Are you taking on too much?


Most of us have heard the phrase “jack of all trades,” and we usually use it as a term of endearment to compliment seemingly master multi-taskers. Most of us never hear the second half of that phrase, though, “master of none.”

Trying to be successful at too many modalities can leave our clients and us feeling like we are not the experiment in any of them. So how do you balance your services portfolio, so your firm is not entirely concentrated but also not spread too thin?

Multitasking leads to diminished performance. This has been supported in studies repeatedly. But for those of us running a tax practice, it can seem like the only way to keep our heads above water. Constantly juggling activities creates stress, removes your ability to be present in the moment, and can lead to unhealthy physical habits.

But it is hard not to feel the pressure of saying yes to every new client, even if they are not exactly in your wheelhouse. The problem is that your performance will begin to suffer at some point, and your clients will begin to regard you as sporadic, inconsistent and unavailable instead of a trusted advisor.

Taking the time to define your ideal client can help. This does not necessarily need to lead to a niche situation with no flexibility. For example, your practice may be most experienced with small, closely held businesses. Your ideal client may own a business, as well as some investments, and personally be a high net worth individual with estate and trust needs.


In this situation, your practice should concentrate on being the experts that meet that person’s needs. This doesn’t limit the industries you work in and keeps the work spread across multiple types of returns and advisory services. But this example practice may choose “not” to work with foreign-owned C Corporations or non-profits because they are too vastly different from the topics that you are concentrating on.

As tax laws continue to change rapidly, the tax code has become increasingly more complicated. Professionals are hard-pressed to be experts in two to three areas, never mind in every area. Avoiding over-extending yourself protects your reputation.

When you try to be a jack of all trades, eventually, people will notice that you have mastered none. Simply because there isn’t enough time to know everything and still actually do the work.

If you find yourself receiving a lot of requests or referrals for an area of expertise that you do not have much experience in, building a partnership relationship can be a great next step. You do not necessarily need to hire in-house to meet this need but finding an expert contractor or outsourcing resource who can meet this need can help you to boost another revenue stream without having to become the expert yourself.

Look for a relationship where you can white label the service, maintaining your brand on the services and generating a small portion of revenue for your practice.

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