January 21, 2021

Yet another reader follow-up: “What exactly is a monthly retainer?”

Fellow list member Lucas Fernandes wrote in with a follow-up regarding my recent message about monthly advisory retainers (shared with permission):

Hi Jonathan.

I have a question.

How can I figure out when it’s a good idea to offer that kind of service? And how should I present it to the client?


Thanks for the question, Lucas :-)

Let’s break it down:

How do I figure out if offering an advisory retainer is a good idea?

Assuming that 1. you want to make more money in less time, and 2. you want to stick with a service-based business model†, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to have an advisory retainer offering available.

The real question is, “How do I find clients who are happy to pay for ongoing access to my expertise?”

And the answer is:

When should I offer an advisory retainer?

Ideally, advisory retainers would be the ONLY thing you offered. That being the case, you would offer it as soon as you met with a prospect who you believed would be a good fit.

How should I present an advisory retainer?

You should present your advisory retainer to qualified prospects in a clear and concise way. Probably just one page that articulated the value proposition, set the expectations, and presented the price.

Here’s an example of the one I used when I was doing mobile consulting:





† Diversification into non-service offerings is another approach to growing your profitability.