There are three ways to earn a living. The two we’re most familiar with are to have a job or to run a business. The third option is to run a practice.
A practice is based on the expertise of the principal; if the practice is a brain surgery, it is based on the expertise of the brain surgeon. Whilst the surgeon will have support staff, she is the only one who does the surgery. If she is sick, the receptionist isn’t going to fill in for her. Whilst a business should be able to continue without the day-to-day involvement of the owner, without the brain surgeon, the practice isn’t worth anything.
The practice of a thought leader is based on the subject matter expertise or the ideas of the principal. The expert is typically a consultant, speaker, author, trainer, mentor, facilitator or coach (or ideally a combination of these).