents who in some cases were two, you know, almost three times my age. And so I felt very overwhelmed. I was the one foreigner in the room, but one thing that I always remind myself of is in my earlier days, I played a lot of sports and when you're playing sports, if you want to win, you don't give up when you get knocked down. If you truly want to win, you keep going. 

     And so that's what I've always done in every walk of life and every kind of aspect of life where I'm able to. And I found that in more cases than not it tends to create a much better result because when you're in that moment and you're dealing with imposter syndrome or something that is making you feel like it's hard to move forward. The best thing to do is the counter intuitive thing to do, which is to actually take a step forward. 

     I think all of us as entrepreneurs have that mindset where we end to to worry, but the first thing that I've learned over the years is that a mistake is not a bad thing. In fact, a mistake is probably one of the best things that can happen to you. Because you're going to learn sooner or later, whether what you're doing is is the right way or the wrong way you're going to learn whether it creates a result for you or it doesn't. And so if you can learn that something doesn't work, AKA a mistake, and you can do that sooner, then you should celebrate that because now you've actually learned something and so while I think it's very important for all of us as entrepreneurs to have worry at times where we are concerned or there are just issues that are taking up our attention, I think that's healthy because that keeps us on our toes. It helps us to not become complacent and hopefully gives us the inclination and desire to invest more time, effort, energy, in to making improvements and to seeking out greater growth rather than just standing still because in the game of entrepreneurship, you're never standing still, that doesn't exist, you're either going up or you're going down because those around you are either going up or going down and so I think that feeling of worry is actually something that should be welcomed, recognized and then act upon. 

     We started to share a lot of content around our experiences of building consulting businesses: the good, the bad and the ugly. And we really saw the community around us become much more vocal. So while we are initially sharing a lot of free articles and content and we do still to this day, we had many people who were emailing us saying this is great information, but do you have a course, do you have a program that we can learn more about what it really takes to become a successful consultant and grow our consulting businesses. And we said no, we don't have anything like that, but we'll build one, will create one. And so we went ahead and we developed a program specifically for that, and then not long after that we have people who went through that program saying this has been very helpful, is there a way to to engage and to get some coaching and support? And at that time we did not have a coaching program, but that's what led to us creating the clarity coaching program. 

     And so the main thing that I've learned through this process is to test things to try things because you never know exactly what will work. If we had not put up free content, we wouldn't have received that initial feedback. And so we've let the marketplace really guide where we make our investments and where we focus and that's kind of our approach of how to first identify that wave and then how to ride that wave with a lot of enjoyment, fulfillment and making an impact at the same time. 

     For me, it's hard to think about the mistakes that I made because I don't view things mistakes, I look at them as learning experiences. So I can identify and think about right now times where I've made an investment into something and it hasn't worked out and maybe it's because I was a bit impulsive and I thought, oh yeah, this... Like I was thinking more about a short term win rather than long term value creation. Those have been learning experiences for me. In sports, let's say I'm playing basketball and I'm taking a free throw right? And the ball keeps going to the left, I can get some coaching around that, I can learn like why is that happening? Is because my wrist is twisted, is it the angle, you know, is my, my fingers as the ball releases? And by making a few adjustments I can then improve. So I could look at, oh I missed that free throw, that was a mistake. But instead I can just look at that and go, well, yes, that did not work all the way that I wanted to, but how can I make an adjustment? So the next time it gets better. 

     And I understand that for many entrepreneurs, right, we can focus on what's going wrong, but I've always found it or at least I've learned that it's much better to focus on the positive rather than the negative. I think it's important that you get very clear about what is meaningful to you because there's a lot, there's many very wealthy individuals in our world who are extremely wealthy, yet they are very unhappy. And so it's important to get clear on what do you want, what is most meaningful for you? 

     Don't worry about others. I think that's a dangerous place to be is when you start comparing yourself to the success or failures of other people. Because at the end of our days, right, when we're kind of lying on our deathbed, you will never hear somebody say, oh I wish that I, you know, spent more hours working. They'll say things like I wish I spent more time, you know, with my children. Or I wish I would have try to conquer this fear that I have and really realize my potential. And so I think that's where it's important for all of us to get clear about what is most meaningful for us. Where will we get the greatest fulfillment from? And then focus on those things and don't compare yourself to others. But recognize that if you see someone else doing something that, it means you can do it also. You just need to figure out how. And that's again the exciting thing about being an entrepreneur, or in business, is that you truly... like the sky is the limit. You can make whatever you want to happen, you can create whatever you want, but you should make it for yourself. Don't make it just to compare yourself to someone else. 

     Pre-COVID I was spending about five months out of the country each year traveling the world with my family while still running the business and that's always been important for me. That's what gives me greater energy. So get clear on what is most important for you and then again, figure out what kind of lifestyle you want to have. Because then you can figure out how to structure your business to support that lifestyle. I think travel is incredibly important for all of us in the world, those of us that have the ability and the opportunity to travel. I would always encourage people to take it. I've never met somebody who has traveled the world and doesn't see things differently than they did before. You can learn so much more about people, about history, about cultures, religions and it's very easy to, to have a judgment or a belief about a certain type of person or a certain culture or a certain religion or certain language, but until you actually immerse yourself in that culture or try and get closer to it, you really don't understand it. And I think the more understand that we all have about each other, the more exciting the world becomes. And if you're in a business where you interact with people, the more that you can learn about people, the better you can serve them. 

     I think the greatest misconception in our world of business is that there's one way to do something. Following one way or moving towards something that you believe at least can get you closer to where you want is a good thing. You know? If there's one path that you see, it's better to take that path and not take any path, like just to stand still... that might be another misconception as well, is that some people believe that you need to wait for the right time to do something. Well there is no right time. When you look at those who are most successful, they didn't wait for the perfect time they took action, they learned. And based on the actions that they took and the results they saw they got feedback. And then based on that feedback they made adjustments or decisions that help them to to make greater progress. So progress is not about perfection. Uh progress, you know, comes from from just taking action. 

     I'm Micheal Zipursky and you've been listening to making it. You can find me at