Ep 265: Finding an Aligned Business Model with Jesse Terranova | Recap Episode

RV (00:02):
What a blast getting to talk to Jesse Terranova, one of our very own brand builders. You know, we actually have a lot of our clients come on the show. And you know, this one was interesting a lot of times cuz we knew them before, you know, and were aware of their work before. And then, you know, they become a client because we’re helping them on some piece of their business, something. But with Jesse, you know, specifically he won the chance to come on, which was really fun. We gave us away. You know, we did this as a, as a drawing AJ, it was AJ’s idea for the 12 days of Christmas that you could win a chance to come up here on the episode and to get to hear Jesse and see, you know, his powerful, personal story. Such a great example of someone who’s taking their own pain and, you know, turning it into something beautiful for other people.
RV (00:51):
And, and just a living example of everything that we talk about, like with, with someone who’s a brand builder is realizing you’re most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were. We say that all the time and see story is a great example of that. And so to see that happening and get to talk to someone who’s like earlier in their stage, but also when he was on his retreat, getting his, his, his first customers, you know, delivering to his first customers. So, so wonderful. And it reminded me, you know, we got a chance to also do some live coaching. This is something that we’ve thought about. A few times is going, I wonder if we should do more live coaching on these for our podcast so that you get a chance to sort of like listen to us, coach you know, people who have questions about, about their personal brand.
RV (01:44):
So, you know, let us know what you think about that. It’s just, you know, send me a leave me a comment on my Instagram or shoot me a DM. You could always write in info brand builders, group.com or something, but like, I would love to hear your feedback on on that if, if, if to say, would you like to hear more that were live coaching where we just did like live coaching with guests. So in this case, Jesse is already a client. So there’s already a little bit of a background, a lot of, bit of background of, you know, some of our framework and content. But anyways, that’s what we’re thinking about. So all right. My biggest takeaways here. So first of all, with, with Jesse and for, in something we are often referencing and telling people all the time is once you figure out the, the, who, everything becomes clearer, like once you know, who is the actual other person that’s listening on the other side of your microphone or on the other side of the camera, if, if you’re talking about social media, the other side of the pen, if you’re a book things really become clear.
RV (02:51):
And yet a lot of our, our members, a lot of our clients struggle to narrow down exactly who they wanna talk to. Right? And they go, I wanna help everybody. Well, it’s not only, it’s not only a bad strategy from a marketing standpoint, but it also, it, it makes your content very weak. It dilutes your content because you can’t, you can’t speak directly and powerfully in, in a deep. And so, you know, here’s, here’s the, the big lesson that I think is a, is a good reminder and takeaway. And I think, you know, Jesse in many ways is doing this well, is choose the audience that you can serve in the deepest way, choose the audience you can serve in the deepest way. That is the, the fastest place to start. That’s the most obvious place to start. It’s the, the best place to start.
RV (03:40):
It ties in with what we’re always saying. You’re most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once work, right? So if you don’t know what, where should I start? Like that is a place to start because that’s where you can get traction and you can get momentum and leverage, you know, unless for some reason you just really, really don’t wanna do it. Then there’s, there’s maybe some tertiary or tangent, tangential you know, topic that we would pursue, but it’s, you’re always going to, to be able to speak most directly to that person. So think about that. The, the, the second big takeaway, which is related to that is design your, your business model around the, the actual needs of your clients, design your business model around the actual needs of your business clients. So, or of your actual clients. So what a lot of people do is they say, you know, they kind of come up with a, a medium like mechanism.
RV (04:42):
They’re like, oh, I wanna write a, I wanna write a book or I wanna release a speech, or I wanna have a video course or a membership site. And that’s fine. Like it’s not bad or wrong to like, pursue that. But even in the context of pursuing that, or in the, especially in the absence of clarity about how you should structure your offer or how you should structure your program, or like what you should include, make it less about what do other people do, like other people in your space, or just other personal brands in general and orient it. And, and, and also, I would say less even about what you think it should be like, what you just do and orient it more specifically around what do my clients actually need in order to succeed. Like, what is the, the best way to organize the delivery of the information, the continuity of the experience, the, the connection in the collaboration, the feedback, the accountability like between, and, and, and really make that the primary focal point.
RV (05:53):
And because if you can orient to that, they’re gonna succeed faster and you’re gonna succeed faster because they’re gonna get results. And they’re gonna tell people, and you’re gonna have great case studies and testimonials. And so too often, we just go, you know, like we’re scrolling on Facebook and we see an ad that says, yeah, you know, how do I make a million dollars coaching people? Or how, you know, how, how do I make a million dollars doing Facebook groups? What, like, whatever the thing is. And, and they’re not, they’re not bad. They’re all, they’re all good. They’re all workable. They’re all, they all can contribute, but it’s, it’s more, it’s less of that. And it’s more of just orienting yourself based upon the person you’re trying to serve, orienting your entire brand, your entire perspective, your, your consideration of the type of content you create, the, the amount of money you charge, the, the deliverables, the frequency in which you communicate with them, the, the, the environment of, in which you communicate with them, you know, can it, some of it be virtual or all of it be virtual, or can it be in person?
RV (06:54):
Does it need to be live? Can it just be broadcast? How much of it needs to be communal, like all of these decisions go into a business model. It’s not just like, oh, wanna launch a podcast. So that’s what we’re gonna do. You know, it’s more about actually assessing what is the what is the best and highest use of your time for your clients? Again, it goes back to what we were saying earlier, choose the audience that you can serve in the deepest way. That’s where you’re gonna get the most momentum, because you know that person, how do you know that person? Because you were that person. So nobody is gonna be better suited to serve that person than you, because you were them, you know exactly what it is. This is why brand builders group exists. Right. We know what it’s like to be an aspiring author or right.
RV (07:44):
And go how do you go from, I don’t even know what the difference is between a self-published book and a New York times bestselling book to, to being a New York times bestselling author. I know what it’s like to sit in an audience and go, how do you get to be the person on stage in front of 10,000 people? And then getting to do that. We know what it’s like to go, am I capable of creating a coaching program and then turning that into an eight figure business? Like, so that is just, these are the things that we know about, or building a, you know, the building, a personal brand in general, that’s, you know, a social media following the podcast and all these things that we’ve done. It’s because we know you, like, if that is you, like, we know you, we know exactly what you need and people go, oh my gosh, your curriculum is amazing.
RV (08:27):
Like, it’s exactly what I needed. Yeah, of course it is why, cause it’s what we needed. Like, it’s what we wished we had. So that’s the same way that you would wanna design things for your pro aspects and for your clients. And you’re, you’re, you’re most able to do that. And it’s most efficient for you to do that around and in the cases of people that are the people who you once were, or people who, you know, really, really, really, really well. So design your business model around the needs of your clients. And, and the question is not so much, what’s the easiest way to make a lot of money. This is another distinction here, right? People go, oh, what’s the easiest way to make a lot of money. That’s the wrong question. The right question is to how can I serve my audience in the most meaningful way? Not how can I make money the fastest? How can I serve my audience in the most meaningful way?
RV (09:25):
It’s not wrong to also consider what would be profitable. And, and it’s definitely not wrong to structure. How do I need to structure this in order for it to profitable? Because if you’re not profitable, then there’s not gonna be any sustainability to your business, which means you’re not gonna be able to serve anyone. So it’s, it’s not that we’re against money or profit by any means. It’s just going the lead decision shapes, the trajectory like of the whole future. If your business is just going, like, how can I make a lot of money that sets you on a course of a whole series of decisions that we believe are going to lead you off track it, it, because you’re gonna burn out or people are gonna sense it, or you’re gonna get tired or bored. That’s totally different than going. Who do I wanna dedicate my life to serving?
RV (10:17):
What are they really struggling with and what do they need? And how could I put that together for them that send you on a completely different path? It it’s a whole, it’s a, it’s, it’s two different trajectories. Ironically, that is the one that will lead to the most scalable long-term income. The problem. Sometimes it’s not always the most immediate short term income. And so you sometimes have to balance some of that and do some things in the short term to make it all work. But if you just chase the money, it’s gonna break down, you’re gonna break down. You’re gonna burn out. You’re gonna go. Like, you’re gonna look up in three years, maybe sooner, maybe a little bit longer and just go, like, I don’t even enjoy what I’m doing anymore because it’s not aligned. It’s not aligned, right? This is about finding an aligned business model.
RV (11:06):
And it’s, it’s not the same as what the person next to you would do, or the other person in the industry or what the legends have done. It is all about your uniqueness. When we say exploit your uniqueness in the service of others, a huge part of that is, and selecting, and then deploying the proper business model strategy that is life giving to you, life giving to your clients and profitable enough that it is sustainable. For every, for you to continue doing that work and to continue providing careers for other people and advancement for them and to support them and their families. But it’s not just going, how do I get my hands into people’s pockets? How do I get money out of them? What’s the fastest way to just like, take their cash. And, and I think, you know, Jesse’s a great example of somebody that’s that, right?
RV (11:53):
He’s going, what’s the problem. He solves loneliness. He had such clarity about that. And it was so powerful when, you know, when he said loneliness is a greater killer than stress or obesity. Like, I mean, that really rings powerful right now that, you know, I don’t know if it’s statistically true or not. How would you measure it? But in a COVID world where people are isolated and the mental health is, is just like at all time, like really devastating level, you go, yeah. Loneliness is a big deal. So, so how did Jesse construct his business model? It’s about bringing people together. That makes sense, right? It makes sense that he would do that and not go, let’s launch a video core about how to overcome loneliness, that you’re gonna sit and watch, you know, in your room late at night, when you’re all by yourself, like, what do they need?
RV (12:41):
And, and, and if you’ve been that person, you’re gonna know what they need, and you’re gonna know because you’re gonna, it’s gonna be what you wish you would’ve had. And then finally, the, the last little, you know, thing or big thing that we talked about there with Jesse, which I find this becoming more and more, a part of our regular conversation with our brand builders members like your next client. Like if you’re earlier in your brand, your personal brand journey. And again, we, we define personal brand is the digitization of reputation, the digitization of reputation. So you have a reputation, but your personal brand might be early, meaning you don’t have a lot of online strategy or digital representation of your reputation going on. So if you’re, if you’re earlier in your personal brand journey, let me talk to you specific. But I would say early could be 10 years.
RV (13:40):
Like it could certainly be three to five years, but if you are in that mode, there’s something that you wanna realize, because this is different from the facade that you see in the world. And from what most of the people who are online, who have established personal brands will teach you. And, and that is this, your next client is not going to come from strangers on the internet. Your next client is much more likely to come out of the cell phone of your current customer. Your next client is not likely to be a stranger from the internet. Are next clients live in the cell phones of your current clients. Let me break that down. What am I talking about there? I’m saying that we’re all so consumed with finding strangers on the internet to like us follow us, share us and buy from us.
RV (14:33):
But that’s like walking down the street, like being in New York city and, and to it’s like walking in times square and just yelling out like with a megaphone and thinking that people are gonna gravitate to you and buy. It’s not that it can’t happen. And over time you end up owning your own little kind of corner of the street. And you’ve got a lot of people there listening. And so people do come and buy. But, but in the beginning, it’s gonna happen through relationships, right? You revenue happens through relationships, revenue, customers, transactions are about trust and trust often takes time or trust is transferred from other relationships. So your, your, your fastest path to cash, like if we wanna talk about that and go, what is the fastest way to make money? It’s likely not posting on social media and starting a blog and a podcast.
RV (15:30):
And, you know, building funnels and doing all of those things. That’s probably not the fastest path to short term cash. Now, long term, those are very scalable things. Those are things that push personal brands to a whole nother stratosphere. Those things can completely change your life. They can change everything, but they take a long time to develop some. They take a long time to build. They take a long time to develop. They take a long time to develop trust and, and for money to actually start to show up. So start on those as soon as you can. I mean, if you’re a brand builder, you’re going through our process, we’ll teach you exactly the order and the sequence of, of when this should happen. But like, it’s, it’s a little bit different for everybody. So you wanna start building those things. Those are good things, but they’re not the things that are gonna make you millions of dollars overnight.
RV (16:22):
I mean, it’s the law of AJ, right? AJ Vaden, you don’t need millions of D millions of followers to make millions of dollars. You don’t, you only need a couple. I mean, for most of us, we only need like a thousand customer and that would be a huge amount of money, right? You might not even be able to handle a thousand customers. You might not even be able hundred 50 customers, like depends on what your, what your business model is. But like, those people are, are likely to come faster through referrals and recommendations and introductions and, and relationships of people, you know? And so don’t step over all of your past client. I mean, here’s a question when’s the last time you talked to all your past clients, like how often do you talk to your past clients? How often do you touch base with them?
RV (17:08):
How often do you ask ’em what’s going on? You say hi. And if you don’t, if today is your first day in the company and you go, I don’t have any past clients. Great. How long has it been since you you’ve talked to all of your past friends and your past family members and your relationships, the people who trust you, cuz that’s where you’re gonna start. Like you don’t try to sell to the people who know you, you ask the people who know you for referrals and introductions, and that’s how you start. And you, you build the snowball, you build, you know, you build out from there. So I just want to make sure that if you’re anywhere early in your journey and honestly, even later, I mean, most of our clients right now come from either our current clients or they come from longtime friends and longtime colleagues, right.
RV (17:58):
They, they, they do, do we get clients who have never heard of us and stumble across this podcast? Of course we do, but it’s way less than you would think. And it, it usually takes a really long time, right? Like they have to listen to, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know what the number is. It’s different for everybody, but often they gotta listen to 10, 20, maybe 50 episodes before they really develop that trust. Right. Or they have to like go to YouTube and watch all our YouTube videos or go to Roy vain, blog.com. And they, they watch, you know, these tra these in depth trainings. And at some point they cross the threshold that go, okay, I trust you. Now. It takes a long time though, because they’ve never met us in real life. And they don’t, they don’t really know anybody who has met us.
RV (18:45):
If they, if, if you found us as a stranger on the internet, right. It doesn’t mean you’re or less valuable to us by any means. We, we love everybody, but it’s, it, it typically means it takes you longer to buy from us because you’re still getting to know us. Versus if we go on a podcast like, you know, whoever Lewis, how Sean Cannel Shalene Johnson, Donald Miller, any of these, you know, a lot of our top affiliates are our friends and relationships, right? Because we go on there. And when those people say, here’s the experience that I had with brand builders group, you’ve spent time trusting them. And then that trust transfers to us. Or if your, you know, your friend, your sister, your brother-in-law, your best friend said, Hey, you gotta check out brand builders group. And they said, you know, go to free brand call.com/podcast request a free call.
RV (19:39):
If your friend was like, dude, you have to do this right now. These people are incredible. Go to free brand call.com/podcast, which is our, our real URL, right. Go there and do a call with these people because you wanna build your platform. You’re trying to become more well known. You wanna make more impact in the world. You you’re trying to figure out what the system is to, to you know, manage all of your content and social media and technology and, and books and speaking, and using all of those things to drive your business. And these guys are the math, right? Like if someone told you that, that, you know, you would do it in a heartbeat and, or, or, you know, and so that’s what happens. And that’s part of why you go, we, you know, you go do interviews on other, other places, but even now those clients come from existing relationships that we have.
RV (20:29):
And a lot of those relationships are developed offline. Even if it’s a podcast we’re on. Most of that relationship happens in real life, not through comments and DMS and shares it. It happens through real life conversations, real life work we’re doing with people, or we’re doing work with someone they know, or, or, or someone they respect is one of our clients. Your next client is not likely to come from strangers on the internet. It is way more likely to come from the cell phones of your current customers. They’re the people who already trust you. So are you talking to ’em? Are you, and are you asked and are you letting them know what you do and that you’re available? And then you’d love to be introduced to some of their friends or friends of their friends. Anyways, couple big ideas applicable, you know, good reminders for myself, hopefully for you, hopefully most for Jesse, right?
RV (21:26):
And, and a great is to talk through and, and thank you Jesse, for coming on and letting us dig in a little bit to your business model and seeing where you’re at on your journey. We look forward to following you and continuing to pour into you and to see where you end up here over the next few years. It is our honor to work with you as all of our brand builders members and our honor to have you listening to our show every single week. If you do wanna request a call, go to free brand call.com/podcast, talk to one of our strategists, let us earn your trust. I promise we are really, really good at what we do. And what that is, is helping you find your uniqueness so that you can exploit it in the service of others as Larry Wingett says. So keep coming back in the meantime, we’ll be here. We can week out on the influential personal brand podcast.

Ep 264: Finding an Aligned Business Model with Jesse Terranova

RV (00:02):
Well, if you’ve listened to this show for a while, you’ve probably picked up the theme that the influential personal brand podcast is all about sharing the stories of people who are influential personal brands and how they got that way. And so, you know, we interview New York times bestselling authors and seven figure entrepreneurs and people with millions of followers. And I, and, and then we’re trying to glean the wisdom that we can. Well, one of the things that my wife, my co-host, our CEO, my business partner, AJ did over Christmas was she did this thing called the 12 days of BBG Christmas. And it was filled with lots of bad singing for me and her. And, you know, some mediocre prize is of brand builders, group swag. But one of the things that we thought would be cool was to highlight one of our real life clients who is on the journey right now of building their personal brand.
RV (00:56):
Since, you know, so many times you hear the story of somebody who like, you know, made it so to speak, but, but we Don have that many folks that are going I’m, I’m living it, I’m working it right now. And so that’s how we got to meet Jesse Terranova, who you’re about to meet. He’s an awesome guy. We’ve been working together for a few months at this point, I guess several months you could say, and we’re just gonna talk to Jesse. You’re going to hear a little bit about his story. And I think my hope is that you’ll be encouraged as you hear the, the path that Jesse has been on and maybe it will help highlight some things for yourself on your own path. So Jesse, welcome to the show, man.
JT (01:40):
R it’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me here.
RV (01:43):
So I wanna start with how you, you heard about us because that I’m always, you know, the marketing person in me is always like, okay, what are we doing? That’s working. How are people finding out about us? And, and then, you know, I just love the, almost like the spiritual side of me loves looking at how our intersect with people and what relationships that we have bring us to, to, to people. So how did you first, how did you first find brand builder’s group?
JT (02:16):
Yeah, that’s great. Well, actually from Louis, which I know Louis House which I know is a big big kind of yours, a good friend of yours. And so, yeah, I believe it was back to in 2017. I first was introduced to Lewis, listening to his podcast, reading a couple of his books and he absolutely transformed my life.
RV (02:36):
Wow. So you, you were, you had never heard of him before that. And then what does a friend send you like his podcast or a book, or do you even remember?
JT (02:45):
Yeah, well, I’ve always, I’ve been a very curious person by nature. And so I’ve, I’m big into self betterment and improving my life and, and I’ve always kind of been that way. And so when I started looking into podcasts Lewis’ came up pretty much at the top. At that time. He was he’s he’s, you know, been, been the game since the beginning, as you know. And so I started listening to it and, you know, he was always inspiring, but it’s always the guests that he brings on that, that really helped to you know, bring it all together and, and helped to transform a lot of people’s lives. I know I’m not the only one.
RV (03:20):
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, so yeah, so I was one of those guests, I guess. Okay. You
JT (03:25):
Were, you, you were,
RV (03:26):
You had, so had you, you had never heard, like never had heard of me or brand builders group, like just, you were listening to Lewis’ show and then you’re just like, whatever, whatever one’s next in the playlist. And, and up by up, I come, right.
JT (03:39):
You, yeah, I had not. You, you just came up and a lot of the things that you had said at the time really resonated with me because I think, you know, for me personally it, it’s interesting because you, you help people turn their reputation into revenue, right. And so that’s why I think it was a great match, but, you know, I had, without even knowing it in the past five years had been creating a personal brand on my social media, you know, without a call to action without a monetization strategy. And that’s why you came into my life at a really good time. Cause I said, well, I have all of this these amazing people in my life, these amazing connections, but I guess I just needed more of a direct path to get me to where I wanted to go. And I’m a big believer in proponent in coaching and mentoring. So this was just a relationship way to happen.
RV (04:25):
Yeah. It’s, it’s funny that you mentioned that because one of the things that AJ talks about all the time is how, you know, people think of personal brand as like, oh, it’s social media, or it’s a course, or it’s like, you know, followers, et cetera, but really the way that we define it, it is the digitization and the monetization of reputation that it, all of us have a reputation and, you know, personal branding is basically just digitizing that it becomes visible and then making the conscious choice to say, I wanna, I wanna monetize this. I wanna, I wanna, I wanna do something. So, so you said that there was like five years that you were basically just on social giving, giving out stuff. The you know, like just, were you, were you sharing advice of any kind or were you just sort of like sharing your life?
JT (05:18):
Yeah, I was sharing my life. I, I was sharing my experiences with, with individuals. I mean, I feel like your experiences are deeply etched into your being and your soul. And so it depends on what you do with those experiences. Right. And so I’ve lived a very adventurous life. I’ve traveled to over 40 countries you know, over five continents. And so I’ve just wanted to share what’s possible for people in terms of my story. And I just found it difficult, I guess, with all the noise around us, these days with wanting to do too many different things and, and, you know, understanding now that you need to break through the wall with one niche, with one specific you know, path before you can go ahead and do multiple things,
RV (06:03):
You know, you’re, you’re, you’re spoken like a true brand builder’s member with like the focus and breaking through the wall. Is that, is that, what is that, what jumped out at you most? And that, and that kind of first interview was just how, you know, we always talk about, if you have diluted focus, you get diluted results and, or, or what were, what were some of the things that kind of like you IME you kind of latched onto that was like, ah, I, I think maybe there’s something here for me.
JT (06:31):
Well, man. Yeah, definitely that, but it was more to that. I think, you know, when you hear people speak the words they use sometimes, you know God speaks through other people to you directly. And so I felt at that time, for me personally, you know, you were kind of speaking to me and directly to me on the podcast on a lot of things you were saying in terms of the impact and the meaning. And so, you know, I, I I’ve felt this for a long time. I, I, I believe the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it. And so, you know, it’s interesting how, you know, you are leading a group of mission driven messengers essentially on that path to, to greatness and, you know, that’s, Lewis’s uniqueness, that’s who it resonates with me so much, but you know, that is Lewis asked on this podcast after every, you know, episode is how do you define greatness? Right. And so that is the ultimate goal for me. And that’s kind of been, and that’s why I Lewis has changed my life.
RV (07:32):
Yeah. That’s awesome. So what, when you first came, okay, so when we start working together, so you kind gonna have this, you know, realization of going, ah, I’ve been sharing my experiences, my travels, you know, these adventures I’ve been on, I think there’s an opportunity to maybe turn this into a business or like make this a more formal kind of part of my, my life, my career. And then what, what were some of the things that you were still struggling with early on in, in, in terms of where you said, Hey, I think, I think brand builders can maybe help me.
JT (08:07):
Yeah. You know, I was going through a really difficult time when I was introduced to Louis originally. I believe it was, it was back 2017, 2018. I had been living in San Diego, I’m originally from the Northeast New Jersey. And, you know, I just, I just think that was lost RO I think that you know, I was just lonely because I had made that relocation out to the other side of the country and I deprived myself, you know, I deprived myself because I, I didn’t create connection in the relationship with myself, others in the world around me. And so I had to learn the hard way, you know? It’s, it’s interesting. It, it took me you know, for, for an evening when I was driving and, and, you know, came to a red light and I was lost.
JT (08:52):
I was confused. I look up and I see you know, a, a big sign right above me near the red light. And it says, you know, Terranova drive. And, and so I’m like, okay, like, that’s interesting. I, I looked to the right and looked to the left and there’s a road that leads up to the left and sure enough, I’m like, okay, I’ll play along. So I drive up the road and then I look on my GPS and as Terranova park. And so, you know, I make a left into this development that leads me to Terranova park. I’m like, this is really interesting. This place is really familiar and uncanny. Like, I feel like I’ve been here before. Right. It was just this really interesting moment. And as I got to the park, R I, I parked there, looked around, it looked very familiar.
JT (09:36):
It was something that I’ve, that I’ve seen before, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And I looked to my left across the park. That’s a development. And it says Parkside port, and for your audience that is, you know, where I grew up. That’s my parents still live in the development Parkside. And so, you know, in, in the madness you know, there’s meaning. And so you’re, you know, through the breakdowns, you know, that creates breakthroughs. And it took me to hit rock bottom in this time of my life to really understand how important connection is. I was robbing people from the opportunity of helping me. And so part of what I’m doing now is, is trying to cure my loneliness through the years. And I know that’s a problem for a lot of people, you know, and so connection is the cure. And so that’s how, that’s why I feel that what I’m doing right now in the work that I’m in is impactful and is meaningful. Cause it it’s a big problem in, in the world right now.
RV (10:38):
So to, so to use brand builders speak. And for those of you that aren’t aren’t members or aren’t yet members like the, the you know, we, the brand positioning statement is sort of like the, the core foundational work of our first you know, event of we’ve got 14 events, like at 14 parts to our whole journey, but the brand positioning statement is just getting super clear on what is your uniqueness and what problem were you uniquely created to solve in the world. So is loneliness the, the problem of your brand positioning statement?
JT (11:15):
It is.
RV (11:17):
I love that. So, so interesting to hear you talk this out in a, in a public format, you know, like usually when we’re working with clients, it’s very private and going, I love the connect. Like the, I love the alignment of that between, you know, your life and your story of what you’re talking about is like, in this moment, and, and we are always talk, we are always saying how you’re most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were. And so there you are in San Diego feeling totally alone, isolated. And now several years later looking back, realizing there’s a lot of people that feel that way. And so, and then is connection your uniqueness. That’s kind of like what you you’re called to, to bring to the world.
JT (12:00):
Exactly. Yes. The brand is the connection creation.
RV (12:07):
So I got it. So, and, and you said that Parkside court was like the name of the street you grew up up on, back in the Northeast,
JT (12:16):
Roy, it’s the entire development that I grew up in. Oh, it’s an unexplainable event in my life. I love asking people this question, you know, is there something that’s unexplainable that has happened to you? And for me, that is the most unexplainable thing cuz it’s just it doesn’t make much sense that that would happen, but it did, you know, all the way across the country.
RV (12:37):
Yeah. So then talk to us about, so you got clear on your positioning, the brand positioning statement. You go, this is the problem I wanna dedicate my life to, to helping people solve loneliness. Connection is my vehicle or my mechanism or the term we use. My uniqueness are helping them solve the problem. And then how did you talk to me about the monetization strategy that you came up with or, or have come up with is still fairly early, right? Because you’ve only, you’ve only been with us for what? A few months. Six months it’s
JT (13:08):
Yeah, it’s been about six months now, Roy. Yeah.
RV (13:10):
Okay. So then what’s the monetization strategy that you started with or, or are doing like, has it, have you, has it pivoted, has it like, are you still trying to figure it out?
JT (13:21):
No, I, I have a pretty good grasp on it, but it’s funny to individuals who are interested in BBG brand builders group or who are going through the journey right now as you say, in a lot of the, the speakings and recordings, it’s, you know, what we’re trying to do is a lifetime’s work. And so it’s, you know, condensing maybe 15, 20 years for some into, you know, a couple sentences. And so it’s really difficult. And so, you know, when you go through that journey, just have patience with yourself and, you know, it’s, it’s similar to really any journey you go on. It’s just to have patience with yourself and kind break it down. But, you know, in terms of our monetization strategy what I’ve really noticed in the marketplace is obviously, you know, the problem of loneliness, but you know, through all of my travels the main problem that I’ve, that I’ve, that I’ve noticed is, you know, when we are traveling, we’re, you know, more inclined to take, to step to our comfort zone, to meet new people, to try new things, to live our true, authentic selves.
JT (14:22):
And then unfortunately we come home, we gain all this amazing momentum and we take our experiences and we sometimes put them in the closet. We shove ’em away and we don’t integrate anything that we learned into our everyday life. We kind of go back into that rut. And so something that it is we’re looking to create and that we are creating is an experience for individuals in a group travel style, where we bring people together and we show them what’s possible. And it’s really interesting and unique because we’re actually on our first experience right now. It’s interesting as the, the podcast date lined up with, with where we are now, we’re right now, that’s
RV (14:59):
Crazy right now, where, where are, where are so, so you’re so wait a minute. So this is, I just wanna make sure I understand this. So you sign up with us, you join, you decide you’re are gonna lead these kind of like small group experiences, these destination experiences. And then you are at your first one with your first group of clients today, which is the time of this is the recording, right? This will air, but like you’re actually recording from a, the destination.
JT (15:28):
You can’t make it up. I am literally here with eight clients. Wow. and so it’s, it’s a really incredible moment and a really amazing experience for all of us. And like right now, like I chartered a yacht for them. We’re we’re on St. John and the Caribbean the us Virgin islands. And so they’re out on the boat right now. I’m gonna pick them up in a little while, but so it’s, it’s it’s interesting that, wait a
RV (15:51):
Minute, you pat a step on a, a yacht trip
JT (15:53):
RV (15:53):
Record a, to record a short podcast. What are you thinking? You’re
JT (15:58):
Crazy. Well, something about me is I also, I worked on a 18 million super yacht for a year and a half, so I I’ve had enough full time. So I’ve done that. I’ve been there, done that, but I just want everybody to enjoy their experience. Of course, someone like yourself, I’m just so excited to be here and chat with you. So, you know, it’s hard to pass up.
RV (16:18):
Well, so well, I can’t resist the opportunity to, to, to you know, work with you on like, so, so what are you, what are you working? Like, what are you working on right now? Like, is there anything that I can help or like we can sort of talk through cuz so you seem like you have a very clear brand positioning statement. So I love, I love, I mean, the problem of loneliness is very clear. It’s widespread. There’s a lot of people out there who are struggling with that. You have an aligned business model that aligned with your brand positioning statement. So if connection is the uniqueness, you know, and for those of you that are listening, one of the, like the way that we do monetization is not like what’s the easiest way to make money. That is that’s not how we teach it the way we teach it is going what does your audience need from you the most and how can you serve them in the deepest way?
RV (17:18):
What does your audience need the most and how can you serve them in the deepest way? So instead of going like, oh, I wanna, you know, I wanna create this or that. You get really, really clear on who you’re trying to serve. And as you get clear on who they are, you get clear on what they need. And as you get clear on what they need, that helps you, that informs your decision to instruct and architect an offering for them. And, and so a lot of times when people don’t make money, it’s, it’s because there’s this breakdown of like, they wanna sell this thing, but it’s not actually the format or the modality that sort of serves the people that they’re with. And, and you gotta, you know, the magic is sort of syncing that up. Well, when I think of Jesse here. So when I think about you, Jesse, you’ve actually got a great alignment there that your, your business model is literally pulling people together in these groups, creating connection, which helps, you know, remove loneliness. It also does all the things that you believe. And clearly you spent a ton of time traveling, whatever you said, 40 countries like, and, and so it aligns with your uniqueness and you’re, you’re teaching people to do things that you’ve done. So, so I love all that. So that feels totally aligned to me.
JT (18:33):
Yeah, absolutely. And, and my message is to create meaning in the relationships with yourself, others, and the world around you. And so this, the journey that I’ve been on, I want to share with others, and that’s why I’m very vocal and open with my story. I feel like it’s transformed my life and, and it is a bit of a testimonial when I do share it with people. They’re impacted by it. And so, you know, it’s not, it’s not about, you know, for me, per se the monetization strategy in terms of Mo monetizing monetizing it. I know that’s very important component of it, but for me, it’s impacting lives and touching lives and serving people and, you know, helping individuals. Cause I know, like I said, after these past two years, you know, I miss the smiling faces of people. I miss the laughter. I miss the connection. I miss the, the experiences that people have and what I’d like to do is, and you know, in the past five years I have worked in travel and, and Toros and design. And so I have design experiences for people itineraries, things like this, and, you know, people, people are looking for something like this. I think that the demand is there. I just think the awareness is missing. I think people aren’t really aware that this is something that is possible for them.
RV (19:47):
So what do you think is the biggest challenge that you’re like struggling with right now in your personal brand, where you go, like, I, I got this clear brand positioning statement, you know, it aligns with my uniqueness, I’ve got a business model you got here, you are in real life in the flesh, like living it, it came true six months, you know, later this dream is a reality, you’re on your first experience, which I love. And you know, I’m proud of you. It’s kind of a weird thing to say, but like, I’m, I’m so proud to like
JT (20:16):
Thank you or living
RV (20:17):
That. So what’s the biggest challenge you think you’re having with your personal brand right now?
JT (20:23):
Well, I think going forward now in, in terms of scalability it’s something that I’ve been putting a lot of thought in, cuz there’s a lot of directions I can go. And for me personally, when I, you know, know joined BBG and this journey I like to, you know, incorporate my own thoughtfulness into the experience that I want to create for others. And so when people arrive, they will receive two books. One is a, a book by Sarah Samuel called mindful traveling. Another book is a journal that people will, will write in and you know, kind of capture their experiences. So when they go home and they’re feeling a little off one day, they can kind of go back and revisit that. But to answer your question, the problem is like I had said a awareness and, and showing people that, you know, Roy, I just think there’s so much fear right now in the world.
JT (21:13):
You know, whether it be people who are, who are not in traveling because of the COVID restrictions because of, they they’ve been, you know, trapped, stuck in their house, you know, loneliness is a bigger killer than obesity and smoking, you know, so it’s interesting how a lot of people are feeling stagnation and, and limited in where they want to go and, and who they want to be. And so, you know, travel can be used in that fashion, in that manner to help people transform their lives. And you know, when people arrive home there’s, you know, this incredible amount of value that I want to add to their lives in terms of courses, in terms of blogs in terms of coaching programs, I mean, that’s kind of why this took a little longer than I wanted it to cause I wanted to, you know, build out a coaching program for myself, but I also wanted to do these experiences and I said, well, which one can I do first? And so I broke it down through your process in the S Asian strategy of which one, not made more sense, but you know, where is, you know, your uniqueness lies at the intersection of who you were me to be, who you, your intersection lies, your uniqueness, lies the intersection of who you were designed to be and who the world needs you to be. And once you find that out,
RV (22:30):
I love it. Jesse. You’re like a, you’re like a, you’re like a brand builder’s fortune cookie, dude. I, you, I love it. Like you, you, I could tell you’re like watching the stuff and you’re doing it. Yes. So I’ll, I’ll I love that. So, so the yeah, if you, if y’all didn’t catch that, so you’re unique to, at the intersection of who you were created to be and who the world needs you to be like the, so, so is it just awareness, like, is that the biggest problem that you’re having is sort of you, you mentioned scalability and then also just like awareness, like drawing more people to it.
JT (23:06):
Yeah, absolutely. I think when people see the word retreat it can means something different for everyone. I like to use the word experience. And so it’s just, you know, depending on how I build it out in terms of the experiences, do I have entrepreneurs come on the experience, do I have people who are really struggling who, you know, may not be able or willing to take that leap and book the flight tomorrow, you know, for the experiences to start now, I, I have, you know, eight people who I shared the experience and they booked their flight in a day. And so those are the people that I like, those people who are spontaneous, who see the vision, who see the value in what it is that I’m trying to create. And, and, and they see the alignment there that I do. But yeah, I think, you know, just, you know, as the, the COVID restrictions start to dwindle away and people get back out there I think it’s a really good time right now to launch this type of business and this type of model because I think it’s very desirable.
JT (23:59):
But it’s just proof of concept and getting the experiences under my belt, leading them, learning you know, as I’m leading them, I’m also, you know, bringing people together. And so that’s basically all I’m really doing other than leading orchestrating and facilitating these experiences with the questions I ask with the different activities that we do. You know, but I think at the end of the day, it will be a bit of a challenge to to show that in the beginning. But, you know, we have some amazing content creators right now on the experience with us. Like they got their drones up in the air and they’re doing some really cool stuff, Roy. So we’re excited to see these promotional videos that we’ll create and all the amazing content that, that we’re creating. So I think we’re gonna be in good shape.
RV (24:43):
Well, yeah, so that’s, that’s great. Well, so one thing that just sort of like pop, pop, pops up for me as you, as you were talking about this, because there are, there are a lot of our members who, you know, when you go through, so phase one, so we, yeah, I mentioned we’ve got these like 14 part processes broken up into four phases. Phase one is really about your branding and positioning. It’s really understanding your identity, who are you defining your uniqueness, clarifying your business model, creating your content, your intellectual IP. And then when you get to phase two, you, we that’s like the marketing phase, which is kind of going out and telling the world that you’re there, which is sort of like where you’re at Jesse. So one, I, I feel compelled to sort of share with you and with you listening and I’ve been talking a lot about this is that for some reason, the default that everybody has right now is thinking that their next customer is go, gonna come from social media, they think, or they think that like their next customer is gonna come from, you know, online or something like that.
RV (26:02):
In reality, almost always when you’re a small business, your next customer doesn’t come from being online, it comes from offline. It comes from the relationships of the people, you know, in real life. Like we spend too much time being consumed with trying to make strangers fall in love, like strangers on the internet. We want strangers on the internet to fall in love with us and follow us. And then like, like all of our stuff and then pull out their credit card and give us five grand or 10 or 20 grand, or like whatever the number is. Meanwhile, the, the, the common misconception, the, the common thing that people overlook is that they’re, they ignore a lifetime full of real life, meaningful, trusted relationships that they have developed with people offline. And so, you know, I’m sharing this to Jesse just because he’s here.
RV (27:10):
But I’m really talking to, to everybody that if I am Jesse, the first place I am looking for my next eight clients is from my current eight clients. It is not strangers on the internet. It is. So, and this is, we actually teach this in pressure free persuasion, which technically is a phase three event, but it’s, it is how we do one-on-one selling. And it is the referrals from the people who have actually experienced the thing that you have done. They are, they are the best forms of marketing, like a changed life. The best form of marketing is a changed life, a transformed life. You know, like we talked about Lewis house, cuz that’s how you, how we met you, right Jesse. But like that was an all offline relationship I met, I met Lewis in real life. We became friends. I helped him.
RV (28:11):
We helped him with some offline stuff that was going on. And then he reached out to us a few years later, asked if we could help. We said we could, he came, we had an in-person experience, you know, here at our house. And then we had a transformed life and, and then he went and told a bunch of people, right. And he just happened to have access to a lot of people. So, you know sure. That’s the other, the other tip is, you know, have Lewis house as your first client, if you can, is a good, a good thing, but it’s well,
JT (28:44):
There you go. RO, there you go. I know that, I know, I know the residual you’re earning is, is off the charts from him. So congratulations there.
RV (28:51):
Well, yeah, no, it’s the, it’s the opposite. It’s the residual that he is earning. But there is you know, the, the point is it was a real life convers, a real life thing. And so it is the, your next customer, the contact information for your next customer is not owned by Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and TikTok the, the contact information for your next customer lives in the cell phone of your current customer. The contact information for your next customer does not, is not owned by Facebook or Instagram or social media. It lives inside the cell phone of your current customer. Your current customers know who your next customers should be. They know better than anyone, including you, your current customers know who’s a, who’s a better fit for your program, even then you, because they are that person. You are not that person.
RV (30:01):
You know, you might have been that person five years ago. But so I, I just wanna make sure that everybody knows that, you know, we call it the law of AJ because she’s, she’s the one always talking about this. You don’t need millions of followers to make millions of dollars, your, it, it comes from your real life relationship. So anyways, don’t know what your plan is, Jesse. But like, when I think about if I were in your spot and I was, I was, you know, doing this business model the way that you were doing it. And I, and I go, okay, I need to, I need to increase my awareness. And you know, and my, my scalability, I would start with the people who are there. And I would, you know, at some point like before they leave, may maybe even before they leave, I would say, you know, you just, I go around the room and just say, what has been your favorite highlight from the last three days?
RV (31:00):
Right. And people will say it was this, and it was this and was this. And then you just kind of simply say, you know, this has been amazing for me. And you share what your highlight is. And you say, if there’s anybody in your life that you think would benefit from having an experience, like the one that we just had, would you be open to introducing them to me? And I would love to just get to know them. If they’re a friend of yours, I’d love to just do a call with them and get to know them. And when you couch it in that way, which is really how it is, they’re going, it’s not, can you refer someone to me so I can sell them? Like, so you can do the work of selling them for me and I can close them and take their money.
RV (31:49):
It’s going, if you truly believe that what you just experienced was amazing. If it Tru, if you truly believe it was incredible, is there someone else in your life you would like to, you know, give, give that, that same gift to, and, and that is one of the things that I think is really missing from the marketplace. And so I know you haven’t been through pressure free persuasion yet because you haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t been in the program long enough, but that’s, that’s where we’re taking you and that, but, but since you’re in that moment right now, so
JT (32:26):
Precursor, thank you,
RV (32:28):
Pre sure. I would be thinking, I would be thinking about that if you’re, if you’re not sure.
JT (32:32):
RV (32:34):
Absolutely. So the, the other thing, so that in terms of awareness, so the other thing, like one of the other things that we have people do is we call it the fast 50 is you know, we, we tell ’em to make a list of 50 people they know in real life, right? So 50 people, you know, in real life. And then what you do is you just call ’em and you just, you, we call it the check in method. But you, you just calling, you check in with them and you say, Hey, how’s, how’s it going? What’s going on? And then you tell ’em what you’re doing. You say, Hey, I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I wanna let you know an update. And the update is that I am now doing blank. And the, the, the little elevator pitch formula that we teach is I help blank to blank.
RV (33:24):
I help blank to blank. So I help insert your avatar to insert your payoff. So you, you know, let’s say Jesse and I were friends, I’d say, Hey, Jesse, I know we have, you know, I know we haven’t talked a while. I wanted to give you a little bit of an update. Like my wife and I started this new business and we are now helping experts to become more well known. And then this is the key don’t try to sell to the person you’re talking to, because these are 50 people that are like, you know, ’em in real life. These are your friends, this is your family. This is like, you know, your, your, your, your roommate from college, don’t try to sell to the people that, you know, that will feel weird for you. You’ll find yourself reluctant to do it. And they will feel reluctant.
RV (34:07):
They, they, they can sometimes feel weird too. So the key is don’t sell to the people, you know, ask the people, you know, for referrals. So what you would do is you say, you know, Jesse my wife and I now started a business. We’re helping experts to become more well known. Is there anybody, you know, who is trying to, you know, anybody, you know, who is a coach? Is there anyone, you know, who is a speaker or an aspiring speaker? And then you ask them and, and another little key is don’t ask to be introduced to people who need what you have ask to be introduced to the type of people you do it for, right? For us, it’s coaches, speakers, authors, consultants, trainers, professional service providers, anybody whose face is attached with their business. Right. But it’s like, we’re actually not typically trying to meet fortune 500 CEOs.
RV (34:57):
We’re typically trying to meet more like small business owners. So you say, is there anyone that you, who is a coach and Jesse would, would immediately go, he wouldn’t have a hundred people. He knows, but he might have three, which is even better. Actually, it’s better for them to not have an overwhelming number. They just go, oh, there’s one specific person that I know. And you go awesome. If I sent you a little note that you could copy and paste, would you be in minded to introducing us? And that’s it. And for most of us, that is, it, it, that is where your first revenue is gonna come from, not from launching a huge podcast or getting a book deal or, you know, going viral on, on social media.
JT (35:43):
Worry. That’s, that’s something that really resonates with me. And, and it’s been coming into my life more. So in terms of my intuition, like, look for the answers from within, right? And it also can branch off and say, look for the answers within your own network and the people that you do know, and the relationships that you have cultivated over time. Cause that’s where, that’s where the value is. Those are the people who know you best. Like you said, people, those people know you better than you know yourself sometimes. And it’s definitely interesting to hear you say that, cuz you know, when you lean into that people will come to your aid and I’ve experienced that in the last couple weeks and months, you know, people have been, I’ve been sharing my story and people are coming, coming to help me out and, and helping to inspire me and to, to, to help propel me forward. And it’s, it’s been a really great journey thus far.
RV (36:27):
Yeah. I love that. And it’s like lean on the people who already trust you versus trying to create trust with strangers on the internet, 60 seconds at a time when only 1% of ’em are gonna see the thing that you’re putting up anyways. So I think, you know, that’s where awareness for everybody. The, the other thing about scalability so scale scalability is also something that we’ve always spent a lot, a lot of time thinking about and studying. And it’s, it’s, it’s actually something that we’ve, we’ve been fairly successful at. You know, that’s one of the, of things, a lot of personal brand struggle is to get to, you know, seven, especially multi seven figures and very few ever get to eight figures. But you know, whenever you think in terms of scalability, the key there is just realizing that custom custom fails standard scales, custom fails standard fails.
RV (37:21):
It’s not so much that custom fails, but custom fails to scale any. And if you just think like conceptually the more customized something is and has to be the less, it is able to be, you know, routine and rhythmic and process oriented. I mean, if you think about manufacturing plot, the they’re they’re mass producing, how are they mass producing they’re mass producing because they do everything the same way every time. So if you wanna, if you want to scale your business and, and scaling your business, isn’t always a good answer. You know, sometimes people think growth just for the sake of growth, but oftentimes it’s like, no, how, what do you, how much do you really, they need to be happy, but if you do wanna scale, you gotta think in terms of, okay, custom fails, but standard scales. So when I think of like your business, Jesse, and I go, okay, what does standardization look like in my business?
RV (38:12):
That’s basically, you know, the way a, a more narrow question of scale is not so much, how do I scale as much as what does standardization look like in my business? So, you know, to me, it’s going, you would either, you would either take kind of like the same group of people you already have. And so you already have the customers taken care of and you go, let me design a new experience for them because then, you know, there’s, there’s like two parts. There’s getting the customers and then delivering the thing. And if you can standardize one part of it, it automatically is gonna scale faster. So you go, okay, well, if I already have the customers, let me rate a new experience. And that thing is for them. The other thing would be to go, let me keep the experience exactly the same and then bring in new people where it gets dicey is if you’re a small, if you’re small and you’re trying to scale is to go, I wanna get a whole new group of people and do a whole different experience. That is just, it’s not that it’s impossible, but it’s gonna be difficult because you have, it’s difficult. It’s difficult. So yeah, you know, and if you have a great, if you have a great location and you have a yacht contr, like if you have, you know, where all the restaurants are and you go, we can just keep running trips back here. You, you have the perfect agenda. Now you can train someone else to facilitate and, you know, et cetera, et cetera,
JT (39:39):
You got it. That’s the idea, you know, over time in, in terms of scaling it out, something that I have in my mind, and I don’t know if it will come to fruition, but it is a vision of mine is to hire other trip, experience leaders around me to go ahead and lead their own experiences. And so once I have each destination one, my, my favorite parts of creating an itinerary, putting, putting experience together is, you know, speaking with the people on site and putting it together, the people at the Villa or the hotel, the torque company, the cars, like all of
RV (40:09):
Design, you used that term early. Yeah. That’s
JT (40:11):
So good. That’s me. Yeah. Yeah. That’s, you know, I’ve worked in design, I’ve worked in design, traveling tourisms and design the last five years and it’s been amazing. And all of my experiences that I have in the past have brought me to this place that I’m at right now. I’ve worked you know, as, as a recruiter for a couple years. And I don’t know if you, I don’t know if you attest to this, but in my opinion, you know, recruiting is one of the most difficult sales jobs in the world because you’re selling people and what’s more, what’s more, you know, what’s, people are more unpredictable than the stock market. And so it’s really difficult, you know, in those relationships. And, you know, I, I actually have a similar similar beginning point similar origin. I, I was an accountant as well. I wasn’t as great in in Excel as you were, but
RV (40:55):
Well, I I’m decent at Excel, but I, I was not a great accountant. It was actually the worst grade that I ever got in school was accounting in college. So, but that’s funny. So you, you, but, but that the you’re like an architect. I mean, you are designing this experiential, this experience for people and, you know, know, and I, I think, I, I think that’s, I think that’s awesome, Jesse, and I would go getting other people to lead. It becomes even easier once you’ve done it five times, and this is the agenda, here’s the exercises. And here, it’s just, you can run that. You can run on a autopilot. It’s,
JT (41:35):
It’s a proof of concept. Exactly. It’s, you know, hiring those individuals and having a built out framework with my values with the things that I want to spread, you know, in, in my experiences. And so once we have that all figured out people will go ahead and, and run those experiences under my philosophy under my framework, under my values. And, you know, for example, this is called experience St. John. And so I’ve, I lived on St. John 2019 and 2020. I know the islands really well. I have some amazing contacts here. And then, you know, who’s to say in, in, you know, a couple years, you know, I can’t be running it for my laptop. Right. Or, you know, I want to year, but there are other destinations that I wanna also build out. Like I live in Portugal now. I moved there last November, so there’s gonna be an experience Portugal. And so it’s just really exciting to see how things are, are going.
RV (42:27):
Yeah, that’s great, man. I, I, I love that. I, and I love that for you. And it’s like, I think if you’re, if you’re drawing in a energy from that, and that’s what you’re passionate about, that’s totally unique. Like how many people are there in the world that do tourism design, you know, in this kind of way, like versus, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of courses. Like there’s a lot of people that make courses, for sure. I think this, this can really be magical and unique. And if you make it unique, right? Like if you focus on this thing and you go, how can I make this extraordinary? How can I make it life changing? Mm. What, what can, how can I serve my audience in the deepest way? They will have a transformed life and then they will go do the marketing for you, right?
RV (43:14):
Like they will help tell people, versus if you’re always having to create new things, you’re it, you’re when you have diluted focus, you get diluted results. Like you become spread across so much stuff versus just going, what would make this over the top life changing transformational to where they went back and they had to tell everybody, I just had the most unbelievable three days of my life. That’s what Tony Robbins did when people walked on fire, that’s exactly what he did with the whole fire walking thing. It was like, it was remarkable, worth remarking about it. And you, and if you, you dedicate some time, you know, to that, by having, you know, fewer, fewer things, then you, it it’ll, it’ll spread and do everything you need, man. So I love it. I love, I love this idea, tourism design. I think, I mean, Jesse, you’re so warm and, and humble and uplifting and encouraging. And man, I, I, I feel like there’s, there’s no doubt, like you’re on such a great path. Congratulations on your first experience that you’re leading. Although I, the only thing I don’t understand is why you would miss out on the yacht just to talk to us,
JT (44:28):
But we,
RV (44:30):
We are, we’re so grateful for you, man. We’re so grateful.
JT (44:34):
Thank you, Ru it’s a, it’s a pleasure to be here and it’s been amazing connecting with you and and thanks for all of the tips and advice. I I appreciate it and I value it.
RV (44:44):
Yeah, well we, we we’re excited to continue following your journey and being a part of your journey and, and you know, if somebody is out there right now, Jesse, and they’ve kind of been listening to the podcast and they’re going, eh, I don’t know about if BBG is for me, like, is there anything that you would say that you would go, ah, here’s, here’s how, you know, this is for you, or like, here’s, here’s, you’re looking to get blank. This is what I’ve really, that I think would help.
JT (45:14):
Yeah. I think, like I had mentioned with travel we find that travel is an accelerator in the connection process. You’re more inclined to take those risks to step outside your comfort zone and live your true, authentic self while you’re traveling. And so, you know, it’s, it’s difficult to hop on a plane for the first time, eight hours across the world, not be terrified. Cause of course I was when I first did that. Right. So you can always start out you know, going to the city that you live in right now over the weekend doing a quick trip to walk around in different restaurants, different areas that you’ve never been to, you know, taking advantage of the weekends. But you know, it’s interesting because people are scared right now and they’re fearful. So all I say is, you know, for me personally, it’s been really difficult in terms of my journey. But there’s a reason why planes take off against the wind and not with the wind. So I’m excited to continue to take off and, and thanks for all your help and, and with BBG, I’m just so blessed to be a part of it.
RV (46:10):
Yeah. All right. My friend, well, we wish you the best and we’ll stay in touch. We’ll talk to you soon.
JT (46:18):
Worry. Thank you again. Talk soon.

Ep 262: How to Build a Digital Media Empire with Nathan Chan

RV (00:02):
I am absolutely delighted to introduce you to Nathan Chan, who really I’ve known him for years. Very, very briefly. We’ve had very brief interactions, but we, we probably have like four or five pretty close mutual friends. And I’ve always heard the sweetest about this guy and the best things about him. And there, his, the brand that he has built is one that I have respected from afar. So he is the CEO and publisher of a magazine called founder magazine. So it is a digital magazine. It’s really like a digital media group that reaches well over 4 million people. Every single month they’ve got more than 3 million people on Instagram alone. And so they’re especially known for the magazine. I’m sure that you’ve seen them. It’s founder without the E F O U N D R. And so they’ve, they’ve had featured cover stories with people like Richard Branson and mark Cuban and Ariana Huffington.
RV (01:06):
And it just goes on and on. And so Nathan knows how to build a brand. He knows how to build a company. He spent a lot of time interviewing some of the best entrepreneurs on the planet. And then he’s also had quite a nice personal brand he’s developed, although is he would describe it. It would be sort of casual and not so strategic, I think. And so I wanted to hear a little bit of his philosophy of personal branding in relation to what he does as an entrepreneur, actually, as the, as the CEO founder, but also to understand a little bit about the business model of a digital magazine and what does that mean and how does it work and how do you make money? And and most of all, just to introduce you to this delightful lad and somebody that I’m hopeful will become a closer and closer friend. So Nathan, welcome to the show.
NC (02:02):
Awesome. Thanks so much for having me, Rory be here, appreciate the kind introduction and yeah. Really excited to share with you kind of how I’ve thought about personal brands. And yeah, as I said, I haven’t been that strategic around it.
RV (02:19):
Well, let’s talk about, let’s talk about founder first because you’ve been very strategic around that you’ve done phenomenally well, you’ve built a, a very large following, a lot of reach. I a very respectable brand. I mean, it’s very clear that you know how to build a, a great brand. So can you just tell us a little bit of like, tell us the story of how you started founder and how you built that brand?
NC (02:46):
Yeah, sure thing. So started about seven, eight years ago now started just as a magazine digital magazine on the app store, Google play store. First business knew nothing about business. So I thought, I thought I’d start a magazine around entrepreneurship so I could learn literally just started it to try and get a job in marketing. Cuz I just finished my masters of marketing. Couldn’t get a job. So launched the magazine just literally as a side hobby, passion project, no grand vision, no thoughts of raising capital or anything of that sort like, you know, how can people have a business idea for me, it was like literally a, a side hobby passion project. And then I launched March, 2013 and we made $5 and 50 cents with the magazine. The magazine didn’t even have a, a successful person on the front cover. I had no idea what I was doing. And when I launched, I was like, okay, well we got two subscribers now. Now I’ve gotta a commitment. I gotta, I gotta keep producing the next one. Yeah. And then so cuz I’m the kind of person that wouldn’t wanna let others down, especially first business paying customers. It’s like, wow, okay. Especially
RV (04:08):
Two people. I mean you could afford the risk to your reputation.
NC (04:12):
Yeah, exactly. So, so, and I was doing it on the side while I was still working my day job and, and then off I go and then so about, for a year I built it up the recurring revenue to, in the subscriber base so I could, could go full time on it. And then the rest was kind of history. So then as time went on, I was like, okay, I can do more than just the magazine. I can start producing content to build like out a media platform and, and start doing all of that. And, and then over time I, I looked at leverage around like if we do interviews with people for the magazine, then it could be a podcast. It could be a video interview, it could be an article, it could be all these other things could be social content and you know, the, the game, like you chop it up and you can really sweat that asset.
NC (05:00):
And then cuz that’s what, that’s what content is. It’s an asset, right? When you produce one piece of content, it’s an asset. So over time just started to build that out and, and really build the building blocks one brick at a time of each channel, whether it’s audio, whether it’s video, whether it’s written, whether it’s social, whatever social channel. And then started to get into the online education space felt that there was something special we could do there. There isn’t really a well known platform or a go-to platform where it’s like a masterclass, but particularly focus on entrepreneurship or business building or like a digital marketer.com. That’s purely focused on marketing. Yeah. So, so then that, that was the vision that we started to build out about four or five years ago and, and it’s been a journey, but, and so, so then found it became more of a kind of media company plus online education company.
NC (06:04):
We’ve got, I think like 23 courses in our platform and we’re looking to really scale that up. We’re looking to have at least a hundred plus in the next three to five years. Wow. with, with all sorts of different diverse founders teaching topics that our audience wants to know from founders that have actually done it, founders that have built real businesses like, like yourself, right. You’ve built a real business. And yeah, we’re, we’re gonna work on a membership product. We’re gonna launch that in the next three to four months and, and yeah, along the way have slowly built the brand and it’s been an incredible ride thus far.
RV (06:45):
How much, what just if you don’t mind me asking, how did you make the leap? So, so that, you know, that’s something that a lot of our members and our clients and the, you know, our, our listeners are going, okay, I’m starting this as a, that this, the passion project sort of side hustle. How much, like, how did you know when to make the leap or how much, how much recurring revenue did you have to have to where you felt like there was enough to go or, or like talk about that transition a bit.
NC (07:14):
Yeah. So look eight years ago, I wasn’t, I wasn’t on like a high salary. I wasn’t an executive, I wasn’t a manager. I was, I was working in it support. So I was earning about, I think 50,000 Australian dollars a year. That was my annual salary. So I think that worked out to be around after tax around 3000 Australian dollars a month. So I was living out of home and I was like in this kind, like with a housemate and I was in this kind of really old rundown house. So rent wasn’t much. And then you could work. I could just work out my cost of living pretty quickly then. So
RV (07:58):
Did you just wait till it was exactly equal? Like, did you go say it was fit, say it was 50,000? Did you wait until you had 50,000 or whatever, 3000 a month? Or was it kind of like 75% of that or 60% of that? Like how close did you have to get before you went for the leap?
NC (08:15):
So there was a couple of key things. One I made sure I had six months of living expenses saved. I used to love traveling. I always had like right. Living off my credit card. So I made sure I had no credit card debt. I had six months of savings and yeah, ITAC exactly that. I replaced the revenue from the business a little bit more in fact, a little bit more because obviously the business had expense, but it was fairly profitable and such a small business looking back compared to, you know, and then so yeah. How, how did I make around three and a half, $4,000 in MRI to then go, okay, I can safe constantly take two of that and then live. And then the rest I could just keep slowly multiplying capital very, very slowly. And, and I could work on it full time.
NC (09:13):
So, so that was the argue. The argument was if I was working on it nights and mornings, first thing all into the night, all into the morning that if I could work on it full time, I was actually losing money. It got to a point. And that was something that somebody taught me. It got to a point where being in my job was actually losing me money because if I had have been able to apply myself to it full time, I would’ve been able to make a lot more, which it that’s what ended up happening.
RV (09:44):
Yeah. Like the opportunity cost of that time on your business becomes greater than the actual pay for time in your, in your company. I think it was interesting part of, what’s always fascinated me a about you and you even kind of alluded it to it here was like, why a magazine? Like what, what, what, what an interesting choice. But but you know, like you said, there, there, there wasn’t, there, there there’s, there’s, you know, there wasn’t a lot totally in that space and, and the recurring revenue is a wonderful and so is, did the business model, it sounds like really started purely as a magazine. And it was, I want people to pay me a monthly fee to subscribe to this magazine and I’m gonna curate content and do these interviews and produce this beautiful digital thing. Correct. And, and, and support my subscribers. And then how did the BI model evolved to there that it then did it go to courses? And that was how you monetize next?
NC (10:43):
Correct. And what was really interesting was I didn’t need traffic for the app store or the traffic come from the app store. There were people searching for the magazine every day, organically through organic search. And I worked out how to, if somebody typed in Forbes, if somebody typed in entrepreneur, if some type body typed in success, magazine, founder would show up. And then I used, so in the first four months, I got an interview with me, Richard Branson. And we, I, I really capitalized on that. And I used that front cover as a way to build the authority of the magazine. And I made that magazine addition free. So I learned this concept by E pagan called moving the free line, giving your best stuff away for free. So yeah, the magazine piece was not strategic. Rory just fell into it. There was this software that I could per that I purchased that allowed me to produce the magazine and build the app.
NC (11:55):
And it just so happened that it was a smart move because you talk about like your, like part of your process or your unique me methodology working with clients is producing a book. Why do you produce a book? It’s because it build authority. It makes it builds, thought leadership. I believe a magazine is even a higher, a, a higher level of thought leadership people really want to be on that front cover. It actually says something. And then once you build it up around like the people that have been on that front cover, then you’ve built a really strong authority. And it, it is, it has a lot of weight and I didn’t know that at the time, but you know, you get, you get your clients on front covers versus publishing their own book. Even if it is, you know, they’re signed by penguin ran house or whatever, like if they’re on a front cover of a well known magazine and they can use that in their social media profile, like I know like board apes is the new flex for your social profile, but if you wanna build your own personal brand and your you’re on the front cover of entrepreneur magazine, success magazine for like rappers, they rap about how they want to be on the cover Forbes or, or like that’s aspirational like that, that, but then owning the magazine, owning the property, then that yields the, I believe even stronger authority and leverage.
RV (13:32):
Yeah. I remember to this, the new owner of success magazine is a, is a brand builders group, client, and a friend of ours. And I actually just recently finished a term as I, I was an inter I was the interim entrepreneurship editor just like an associate, a kind of stand in when, when they acquired the company. But I, I, you used to be close with Darren Hardy, who was the publisher of success magazine for years. And I remember Darren telling me one time, he said, Roy, the magic of the magazine is it opens the door to any interview in the world of just like, it’s the relationships going? You try to, you try to, you know, sell something to someone they’re not answering. You try to get an endorsement. They’re not answering even try to get ’em on your podcast or something.
RV (14:20):
But if you call and say, I would like to talk to so-and-so about being on the cover of the magazine. Every one of those calls pretty much gets returned and it’s probably not everyone, but I, it made a lot of sense to me. And you know, here you are edifying the same, the same commentary. So what I think is inter another thing that’s fascinating about this to me, Nathan is, okay, so you started with the magazine, which is kind of like, you know, people would go, oh, magazines are dead. You can’t make money with magazines. And yet you’ve built this amazing business from it. And then I actually feel like a lot of people talk about courses that way, like people kind of go, oh, you know, the courses have, have, have run their, have run their road. But you know, you’re doubling down on courses. We, we had an interview with a, a brand builders group client, a friend of ours, Darcy, Ben and Costa was on this podcast. She’s doing seven figures a year from a few courses and she’s just crushing it. And, and, you know, some courses are 40 bucks and other ones are 400 bucks and others are four, 4,000 bucks. But like, you know, so now you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re moving in into the course world heavy.
NC (15:28):
Yeah. So the idea is how can we get a lot of the people like the aspiration is how can we build a platform or an educational platform, like a masterclass.com for entrepreneurship, and how do we get a lot of the people that are on the covers of our magazine, or even not on the covers to actually teach. And really we kind of democratize entrepreneurial education. So you know, we sell our courses, but I think now we’re in a position where we have enough that we can charge a member. We can, we can create an all access pass and, and have a membership. And then also start to build an incredible learn earning platform that is much more than just a course, you know, like, and really take the market because there are you’re right. There are a lot of people selling courses, and it’s so hard to know who to trust, what to follow.
NC (16:28):
We wanna create a membership that effectively is, is the superior product in the marketplace, which is extremely cost affordable. And, and the stuff that you learn is incredible. And your learning experience is, is, is like off the chain. Like, you know, we, we’re gonna build a learning recommendation and engine, we ask you a series of questions and then you’ll have a customized learning journey to fully tailored to your learning needs around where your areas of development are. And then the teachers will be just really next level, legit teachers that have actually done what, you know, they like, they’re so focused on their business that they don’t really need to teach or want to teach. Yeah. So, so that’s kind of the next evolution for us. So, so yeah, that, that was, and then like, it’s, it’s kind of like a really nice natural extension, to be honest with you R because you know, a lot of media companies, they produce a lot of free content.
NC (17:33):
Like we do 99.9% of our content is free, but then they have premium content, like premium paid content. Right. that’s all we’re doing. We’re just creating a, a, you know, premium content. If you want to know about let’s just say social media growth, and you’re reading an article, but actually you wanna do an in-depth course on how to grow your to organically. Then you can, you can get the full program or so to the membership. So it’s like, you can read an article, you can watch a video, but it’s only skirting the surface. You wanna actually go deep and actually get an actionable framework that is unpacked step by step with templates and like, to get you the result faster then. Yeah. That’s what we’re thinking, that’s the vision
RV (18:24):
And, and the course is like, are these kinda like $2,000 Jeff Walker type courses? Or are they, you know, $50 kind of thing?
NC (18:34):
Yeah. So, so that’s two bucks.
NC (18:38):
So it, all our courses range anywhere from a few hundred bucks to a few thousand dollars. So that’s why the, the me, that’s why once we move to the membership model, it’s gonna be, you know, incredibly valuable product. And eventually we’ll work to the, the evolution will be, we’ll only have one product and it’ll be the membership for an annual or monthly fee. And when we launch it, we’ll start with an annual. And honestly, the, the cost of the annual will be an absolute, no brainer. Like the it’ll be a no brainer. Hmm. And then it’s, we move from this idea of people purchasing a course as a form of ownership, to a membership where they’re just renting, they’re renting and that product will get significantly better over time. And that is our number one focus to build the most superior, largest online business school in the world.
RV (19:38):
NC (19:39):
Interesting. But then, but then over time, cuz we’re building a platform, we can help founders in many other ways too. Well just be through education. It can be through events. It can be through tools in, can be through services. But one step at a time.
RV (19:59):
Yeah. Well so talk to us about your personal brand for a second, because you don’t have a personal brand website. You do have some personal social media, but this is another thing that’s really amazing. Like it’s not super easier. At least we haven’t found it super easy to grow on social. I mean to grow. Yes. But to, to get to where you have millions of followers is not an easy feat and you did it under a company name and a company profile, which is, I feel like even harder, like there’s fewer companies with millions of followers than there are people, but you’ve been able to do that. Meanwhile, you’ve kind of like not focused so much on the personal brand, which to me is a move that classic entrepreneurs would make classic entrepreneurs would go, no, I wanna, I want the business to operate independent of me or irrespective of me as the founder.
RV (20:49):
And that’s what building a company, a, a company that has equity value. Like we’ve had several we’ve had business valuation expert. We did an episode with Jim Comby, who’s one of our favorite business valuation experts is a Harvard, Harvard, JD MBA guy. And you know, the whole thing the business has to operate without you. So anyways, just talk to us about your personal philosophy for, you know, growing the company versus growing your personal brand and why you, you know, you actually haven’t, you know, gone all in on your personal brand. Like most of the people probably that we, we highlight and, and interview.
NC (21:26):
Yeah. So it’s really interesting R I, this time last year hired like a really experienced executive assistant. And she said to me, Nathan, what’s the plan for your personal brand? And I said, I don’t have one. We just gotta focus on growing founder first. And you talked about kind of the opportunity cost, right? You talked about the opportunity cost right. Of when I was in my day job and sacrificing that time to go all in on founder, I still see it as the same thing I could spend right now, I’m building my personal brand, but I think it would be an opportunity cost to not just double down on founder and still be the face. Right. So you were spot on, I found your study that you were talking about offline really fascinating because that’s, that’s correct more, more and more, the rise of personal brand is happening, right?
NC (22:34):
You look at the Logan, Logan, Paul, the Jake Paul, like it is incredible what those guys have done and, you know, they, they are spinning off businesses like you wouldn’t believe right. More and more people are much far interested in, in the who behind the brand or the person who from they are buying. So for me, in my particular situation and circumstance, I do have the ability to still build my personal brand without creating a Nathan Chan website without creating nation Nathan Chan’s social accounts, where I’m creating custom tailored content, because I can do all of that through founder. And also at the same time, I want to continue to build founder as an asset based business, not as a cashflow based business. So I’m aggressively reinvesting and slowly but surely building out founders. So it’s one for me, opportunity cost. But two, I do have the ability to, to, to build the, the Nathan Chan personal brand, somewhat strategically by still doing the interviews and by still producing content around topics that I believe I have the right to speak about like Instagram growth or social media growth, or building an online educator business.
NC (24:05):
I will strategically talk about those topics because I believe I’m qualified to share. So yeah, I will, I do plan to get myself off the interviews though. That is, that is a master plan. I haven’t quite got there yet. I’ve just rebuilt my whole leader ship team and hire some really, really experienced executives that, that are very familiar with scaling companies. And slowly I’m slowly, slowly getting off the tools. One of the last things is doing the interviews and also doing our, like when, when we sell our courses we, we use a model called a masterclass model, right, where it’s like an old automated webinar, but the way that we do it, because we have other talent that we work with to produces all of our courses we do it like an interview. I still do those. So those are those are those still like the two things that I’m on the tools, but eventually the master plan is to build a podcast network where we have quite a few shows in our podcast network that it will be total acceptable, fine, not even know a difference, who’s doing the interviews.
NC (25:28):
And then I will still create some other shows to have that Nathan Chan who’s behind the brand feel. Because one thing that I found very, very interesting, and this is not me pumping my own tires or anything, but people do like to follow the founder journey and they do, they are in interested to hear what we are doing. Like not everybody, but the people, there are people, there are people that notice, there are people that are interested and I’m not saying this to put my tires. So I have to keep like, like fueling that. I have to keep telling that story, that kind of, that heroes journey starting from nowhere. And then let’s see how far we can build it. It’s like how Gary V is like, I’m gonna buy the jets and people that’s part of his hero’s journey because people are following along. People wanna see how far people wanna champion the underdog, the person coming from nowhere. So there’s a little bit of that where people do follow the founder journey, what we’re up to, how far we’re taking this thing and how big we’re gonna build it. So I have to yeah. Keep, keep feeling that.
RV (26:38):
I think it’s kinda interesting though, cuz it’s like, you know, like the way that we, we would think about it or describe it as even I would say this is you have a great personal brand, you’re actually quite deliberate about building it because you do the interviews, you do speak at the conferences here, you are doing an interview. You’re also guest appearing in places and contributing both on your site. You just don’t have your own com. And I think people sometimes MIS misinterpret to go, oh, a personal brand means I must have a website in the way that brand builders would describe it is no, your personal brand means you have a reputation. And you know, we think of personal branding as simply the digitization of reputation, which you do have, you got a lot of digital assets and like you’re saying, cuz cuz Richard Branson does the same thing.
RV (27:28):
Richard Branson doesn’t have Richard branson.com, but he writes and [email protected] or what, whatever, you know, the, the URL is, but everybody knows Richard Branson. And you know, I, I think it’s really interesting almost even that evolution of what’s happening with personal brand and what that means. Cuz I think you have a great personal brand, even though you don’t have a website, but, but I would say, I mean the, the way that you guys have grown on social is amazing. You’ve really done a great job with that and you know, know where do you see that headed? Because right now I feel like it’s harder. It’s get it’s there is so much noise and it is, it is so difficult to get organic reach. And are you still, you know, optimistic about organic social media growth and still seeing big numbers real in and if so, why and if not, why not?
NC (28:29):
Yeah. So I love the way you think about it and you spot on like, I, I guess I am strategically building a personal brand, but maybe not a traditional way with the, you know, producing a bulk producing content. Nathan’s this guy, you know what I mean? Like, so yeah, you’re right. But no that I used, I’ve only done the interviews Rory because there was nobody else to do at the start and it just got outed that way. But yeah, no, it’s, it’s really cool. And I don’t really do podcast interviews. I, but I am starting to ramp it back up now. So yeah, I’ve gone in and now I don’t speak at, I don’t speak at conferences either. I, I cut that about three, four years ago. So yeah. It’s funny you say that cuz you can, you can go I’m I’m going up and back, but yeah, at the moment I’m, I’m, I’m wanting to double down again because I feel like it’s powerful and I’m finding more time, but yeah.
NC (29:28):
So coming back to answering your question around organic and social growth is it still powerful? Yes. I think there’s a couple of key things to take away there. It depends on the platform like right now I think Instagram is still a very, very powerful platform and we will continue to double down on it. I’m not happy with our creative. Yes. We still grow like 1000, 2000 new followers a day. But I think we can do a better job on the creative and that’s gonna be a focus for us this year, but then also there’s always emerging platforms, right? Like TikTok, TikTok will probably be the next big platform. And, and you see that there are people that grow really fast on there and it’s a different platform. It’s different kind of content and yeah, I think you can of doing incredible things.
NC (30:23):
It’s, it’s crazy some of the numbers and things that you can see, I can’t share them publicly, but you know, we, we know like a significant amount of customers that, that find us. They start with Instagram doesn’t mean they end with Instagram because you’ve only got a couple of ways to drive traffic through stories or that link in buyer. But we know that people ended up finding us via Instagram because when someone becomes a customer or a student and enrolls in one of our programs, we, we have a survey and we find out you can’t, it’s an onboarding survey. We, we find out and that that’s, that’s actually the largest way, most voted way that people find it. So it’s funny, you know, you look at that, but then also you look at you’re retargeting with paid advertising. You know, how much are you spent spending on retar
RV (31:23):
Use to be anyways, like pre that, that the apple iOS update last year was been, I mean, has that that’s gotta have affected you is feel like it’s affected everybody and you guys did a lot, a lot of paid. I mean, you’ve done a lot of paid advertising and I guess presumably you’re driving paid ads to your free masterclass and the free masterclass to, you know?
NC (31:45):
Yep, yep, yep. Correct. Yep. So everybody’s taken a hit on paid advertising. Does it still work for us? Yes. do we get the returns that we used to get? No. Do we have to spend more? Yes. Do we have to become better? Yes. It’s just a fact, right? It was whether it was iOS 14 or something else costs were always going to rise. It was always going to get more competitive. So yeah, I’m not sitting here from an ivory tower saying like, yeah, we’re killing it. Like we have had challenges, but we still sign frequently spend a lot of money on paid advertising because it works still. It still works. It’s just not as effective. So it’s your job as the founder owner CEO to, to, to find ways to make it work. Cuz it still can or diversify look, you know there, there, you know, it’s, it’s just classic business, right?
NC (32:47):
You can’t rely on one channel like anything, you know, you gotta diversify your channels, you gotta diversify your revenue. So yeah, but yeah, coming back. Yeah. So we find that yeah. Top of funnel social still works top of funnel. We still drive a significant revenue from our social channels, but at the same time we’re working on always new channels like SEO, like YouTube, YouTube, massive one massive, massive what you can do there. We still haven’t cracked it. It, it drives substantial revenue, but not, not to the, not to the, not to the size that I believe is the potential. So to answer your question, yes. Social organic still works. You have to look at it from not that being your only play though. I think you’ve got it’s, it’s a multi omnichannel approach. And we see, we, you know, from paid from retargeting, from customers ending up on our email list or, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a varied approach, but yeah, it still works. It’s more competitive than ever. But even when I started seven, eight years ago, it felt super competitive. To be honest, it didn’t feel like, oh wow, this is Greenfield. I like, there’s no one playing in this space. Like it was still the same. And it was still the same feeling that it’s like, all right, now, now we’ve gotta crack to few hundred thousand followers. Like you ain’t cutting it.
RV (34:27):
What is just like off the top of your head, when you think of like a cost per lead, like what you would pay for an email address, what do you kind of go? Yeah. If we’re in this range, we’re probably doing okay. If we’re not like we gotta shut it down and you know, come up with a, a new creative or something,
NC (34:43):
Look, to be honest with you you, you, we could, we can get leads for a dollar. Right. We can get leads for a dollar. Like we can go Facebook ads, Facebook lead ad form. And we get, we can get leads for a dollar, but doesn’t mean they’re buyers. So, so we don’t use that as a metric, but yeah, we, we, you know, anywhere between three, five, $10, $15 a lead. Yeah. It, it, but it depends. Right. Cause cuz for us, it’s not about leads. It’s about direct response. How, how much did we put in and then how much did we get back?
RV (35:22):
So you’re looking at more like a, see like a cost per acquisition, like number and metric is much more what you’re looking at.
NC (35:30):
RV (35:31):
Yep. And do you guys typically kind of ascend people like you go, Hey, let’s offer a masterclass and then a low dollar thing and we try to send them or do you have like sometimes we’re selling the $500 sometimes the a thousand dollars sometimes the two.
NC (35:44):
Yeah, no we, we don’t, we don’t we don’t have like a, a value ladder like that, to be honest with you from a business model standpoint we just have certain courses and we have you know, free trainings that can give you a taste tester of that instructor, their frameworks, their beliefs, their ideas. And then if you really like the instructor, you can roll on the full program. The next evolution for us is, is the membership product. So it’s like, you can buy one course or you can, and then you can go to the membership. And yeah, yeah. We’re, we’re probably not that good at that. If I’m being honest, I’m, I’m looking at it like quite honestly, how do we build a large, like I look at ed tech platforms for inspiration, like what is skill doing? I know creative live was sold to fiber and they kind of went backwards a bit, but like, you know, what is creative live doing?
NC (36:45):
What is skill share doing? What is masterclass doing? What is mine valley doing? What is, yeah. Like companies like that, how, how are they building out their brands? How are they building out their platforms? But still using and being inspired by online marketing or the Jeff walkers of the world. Jeff Walker, you know, launch PLF. We’ve done, we’ve done that before. Right. But you know, it’s interesting when you look at kind of like, you know, the, the, the PRLF stuff, like we’ve done that for, and it didn’t work as effective as just doing the model that we do. And it’s just like, you can do it with one course. Right? You can do it with one course or a second course, but how do you do something like that with 20 courses? How do you do something like that with 50 courses or a hundred courses?
NC (37:38):
And at the end of the day, you want to be able to, of the operations of these things as well. And so when you look to create a $5 product or a trip trip wire for 20 bucks, then you wanna upsell somebody to something to $300, then you wanna do 500. Then you wanna do a thousand. Like there’s a big operational cost when you wanna do out by 20 or hundred or 50. You know what I mean? So like, that’s why, yeah. We don’t, it’s, we’re not very good at that kind of classic online marketing, kind of some of that kind of value ladder stuff. And it, it is working for us now. Yes, we will. You know, I think there’s a great book that I love called ready fire aim had to go from zero to a hundred million flat and they talk about there’s two kinds of products. There’s the product with the sole purpose to acquire a customer. And then there’s a product with the sole purpose to generate profit. That all makes sense. And we are not there yet. Like we, we still have, we, we, there’s a, there’s a little bit of evolution and little bit of work for us to be done there, to be honest with you.
RV (38:52):
Yeah. I mean, that’s so great to have, I mean, that’s I’d say we very much feel that way. I mean, we’ve, we’ve been through this journey once before building from scratch and growing it and exiting the company. And now it’s like we’re three years into the new thing and very much like, oh my gosh, we have so much work to do. Like, we are still so far away from where we wanna be. But I mean, this has been awesome, Nathan, this is so into inspiring. Like I really appreciate you kind of just like sharing the story and opening up a little bit about like what the journey has been. Obviously people can follow founder on Instagram. I know that’s, you know, you got a big presence there. Where else would you direct people to? If they wanna like find out more about, you know, what founder is, is, is doing and you,
NC (39:36):
Yeah. Just go to founder.com founder without the E
RV (39:40):
Founder.Com without, without the E Nathan Chan friends. Buddy, this is so great to reconnect with you and wish you all the best, but look forward to following your journey and, and seeing you, how you, how you do this. So keep in touch.
NC (39:57):
Thanks so much, Roy. Appreciate your time.

RV (00:02):
Love love, love that chat with Nathan Chan and longtime friend. We’ve been colleagues and just seeing what they’ve done over there at founder is awesome. Just such a quality brand and obviously a great guy, right? Like super humble and really intelligent and and just really smart and service mind. So I, I, I love that there, there were, there were a couple big tape takeaways from me or for me from that interview, I mean, like always I learned so much from every, every single guest that we have, but, you know, so the first one is how to make the leap full time. Right. So his personal story about how did he actually do that was really inspiring to me. And, and hopefully something that you picked up too. And, you know, there were a couple, two, two things specifically, well, three, three things.
RV (00:51):
So first of all, he said, I had no debt. And that to me is really important, right? A lot of people believe in debt and using debt in different ways. We come from the school of, of not at having debt. I grew up, you know, financially speaking, being raised, so to speak by Dave Ramsey was where I learned about money. And we just don’t believe in debt. We don’t wanna have debt. We want to be free and clear of, of owing people stuff. And so you know, hearing Nathan talk about that was, was, I’m always into, to hear when other successful people, you know, say, yeah, I didn’t bring on investors. I didn’t go out and get bank loans. I didn’t leverage credit cards. I, I didn’t, you know, mortgage the house. Like you, you, you could, there is a way to do it.
RV (01:36):
Right. And, and that’s how AJ and I have done it. Like, we, we don’t have debt. So we have some lines of credit that are like for emergencies, but their emergencies to the emergencies, which is the second thing he said is he said I had six months of living expenses saved up. Right. And so if, cuz if you’re in that mode of going, okay, how do I make the leap full time? The question is, is typically like, how am I gonna survive in the first few months? Because that, that’s the reality of the being successful at anything. Like, even if you’re busting it hardcore, like when you’re doing something new, it takes a minute, like you can’t just automatically start a business and be successful or start a brand and be successful. Like it takes a while to even get your first revenue dollars in sometimes.
RV (02:21):
So being debt free gives you an opportunity that extends the runway. Why? Because you don’t owe money every month, right? Like if I have a bunch of car payments and a bunch of credit card bills and a bunch of student loans, and you know, now you might have a mortgage. Like that may be the one thing that you have, but like, you know, hopefully there’s not much more than that. And if there’s a way you cannot have a mortgage, then that’s even better. Right. And that’s why so many entrepreneur stories start of like, you know, Lewis, how tells the story of sleeping on his sister’s couch. And you know, people moving back in with their parents and just like, yeah. Two and whatever it takes for a minute, but you don’t, when you don’t have debt, it extends the runway. When you have debt, you’ve got monthly payments that are due and you’re chained to those, right?
RV (03:04):
Like that’s why the Bible says the borrower, the borrower is slave to the lender. You’re, you’re chained to those. You’re, you’re tied in, you’re committed. You can’t break free. And the only way to break free is to pay it off. And you know, there’s there’s to do that, but it’s almost like that’s a season in and of itself. You get debt free and then you gotta stay on that really like frugal fight where you’re, whatever you’re working extra hours at work, you’re making extra sales calls, you’re garage sailing, you’re pitching, you’re doing some side hustle. You’re, you’re taking a second job. And then you save up to where you have six months of limb expenses. Now you can make the leap, right? Like, it doesn’t mean you’re gonna be set and it’s gonna be easy, but it’s like, okay, you can survive. And you gotta give yourself some runway.
RV (03:51):
You be, and this is what it means to be an investor. I mean, when, when you’re a financial investor in a company, they use this term runway, they’re, they’re creating runway. They’re saying, we’ll give you this much money. Not because that’s the only amount of money we have, but that’s the amount of money we’re willing to put at risk for this idea. And when you, when you bootstrap a company, you are the investor. And, and the way that you’re investing is if you don’t have a lot of money, it is through sacrificing some luxuries in your life and, and selling off some stuff and downgrading your quality of life for a while and increasing your work ethic and your output so that you can, so you, you can create some runway. And that I think a lot of people stay trapped in a job.
RV (04:34):
They hate for the rest of their life because they can’t take that risk and they don’t know how to break free. And so I, that, that’s really an important function here about how do you, how do you start a business? And, and when do you make the leap? And then, and then, you know, so you, you know, get debt free, then stay frugal and save up six months of living expenses, which by the way, this is, this is, these are part of Dave, Ramsey’s seven baby steps, too. You know, so if you’re following on that plan, you’re, you’re doing this. And then the third thing that Nathan said is once you can replace the revenue, once you feel confident that you can generate enough revenue in your new thing, that to replace what you’ve got from your current thing, or if you can at least get, you know, like 60% of the way they, or 50 or 40% of the way they’re doing it as a side hustle.
RV (05:21):
And then you give yourself a six month runway and then you go, all right, I’m gonna take the leap. And I gotta get myself from 40% to a hundred. That’s how it happens. Like, if you don’t wanna lose your house and like do the thing, but it’s not easy. Like it’s not easy. Who told you it was gonna be easy? Like when did you think this was gonna be easy? Like, what guest have we ever had on this show who has made and, and built a huge business or a huge brand who was like, oh yeah, it was, it was easy. It’s never easy. It’s hard, it’s difficult. That’s why most people don’t do it. And you have to be prepared to make the sacrifice for at least a little while. It’s why, so that you can have your dream so that your dream can come true so that you can impact people, make a difference in the world, but there are tactical practical steps and strategies that can do it.
RV (06:07):
That, that just like we’re talking about here, like you gotta be willing to pay the price you gotta be. As, as my, one of my, my long time friends, Randy G always says, you have to be the number one investor in your own dream. You gotta bet on you. You gotta take the shot. You gotta take the chance. And why would anyone else give you money if you’re not willing to, to, to, to pay the price of saving up and doing yourself. So that was huge. I always, I love that story. I thought that was tactical. The second thing, which I have never heard be for at least not so clearly, which really hit me from this interview with Nathan. And this will stick with me, is there are two different types of products. There is the product that you create, where the sole purpose is to acquire a customer.
RV (06:52):
And then there is the product that you create to generate a profit. That, that was fascinating to me. And now he, he quoted the book ready, fire aim, which I had never heard of. So I guess apparently that that’s a big concept out of, out of that book, but that’s a really powerful idea. And, and when we have a, one of our, one of our stop on the brand builder journey, like one of our courses that’s called high traffic strategies and it’s about running paid traffic. And it’s more, it’s one of the more advanced courses that, that people get to once you’ve built your whole infrastructure. But one of the things that we talk about there is, you know, this concept of like a self-liquidating funnel or you know, a, a, a recovery or a break even where you’re able to pay money for ads to drive traffic.
RV (07:44):
And then you’re just trying to sell enough of those items to recover your ad spend. And you, wait, why would you do that? Like, why would I spend a bunch of money to only just barely get that money and, and have the risk? Well, the reason why is because in the process, you grow your brand awareness, you grow your email list, you grow your social following, you grow your presence, your street cred. There’s more people that hear about you. So there’s all of these other positive ancillary byproducts. If you can set that up, that’s what he’s talking about here is one product you create exists for the sole purpose to acquire a customer. That’s kind of that concept, right? At least in digital marketing world, that is, is that concept. Then the second type of product you create is to generate profit. So the other reason why you would do this sort of self-liquidating funnel concept is not just because of those, those things like, Hey, I would, I would get more impressions, more, reach, more awareness, more emails, but it’s because if you capture their contact information, that’s an actual asset that you can monetize directly in the future.
RV (08:53):
So just think about it as an email address. Let’s say I put $10 in the machine and I get, you know, $10 outta the machine. I made no money. I spent a bunch of time. I took risk. I made no money. Well, why would I do it still? Well, because the, the byproduct is an email address. And you say, well, what difference does it make you, you don’t get paid for addresses. Well, that’s true. You don’t get paid on the first sale, but you do on the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the 10th, the 50th that you go, oh, well, then I’m monetizing it later. And this is this little part right here is like, honestly, functionally. One of the biggest differences, like you think the biggest personal brands in the world are the biggest, because they’re the smartest or they’re, they’re the best, or they have the most original ideas.
RV (09:39):
They’re not, they understand this concept I’m talking about right here, and they’re willing to take risk. And they’re willing to bet on themselves. They’re willing to say not by followers, but by attention, by awareness, by reach by impact. And say, I will put in a ton of work to impact lives, even if I don’t make money from it, because I wanna impact a lot of people. And it’s, you know, there’s a lot of functionality to it, which is one of the reasons why brand builders group exists. Right? But that, that’s the concept here and Nathan’s telling the same story. And then the third thing, which again, is sort of this one’s more classic entrepreneurship is when he was just saying, find a way, find a way you gotta find a way, like, are you gonna take a hit on paid advertising? Yes. Did I, the iOS 14 updates, crush a bunch of us.
RV (10:28):
Yes. I say us, we weren’t actually running paid ads, but the, the, it has, it changed the landscape you yes. Does. Does every time a new social media come on, you know, TikTok comes out. Does that change things? Yes. Is the metaverse gonna affect the future? Yes. Are there new competitors coming in? Yes, it’s hard, but you gotta find a way you gotta make the decision to make the resolution, make the commitment that I’m gonna find a way. Like I have a goal. I have a destination in that I am pursuing, and I am currently on a path that path might get blocked. I am not committed to, to having to follow one path. I am committed to the destination. I am committed to finding a way to get there. The way that I get there might have to change. Right? It’s just like driving somewhere.
RV (11:16):
You have your destination. There might be a traffic jam. There might be road construction. There might be an accident, but you go, I’m going to do whatever I have to do. And it might take longer than I thought I might have to go different. I might have to go, you know, do something new, but I’m still committed to the destination. It’s exactly how it is. And yet most of us go, oh, I had, you know, I, I had destination and the path I was walking it down. It didn’t, it didn’t work out. And so it’s over. I mean, that’s not wrong. It’s not bad. It’s just not what successful people do. And so are you really somebody who’s willing to make that decision to find a way to commit to the destination, to, to go the entire journey, to do whatever it takes, because there is a way like there is a way to get there.
RV (12:01):
It just may not be the way, you know, and, and you gotta, you know, you need help. You need other people to guide you and show you the workarounds. And, and, but there is always a way. And, and what it matters is not so much that, you know, the way as what matters is that, you know, the destination, you don’t have to know the way, but you have to know the destination and you have to be committed to the destination. And if building your personal brand is a really important destination for you, we know a lot of ways to get there and we’ve run into a, out of the roadblock and we know where the construction is, and we know where the traffic jams are and we can help you. And, and we have a track record of figuring out for ourselves and for a whole host of hundreds of clients, figuring out ways around them, because things are always changing, but this is, you know, this is the game that we play.
RV (12:52):
And so if you’re serious about building a personal brand, you need to request a call with our team, right? You need to take advantage of, of the, you know, the, the opportunity to do that and, and request a call and talk to us, we’ll do the first call for free because all of us have had to have that journey. And you hear about ’em every single week, Nathan Chan was no different. They’ve built a really, really wonderful brand a founder magazine, 3.4 million followers. I mean, that gets the attention of the biggest people in the world. I mean, some of our, our very high profile clients are people that we’ve been connecting to, to Nathan Chan, because it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a legit reputation and it’s not easy, but it can be done and you can do it. So keep coming back, keep staying plugged in. We’re gonna keep bringing you hopefully valuable insights and inspiration and inspiring stories and guests right here on the influential personal brand podcast catch you next time.

Ep 260: 3 Steps to Making Money From Social Media with Vanessa Lau

RV (00:07):
Vanessa Lau has become one of my favorite people to follow. You know, recently I mentioned that Jasmine star, when we had Jasmine on that, I’ve, you know, known her for years and we become friends and I love her. I love following Vanessa as well. I learn a lot from her, but I’ll tell you what impresses me the most about her is her transparency. If you hit her YouTube channel, which by the way, has a half a million subscribers, the very first thing that you will see is a video that auto plays, which shows her crying. It shows her in real life, the starting her dream, her journey as like corporate escapee just a few years ago, like three or four years ago. And now she is a seven figure CEO. And she specializes like in, in teaching online course creators and coaches, unlike how to build their influence, she’s got more than 200,000 followers on Instagram. And she just has a, a, a really powerful knack for teaching practical things in a very, very honest way. I had a chance to interview her for something I was doing with success magazine several months ago, Sean Cannel vouched for her and said she was awesome Hansen, Chang. And we just got to meet and I really, really like Vanessa Laos. So Vanessa, welcome to, to the show.
VL (01:23):
Thanks for having me, Rory excited to hang out with you and have amazing conversation.
Speaker 1 (01:28):
So tell us just a little bit of like, I mean, a lot of the people that we have on this show are people who’ve been around a minute, right? Like you’re you have like shot to the top of this space, just terms of the, the size of your following and your impact, like in a couple years. So what happened? How did that ha like, how did that happen? Why do you think that happened? Like, just tell us the story a bit.
Speaker 2 (01:56):
I mean, I started about four years ago in 2018. I started with my YouTube channel and I never like, even you explain that I’m having like pinch me moments, cuz even for me, I don’t realize how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve grown. But I honestly think what contributed to my success was just being candid and honest. I never thought that I was gonna monetize. I never thought that I would be building courses in the future or just even having a, a company. When I first started, I created my YouTube channel because I was just in so much pain in my corporate job when I was trying to figure out how to quit it. And during that journey, when I was trying to figure out, you know, if I should leave, if I shouldn’t leave, I really couldn’t find any resources that I could connect with to help me with that taboo decision.
Speaker 2 (02:44):
When you decide you wanna leave corporate, you wanna quit your job. You don’t go around your office asking your coworkers for advice. You don’t really have a lot of friends or family to really support you through that decision if they’re also in corporate as well. And at the time I found so many resources of people explaining them, leaving their jobs, but all of those jobs were more so like service level, minimum wage entry level jobs. I couldn’t find any resources that were really for that person who like went to college and has a really high paying job and trying to make that decision. And so I went through a lot of pain to like figure out what was right for me. Then eventually when I did quit, I made it my mission to create YouTube videos, to help that person and share my story of why I quit my nine to five, what was my thought process, the pros and cons, and really documenting my journey of doing that.
Speaker 2 (03:35):
And I think that was kind of the the thing that made me stand out the most was the pure honesty, but also the niche that I was in at the time, I didn’t even realize it was a niche, but looking back, it was like me addressing a pain point that was really specific to a very specific type of person. And I, so I think that’s kind of what really helped me make my mark in the beginning. One other thing that I was really good at when I was starting out was building and community. I think that there’s a difference between building an audience versus building a community. When you’re building an audience, it’s like building a following, getting more views, getting subscribers and all that stuff. But building a community is very different. Building a community to me means making as many of your audience members feel seen, heard, appreciated, respected, and feeling involved in your, and one thing looking back that I did really well was the moment I started building the audience.
Speaker 2 (04:25):
I would invite them to a Facebook group and inside I would do even more trainings. I would actually genuinely try to get to know people. At the time when I had the time, I would also do really generous things. Like, you know, if, if you had a question and book a call with me and let let’s talk about it, let’s hang out and let me, let me help you as best as I could. And I think that’s what really helped me grow a lot faster was because I focused on the community building aspect without me even realizing I was doing that. To be honest, when I first started, I was so naive. One thing that I liked to say is I was successful because I was stupid because I really didn’t know any other industry leaders. I didn’t know any business, best practices. I didn’t know what systems and processes were.
Speaker 2 (05:10):
I didn’t know what were the dos and don’t. And so I just did what felt right? I did what felt human. I did what felt good to me. And at the time I just genuinely wanted to connect with other people because I couldn’t find that connection in my real life. Now fast forward to today, this is why I love teaching people about social media specifically is because through my journey, I really learned that social media has just done so many great things for me. It really put me on a international platform and it helped me connect with so many people like without social media, I wouldn’t have connected with you Rory. And so now I realize like, wow, my mission today is I really wanna help people just like me who have this like story to share or, you know, who have tips and advice that they want to give to other people so that they can avoid the same mistakes they did, but giving them that international platform, whether that’s YouTube, Instagram, whatever is in trend right now, so that they can amplify their message and help more people. Because through my journey, I’ve experienced the beautiful thing where, because of my videos or because of my Instagram or because of whatever I’ve helped, one person get 1% better. And as a result of them getting better, they are now helping other people do the same with whatever they learned. And so that is kind of my mission today. But to answer your question of how I grew so fast, I really do think it’s because I UN unintentionally understood the difference to between community and audience.
Speaker 1 (06:39):
Yeah. That’s a powerful distinction, you know, and I the, I think, you know, between com that component of community, and then also the transparency, you know, we were joking before we started the interview about how you wrote the world’s longest blog post at the end of 2020. And I read it, I read it because it was so honest about what you struggled with and you kind of hit, you know, you hit seven figures and you entered what we call the swamp. And we teach a lot of our clients is like, it’s really exciting to hit seven figures where the real work happens is, is truly between one to 3 million and, and getting to 4 million and beyond is a is a very much a case of what got you here. Won’t get you there. And most of us cuz you can’t do it alone, like you can get to 1 million by just being like a pretty bad mam Jamma, but like getting past three or 4 million is a totally different game and the team and you anyways, you were writing about some of those pains and I just you know, I loved it and it was really, really good.
Speaker 1 (07:42):
So on, on for the social media to talk about that for a second you know, Mo a lot of the people who have big social media followings had them because they amassed most of it before 2018. You know, this was even an I would, we would’ve even been in that category. So we sold all of our social media in 2018. You know, we kind of went, it went in the exit of our first business, but you started in 2018 and you also did courses. And I want to talk about the course business model because it was like, you know, 2018 was not early to the game. It was late to the game and yet you’ve grown really, really fast. And so when it comes to social media specifically, do you think it’s really cuz of that community aspect or, you know, are there other things to it you think that have played a big role?
Speaker 2 (08:39):
I think that one thing I, I like to say to my own followers because they always think that it’s too late to start something is just having the mindset of like, you know, it’s always going to be too late to be on a platform, but you know, today is better than none at all. And so that was the mindset that I had going in just as the FYI, because one thing I realized was like, wow, I’ve been putting start a YouTube channel, my new user resolutions for the last like five years, 10 years even. The best time really, if I were to be completely honest was probably when YouTube launched and a bunch of people discovered this whole influencing thing like that would’ve been the best time time to, to launch. So even in 2018, like I at the time didn’t feel like it was the best time because I missed so many opportunities.
Speaker 2 (09:23):
But even today I think that if someone’s listening to this episode, don’t think that even now is too late. I think that it’s it’s, you should just start. But in terms of other things other than building a community, I do think that it’s just, like I said earlier, like stupidity was my, my biggest advantage. Like I wasn’t, I didn’t even know who my competitors were at the time. And so I didn’t try to do the same things as everyone else did. I didn’t try to like watch someone else’s video and just basically copy and paste what they were saying. And so I think that especially if you’re trying to grow in a saturated market saturated, cuz that’s subjective. I think it’s important to almost shield yourself from some of that. So you can actually let your creativity break through. I think that you were just saying how, oh, I, that, that blog post that I wrote where literally outlined every single month, how much I made, even if I didn’t make a profit, all of my learning lessons, all of that, the reason why I did that was because I had noticed that everyone else during that period, during the new year period, everyone was talking about all their wins and all their successes and how awesome it was.
Speaker 2 (10:34):
And so I was like, you know what, let me just do something completely different to of that and talk about all of my failures and all the LS I took in 2021. And that, that, that blog post went viral. And so that’s an example of something that I still do today, which is doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing or having a more refreshing take on certain things. And I think that also helps you stand out in the crowd. I think even for me doing that and doing things different also attracted the attention of people who were even more successful than me. Like EV like even you RO you messaged me and you’re like, whoa, that blog post was amazing. It brought me back to back then when I was building my business and I was feeling a certain way. And you weren’t the only one I had people who had like doubled the following.
Speaker 2 (11:18):
I did message me about it because it, that blog post was circulating so much that it went up to them in their world. And so I know I’m talking about blog posts, but the same thing applies to videos and Instagram content and social media in general is when you actually have a different take on something, people tend to notice actually, people who are more successful than you, because it’s like, oh, this young person right here, or not even young, like this new will comer, holy. Like I didn’t even think about certain things like that. And so I think that from a even a personal brand standpoint is being different is your advantage. And if you are starting on social media, I think a big mistake that a lot of people make is like, oh, but I’m not successful. I don’t have a hundred million followers or I’m, I haven’t had X, X amount of years in business.
Speaker 2 (12:03):
I’m like, that is your advantage. What you think is not your advantage is actually your biggest advantage of being someone who’s starting out and being someone who’s new, not only from a con tent standpoint, because you might have a refreshing take on certain things that no one challenges or no one questions in your industry, but also it’s a lot easier to build community. You know, the reason why when I answered that question of yours earlier, I said, well, I used to, or back then I’m using a lot of past tense language is because back then I had the capacity to create eight community. And that was my biggest advantage that I took advantage of now with all these followers and all these subscribers, it’s a bit harder to do without a team. And so your secret sauce is what you actually think is your disadvantage, but I guarantee you that it is your secret sauce that you have to recognize within yourself.
Speaker 1 (12:52):
Yeah. I that’s, I love the, even there where you mentioned the idea of a blog, right? I mean, you know, blogging is like, oh, it’s so old school. Now we talk about the blog is the central is the central home headquarters of our digital strategy. And it’s kind of what we teach everything else is just sort of filtering because of SEO and et cetera, et cetera. But you know, just starting with that and going now let’s talk, can we talk about your business model for a second? So we
Speaker 2 (13:23):
Speaker 1 (13:24):
You came out, it, it was the course. So your course is boss Graham academy. That was like, that’s been like your flagship. That’s like the, the first course you kind of launched and built and have built on, right. For the, the last few years that’s been your flagship. Right?
Speaker 2 (13:37):
I mean, the first thing I ever launched was coaching like one on one. Got it. And the reason why was because my videos, like honestly, when I started my business, I just want to be a YouTuber. My goal is like, I wanna be a full-time YouTuber, make money off of a sense. And you know, I’ll be happy with that. But what I realized is that as I was creating more videos, talking about my story, my journey, and, you know, eventually I started sharing some social media tips that were doing well for me, just cuz genuinely I wanted to share. I started getting like DMS from people being like, Hey, can I actually pay you to help me privately with a question that I have? And I was like, what’s this, you know, a few years ago I had no idea what coaching even was. And so that’s when I started experimenting and just taking on a few clients at first I did for free cuz I had no idea what I was doing.
Speaker 2 (14:24):
And I was like, is this even for real? Then I got confident cuz I was like, okay, I’m getting busy. I’m actually good at what I do. And people are getting results. So let me start charging. Then the next phase of my business was okay, no, now I’m booked out. I am booked out. And at the time I was working with 12 clients, which to some people isn’t a lot, but to me who’s just starting out. That’s a lot at once. Like for someone who doesn’t even know what they’re doing, right. And then I noticed like, okay, there’s some patterns amongst these clients who are the clients that I love working with, who are the clients that maybe weren’t a good fit? Who did I get results for? And through that process of working with one on one clients, it also helped me identify like what my strengths were too.
Speaker 2 (15:01):
Like there were some questions that I was like, mm, I could answer that, but I’m not really passionate about it. Or I’m not really qualified to answer this question. Other questions were asked. I was like, ah, this is like my zone a genius. So eventually because of pure demand, I was literally rejecting so many people and closing out my programs cuz there was so much demand from it. Thanks to the traffic that I was getting on social media. I then decided to package everything that I knew into a course. So I didn’t necessarily build a course because I was like, ah, everyone’s got a course and I’m gonna a lot of money from this. It was really because of like, okay, I’m basically repeating myself to a lot of these clients. I have a whole wait list of people that wanna work with me. So what’s the easiest way to like still create impact for people without trading too much time. That’s when I created the course and now that course is my flagship.
Speaker 1 (15:49):
Yeah. And that, that, you know, we talk about how services are always the fastest path to cash, but they’re the least scalable long term. And coaching is one of the services that has the least barrier to resistance. Like, you know, being a speaker, which is kind of how I came up as a classic kind of corporate keynote speaker. It’s a, it’s a hard road. There’s, you know, a long time for decision making and a lot of competition and you’re book events way out in advance. But when you’re a coach, it’s like, if somebody’s a fan, they could just hire you it’s and they can hire you tomorrow and you can like start working right away. But when you repeating yourself over and over and then going, I just need to package this. So how did you then launch the course? Right? So you, you realize, all right, I’m good at this.
Speaker 1 (16:31):
I’m gonna start charging started for free, love that. Super common in the journey. You’re repeating yourself. You go, okay, I’m gonna package this up. I get it recorded. I get it edited. Now it’s up inside of, you know, whatever, some LMS somewhere then what is the ma the mechanism or the process? Cuz we have a lot of clients that are in this, but, and they could even be like not online marketing coaches, they’re they’re, you know, whatever they’re CPAs or their lawyers or their, and they cannot, they can’t take on any more service based work. They have to commoditize that knowledge. And I don’t think the hardest part for them is creating what to say and getting it recorded. The hard part is going, how the heck do I sell that thing? So talk us through that.
Speaker 2 (17:19):
Yeah. Well I actually did it a bit different where I just sold the sales page first. So I marketed the program and I, I, I basically, I come from a corporate background and one thing that I learned from being in corporate was you all always want to prototype something. I learned this from one of the people who worked at Google that came in for a keynote. And basically what prototyping means is instead of just CR building the product first and seeing if people are gonna buy it, because you could waste a lot of money, time, resources, building a product that’s not gonna sell. When you prototype something, you just create like the bare minimum of what needs to be marketed and sold to. And then if there’s demand, then you build the product. A good example would maybe be like Elon Musk and his cyber truck.
Speaker 2 (18:05):
Right? Like he didn’t even build it yet. He just kind of sold the I idea on it are people interested, do a wait list, get a deposit. And then he uses that money to actually build the cyber truck. So that’s essentially what I did. Even back then, when I worked at keels, I worked for a skincare brand. I was doing marketing. We would prototype like skincare kits. Like we would create the mock up of what the kit would look like and the then just put it on the counter and see if there was anyone that would pick it up just to see if there was a demand for it first, before we actually built the thing. And so I use the same approach to selling. My course is I didn’t want to waste a lot of time. Like it’s a lot, it’s time consuming.
Speaker 2 (18:43):
It’s easy to do, but it’s time consuming work to film a bunch of modules, a bunch of lessons and figure or all that stuff out on top of marketing it. Right. So I just went straight to marketing it. I started off with just doing a poll. Hey, if I launched this program and it had these modules and these lessons, would you be interested? Yes or no? A bunch of people said yes. Okay, cool. Now there’s some sort of demand there. Let me go on to create the sales page and actually outline it. And you know what it would be, what would include now again earlier I said that one thing that made me stood out was community, not just building an audience but community. And so on my stories, I would tell people, Hey, I’m thinking of like creating this course. I haven’t built it yet.
Speaker 2 (19:24):
I’m thinking of doing these modules. What do you think? Or like, what lessons would you wanna learn? And so my audience felt invested in this product because they’re like, we’re basically building it with Vanessa. So obviously when I launched it, a lot of those people who built it with me kind of, they bought it because it was everything that they asked for. And so that’s kind of what I did initially was I pulled my audience just asking, Hey, I’m creating this program. And you know, to those listeners who, if you already have a course, this method still works is like making people feel involved in your launch, making people feel involved in the campaign. And so that’s kind of what I did. Then I launched the the sales page with all like, this is what we’re doing, all this stuff. We like, this is the time that we’re gonna start, but
Speaker 1 (20:06):
The thing still didn’t exist yet. You just created the sales page for it.
Speaker 2 (20:10):
No, I just created the outline in our everything. And then I also, like, didn’t say, we’re gonna start right away. I’m I, I basically sold it first. And then I said, we start a month from now kind of like when you register for school, like, you know, you’ve enrolled, you apply, you get accepted. Okay. School starts on this date. So I had like a month to kind of at least build something on the back end. And so I sold it and first launch made about $200,000, which was beyond me. Like I had no idea that I was gonna make that much, my very first course launch. How much was it?
Speaker 1 (20:41):
Like, it was
Speaker 2 (20:41):
Like, it was like, it was like a $500 product. So I enrolled quite a bit of people 40
Speaker 1 (20:47):
Wait. Yeah. Several. What is that? Yeah, so it would be like 400 like 400 customers.
Speaker 2 (20:53):
Yeah. It was about like 400 customers. I think I had different price ranges. I had like 500 to like 700, depending on if you were an early bird or if you were I, yeah, I had different pricing tiers, but the total amount was about $200,000 that I made. Yeah. And I didn’t have, you know, this, the audience that I have today. So it was crazy for me. And did just like
Speaker 1 (21:14):
Tell people, go to this sales page and check it out. Or did you say come to a webinar or
Speaker 2 (21:19):
Did you do a so challenge? Yeah, you’re bringing me back to memory. So what I did was I was like so I, I, I did tell people that I was building this program and I was like, you know, polling people. I was doing market research. I had a Facebook group at, at the time too. So I also looked at what people were asking in my Facebook group to help inform what was gonna be in the program. And then afterwards I said, Hey, you know, I’m doing three free like trainings over on Facebook. Live of like not even a fancy webinar platform, nothing. It was just Facebook live, cuz that’s all I knew how to use. And so then I, I hosted three master classes and those classes really taught people kind of like here are the things that I’m actually gonna teach in the program.
Speaker 2 (22:01):
Here’s like a little preview and each training kind of walks through three different, you know, CATA GOs. Like one of them was about how to like find your niche. Second one was about content. And then the third one was about like, here are some Instagram like strategies that have been working really well. And then at the end of those trainings, I would just tell people, Hey, if you want to learn more about this or if this like really helps you out, I wanna let you know that I, my program’s ready. Like I have this program am now here’s the link to the sales page. If you wanna buy it by X date, we start on April 1st. Like, so that’s kind of what I did and I not expecting that.
Speaker 1 (22:38):
It’s not, but it’s like, it’s not rocket science. It’s kind of like, if you knew nothing about marketing, how would you do it? You go, I would, you know, come up with an outline, see a, if anybody might be interested, invite ’em to a free training and then offer ’em thing, it’s kind of like, you know, you go through whole foods and they hand you a, a piece of chip on a, a stick and they get a sample or, you know, my mom sold Mary Kay or like people do tapware you come to a party, you try on the makeup. You like, you see the product, you get a sample it and then you buy it. Like, it’s, it’s really not that rocket science. And like, I love how you’re saying that, you know, if you don’t know anything about technology, a start a private Facebook group, and that can be your email list opt in, you know?
Speaker 1 (23:21):
And then it’s like, you just go live and that’s the version of your webinar. And then people can VE mow you the money. Like there’s no reason not, not to to, to do this stuff anymore. Who, so who was who was the first person you hired? Like talk me through your team real quick. So you, you do that, you do that launch, you keep growing on social. Clearly you are reinvesting into your brand and your website and your team. How, how, how did you bring on the roles to start scaling towards your first seven figures?
Speaker 2 (23:52):
I mean, even with my first launch the, I only had one person helping me out and we don’t even know what her title was. She was actually someone from my community. And I remember I was, I was, is growing my Facebook group. Right. And, you know, after your Facebook group gets a certain size, it just kind of becomes chaos inside. Like I would say after like the 3000 person mark, it just becomes like a spam Fest. And you know, you get people who might have found you through cold traffic and just say really mean things or something. And so I actually had someone in my community D I mean was like, Hey, like, do you need help? I think you need help. And I was like, I do. I was like, can I let me just pay you like $15 an hour and just try to help me out.
Speaker 2 (24:36):
And so she was, I think looking back, maybe her title was more of like assistant or general VA. And so she started off just helping me moderating my free Facebook group. Then she also helped me with like designing lead magnets, like for my YouTube videos. Sometimes I would have a lead magnet attached to it to grow my email list. But when I actually did my course launch, you know, the fact that I didn’t create the program yet, she really helped me create some of the slides as we were drip feeding. So the basic to kind of close the loop on how I launched the, the program because I didn’t create the program yet. I had 30 months, like runway to just create something so that when people start on that day, there’s something for them. And so during those first, like 30 days, I created the first module first.
Speaker 2 (25:23):
And then as the program went on week after, I would just drip feed the remaining modules. And after each module too, I would have a feedback form so that our clients could like tell me, like what worked, what didn’t work. And so I would just adjust as I went. And so that’s how I got a lot of good testimonials and social proof on my program because it was exactly what people wanted and people needed. So I’m really glad I to like that approach. And so my first hire, what she helped me with was I would, because it was a lot of modules and like to do in a week, I was kind of like, that was a lot of work back then. I would just do the outline of my slides and then I would send it to her and she would make it pretty. And then when she made it pretty, she’d send it back to me. I would record it and then I would upload it to whatever course platform that you decide to use. So that was really what she helped me a lot with. And she also,
Speaker 1 (26:13):
You signed like skeleton slides of like, here’s the content. And then she would use like Canva or something. And like,
Speaker 2 (26:18):
Exactly. Like, I would literally use like aerial font, like just blank, like, you know, placeholder here, like please create like a, a picture of, of a graphic here. Like it was just really, really rough draft slides. But the content itself was all me. She just made it pretty and presentable and also checked for any spelling errors because when you’re in creation mode, like you’re just, there’s gonna be typos everywhere. Like, and she just polished it up and cleaned it up. She helped me upload it. And she also helped with just like interacting in the Facebook group not necessarily answering questions. It’s kind of what I still did at the time, but like rooting people on like, Hey, you’re doing a great job. Or she would just flag anything that I should know about, but I was pretty involved in, in my first launch and how I delivered the program.
Speaker 2 (27:01):
I also, after every module that dropped, I would do like a, an FAQ call or a Q and a call live. And so if people had questions about the material, I would answer those questions. Now, obviously this was my first time doing it. And that’s why I was so hands on. But to answer your question of how we sit scale to seven figures is eventually after each launch, I would, it, my, my involvement would be less and less because the program became better and better where it, the curriculum could really stand on its own at that point. And people could get results technically without me because the program was so refined and it’s been about like, this is our fourth, third year having the program, I think. And every time that we’ve done an update, we still keep in mind customer feedback and we just streamline the curriculum so much to the point where the version we have now basically can stand on its own.
Speaker 1 (27:57):
I love it. I love it. One last little quick, quick question. How much has paid ads played or no, not played a role in what you do.
Speaker 2 (28:09):
I it’s so funny cuz I feel like I’m one of those maybe rare entrepreneurs where paid ads don’t work really well for me. Most of my sales and traffic come organic, I believe maybe paid ads contribute to 30% of, of like one third of everything. But it is something that I still need to scale up and optimize. So yeah, but I have found that like obviously eventually with organic, you do start wanting, you do start going into paid ads to kind of increase your reach. But I am that one of those entrepreneurs where organic is still kind of my bread and butter in terms of how we get our results in our traffic.
Speaker 1 (28:47):
Awesome. Great to know. So where should people go Vanessa? Like if they want to connect up with you, see what you’re up to? I mean, obviously you’re on the socials. Is that, is that where they go or where would you point ’em?
Speaker 2 (29:00):
Yeah, my socials my YouTube channel is probably the best place. If you guys want to learn more or about social media, about building a business entrepreneurship, and if you wanna hang out on Instagram, that’s great too. I do a lot of more personal stuff on Instagram. But yeah, those are like the top two places. And then from there, you’ll see all the other places you can connect with with me with, so those would be the top two.
Speaker 1 (29:24):
I love it. Well, thank you so much for are sharing. Keep going. We believe in you like you’re you are so cool and there’s just no doubt the trajectory that you are on Vanessa. Like it’s gonna end up somewhere really, really exciting. And, and you know, you’re helping a lot of people, so we just wanna encourage you in your journey and, and thanks for being here. We look forward to watching it all unfold.
Speaker 2 (29:46):
Thank you for having me, Rory. This was awesome.
Speaker 3 (29:50):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if, if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon,
Speaker 1 (30:37):
What a fabulous and encouraging and practical and inspiring interview there with Vanessa. And I like, I mean, I’m, I really think Vanessa LA is cool. Like I have been following her and watching her she’s she’s humble and practical and not pretentious. And you know, you get a sense of that just from, from listening to her. So I wanted to take everything that she’s talked about and I’m gonna share with you kind of like my three highlights, which are, you know, I kind of take this as three steps to making money from social media and, and, and you know, she’s taking us on her journey. And then as, as I sort of assimilate that into what we know and teach and think about how does it apply to you to go, all right, if you wanna make money from social media, how do you, how do you actually do it?
Speaker 1 (31:27):
And I think the, the, you know, the, the first step that she talked a lot about is to basically let your difference be your advantage, let your difference be your advantage. I love when she was talking about how people take notice of things that are different. So the fact that you don’t do things the way that everybody else does, or that, you know, people who are already well known do gives you in advantage. Like you have the ability to take risks and to take chances and to do things differently and even be beyond that, she said, what you think is not your advantage is actually your advantage. I was thinking about how does that apply to us at brand builders? Like, you know, a lot of our clients have more social media followers than we do a lot more cuz some of our clients have millions of followers.
Speaker 1 (32:20):
Literally, and yet it’s like the thing that we would go, oh, well maybe that, like why would they hire us? Well, it’s because that’s not really what we teach. Right? Like our focus is not on making, you know, getting millions of followers. It’s on getting millions of dollars. I mean, frankly, like we’re really good at scaling the infrastructure, the strategy, creating you know, the systems, the operations and, and organizing things in a way to go. Like, how do you, how do you make a business? Like how do you actually build a business? And I, I changed my Instagram, like header here recently, you know, that kind of says what I do. And in a, it says helping personal brands build better businesses. And you know, that’s what I realized is like, you know, what we teach is business. And then underneath that, it’s like entrepreneurship.
Speaker 1 (33:08):
And then underneath that, it’s like specific for personal brands and, and that’s sort of like the, the place that we play in going, ah, they’re not hiring us cuz they don’t need that. The, they already have that. They know how to do that thing. So a lot of those things exist only in your head as insecurities and you know, self-doubt when really that thing, whatever that thing is that you think is your disadvantage often is your advantage. Like that’s what she was talking about is she was able to build a following so fast because she didn’t have a following. And she was basically documenting this whole journey and sharing what works and just being open and, and honest about that. And it reminds me of what Gary V one of the things that Gary Vayner check says, which I think is an awesome one, is don’t feel like you have to create just document, right?
Speaker 1 (33:55):
Like don’t feel like you have to create just document, talk about, share the story of you trying to build and learn about whatever the thing is that you that you are doing. And I think that’s super duper powerful. So your, your, your difference is your advantage. The second thing that she brought up, which I really love, and it was such a sharp, such a sharp distinction and, and such a quick distinction is there’s a big difference between community building. Like there’s a big, there’s a big difference between building a community and building an audience. Like most people on social media are trying to build their audience, right? They’re trying to like get a large number of people to pay attention, but they’re not actually that focused on building a community. They’re not actually, I mean, in, in here’s the difference to me, which she didn’t say this per se, but here’s how I process it.
Speaker 1 (34:56):
Building an audience means you’re broadcasting, right? It is one way communication. Building a community is, is multidimensional or it’s like omnichannel. So meaning not only is it two-way communication. So like to me, you know, an audience is you broadcast. When I do a speech, right? People hire me to come in and speak. I’m I’m broadcasting to an audience and it, and you know, there’s very little response other than like maybe a Q and a portion or people come get a book sign at the back of the room or whatever. And if it’s, so if it’s, if it’s one way communication, that’s a broadcast, that’s an audience. If it’s two way communication, that’s a conversation. But I would say that’s not even a community. So I do think that is part of it is going okay, let’s have a conversation. And that’s part of the power of, even if you think about web one, like one was basically broadcast.
Speaker 1 (35:58):
It was like, you could throw up a website. People could come read web two is social media, which is like, oh, now we can have conversation. Like I, you can leave a comment. I can reply. We can get to know each other, but it’s really even con connecting people inside that conversation separate from you. So it’s connecting two of your list centers or two of your fans or two of your clients. This is a huge focus of us for, of ours at brand builders group for our monthly members, because we now have almost 400 active monthly clients, 400 people that we’re doing one-on-one coaching with who are coming to our events. And what we’re realizing is, oh my gosh, the power, or like in addition to amazing world class content that we teach in our curriculum, the power is the community it’s going. You should do a podcast with you and you should be an affiliate for you and you need to help this person get into that company.
Speaker 1 (36:50):
And you guys should share speaking leads and, and you know, this person write Forbes and they need articles and you have this big story that they cover and, and that’s happening all the time. And so brand builders group is really transforming on, on the paid side of our business to community. I mean, the content is always gonna be there. We’re always leveling that up. You know, but the content’s dialed in, I mean, we spend a lifetime learning this and it’s, it’s like, we, we know it. It’s not super dial. It doesn’t change that often. It’s a lot to learn a ton. I mean, it’s, we have 14 different two day experiences in our full curriculum, but the community is the part that never ends and is always growing and strengthening. And so I just encourage you to think about that as like, are you even approaching social media as it is a one way channel of broadcasting?
Speaker 1 (37:43):
Is it a two way channel of communi, like of, of conversation or is it an omnichannel omnichannel or inter channel connectivity, which is really a community. And that community makes a huge difference. A small community can be tremendously powerful versus a big audience is not that powerful. Right. I think of the, the, like a billboard which is, you know, that reaches a huge number of people, but they’re not really engaged. It’s very passive versus a community is like, we’re living together. We’re doing life together. We’re so supporting each other. We’re we know each other, we’re helping one another and that’s a really, really big difference. And as you know, so conceptually, that’s the difference, I think, between building a community and building an audience now, pragmatically, there’s other parts of this that really roll out in terms of how does this work to your advantage when you’re monetizing.
Speaker 1 (38:40):
And I think it specifically showed up when she was saying, make people feel like they’re involved in your launch, give people a chance to have a backstage pass. Right. That’s really how what I think of like stories on social, or even like Twitter, you, you could think of it this way is, or Snapchat is they’re getting to see your daily life and like follow what’s going on. As you, as you document, as you document your journey. And so when you, you tell ’em the moment, you have an idea for a product and then you get feedback on it and then you kind of like share your rough out line and they get you feedback on it. And then you say, Hey, if I put this together, would, I mean, if you buy it and you get feedback on it and just, it’s almost like they’re sold by the time you create it because they, they wanna see it.
Speaker 1 (39:26):
Like they’re, they’re a part of, of creating it. I think that really applies for, you know, a book launch and for, you know, launching anything, certainly a course launch for her. So build a community, not just an audience. And then the third, the third thing here for how to monetize your social media is do a simple launch, do a simple launch. What is a simple launch to me, it is telling, you know, it’s building an audience and telling them that you’ve created something. And I guess I would add an intermediate step. I would say, you know, you gotta build an audience first. And that’s the part that everyone screws up. Everybody wants to build a product and then, and then find an audience to sell to. You have to flip that you gotta twist that around you don’t, you don’t find an audience after you’ve sold the, after you’ve created the product, build an audience, and then you build the product for that audience.
Speaker 1 (40:21):
Don’t build a product and then hope you can build an audience, build an audience, and then build the product that they need. And so if you flip that, then that becomes the first step is you, you build, build the audience. Then the second step is give ’em a free sample, give ’em a free sample, let them sample it somehow and then ask them to buy it, tell ’em how much it is, what it is, where they get it, how much it costs and ask them to buy it. And so often we get lost in the, you know, the technological complexities of all the different ways to do this. And of course there’s a lot of people that make a lot of money from teaching it and making it complicated. But you could do this, like with a Facebook group. It like, you don’t even have to have an email responder.
Speaker 1 (41:04):
You just start sharing content and you say, Hey, if you want more, come join our private Facebook group. And that basically functions as like your early email opt-in list. Now, long term, we would tell you, you need to, you need to focus very intentionally about getting people off of social media and onto an actual email list. But the point here is just that you could start right away without knowing anything and having any team or ever any technology leverage the idea of a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group. And you say, Hey, come join this group. Now they’re in the group, you’re posting content in there. And then you say, Hey, everyone inside this group, I’m gonna host of free training. And you could literally just go live and it could be one long free training, which would be the equivalent of a webinar.
Speaker 1 (41:50):
You could do three short trainings, which would be the equivalent of a video funnel. Like over a few days, you could do, you know, seven micro, 10 minute trainings five to 10 minute trainings over a week or 14 days. And now it becomes a 14 day challenge or, or something, right? It’s it’s, it’s not, we get lost. We get so lost. And when we so consumed with like, what’s the right technology and what’s the perfect process, and those things are important, they add a lot of value in there’s details. But the big idea is the same. Always it’s like add value to people’s lives, give them a ch you know, to build your audience, give them a chance to sample the product, and then let ’em buy the product. It’s the, the same thing that happens in the food court or at the grocery store.
Speaker 1 (42:37):
They, they, they let you sample it and then they B your chance to buy it. It’s the same thing that, you know, you do with a direct sales company. It’s the same way that you get booked to be a speaker, right? You go speak for free. You let people sample you, and then you let, ’em hire you to bring you in for more. So it, the modality isn’t so much important as just the high level concept of going create something awesome, like add value to people’s lives, make an impact, give them a chance to sample and then show ’em how to get more and whatever the mechanism is, the modality of how that happens. It almost doesn’t matter. It’s just that you’re doing that. You’re connecting with humans and you’re thinking about them as real people. And not just, you know, faceless entities with a credit card in hand that you’re trying to access.
Speaker 1 (43:24):
Like, that’s, that’s what you have to move past. So those are three steps. You know, I, I, I think there’s psychological steps. There’s, there’s three mindset shifts that need to happen that also have corresponding technical, you know, or practical action items that you could take. So I hope you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for tuning in for the highlights. We love you. We’re so grateful for you. If you haven’t left us a review, please leave us a review on iTunes, share this podcast with somebody who you think would benefit from it. Check out our free trainings that we, we have available for you request a free call. If you want to talk to one of our strategists about creating a custom plan for you. We work with all types of people, you know, billionaires and celebrities and people with millions of followers. Most of our clients have smaller followings. They’re they’re, they’re just beginning, or they just have an idea or they’re, you know, intermediate. So talk to us, right. Request a call and keep coming back more, more than anything. Just keep coming back. We’ll keep bringing awesome guests and sharing with you the best of what we know. That’s it for this episode, we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand podcast.

Ep 259: What You Need to Know About How CSX is Changing with Brittany Hodak

AJV (00:07):
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the influential personal brand podcast. This is one of your co-hosts AJ Vaden here, and I am genuinely so happy. I’m so excited to have the amazing Brittany Hodak on the show today. She’s a personal friend, but she’s also someone that we go to for customer experience, training and advice. So we, we’ve got some shared personal and professional lives, which I’m so happy to merge those together for everyone on the show today. And let me just give you a little bit of background. But before I, I wanna tell you why you need to stay tuned for this entire episode is like there are two things that propelled me to COER Brittany to come onto the show today. And the first one is the fundamental belief that every single person in your company is in charge of customers experience, rather that is service or sales or marketing as like everyone, to anyone who touches your customers, which should be anyone and everyone at some point they are in charge of experience, which means this is an important conversation to be had for every single person, no matter what your job is, what your role is, what your company is, what industry you’re in.
AJV (01:22):
If you sell things to people, this is an episode that you need to listen to. So stay tuned for that. The second thing is this merging trend of how we’re seeing the marketing departments merge with customer service and experience. And this is happening in huge companies all across the world. And we wanna talk about why, like, what is the impact on customer service and customer experience on sales and hyper specifically on marketing. So stay tuned for that. So now let me give you just a little bit of a highlight of the all inspiring, all, all inspiring. If I can talk today of Brittany Hodak. So Brittany is an award-winning entrepreneur. And so speaker who has delivered keynotes across the world to organizations, including American express and the United nations, right? Like what, that’s amazing. She’s also published more than 350 articles for different media outlets, including Forbes ad week success magazine.
AJV (02:20):
She’s been on NBC, CBS, CNN, CBC. I mean, the list goes on and on. She also is the author of an upcoming book that we’re gonna get a little bit of sneak peek insider perspective on that’s gonna come out in about a year from now. But you know, she literally has done fan engagement for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Disney, Amazon Walmart, and then my favorite Dolly Parton. Right. So you kinda had me at Dolly Parton, so I could go on and on talking about your accolades and your awesomeness both professionally and personally. But at this point we’ll actually start the conversation. So Brittany, welcome to the show.
BH (03:00):
Yay. Thank you so much, AJ. That was so kind, I am thrilled to be here for the record. It was very easy for you to coach me to come on the show because I am a long time listener. And when you asked me, I was like yeah, that sounds fun. We should do it. So thank you for having me. I’m excited to you know, take some of the conversations that we usually have without a microphone and have them in front of a microphone.
AJV (03:24):
Yeah, I am honestly, I’m so excited. And for everyone listening, I actually asked Brittany to come and help us at brand builders group. And she and I had a, a multi-hour session just a couple of weeks. So talking about customer service and experience, and it was one of the things that it was like, oh my gosh, these are the things that every single person on the planet needs to hear. And so let’s start, let’s just start a little bit of, how did you get to where you are? Like, how did you merge from being where you are like being where you were to this real true expert, but not just an expert is something you’re truly passionate about. And it literally does just bubble out of you that way around customer experience and service that like, how did you get into this? Like where did this all start?
BH (04:08):
Well, you know, I think a lot of it started during my childhood because my dad was the most passionate customer service proponent of any anyone I ever met. And he when I was really young, he managed a restaurant and I used to love to go and sit in the restaurant and just see the way everybody who came in knew him. And he was so happy to talk to people and he didn’t mind being up front or in the back. Like all of his employees loved him and the customers loved him. And, you know, he would tell me stories about like some of the crazy things that would happen. And then when I was a little older, he was in charge of customer service at a car dealership and I thought everything was so fascinating the way, you know, he would talk to me about like the referral things that they were doing and retention plays and all of these things.
BH (04:57):
And like simultaneously, because he cared so much customer experience and customer service, anytime he was like wronged by any store, we were like forbid to ever go there again, which I remember as a kid was like, so frustrating. There was this one time in the summer I was probably like six or seven and, but he was the yard and the lawnmower broke and he was like, I’m gonna go get a new lawnmower. And, you know, we grew up in a small town. There weren’t a lot of places. But he went to the mall and tried to buy a lawnmower at Sears. And they were like, well, we don’t have any, like, you’ll have to come back in week. And he was like, but I see it right there on the floor. And they were like, oh, but we can’t sell you that one, cuz it’s assembled.
BH (05:42):
And he was like, right, but you have an assembly charge. So like, why can’t I have this lawnmower today? And then you can just like make another one when you get the other ones in. And they were like, yeah, sorry, we can’t do that. And so my dad got so mad, like when we left, he was like, we’re never shopping at seas again. He’s like, I’m not even gonna take my craftsman tools back when they break. And I was like, what do you mean we’re not gonna shop at Sears? Like where am I gonna get like clothes? Like what do you mean? But he, you know, there were probably like seven or eight brands over the years that were on like the do not buy, do not support lists either like retail or D TOC stuff. So I, anyway, he was so passionate about this idea of putting the customer at the center of everything you do and making sure that everyone on your team knows that the only reason you are there is because of the customer.
BH (06:30):
So every decision you make should be in the service of customers. And you know, I think I sort of like absorbed all of that without even realizing it. I always wanted to work in entertainment. I worked in the music and entertainment industry for like the first 15 years of my career. And as I started doing more and more brand staff, I realized that there’s this huge intersection of those two worlds and that the same things that make people love an artist or an entertainer are the things that make people loyal to a brand or a retailer. And, you know, it’s all about building that affinity and getting to that point where people wanna be advocates. And that’s where I really had this aha moment of if I can bring some of these principles, I understand from entertainment into the customer experience world to make people realize that customer experience can be fun and sexy and cool, then you know, that will serve a lot of people.
AJV (07:23):
Oh my gosh. I love that. And I, so, so I am curious. So and maybe this is a little bit of, what’s gonna be coming in your upcoming book, creating super fans, which is coming out a year from now, roughly give or take a little bit. But, and so I’m curious, like in your opinion, what makes people fall in love with entertainers?
BH (07:43):
I am so glad you asked this question. So I always say super fans are created at the intersection of your story and every customer story. And so I’ll never forget the first time I met Taylor swift, she was like 16 or 17. I was like in my early twenties, I was working at a record a company and I’d flown to Nashville where I live now. But at the time I lived in New York, I flew to Nashville for an award show and it was the very first award she ever got. And she was actually at the show with an artist who I knew because I’d worked at his label in college. So we were all at this after party together. And I was just, you know, talking to her about like the marketing that she was doing, because at the time she was really innovative with MySpace in particular, but like social media in general.
BH (08:27):
And so I was talking to her about, you know, all these things that she was doing, which of course came very natural to her cuz she was a teenager and she said something to me that hit me like a lightning bolt. And I thought it was like the most brilliant, some of the business side of the music business that I’ve ever heard an artist articulate. And she said, my dream is to sell a million records. And I know that if I’m gonna sell a million records, I have to make a million people care enough about me to want to buy my music. And so she was spending her time like paying it forward, like showing her fans that she cared about them even before. In some instances they were like showing that they cared about her. And I remember are like turning to my friend who I brought to the party with me.
BH (09:17):
And I, you know, after like we were talking I was like, that girl is gonna be a superstar. Like she is gonna be one of the biggest artists on the planet if she keeps this mentality and keeps this attitude. And I think one of the biggest common denominators that you see between the artists who, you know, sort of come in fast and hot and then dizzle out and the ones that have that longevity are the ones who really take the time to invest, invest in their fans. Like the ones who have that fan centric attitude. And the same is true of brands. Like the brands that are most customer-centric are the one who stand a test of time because people aren’t constantly looking for the next thing.
AJV (10:01):
Oh my gosh, that’s so good. And I love that. It’s like, I know I’ll sell a million records once. I know that there’s a million people out there who care enough about me to support me. And it’s like, that is so true of business and of companies and of business brands. And so, and I would say it’s like, it’s not that companies don’t know that they just don’t know how to do it. Or maybe they even know how to do it. They just can’t seem to execute it. So I have two questions on this. OK. One, how do companies do this? Right? Like give us like a couple of insider tips on how do we become the type of company that really is customer centric, customer focused while also battling the realities of trying to turn a profit and pay our employees and all the necessary things that have to happen. So that’s my first question. And then the second one I want you to be noodling around is like what’s, what’s the company to be watching who just does this exceptionally well that maybe we don’t know about. So those are my two things, so let’s start there.
BH (11:01):
Okay. Awesome. I love it. So the first one oh my gosh. I’ve already forgotten the first part of your question. It was
AJV (11:09):
So a couple I was
BH (11:10):
So concentrating on not forgetting the second one that I forgot the first one,
AJV (11:13):
A couple of tips on how do we actually do this? How do we become? Oh
BH (11:17):
Yes. Okay. Thank you. Yes. So, you know, one tip is to really be honest with yourself about where you’re at right now, because if you ask a hundred CEOs, are you customer-centric, you know, 99 of ’em are gonna say yes and the other one wasn’t listening. But if you add ask customers of those same hundred companies or employees of those same hundred companies, you’re gonna, you know, get wildly different results. So the first thing is to really understand what being customer-centric means and it means putting the needs of your customers first and there will be conflict. There will be times where you have to make a decision between, am I putting profit first or am I putting the customer first? And those are the moments, those moments where you’re being tested, where you have to have the resolve to say, we are doing what’s right for customer.
BH (12:13):
We are going to make things right for this customer. And if you can do that, if you can model that for all of your employees to follow, not only is your customer experience going to improve, but your employee experience is going to prove improve. You’re going to see the improved loyalty and advocacy on both sides inside the company and outside the company. But the thing where, again, a lot of people like don’t wanna hear this message at the top of the company, but in the middle of the company, people are like shouting this from the rooftops. It has to start at the top. And to your point at the beginning of the show, one piece of advice that I have is don’t try to have your chief customer officer or your chief experience officer operating in a silo. They need to have as much of a voice as anyone at the company, across every single department, actually a client of mine like five or six weeks ago was talking to me.
BH (13:11):
And this was somebody I’d worked with for keynotes before and, and worked with them on a consulting project now. And they’re adding the title of chief customer officer for the first time, which is great. Like it’s a wonderful step forward for this company. They’ve got like 50,000 employees across the world. And the CEO said to me, you know, I really can’t handle another direct report. I think I’m gonna have the CCO report to the chief revenue officer. Do you think that’s a good idea? And I said, yeah, it’s a great idea. If you want to send a literal message to your customers and employees, that customers are less important than revenue, because that’s what you do. When you have a CCO who reports to the CRO, whoever at your company is going to be the flag bear and the champion four, your customers has to have a seat at every table in every conversation because their insights are going to inform, not just sales, not just marketing, not just customer service, not just product design, all of it, everything from start to finish, because if you don’t make those decisions with your customers and my you’re going to pay the price long term, you’re either going to lose the customer’s trust.
BH (14:20):
You’re going to lose their business completely. Or what I think is like one of the most underrated threats to every business that nobody really talks about is apathy. Like people are just gonna not care. They’re either not gonna care in the first place or going to stop caring. If you aren’t putting the needs of every single customer at the forefront of every decision that you make.
AJV (14:43):
Oh, solid. That’s really such a great reminder that, that you told me the exact same thing. You’re like, whoever is going to lead customer experience, customer care. They have to report to you. It’s like, it’s gotta be that level of importance. And so I’m curious when it comes to this topic of customer-centric like, are there a few things, one thing, two thing, three things that people could do to go, Hey, I know if I know I’m being customer-centric if we’re doing this.
BH (15:14):
Yeah. So one real thing that you can do is, you know, I, I was having a conversation with ear with somebody earlier today and we were talking about how so many companies try so hard, especially like as they grow and grow to come up with a policy for everything so that when people start the onboarding and training and enablement process is almost about stripping them of everything they’ve brought into the job rather than amplifying those unique talents that you hired them for. So instead of saying, I trust you, here’s generally like here are core values. Here are guiding and principles. Here are our customer promise and here are some general things to help you with, you know, frequently asked questions or frequent concerns. But instead companies, especially with their customer service and customer support teams are scripting everything out saying, do exactly this. Do exactly that.
BH (16:10):
Do exactly that. They’re giving these, you know, hundred page manuals of policies to employees saying like only say this in an email or make sure you follow the script exactly on a phone call. And then they’re wondering why not only are customers not happy, but employees aren’t happy and they’re, you know, leaving their jobs at rates. We haven’t seen in almost a hundred years. And I think a lot of it is because when you don’t equip every individual employee with the power to make something right, the way they see fit in that instance, within a certain larger set of parameters, you’re basically asking your people to be robots. And so one of the like interesting things about customer experience is like, you will never have better customer experience externally than your employee experience internally. Like an unhappy employee is never, ever gonna show up in a good way for a customer. And so again, this all has to be modeled from the top. And that’s why it’s so important, not just to hire for customers to interest, to make sure that everybody on your team, regardless of the position they’re in actually does care about customers and, and making their lives better. But to not train that out of people, because you’re so worried about having them fit the perfect mold of, you know, a BDR on your team.
AJV (17:34):
Oh, that’s good. And it’s like, and it, I think that’s the tendency, cuz I think as a business owner we’re typically, it’s like, well it’s like, is this how I would do it? Or you know, so that’s why I think so many people, you know, it’s like I come from a very corporate consulting background. I was like, I was paid for a living to like build scripts and like make sure they follow these process and these procedures. And this is what you say on a sales call and da, da, da, da. And it’s like kind of like coming back of like, no, you need a, a set of parameters, these larger guidelines, but goodness gracious. Don’t strip the humanity out of people, just teacher people, how to love people and how to have good conversations and then know what’s acceptable and what’s not
BH (18:13):
Exactly a hundred percent. And if you study some of the most innovative companies, that’s exactly what they tell their people. They say, this is the promise that we’re going to uphold to our customers. Your job is to make sure that we live up to that. And then, you know, of course you have to give them parameters of, of course you have to say, you know, use your best judgment within these guidelines. But when you don’t allow people to solve problems, as they see fit, it doesn’t feel like a personal solution to the customer. It just feels like, you know, I’m in another PO or another order and you like, you know, rubber stamped, the same solution that you do to everybody else versus where there are those opportunities for a customer to forge like a true connection with your company because of something that that employee did.
AJV (19:04):
Yeah. And again, it comes back to human connection, human relationship, right. It’s like saying back to this Taylor swift thing, it’s like people I have to get people to care enough about me. Right. And it’s like, yeah, you gotta do the same for our customers. So, okay. So before I get to this like model company example that I’m so curious to hear who you think it is. I wanna also talk about this like concept is like how we create this experience and how we prevent it from being siloed. Right. So what are some tips around making sure that customer experience doesn’t get siloed to just a customer service department, but it’s like, there’s huge trends. And it’s like, like one of our very close friends just merged with a huge company. That’s basically saying no marketing and customer experience are now the same. And there’s this trend of merging customer experience and customer service in, within marketing and I’m going well, that’s breaking down some serious barriers and silos of going no there’s synonymous to us. And so how do you, how do you do that?
BH (20:10):
Yeah. Well, that’s a great question. And I think a lot of that is of course the evolution of the fact that traditional marketing going back, like pre-social media and perhaps even pre-internet was all about intent. So it’s like the marketing department, you know, existed to create leads for the sales department and then maybe do like trade shows and stuff that were sort of like that, you know, bottom of funnel activity. And I think as social media really exploded and businesses were like, we don’t know what to do with this. Like who, who do we give it to? What do we do marketing. They can handle it. Right. They’re the ones who work with people to make like logos and stuff. Yeah, yeah. Do our social media pages. And so what you’ve seen is kind of this just like, you know, attrition of like marketing gets a little more, gets a little more, gets a little more, but you’re right.
BH (20:59):
Like experience. Now the customer experience, I feel like is having like a real moment right now. Like people are writing books about it to including you’re truly creating super fans in stores January 20, 23. But you know, it’s like people are talking about it on podcasts. And I think that a lot of C-suite executives are sort of just like changing their title from chief marketing officer to chief experience officer or chief marketing, an experience officer. But it’s gotta go beyond the marketing department and even like the marketing and the customer service department. Because as I said, like, everyone in your company is part of the experience department, whether they know it or not. And if you don’t have clear guidelines to teach them what the model is, you’re gonna, it’s gonna be like, you know, some people are great and some people are terrible because it’s gonna be just the variance from person to person.
BH (21:55):
And so you’ve really gotta remember that. I like to say that experience is everything. Meaning CX is, you know, the biggest factor for brand loyalty, more than two thirds of brand loyalty is driven by CX, which is more than price and product combined. So experience is everything in this economy that we’re living in right now. But the inverse of that is true as well. Everything is experience every touch point, every message. And some of those are gonna be controlled by marketing. And some aren’t somebody said to me a couple of months ago, you know, you never see a skinny per running on a treadmill. It’s only fat people. People who are in shape always run outside. You know, who said that to me, the guy delivering my new treadmill. And I was like, I kind of like, didn’t say anything, cuz I, you know, I wasn’t like expecting the guy who had just like loved this treadmill upstairs to I have that hot take. And I like, I don’t know what kind of response he was waiting for, but I was just kind of trying to decide if he was, you know, maybe kidding or not. And he goes, oh, I bet you got a big husband’s your husband fat.
AJV (23:02):
That’s awesome.
BH (23:04):
And then he went on to tell me like how you never see somebody who’s in shape running on a treadmill. And he runs side 30 miles every single week. And like that’s the only way to run and the best way to run. And I was like,
AJV (23:16):
As he’s delivering a treadmill.
BH (23:18):
Yeah, exactly. And I was like, so do you work for an Nordic track or are you like a third party delivery? And he goes, no, no, no. I work at the company. I’ve been there a few years. I could get a treadmill for so cheap. I don’t even want one.
AJV (23:29):
Oh, got a real advocate. Real advocate he’s doing.
BH (23:33):
Yeah. So every single person at your company is part of the experience department and every decision needs to be approached with that customer in mind. Another like totally crazy story. So I switched vets about a year ago after going to the same vet for more than four years for my dogs. And the reason I switched vets is because the message on the answering service changed. So like camp appointments online, you have to call and you never get a receptionist. It’s like, you know, a phone tray. So I swear the, this is the message. Thank you for calling the name of the place. For hours in location, press one, to get a refill, press two for cremation and euthanasia, press three, press four, to schedule an appointment. And then it was like, press zero for the receptionist. And the first time I heard that, like I hung up cuz I was like, that had to be wrong. And I called back again and I was like, Nope, they’re asking me to press three for cremation in euthanasia before I even get the opportunity to like schedule an appointment or talk to the receptionist. And I was like, I, I, I need a new vet. Like, well, cause I had so many questions as a customer were right. I was like, how many pets are they having euthanized that they like put that so high up in their
AJV (24:52):
Priority list.
BH (24:52):
Yeah. Like I, I don’t understand. And then, you know, and I mentioned it to my husband and he was like, do you think maybe you’re overreacting? Like, you know, maybe it’s like not that big video. It is a little weird, like maybe just say something to them. And I was like, you know, I don’t wanna say anything because the vet either a like signed off on this, which tells me that there’s some judgment issues or B wasn’t a part of this and has no idea that like this is happening, which is also scary, right? Like both of those are bad and I’m entrusting the care of my pets who can’t talk to me to somebody. I wanna make sure that it’s the right person because you know, as sustain goes the way you do anything is the way you do everything. And so I switched pets just because of that. Cuz I was like, well, there’s like a serious either lack of judgment or you know, like mismanagement of priorities going on on here. So everything is experienced. And that’s why, whether it’s like the former head of marketing or somebody else, you need to make sure that you’ve got visibility and influence across every part of the company. Because only when all of those come into alignment, can you truly shine and truly showcase your uniqueness as a company?
AJV (26:08):
Yeah. I love that. And it’s like, you know, and it’s interesting as like so many of the people listening are, you know, building personal brands and they maybe are a part of an organization or they’re running their own organization. And so as we, as we kind of relate this to a personal brand, right? So you’re a speaker author consultant. For, for anyone who’s out there who maybe doesn’t have a team of people and they’re like, okay, well I don’t have departments or teams to do this. Like how do you, so as a, you know, entrepreneur speaker, author consultant, like how do you do this for yourself as a personal brand, without a team.
BH (26:45):
That is a great question. I think the first way is to approach it as if you did have a team because the concepts are the same, whether you are one person or a thousand people. I had somebody a very nice man named Perry who came to fix sink last week, my sink was leaking. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I called the insurance like the home company and they’re like, okay, we’ll send somebody. And so this guy, Perry came out, he fixed my sink. This Friday afternoon, my four year old was like yelling, trying to get his attention to show him some star wars toy. The dog was barking. The baby woke up for his nap because the dog was barking. And he was like at crying upstairs. And you know, I was like apologizing for all of this chaos.
BH (27:27):
And he’s like, no, no, no, it’s totally fine. And then so he like finished with a sink and he stood up and he points up on top of him. And like, this is so embarrassing. He like points above his head. And he is like, what am I looking at here? And I was like a dirty light fixture. And he’s like, yeah, like what’s going, went on with this light fixture. And I was like, I don’t know. It’s just like, you know, I always have little helpers and it hasn’t been a priority. And the reality is like, we have a tall ceiling and it’s like a expensive, like big glass, light fixture. That’s like a two person job for like for me and my husband. Right. Like somebody has to like, hold the ladder and then like you pass the thing down. So you’re not like climbing down the ladder with a, whatever.
BH (28:04):
He is like, give me a ladder. I’m gonna clean this for you. And I was like, absolutely not. Like you came to fix my sink. Like you do not need to do this. And he was like, my mom always taught me that if I can make something better, I’m not allowed to leave it the way that I found it, go get me a ladder or I’m gonna go in your garage and look for it myself. And I was like, oh my gosh. So he proceeded to not just like climb a ladder, it take down this gross light fixture. That for some reason is like where every moth in America goes to die. He like dumped out the dead bugs, used the dish washing soap to like clean it out, dry it, got it. Sparkling clean. Showed it to me saying like, how does this look?
BH (28:40):
And I was like amazing brand new climb back up the ladder, like reconnect all the pieces. And as I’m like thanking him profusely, he’s like, it’s nothing. This is what I do. Like I’m here for you. So who do you think I’m gonna call the next time I have a plumbing issue, right? Am I gonna go through the home warranty company and like take you over? They give me no, of course not. I’m gonna call Perry and say, Perry, I need your help come over. And as a preneur, the same rules apply. The biggest threat to your business is apathy. A lot of times I work with small business owners and they say, I’ve got this huge awareness problem. Not enough people know who I am or what I do. And in reality, when I dig in, it’s like, plenty of people know you don’t have an awareness problem.
BH (29:22):
You have an apathy problem. Plenty of people know, they just don’t because you haven’t given them a reason to you. Haven’t found a way to connect your story to theirs in a way that makes them not see you as a commodity provider, but view you as a category of one to be like, you know what? I found it. Cause you know what, like the truth is like a lot of people are lazy. Like once you get a solution, like I’m not ever gonna look for another Perry, I don’t need to. I found my Perry. Right? So what the easiest thing until now has been to just call the home warranty company or like get out my phone and Google, whatever I need and pick the first person with good reviews. But then once you have a person like you don’t ever have to look for a person again. So for solopreneurs to approach it by saying, what special or unique gifts do I have? What can I do to connect my story to a customer story in a way that makes them like, not even be able to dream of ever replacing me because they know that even if they can find somebody else to fix a scene, they’re not gonna find somebody who gives your home the love and attention that you do.
AJV (30:26):
Oh, that’s so good. And it’s such a great reminder of like this. Isn’t just customer experience advice. This is business advice, right? This is like, this should just like bleed through and the business and say, okay, I have one more question for you. And I promise I’m paying attention to the clock. Cuz I’m sensitive to everyone’s time, yours time and everyone who is listening it’s for those of us who do have teams, right? So maybe it’s one team member. Maybe it’s a hundred, maybe it’s a thousand, maybe it’s 50,000. How do you train this? Or do you hire for it? So it’s like, how do you instill this culture? Cuz that’s really what it is. This is a culture. This is a belief system and add, how do you get that ingrained outside of you? So how do you transfer this?
BH (31:08):
Love, love, love this question. Yes. Sometimes hiring a consultant does help because then you have somebody who isn’t afraid to say the hard things, right? You have somebody who isn’t having to like walk on eggshells or you know, doesn’t know the whole background of, you know, what led things to be this way. Part of it is hiring for it. And it’s so funny. Like sometimes I’ll just look at job descriptions from big companies either that I’m working with or just like for fun on LinkedIn. And it’s so funny how many people will be hiring for customer facing and the word customer never appears in the job description like at all. And it might say revenue or profit or leads like a hundred times, right? It’s an exaggeration, but sometimes it’s like a dozen times and it doesn’t say customer and I believe that you can improve like 95% of job postings, adding the words to serve customers by.
BH (32:07):
And then just like whatever it said, right? Like cuz that is ultimately the job is to serve customers. And so yes, training your recruiters and your HR team to ask questions about customer centricity, as part of the interview process is important, but you have to set the standard. You have to have a model to say, this is who we are. This is what we believe in. And everyone on our team is like playing from the same playbook and to do that, to infuse the DNA of your company and your unique story into a way that all of your team members, you know, love and can, can embody it such a powerful thing. And like Chick-fil-A does a great job of this and you know, everybody everybody knows, you know about Chick-fil-A’s commitment to service, but what’s really interesting. And this is a actually something Macy said earlier today when she and I were talking is like restaurants all over America right now are closing their dining rooms or they’re changing their hours, like two or three of the restaurants near me.
BH (33:08):
Don’t even open now until noon. And they close at six because they’re like, you know, we can’t get staff, we can’t find workers. Or there’s these signs saying starting pay $17 an hour, but Chick-fil-A have any problems with their staffers. And about two weeks ago I was going through the chick fo Chick-fil-A drive through line, which like I do a lot. And I heard one of the girls say to another girl, those people at taco bell could never do what we do. And the other girl was like, yeah, you’re right. And so I, and the car was like, you’re right. Like they couldn’t. And they were both like so embarrassed. Like they definitely were not saying it for me to hear. And they were so embarrassed and apologizing and I was like, no own it. Like they couldn’t. And it’s not just like, it’s not a people problem. It’s a process problem. And if you put a good person into a system with bad processes, the bad processes are going to win every single time. Those two same roles probably would not even be doing the same if they were the ones at taco bell because they haven’t been trained. They haven’t been told it hasn’t been ingrained into them. That service is what you’re selling, not chicken sandwiches. So
AJV (34:15):
Y’all need to write that down service is what you’re selling. Right. That is so powerful and such a great reminder because I agree. It’s like, I don’t have like, there’s no staffing issues that any Chick-fil-A that we live in Nashville, there’s a lot of them. There’s no issues. And it’s like one of our favorite pizza joints. It’s like, they don’t even have an open dining room. Like to that point. It’s like it’s. Yeah. And to that, it’s like, it’s interesting cuz we keep asking we’re all the people and well, is it a people problem or is it a process problem? Right. That’s a really good distinction. So, okay. Last question back to this one I’ve I’ve given you like ample time to like subconsciously think about this. So a couple, one or two company examples that you think are doing this extraordinarily well that maybe people wouldn’t recognize or know. I know a lot of people talk about Disney and they talk about like all like Ritz Carlton, but are there any like, you know, kind of undercover giants that are really doing a great job at this that we could look to for an example?
BH (35:17):
Well, I’ll give you one undercover, giant, and then I’ll give you another like under the radar when, so the undercover giant, I would say is Warby Parker. And I have been a Warby Parker super fan for years now. Neil, the founder and I did a bunch of stuff together for Forbes back in the day. And you know, I just love their glasses. What I love most about word we partner now is you can get your eyes checked online and it’s so easy. You just take your phone and your laptop and it’s you feel like you’re playing a video game and you get your prescription. And it’s amazing. And the reason that I know this is because the last time that I went to try to order glasses and my prescription was expired, it was expired by like two weeks. And I called the eye doctor and said, you know, can you like do me a solid?
BH (36:04):
And she was like, no, you have to come back in. And I was eight months pregnant. Anna was during COVID. But like when you’re pregnant, your vision can change. So I was like, can you please just like extend it? Like I don’t understand. And she was like, no, I can’t. So anyway, like regardless of what you do, if you think people can’t replicate it online, like they will figure it out. Like I literally got my eyes checked online and now it’s like, I’ll go in probably like once every five years to, you know, check for glaucoma or whatever you get. But like everything can be replicated digitally. And I know where like just at the top of the hour. But the last one that I’ll give you is a company called arm more and it’s arm more style is the web, the, the, or URL, the URL arm more do style.
BH (36:44):
And it’s like a clothing subscription service similar to rent the runway. But what I love about them is that you can send them an email and say, Hey, I’ve got XYZ event coming up. And a real person will style clothes for you. Like it’s not an algorithm. It’s a real person who will email back and forth with you, send you pictures, ask for ideas, and then you get your clothes. When you get your clothes in the mail, they’re always tied up like very pretty packaged with like twin and paper. And then they make these like paper mache, dresses like not paper mache, origami like an origami dress out of like a really cool decorated sheet of paper. And I always look forward to getting them because I I’ve got a four year old. Who’s always like having fun playing with like the little like origami dress, but it’s just such a great personal touch. It’s like everything rent. The runway was like 10 years ago. And now our Mars, like getting a bunch of market shares. So underestimate the power of a personal touch, never underestimate the opportunity to connect your story with your customers story by showing them what that, what matters to them matters to you.
AJV (37:51):
Ugh, this has been such an inspiring conversation. If not for anyone else for me. Great.
BH (37:58):
AJV (38:00):
I like clearly, if it’s gonna help me, it’s gonna help someone, but these are just such great reminders. And I think back to, you know, I said that as soon as you said, like, remember what you’re selling a service. It’s like, yeah, like, don’t forget, like you got in, you got into this to serve people or whatever it, your businesses it’s, you’re working with people. So whether it’s a product or a service or whatever, it’s like, don’t forget the people, right. People over profits. I love this. This was so good. So just a couple of quick things for everyone who’s listening. I wanna make sure that you know where to connect with Brittany. And as she mentioned, her book creating super fans is coming out January, 2023. So you got a while before it comes out, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start getting content from Brittany right now. And she has put together a really cool mini course, a little video series for you guys. So if you want to go to Brittany hodak.com for live you can get access to that mini course. And of course, we’ll put this link in the show notes, but again, that’s Brittany ho.com/live. And then Brittany, if where would you say is like, if do you have a preferred social site for people to go and find you,
BH (39:11):
My preferred social site is whatever your preferred social site is. I always tell people you should be active on all of them. Yes. You wouldn’t be active on all of them because you never want somebody to be like, oh, I would love to follow her if except I’m not on tick. Well, I have a TikTok account, but I don’t post anything. Cause I’m like way too old. My
AJV (39:31):
Pretty much TikTok.
BH (39:32):
Yeah. Yeah. But I do have, I do have my handle. So like you can send me a message. I don’t even know if you can send messages on TikTok, but if you can, you can send me, you can send me a message there. Yeah, I know I’m super
AJV (39:43):
Old, but everywhere. It’s at Britney hodak.com at Britney Hodak yes.
BH (39:48):
Everywhere is at Britney Hodak and at video course you mentioned is totally free. So check it out. It’s Britney hodak.com/live. It’s a five, five day video course delivered via email. And it’s designed for everybody on your team. So if you’re somebody listening right now and you’re like, Ugh, I would love for my team to get a little bit more of this and think a little bit more about customers. Just let ’em sign up for the course. It’s totally free. It’s five days of training and there’s not even like an upsell at the end. Like it’s literally just like, I want you to care more about your customers and, and here’s how, and then the upsell will come in January when I’m like, Hey, sorry you buying my book. Cause you should buy my book.
AJV (40:22):
Very good. It’s just infiltrate with value. And eventually people want, actually want more. This has been so awesome. Thank you for being on the show. Everyone. Thank you for listening. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.
Speaker 3 (40:41):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call and builders group.com/podcall. We hope to talk to you soon.
AJV (41:28):
All right, y’all this, isn’t the recap on the just had with Brit Hodak on creating amazing customer experience, not just service but experience. So these are a couple of my key takeaways and just great reminders. And I love this so much because to me it is universal and is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a personal brand or a CEO or a frontline employee, or if you’re in customer service or sales or whatever it is you’re doing this applies to you. So here are my highlights in this universal fashion when it comes to customer experience is one, I think I said this like five times in the interview, but I’m gonna say it again here too, is that remember what you’re selling is service and I is so important and it’s so easy to get caught up in building systems and processes and building manuals and writing scripts and you know, building project management systems and email campaigns and all this stuff.
AJV (42:26):
When at the end of the day people just need to know that you care. And it’s really hard to tell if someone cares in an email or a text, right? And I’ll be the first one to say, it’s like one of the number one things that we’re trying to change at our company at brand builders group right now is we are a call first company right now, if your preference is email, we will correspond an email, but we want to talk to you. We wanna actually have a real conversation and a real a real relat up of like, tell me where you are. What are you going through? How can we help? Not just fill out this survey and maybe someone will look at it one day. It’s like, it’s a call first culture. And a lot of that started from some work that our company did with Britney in preparation for starting 2022.
AJV (43:11):
And we basically said, it’s like, our business has gotten too automated. So how do we rein infiltrate back that human connection? And again, it’s like, people don’t remember all the things that happened. They may not remember what you said or what you did, but people do remember how you made them feel right. And people care to know that care about them. So remember what you’re selling is service. And as long as you can make someone feel cared for and feel heard that’s a win, right? It’s I would much whether I would much rather win the relationship than win the sale. And that’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, and it’s going, sometimes I choose to lose the battle so that we can make progress in this overall war of, yeah, we’re not gonna be a fit for everyone.
AJV (44:03):
And we have to figure out like within parameters, what makes sense for the customer, right? And it’s like, and how do we also not like go under and we can still pay our bills, but we do have to remember, it’s like we got in this to serve people, just like you did whatever it is that you’re selling whatever it is that you’re doing. It’s like you got into this probably to help someone and somewhere along the way, we forget how to put people first and how to keep people first. And so if you can just like one key takeaway is just remember what you’re selling is service. I thought that was amazing. Such a good reminder for me. So hopefully it is for you too. The second thing that, that was so impactful is this reminder that building a, a business building a brand, which I was same thing cannot happen in silos.
AJV (44:50):
And man, is it easy to get caught up in silos? Because communication and collaboration take a lot of work and emotional energy and physical energy and meetings and all the things, right? It’s like, that’s actually a lot of work to do that, to break down silos and go, no, like these are universal culture components that we share. And so how do we transfer culture from the personal brand or the owner or the entrepreneur or the department head down to every single person who touches anything that you do it’s that customer experience is universal. And I think her Nordic track example is so important of at some point along the way the, the mission or the message what we do at order track got lost. And for someone who is actually delivering this piece of equipment into your home to go, I mean, I never see skinny people running on these and I run outside, must have a fat husband, like, wow, just imagine if you do have any staff, people it’s like, are they sold?
AJV (46:00):
Are they bought into what you do as much as you are? And would they actually encourage you, like encourage your customers, not to work with you and not to buy what you offer inadvertently by just not sharing this like, culture of like, this is why this product exists. This is why this company started. Like, this is the story. All right. And just back to that, it’s like, there’s gotta be a story. And I love that Taylor swift example. It’s like, I have to figure out how to get at least a million people to care about me. If I’m ever gonna wanna sell a million records. Right. We gotta do the same thing as companies, right? It’s like we have to care about our customers in order for them to care about us. And so how are we doing that? And how do we create this culture at every single level and every department at every position.
AJV (46:50):
And there’s a great upside. For most of us, you who are running small businesses or building personal brands is we don’t have to worry about the masses. We’re not trying to infiltrate a thousand different people to get on board with our culture. We’re dealing with one or five or 10 or maybe 20, right? And so there’s a lot of power, but it still takes the same amount of work. Right. We have to transfer that emotion, transfer that mission transfer the way that we wanna have people treated and then have other people treat them the same way. So again, it’s like customer experience is universal and that goes for your vendors too. So remember it’s like, if they represent you that counts for them too. So number one, remember what you’re selling as service. Number two customer experience is universal. And then the third thing, which I kind of led to a little bit is this concept of how do you get people to care about you?
AJV (47:45):
Well, number one, you care about them somewhat simple. So then I ask yourself, and I don’t have the answer for you for this. This is a rhetorical question I’m asking. But ask yourself, how do I care about my customers? How do I make sure that these people know that they’re cared for? How do I, as a entrepreneur, a personal brand, a business owner, an executive, whatever, how do I show my customers that I care about them? And I think that’s gonna look really different. And I think you gotta first ask with what does our, what do our customers want from us? And that may start with simply asking them, cause I think everyone values different types of service differently. Like I know for me, like one of my personal core values when it comes to working with other companies is responsiveness. Like even with my own team, it’s like, I hold responsiveness, like above the bar in terms of importance.
AJV (48:43):
Like to me, it’s like, if you are responsive to me, I’m important to you. And if you are not, I am not. And so when it takes other companies and vendors and suppliers, days or weeks to get back to me, well, I’m not important to you. So I might as well start looking because somebody else can, will prioritize me. I just have to go find who they are. So may not be that for you. So what it is, what is it for your customers, right? And then you gotta figure out what it is. And then how do you put protocols in place guidelines to allow for, for that to happen whatever it is in your culture and your company and your environment. So again, just ask yourself as like, how do we let our customers know that we care about them and not just our customers, but our perspective customers as well. So again, if you didn’t listen to it, go listen to the entire episode. It was so good. Go check out her video course, Brittany ho com slash live. It’s a free five video video course. Go check it out and get inundated with how to create super fans out of your customers. We’ll see you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 257: How To Set Your Coaching Prices with Mary Sobon

AJV (00:08):
Hey everybody. This is AJ Vaden here and welcome to another episode on the influential personal brand podcast. And I am specifically a excited for this episode because I get to talk to someone who I actually work with personally. So Mary has been my business coach for over a year. And so to get a chance to share her expertise with all of you is such a great honor and privilege, but let me give you just a little bit of her background. I can probably talk about and Rav about her for the next 30 minutes, but that’s not why you’re here. So I’ll make this short and sweet, but here are some things that I think is really amazing and some kind of sneak peek into what we’re gonna talk about on the show. Today is one, Mary has a very extensive executive corporate background in like fortune 50 companies, fortune 20 companies. I don’t even know like it’s extensive, but what I love most is she’s been able to take this amazing executive experience from these, you know, multi-billion almost probably trillion dollar companies and then apply it to small business and entrepreneurs like me. So I’ll get the benefit of all, all this worldly expertise that allows me to tailor it to my own business. But she’s worked with more than two organiza 200 organizations. Yeah. More than 2, 200, 200
AJV (01:34):
Organizations since she started her consulting firm, it’s called M two consulting here in Nashville. She works with EO the entre nos organization all over the world. She helps with people with mergers, acquisitions, exits high growth companies. And today she is here to share some of that expertise with our audience. And I’m so excited to have you, so Mary welcome.
MS (01:57):
Yeah, it is wonderful to be here, AJ. And again, it’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year boy time class, especially when the clients are great
AJV (02:06):
Or, or complicated either way.
AJV (02:09):
OK. So give everyone in the audience, just a, a high level background of your corporate world experience. And then when you left that, I guess that’s like over 15 years ago to what you’re doing now. Cause I think one of the things that will really resonate with our audience and our listeners as so many of the people that we work with are probably in a full-time job or in corporate job. And they’re trying to figure out, it’s like, how do I exit this to do this thing that I’ve always dreamed of whatever that may be. So since you’ve gone through that process from you really high up, I’m working with these massive companies to go, no, I’m gonna call it a day and I’m gonna go do my own thing. So give us a little bit of that story.
MS (02:49):
Yeah. And I would tell AJ, I don’t know that I’m gonna be the most helpful role model on this because like a lot of entrepreneurs I actually started as an entrepreneur because I lost my job. The biggest company that I worked for is McDonald’s corporation. I was a regional marketing manager for them and I was with them at a pretty interesting time in, in terms of learning a lot of things, leadership, finance, because they were probably at, at one of the worst points of their professional, all trajectory. And they went through their single ever reorganization that the corporation has ever had. I was working in Nashville in a field office that was servicing about 500 restaurants. And interestingly enough, I’m probably gonna get in trouble for saying this. They closed our office, even though we were number one in the country in terms of improved sales transactions, because we had an inexpensive lease buyout.
MS (03:43):
And I guess when you’re looking at 40 regional offices around the country with a lot of space that matters, but I had a choice. I had a choice to transfer to another city with McDonald’s. And at the time I thought I was gonna go, and then I, then I actually, if found out my dad was really, really, really sick. And I knew that if I left Nashville and went to another city and, and they were gonna help me kind of commute back and forth because my significant other was here. I knew that I couldn’t be taking care of all three things at one time. And so I decided to leave. And I went out and I did some consulting in marketing for a little while, which is really the worst job on the planet. And because small businesses and I’m talking really small businesses, don’t understand why you can’t get a story on their company in the New York time.
MS (04:36):
And so I did that for about a year and it was, it was pretty profitable, but not much fun and then sort of accidentally. And I think this is the thing that it really stood out for me in my story that I want to make sure other people pay attention to. I met one person who opened a door for me that led to possibility after possibility after possibility. And I’m gonna give her a shout out. That person was actually Julie May who, who ran an it company here in Nashville. She was a member of EO entrepreneurs organization. And she said, wow, our organization is kind of a mess and you seem kind of smart and you know how this works. Can you come in and help us? And I had no idea at that point, what they needed or how to do it, but just went in and did the job.
MS (05:25):
Mm. And it went pretty well. And I did my best. And if I look back, I would be appalled at what I did wrong, what I did silly, but I think the most important thing is that I did it. And that led to me meeting different people who were also in need of, of people to come in and just sort of help them with business coaching. It’s an interesting thing to think about when I started, I was the only performance coach that I knew. I wasn’t even a performance coach. I was a facilitator who sort of did some coaching incidentally with that, but now almost 20 years later, you at any room you’re in, you’re in a room with two or three other coaches. So it makes a whole lot of sense that we are, we live in a world in which things are so complex.
MS (06:10):
And so interconnected, you need a partner who can help you sort of sort through things. You just wanna to make sure that that partner has something that’s really valuable for you. And for me, that thing is scaling. I have spent more time working with entrepreneurs, scaling high growth companies. These are companies that are growing 200% a year, 500% a year, and have seen pretty much all of the good, the bad, the pains, the joys of, of that. And it just excites me. It excites me to this day. So I work still with entrepreneurial companies who are focused on growth. I work with entrepreneurial teams, even in larger corporations who are interested still in doing things smart and fast and growth. And when you do that, boy, you never stop learning. And that would be maybe the second thing that I learned is that, man, if you’re coaching, you are a full-time learner in addition to being a full-time coach, because whatever you are working on today, it is gonna be disrupted by something maybe three to six months from now at the most. So that’s kind of my journey in a nutshell, I’ve been doing it for a long time, man. There are a lot more people on the space and boy, I gotta stay sharp if I wanna continue to be successful.
AJV (07:25):
Okay. Well the very first thing I heard and I think this is really important is the importance of saying yes. Yeah. Even if you’re not completely ready and I’m just like, we were talking about this a little bit before, or we started, and I didn’t even know you were gonna say this, but it’s like in your experience, how many people do you think that you’ve worked with who simply don’t succeed because they don’t just do it.
MS (07:49):
So more than 80% of problems in businesses come from people not being willing to sort of lean into the things that are really available to them. That will be really helpful. I was just on a zoom call with a client right before we jumped onto this podcast. And she was talking about the struggle that she’s having with her team in data. And she said, data makes them uncomfortable. And so every time we get busy, they use that as an excuse to say, well, we, we don’t really have to look at the data. We’d have to work, try to work with the data, cuz it’s hard for us. And, and I was guilty of that as well. It was really hard for me to put myself out there. I engaged a sales coach early on and I did my pitch for him. And he said, Mary, not only have you not sold me, you’ve given me a lot of reasons not to use you as consultant.
MS (08:41):
And I did it because I was scared. Mm. And the one thing that I could offer that made me feel so much better about everything is that as a coach, it’s about fit. And you’re not gonna be a fit for everybody. And so being open to the idea that you’re gonna have to meet a lot of people, a lot of those people are not gonna be a good fit for you in order for you to find the people that are is just part and parcel of it. And now I used to go out kind of desperate to you. I wanted to land the business and now I go out and I say, I’m so excited to meet you. And we may or may not be a fit, but more than anything, I just wanna have a lovely conversation and get to know this really great person on the other side of the table.
MS (09:22):
And I get to do that because I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I get when you’re starting, it is really scary. And, but the thing that I often coach my high growth teams on is you gotta bet on yourself. Like it’s okay for you to get involved with something that you don’t know how to do. As long as you are willing to bet on yourself to figure it out. A great example of this was way back when a, a, a, a company had an RFP out to go do something around high performing teams. And my husband came across it and said, you should do this. And I said, I don’t know anything about high performing teams or how you teach it. And he goes, yes, but you’re really good at figuring things out. So maybe you trust yourself. And that started a 15 year relationship with that particular company.
MS (10:10):
But at the very onset, the first sentence out of the guy’s mouth was, well, we’re talking to six or seven experts it, and I thought I’m cooked. So I’m just done. But as we talked, I realized, again, it was about fit. It was about my ability to understand them and listen to him much more than it was about any of my bonafides or whatever model I had. And I would say that’s true for coaching. In general, as you’re starting your practice, if you make it a about you and how smart you are, that’s kind of helpful if you make it about them and making them feel seen and being smart about helping them to know what they already know, man, that’s valuable. It took me much longer to learn that than I wish I had. That’s so
AJV (10:53):
That’s so insightful. Cause I think, I think for most people, and I can at least speak for myself. It’s like any time where I don’t think I’m a good fit, it’s, I’m totally focused on myself. Yeah. And it’s like, at the end of the day, it’s like, who knows and who cares? It’s it? Who I don’t wanna do things that aren’t fun and I don’t wanna work with people. I can’t help. So if I just take that approach and so for that person, who’s rather just started out or their in growth mode or their scale and eight figure coaching. This is wherever they are. How, what would you say are some best practices of figuring out how you figure out who’s the right fit for you? Cause I think a lot of coaches and I can speak for myself for a lot of years, worked with a whole lot of clients that I didn’t wanna work with because I wasn’t clear on exactly who was the fit for me.
MS (11:38):
Yes. And so this is the, maybe the one part where away from clients, you wanna understand how you are very differentiated from anyone else who’s coaching. And, and there’s a weird thing because again, there are a lot of coaches out there and there, there are coaches who coach from technical expertise and there who are, there are coaches who work much closer to for lack of a better word therapy life coaches who just wanna be there for you. And you can find a lot of both. I think the key is to understand in yourself one what, what you are really, really, really gift that that other people may not be. And so for me, early on, early on, early on, early on one thing that I knew that I was pretty gifted at was conflict. And in my mind, conflict, isn’t more mad at each other or hostility.
MS (12:25):
It’s like, Ooh, we don’t agree. We’re in different places on this. And you know, as luck would have it, I just happen to have some gestalt training before I met EO who values the use of this idea of Al and we’re in that world, there is no conflict. There’s only people in different places which allowed me to come into some situations with an approach that felt later easier. This isn’t the end of the world. Nobody’s right. Nobody’s wrong. Let’s just go. And so that was helpful for me to learn that easy early on, cuz that led me into high growth is chop full of conflict. And so I had a lot of opportunities to work with bigger corporations and I know big corporations and this kind of maybe gets to your point, AJ. But I also know that I don’t wanna do work. That doesn’t go and I don’t wanna work in the bureaucracy. I don’t want to sit in meetings and talk for the sake of talking. And so by definition, that’s screened out almost every large corporation. I have an utter respect for the fact that that building consensus and working things through needs to take place. It’s just not fast enough for me. Oh. And so that, yeah.
MS (13:38):
Yeah. And so I think that I always encourage my clients when they’re thinking about the clients to think about the work that they’ve done that has made them happiest and to think about the people in that work that made them the happiest and what qualities the work and the people had. And so for me, it’s, you have to be honest, you have to be a little vulnerable and I don’t mean woo woo. Vulnerable. I mean, you have to be open about the fact that there are things that you need to learn, grow do. And I’m fine with just about everything else. Like I’m good with people who have very strong personalities who have tempers who have a lot of things, but what I knew I wasn’t good at is people who just wanted to make the conversation singular. And so I got there pretty quickly by looking at the work and saying where, to your point, AJ, where am I happy in the work?
MS (14:28):
And where is the work that I come home feeling fatigued and kind of down on myself and really doubting myself as a, as a, as a coach. And so in doing that, I realized I need smaller firms who are moving quickly and who were willing to be honest with themselves about what their challenges were and for anybody else, who’s just starting her out or in the middle of it and is looking for a refocus, where is the work that you have had the best results and that gives you the most energy and who was in that work and what were they like? I might flip, I might turn the tables on you AJ and say, well, how did you learn about clients that were good for brand builders or not?
AJV (15:09):
Yeah. You know, it’s so interesting is as soon as you were talking, my very first thoughts went back to, you know, the first 15 years of my professional career as we were building our previous business coaching, training consulting and speaking. And I think one of the things that I realized during that tenure, which made brand builders group so much easier is I got super clear on what my natural strengths were, but that did not happen organically. It was almost forced by, by having so many clients for so long that just burned me out. Yeah. And it wasn’t until I think I went to a conference or I had a coach or something where I really said that, what do I want to be doing? And I knew, I knew for a really long time what I didn’t wanna be doing, but I wasn’t focused on what I wanted to be doing. And I feel like for me, it’s like, I was clear on what I didn’t want, but it took a lot of focus and effort for me to get really clear on what I did want. And I think for me, what I discovered in this process, it’s like my superpower is to be able to come into it. It’s a a blessing and a curse, really, if you think about it, but it’s a, it’s my ability to come into any single situation, any room, any, anything, and immediately see what’s wrong.
MS (16:26):
AJV (16:27):
Yeah. Probably think it wonderful. I, your team loves you. But it’s like any situation I can immediately go, that’s how you make it better. Yeah. And I, I started attracting clients who wanted that type of feedback who wanted that type of directive, that type of momentum, because I just remembered my sales calls. I’m like, listen, if you don’t want someone to come in and tell you what to make better, I’m not the fit for you because I’m never going to be like, it’s great. I’m just never gonna do that for you. But until I figured that out and it really took 10 years, so it shouldn’t take everyone else that long like take, you know, lessons from this, but it wasn’t until then that I was like, I actually really love my clients because they were fast paced action oriented. I didn’t have to follow up. I didn’t have to hold ’em accountable. They were action takers because they knew, but by the next time I talked to him, I was gonna have three more things.
MS (17:17):
Nice. So people who were happy and people that would tell me people who were happy to be pushed. Yeah. Cause that’s not everybody. Right. And so again, yeah, it’s just, but I, at the beginning of my career on this, I wish I did a much better job of sort of documenting how the work went and because you would get there faster. And so if you are just out today, document your clients, what is working about this client? What do I not love about this client? And as you said that AJ, it reminded me of something that really helped me from a long time ago, there’s a, there’s a gentleman named hum cloud who does sort of these back of the cocktail cartoons that are mini lessons in business. And he does a lot of work on culture now. And one of the things, one of the ones that really stood out for me is he said that, you know, when we think about work, you have this sort of, this ven diagram of work that is really sexy and fun.
MS (18:07):
And then that pays you a ton of money. And he said, people who are starting out have a tendency to think that that ven diagram completely overlaps that all your work should be super sexy and grow your brand and, you know, be wonderful to do and pay you a lot of money at the same time. And that’s a short road to unhappiness because what you realize every time. And I think you probably realized is that, is that there are clients who you adore and there are clients who pay you incredibly well. And the number that are a 10 on both of their scales is actually relatively few. And that’s okay.
AJV (18:43):
Yeah. One of the things that I started reminding myself of when we started brand builders grew what should I like almost almost four years, which feels like yesterday and 15 years ago at
MS (18:54):
The same time and a hundred years ago at the same time
AJV (18:56):
Time. But I said, if I wouldn’t want to coach you for free, then I shouldn’t coach you at all.
MS (19:02):
AJV (19:03):
It’s like, if I, if I wouldn’t wanna do this without making money, then now, you know, 15, 20 years later, I’m in a position you that’s clearly not. I would take anyone in the beginning. For a very long time, I was like, whatever it is you want I’ll, I can do it. I’ll figure it out. But now it’s like, if I, if I didn’t wanna coach you for free, then I shouldn’t coach you at all. And I don’t think that’s how we start. But for me now it’s more about mission and passion of going. It’s like, I wanna be able to do this without having to only do it because you pay me. So it’s like the more I can find those people, the naturally the happier I am and the happier my clients are.
MS (19:43):
Yeah. Love that. But it takes a little bit of time, right? Because you immediately think it has to be bid to those things and to start. And I think that you’re onto something that’s really, really important also, AJ, as you start and, and my view on this shifted a little bit, but not too much. And I’m sure your has, but it, yours has as well, but it is the idea of what is my business about am I in it for the experiential point of, I wanna love what I do. I want to have a blast with everyone that I work with is the purpose of my business to create financial freedom so that I can go out and do whatever I wanna do go climb a mountain or take a month off or take three months off. And it’s kind of related to that thing, but I have always chosen the experiential over the money and that has been great, but also not because when I get too happy with people, I don’t want them to not like me.
MS (20:36):
And so one of the biggest challenges I’ve had as a coach is how do you take people’s money up and learning how to have that conversation was really tough. And I’m sure that you had to do the same thing. Yeah. Okay. But it occurs to me that you were on the same side of that equation, which is, I know what I want my business to do. I want the work to give me energy and make me happy first. And so I’ll take a little less money to do that. Like you don’t have to pick between the two, but it’s helpful to understand. I know other coaches that are like I’m in it to make money. And I do a great job deliver a great service, but the work feels a little different for them. And they get to do a wider space of clients because their needs are different.
AJV (21:14):
It’s such an important distinction for anyone who’s in this space to anyone who’s in this industry of being really clear of like, what are your goals of being in this space? Because that really does clearly distinguish your market and what you’re going after. So that actually brings up a really good question because I know that this comes up in our community all the time is people don’t know how to charge. Right. They undervalue their services. They don’t know how to charge. They don’t know when to do price increases. And I, I find this for both businesses and personal service alike. So both on a coach side and then also on a individual who coaches businesses like any tips or advice or experience shares around, how do you determine what to charge and when your prices should go up or come down, or like, how, how do you do that?
MS (22:06):
Yeah. And but prices the stickiest wicket for all businesses of us sizes. Anytime anybody’s working on pricing strategy, I’ll show you some unhappy people, cause it’s really hard and there are no real right answers on this. But for coaches, it’s actually pretty simple. Most coaches start off by either way overvaluing their, their services or way undervaluing the, our services. And so you’re gonna have to make a choice early on as to whether you go with a retainer model. Am I gonna say it’s X number of dollars a month and we’re gonna make the most of that, or is it a delivery fee for delivery, which is for every hour that I coach you, I get money that there are challenges with both to begin with though. It is easier to get people to sign on for a fee for delivery. It is also easier to make the value of a fee for delivery visible when you’re starting out, when you’re on a retainer and you send a very big number to an entrepreneurial CEO, they’re like, what is all this money for it?
MS (23:06):
Cuz I sure didn’t see it. I spent an hour with Mary, but she’s got $7,000 on here and say, what is, what is she doing that way? And so I find that it’s probably a good idea to try to sell both, but if you’re selling a retainer to make sure that the value of that retainer is visible and defined, not just, I promised to be there between 10 and and 20 hours, it would literally be the, to give them a sense of I’m advancing these things for you. On that, the second thing that I learned is I’m just gonna be, I’m gonna get in trouble for this. My pricing is highly aligned with how easy and fabulous I think you are to work for.
MS (23:47):
That is probably not a great and scientific way to do it, but there are things that I value. Like if you never cancel, if you, I, I do fee for delivery. I’ve always found that just simpler, easier. I’m happier. But if you always show up when you’re supposed to, if you’re not always moving your schedule around or, or, or canceling, if you actually do something with the work, like just like you AJ. And if you share with me that you think what I’m doing is valuable, you get a discount from me and mostly it’s a discount in, in terms of, I’m not gonna raise your rates as we go. That’s fascinating. Yeah. So that’s an well, and then the other part of it is where people always, if you’re a great client, it’s kind of, there’s an, there’s an analogy with this, with a rental house, which is they say, if you find a great tenant who pays all the time and doesn’t trash the house and doesn’t have pets, you never raise their rent because you never want them to leave.
MS (24:42):
And I think that’s kind of how I feel about the clients that I love of. And I have worked for, you know, it’s funny, like you say, we’ve been working together for a year. The number of clients that I have been associated with, but for more than a decade is more than I cared to count. It’s a great thing. But part of that is because I value them and I don’t, I’m not always taking their money up. The second thing that I will say is take your money up on every next client. Like, as you are building your business, if you got somebody to say yes for this amount, try taking it up a little bit and see if you can get somebody to say yes to the higher amount. And if a couple of people say yes to that, try taking it up to the next level.
MS (25:20):
Until you get people who are one in four might say, oh, it’s a little pricey or I don’t know, or just not get back to you. But if everyone is just like, oh, that’s fine, that’s fine. That’s fine. You probably have room to go north a little bit. And that’s what I have done. So I actually have a pretty big spread in, in, in what I charge. But it says, I said I’m a little wacky that way. However my husband, who is always telling me double your double, your price, I’m like here outta your mind for one thing. But secondarily, I spend an unbelievably small amount of time in business development because I’m not great at it. And so word of mouth and people who stay with me allow me not to have to spend on average. I wanna say beginning coaches spend 25 to 33% of our time developing business.
MS (26:10):
I will joke that sometimes clients are paying me to develop business cuz I’m in a coaching session and they’re telling me about somebody else that they wanna introduce me to. Yeah. and so that was my strategy was make people really happy, generate good referrals, good word of mouth. And try to keep prices a little bit lower. Everybody’s gonna be a little bit different, but if you are taking your prices at the key is you have to show value. You have to show here’s what you are getting and why absolutely why it’s worth it for you to have this time. And that’s something that with good clients, they’ll tell you this is valuable or if it’s not valuable and boy, if I go too long without somebody saying, Hey, that was valuable, I gotta check in and say, Hey, is the work aligned to what you need?
MS (26:52):
But on the, on the pricing front, I have found the easiest way to take prices up is to do it with new clients. And when you have to do it, don’t don’t nickel and dime take the significant price increase so that you only have to do it every couple of years. That is absolutely a best practice in our line of work is people don’t want their fee. They don’t want the annual renewal of your fee went up as if we are Comcast or Netflix these days. And every once in a blue moon say, Hey, I I’m just, I’m adjusting to meet the, the business standard really helpful to invent the standards of our industry. Those are I’m adjusting my these cause.
AJV (27:31):
So many. Those are so many good things. I just wanna make sure we don’t skim over some of those because this is a really challenging thing for most people. I don’t, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you’re in a service space industry where you’re charging fees it’s a big deal. Especially in this coaching training, speaking consulting world. And there’s three things that you said that I think are really worth, just commenting on is. And honestly, one of them is this, this pricing model based on the ease of which it is to work with you. And as you are hourly, it’s like if I have to track you down and follow up with you to show up for my calls, I’m going to charge you more because you cost me more.
MS (28:11):
That’s exactly right.
AJV (28:12):
That’s brilliant. That’s so smart and creates more accountability. I would think in terms of, Hey, listen, if you’re difficult to work with, I have to charge more because you’re holding up space on calendar.
MS (28:25):
Yep. That’s exactly right. That’s so
AJV (28:28):
Smart. Yeah. And I think too, the thing that I love about that is also going, I love that there is a differentiation and although it’s like, I think it kinda like motivates clients to wanna be better clients.
AJV (28:42):
Right. And it’s like, who doesn’t wanna be motivated to be a, a better client of going, wow. If like I’m a really good client then like I would get like locked in at this like grandfathered rate. Like I need to be a good client. And I think there’s like some like reverse psychology. That’s actually really, really beneficial in that. Cuz I think for most people they’re human nature is, well I wanna be, I wanna be a good client too. Not, not, I think most people go into this going, I wanna be a giant pain in the ask for you and then see if you can make it work and
MS (29:09):
Amen. I mean, and you have to have some trust there. Like I don’t say that to everyone. I say that to clients that I really like, and, and it is, it also helps them to understand, Hey, you get a little special treatment, which makes them want to be better clients. I
AJV (29:23):
So smart. So interesting. Never heard that pricing. My I’ll ever love that. So good.
AJV (29:30):
The second thing that I think is really good is this concept of being grandfathered in to pricing. Yeah. Like I think that makes a big deal. I think about some of my longest term consulting clients in my former life. And it’s because I didn’t just raise the prices for raising the prices. I’m like, you’ve been amazing. You’ve been six and seven for your clients year after year. I’m not gonna raise prices just for the sake of raising prices. I’m gonna keep the prices the same. So our relationship will continue. And I, I, you know, I, I can’t tell you how many vendors that I’ve been contacted by. I, since the beginning of this year, letting me though, they’re just doing a standard across the board, 10% price increase and I’m going for what? Like based on what inflation market.
MS (30:12):
AJV (30:12):
And I’m just sitting here going, okay, well, should I increase our, you know, it’s like, and those things where it’s like, and then, you know, Roy and I had a long to sits a lot of discussion around, well, should we be doing that? And then we just set back and we’re like, no, we don’t feel like that’s right. For where we are. And so it’s like one of the things that we’ve kind of doubled down on is we’re not gonna raise prices, but we’re going to be doing new things to increase value without raising prices. And there’s two different ways of going about at it. And it’s like, if you really wanted me to stay and to refer you business, which I would happily do, it’s like raising the prices for no reason, probably isn’t the thing to do. So we’ve taken a counter approach and we’ve added three new, huge benefits to our membership platform going, and we’re not raising prices. Our goal this year is to increase value.
MS (31:01):
So I just love that. And in fact, when I was at McDonald’s, we used to use this very simple but powerful formula that said value equals price divided by experience. Oh, and the idea was to say, as long as you’re providing an experience, that seems better than the price you’re winning on the value score. So you didn’t always have to take prices down. You had to make the experience better. And at the same time was the key to driving value. So what you and Roy are doing is just so smart because it does allow you to but yeah, but it does. And I think that it, so one thing again, that I would, that I would share with, with people who are in this doing, but we do, and even for you guys too, AJ and worry is something that I do and started doing several years ago that it took me forever to do.
MS (31:50):
And this is a, a shout out to a very smart guy named David Baker, who does a lot of writing about business models for advertising agencies. And I got dialed into him on one time ago. But one thing that he says is if it you’re doing it for free, you still gotta put it on the invoice because there’s no way for people to understand the value of it unless they see it. And so I would put it in as a, this line item with a no charge, or I would actually put it in at full boat and then, and then cut it it back out. I’d do it both ways, but helping people to see the, these are things that we are doing that are valuable for you is super, super important.
AJV (32:29):
I love
MS (32:29):
That. Cause they don’t, we do Abstract work, right? Like it’s its, it’s not, it’s not holding something in your hand.
AJV (32:36):
Oh yeah. Out of sight, out of mind, what have you done for me lately? It’s easy to forget like all those things.
MS (32:42):
Right. and so even again, like the last we finish this up by saying, it never felt really great about either one of those things. And so just two weeks ago I found out the thing that I love that I put out invoices. And so now it says, here’s the service with my comp, here’s the thing I did with my compliments. That is like, this is for you. This isn’t even a, a line item. I want you to know that I did this as a little gift for you. Oh that’s. And so as you and Roy are doing things that are really value added, making sure that you find ways to share those that feel good. Yeah. And is an important part for anybody to who delivers coaching consulting as a service.
AJV (33:23):
Oh, that’s so good because it’s true. It’s like, people don’t know what they’re paying for. If you don’t tell them what they’re paying for. Right. And what they’re paying. And especially
MS (33:31):
If you have multiple people, there’s in my line of work, there’s no way for a CEO to know that, Hey, I had a one off coaching session just for the good of the cause with one of your people, unless it says bonus coaching session with my compliments. That’s so good. Yeah.
AJV (33:44):
That’s awesome. That’s so great. And then the third thing you said that I also love because I think this is, I think people do this more than anything else is they never raise their prices. But it’s, I love this. It’s, you know, I would liken it to like client demand. It’s like the more clients you have, it’s like, you have to be raising the prices be, and that’s just, there’s only a limited supply of how many hours you have to deliver. So the less hours you have the higher, the prices must go. So the earlier I think to me, it’s like the earlier you have clients in, they should have lesser rates to some degree because you more ample time. But as that time gets sucked away, prices must increase cuz the value of your time is innately higher.
MS (34:27):
Yep. And on that, I think a couple of things that are important to remember one of which is you can do an introductory rate. Like you can do it. Let’s try very much like what you guys do. Here’s a preview. Here’s a way for you to try me before we get locked in. And people actually love that. Like when I’m selling coaching, I always say to people, well, the best way for you to understand it is let’s just do it. Like let’s just have a coaching session. And if you’re like, yes, that was great. Then we can do next steps. And if you’re like, that was awesome, but you’re coming intense. But then we’re probably not a good fit and great too. But it saved me from doing a lot of pretend work. I’m like, why not just do a little bit of the work and let them see it?
MS (35:10):
And so that I think is something that is important to know that you can also say to people, Hey, we can do my usual rate is like, you gotta know what your actual prevailing rate is. My usual rate is this to us. If we can get to know each other, I’m willing to do three months at this and then we can reevaluate. That’s an okay way to get started. And so that I think is an important thing is that you have some flexibility and don’t publish your rates would be a big one to not publish. Yeah. Your rates. I mean, I go back to you triggered something that was really helpful for me. And I don’t remember who this was. This might also have been David Baker, but I don’t think so, but I ran, I ran across a great formula that said, if you’re working in corporate America and you wanna go out and consult the number that you need to make in terms of breaking, even with your old salary is somewhere between 1.5 and two, just to stay where you were earning your salary in corporate America. Because you don’t think about things like, well now I’m paying my own portion of says social security and now I’m responsible for my own health insurance. And now I have hours that I have to spend an administration that I can’t bill you, but still are a cost center. And so when you set your rates, you have to account for all those things the same way that they do when they set a salary in a corporate world.
AJV (36:35):
Oh totally. Those are such wise experienced comments to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started or you haven’t established coaching consulting practice. Like those are things that so often never get discussed. Like they don’t actually make it to the conversation of how do we set prices. And so funny, cuz this wasn’t an intended part of my interview with you, but this is so incredibly valuable. And all right. So I have just one other quick question, but before I do that I’m gonna put this in the show notes, but when it comes to social media, if people wanna go and connect with you where’s the best place on social media for people to connect with you
MS (37:15):
That’ll be, I’m too consulting on LinkedIn. So I’m an I’m, I’m not young. I’ve been doing this for a long time and had a career before that. And so I have found that for me and really professional social media is my bag. And, and so yeah, reaching out to me through LinkedIn is the best way and to get to me. And just one thing I am so grateful for just the journey that I’ve had and the amount of amazing experiences and fabulous clients that I’ve had that I always wanna help other coaches along the way. And so if anybody wants to reach out with a specific question around pricing or client management, or what did you do about this, please, please, please take advantage of that as coaches, AJ, I’m just gonna share this with you, cuz I think it’s important and know I actually think brand builders, is that a big part of the solution to this coaches don’t have community?
MS (38:07):
Mm, my husband is a political consultant. There’s like 9,000 political consultant bashes a year where they all go together and party it up and celebrate each other. And if you’re a coach that one of the surprising things for me was how lonely it was and how little community there actually is for coaches. And I think that brand builders is actually finding that part of their mission is to create a safe places for coaches to come together and to share. But also just as someone who is a little bit down the PI here, I am so happy to share my experience. If it’s helpful for anyone that just reach out to me at Mt. Consulting on LinkedIn or Mary, so on LinkedIn if I can help you, I will.
AJV (38:50):
Aw. So awesome. It’s why we love you so much and I’ll put all of in the show notes so generous and you might need to prepare yourself. You might be
MS (38:59):
That OS well though, like again, it’s an honor and man, I’m just so grateful.
AJV (39:04):
Oh, that’s so generous. It’s so nice. Okay. Well here’s my last question. And this is like totally has nothing to do with anything other than my own personal curiosity. But I would say and this is connected to this world of coaching that we’re in. But what would you say has been the, your favorite, your most favorite part about being a coach over the last 20 years?
MS (39:30):
So the, the, the obvious answer, right? Like the existential answer, it is such a gift to watch someone change. It is such a gift to be able to watch the light bulb go off in an aha moment, perhaps more importantly. It’s so awesome. And interestingly enough, I didn’t have children, but sometimes I’m like, Ooh, this must be like what it’s like with a kid where you watch your kid figure out how to tie their shoes at a, a sophisticated high level, but to be able to watch people access particularly their own self agency. And that is my favorite part because what I have found with most people is we give up so much of our agency when we are in trouble. When we have problems, we tend to go, it’s all this stuff around me and I’m stuck. And if we just turned inward just a little bit and said, Hey, actually I have more than I need to get out this.
MS (40:24):
And watching people access that part of themselves, cuz then they have it forever in everything. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing. If they’re like, oh, I can figure this out. And that’s pretty much hands down. My favorite part of that for myself if you took the clients away from it, I would say my favorite thing is how much it requires you to stay current. Oh, okay. I can’t think of another business where you do not have the luxury of relaxing and I will share with you that I meet a lot of people who are my age and I’m like, wow, you’ve had pretty much the same job for the last 15 years. And I’d be happy some weeks with having the same job for 15 minutes. But man, it keeps you young mentally. Like there, everyone is talking about the need to keep learning as a way to say young mentally. So that’s my favorite part about selfishly.
AJV (41:13):
Oh, I adore you so much special conversation with so many nuggets and so many awesome tips and best practices. Mary, we love you. And I don’t, I, I don’t know if people caught this, like I’ve had the pleasure of having Mary as my coach. And I mean, it’s like, I, I speak for that. It’s like, I, I know sometimes you say it’s like, wow, just wondering if you still wanna continue. I’m like what, what, what do you mean not be don’t, you’re have to be brave enough to ask sometimes it’s true and I can totally vouch. It’s like when you find that right coach, and this is where coaches out there and finding your clients, it’s like, it’s a really magical, it’s a really magical. And so be intentional with your clients, be intentional with who you do work with because it, it impacts you too, so that thank you so much. Everyone else stay tuned to the next episode on influential personal brand,
Speaker 3 (42:07):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and, and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand buildersgroup.com/podcall brand builders, group.com/podcall. We hope to talk to you soon.
AJV (42:55):
All right. Well, welcome back. Y’all welcome to the recap episode of my conversation with Mary Soin. I love her so much. She is just so full of wisdom and experience. And as my own personal business coach, I was so excited to have her on here and I get the privilege of not just recapping our conversation, but also sharing just some powerful insights of things that she has taught me in terms of what, what do you provide really as a coach? And it’s interesting because as someone who considers yourself in the coaching industry and the coaching business, it’s what we do at brand builders group and personal branding. But it’s also really important that I have a coach to constantly get that different perspective for myself. And so there’s a couple of things here that I thought were so insightful for anyone who is in the coaching industry.
AJV (43:51):
And here are the couple of things that I think is really insightful is one. How do you set your prices? I don’t think a lot of people talk about this, cause I don’t really think a lot of people know how to do it. And I love the conversation that we morphed into on our call on our interview. Because that wasn’t, the intent had that naturally came up and we just went with it. But here’s a couple of takeaways from how to set your price and that think are really valuable. And then I can speak to as Mary, as my own business coach, right. One I think this was really fascinating. There’s two ways of looking at this, right? There is a, or really three ways. There is hourly, there is retainer and then there’s project and that’s how I would kind of lump these together.
AJV (44:32):
And on a, on an hourly, it actually puts a lot more work on you because you’ve got to track all of those per client. But then on top of that I think a lot of times I’m going, well, what if I don’t use, what if I don’t need these? And then she gets booked up, right? And I’m thinking like specifically of like how I’ve been as a customer, it’s like, I feel pressure of going well, if I just book hourly and I’m not on your schedule when I need you, are you gonna be available? Right. And for any of you who have ever been in counseling or therapy or, or life coaching, it’s like, no, when I need you, I need you. And if you’re not available well, that is not really helpful for me. So there’s pros and cons on a customer’s per on a customer perspective of doing it hourly.
AJV (45:15):
Because then the pro is, it’s like it’s cost manageable. Right. but for you as a coach, it’s a lot more work. It’s a lot more tracking of going now. I have to track and prove and document every single hour that I was with your organization or with you. So first one is hourly. Okay. Second one is retainer, right? Pros and cons to that one too, because on a customer’s perspective, I’m going, well, I want you to show me what you did for this retainer. Right. I paid you $3,000 for last month. What’d you do? I wanna know. And so there’s, again, a lot of tracking and reporting on that. There’s clearly a lot more security on the coaches side for pricing, right. Because you can plan out ahead and there’s less tracking. But then there’s again, extra documentation, right? So there’s, there’s always gonna be pros and cons to this, but I would say as a coach a project or a retainer model, I would blend my way to that more to quickly.
AJV (46:15):
Except for if you are just in that one, on one space and then maybe it’s the hourly. But I think the benefit of some of this in a retainer perspective is it allows you more opportunity to provide more value. And so now you have to figure out what that retainer pricing is. And maybe that retainer pricing is $500. Maybe it’s a thousand, right. Instead of going, Hey, just tell me when you need me. It’s like, no, we’re just gonna set up. It’s like, we’re gonna do two calls, three calls a month. One is for you. One is for your team. You can set it up however you want, but that can still be a retainer model. And here’s another way to look at hourly, even if you only do hourly, just have people pay in advance for their hours.
AJV (46:54):
And that could be like a project, right? So instead of billing hourly, it’s like, well, I’m gonna bill you hourly, but I’m gonna do it in advance. So right. I’m gonna go ahead and bill you for 10 hours. And you can use that in any increment that you like. It could be in 10, one hour calls, it could be in two, five hour sessions. But it it’s like I’m gonna bill you in advance. And then I won’t bill you again until you use those up. So there’s different ways of thinking about how you price. But then you also have to think about what is that actual personal, hourly rate, right. And I thought this was fascinating cause right. There’s projects. And then there’s retainers, right? Which happened monthly versus a project, which is a one time, Hey, here’s what we’re gonna do for Q1.
AJV (47:38):
And here’s how much it costs versus you’re gonna pay me X amount of money every single month and definitely, or for six months or for a year or for whatever. And then there’s hourly, which I’ll track every single hour and I’ll bill you, or you can have people buy hours up front and then you don’t bill again until you use those up. And then they buy the next allotment. Right. So there’s lots of different ways to do it, but then the next is, well, how do you set your internal hourly? Right. So you know what to charge for in a project or on a retainer or hourly like, well, what should I charge a hundred dollars an hour? Is it $50 an hour? Is it $500 an hour? I don’t know what my fee is. And so I thought this was so fascinating because I’ve never heard this and I’ve been in this industry and I’ve been in this business a really long time.
AJV (48:24):
And she said, that really depends on the client. And then, and it hit me. It’s like it sure frien does. It does depend on the client. And I love this and I have never heard of anyone else doing this. So I think this is really, really cool. But this concept of going, how easy is it to work with a client? And that is a part of how you hard, like how difficult is the project gonna be for you? In other words, if you are doing something that is gonna require a lot of research time and a lot of documentation time, a lot of coordination time, then maybe there should be a higher hourly rate because it’s, it’s making you do things that are not a part of your norm, right. Versus like, no, this is, you just want me on a phone call and you wanna ask me questions.
AJV (49:15):
That’s easy. Are you, are you a client? Are you working with clients that are very hard to track down and they always take out virtual real estate on your calendar that you’re always having to go back and try to refill. And it’s like that to me was like the aha moment of going, how many clients have I had in the past that would book calls. And then constantly not show up and then I couldn’t fill that hour with someone else. So there was a huge opportunity cost, and then I would have to track this person down, reschedule, reschedule. They weren’t prepared. And I’m like, oh my gosh. It’s like, this is so much more work than we had anticip hated for. So it was like, how easy are your clients to work with? Are they people who show up prepared and ready to work?
AJV (50:00):
Are they people who constantly know show and reschedule on you? And I think a lot of that you don’t know until you work with them. Right. so she talked about, excuse me, having a grandfathered price in. So it’s like I start everyone at some point at based on what the project is based on what they need based on my involvement. But my prices evolve and change, right. Just like inflation changes the prices in the markets as does at my prices. Right. and really it’s more of supply and demand, right? The less hours I have, the more I charge, the more hours I have, I don’t have to charge as much. And that’s the case with, you know, anything it’s like the less there is typically the more you pay for it. Right. and so just this concept of how easy is it for me to work with you?
AJV (50:48):
How reliable as a client are you to work with and how much availability do I have and then how much expertise is required. Those are the things that we evaluate as we’re setting prices. And I think that’s really interesting to look at, of going the more that you do this, the more you should charge, because the more experience, the more value that you provide, but you need to make sure that that’s what’s happening. And I, I know some people who just get in and they’re like, my fees are 200 bucks an hour. And I’m like, based on what I have other people who get in this business and they charge a hundred dollars an hour and I’m like, you should be charging five, like legitimate, you should be charging 500. That is the level of expertise that you are providing. What’s the difference has everything to do with the need of the client and finding that right.
AJV (51:41):
Fit, knowing what your niche is and knowing exactly what you’re gonna be coaching on, knowing exactly what your target market is and what is their income and what are their demographics and what are their psychographics on a huge part of this? Isn’t about what it’s about, who it’s about, who are you targeting and what expertise are you bringing? And in what model are you going to be charging? Right? And this is such a detailed conversation to have in this recap, but I think it’s one that’s really powerful and a customer of Mary’s to know, it’s like, I’m sitting here going. I wonder if my pricing means I’m a really good client, or I’m a really difficult client of I’ll tell you what it did for me. And I, I hung up for this interview and I went and I talked to my husband, Rory. Who’s also a co-host as you guys all know if you’re listening and I asked him and I was like, based on these fees, do you think I’m a bad client on a good client?
AJV (52:33):
And it created this internal desire in me to like, I wanna be a good client. I wanna get grandfathered in to really good rates. It’s like, what do I need to do to be a better client? And then I’m asking myself, do I reschedule on her? Do I knowhow? Do I not come prepared? Do I not stuff. And there is a mentality that intentional or not, that has been created since this interview of me going, I want to be a better client because I want to be rewarded for being a good client and being rewarded means I get grandfathered in at my original rate. Heck yeah, I’m not gonna reschedule on you anymore. I’m never gonna knowhow. I’m gonna show up and do the work because I want these grandfathered in fees because I value your time. And if I, if I value and I respect your time, you’re gonna reward me as a customer, sign me up.
AJV (53:22):
So I think there’s also reverse psychology working here in her favor again, intentional or not, that makes me wanna be a good customer. So again, really fascinating conversation on pricing. It’s a really delicate conversation. It’s always changing and evolving as your prices should, right? They shouldn’t be the same that they were 10 years ago, because you are definitely saying that you were 10 years ago or even five years ago, or maybe even last year. So please check out this full interview. Mary also gave the incredible offer to any anyone in the coaching business. If you’re a coach and you just want more community with coaches and you want advice from someone who’s been doing this a really long time, she said look her up on LinkedIn. It’s Mary Soin into consulting. And she said, reach out to me. And I’m, I’m happy to support. I’m happy to help and ask any questions. So if I were you and I was a coach, I would take her up on that because I’m taking her up on it for free. So check it out, go listen to the full episode and we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 256: How to Build Your Own Audience with Dr. John DeMartini

RV (00:00:08):
Hey, my, my new friend, mark, Victor Hansen introduced me to somebody that you are about to meet Dr. John Demartini and mark and crystal who we had on the show several months ago, said you gotta have Dr. De martini on. He is incredible. They’ve known each other for 38 years. But Dr. Demartini is one of a, a world renowned specialist in human behavior. So he’s a researcher, he’s an author. He studied over 30,000 books, which I was pretty amazing. That’s just a, a wide on, on a number of topics, but that’s a bunch of books. He’s been on Larry King live, he regularly contributes to magazine and I’ve been just following him online here, recently tuning into to what he’s up to and getting to know one another. So anyways, Dr. Demartini, welcome to the show.
JD (00:01:04):
Well, thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to it. Thank you.
RV (00:01:07):
Yeah. So, so tell us a little bit about how you got started. I mean, you and I were just kind of rapping that you’ve known mark Victor Hansen for 38 years. So you you’ve been around the industry for a while. Would love to just kinda hear how you get started and then kind of like, what is your business model? How, and how is your business model, you know, did it begin and how has it evolved over the years in terms of like, you know, the different revenue streams that you focused on?
JD (00:01:39):
Okay. I had an arm and leg deformity when I was a child and speech impediment and went to a speech pathologist and specialist for that in first grade, I was told that I would never be able to read or write or communicate effectively, probably wouldn’t go very far in life for amount to much had to wear a dunk cap back in 19 0 59 60. I made it through elementary school by asking kids questions. What did they learn from the book? What did they learn from the class? And if they told me stuff, I would get enough to kind of, sort of pass.
JD (00:02:25):
When I turned 12, my parents moved from Houston, Texas to Richmond, Texas. We went to a low socioeconomic country area. They weren’t a bunch of smart scholarly kids. I didn’t have a team to help me. I failed, I dropped outta school and I lived on the streets, but I was okay in standing on a surfboard. I started doing that at nine, but Texas was not the surf capital. I didn’t wait for a hurricane to get new waves. So I made my way out. 14. I hitchhiked out to California and lived in Huntington beach for part of the summer, and then hitchhiked down to New Mexico and surfed California in Mexico. At 15, I left there and got enough money panhandling to go and fly to Hawaii. I lived under a command may highway, sunset bridge. Then I lived in EAI beach park under a park bench, then in a bathroom abandoned car. And finally a tent kept social climbing. I was riding waves and got pretty good at it. Got to hang out with some of the top surfers, got in a few magazines and me movies and books. And then I nearly dock at 17.
JD (00:03:45):
At 17, I was in the recovery of that. I was led to a little health food store and then eventually to a yoga class to try to overcome my neuromuscular problem that I had there. One night I met Paul Bragg and one night, one hour, this man who was inspired and a very enthusiastic man spoke and talked about what we can do with our lives. He talked about, we had a body of mind and a soul and a body must be directed by the mind. And mind must be guided by the soul in order to maximize our, our life.
JD (00:04:21):
When you spoke that night, he said that we need to set goals for ourself, our family, our community, our city, our date, our nation, our world, for and beyond for a hundred, 120 years, nobody ever talked to me like this and I could understand. And he was simple. And he, and he said that what you think about what you visualize, what you affirm, what you feel, what you, what you do and what you write, determines your destiny. And so that night was the first time in my life. I thought maybe I could overcome my learning problems. And I thought I could someday become intelligent.
JD (00:05:02):
And that with his inspiration at night, I set out on a quest to try to overcome my learning problems. I, I eventually left to Hawaii and I flew to LA and I hitchhiked back, Texas. And I prepared for a G E D and passed GEDs, a high school equivalency. I passed that and I tried to go back to college and I failed and I was distraught sitting on my living room floor and my mom and dad, you know, we’re encouraging. But my mom said to me that morning, that, that day when I failed son, whether you become a great teacher, like you dream about cuz at night I met Paul Bragg. I had a vision that I would overcome my learning and learn how to speak properly and be able to teach.
JD (00:05:51):
He said, whether you become a great teacher and travel the world, like you dream, whether you return to Hawaiian ride giant waves, or whether you go to the streets again, just wanna let you know that your father and I are gonna love you. No matter what. When she said that my hand went into a fist, I looked up and I said to myself, I’m gonna mass this thing called reading and studying and learning. I’m gonna master this thing called teaching, and I’m gonna do whatever it takes. I’m gonna travel, whatever it is since I’m gonna pay, whatever price to give sort was love across the plant. I’m not gonna let any human being or myself stop me now. And I got up and hugged my mom and went in my room and I got a dictionary out and I started memorizing 30 words a day and she would test me on 30 words a day until my vocabulary was strong enough to learn and pass school.
JD (00:06:40):
And I, I did and I eventually started to Excel and I’m now 18 and slowly but surely people started asking me questions, cuz I started to Excel in school and I started to have students asking me questions, mentoring. And it went from one to two to about 15. By the time I finished my first little two years in school, I went to the university of Houston. I started having a hundred, 150, sometimes 400 people a day under the trees and I would do my yoga and they would ask questions and I’d have a, a following of students. Wow. When I went on to professional school, I started doing classes seven nights a week. I would speed read books of by then. I was learning how speed reading it. But I was speed reading, read four to four to seven books in the morning and then do a presentation that night.
JD (00:07:33):
And that’s how I had paid my way through college in professional school. When I got outta school and I still opened up my practice. I was teaching every single night and I generated patience from doing talks and everywhere and anywhere I could find a place from breakfast clubs, luncheon clubs, you name it anywhere where there was a speaker might be used. I went to go and offered my speaking services and I generated patients from that. That led me to have a TV show on channel 20 on health, Dr. De Martinez health ends. And then I started doing that in my office. They’d film it live for my audience and we would talk about patients and care. And then I started doing more. And then I, and I figured out how to grow. My practice went from a little 970 square foot office to 5,000 square foot office from one assistant to five doctors and 12 a and people want to know what the heck did you do?
JD (00:08:34):
And all I did is I prioritized things and delegated things and stuck to what I did best, which was being a man on a mission with a message and speaking, and then engaging people. And then doing clinical work. And I prioritized my patients and got the doctors to do certain ones. And I did the most info and 10 folded my income. And then in different professions, they started asking me to speak on clinical practice and growing practices and things and mindset. And I was studying everything and anything I could get my hands on any possible thing that might help maximize human awareness potential. I was devouring and that reading, you know, sometimes 20 books a weekend, I was just devouring and devouring and devouring and learning everything I could. And speaking as every single time I could. Cause when you’re told, you’ll never be able to read and write or speak and then you find out you can, it’s pretty inspiring.
RV (00:09:34):
And what was your practice? So you, your Clear clinical psychologist.
JD (00:09:37):
I, I was a car. I, I was a chiropractor. I was a chiropractor.
RV (00:09:40):
JD (00:09:41):
That’s where I met. That’s where I met mark Victor Hanson at a chiropractic convention in Las Vegas. There were about, I don’t know, 6,000 doctors there and I was a speaker there and that’s where he and I hooked up. And then we end up doing some things together. We created a, an Al them of what they called audio cassette album back in those days, how to build a, your practice. And that led me to speak into other health professionals and then other businesses. And then and I was, I started writing books at 23. So my first book was at age 23, I’ve written over, I don’t know, 200 book books now. And I call it, most of ’em are big textbooks that are going to different specialties, but a lot of ’em are, I got probably four of ’em. They’re about to do 10 more new books that are coming out. Publisher just did a 10 book deal. And so I write, I research, I teach every day of my life and you know, I, I just, it started to grow and I started to go from United States throughout all the states, all but two states I’ve gotten to speak in and then it went into Canada. Then it went into France and Spain and Italy and it started going to Europe and it just kept growing. And I, I, I kept getting opportunities and I
RV (00:10:56):
In the beginning. So in the beginning you were, you were, you started speaking, but you were making money from being a chiropractor. So you were speaking for free.
JD (00:11:05):
No, I, I, I, no, no, no. I, I, my first money that came from speaking started at the university of Houston. Okay. I started doing tutoring and I got paid very small amount. And then when I went to professional, I started to, I, I tried this love donation bit, you know, you put a bowl out and whatever you wanna pay kind of thing. Nobody loved me. So I, I decided to pay 20, make ’em pay $20. And the second I valued myself, so did the group and it grew, I started charging $20 for little evening talk and that kept growing. I just spread the throughout the city. And
RV (00:11:44):
So you’re
JD (00:11:44):
Over a hundred,
RV (00:11:45):
A public seminar model at that point. You’re like in professional school selling tickets.
JD (00:11:50):
Yeah. And I did I did over a hundred thousand dollars a year at 23 years old doing talks, which is pretty good back then and paid my school and I didn’t have debt and I could buy all the books I wanted cuz I just, all I cared about is buying books. I wanted to catch up and read and, and study. I wanted to study the greatest teachings on the planet. And so that I, my teaching model, I was paid from 23 on and I, I, I got paid even when I was in practice, I got paid to speak and then I got generated patients from it. So I got double paid and then I, they buy books and they buy, I made audio cassette tapes. I, I had, I had 900 audio cassette tapes by the time I was 20, probably about 29 30.
JD (00:12:32):
I had 900 to audio cassette tapes on different topics of health and and, and growth and personal development and made albums out of it. So I had tons of albums and things that was going on. And I just, every time I talk, I recorded it and people wanted a copy of it. I had a Mira recorder and I had a duplicating machine, two of them. So I could create six duplicating machines at the back of the room and they would get a live presentation. And then that was my advertisement. As I spoke, they would get copies of that. They’d tell it and I’d give ’em to the friends. And then I had the backlogs of all these other talks and they’d buy a bunch of those. So I had a, a revenue model and then they were coming in as a patient. So I had a good revenue model
RV (00:13:15):
And then
JD (00:13:16):
RV (00:13:17):
So you were selling tickets to come to the event event, and then you are selling tapes at the back of the room and then you’re getting clients out of there for your practice.
JD (00:13:27):
And then I was doing consulting too
RV (00:13:29):
JD (00:13:30):
Companies. I was getting clients from that to consulting. Yeah, I was doing, I did a lot of the, you know, oil companies in Houston, Texas where we started and I did presentations to them on ergonomics and health, health, reducing healthcare costs and things. And then that was generating business too. Plus they buy products cuz I had I had a bunch of books by then and tapes and they were buying those and they didn’t have to pay me if I could sell. They had to, had to pay or they’d do a product sale, either one, I was prepared and that I never stopped that I still did that. And then in those days, you know, there was no internet and there’s no fax and all that stuff. And we just did, we, we sent out these little cards to notify these little mail cards.
JD (00:14:16):
We’d stamp these little mass mailing cards out and the people would come, we’d have, you know, hundreds of people coming to programs. And then I, I had other conferences once I had products, conferences could have me come on and speak cuz then they could do a revenue share and they didn’t the fees. They could afford the fees, cuz I’d have a fees and then they would split the revenues on the product and they’d get their feedback. So they, they liked me because I could, I could you know, make it cost effective. They didn’t really have to pay anything and they made money off me. So they, they didn’t mind me speaking. And I just kept those opportunities growing. I didn’t have any slick marketing. I just, I just made sure my dad said if I, if I deliver more than people expect, I, I won’t worry about business.
JD (00:15:02):
And I found that to be true. If I, if I deliver something that’s unique and present something that’s inspiring and meaningful and practical that they can use immediately to generate opportunities or money or a business or more fulfillment, then there’s always business. So I, I just found that that I’ve never been a slick marketer. I don’t really know all that stuff. I’ve hired people. I, all I do is research, write, travel, teach to this day. I, I live on my ship and I basically research write, travel, teach and do podcast all day webinars and write books so, and travel. So I, I never stopped that model. I just kept doing it. And I’ve spoken in 163 countries now and millions and millions of people. So I, I, I had a dream to travel and step foot in every country on the face of the earth. I still got a few more countries to reach and I I’ve held a vision of that since for 49 years, I’m going on my 50th year. This will be the 50th year of speaking.
RV (00:16:00):
I mean, this is just so, so wonderful. And it’s, it’s amazing to see so much of the path cause this would be so I’m in like, I mean the first time I got paid for a speech was like 2005. That’s kind of crazy to think. I’m not even in year 20. I, I started speaking for free when I was in high school, right. Coming outta high school, which was like 2000, 2000 2001. But the first time I got $5,000 for speech like really paid I think was 2004, 2005, something like that in. And you know, so I I’ve been in 15 years coming on 20. And so many of these concepts apply exactly the same. You’re speaking for free. And then you are selling at the back of the room and then you, you know, you know, people are hearing about you and I think it’s, it’s really amazing.
RV (00:16:53):
So talk to us a little bit about your business changed. I do wanna hear about the boat, cause I think that’s super interesting. You’re on a boat right now. If y’all, didn’t pick that up. Dr. D Martinez’s been on a boat for a long time, actually here the last couple years. So I wanna hear about that, but how did your business change or not change? So, so that happens, you know, in the eighties, the nineties, and then 2000 hits, the web comes out 2005, social media podcasting starts to come on the scene. Did you basically just like transition what you were doing to those platforms? And you know, it’s kinda like, oh, I was doing tapes and then I did CDs and then I didn’t B three downloads. And then I did learning management system or like tell us a little bit about how life evolved at post 2000.
JD (00:17:46):
Well, CDs in the nineties, CDs came in, audio cassettes, still sold. I still had some audio cassettes, but the CDs started coming in and then we converted to CDs. But you know, I learned at age 27, not to do anything, but what my core competence is, which is research, right. Travel teach. So I don’t do anything else. I haven’t driven a car in 32 years. I haven’t cooked since I was 24. I haven’t done administrator written checks or done any, you know, hiring or firing or managing, or I, I learned it to age 27 after reading the time trap by Ella McKinsey, not to do anything other than what is absolutely most inspiring to you if you want inspiring life. So I delegate everything and I’ll hire people that know what, what they’re doing to do that. And so if it’s time to go to CDs, I find somebody that takes care of all that.
JD (00:18:35):
And I just put them in place and I, to this day, still stick to that model. I don’t, I, so I haven’t really done anything except teach research right. And travel since 27, I’m 67 now 68 going on 68. So, so 40 years, that’s all I’ve done. I don’t do the other, I, I, my day consists of reading, writing, teaching, or doing interviews or movies or something. That’s, that’s it. I don’t do the, I don’t do anything else. I don’t make those other decisions. I learn that from Warren buffet and I, I don’t, I don’t, I do what I do my core competent. I know what it is. I stick to it. I don’t waiver from it. And but I surrounded myself with people. So if somebody, if we, if we need to go to CDs, we get some of the packages and organizes and does that.
JD (00:19:23):
If we’re going now to internet marketing, and then I get somebody to do that, but I don’t sit there and try to do my learning curve and do all that. I, I just hire people around me to do that. So to this day, I couldn’t tell you how it’s all being done behind the scenes. I just know I have competent people that take care of that for me. And my objective is to do as many podcasts and do as many webinars and do as many speakings and as many as many books and share as many insights as I can on this planet. That’s, that’s all I, I care about and travel the world.
RV (00:19:54):
I love it. So you’re now you’re living on a boat though, so you’re not, you’re clearly not doing in-person speaking events. You’re
JD (00:20:02):
Well, I, I did until I, I I’ve been living on this ship for 20 years, so I, I, I got this in 2001. So oh, so I, I, after nine 11, I was living in truck tower in New York, right underneath the Donald there. And we were up in the top of the building and, and but when nine 11 occurred, my wife said, no, this I don’t wanna be here in New York. Right now. We had some homes in Australia also. So we, she got a helicopter in the street and got out of there real quick. And and we, we got to Australia, but I told her, I said, look, I’m not scheduled to be in Australia, but four times, if you’re gonna live there, we need to come up with plan B. So I found out about the, the world, the ship called the world and which is a private condominium luxury condominium that, that sails around the world to all the countries.
JD (00:20:51):
And I, that matched my belief system, cuz I’ve said, the universe is my playground. The world is my home. Every country’s a room house. Every city’s a platform to sharer my heart and soul since I was 20, I’ve been internal dialogue. So it matched. So I, I bought that as an anniversary presence. We lived on here until she passed and I’ve been on here, but I’ve been traveling by, by flights. I still did 350 plus speeches a year by still flying and shipping. So if I’m on my ship, then I will go places. If not, I fly. So I’ll get on and off. But since COVID the flying has, and so I’m now just full time on the ship, just going place to place and doing much of it on zoom. So, or on these other mediums.
RV (00:21:36):
Well, and you’re not, but you’re not seeing you’re. I mean, clearly at some point the chiropractor patients stopped. And
JD (00:21:44):
Well, I sold, I sold the practice. I sold the first practice to two of my docs at the five. Gotcha. And I became financially independent at that time. And then I opened up another part-time consulting and practice. I did only for very special patients. I still did a little bit of practice by 1990 I, 89. I was not time practice. I was full-time speaking and consulting. And still to this day, I still consult. I still do consulting as it comes in. I don’t go out promoting it. Don’t do any marketing for it. Really. I just, it it’s on the website if people want to do it, but I still do coaching consulting. I don’t like to call it coaching, but just consulting with executives and various types of people, entrepreneurs, students. But I don’t, I don’t drive that. It just happens. You know, I I’ve done, I can do 300 in a year or I can do 200 a year something maybe, maybe more. But I, I don’t, that’s not my main business. I may do it and a half to that, on that,
RV (00:22:47):
On consulting.
JD (00:22:50):
RV (00:22:50):
Your, so your revenue streams now from, from the, you know, the ship for the last couple years is people will hire you to speak. You do virtual keynotes, you, you have private coaching slash consulting clients and then are, and then, and then what else? Like book deal like you, you know,
JD (00:23:10):
Web webinars, I have webinars. Most of my income still webinars. I have 80 different courses that I teach that I do pretty regularly. The one the break to experience, which is my CIG program. I’ve done 1,140 times. So I, I do that consistently. Donald told me that he says you, if you’re gonna do something brand and do it, build momentum, incremental momentum by doing it and over and over and over again until the people recognize it. So I’ve done that one. That’s my signature program. But I have a series of programs that are multi-day programs that I still do. That’s primary generation. I definitely have book royalties, but they’re not, that’s not, you know, major it’s, that’s secondary, that’s just added, but I I’m getting ready to do 10 more books. That’re in the making now. And then but most of it’s webinars, you know, the live webinars that I do or live. And that when yous that I do
RV (00:24:04):
Think is so is, so this is just so fascinating. So when you say a webinar, you’re saying people are buying an individual seat at a virtual event that you’re hosting and leading.
JD (00:24:19):
Yes. Yes.
RV (00:24:20):
So it, the same thing you were doing at the university of Houston under tree, people were paying money to come get tutored. They’re just paying 20 bucks per whatever. You’re still doing that more or less, just virtually someone buys a ticket comes to your event.
JD (00:24:36):
Yeah. But they’re not $20 anymore.
RV (00:24:38):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, that, that’s the awesome part is the price just keeps going. It just goes up over time. But, but the, the part that’s fascinating to me is that, like you basically said, I’m gonna do these four things. And for the most part, your core model, it sounds like has been public seminar. What I would call public seminars. It’s it’s anybody from the public can buy a ticket and come, you know, you started doing it for free. You are mentoring a couple students. Then it comes to, into, you know, hundreds of people. Then it’s 20 bucks ahead. And now it’s whatever it is a price for, but, but your people are buying a ticket and then they’re coming to an event and anyone can pay their own admission to come and, and just learn from what you, you have learned. And that, that hasn’t really changed. That’s been the core through your whole career. And then out of that, you’ve gotten keynotes and consulting and you’ve sold some products. And you also had your practice that you sold off, but like just basically hosting public educational events. You basically, it’s been your main business, the whole career.
JD (00:25:43):
Yeah. I think I’ve made about a quarter of a billion dollars doing that. So I think that that’s been a good model, but I think
RV (00:25:51):
I would say, so you, I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s not nothing a quarter of a million dollars is that’s a pretty good bit of coin.
JD (00:26:00):
Yeah. The, the thing is the, the speaking, you know, I, because I had a speech impediment speaking is probably the most inspiring thing I get to do. And because I had learning problem learning and delivering something that’s novel and unique to people, you know, it’s original information. It’s not something that’s canned from somebody else. I don’t copy people. I create original ideas that serve people and and synthesize and Ize information. So I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of reading to try to make, distinguish that from just anybody out there it’s solid information. So that, that’s my core thing. I just do it every single day so that you, you, somebody, I have people sometimes coming back to a program multiple times because they, they want, they know there’s something new every time that’s that’s part of my model is just to continue. Even if I do the same program, it’s I keep refining and adding and building and, and educating myself. That’s my responsibility.
RV (00:27:03):
Huh. Yeah. I’ve always kind of thought of myself as almost like a Civ, right? Like as the reason people pay me is not for the time with me, they’re paying me for the time I’ve spent condensing information from other places and, and, and exactly. It seems very much like how, how, how you view yourself, how do you get people to come? I mean, at this point, I guess you’ve had the email list and social media for years and word of mouth, but like, but like literally, how do you get people to come? Do you just have a team that says, Hey, you know, create an online page and we send email blasts and drive ads to
JD (00:27:38):
It. I don’t, I don’t, I have no idea. I don’t say that I don’t do that. I just research right. Travel, teach their job is to help me spread my message across the world. That’s their, I hire people whose vision and mission are congruent with what I’m intending. And I tell them, and I inspire them to what my vision is and help me do it. Let’s go, go make it happen. So I couldn’t tell you everything that goes behind the scenes on social media. I know we’re in all those things, but I don’t do all that. I, I, all I do is if they want me to do a message on some sort of social media, they send me a link on a zoom and they tell me this is the topic or whatever. And I just do a dissertation on it. And then they take care of all that I don’t. No, I couldn’t tell you I’m I didn’t even have a cell phone till last year. I don’t deal with that.
RV (00:28:31):
I love it. Are these people, employees or contracts, like vendors that you hire or does it matter?
JD (00:28:38):
There are some that I guess you would classify as contract. I think there’s a little of all that, cuz there’s somebody that’s kind of does management and does things and they hire people and I don’t even know all the people cause I have a south African office and I’ve got for a while there, we had people in Tokyo and Sydney and South Africa and the states and London and, and so I don’t even know all the different people until I get there. And then I recognize them and I say hi to ’em, but I don’t, I don’t, I Don manage. So I don’t do all that. All I’m all I do is write, travel, teach depend. Yeah. I don’t know all the different prices.
RV (00:29:16):
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s okay. But I, I, I, I, I just, I paused the recording here. Y’all for a second. Cuz I wanted to ask, ask Dr. D Martin, if he’s comfortable sharing the prices, cuz I wondered, you know, how much char these and you know, it’s, it’s really, you’ve stayed so true to just doing your thing. But it’s fascinating because you know, identifying that through line is that you’re a teacher you’re doing exactly what you said you would, but you’re the teacher in your own classroom, you created your own school, your own events, people used to pay or they started out paying $20 per seat to come. How much do they pay now?
JD (00:29:54):
It depends. I mean, sometimes there’s just little webinars, a little simple webinar, they still pay small amounts. And then there’s sometimes one and two and three and five and 10 day seminars, two week seminars. It depends on what we do. And each of those go up in price, they could range from oh $1,200. I’d say a thousand to $1,200 up to $7,000. It depends on what we’re doing. And the, and the things now, since zoom has come down, we’ve been able to bring prices down because we don’t have the logistics of the flights and the venues and all that. So we’ve been able to keep those prices down. But so some of the higher prices are down a bit closer to the five, 5,006,000. But, but that’s, you know, it depends on the logistics and what we, we, we just take what I, what I have is my fee. And then we find out all the cost and we put those together and we calculate that and we pass that on.
RV (00:30:47):
Interesting. So that’s a interesting way of figuring out the pricing. So you basically take your speaking fee. Plus you take the cost of the event. You add ’em together. You figure out how many seats are available, divide it, take the total cost divided by the number of seats. And there’s your, there’s your price. But with zoom, you’re able to bring, bring that. And I just, I, I, I, I, I love this. There’s so many reasons that I love this, but your whole story is one of just being told you, you know, you can’t do it. You’re not gonna be able to do it. You’re not good enough to do it. And, and then you basically take into your own hands and completely defy that. And I know a lot of people that are listening to this show, Dr. D martini, they feel that way in the industry, right?
RV (00:31:32):
Somebody, they, they maybe aren’t struggling with a speech impediment or you know, the, the kinds of things that you were, but somebody is saying, you know, you’ll never be a great speaker. Like you’ll never get booked to speak on a stage. You’ll get a book deal. Like my company will never hire someone like you. And I think there’s so much of this industry that people go, Ooh, I got a book deal from a publisher. Or I got a company that hired me to do a consulting engagement, or I got a speaker’s bureau that decided I was good enough to pitch me to their client. And I got a, a speaking engagement through the, these third parties. We forget how much of the world is available to us directly. And when you look at mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, my personal mentor was one of ’em was Zig Ziegler.
RV (00:32:18):
You look at Dave Ramsey, you look, you look at Tony Robbins, you look at Tom Hopkins and Brian, Tracy, and, and, and it, all of these people and your story syncs up with that is going, you can find your own clients. You can hire yourself for your own speeches. You can, you can be your own publisher just by adding value to people’s lives. And whether it’s on a cassette tape or it’s in a venue or it’s on zoom, I just it’s, it’s inspiring to me as, you know, at least in this case, usually I’m starting to be the older guy in the room, but you’ve got many years on me in this industry inspiring to go that has worked. And it will always, it will always work
JD (00:33:00):
Well when the whys big enough, the house take care of themselves. As the old proverb says, when you have a big enough reason to get a message out into the planet. If the publisher I got rejected by publishers, I got night and gal KOAC rejected me three times. Now, they’re, they’re putting in products out. You know, that that rejection just means refinement. It doesn’t mean anything else. It just means, you know, they’re either not resonant or it’s time to refine what you’re doing, or just keep going and publish yourself. So I published many books on my own before I did the others. I didn’t let any of that. Stop me from my mission. My mission was to, I wanted to reach billions of people on the planet. And so we do so that’s we, but that means I may do find podcasts 10 podcast in a day, or, or go sit at the BBC and do 21 radio shows in a day.
JD (00:33:46):
I mean, I don’t, I don’t care. I don’t care what it takes. I just on a mission to get it done. That’s that’s, if you, if you have a, an attitude that there’s no option, we’re going forward, we’re making this thing happen. How do we do? And you’ll, you’ll, you’ll find the way you’ll find the people, the people, places, things, ideas and events will synchronize in your life and show up in your life. If you’re just committed to the outcome. All I wanted to do is study the greatest teachings on the face of the earth, by the greatest minds I ever lived, summarize synthesize Ize that gather that information devour, synthesize it, come up with something original out of it by the, a transcend awareness and deliver that in such a way that inspired people to go out and do exactly what they would love to do and show them how they can do it. I, I was told I couldn’t, I, I found out I could and they, they may think they can. And if they, if they all of a sudden follow some basic principles, they absolutely can. I, I, I, there’s no doubt in my mind that people can do something extraordinary their life. If they decide to do, it’s just, I’m just gonna pass the torch from what I’ve learned. That’s all.
RV (00:34:52):
I love it. That is so inspiring. Dr. D martini, where do you want people to go to connect with you? If they wanna like, stay in touch with what you’re up to or find out, find out more about your work.
JD (00:35:03):
All they have to do is go to Dr. D martini.com, D R D E M a R T I i.com Dr. D martin.com. They could spend the rest of their life on that, that website, cuz there’s so many interviews and YouTubes and things to read. And it’s an educational website. You know, people always said, you know, this is how you make it a sales website and stuff. And people buy stuff on there. But that wasn’t my intention. My intention was an educational website. So I get told that’s not how you’re supposed to do it. And I said, you don’t understand your mission is a sales before content I’m as content before sales, sales comes, take takes care of itself. If I do something that’s a value. So it’s an education and you’d almost have to believe in Buddhist reincarnation, cuz you’re gonna need a bunch of lives to probably be able to absorb what’s on there. There’s a lot of on there. So you’re gonna have to come back again.
RV (00:35:54):
Well I know, I know you are, but then it’s it’s like what your dad said, right? I mean, it was that idea. If your dad said it, basically if you over deliver, you’ll never have to worry about business. And that’s
JD (00:36:08):
My dad was correct. And I thank him for that. I had a, you know, my dad was an engineer and he had background in philosophy and he, he always, he’d never figured out how he could make a living on philosophy. And he said, but son, you figured out how to study the sciences and religions and philosophies of the world and psychologies and stuff. And you, you were able to do it. So he kind of, he used to come to my class and both, both my, the whole family used to come to the class and it was inspiring to see my dad and mom there. It was just lovely.
RV (00:36:37):
That’s so cool. Well thanks for sharing your, your, some of your personal story and your family and the background. It, it really is inspiring. And but your,
JD (00:36:48):
Can I share one more story? Can I say one more thing?
RV (00:36:51):
Yeah. I, I know
JD (00:36:52):
Where to go. When met Paul, when I met Paul brag in 1972, he had daughter named Patricia brag, a controversial background on that, but there’s, but that’s his daughter that took on and she took over the business when he passed. Well, it was interesting. I was speaking in Honolulu at Waikiki, the Hyat and I was doing my breakthrough experience program and in the back of the room in walks, Patricia brag. And after I, I, I took a break and, and at the break, she came up to me and she’s four foot seven. She comes up to me with this pink outfit on this hat and she comes up to me and she says, that was inspiring. And I said, thank you. And I knew who she was because I, I recognized her from Paul Bragg’s books and her books. And she said, you remind me of my father.
RV (00:37:46):
JD (00:37:46):
That meant a lot. And she then with my daughter, she sat with my daughter and she said, if you ever have an opportunity and you have an inspiration and it feels natural for you to want to carry on the work that your father’s doing. Just know it was inspiring for me to be able to do that with my dad. Well, my daughter is now teaching and doing insulting and doing this and doing and taking over. So she says, step aside, pop on taking over. So I’m still gonna be around for another 10,000 years, but I’m gonna be doing program. I’m gonna doing seminars with Wei boards in the afterlife. So that’s okay. I’ll, I’ll, I’ll be selling Wei de Martin Wei boards probably that they can tap into. That’s
RV (00:38:27):
A joke. That’s that’s funny.
JD (00:38:29):
My daughter, my daughter is definitely up and coming and she’s, she’s on the, on the ball now.
RV (00:38:36):
Yeah, well that is, that is so cool. And you know, I, I, I feel very much connected to that lineage of just all the personal development teachers that have come before. And it’s, it’s, it almost just feels like an honor to sit, sit in that stream and that, that stream of consciousness as it flows from one generation to the next. And obviously at brand builders group, we serve mission driven messengers. And so we very much feel like this podcast is mentoring. Those who, you know, are, are where I was 20 years ago going, how do you become a New York times best seller. And how do you get in the hall of fame of public speaking and how do you make this your full-time business and how do you speak in front of thousands of people? And it’s just like, it just passes from one generation to the next and it’s, it’s, it’s an honor to just be able to carry some, some small part of that torch for some number of years was really, really, really great.
JD (00:39:33):
It, it’s a, it’s a great industry and there’s some, you know, some great people in there that have left great marks. I was chatting, we did a little thing with Dennis Waitley recently, you know, we did a, his I dunno you saw, I saw pictures or two ago when
RV (00:39:48):
I did, because Darren Hardy, I think Darren wasn’t Darren Hardy there too.
JD (00:39:52):
I don’t remember who all was there, cuz I just did an hour with him and and that’s fantastic. I think he may be trying to meet us up in, in Tahiti next week, this coming week. So I don’t know. I’m gonna see if I he’s gonna come on, try to hang on out on
RV (00:40:05):
This. Well, I saw pictures of an event and I recognized of course I recognized Dennis Waitley and then I recognized several people that were in the room and it was like, wow, that, that was a, was, it was a room full of legends. So that’s really cool. Yeah.
JD (00:40:20):
Well, I, I went to, I went to zigs class when I was 20 and I went and I went to Dennis Wheatley’s class back when I was about that age. So I, I remember him, I, we met way back then we, I spoke with Dennis Waitley in 1984 together in Chicago and also Wayne Dyer and you know, Deepak and all the characters.
RV (00:40:40):
JD (00:40:41):
And so I got, I had, I be, I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of great people along the way and yeah, they all add a little piece to the puzzle along the way we all do. Yeah.
RV (00:40:48):
Yeah. You know, that’s the other thing about this industry that’s really amazing is just, I mean, I guess it’s probably true for most industries, but it’s like, if you hang around long enough, you end up meeting all these people like it, there it’s, you know, you end up being at the parties, you’re sharing the stage with them. You’re in the green room. You’re, you’re on the TV shows you have book launches at the same time. You, you know, you’re on each other’s podcast these days or whatever. It’s it’s really fulfilling. Well, thank you for sharing part of that legacy and, and that history with us today and such, such an inspiring story. And I, I, I know that there are people listening right now who will go, yeah, I can just do this. I can just find people to help and love on and I can be in charge of my own destiny and put on my own events and just pour into their lives. And if I over deliver, I I’ll never have to worry about business. So we wish you the best Dr. John, and you know, make sure you hit Dr. D martini.com. If you get him, if you get a chance and, and go over there and check out some more about him and what he’s up to and, and his, and we just, we look forward to staying in touch and, and all the best.
JD (00:41:57):
Thank you so much for having me on your show and for asking questions and appreciate it very much. Thank you.
Speaker 3 (00:42:03):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re in interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon.
RV (00:42:50):
I had no idea that I was going to love the interview that I did with Dr. John D martini. As much as I did that interview was inspiring. It was informative. It was instructional. Like I thought that was so cool and awesome. And I mean, there are so many great lessons from that, and I’m gonna draw out just, just like always, I’m gonna share with you sort of like my, my top takeaways, my top highlights for you and how I’m gonna apply them to my life and how I think you might be able to apply them to yours and to your business. But the, the very first one here is the story of how he started his business. What was it? 40 years ago? 40 years ago, he spoke for free to generate clients for his practice. He spoke for free. Then he started charging $20 a seat.
RV (00:43:48):
And now today he charges $7,000 per seat. This is always the model like this is the model. And it’s like from 40 years ago to, to 30 years ago, to 10 years ago, to five years ago to two years ago, you gotta speak for free. You gotta you’re you’re you gotta get out there. I mean, we call this chicken on a stick in inside of our, our membership community. It’s like, you’re walking through whole foods and they give you chicken on a stick, or you go through the food court. They give you chicken on a stick. Why? Because people need to sample. They need to get a taste of what you’re about. They need to get an opportunity to know a little bit about who you are and to experience a little bit of benefit enough to where they go. That was fabulous. I want more.
RV (00:44:33):
And so that, that principle has never changed and it never will change, right? Like it’s the fastest way to take someone from a stranger, right? Why do they spend money giving out samples and stores? Because you know, I don’t know your brand. And, and it’s like, you rarely see it with big brands, right? Like if Doritos launches some new chip, they’re not given away tons of samples across the nation, typically because it’s Doritos. Everyone is like, yeah, I know Doritos. I’ll try it. Like I like, if you like Doritos, I don’t. But like, if you like Doritos, you go, okay, I’m gonna try this. Cuz I recognize the brand. But especially the newer brand, the younger, the brand, the, the, the more lesser known the brand is the more important it is for the sample. Right? And you go, I’ve never heard of this type of chicken, but you know, or this season, but you put it in your mouth and you go, oh my gosh, that’s incredible.
RV (00:45:25):
And in that case, it’s like, the product is selling itself, not the brand. And, and when you, when you’re just starting out as a personal brand, your product, your expertise, your content, like it is your content that people are buying. They’re buying the solution to per, to their problem. They’re buying your methodology. They’re, they’re buying the idea that you are an expert later, when you break through Shehan, while they’re buying you, they’re buying you because it’s you, right. That’s what everybody did with Gary. Vaynerchuck’s NFT thing with V friends, right? Half the people who bought it didn’t even understand it. They don’t even know what the heck it is. Like they still probably don’t understand it, cuz it’s like new and pretty complicated. But you go, why did they buy it? Because it’s Gary V because they trust him. But in the, but, but, but millions of people are sampling him every day and have been for 15 years.
RV (00:46:17):
What are you doing for people to sample you? They have to sample you. They have to have a free chapter, a free download a podcast, a a, a video of you, several videos on social, your blog, right? Like everything that we do in the relationship engine ecosystem is about creating these little mini assets where people can sample you. They are basically chicken on a stick and they occur as tweets and LinkedIn pulse and blog posts and medium posts and YouTube videos and Instagram videos. Of course, we use the content diamond, which ties that all together from, from just one main video a week that we repurpose. There’s a video on my blog, by the way, if you have, if you’re not familiar with the content diamond, if you’ve never heard me talk about that term, just go to Roy vain, blog.com and then search for content diamond.
RV (00:47:08):
And it will, it’ll, it’ll pop up. But like the point is you have to put self out there, not even yourself. Like you have to put your content out there, your expertise out there in a way that people can sample it because they’ve never heard of you. But if they like your content, it’ll override it, right? Like just cuz I’ve never heard of this type of seasoning. If, if I taste it and put it in my mouth and go, that was amazing. Like, or I’ve never eaten at this restaurant. If I taste it, I’m like, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna eat at this spot in the food court. That that’s how it’s done. And, and Dr. Demar has been doing this for years and it’s just another example of this timeless principle. And so, you know, don’t get lost in the tactics and the like, you know, I don’t, I don’t know if this is working and I don’t like this platform and I’m not like it doesn’t even matter really where it happens.
RV (00:47:58):
It can be a speech, it can be a podcast, it can be a video, it can be an article. It can be a tweet. It can be any of these things, but you’ve gotta put your expertise out there. You’ve got to add value and solve problems for people and answer questions for them so that they can sample you and build trust. That is why we do. I mean, that’s our whole content marketing strategy. That’s it. The second takeaway from Dr. D martini, which was interesting, cuz I’ve done this and heard a lot of this, but never thought about it quite in this way, which I, it was super sharp was he said, you know, I started speaking for free and then I had a fee and people would pay me. And then as my fee got higher, less and less people could afford me. But what several of the audiences did is they would do a revenue share with me.
RV (00:48:49):
And, and that is how the conference could afford me. That was how I could get my speaker fee. And, and that’s a really important way to think about it. I mean, especially if you’re beginning, you should be taking every gig you get, like you should be taking every opportunity to practice and hone your craft and, and get out there and, and, you know, rehearse your content, do that and build your email list and all those things. But the other thing is going, if you can make an offer from stage and you can sell something. And typically what we’re gonna say is, I mean, in world class presentation craft, which is our phase one course, three of our curriculum, we teach about the mechanics of what to say you to sell from on stage. And we talk about firm offers like our not firm offers, sorry full offers and soft offers a full offers.
RV (00:49:42):
When you’re asking for a credit card, a soft offers, when you’re just like offering people a free call or a free download when you’re first starting out, you, if you’re making a full offer, you, I would, I would say you probably wanna keep it under $200. Because it, it takes quite a bit of skill to sell to a room full of people, something north of $200 and not like, you know, turn a bunch of people off. But most of what our clients do and what we do is when we speak, we do soft offers. We don’t sell anything. We give away free calls. And then we do one on one calls and we do the selling there. And that, that is the way to do it. And, and even to this day, there are some events that I will speak at because they don’t have my fee, but they will allow me to do an, an offer.
RV (00:50:26):
And they will allow me to follow up after the event and get emails and do all this stuff. And we can, we can make our feedback in, in other ways, if it’s the right audience, if they’re, you know, perfect for us. So the revenue share from the sales that come at the events is another way that, that you can get your fee or maybe you don’t even have to do a revenue share with the event. Host. Maybe the deal is you go speak for free, but you get to keep, you get to make an offer and you get to keep all the money at the back. I mean, all of that is kind of like part of the normal negotiation, but don’t just turn away an event because they don’t have your fee, especially if they really want you, like, if they’re really your fans, they’re really your people.
RV (00:51:05):
They love your stuff. Hopefully, you know, and if you’ve been in our community, hopefully you’re learning ways to monetize. I mean, I know you’re learning the ways cuz we teach ’em to you, but like you have other ways to monetize other than just your speaking fee. And that also opens up a lot more opportunity for places that you can speak. Because even if you don’t get your speaking fee, you can, you can make the same or more by what comes at the back of the room or from free calls after or from getting people on your email list. And then you, you sell, you know, after the event is over and that’s huge. And, and again, part of why I love this conversation is one that’s sharp and kind of like a new way of, you know, just a really clear way of thinking about it, but the other is it shows you that this idea, this is a principle that has been around since the beginning of personal brands like that, that you speak for free, and then you’re selling at the back, and that is how you make your living.
RV (00:52:02):
And that is how I made my first dollars as a personal brand. I spoke for free and I sold myself published book at the back of the room. And then after that, I spoke for free and I sold tickets to a half day event at the back of the room. And then, you know, from there it evolved and evolved. And then, you know, one, we sold, we sold CD sets for a while, and then we sold courses and then we sold the expensive live event tickets. And then we sold coaching programs. And then you nowadays, we just drive free calls and then we talk to people and then we sell ’em whatever they need. And some of the stuff we sell is 99 bucks. We have, we have stuff that’s 25 bucks, 99 bucks. Most of the stuff we do is obviously our membership program. And we’ve got different tiers of that, that fit sort of every budget. So you can do it. People have done it. Dr. John D. Martinez has built this whole. We are doing it. It has worked, it does work. It will work revenue share from the back of the room. And then the third thing was something was when he was talking about what his dad said, and this is so simple, right? But it’s just so good. He said, son, if you always over deliver, you’ll never have to worry about having enough business.
RV (00:53:18):
If you always over deliver, you will never have to worry about having enough business that is so strong and clear and simple and profound and true and was true, is true and will be true to come. Like if you always over deliver, if you always give people more than they are expecting, if you always give people more than what they paid for, if you always deliver above and beyond what they need or what they deserve, like what, whatever the transaction is, if you exceed that, you’re never gonna have to worry about business because you’re gonna have advocates out there. I did. I did a reel on this, on my Instagram my handles at Rory Vaden. And I did a reel on this, about how to, how to select the right price. And, you know, my whole, my whole point is going. It doesn’t so matter.
RV (00:54:16):
It doesn’t so much matter what you charge. It doesn’t so matter. It doesn’t so much matter what your price is. What matters is that you always deliver more than the price that you’re charging for, right? You always deliver more than the price you’re charging for. So it could be a hundred million and you, as long as you’re delivering a billion dollars of value, it’s worth it, right? If it’s $10. And so we use the something that we call the rule of 10, which is price it at one 10th of what it’s actually worth, right? So, you know, if, if our goal, if we’re gonna, you know, let’s say it was $10,000, we wanna deliver a hundred thousand dollars of value that we go. Like, we really believe this is worth a hundred thousand dollars. This will, you will make a hundred thousand dollars from what you’ve learned here.
RV (00:55:02):
And we’re gonna charge 10,000. That gives you a lot of conviction that gives you a, a lot of strength that gives you a lot of enthusiasm when you’re sharing the price and talking about your program. And you don’t have fear because you’re going, this is, you’d be crazy not to do this, which is how I feel about brand builders. I’m just like, y’all, we are the cheapest, most insanely valuable education. There is. I mean, what we give to our members for what they pay is are tens of millions of dollars. Like we have proven it. Like we have made millions of dollars from these things that we’ve had to learn from 7,900 different sources and pull it together and give it to you step by step. And just going, if you haven’t requested a call with our team, like request a call, like go, go to free brand.
RV (00:55:54):
What do we say? Pod, pod call, whatever, whatever the advertisement is, you can go to free call.ro vain.com. I know that one works or whatever the ad is that we place on here. But like, if you’re liking this and you’ve been listening to this for a minute, you should request a call, right? Like it costs some money to do, to work with us, but it is extraordinary what people get and the experience and the results that people are having. And the, and the other people in the community alone. Like if you learn nothing, just being around the other members of our community is insane. Like our community is epic. I mean, you’re at an event sitting next to New York times, wrestling, authors and hall of fame speakers, and eight figure entrepreneurs and billionaires and people who’ve sold their, their companies for hundreds of millions dollars and people who are multi seven figure, you know, direct sales or network marketing people.
RV (00:56:46):
And you know, the top of their profession or their industry. And maybe you’ve never heard of ’em, but they just crush their industry. Like they’re the most well known in their thing. And they’re all just sitting. We’re like all in the same space. It blows me away. Like our members, our clients are the most amazing people, actors and actresses on TV. Obviously the, the author thing, there’s former pro athletes, tons of people with like hundreds of thousands of followers or tens of thousands of followers. And there’s like sitting right next to you at, I mean, our, our events are crazy. So, and that’s how we design it. Right. And it’s, it’s because of exactly what Dr. DM, our teen’s dad told him. And then he did. And so many, you know, Zig Ziegler was one of our mentors and he did it. And like overdeliver, overdeliver give people more than they expect more than they deserve more than they paid for.
RV (00:57:37):
And watch it come back to you, watch it, change your life, watch it, change your business, watch it radically flood your bank account. Like just do it for a while. Go, how can, what are people expecting? And how can I give ’em more than that? How can I constantly be pushing the envelope of adding value, adding value? And our team is doing this. Like our team is awesome. You know, I’ll, I’ll log into like our members portal and be like, oh my gosh, that’s so cool. Like, where did that feature come from? Because our, our team is just doing it and you wanna create that culture. And even if it didn’t pay off somehow in money, it, it, I mean, it always does, but like, it, it, it pays off an impact. It, it, it pays off in purpose. It, it pays off in this feeling that you’re contributing to the world and that what you’re doing is good and that you’re adding value to people’s lives.
RV (00:58:28):
And it gives you the conviction that other people should buy from you. And that is worth a lot. It’s worth a lot to you, especially if you have call reluctance and sales reluctance, like I’ve had for so much of my career, cuz I don’t wanna annoy people and I don’t wanna be pushy and I don’t wanna be aggressive. And so you gotta be convicted the value of, of what you do. And, and so use the rule of 10, use the rule of 10. It’s just make sure that the, the value you deliver far exceeds the price that you charge. That’s it make sure the value you deliver far exceeds the price that you charge. Because as Dr D Martin’s dad says, if you, you over deliver, if you always over deliver, you will never have to worry about having enough business. And I hope that you feel loved on as a listener of this show.
RV (00:59:19):
We would love to talk to you. So hopefully you, at some point, you know, request a call with our team or just keep tuning in like, and, and just keep tuning in or just keep tuning in. We’re here for you. It literally fills us up to know that you are on the other end every week, listening to this show. Like even if we never ever have any financial exchange, it is the greatest like honor and privilege to know that you’re gifting us your attention and your time, and you’re willing to allow us and our guests to be an influence in your life. And it’s just an honor. I mean, and we absolutely love it. So I hope we get to meet you in person at some point. But thank you for tuning in. Thank you for sharing this with your friends. Thank you for leaving your comments and your reviews on iTunes and telling people about this. And just please keep coming back and know that our heart is to overdeliver. And Hey, if you don’t think we’re overdelivering or if you have ideas about how we could leave that as a comment on iTunes, let us know because that’s, that’s the desire of our heart is to, is to really serve you in that way. That’s it for this version of the influential personal brand podcast, Roy Vaden out.

Ep 255: Scaling an 8 Figure Coaching Business with Casey Clark

AJV (00:07):
Hi everybody. This is AJ Vaden here. I’m the CEO, co-founders at brand builders group, but also one of the awesome hosts of the influential personal brand podcast. Of course that slightly by as I talk about myself, but I’m really so excited for you guys to meet my friend Casey Clark today. He is so awesome that he and I are newer friends, but we’re in a, a little two person mastermind. We’re gonna be meeting every month together. And I I’m so, so grateful that he was kind have to entertain being on the show today, but just a little bit of background. So you know who he is, cuz you’re gonna get to know him and his business really well over the next 30 to 45 minutes. But I even learned some really cool stuff. I did not know. But Casey came from a franchise background and when you left the franchise visit, I didn’t even know this, but you had 90, more than different franchise owners.
AJV (01:04):
And I had no idea that’s like a really massive accomplishment, but what I mostly know about is what Casey is doing now. And he owns a company called cultivate advisors and it’s one of the largest small business coaching firms in north America. And so that’s a huge part of what we’re gonna be talking about. And then just in 2020, he was ranked within the top 800 fastest growing companies on the Inc 5,000 list. And that is no easy feat. And so we’re gonna talk a lot about how you did that. And a huge part of our audience are people who identify as coaches or trainers or consultants or speakers which is why I wanted to have you on the show. So welcome
CC (01:46):
AJ. Thanks for having me excited to be here.
AJV (01:48):
Yes, it’s gonna be so fun. Okay. So to give everyone just a little bit of background, tell them, how did you get started in the world of small business coaching?
CC (02:00):
Well, it goes back to, you know, those franchising days, we were training first time business owners, how to scale a business and it was in the home service space. So it wasn’t as exciting of a space. Right. But it was, it was one of those businesses that allowed you to spend more time learning how to run and grow a business versus necessarily how to be amazing at the industry. Right. Hmm. And so through that period, we just, I kept starting up more franchisees. I, I kept going through that cycle. When I started seeing these patterns, I started seeing how people got stuck and where people would find these gaps. And I went, I wonder if this is the same in the outside market, if I were to go across, you know, hundreds of industries. And so, you know, started doing some research, started to kind of get into the coaching advising space. And within a few years it was very clear that what I had experienced was very similar to where most entrepreneurs were, you know, that stop gap where they get on that treadmill or they, they, they lose control if it’s growing too fast, you know, et cetera. So that’s kind of what got us into it. I got addicted to this idea of being able to help small business owners kind of take back their life per se and start to control growth. And that’s, that’s kind of what cultivate was built on.
AJV (03:02):
Oh, that’s so good. So I’m so curious. What was the industry for the home services, business
CC (03:08):
Painting, painting industry.
AJV (03:09):
So I have a huge past life as a consultant and I did tons of work with Iffa. So I’ve got oh yeah. Clients. but
CC (03:18):
I know Iffa I was certified with Iffa. Oh yeah. I’ve been panelists at their conferences in the past, you know, all that stuff, so.
AJV (03:25):
Awesome. Okay. So you get started in this now. How long, how long ago was it that you started cultivate?
CC (03:33):
We founded at the end of 2013, we didn’t do any revenue till 2014. My co-founder was one, one that kind of went full time. We have a fun story where he just called me one day and said, you know, that idea we talked about, we set up a, you know, an LLC for, I, I quit my job today. I’m gonna start doing this full time. I’m like, all right, I guess we’re doing this. And so I, I still had my other business. I was still working on that exit and, you know, working on that. So it took me about two years. So I was part time. He was full-time for the first two years I joined full-time really at the start of 2016, so, okay.
AJV (04:04):
CC (04:04):
Like I think that, what does that, what does that make that now? Five, six years maybe. I
AJV (04:07):
Mean that, but that’s pretty significant to, and I we’re gonna get to this, but to go from 2016 to what, what we call it first quarter of twenty, twenty two, like that’s pretty phenomenal growth and a short amount of time. So do you mind telling the audience, like how much are you guys doing in revenue? You don’t have to give us like to the, to the stint, but
CC (04:27):
No, you’re you’re all right. Yeah, yeah, no, you’re all right. We’ll, we’ll probably do you know, just shy about 16 million or just over this year. And we’ve got about 126 employees, so yeah. So it’s, it’s been a quick runway
AJV (04:41):
Five years and I think that’s really important cuz I know so many of the people that we talk to and that we work with they have the dreams of building and scaling something that’s beyond them, delivering coaching services and you guys have done something extraordinary in a really short amount of time. So some of these questions that I have prepared every cause I wanna know
CC (05:01):
I wanna know, get some, gotta get some dirt, get some ways to, to copy. I love it. R D Rob duplicate, wanna know
AJV (05:08):
Too. So that’s pretty phenomenal growth in five years. Right. And from somebody who also has been a part of building and growing an eight figure coaching business, like that’s not easy. So I wanna know it’s like, how did you guys do it? Like how has it
CC (05:22):
Grown? How long do we have AJ? How long do we have? Well back to the beginning. No I, I think I can distill it down to a few things. I, I think one is the, the quality of the output, right? What goes into that? It’s, we’re really specific who our advisors are. They’re only past business owners that have seen success. We’re very, very strict on that. We’re not the license or the franchise. I would, I don’t think you should franchise this, this industry licensing you can get, you can get away with. And if you set up the right structures, but you know, I think for us, we really saw this vision to say, we’re gonna create an employee model for advisors. Let them feel like internal entrepreneurs within our brand. And how we’re gonna approach is we’re only gonna bring in folks that have walked the walk before, you know, out of a, I, I, I, I read a stat the other day that, you know, it’s $11 billion industry.
CC (06:13):
This coaching industry is the average business is like 156,000 in revenue. That’s, that’s almost half what my average advisor does a year in revenue. Right? So it was just a quality play that we took out, say, we’re only gonna bring these folks. And I think that was step one. And just this relentlessness to measure the customer’s experience and not just measure, are they happy? You know, they give us a good net promoter score, good, you know, status action score. But more importantly, we started tracking really early on how many businesses are growing double digit revenue and growing double digit profit that we’re working with. And because we were niche in and we had that focus, it allowed us to prioritize. I think the third thing that really stood out and, and I, I don’t always agree with this, but it’s just what worked for us.
CC (06:55):
We kind of hit the marketplace at the right time. What we saw was that we did not need to be industry experts. We could be industry agnostic. And what we needed to do was fuel growth. And what we found is that a lot of business coaches had niched into I’m gonna help you with your sales or I’m gonna help you with this or this part of it. And that’s great. I mean, I, there’s no discredit to that. We just really saw the models that there’s nobody out there as a generalist that even go bring those people in on their behalf and truly meet them as a business partner. So I think a lot about how our model got created is that’s also why we’ve scaled so quick. When you bring on talents and entrepreneurs already that have ran a business, you go, you need to go find 10 or 15 businesses to work with. It’s not that hard for them to do that. And we can start to scale very quickly as we built the model. So those are some of the nuances that I think helped kind of scale at the end of the day, just chalk it up to a lot of hard work and a lot of really good talents of people that are smarter than me. Yeah. That’s how we kinda got over the line. We should
AJV (07:50):
Always be the dumbest person in the room that
CC (07:52):
Is try to be, try to be trying to be.
AJV (07:55):
So I think there’s something that is really unique about what you, and it’s this concept of building it in an employee based model, because I think that’s pretty contradictory in most of the consultant coach worlds, for sure. And so why did you go that way?
CC (08:13):
Well, I don’t know if it’s the easy way. I think it’s the hard way. It’s harder to get off the ground, but if you get off the ground, I think it’s ways than the second tier scale, right? Like our, a lot of our growth has happened in the last three years. We’re exploding and we’re, we’re set up to continue this really, really fast scale, really because we’re able to control the levers of growth because we’re all employees, we’re all, you know, guided towards the same north star that we’re driving towards. And it just starts to get this, this engine that you can’t turn off what I find when you’re in the, the non-employee model, which again, there’s nothing wrong with that. Right? We’ve got tons of clients in our portfolio that have built license or contractor programs. You just lose this element of quality and you lose this element of control.
CC (08:54):
And I shouldn’t say you, you lose it. It’s just harder to hold. It is probably the better way for me to frame that. It’s harder to hold that element of control for the, for scale, because at the end of the day, you can’t tell somebody what they have to hit and what they have to go achieve. You’re you’re only gonna go as far as the, the tenacity or drive of the individual. Yeah. In the other side of that agreement. Right. And you won’t get their full I endeavor. And so what really I’ll talk about what I think holds people back from this it’s it’s money. Like really what I find people in this industry, why they stay away from this is the cash side of it. Yeah. And, and we were in the same boat. We, we just, we just said, you know what, we’ll go bring on three and we gotta make th sure.
CC (09:32):
They’re all successful. And then we took all the and earnings from that. Now we’re gonna go bring on six. You know, this year we just started 15 in one class, we’ll bring on 30, this year, 35 this year, next year we’ll probably bring on 40 to 50 advisors. Right. And we just keep, we just keep taking the earnings and then you can afford to bring on more people. Cause we really don’t break even on advisor for almost 11 months. Yeah. So it’s a long term strategy that we’re playing for a long term growth. It’s it’s, there’s no shortness about it.
AJV (10:01):
Yeah. I love it though. I think one, one of the things that I love so much is it does give you that ability to create a more standard experience because yes they are employees. Right. I think that’s one of the hardest things is creating a, it’s not, you want it to be, you know, cookie cutter, but you wanna be able to set standard expectations so that every client has a somewhat similar experience, even if what they talk about is uniquely different.
CC (10:28):
Yeah. And I, and I’ll tell you, like, I don’t think a lot of our team members like really view, like I’m an employee of cultivate, you know, I hope they don’t. I think most, most, most people within our organiz are coming at it going, yeah. Yeah. I hang my shingle at cultivate, you know, but I have my own portfolio, my own book of business. We’ve created compensation incentives that create unlimited upside in every role in the organization. So they feel empowered. They feel that same sense ownership, but we’re able to maintain that standard. And again, our, our team members, you know, hit those standards easily and, and drive towards those standards without, you know, cause the talent we hire. But that’s the other thing too, right? Your talent pool totally changes. When, when you say I’ll pay you this salary, I’ll pay your benefits. I’ll give you a 401k match.
CC (11:07):
I’ll and I’ll give you unlimited upside for revenue share based on your output. It, you know, transparently after selling franchises for a long time. And then now offering money and really to write checks heck of a lot easier on the second part of that than it’s on the first. I mean, there’s a long line. You get to kind of sort through to pick the right person. Now we’re lucky in our industry, we haven’t been affected by the great, you know, resignation and we haven’t been, you know because we hire these past entrepreneurs. It’s, it’s just kind of a different niche we’re in. But so I don’t wanna be Des sensitive, you know, to what’s going on in the world right now. But it, it really is compared to my experience of franchising, I find so much easier to just go, I need to 10 people. It’s not gonna be that hard for me to go find 10 talents of people. I just have to do some, some hard work to, to pull ’em out.
AJV (11:50):
So for somebody who is in this world and they’re building this coaching business or consulting or training, right. Didn’t use any of those and they’re going, I just don’t have the money to do that. Yeah. Right. That’s somewhat of a mindset.
CC (12:02):
AJV (12:03):
Yeah. So what would you say to that person?
CC (12:05):
Three answers. One, get a partner who has money. Now you have money. You know, don’t hold the degree, don’t hold all the equity, you know, go after your, go after vision, see the reality, figure out how to buy out the partner later. Option two, start, start on the freelance. Start on the, the, you know, that’s what we did our, our first year and a half, the people we brought in, they were, they were all contractors set percentage, you know, and just, we were really lean. We didn’t over invest in anywhere except for talent. And we saved our pennies. We didn’t pay ourselves very well. Yeah. We, we intentionally held off to the best of our abilities while paying the bills. You know, we’ve got families and all that, but you know, we just really focused hard. So we were double dipping. We were advising full books of businesses in our, in our terminology, but we were also then leading a few advisors, each getting ’em off the ground.
CC (12:49):
So we had to play had kind of be that player coach there for a bit, but we had the site and we had the vision. We laid out the forecast. We knew exactly how much money we had to get to, to have the amount of money to invest. And we had ran the model to know what we had to invest to get. And then we flipped all the contractors to employee and then started to only bring employees. And we started growing at the speed. What was cash? Now our speed of growth is limited to the number of leaders we can promote. So how fast can we, people skilled up to where we feel comfortable putting in a leadership position. That’s now what holds me back in terms of the next chapter of growth of waiting for that element. So that’s how I personally, you know, look at the money side is get a partner, number two you know, set up as a contractor first, take those earnings and, and bootstrap this thing up. And the, the third, another option is just of the day, like create an equity program out of the gates. Like, you know, your first five or 10 folks like tie them in for being those early adopters. And you do something kinda a little different where they’re more of a partner and then the next batch, as, as you get 10 people up running full blast, putting, you know, deposits back into that bank, it’s gonna create the, the nucleus of money for you to then, you know, push out.
AJV (13:54):
Yeah. Love. That’s so good. So, all right. Let’s say somebody buys into this, they’re listening to this interview and they’re like, yeah, I’m not gonna grow. I’m not gonna scale unless I have more people. Right. Yeah. Be a very finite amount of clients and time that we can all do this individually. So where would you say, like, where’s your go to place for finding great talent right now?
CC (14:15):
I mean, it’s a honestly poaching LinkedIn. It really, it really is. I just you know, why, why though, like a lot of people just talk about it, like, I’ll give you the new, the new, the nuances of why you know, I can search CEO co-founder owner. I have the ability to search that on LinkedIn. So for that reason, I have the ability to find their right talent by, by putting those filters. I don’t really know of any other place online that allows me to search that. Yeah. I think you can search resumes on indeed now. And there’s a little bit of searchability in that, but it’s a different,
AJV (14:48):
It’s a different person.
CC (14:50):
It’s a different pool, you know, for us now, now I don’t think that I, my, my gut is not a lot of people necessarily for the niche or what you’re trying to get into always need past entrepreneurs. Right. So if I were to talk to, you know, we’ve got a, a very large client base and portfolio, I mean, indeed is really the number one job board still. I mean, nobody’s even touching it in terms of the amount of hires and, and what you get out of it. But I would really, if I worked with any, any company say, how do you get going on recruiting in a professional service environment, okay. In this type of environment, I would say three ways, LinkedIn poaching, you know, you’ve gotta have somebody, either a recruiting firm or somebody in house actively going out and trying to find the right people on getting them educated to where they wanna apply.
CC (15:36):
That’s the key don’t poach and say, would you like to have a conversation? Don’t do that. Like, I just wanted to introduce you to the role, go check it out, have some great videos on your website, let them apply. So they feel like they’re trying to earn the role. Yeah. Otherwise you just turn in just a negotiation of salary and that’s not, you’re probably not in that situation yet. Option two, make sure you have posts all over. Indeed. Especially if you can work remotely anywhere, open up your, open up your mind to talent across the country. That’s just the new way of life. Now, everybody we’re, we’re there. All right. The whole, I’m gonna hire people in my back door that in my backyard, that’s gone. So you’re missing out a massive talent if you’re gonna limit yourself. Yeah. The world’s changed. Right. And then option.
CC (16:11):
And especially in this industry, just don’t, you don’t need walls. You don’t, you know, you can work remote and then, you know, option three is, is, is really referrals. Like you think about your own network. You think about, get on the phone, do the hard work, get on conversations with people, you know, and go, I’m looking for somebody who is this background, who do you know, that has this background? And then as you start to get your first few employees, instead of a have conversations with them, like, how can I get three or four of your friends that are similar to you in this organization? What do we have to do to make that happen? And just, if you start with that intentionality, you’ll get outta the gates. And then once you get outta the gates, you have a following us, you know, we’ve got kind of an endless application pool that we get to work through now, but that’s because of our size and our, our success stories. Right. It doesn’t, it doesn’t start that way. It’s like, I remember being, you know, convincing people. I promise, like we really do know what we’re doing. It’s helping small businesses grow. I remember those conversations like yesterday, you know, oh, that’s now, they’re now the story speaks for itself. But,
AJV (17:05):
But you know, it’s, it’s so true. It’s like, you know, we recently just brought on five new, full time employee strategy. One thing about me is I, I take, I take advice quickly. Once I agree with it, I’m like, I’m on it. It’s like, I think we had our conversation like first week in December and it’s like January, we had five full-time employees. Right. And so a lot of it is
CC (17:25):
Ask how you’re feeling a couple months, that risk tolerance
AJV (17:29):
Been a little crazy, but you know, four out of those five, I got, I poached off a LinkedIn.
CC (17:34):
AJV (17:35):
One was a personal referral. Yeah. And one and four out of five, straight up just poached off the LinkedIn. But it’s, it’s knowing how to navigate. Right. But it’s looking, it’s knowing what you’re looking for.
CC (17:46):
Somebody, somebody told me this a lot of years ago. I can’t remember who I wish I could give credit. Cuz I share this all the time. It’s one of those things where it’s like somebody once said, right. But you, you should always employ the employed, not the unemployed. Yeah. Right. And so it’s, you know, the reason why I like LinkedIn poaching is I like to take people who already have a gig. I already have something going and I’ve gotta convince them that my gig’s better. It’s usually when you get the talent, there’s a reason why the person’s unemployed and now that’s not fair. Cause some people might be here and go, whoa, wait, I kind of got unlucky. Like don’t mean any disrespect by that, but just a general rule of thumb at scale, as an owner, growing a business, how are they employed? Not the unemployed.
AJV (18:23):
Yeah. It’s such wise advice.
CC (18:26):
Especially when you’re first getting started.
AJV (18:28):
Yeah. I think that’s yeah. Okay. So I love this. Right. And so then, so my next question comes around around. All right. So in order to get to the place where it’s like, all right, I need to bring on more talent. I need to make this happen. You gotta like have sales. Right? You gotta have some growth.
CC (18:41):
You gotta need some revenue.
AJV (18:43):
You gotta have some revenue. So I would say like, what do you think other than having great talent and doing all the things which I having great. Yes. That’s a given, right. That’s an expectation, right? Yeah.
CC (18:52):
If you don’t, if you’re not, if you’re not good at what you do, you’re not, you have no business scaling it anyway. You’re gonna lose yourself in it. Yeah.
AJV (18:58):
But so what’s your sales strategy
CC (19:03):
That I have to be careful what I should. No, I’m just joking. I think, I think there’s a few, few ways we view it. We kind of break this out. I mean, I’ve always believed that the fastest way to grow a business is that your number one marketing task, I’m gonna go to marketing versus sales. Cause I think as long as you have the leads and you offer a good value and your right price, you’ll sell, I mean, we can get into sales, conversion ratios. And I know you and your husband have an amazing sales background. You could, you know, teach at the end of the day of how to close. Cause I’ve grabbed my own strategies from watches your, your videos of the past. And, and you know, I think that I look at the marketing source where most people struggle is actually how to get the leads in yeah.
CC (19:40):
To then be able to sell. I think that’s actually where people struggle on the route. I agree with that. I agree with that. People can learn sales. It’s kind of hard to learn marketing. You can learn how to sell stories. You can learn how to set up your Facebook or LinkedIn profile. You know, these are all things you can do, but like how do you actually build an engine of leads that’s sustainable. Right? So that was really what we focused on. And, and now what we did is we turned all of our advisors that came in, we have them also generate their own opportunities. Right. So a lot of our advisors are bringing their own personal network when they come in. They’re in to do so, but it’s real, we’re really focused on a referral business. If you think about coaches, we’re no different than financial advisors or insurance brokers or lawyers.
CC (20:21):
How many times have you ever gone on Google and said, I wanna meet a lawyer. Not very often. Most people are like, they’re gonna get referred. Right? You’re it’s just so I, I call this the referral industry. You, you got how to be referred in. You gotta set yourself up to get referred in. So however you can build that engine, that’s how we approach it. And so knowing that that’s the model knowing that’s how we approached it. We just skill our advisors up, unbelievably on how to build this referral model. And a lot of different ways from building, running, speaking events, to partnering with different programs, you know, et cetera, et cetera. But I do have a full partnership team. That’s out, you know, working, setting up partners with people to where we come in and provide content and, and value to their organizations and all their, their you know, business owners within their network, depending on what the, the partnership is.
CC (21:08):
We focus on, you know, we we’ve for a little while we land, we ran a LinkedIn program, but that’s really become saturated. You’re not really gonna get a lot of sales outta LinkedIn with these days. You know, really it’s always come back to the root, can we get 40 to 50% of our clients every year from more client referrals? That means you’re doing an amazing job. Yeah. Right. If you can grow 50% year over year, just because of the num you know, one in every two clients give you a referral client, go figure that out, ask the clients for referrals, be active, then figure out how to get the connector. What we call kind of the connector referrals, the outside influencers, people, you know, connecting your, referring you and then use your own personal network from all the business owners where you’re essentially going, Hey, I wanna work with you in your business or whatever, you know that your niche might be. We’ve really kept it simple. And we just, we follow the goals, follow the KPIs. And we
AJV (22:00):
Deliver you say it’s simple, but for most people they’re like, wait, what?
CC (22:04):
No, I know, I know this is what we do every day though. Right? I don’t wanna give away too much cuz this is what we say it down. And help people do is like, let’s figure out how to build a sustainable lead engine. Because that’s usually the biggest, here’s what, here’s what I find people either struggle between, you know, sales and marketing on the growth side or they struggle on the capacity side, which I consider leadership and recruiting. Yeah. Like those are the two. And I think of like financials as in the middle, right? You gotta have financials locked down, otherwise you can’t scale. So once the financials are solve and I don’t just mean you have money, I just mean cash flow price per widget margin per, per widget, future performance, stress tests. You know, now I’m just, you know, sharing a bunch of random terms, but all these things are vital to be put in place. And then it’s, we just find business owners, Teeter, totter back and forth. Like, do I need to drive the sales and marketing? I, or do I need to drive the leadership in recruiting? And you’ve gotta build an engine for both. And once you have it, you get this really nice. We call it the propeller. You just start taking off, you know, flying to wherever your destiny is. Whenever you have those two things running at the same pace.
AJV (23:04):
Yeah. We, it’s so funny. We talk about that all the time. But it’s like, if you only have one of ’em that’s growth, but you have to both to have scale, you can grow on both sides. Right. But you have to have both to really have scale. And I, and I love that. And so, so I have two, two quick follow ups on this and I’m watching the clock too. I promise. I’m not gonna keep you here all day. No,
CC (23:24):
All good.
AJV (23:24):
But you have this one thing, which I don’t think is confidential. So hopefully I’m not like
CC (23:29):
No, no. It’s okay. Yeah. What is it?
AJV (23:30):
This concept that you have of enterprise affiliates.
CC (23:34):
AJV (23:34):
Right. So I think that’s pretty revolutionary and not something all that common in this industry. And I don’t know what report you were reading, but I was probably reading the same report just a few weeks ago, talking about how the estimated market net worth of the coaching industry is about 11 billion, right. That is estimated over the next 24 months to reach 20 billion. It’s
CC (23:55):
The second. Yeah. It’s growing a
AJV (23:57):
Growing industry in the world, but here’s the part that’s crazy. It’s totally unregulated. Right? There’s no regulatory body that’s governing this no industry. So it really does come down to who’s being referred. Who’s most trustworthy who who’s got these connections. And I think that’s really substantial because that’s ultimately what we do brain builders group. Right. It’s how do you establish a personal brand? It’s how do you build your reputation? How do you become known as the go-to person for X, Y, or Z? And so this concept of being able to multiply this referral concept within an entire organization or association, I think is brilliant and revolutionary, and it might, may seem like duh, that’s what we do. But I think for most of most of the world, but I’m sorry, what are you talking about? What is an internal,
CC (24:48):
Well, you made it, yeah, I was gonna say you made it sound really fancy. I don’t even, I don’t even say that those words together the enterprise affiliate, that’s what I call it. I’m gonna steal it and go into my team from meeting next week and go, it’s time to talk about our enterprise affiliate program. What I, I just, I just call strategic partnerships, right? This is, this is about the idea of a one to mini model, right? You could spend your time selling a single business owner and are, and I’m using in my language, you know, whatever your end user is for, for you, whoever’s listening. And then, or I could go sell the person and create value for the individual, to, for them to bring me in to as many of their clients as possible or their network or their association.
CC (25:28):
And so this started back. I mean, we were, we were one of the, we were one of the companies that came out of the WeWork, boom, you know, WeWork went up next to my house. We got our glass box that we sat in for a few years when we got our start, before we moved into other offices. And when we were going through that, you know, I, it was right at my fingertips. I’m just, I’m working with the community manager of the it’s local WeWork. So just remove enterprise. Cause I think if people go after enterprise, they may, they may fail quite a quite quickly. I we’ve got a lot of enterprise partners now, but I didn’t start by going after enterprise partners. I wouldn’t have got time a day. Right. You have to get to a certain scale to, you can keep up with the enterprise partner.
CC (26:03):
So I would share that openly. So people don’t get just misguided here, but think about what is enterprise for you, right? Think about who’s your type of strategic partner. So this cowork space, really simple example. When we got started this community manager, I’m talking about going, how do I help you keep your clients here? What’s your biggest issue? Oh, your, your business is coming for a year and then they don’t renew. What if I could help you double that renewal rate? What would that do for your, your depart? What would that do for your job? Your role here as an employee, like you would do this like great. I wanna put together an education series and I want your help to go around and get all the businesses to come meet with me. I got like 13 clients outta this one, WeWork by just doing a couple simple little tactics of focusing on that partnership.
CC (26:43):
Another example is, you know, we figured out the financial advisors they make more money when they have assets under management, the more assets they have. So let’s go have a financial advisor, introduce us to every business owner that they know, because we know we know how to make the business owner grow. As they grow more assets under management, financial advisor wins, we win accountants accountants when they grow their, their, their book of, you know, the business that they’re leading as a tax accountant as they grow that, that, that business grows, right. They have to bill more, it gets more complicated lawyers. They get to bill more, the larger the business becomes. So we just started going around telling our story and going, this is the type of growth rate we’re getting it kind of a no brainer. You should probably just introduce all your clients to us.
CC (27:24):
Let’s figure out the right way to do that for you organically, that doesn’t come off as a sale and instead just pure added value. And we’ll be your partner in crime. And by doing that, you know, they’re gonna stay with you as a lawyer and accountant and they’re gonna keep growing. And so there’s just a pure belief in that. And we teach our advisors do that on the individual level. And then, you know, my partnership team’s going out and working with what you call these more enterprise levels now where we get these massive partnerships and yeah, for sure. It’s, it’s helping us scale. So yeah.
AJV (27:50):
You know, it’s interesting because a huge part of our business comes from our affiliate partnerships, but all of our affiliates are individuals, right? Yeah.
CC (27:58):
But that’s where you gotta start, but that’s where you started. Right. And it makes sense that you going, I gotta go to enterprise now. I think I’m getting up. And AJ, you guys have had a huge successful ride. Right. So I get it. But other people just starting, I just didn’t want them to hear like, yeah, I’m gonna go have a conversation with Amazon. I’m like, Amazon’s tough. I’ve had that conversation. Well, you knowing, cause
AJV (28:17):
Like I left that conversation and I literally went to Roy and was like, we have to have an enterprise affiliate program like that, like move my head and immediately went and
CC (28:25):
To how corporate you made it sound overnight. Yes. So
AJV (28:29):
But it’s like one of those things where it’s like for anybody it’s yeah. It doesn’t matter if it’s your local chamber chamber of commerce or your business journal or it’s, you know, a national association it’s like, where can you create strategic partnerships? And one of the things I love is I think a lot to people naturally today when they hear marketing, they automatically think of digital marketing and there’s a whole world of offline marketing that surprise still really works.
CC (28:58):
It does. I, I, I, I’m so glad you brought that up. I mean, you know, look, we, we do digital marketing, you know, we’ve got marketing companies out there supporting us and helping us drive and, and all of their different niche, you know, and they all tell me they’re gonna be my best lead source. They’re not like client referrals is still my best lead source. But you know what? You have to look at it when you’re in a professional service base. I put all of us in a professional service. Okay. So that’s how I just view the category of what we’re at. And if you look at it, you rarely hear about a profess service scaling because of digital marketing. Now that’s different than brand reputation. You need Google Yelp reviews. You need people to understand reputation, you need success, or you need an awesomely built website that does SEO rank that does allow Google to find you.
CC (29:40):
I mean, those are just the that’s any business. Now, if you wanna be relevant and you wanna have a chance of growth these days, you’re gonna have to have a nice, you know, online footprint, right. But then there’s this outbound, you know, digital marketing approach, HubSpot will say, it’s the inbound, you know, put out content, get people to follow you. I, I personally find that unless you’re gonna go at scale that it’s really hard. And, but you need to put out content because you actually just wanna help and tell your story and help, you know, towards your mission of whatever niche you’re in. So use that as I view digital marketing, more so as competency as how you like help support conversion as people meet you, it tells your story on the footprint when they’re like, oh wow, look at all these things they publish or look at all these content piece is they’re obviously an expert at what I’m trying to solve.
CC (30:24):
Instead, get out pound the pavement, get into conversations and get people to refer you in. And you know, if you, if you pass that five to 10 million line, all right, go hire a big digital marketing firm and PR firm. Like I have to go do what I need to do to get additional scale, but I pay five to six times the acquisition costs per client on the digital marketing space than I do to get a referral. So, and that includes my, my employee’s salaries to manage partnerships by the way. So it’s not free, right? It isn’t free. There are other costs associated. It’s just that it, it just comes out so much cheaper than the digital marketing scale, especially now, right? All their algorithms changing. It’s just more and more expensive to play in that space. And it’s and this industry so busy, it is so busy.
AJV (31:09):
Yeah. Well, I think one of the things and why I wanted to pop this up is again, it’s like, I just think about all the questions that our community and our clients ask us and a constant one is how do I get more clients? And I’m like, well, step one, it’s not gonna happen from your Instagram count. Most likely
CC (31:26):
No, but
AJV (31:27):
Probably where it will happen is in your local community. So let’s not forget about the importance of that offline brand, that offline reputation is offline efforts. And it’s not one or the other, it’s both. Right. But I love the, hear, you just reinforcing the power of doing great work and getting good referrals. Right. I think that’s huge. And then if you can build those start small, maybe not enterprise, but those small strategic partnerships, Right? It’s like, if you believe in what you do enough, then go say, I’ll do a free workshop. I’ll do a free training. Just invite people
CC (32:02):
For sure. We get we of all day. I mean, every, every single person, you know, every business owner we meet, you know, if we feel there’s somewhat qualified, we’ll sit down and give ’em two hours assessment. We’ll, we’ll blow their mind by the time they walk outta to our meeting, this
AJV (32:13):
Is the next thing I wanna talk about. You think this is normal, this is not normal. So I talk about, so cause I would say this is a part of your sales strategy.
CC (32:22):
Right? All right. Fair enough.
AJV (32:23):
This is part of your sales strategy. So walk everybody through it. Like how do you acquire a customer?
CC (32:29):
Sure. I, I can’t go into all the detail, but I can share this. You know, what we believe is that there has to be a partnership formed for a coaching relationship to happen, right? Or a speaking relationship or whatever it is. And so often what people wanna do is come, you know, have us pitch, what can we do for them? And we just refuse to do it. Our perspective is no, every business is different. Every, every way we approach this is gonna be slightly different. Yes. We’re gonna use the same type of resources, expertise, and all that to help move you. But it has to be tailored. That’s just, you know, a foundation of a, our values. And so when we meet a business owner, we are always quick to say, you know what? Let’s just cut the crap. Let me sit down for two hours.
CC (33:06):
Let me bring third party. Let me start ask, just show you what we’re capable of doing and how fast I can connect. Some things you probably have not connected in your own business. And that usually peaks everybody’s interest to go. Well, now I’m curious, right? We sit down and we’re, we just bat a really high average when we do those two hour sessions where people go, if I had you by my side, I’d know I’d be going way faster. And then we have to deliver, right. People start to measure how much they’re growing. We make sure they know how much they’ve grown since they’ve joined us and to reinforce it. And so way we go, I mean, and that’s just, we’re, we’re very quick. And, and if we got to the end of the first two hours and they weren’t blown away and oh, we’d probably give another two hours. Cause we’re confused. Why they’re not blown away. You know, if we really thought there was an opportunity you know, and so we, we, we prove it. We prove it, right. We let the Google reviews speak for themselves. We let the, we let what we could do for them, you know, and let them experience, prove it versus ever showing them a deck or explain to them how amazing we are. Cause we just don’t think any of that matters. I feel like there’s too much noise.
AJV (34:03):
So good. It’s like one of my favorite saying is why tell if you can show, right? It’s like, yeah.
CC (34:09):
Why show’s tell all day? Why,
AJV (34:10):
Why are we talking about this? Let me just show you. So I think for everyone listening, like here’s the main takeaway that I really want you to grasp onto. It’s like, if you know what you do works, if you know, what’s gonna change someone’s life. If you know, it’s gonna make a difference, then give as much of it away for free because people will sell themselves. Yeah. They, they will sell themselves. If you can provide something, that’s going to help them. Right. And it’s like, make it so good that people are like, how do I buy this? Like, can I give you my money? Like how do I have more of it?
CC (34:41):
But Phish in the right pond, that’s also really important. Right? Because be, you know, sometimes I see people like go on Instagram or Facebook cuz they like, I just laugh. Sorry. I was laughing earlier when you’re like, they think they’re gonna grow by doing this, my favorite comment. And some somebody says, I need to re update my website. I always just love on how many people have seen your website, you know? And they’re like 500 and the last six, I’m like not your issue. That’s not need to spend your time. Yeah. That’s not where your time should be spent if you wanna grow. If you’re solopreneur trying to scale that next chapter. But you know, I, I, you know what I always, what I always think about is these, these folks that, you know, they’ll put out the, the ether go offering free sessions. We would never do that.
CC (35:20):
Notice how I said, I said, if you qualify, yep. Right. We’re always willing to take a quick call, but we’re just gonna ask you a couple questions. We know when it makes sense to work with us, when it doesn’t we ask just a couple questions, just tells us a little bit before we would then commit our time and what we always tell people before we set that free assessment, you better treat this as paid. Otherwise we’re not interested. Yeah. You better come ready, you know, to learn. And so it’s all about how you set those expectations and where you fish, meaning what type of leads are you pulling in that will, you know, meet, be your qualified type of you know, ideal client
AJV (35:49):
And what’s your filter. Right. So I think you said you guys call it an assessment, right? Like take our,
CC (35:54):
We call an assessment. Yeah. We, we do a two hours assessment to break down the business. Yep.
AJV (35:58):
And then it’s like, so we, we do something similar, right? It’s like we offer a one hour free brand strategy call, but you have to apply. So like we actually have you go through an application and if you don’t fit, we give you a bunch of free resources and say, come back when you’re ready until then. Yeah,
CC (36:14):
Exactly. It’s not, it’s not the right fit free
AJV (36:16):
Stuff. But I love, I love this concept and I don’t, I don’t remember if this is what you call it, but when I talk about what you do, I call these the tribe before you buy it calls. What do you mean? Okay. Yeah. What do you call ’em?
CC (36:28):
We call ’em a free advising session. I mean, you can, you can call you, can you like to you’re you’re the storyteller though. AJ you’re you’re the, you’re the one that teaches people how to manage your brand. So ill run with the way you designed the words.
AJV (36:39):
Listen, I have literally constructed our entire team about your in enterprise affiliate program.
CC (36:45):
Yeah. I’ve never used those terms together and
AJV (36:47):
Your try it before you buy it program and
CC (36:51):
Love you just, you just turned it into a widget for yourself and put it into the business, which I, I was joking earlier R and D everybody listening. I mean, this is how you grow business. Right? How did I learn all this stuff? I’ve just robbed it from other people that’s right, right. Just R and D Robin duplicate. So duplicate.
AJV (37:05):
Oh, that is awesome. Okay. So one last question. And then one of the things that’s so cool for all of you guys listening is I’m gonna provide a link in the show notes where Casey and his team are gonna give you guys the chance to take this assessment. And if it’s a fit, then you’re gonna get one of these two hour business consultations with his team, which I think is so awesome. So thank you for that. I’ll have the link in the show notes. But my last question, before we are going, all right, actually I wrote this down, right? So if there was one thing that any, I’m gonna say, coach, that any coach needs to do in order to grow their business right now, current day, like present tense, what would you say is like the number one thing to do? If it’s only one thing, what’s the one thing they should do,
CC (37:54):
Help your clients tell your success story.
AJV (38:00):
Love that. That’s why I love you.
CC (38:02):
Figure how to do that. You’ll scale. You’ll grow.
AJV (38:05):
Oh, this has been so good. Thank you so much. So insightful. So enlightening, so many great takeaways. I love the concept of really just focus on building an employee model building strategic partnerships, focusing on client referrals, getting away from this trendy thing of digital more, not that it’s not important, but there’s other ways to do it. It’s it’s not, you know which one it’s just how much of each one? Yeah, so good. Casey, thank you so much.
CC (38:34):
Oh, you’re so welcome. Thanks for having me.
AJV (38:35):
And then last but not Lisa, if people wanna connect with you directly. I know I’ll put this link in the show notes, but it’s connect with you directly right on LinkedIn.
CC (38:43):
Yeah. Best way to get, get in touch with me.
AJV (38:45):
Yep. On LinkedIn. I’ll put all the links in the show notes. Casey, thank you so much.
CC (38:49):
You bet, AJ. Thanks so much. Bye-Bye
Speaker 3 (38:52):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon.
AJV (39:39):
All right. Y welcome to the recap episode on my conversation with Casey Clark one of the founders cultivate advisors, and this is all about how to build and scale and enterprise coaching business which they have done exceptionally well. And it’s just a exploding on so many different levels. So what are we gonna do on this recap episode? I’m gonna talk about two or three different things that I learned from Casey that I think as a as what I consider myself a coach, right? Of how to really build and scale your coaching business. All right, these are things that I think are fascinating and I think are really important. Number one, an employee model versus contractor. It is such a temptation of, of an as an entre entrepreneur to go. And there’s so much risk involved with bringing on employees, especially in that start, those startup years of going.
AJV (40:32):
There’s just too much risk, so I’ll contract the workout. But I think to his point, it’s like if you’re really building a business and a company where you wanna influence the experience more and you wanna have people bought into this business, like it’s their business employee model is the way to go. And that is not the norm for Mo most coaching practices. But when you look at the scale of cultivated advisors compared to maybe other firms around the country like that I think at the results speak for themselves and I love what he said. It’s like, I hope they don’t feel like employees. I hope they feel like partners because that’s really what they are for us. And so it’s building a culture where people aren’t working for you. They are people working with you, right? This whole concept of two is more better than one.
AJV (41:17):
And five is better than two. One of my faith quotes is an old African proverb that says you can go if you go alone, you they’ll go fast, but if you wanna go far, you need to go with others. And this concept of bringing people in but with this employee model, it’s like, there’s a win-win benefit of like, they’re committed. They’re in, you got all their time, all their interests, all their commitment and vice versa, right? So there’s this partnership mentality of like, no we’re doing this together to get everyone on the same page and to create a, a unified experience and to be build something together. And I just think that’s abnormal. But very much worth looking into if you really wanna build and scale a coaching business. So we we’ve done it both ways.
AJV (42:02):
So I have personally been a part of companies where we built and scaled our coaching business with contractors and now one with doing with employees and it is drastically different. And so you gotta figure out what works and what, what your risk tolerance is, but knowing that you can do it that way and perhaps that’s the way to go for you. So I thought that was really insightful and not something you hear so many people talking about in this industry. Second thing is not what he calls it, but what I call, what he does is a lever, the strategic partnerships and what I call enterprise affiliates. I just, I heard that wrong in my mind and made up a new term for him. But strategic partnerships is really what they are. Right. but creating organizational relationships where it is a one to many referral relationship.
AJV (42:51):
And I love what he said. He does. We do a lot of digital market and we do trade shows and we do a lot of things. Like they’re a healthy eight figure coaching business. He said, but I’ll tell you where the majority of our business comes from referrals. Right? And it’s like, what is your system for generating referrals? Right? Cause if you’re waiting on all inbound leads or you’re just banking on SEO or paid traffic, that’s, that’s a long and very potentially expensive game. Right. It also takes a lot of other people to make those things work. And those are a lot of assets where really to get a referral, it just takes you to do a really good job. So what is your referral system, right? Yes. Should you have SEO? Yep. Do you need social media? Yep. Do you need content marketing?
AJV (43:33):
Sure. You do. I’m not saying those things. Aren’t important. I’m saying, do you put as much time, energy intent, focus, resources on generating your referral system as you do all that other stuff? Because I tell you what, there’s a lot of trendy conversations around digital marketing. Are you listening to as many of those conversations around human relationships and human connections, just asking for a good old fashioned referral from the customers who actually work with you and the people who work with you and your suppliers and your vendors and your friends and your family and networking meetings and all the things. Right. so referrals, like, don’t forget the importance of those and doing that on a one to one, but also one to many. So it’s asking yourself, it’s like, what organizations can I go out and serve to create some strategic relationships with that?
AJV (44:20):
Perhaps what I do would be of benefit to the people that they serve. Right. And it’s finding complimentary partners. Right? I think these are great examples. And he gave a couple of them. He goes, Hey, it’s like, you know, we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna talk to a financial advisory company where we have one or two people and it’s like, I’ll go out and do a free workshop. And it’s like, this is how I can help you build that business. Or maybe it’s a local association where they need speakers and they need content, but it’s like, yeah, you can promote your services to our members. You, but it’s like, what, and who are those organizations and people in your local community or your virtual online community that you could create some strategic partnerships with and create a one, one a win win relationship on a one to many scale.
AJV (45:08):
So again, just that emphasis on, on where do you wanna put your time and energy? Because it can easily be diluted in a lot of different arenas. But I just fundamentally believe it’s like, if I need a coach, I’m not going to the Google. I’m not going there. I’m gonna reach out to my friends, my entrepreneur, friends, associations, I’m a part of masterminds and I’m gonna go, who have you used? And who do you recommend? And that’s word of mouth marketing. And we need as much time and intent on that. I E building our reputation, shameless plug, building your personal brand, as you do anything else. And so who are those people and what, what relationships are you nurturing to build those strategic partnerships? So great reminder, right in the gut number two. And then number three, is this concept of sample calls of going, if you believe in what you do, then why not give some of it away for free, like prove it, right.
AJV (46:08):
It’s what I I’ve been telling our team that they do at cultivate. It’s called try it before you, right. You don’t know if this is a fit for you. You don’t believe us. So that’s all right. We’re hap we’re happy to give you in their case, a two hour consultation to show you what we do so that, you know, if it’s a fit for you and if it’s not, the two hours are yours and if it is then we should work together. Right? And it’s like, I think so many of us us are afraid to give anything away for free. Well, why not? Like you can find any information that you need out on the internet for free people. Aren’t paying for information anymore. They’re paying for guidance and application. They’re paying for organ organization of the information and application of actually the how to not just the, what the, how to, and it’s like, I’m so much inclined to go, right?
AJV (46:55):
I’ll try this for two hours and prove that that it’s good. Give me the confidence. Show me. You can help me. I’ll happily give you my money versus going, man. I don’t know. I hope so. I think so. I guess I’ll try it, but I don’t wanna sign a, you know, like a long term. I don’t wanna sign my life away. Like what do I do here? So what are you doing to help increase the confide of your perspective? Buyers of making it a, a very easy answer so they know what they’re getting into. They’re getting value up front. And it’s making the sale a whole lot easier because the quality of your service sells itself. So those are three core takeaways. I thought this was such a powerful interview. It’s like, if you are in the coaching industry, if you are a coach consultant trainer, you must listen. To this episode, it is a sure way of helping you build and scale your coaching business. So until next time we’ll you later on influential personal brand.

Ep 254: NFL to Shark Tank to Ecomm with Chris Gronkowski

RV (00:07):
So excited to meet for the first time ever myself, Chris Gronkowski. If you recognize that name, he is one of five brothers the Gronk brothers, and he played in the NFL. You know, their, their whole team is a big team of professional athletes and big guys, and they are so fun and they do a bunch of stuff together as brothers. But I wanted to talk to Chris for a couple reasons. Well, first of all, one of the three teams that he started for in the NFL was the Denver Broncos, which is, I’m a huge Broncos fan and grew up in Denver, back in the Ricky Nael and Stevie winder, and like Steve Atwater, the eighties, like golden years for the Denver Broncos. And so that’s cool. We have that connection. But what I love about Chris is that he has parlayed his NFL career into a personal brand.
RV (00:59):
And I think a lot of people don’t understand what that life looks like. And so I thought, Hey, let’s talk about it. The other thing that he did part of that was he launched a, a product that is called ice shaker. And this is a product that he launched in 2016. Within the first five months, he was able to generate about $80,000 in sales. He then got on shark tank pitched a deal on shark tank and ended up signing a deal with mark Cuban and Alex Rodriguez. And so he’s been growing his social media following. He’s got several hundred thousand on TikTok six figure following on Instagram, he’s building this business. And so I just thought, Hey, this is a cool story. We gotta hear about it. So anyways, Chris, welcome to the show.
CG (01:44):
Yeah, man, I like the intro. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me today.
RV (01:48):
Yeah, I, I, I do, man. I think it’s, I think it’s super cool. And so let’s, let’s start with your exit from the NFL. You know, at brand builders, we work with a, you know, F a growing number of athletes. I feel like because I feel like a growing number of them are waking up to this idea that, you know, Hey, you have to work after professional sports. Most of ’em and you have this sort of limited window where people still kind of know who you are and, and parlaying it into something. And I, I think you’ve done an awesome job of that. So talk to us about what, what is it like transitioning from your whole life of sports? You make it to the NFL, you play for several seasons and then it comes to an end.
CG (02:34):
Yeah. And it does. And that can happen at any time in your career as well. No matter how good of a player you are, you’re one injury or way for never playing again. And what most people don’t realize is none of the contracts are guaranteed. So when I entered the league, I was undrafted I signed a three year deal. It didn’t matter. It was that it was a three year deal. If I got hurt that first play, that was the last game I would’ve got paid for. There was nothing guaranteed after that. So a lot of these guys, they make it, or they get drafted, you know, they might play for a year. And after that, it’s done, you know, it’s over, but they’re planning in their thinking that they’re gonna play forever. So a lot of that, money’s already gone. Once you leave, you leave with whatever you made.
CG (03:13):
If you’re on the roster on a Wednesday, you get paid that week. If you’re not, you don’t get paid, you’re done. You’re going home. You know, you’re trying to find a new job. So that, transition’s hard. You, you only know one thing, you know, for the most part, you don’t have a job besides what you did, you know, growing up as, you know, newspapers and umpire and, you know, worked for my dad, stuff like that. But having that actual experience with a real job doesn’t come until you’re done playing. So really the only thing, you know, up until point is how to be a football player. So once you leave it, it’s, you know, you don’t have the skills yet. You’re older. Most people aren’t looking to hire older. And you know, it, it’s, it’s just this whole mentality that, you know, I was making all this money.
CG (03:52):
I was a football player. This is my identity. You know, it’s hard for me now to go start over at 50 grand a year or 40 or 30, or even if, if it’s 90, you know, which is great for someone coming outta college. But when you’re making that per game per week, it’s definitely a, an ego check and it’s hard to start over. So a lot of guys struggle with it. It becomes an issue for a lot of players and there’s a lot of programs in place now to help guys transition because it is a, it’s a tough process.
RV (04:19):
Yeah. well, that’s awesome. And I just, I think people aren’t in tune to that, cause we don’t hear that much about it and go, Hey, this is someone making tens of thousands of dollars a week to go in. Hey, you’re just like everyone else in the workforce trying to, trying to, trying to figure it out. So, so you leave the NFL. How long is it been for you come up with the physical product idea and then talk us through like, what’s that, what’s that timeline like?
CG (04:49):
Yeah. So I had a, I guess I would say unusual transition. After my third year, my wife was living with me. She had to get three jobs in three years, so she had to go, you know, interview every city I went to, I went to four different teams in four years. So by the third year was Denver. And when she got to Denver, she said, I’m not, I’m not going for another job interview. I’m gonna find a way to work from home. So she actually started an online business on Etsy. At that time it was hand painting wine glasses after Denver was my, the end of my career. So her end of my first contract, a three year contract. So I was looking for another team and I had some downtime. So started looking to her business, realized there was a great opportunity there.
CG (05:29):
And I started buying different commercial grade. Laser engravers started sourcing different products. And you know, pretty soon we had this all out business out of our house ended up then start signing with the chargers going there for about five months. I got hurt in can up and I got released. So I went full time into this business. And within the first year we were actually making more money in her business than I was playing in the NFL. So for me, super unusual transition that, you know, had no clue that’s what I was gonna do had no idea about the industry, but kind of just fell upon it because my wife, so I ended up doing that for five years after five years really came to the point where when people would ask me what I was doing for a living, it was kind of like, you know, I wouldn’t even tell ’em I never posted about it.
CG (06:12):
It wasn’t me. You know, I was this macho football player. I was always in sports and fitness and now I was custom and graving wedding gifts. So when people asked me, it was like, yeah, I’m kind of just doing my own thing. Wasn’t super, you know I guess wasn’t super into it, but it was making me a lot of money. So I kept doing it. But after five years thought of the idea for the product ice shaker and realize that it was a great opportunity for me to get back into the sport sports and fitness that I love doing. So when I thought of the idea just started as a side hustle was selling it outta my house after work and you know, had the opportunity to get on shark tank. And that’s when it really exploded and became a full-time business for me.
RV (06:50):
So before shark tank, you know, like if you have an idea to make a physical product and you, in your case, you go, Hey, I wanna make this ice shaker for like sports drinks or just whatever, drinking around the office. What do you do? Like how do you, what’s the first thing in terms of creating the product? Like where do you go? Cause I guess you go, I gotta get plastic from somewhere. Or somehow I gotta like have the little ball thing that’s in there, like a lot of ’em do. And, and do you just like start Googling like manufacturer plastic cup and like, is that pretty much how it starts?
CG (07:25):
So I, I didn’t know what to do at that time. You know, this was, you know, this was six years ago as well, so it’s easier now or there’s, there’s more resources now to do it, but back then I was lucky because we were already sourcing products with my wife’s business, we already had connections. We already had manufacturers. We asked them for help and they helped us find another manufacturer. So that’s how we did it. Now what I would recommend doing is going and getting a sourcing agent, you know, just find someone that does it for a living, you know, ask them for the help. It’s gonna be expensive though. You know, that’s a huge barrier to entry and you also have to know what you want. You know, you have to go get some, want to make you a CAD drawing, a 3d drawing so that, you know, you could present it to a, a manufacturer and say, Hey, this is what I’m looking for.
CG (08:07):
On top of that, you gotta research and you gotta know what you’re getting into. Like you said, the little ball that little ball is patented. So we couldn’t put a little ball inside of our cup. So then you try to figure out other ways to do it. And it was one of the hardest problems for us to solve and became one of our biggest assets, because we now have a patented twist and agitator that breaks up the protein powders, but it also ended up being a way to strain out ice. And it has all these other different benefits. And we’re now launching a, a twist and fruit infuser now as well for it. So it ended up being this huge problem for us, you know, how do we mix up protein without a ball? And then we realized this ball is really annoying, especially inside of a metal cup and it’s patented, so we can’t do it anyways. So let’s find another way to do it. And, and we did. So yeah, that initial process is the hardest part. You know, you could think of a great idea, but actually putting it into play is where everyone gets stuck.
RV (08:56):
So how much money are you invested in before you sell one?
RV (09:04):
Yeah, a Lot, right?
CG (09:05):
Yeah, for sure. So you know, at this time I wanted to be a comfortable level for me, so I wasn’t, you know, all in, I wasn’t getting loans. I had a, you know, decent chunk from the NFL, but my wife’s business was doing really well too. So you know, for me at that time, we invested about 50,000 into it. Okay. That was for, you know, the mold fees to get the first run of product going and then, you know, a website and that was pretty much it. And then I was also set up on Amazon, which, you know, was like 30 bucks a month. So that was the start. So it really to start, it was about $50,000.
RV (09:36):
Okay. So you, you get someone to draw it up on CA you have the idea, you draw it up in a CAD and then you make, you get a mold made so that you have something you can hold up and say, Hey, this is what it is. And then you have a website to start selling it.
CG (09:51):
Yep. And now they do 3d printing as well. So that process of actually getting up a prototype in your hands is a lot easier and a lot cheaper than it used to be. Cuz they could actually 3d print it where before that wasn’t happening. So 3d printing has come a long way and that’s also helped a lot to get a product made.
RV (10:08):
Yeah. I hear that. I hear your kids in the background. You got, you got three, three kids. I, I mean, so my wife and I, you know, we exited our first business. We built it for 12 years. We exited it in 2018 and then we, we basically started having kids right then. So this new business we’ve been building while having kids, that’s a, that’s a whole rodeo in and of itself like doing, doing that at the same time, you got three kids and one on the way,
CG (10:34):
Three kids, one on the way. And I tell people this all the time though, it was probably one of the best things that happened for business because I was so competitive. I was trying to do everything myself. When I started the business and it came to the point where, you know, I would work a hundred hour weeks easily. It didn’t bother me. I’d work every day. Cuz that’s, that’s kind of how I was born and raised. That’s kind of how football was, you know, work hard, put your time in, but with business at the end of the day, if you want to, you wanna scale, you have to build a team and you have to, you have to put processes in place. You have to delegate responsibilities because no matter how good I was at it, I didn’t have enough time in the day to do every single task.
CG (11:08):
So once I had kids, man, things slowed down and you have to figure out how to build a team at that point. So that’s really when it, that. And then COVID, you know, COVID really pulled me away from everything because I couldn’t physically be there. We had different shifts going on. And at that point it was, Hey, we need a solid team. We need solid processes. So if I can’t be here, this thing still runs. And so that’s, that was huge, man. Kids, it’s hard as it is as much you know, time and effort. It is you know, to raise kids. It’s it’s also, so one of the best things that ever happened to me because I’ve actually finally figured out how to run a business, the correct way without having to be there 24 7.
RV (11:47):
Yeah. So, and, and so, so now you’re 50,000 in, you have this mold, you got a website. How do you sell the first batch of people? Cause you all sold like $80,000 of this thing. Yeah. Like pretty, pretty quick. Is it just on social media talking about it or what?
CG (12:06):
So everyone thought it was social media or the fact that I had a following or my brother did and that really didn’t help at all. I thought it would, I figured, Hey, if I could get 1% of my following to buy, I’d be raking. That didn’t happen. My first post, I think I sold zero. I didn’t know how to build an audience at that time. I didn’t have a personal brand. I had a following just because I was an NFL player, but I never engaged, you know, I never hit people back. There was no reason for anyone to trust me or buy from me because I never did than anything to, to build their trust. So I realized that really quickly that a following doesn’t matter, unless, you know, you actually respond to them and give ’em value back as well. So I learned that later on and have continued to build on that. But at that time it was all about first making friends and family buy it. Every friend and every family member had to buy it, had to leave a review. And then for me, the biggest thing that I did early on, I got
RV (12:57):
Amazon, you were talking about. Yeah.
CG (12:59):
Yeah. So I, yeah, exactly on Amazon get, get as many reviews as possible. And then I, I borrowed their audience. You know, you borrow someone else’s platform audience, at least at the beginning. So with my wife’s business, it was Etsy before we built her website and built her email list for me, it was Amazon. You’ll go to Amazon, go to the biggest platform in the world. If it doesn’t sell there, you should probably stop trying because if you can’t sell on Amazon, you’re not gonna sell anywhere. So got on Amazon really had never been on Amazon before, but I just sat there and research and said, Hey, why am I not the first one on Amazon when I type in shaker bottle? And how do I get there? So I sat there, I studied every single other top ranking listing on there. And I looked at it and said, Hey, they got eight pictures.
CG (13:41):
These eight pictures highlight these eight things. These are the keywords you’re using. This is how many times the keywords show up. I’m gonna do exactly what they do. And let me see how high I can get. So within the first couple months, I added up getting to the three spot for shaker bottle, which was the highest row living keyword that I could rank for. And at that time I started selling about 25 to 30 a day, which was, was pretty good for, you know, just paying for zero ads and being a new product as well. That had only been established for a couple months. So that was my first way to sell. The second way was just going to trade shows. I started doing a lot of just different body building shows and I would show up and just, if you walk by my booth, you were gonna hear every single thing possible about this product.
CG (14:22):
And I was gonna try to get as many people to stop and, and talk to ’em about it. And at that time, you know, there wasn’t a ton insulated cups yet. So I put one bottle a plastic shaker with ice in it and I put my bottle with ice in it and I’d hand it to people. And the second they had both in their hands it was game over cuz they, they would, every time they opened it, they would say, no, there’s no way there’s ice in here. And they would open it, there’d be ice in it. And it was boom. It was a, it was an automatic seller because they just couldn’t believe how well the bottle was insulated.
RV (14:49):
That’s like classic infomercial stuff, which makes it a great, is a great, is a great fit for shark tank. Okay. So how do you get, how do you get the call to go on shark tank? Like did you apply, was there a casting call? Did you have a friend? Like how’d that how’d this happen?
CG (15:07):
Yeah. So that process can be pretty tedious. I, I was lucky because 2012 I was with the Broncos. I got an email from my agent. He sent it out to every single guy on the roster and it just said, Hey, ABC shark tank is looking for any current or former NFL players. If you want to come pitch on the show. So they were looking for a way to build their audience, you know, bring some some new new fans into the show. And so they reached out to my agent and that time I didn’t even know how to use email. And I had nothing to present, but I loved the show. I watched it pretty much every time a new one came out. So I started and I said to my wife, I’m like one day, we’re gonna come back to this email.
CG (15:43):
I’m gonna hit her back with something. Cool. So fast forward, like five years later, I think it was four or five years later. I finally emailed it back and she didn’t work there anymore, but she quickly passed me on to the girl that did. And I said, Hey, I got this great idea. Would love to present it to you. At that point, like you don’t have to go to all the trade shows where like you pitch for the first time they just said, Hey, send a video submission over. And if we like it, you know, we’ll get back to you. So I knew at that point, you know, I had a decent chance as long as I had something to present of value. And I did have value at that time I had about, I had about $35,000 in sales. I had a product, you know, we were selling now.
CG (16:24):
I, I knew my brother was crushing it at that time as well. So that would help as well. So with all that, and then this one shot, I just made it super entertaining. I’m like, Hey, let’s make this video ridiculous because I know it’s an entertaining show. They’re looking for entertainment. So I’m, I’m sitting there, you know, ripping my shirt off in the gym, you know, showing my touchdown, passes, all that and submitted it to them. And a couple days later they hit me back and said, you know, we’d love to move on to the next steps with you.
RV (16:49):
Wow. That’s crazy. So then, so then you go on this show. So, so what happens? So basically they’re like, okay, so you go through a couple rounds of screening or whatever. So you send a video, they say, we like the video. We like the idea. You talk to some people on the phone, I guess. And then what you, you, you, at some point you go, come on the show and you’re gonna like enter into the shark tank and we’re gonna film this.
CG (17:11):
Yeah. So it it’s actually about like, like six months of diligence that they do. And they check on everything. They it was, it was crazy. I had, I had one thing from the state of Indiana and paid my taxes or e-filed it, for some reason they never got the e-file. So they, they put something on my record. So I had to get all that cleared. I had to call like, everything has to be perfect for you to get on the show. So they’re gonna check everything and then, you know, they wanna make sure you’re prepared too. So, you know, they don’t want you showing up and just putting on trash. Like they want it to be a good show. So they make sure that, you know, you’re ready, you know, your product and you know, you’ve watched different episodes. You kind of know the, so they get you prepared for sure.
CG (17:50):
So you get there. What’s crazy is for most people you don’t even know if you’re actually gonna record when you get there. So there’s a chance that you still don’t record, even if you make it to the hotel, because if they get enough good submissions, they’ll just cut the last couple people out. So the first thing I saw when I got, there was a guy pacing back and forth at the hotel. And second I walk up, he’s like, Hey man, you here to pitch, you know what, you know, what’s your company name, all this stuff. I’m like, who, who is this guy? And they’re like, oh, he was here last year, but they didn’t, they didn’t film him. So he is freaking out about it, like going, going crazy about it. So I’m like, man. So I, I made this to the hotel, but I didn’t, you know, didn’t really know 100% sure if I’d even recall. And then when you do record, you know, there’s another chance that they don’t even air it. So a lot of times they do, they record it. And you know, if they don’t like the episode or they don’t think it’s entertaining enough or you don’t get a deal or whatever it is, they’ll cut it. And you’ll never air. So
RV (18:45):
Definitely. How long is the filming? Like how long is the, how long are you actually in there pitching your deal?
CG (18:49):
So I was in there for probably close to an hour and then they’re gonna cut it down to eight minutes. But at the end of the day, like they’re, it’s, it’s real, like it’s, it’s no joke on the questions they’re asking you. They’re not in there. Kind of just throwing you softball questions, they’re drilling you on everything. And they just don’t show that stuff. So, you know, they knew what I did growing up. They knew my first job, they knew what I did in high school. They knew what I did right after college. And you know, they, they hit me on all that stuff. They want to know what my parents did everything. So really at the end of the day, they knew everything about me, but then they just show the entertaining stuff. You know, the actual, the actual offers us playing flip cup that, you know, the initial pitch, the chess bumps, you know, stuff like that. But really at the end of the day, you know, they’re, they’re drilling down on you, you know, it’s the real deal it’s of money. And when you think about it, all the diligence and everything they have to do afterwards, especially mark, he’s been doing it for 10 years. He’s not just gonna pick up some scrub company cuz it it’s more work than anything for him. So, you know, he’s, he’s, he’s really vetting companies out and making sure he is getting something that’s worth his time.
RV (19:48):
And so after that happens, like, so then, so then you record and while you’re so you record and nothing happens cuz no one has seen it. And then at some point it comes out several weeks or months later. And then is there an instant like boom,
CG (20:08):
Boom, boom, Shaka Locka, really? For sure. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a, it’s huge. I mean, when you’re a new company, especially, you know, that that influx of sales is, is massive. You know, you get the money from the shark. You know, that takes, that takes a couple months of diligence, but they, you know, they then wire that money over. But then that boom, I is huge and all that money is also, you know, you’re not spending mark dollars on it. So it’s top margin. So there’s, there’s a lot of profit there and it, it spikes massive and it doesn’t just spike massive for the day of, you know, now because everyone records everything and then you get articles written about you as well. You really get like this month long tale of, of really good sales. So the first couple weeks is great. The first week is huge. Then the next I’d say the next three weeks is good, but for us it was October. So we went right into November, which was holiday season, black Friday, all that into December. And then January for us is new year’s resolution. So we had this massive wave that then it in February and when February hit, it was like, yo, what the hell do we do now? Like I, you know, I gotta figure out how to run a business now because all that extra traffic and, and sales that came was gone.
RV (21:18):
Hmm that’s wild. So it’s really like the minute the show airs, you start, it just starts popping. Yeah.
CG (21:24):
So we sold out on Amazon in in 30 minutes on Amazon. So the strategy at that time was to try to build our audience. You know, I, I initially used Amazon to, to start the business. But at the end of the day, you don’t know who you’re selling to. You’re not getting any information. You’re not building your own customer base. You’re not getting emails, you’re not getting SMS. So, you know, it’s cool to start and prove yourself there. But if you don’t get off someone else’s platform, they own, you, you know, for the rest of your, your life really is what it comes down to. And if they don’t like your product or they wanna knock your product off, or if someone wants to knock you off, Amazon’s not gonna protect you. You know, they, they don’t care about IP cases. You have to take that outside of Amazon.
CG (22:02):
So if you want to own your audience, you have to build your own list. So our game plan was, you know, get our old stuff on Amazon. So we put all of our old stock. I came out with a new product right before we aired, sold out everything on Amazon within 30 minutes. And it was a decent stock. I wish I put some of our new stuff on there because we probably would’ve quadrupled ourselves. But the strategy really was to build our own customer base and build our website up. So that’s what we stuck to.
RV (22:27):
And then how much do you see, like how often do you see mark Cuban or Alex Rodriguez or even talk to him?
CG (22:35):
Yeah. So Mark’s done a great job of building mark Cuban companies up. So he brought in a, a bunch of employees that their job is to help out the Charan companies. So I think he has 10 around 10 people in mark Cuban companies. Their job is to help out around 80. I think he has about 80 shark tank companies and other investments as well. So I have an advisor signed to me his name’s John and I talk to him almost every week,
RV (22:59):
CG (23:01):
That, so I can reach out really for anything what’s cool about it is they’re there to help and they’re not there to take over the company. So, you know, Mark’s in it for the right reason. He’s not trying to, you know, make a ton of money off me or force me into anything. He’s there to help if I need help, he’s not gonna come in and take over the business. He’s not gonna force me to do anything if I want help. If I want suggestions, he’ll give them to me. If not, you know, and we’re doing well, he’s just gonna let me keep on running it, how I’m running it.
RV (23:28):
Wow. That is such a cool thing. And so how’s it been since? So when was that? When did, when does the show you, when did you, when did you go live on Amazon the first time? When did you do the show?
CG (23:41):
So the first product on Amazon was ready at the beginning of 2017. So January, 2017 was probably when we got our first product on Amazon aired on shark tank in October, 2017 went from that 80,000 range to, we did over 3 million in sales in the next 12 months.
RV (23:58):
Oh my gosh,
CG (23:59):
The company
RV (24:00):
That’s nuts. That is crazy.
CG (24:02):
Took off. And then we did get the update too. So we got the second recording of shark tank as well. In 2018, we aired again in in November. So that was a nice little boost. And now we get the reruns for both episodes. So they’re always rerunning on CNBC now. And every time we do at this point, we’ll get, we’ll get a couple thousand people that come to the website and then we usually get a decent chunk of people that go to Amazon as well.
RV (24:29):
Wow. just from a rerun
CG (24:31):
Reruns, man, I love reruns. They, they like it, I guess, I guess we’re rated one of the top 10 episodes in the shark tank history. So we seem to get a lot more reruns and they seem to be in prime time as well. So it’s it’s a nice little thing we got going on.
RV (24:47):
What are you doing outside of that?
CG (24:50):
So sales outside of that, how we’re getting getting people
RV (24:53):
Into the yeah. Now, right. So that’s kinda like you did Amazon got a shark tank, got that, kind of have this little annuity of customers coming in from that, but then you start and then, and then what did you start really layering on your personal brand? Or are you at like, where do you go from there?
CG (25:09):
We, we push hard into Facebook marketing. So we’re spending over a million a year on Facebook ads. At one point that’s significantly fallen off because of the iOS updates and we’re not seeing results there anymore. After that really built a sales team up as well. And then we, we, we built out a retail strategy too. So we’re national with vitamin shop GNC lifetime fitness. We’ll actually go into Walmart in February this year into 1900 locations. We’re in grocery. So we have a pretty decent retail presence. Now at this point we actually held off until really the goal was, was 2020, but then COVID hit and everything got crazy and really pushed off until, until now for retail strategy. But we’re in, we in a lot of gyms as well. We, we do a lot of work with CrossFit too, and we also do a lot in the promo space. So anyone that’s looking for customer gifts or employee gifts or event gifts, anything like that, we actually have the ability to turn custom bottles with in three to five business days because that’s my wife’s business. So I took all that. I integrated it into ice shaker as well. You could buy a one off bottle on our website. We’ll probably make it the same day and ship it out for you. Or you could buy thousands of bottles and we’ll ship those out within three to five business days.
RV (26:25):
Yeah, that’s really, really cool. And so your purse brand, then you still talk about, you know, like I saw one of your reels recently was talking about like the way that retirement and pension plans work for formal NFL athletes. So you’re, so you’re still kind of like, just out, trying to just be out there talking about, you know, whatever, obviously talking about the product and just but talk’s really blown up for you.
CG (26:49):
Yeah. So I, I mean, I went to you’ll kind of try to figure out social, I didn’t know what to do at first. So I just kind of just started posting and really what it came down to was I had to find a way to bring value to people. So to do that, you know, I started talking about NFL. I started answering questions that other people were asking. And when I did that, I kind of led down this, this, this track of just answering NFL questions from there, I then became, you know, someone that people trusted, they would ask questions to, I would answer ’em I’d engage. And from there I’d then weave in different ways to also answer questions about product. So people would ask, Hey, your NFL career is out over now. What do you do now? So that was a great opportunity to answer this question, bring shark tank into it.
CG (27:30):
And it came to the point where I actually, someone then asked, you know, what is it like to have the sharks on your team? I did a TikTok about that. It drove more traffic to my website than shark tank airing did. So I drove more, more views to my website from one TikTok post than the live airing of shark tank did for the first time. And I got on all my calls that week and the different companies that we work with said, man, what, what happened? And in this 3d day period, and I said, oh, I put out a TikTok about, about shark tank. And they were like, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. So that video got about 6 million views. It drove a close to 50,000 clicks to our website over three days from one TikTok post. So it just shows you the, the actual power of it.
RV (28:17):
6 million views and 50,000 visit visitors.
CG (28:21):
You had about 50,000 visits to our website. I mean, it, it was hard to distinguish where they, because it won’t tell me directly from TikTok, but, you know, we had this massive influx over those three days. So my TikTok then over just a 30 day period, when I first started I would reach about 50 million people. So video views was at about 50 million. I now average on a weekly basis, I average about 5 million views on TikTok a week.
RV (28:46):
That’s amazing. And they’re just, they’re just all these little short clips, basically the same as an Instagram reel,
CG (28:51):
Same thing. I then also put it on Instagram reels now as well. And that, that, I mean, that’s what everyone’s pushing. So Instagram’s pushing it, TikTok, pushing it, you know, you can then do YouTube shorts. You can then do Pinterest. So I, I try to hit every platform that, you know, I will post that same video throughout all of them because, you know, there’s an audience there that wants to see it and they want you to post it on their platform. So those four have, have taken the same style videos for ’em done pretty well, but Instagram reels and TikTok by far are driving the most engagement most sales, most, most everything. And also for me, me personally, I make a lot of money off of brand deals as well because I’m, I’m an influencer now. And it’s hard to find guys that are influencers is what it comes down to. You know, it’s, there’s a lot of females I would say it’s probably 80% female. We actually got accepted into a, a Facebook affiliate program that Facebook was doing and it was 95% female. And I’m like, what’s going on with that? So I think I get a lot of brand deals because I I’m a, one of the few males that they would consider an influencer. That’s growing a profile.
RV (29:58):
When did you start going all in ONT to
CG (30:02):
So it was man, I got challenged. I have a podcast and I got challenged on the podcast by a kid who was a college dropout and a TikTok expert. And he was like, man, I got 600,000 followers. You got 10,000 and you got all these cool stories to tell why don’t you go on there and tell ’em. So I did. And, and that’s that first 30 days I through 350,000 followers by telling, you know, NFL style, unique stories, shark tank behind the scenes, stuff like that. But I started that, I would say midway through 2020.
RV (30:32):
Wow. that is cool, man. And, and you just post how often you posting.
CG (30:38):
So I was committed and the challenge was the post. Once it day, you know, post once a day. Really for me, I got it down to using about 10 minutes a day. That was it. You know, go through when I had extra time, I’d sit on the couch and I’d pull a bunch of questions, I’d save them and then I’d answer ’em and, and what’s cool about TikTok and now reels has copied it is when you answer a question from a previous, previous post, it links ’em. So you’re driving juice to both of them by answering a previous post question. So I
RV (31:08):
Saw that a comment, someone’s asking you a question in a comment. Do you have to use like a question feature on the first one?
CG (31:15):
So no they’ll comment. And then you reply back to the comment and it will link the two posts for you. So it kind of gives juice to both of ’em and then it just becomes like a rabbit hole for people to follow.
RV (31:24):
Oh, this is like a, a video response to a comment video
CG (31:28):
Response. Yep, exactly. And what I noticed as well is that you then give people you know, the ability to ask a question and, you know, you have a, they have a chance for you to actually answer it. And because of that, people are gonna continue to ask questions, ask questions, because you’re actually engaging and you’re actually answering the questions.
RV (31:47):
Interesting. So it’s just a normal, it starts as a normal comment. You just post a I GTV or a reel or whatever. Someone puts a comment and then you just push some button that’s or like a reply to their comment, real
CG (31:58):
Reply. Yep. Just, just a video reply. And Reel’s just started doing the same thing because it it’s a powerful tool. It it’s super powerful. And it, it helps the creator a lot. And then the last thing that I did, and I did it a lot when I first started and I stopped and I started again is just actually doing a CTA. So call to action, ask people to follow. You, ask people to ask a question and the difference is insane. But what it also does is your watch time. The biggest thing on, on all the platforms is watch time. You know, how long is someone actually sitting on your video and watching it? So if you can get that time to go up, they’re gonna keep pushing, pushing, pushing, it’s gonna go viral. So by asking them to ask a question while they’re asking and typing out the question, the video’s still playing, you know, and when you ask ’em to follow you, they actually do as well. And especially after you show up a couple times, people will be like, Hey, I’ve seen your videos three times. And I like, ’em you always ask for the follow, I just hooked you up. So I saw immediately by asking for a follow and asking for a question that my, my all audience would start growing. I would grow 1% a day, you know, sometimes 3% in one day, you know, thousands of followers every single day, just by asking people to actually follow or ask a question at
RV (33:09):
The end. So basically you do a video and then you do that at the end. Nope,
CG (33:12):
No, I do it before I answer the question. So they have to listen to it and then just also gives me more watch time. So I’ll say, Hey, you know you know, Hey, RO so thanks so much for the question today, before I answer this question, don’t forget to ask your questions down below. Don’t forget to follow me here. So that, that just adds to watch time, because I realize if I did it at the end, people would ex out it, it would actually hurt me because then it would cut my watch time. You know, the average watch time down because they would X out the say, second, I started asking for the, for the question or for the follow. So I would, then I then boosted it up to the first thing that I said, they have to sit through it to get the answer as they’re sitting through it, it’s adding watch time. And then they’re also asking questions and then I answer it and they have to wait till the end for the answer. So and
RV (33:56):
Then after you answer, after you answer the question, do you say, if you want a question answer, leave it, leave it down below in the comments or something like, how do you tee up the next one?
CG (34:06):
No. so I, I asked them it before that, but then it loops, so once I finish asking it, it will loop start
RV (34:13):
CG (34:14):
Yeah. So it’ll do back. So strategy, a good strategy on reels and TikTok as well is to make it seem like your video never ended. So once you’re done talking, it clips it, or the ending looks like the beginning. So people don’t realize they’re watching it twice and then you get more than a full watch out of it. And your watch time goes way up. So just another, a lot of strategy, but the whole strategy is shares. And watch time, you know, if you watch times, you know, more than what your video length is, they’re gonna keep pushing, pushing, pushing, and you’re gonna go bar,
RV (34:42):
Wow, Chris, this has been awesome, dude. I, I, I just, I love it. I, I think it’s so cool. And I think you know, there is an opportunity here for anybody who is an athlete or, you know, we have, we have we’ve got clients who were, you know, formally movie stars or TV stars. You know, there’s like this window of opportunity that if you play your cards right, it parlays, like you’ve parlayed it into just a really great following in a business that will last you the rest of your career and you keep building. And this has been awesome. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Like just kind of the transparency of your story, where do you want people to go to, to follow you and connect with all the stuff that you’re doing?
CG (35:26):
Yeah, for sure. So I’m, I’m, I’m pretty much every platform. So besides Facebook, I haven’t mastered Facebook yet, but I’ll work on that. Follow me, Chris, Kowski Instagram TikTok, definitely the, the most engaged on those two check out the website. I sugar.com and I guess last but not least, we got the, the channel, the YouTube channel with all the brothers at the Bronx. So we’d like to have fun on that channel, not that active during the season, but off season, we should be bringing some heat on the, on the channel as well.
RV (35:56):
I love that you guys are branding yourselves as the, as all five of you together. I think that’s got a lot of mileage and legs long term that’s, it’ll be cool to see how that shakes out
CG (36:06):
For sure. For sure. That’s, that’s the fun stuff.
RV (36:09):
Yeah. Well, man we appreciate you making some time and look forward to staying connected and just wish you the best.
CG (36:16):
I appreciate thanks so much for having me today.
Speaker 3 (36:20):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch, anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders group brand builders, group.com/pod. We hope to talk to you soon.
RV (37:07):
Gro gro Chris, Grotowski one of the five Gronk brothers. What a cool conversation. This is another conversation that, you know, we do this podcast we’re learning right alongside of you. And this was one that was super tactical, like way, way more tactical in terms of what has changed my behavior immediately since doing this interview with Chris and it was pre it’s pretty awesome. And it’s cool to see what he’s doing. I think it’s, it’s inspiring to see how he transition and you know, his career in the NFL into a great personal brand. And I’ll tell you this. One of the things that I got clear on just in talking to him was going, oh, I got clear clarification on some of our core target audience, like some of our avatar at brand builder group brand builders group, because we work with athletes and stuff.
RV (38:01):
And it was like, oh yeah, well, you know, college athletes and stuff like that. And, and, and the whole, like N I name image like this, maybe we should be trying to reach out to college athletes and, you know, and get in with some pro athletes and stuff. And then it hit me like, oh, our market is not athletes. Our a, our market is former athletes. We’re one of the ways where we can be useful. And, and if, you know, a former professional athlete, you should introduce them to us because we can help them, like leverage the following that they built from sports or whatever to create, and, and, and turn it into a long lasting career as you know, a personal brand, an educator, encourager, entertainer, whatever. And it’s cool to see Chris do that and hear his story about how he, you know, went from being in the NFL and then became an entrepreneur.
RV (38:50):
And now he’s like building his personal brand really, really cool. And it, it makes sense to me cuz we have a lot of athletes in our, on our community and people who play in the NFL, et cetera. And it’s like, oh, they’re all former athletes, which makes sense. Cuz when you’re in the NFL, you should probably focus on not getting killed and win in a super bowl. Right. And like doing your thing. But after that it’s D story. So that was a, that was a, you know, an insight for me just to share with you that even as we do this, every one of these episodes, we’re learning stuff, new constantly that we are applying to our business. So that’s not one of my top three formal takeaways. I’ll I’ll go into those now. So the first one my first formal takeaway was where it was so simple.
RV (39:38):
He said do video replies to the questions that people leave in your comments. That’s so cool. Right? Like what a simple, easy way to create community, engage with your followers, have video content, a a add, add valuable content like that, you know, that, that, that people are interested in is yeah. Anytime somebody asks you a question as a DM or as a comment, answer the question as a video and say, you know, Hey, this question comes from so and so, or you don’t have to name ’em and just go, got this question the other day. Here’s the answer. I mean, this is the formula that we teach our brand builders. Like all of our paying members, as simple as we go every week, you you’re going to take at least one question and answer one question with one answer and then give a call to action.
RV (40:31):
Like that’s it QAC question, answer, call to action. It is a simple formula for how to effectively do social media marketing, content marketing YouTube podcasting. I mean, what are we doing on this show every week we’re bringing on people who do a component of personal branding really well or that we think do it well or that we wanna learn from, and then we’re highlighting it and showcasing it for you is to help you get questions answered for how you grow your business. And, and we use that as a way to like build trust and hopefully to get an opportunity to meet you and have a free phone call with you at some point, and then see if we can understand what your, your vision is and see if the process that we teach that so many of these people use to build their personal brand is one that we can help apply for you.
RV (41:16):
But the Genesis of that relat is answer a question, be useful. And one of the exercises that we have our members do is we have, ’em make a list of 52 questions that their audience has. And then you answer those one at a time and that becomes basically your content calendar for a year. Well, you know, your, your audience has way more than 50 questions about what you do and you, you definitely know more than 50 little tips or nuggets about what you do if you’re truly operating in your uniqueness. And so paying attention to the questions, people are asking you and the comments and the DMS and, and, and then making that into is just so smart. Right? So, so if you’re gonna answer a question, answer it as a video because then you’ll never have to answer that question again. Right? You have that video there and it creates content and it’s just so, so simple.
RV (42:08):
The second thing that Chris does, and I went and looked on his TikTok profile and I was like, this is crazy. He actually does this. And he said, it makes a huge difference. And I started doing it. And guess what? It makes a huge difference like is to do a call to action where you deliberately like articulate the words like in your video to say, follow me, click through. And you know, I’ve been saying, click click through to my profile and make sure you give me a follow. He’s, he’s mostly focused on TikTok. So he just points at the follow button on his TikTok videos. It doesn’t allow him to repurpose on Instagram, which is, you know, kind of a bummer, but whatever Instagram or TikTok where he’s focused and he points and he, you know, follow me here, which is really short.
RV (42:56):
And you know, you see his finger and then you go click right there and you follow him. And it’s like, of course, that works. People do what you tell them to do. I mean, this is crazy, but this is the whole point of calls to action in general is like tell people what to do if you go back and listen to the Tom episode. So Tom Rath wrote strength finders, which is the all time bestselling nonfiction book, like the bestselling nonfiction book of all time on Amazon, it sold 10 million copies. And I asked Tom in that interview, I said, Tom, how do you sell 10 million copies? And he said, simple, give people something to do, tell them what to do. And here it is again like that, that same dynamic, that same principle coming up where he’s just saying, you know, make sure to follow me on my profile.
RV (43:41):
And, and it works like what a, what a difference. So we’ve started doing this. I’ve started doing this with my videos and it totally works. Like, it, it, it, it’s not like suddenly we’ve got millions of followers overnight, but just noticing how the follower count is growing proportionate to when we were not doing this, it is a noticeable difference. And it’s so simple. And so you gotta be thinking of these increasingly committal calls to action in general. Right. You know, if you liked, if you agree with what I had to said, make sure you like this, or share this with a friend or leave a comment down below or, or, you know, tell me your thoughts or click through and follow, or, you know, click the link in my bio and join my, you know, download my free lead magnet. These are calls to actions where you’re literally verbatim telling somebody what to do.
RV (44:33):
People need to be told what to do, why cuz their brain doesn’t have much space or time to figure it out themselves. So you make it easy for people when you tell them exactly what to do, help them take the next step by making the step painfully obviously excruciatingly clear and then tell them what to do. So they don’t have to think about it. They can just do it. And now they’re on your email list. Now they’re following you. Now they’re sharing your content. Now they’re commenting below. They’re subscribed to your YouTube channel. They’re they’re rating and reviewing your podcast, like tell them what to do so simple. And I’ve just never done that. Yeah. I’ve always felt kind of weird about it. Just like, Hey follow me. But you know, there’s I still feel a little bit weird, like I’m pandering. But it makes a difference and you go look, if those people are gonna follow me and now I have a chance to change their life, cuz now they’re gonna see my content again.
RV (45:27):
And again, that’s a worthwhile thing, right? So I can, I can feel stupid silly if it’s for the sake of going, I’m gonna get another opportunity or several opportunities to impact somebody’s life versus, you know, I get to feel cool. And then this is the one time they’re gonna see a video of mine and then I’m never gonna see ’em again. So I can live with that. I can live with that. I get it outta my comfort zone there a little bit. And that’s one thing that I’m, I’m working on the third takeaway from Chris, which you hear this, right? This isn’t totally new. I mean, it’s not new information, but is if you go live specifically on TikTok, it’s huge right now because TikTok pushes you out to everyone that is huge, right? Like that is very different. If you go live on Instagram, it’s more like it’s pushing you out to your followers, which you may not have a bunch, but TikTok is in the, still the season of growth, right?
RV (46:28):
So there’s so much traction to still be made there. And going live is the way to do it. Now. One of the things that I discovered unfortunately, is that you have to have a thousand followers to have the go live function on TikTok even available to you. And so I was like, shoot we’ve been ignoring TikTok for the most part. And so now we’re kind of like trying to pick up our game a little bit and, and get into it because I feel like we’re late to the game once again on social. And I think if we can get there while this is still happening, or if you have a thousand followers going live on TikTok, you should do it, right. Like you’re at, there’s this harvest season that, that we’re in right now where you’re getting a disproportionate amount of a, of a tension and impact and reach.
RV (47:19):
And you gotta kind of play those seasons cuz you don’t know when they’re gonna come up. And TikTok is in one right now. If that matters to you now we’ve got other friends that go, I don’t trust TikTok. I don’t like it. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t believe in it. You know, it’s owned by the Chinese. Some people have issues with that or whatever. Like you gotta make your decision, but like if you’re into reaching people, this is your chance. Like this window is, this is happening on, on TikTok and, and it’s huge. And I’m learning a ton from TikTok. Like there’s a bunch of people that I’m following that I’m, I’m learning stuff from. And so pretty incredible. So, you know, you’ve got going live. And then the other thing is using the discovery tool on TikTok. We talked about this with Tory Gordon a few weeks ago, she’s got a huge TikTok following.
RV (48:11):
But just going to look at the discovery page and it tells you which hashtags are trending. Like it just tells you right there. This is the content that people wanna see right now. And this is the content that we’re pushing out. And so paying attention to writing the wave, right? Like that’s like here comes the wave and it’s telling you, this is the wave right now. And if you wanna hop on you just like create content that fits inside that wave and you catch, catch the wave. So this is that window, right? This is that this is that window. And you see the opposite happening on Instagram. It’s like every, every few weeks the reach just goes down and down and down and Facebook like organic reach, just like dead. I mean almost virtually dead like zero. I’m shocked at how little, our content, you know, even videos that are awesome and it’s like they get 20 views.
RV (49:06):
We haven’t put a ton of time into Facebook either, but this is why is this? Like, it doesn’t work very well anymore. Organically. So, or at least we’re not, we’re not putting in the work. It takes to really make it work. There are plenty of people making it work. You know, if you go back and listen to the episode with Hillary billings and Marshall, Marshall CS about you know, they’re getting hundreds of millions of views, like there’s a way to do it. And we talk about it in that episode. But right now this is the, the season is TikTok. It’s the one that’s here, it’s right in front of us. And we are we’re, we are late to the game. And you know, still in some ways, not, I mean in a lot of ways, not in, on it, not all in on it, but we’re, you know, we’re taking steps direction and I would like to experiment with going live on TikTok.
RV (49:55):
So we’ll see how that happens. But there you have it practical tips from, you know, a guy who, I mean, Chris, Chris is, you know, Gronkowski is a really well known. I mean, obviously his, his brother is one of the, the, the greatest tight ends of all time. And Chris had a very solid NFL career, which, I mean, anyone who plays in the NFL is amazing in my opinion. But it’s, it’s not like Chris had millions and millions of followers. He doesn’t have millions of followers now, but you know, he had a, he had something that he achieved. He was the top of his industry. He was in the NFL, but then it was over and it was like, what are you gonna do with it? Right. And so you might be at the top of your industry, but you’re transitioning it and going, how am I gonna use this to impact lives and to build an audience and to become well known?
RV (50:41):
Not for the sake of me being well known, but for the sake of making a difference in the world. And I love at Chris has done that and he’s turned it into a great business and great relationships and great partnerships and he’s adding value and he’s, he’s, you know, cool. And you can do the same thing. People wanna know you and you have an opportunity to help them and just figure out how can I answer their questions, give ’em clear calls to action and, you know, pay attention to some of the natural ways to grow your reach and do it consistently. And you know, that’s how it happens. So it’s simple, it’s simple, it’s doable, it’s all doable, right? Building your personal brand, building your influence, building your reach, making an impact, making a difference, becoming more well known, all doable. So many of those things are learning right here every single week. So keep coming back we love having ya. We’re learning right alongside you. And and then also hopefully modeling and showing you the way in some ways we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand podcast.

Ep 253: How To Build and Scale Your Speaking Business with Molly Fletcher

AJV (00:07):
Hey everybody welcome to a new episode on the influential personal brand. This is AJ Vaden here. I’m the CEO of brand builders group. One of the co-founders and one of the co hosts of this show along with my sidekick partner husband, Rory Vaden, who is not here today. But y’all, I am so excited today because not only do I get to share this awesome individual Molly Fletcher with you guys? But y’all like one of the, I was literally just talking to her before the show started. So if you wanna go read all of her amazing accolades and accomplishments, and there’s a lot, I would encourage you to go read the show notes, but I’ll tell you one of the coolest things about this is when you find people. And in my case, another woman who is equally excited about your success as they are their own success.
AJV (00:59):
It’s one of the biggest gifts in the world. And, and I had a chance to debrief with Molly before we hit record. And I think one of the things that I love so much and why I’m so excited to introduce her to all of you guys listening, is that she’s one of those people who gets genuinely just excited about seeing other people thrive and succeed as she does herself. And it’s one of those things where it’s like, it just makes you wanna be around her more. And I just love her. I think she’s so awesome. She’s a total badass and in so many different respects personally and professionally, and I’ll tell you one thing one thing on the professional side that I think you should know about Molly before we get in is I was at a a joint group meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, that Molly was at, and some had said you’re like the Jerry McGuire of the sports industry, cuz Molly has an extreme past as a very accomplished sports agent. And I started thinking this morning, I was like, she’s not like Jerry McGuire. Jerry McGuire is like Molly Fletcher, what are you talking about? There is no other Molly Fletcher there’s no comparison here. It’s like you’re Molly F and Fletcher, no, Jerry McGuire up in the mix around here. But so many amazing things that we’re gonna talk about today. And so I’m gonna kick off. I’m just gonna welcome you to the show, Molly, thank you so much for giving me some of your time this morning.
MF (02:21):
Hey, it’s an absolute honor. I love you and Rory and the whole BBG family. So I’m, I’m honored to be with you. I really am. Thanks.
AJV (02:27):
And this is gonna be such a great conversation. And one of the reasons why is, because I know that so many of you out there are wondering how do I go from my full-time profession, whatever it is that you’re doing right now, and how do I actually make a transition into a full time personal brand? And so Molly give people just a little bit of background on what your professional journey has looked like from the beginning to where you are now.
MF (02:57):
Sure. Wow. Well, you know, I think I wish I could say it was scripted out and it was perfectly planned, but the truth is it really wasn’t. I, you know, I was a sports agent, as you mentioned for over 15 years and I loved every minute of it and had incredible athletes, 300 athletes, a team of agents, et cetera, helping us serve, serve them. But, but what would happen, AJ? This is interesting is I would have all these young people reach out to me who wanted to be sports agents because people sort of think, oh my gosh, that’d be such a great job. And so I’d have all these young people meet with me and I would meet with these kids because I believe you need to love what you do every day. And so I would be meeting with these young kids and then simultaneously, like I might go to an event and I’d meet a, a 30 year old who said, oh, you know, I always wanted to be a sports agent, but you know, it was just kind of really hard to get into.
MF (03:47):
And it’s super competitive. And, and so now I’m doing this, but I don’t really love it. And now they’re in this kind of job that they don’t love and they’re sort of boxed in. And I thought, well, that’s a bummer cuz you work a lot and your life and you should love it. So I would meet with these young kids and my boss would walk by my office. He would say, oh, who’s that? Is that a short stop for Georgia tech? Is that a golfer for Georgia? And I was like, oh no, it’s this really nice young kid outta Georgia tech. Who’s trying to get into the sports agent business. And, and by about the third or fourth meeting like that, I mean, he’s a pretty driven guy. He looks at me, he goes, look, I am not paying you to a mentor. All these kids out of Georgia and Georgia tech.
MF (04:24):
And I said, okay, so and so simultaneously, right? I’m recruiting lots and lots of athletes, which to me is not too dissimilar to getting in front of tough people that you potentially maybe wanna work for one day. So I started to see all these things aligning at. I thought, you know, I can’t meet with all these people, but I wanna help ’em cuz it breaks my heart. When I meet these 30 year olds that hate their jobs. So I thought I’m gonna write a book about it cuz I gotta help ’em and I’m just gonna write a book, staple it together and give it away if I have to. So I would go when I was pregnant with our first to this coffee shop every day and I’d write and write and write. And so it took me about a year and a half to finally have this book ready to go. And, and I thought, well, let me see if I can publish it. Like, let me just see if I can find a publisher and I could have wallpapered my apartment with rejection letters from publishers. Cause we, we both know that’s a quirky space. Finally, I get somebody that kind of bites. I fly to Indy pitch this whole boardroom of people on this book and they bite and they published the book, which was my first book. So then come university started saying, Hey, will you come and talk,
AJV (05:29):
Pause right there though. You wrote the entire book while you were still like full-time working.
MF (05:35):
Yes, great point. Right.
AJV (05:37):
But I think that’s a really important distinction. It’s not why you jumped ship and said, I’m out. It’s not like this was what I was doing when I had extra time, extra hours, extra minutes.
MF (05:47):
That’s right. That’s right. That’s right, AJ. I would do it at night. I would do it on the weekends. And so that book got fully published and, and I had thankfully the support of my boss to do that book, which was wonderful, cuz I was very transparent with him that I wanted to help these kids. It wasn’t gonna impact my day job and whatever. So then I was speaking to all these schools for free, for fun. Just
AJV (06:10):
So were they finding you or you finding them?
MF (06:13):
They were finding me because of the book it was sort of out there. And so professors started reaching out saying, Hey, would you come and talk to 30 kids or 50 kids or, and I did. And so then
AJV (06:27):
For free
MF (06:28):
For free,
AJV (06:29):
I think that’s important. Like,
MF (06:31):
Yeah, these are great. I’m glad you’re calling these things out.
AJV (06:33):
These are not like most of us who are in this world of speaking and authoring and it’s like, Y it didn’t start with money. Right. It’s like we were paying, it’s like, please I’ll pay you. Can I please come? Exactly, exactly. Right. and I think that’s a really important reminder for everyone. Or anyone who is all on this personal brand journey or who wants to be, it’s like it has to come from an deep rooted passion of, I have a message that I, I cannot contain it. It must come out of me. However I can do
MF (07:05):
It. That’s really well said, AJ. And, and I think, and you say this, I mean, you’re so good at, you know, it, it was something that broke my heart, was watching these people work 82,000 hours of other life or something like that, that it adds up to and hate it. And I thought that’s not right. And, and I grew up with a father who’s amazing, but he hated his job. And I thought, I don’t wanna hate my job. I wanna love it. Yeah. I wanna, as the, you know, I think it’s a Luke Bryan’s song, right? Like do what you love and call it work. And
AJV (07:37):
I love that. So,
MF (07:39):
So that book, so to your point, I would go to these schools and I would speak for free. But one of the things that I think’s important for your listeners is it was also, Hey, as I started to do more and more of it, I thought I gotta record these things. Like I gotta record these so that I can grab recordings of this. Cuz I like it. And if I can do this in other markets, maybe one could get paid. I don’t know. So then it was interesting, AJ. I, I was also, then I sort of, that came out. I was doing that still full blown as an agent. And then I started working with, you know, Billy Donovan and Thomas and Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz and all these athletes and coaches.
AJV (08:18):
I didn’t know any of those except for John else because I’m a brave fan. There you go. Yeah. That
MF (08:24):
One that’s right. Well that’s OK. And you don’t need to. And you know, and so I started to go, wow, the way ISO’s wired, isn’t too dissimilar to Ernie Johnson. And the way smolt is wired, isn’t too different from, you know, Laven. And so I started to, to kind of see the way that peak performers behave their mindset. And I thought, I think I got another book here that I really want the world to know the, the level of curiosity and discipline and belief and, and, and energy man and all these things that went into the best. So I, I reached out to a friend of mine and said, look, I, I think I wanna write this book. And, and then she helped me a bit connecting me with her son who was sort of a ghost writer. He helped me write it with his literary agent who then took me on, pitched it to publishers. And that book was birthed, which is called the business of being the best. Now that book was a little more focused toward business people.
AJV (09:28):
Interesting. Again, wanna pause really quick? You said two things that I think are really unique and important. So I have a, a random question for you.
MF (09:36):
AJV (09:37):
How many people do you think actually have a book within them, but they don’t value their own insights enough to publish it
MF (09:48):
A hundred percent of people in the world. I mean a ton like a ton.
AJV (09:54):
I agree.
MF (09:55):
AJV (09:55):
Like to your point, I think the difference and what I love about you is like you saw something and you’re like, I have to put this together and share it to the world. Right. I think all of us have those insights and those intuitions and those things. We just, whether we don’t think other people would care or we’re not sure how to put it together. And you did, and you were still doing it full time working of going, oh, I see these commonalities. And I think there’s something here that would really help other people. And I think, I think it’s really important. So what was it about you that made you go, this is good enough that I think it would help other people like innately inside of you kind of gave you that, no, this is it. Like this is gonna help other people.
MF (10:46):
Well, I, I think I saw so clearly this connection between peak performers and I felt like, and, and I lived in a world where complacency has no room. I mean, chipper Jones woke up every day and, and, and could see the stats of the guy in AAA that wanted his job. Smoltz could see all the guys in AAA that wanted his job. And I thought, wow, this is a different mindset. This mindset of wanting to get better every single day. And, and I just felt like it was something in my heart of hearts that could lay right on top of business, people’s mindset and belief system. And they could deploy it in a way that could help them too, have more drive up their game, all those things. And, and I think I grew up too with a belief that no is just feedback.
AJV (11:40):
MF (11:40):
No, isn’t no, it’s just,
AJV (11:43):
You gotta write that down.
MF (11:44):
It’s just a data.
AJV (11:45):
No, it’s just feedback. No, it’s just feedback. Ooh, that’s so good. I’m gonna highlight that. It’s gonna be tweetable moment of this show. No is just feedback. Right? Well, I think, and I think the reason I wanted to call that out is because so many of the people that we talk to and that we work with at our company brand builders group, it’s like, they, they know they’ve got something, but they don’t have enough conviction and their own ideas to push them out into the world. And it’s like, part of it is like, you’ve gotta have enough belief that no, it’s like, I know this can help and enough confidence of going, I don’t care if it helps one person it’s worth doing it. But then the second thing that you brought out is I found someone who had a son who was a ghost writer and he would say, it’s about people. It’s about relationships. It’s about connections. So talk to us for just one second.
MF (12:35):
Yeah. So you know, wonderful. You know, he helped me and his mother was really one of the first and, and what happened was we, we, we wrote that book and that book, you know, got, got out into the world. And, and then I think this is sort of part of the story and, and that relationship and how important it was. So when, when that book came out again, it was more focused on business people. I, I started getting asked to come and speak, you know, at, at businesses, right. At, at conventions at things. But I was still grinding it as an agent, like full time, 24 7 deal. So if it was really convenient and really, really easy, I could do it. So one day literally across the street from my office, there was this convention and they asked me to come and do one of the breakout sessions.
MF (13:21):
And I mean, AJ, it was pretty bootleg, right? Like it was literally, I can still see the room. I mean, it wasn’t very big. There was these black drapes, there was probably 20 people. It was one of those where they walked in, could see the list of different speakers and they, you know, enough people thought, well, this chick sounds interesting. I’m gonna go sit in there. So I sit, I give kind of a keynote around the book and the common threads I saw and you know, it was probably 30, 40 minutes. Well, at the end of that, this woman comes up to me, whose son was the ghost writer. So that’s where I’m going with this. And she came up to me and she’s really cool. And, and she said, you need to do this. And I said, what are you talking about? She goes like, you need to do this.
MF (14:01):
I said, do what she said, speak. And I said, well, girl, I’m running back to the office. I have a one 30 lunch, a three o’clock call. I’m going to game tomorrow. Like, what do you, I can’t do this. She said, no, no, no. I’m telling you, you gotta do this. I’m taking you to lunch. So we go to lunch and she said, okay, here’s what I want you to do. I want you, she goes, how much are you charging? And I said, nothing. She goes, you don’t charge anything for your, I go, no, she goes, you need to be charging. She said do you own your domain name on your website? Do you know your, I said, no. She said, go buy it, go buy Molly fletcher.com. And she said, do you have recordings of your keynotes? And I said, well, I got a couple.
MF (14:39):
Right? And she goes, every keynote you give from now on, I want you recorded. So she sat with me. I’ll never forget it. And basically said, here’s all the things I want you to have a website up in, in, in a less than 30 days, video bio, you know, all the things that, you know, anyone who’s listening can, you know, if you Google any speaker, you can go and you can kind of see the same things that they have on their websites. That whether it’s through a speaker bureau or a client is looking for. And, and she sort of told me what she thought I could charge and sure enough, the phone started. Right. And it, you know, which was a blessing. And so, you know, and then I started speaking and Marilyn hired me and all these different. And so it just sort of evolved, but I’ll pause there in case something’s coming up for you,
AJV (15:23):
You know, it’s interesting. Your journey is so different than mine because I’m pretty, pretty sure I had to like cold call a thousand people before I ever got paid to speak. I’m pretty sure, like if I went back and counted the amount of free workshops that I did in front of sales teams and sales organizations, it would be in, it would be close to a thousand, but I did four free, right. Begging it’s like, I’m, can I pleased and talk to your three? I will do this for you for great. I’m pretty sure. But it’s, you know, it’s interesting because every journey looks different and that’s the point And you wanna know, it’s like, how do you do it? And it’s like, every journey looks different. The point is you just have to start, you gotta start.
MF (16:09):
Right. I mean, it’s like, I don’t know if it’s a BG line or, but the more you speak, the more you speak,
AJV (16:14):
MF (16:15):
Like the more you speak, the more you speak and, and, and, and, you know, I mean, just to, and, and we had a lot of those, I mean, I’ll never forget when she told me to get more video, my husband and I went to the Ritz Carlton here in Atlanta, and we snuck in, we found a ballroom and my husband’s wonderful. And we find this ballroom and it’s got this beautiful mahogany background. He’s got our camera. And I am like changing clothes four times in the ballroom. And he’s filming me and I’m talking to nobody, I’m talking to nobody and he’s filming me. And then I found, you know, somebody that kind of spa slice it up and turn it into a speaker reel and all that. So, you know, it’s a bootstrap deal out of the gates.
AJV (17:00):
It, and I love it cause that it’s, you gotta be scrappy. It’s like, there are only a few people. And one of the reasons I was so excited to have you on the show is you’re a little known fact is like, Molly’s one of like the highest paid speakers. Who’s not a celebrity who’s out there. Right? Like Molly is doing this full-time multi seven figure, like, like she is doing this and doing it extraordinarily well. And I think for a lot of us, as we think, oh, well you had this X, Y, Z. It’s like, no, like we, we were speaking in empty ballrooms with our husband’s speaking. Like I remember it’s like, for years, it’s like I was doing meetings and living rooms, backyards tax sales, doesn’t matter what it was. I was like, I’ll be there. I’ll be there. Right. So one day you have someone who sees you and they go, you could do this for a living. That’s how it works. And then you could speak, but it’s like, the more you speak, the more you speak, you just have to start. And so I’m curious at what point did you go, okay, this is like, my personal brand is now my full time career. Yeah. Like when was that?
MF (18:07):
Well, I certainly didn’t think of it candidly as a personal brand, obviously now more so, but I, what, you know, what happened truthfully was I love, I loved being an agent and I loved my players and I loved it all like immensely. And I’ll never forget. I landed in like Pittsburgh or New York or somewhere for a keynote. I think I landed in New York for a keynote and, and my players never went to voicemail. I mean, they never went to voicemail. So I get I land and I’ve got like three voicemails from three guys. Well, I, I start calling ’em back and I’m on the phone with one of my guys. And he goes, where are you? And I was like, cuz we’re incredibly close. And I go, oh, I just landed in New York. He’s like who you seeing? And that was the moment when I went uhoh I don’t feel authentic right now.
MF (18:56):
Like I do not feel authentic right now. And I said, you know what, actually, man, I’m given a keynote to a group of, you know, I think it was financial advisors. And he said, oh, wow. Huh. Really? And, and that was the moment when I went, I’ve make some decisions here and you know, it made AJ no sense. I mean, I think I had 17 keynotes on the books, you know, for not a lot of money. And I had a nice situation as an agent. And, but I remember coming home to my husband. I said, honey, I think this message is resonating with people. I think it’s helping people. I think I have an opportunity to have a whole lot more control of my schedule, but more importantly, make a bigger impact on the world than I am now. Like, and I, I was at a point in my career where, you know, I felt like I’d done a lot of incredible things.
MF (19:47):
I’d helped a lot of athletes, but I remember thinking, do I wanna go to my grave and say, I’ve negotiated a hundred million in contracts or do I wanna go to my grave and say I changed a hundred million lives. Mm. And what became clear to me was I, I wanted to change hearts and souls and, and, and, and not just checkbooks and, and bank accounts. That wasn’t what I was about. And that was, and thankfully I said, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna jump. And, and you know, you talk about kind of relationships. And so one of the guys who was my trainer, when I was a student athlete at Michigan state, he became a speaker and is a speaker. And I reached out to him and I said, Hey, this is what’s going on. And, and he said, you know, you can use my booking agent.
MF (20:35):
She books me. I pay her a fee on every booking. But if you wanted to give her a fee, she could take in some of these incoming calls for you that you’re getting and she could navigate it. And of course, I believe it’s helpful to have somebody in the middle of those conversations. That’s what I did. And I saw the benefit. Yeah. And so I, I put, so this, this woman was fantastic and she would take, she knew how to navigate these. She, you know, and then we built the contract and the bio and all the stuff that happens, but she was able to take in these incoming calls, negotiate these fees and manage my speaking, ke tell it, got to a place where I needed a full-time person.
AJV (21:11):
So, so interesting. Because I think that right there, what you just said is, so, so wise of you need a middle person. Yeah. So, and that’s what you did. Like you did that so successful for all these athletes for 15 years. So like to sit here and, and go, oh yeah. It’s like, that is what you did. Right. Right. So I would love for you to share with everyone, like, what is the benefit of having someone book you on your behalf? Like, what’s the, you know, it’s like people can call, ’em an agent bureau, whatever. Right. But what’s, the benefit could be your spouse. It
MF (21:43):
Could be,
AJV (21:44):
But why, why?
MF (21:47):
Well, I, I, I mean, I think, you know, no different than I saw with my players. I mean, it, it becomes very hard for an athlete to sit in the room with a general manager and say, look, all the other second basemen are at X. Here’s my RBIS. Here’s my slugging percentage. Here’s my on base percentage here. And I should be at Y. And here’s why, because it can get, yeah. And I think when you are saying, well, for me to come and talk to your people, I’m worth X. Well, our budget is why, well, I mean, that conversation is a lot harder for you to do yourself now. It’s not impossible though, because we know that people have to do that in their careers for Ray and things like that. And that’s okay. And we need to, as human beings, I believe, know how to have those conversations. But I think when, when, when we’re trying to negotiate our fee and our time at the core, it, it is, it is, it is someone else that can brag about you that when you are doing it on your own behalf, it’s just odd. Like, oh yeah. Like every time I got a standing ovation, people love me. I mean, you can’t say that. Right. But you’re, but your booking can. Right. So I think, I think they can tell your story as your advocate
AJV (23:08):
MF (23:08):
Better than you.
AJV (23:10):
Oh, I think that’s the word. It’s, they’re your advocate. Yes. They’re your advocate. I remember there was a point in our business that I told Roy you are no longer allowed to talk about money with anyone
MF (23:25):
AJV (23:25):
Like, you are not allowed to talk about your fees, stop it. Cause like two, that point it’s so much easier for him as the individual. Who’s getting booked to go. I mean, okay, I’ll make it work or sure. I’ll stay and I’ll do this. Sure. I’ll add on another one. Cause he felt guilty. It’s like, and is like having an advocate that middle person removes the emotion makes it so purely logical. And one of the best, best lessons we ever learned as somebody had said. And I remember getting this advice from someone at the national speakers association is just remember, they’re not paying you for an hour of your time. Yeah. They are paying you for the years of experience and expertise and original content. And data they’re paying you for a lifetime of information that you have condensed in two, one hour.
MF (24:18):
AJV (24:19):
And that, that changed the way that we negotiated from that point on.
MF (24:24):
Yeah. I J I remember you saying that at an event I was at that you were leading and I, and I was like, that is so well said because it’s so true. I mean, they are. And, and, and, you know, to your point, it’s easier for someone else to say, no, it’s easier for someone else to justify. I mean, the, you know, when I was an agent, I mean, that was, people ran around with business cards, you know? So all my athletes had stacks of my business cards and I can’t even count the number of times that a guy would call me or a gal would call me and say, Hey, I met John Smoltz at Walgreens. And he said, he would love to stop by the school, on my son’s birthday and wish him a happy birthday. And I’m thinking, okay, dude. And like small tea and I, or any of my guys.
MF (25:10):
I mean, I, you know, John can’t do that for everybody. He meets of course. And, but, you know, and I’d say, oh, okay. And I’d take the call and I would listen. And, and, and then I’d, you know, hang up and wait three days and call him and say, Hey, I’m really sorry, but John can’t do that. He’s pitchy that day or whatever the thing was. Yeah. But that, that helped John and all of my players so much. And we, you know, we need, I mean, I’m so blessed and grateful. We get 500 speaking requests a year and do 80. And so I need somebody in the middle of all that to filter through the right fits the stages where we think we can truly make an impact.
AJV (25:47):
How, oh, good. I think that’s such a deal of like, to that point, it’s like, it would be very easy to try to say yes. And then simultaneously just burn yourself into the ground now.
MF (25:57):
And I’ve made that mistake, AJ. I did.
AJV (25:59):
Yeah. As have we, and it’s not one you wanna make again. And so, okay. So, so let’s talk about two things here, one all these for requests, right? So how are you for the person who is maybe speaking already? And they’re like, how do I grow my speaking business? How do I scale it? Where are all of these requests coming from? So how have you AMAs such this amazing business where people are just calling you and then it’s you deciding which ones you’re gonna go to? How did happen?
MF (26:30):
You know, the, the truth is it’s, it’s really been referrals. I mean, it’s people in an audience who leave and go to a different company who I gave a keynote yesterday here in Atlanta. And a guy came up at the back of the room and goes, I need, you need to do this convention that we all go to in the technology space every single year, who do I contact on your team to, to get your stuff in front of them? So it’s, it’s been primarily referrals. We do work with bureaus lots of different bureaus. I’m not exclusive with any bureau and, you know, and, and that evolve by people who had heard maybe me keen, or they had moved to a different career or a different company. And then they went, they let’s say just automatically booked through bureaus. So they went to the bureau and said, Hey, we want this.
MF (27:16):
We’d like to explore having this woman, Molly come and speak. And the bureaus like who’s that I have no idea who she, and then they kind of figured that out. And then that was kind of how our bureau thing went. Was clients backing into an ask and then the bureau coming back to us and saying, we have a client that wants to book you, who do we, who do we work with? So, you know, I’m feel very blessed for that. I’m very grateful for that. It’s, it’s really been all, you know, all the word of mouth, but I would say simultaneously, you know, we have all the tools and things. We have all the, the things in place that allow somebody to get familiar with you. You know, one of the things that you and I know, and it’s wonderful for people to, to, to know is that, you know, nobody’s gonna book you on a main stage, big event, keynote without seeing you speak.
MF (28:05):
And, and not just, I would argue that the best of the best, the spliced up, you know, six minute video reel, that’s just you and all your best moments and the crowd standing and clapping, and you gotta make, get, give ’em a hot, good, solid piece of extended content of you on stage speaking, where they can go, okay, there’s a big clump of time and she’s okay, she’s good. Like we can do this. So that’s, to me really important to having, you know, I would tell every speaker, go get your YouTube channel, get it populated, get stuff on there, have your website with your video real, but have longer clips too. So people can see you for an extended period of time. Because the thing that, you know, I take real really seriously is there is an organization when you really boil it down, it’s an organization hiring a perfect stranger to stand up in front of the most important people in their world.
MF (29:04):
From a business perspective, either it’s their key clients or it’s their employees. Those are incredibly important people and they are hiring a perfect stranger. So you’ve gotta make sure you offset their already anxious feeling. Yeah. That’s so putting a stranger in front of the room. So you gotta make, ’em feel really safe with that decision. And, and so, you know, to me, those are the things that I think are important. Like I’m a big fan of getting into the head and the heart of the people that you serve and saying, you know, like one of the things I always say to people who on a, a pre-call before any keynote, I, I do a call with the client and, you know, I always say to ’em look, you’ve got thousands of things to worry about. The last one I want you to worry about is me.
MF (29:48):
All I want to happen is that you have a line of people after that, come up to you and say, dude, where did you find that chick? That was exactly what I needed to hear that. That’s all I want. You got AV people, you got music, you got customers, you got box lunches, you got dinners, you got awards, ceremonies, you got other speakers, you got panels. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be there early. I’ll crush it for you. People will say, thank you so much. And I wanna be super low maintenance and, and, and over deliver.
AJV (30:18):
Yeah. That’s so good. So I love that. It’s like, if you think about it in terms of reality, it’s like, you’re right. It’s like, you’re asking someone to pay you. Who’s a complete stranger and they have no real idea. What’s gonna come out of your mouth and then you want them to put you on stage in front of their most important people. And they’re sitting in the back of their going, please don’t mess this up. Please. Don’t mess this up please. Right. So how do you eliminate those fears? So I have a question. If you were gonna tell people, here are three things that you can do to be less of a stranger to your audiences, what would they be?
MF (30:52):
Well, number one, I, I would say video on your website and on your YouTube and not just short form, but long form. I mean, that takes a lot of angst out and lots and lots of video. The more, you know, early in your career, the more that you’re speaking get, ’em all videotaped, different outfits, different backgrounds, different stages, authentic, real stuff, and get that up there because that will give him a, a sense of she’s done this, he’s done this, and they’ve done it a lot in a lot of different circumstances. Okay. That would be one, you know, two testimonials. And you talk about this age. I mean, you talk about this a lot, and I think that’s a really big deal to particularly early to say, look here, here’s, you know, you have your list of printed testimonials on your site or wherever, but also, Hey, look, and I did this as an agent.
MF (31:37):
When I was recruiting a player, I’d slide my client list across the table and say to any young player, Hey, look, I can sit in this boardroom and tell you everything. I know that you wanna hear, but call John smoke, call anybody, call these guys or gals, ask them. Yeah, because what I’m telling you, we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do it, but feel free to call anybody. So testimonials to me are absolutely huge. And then the other thing I thinks really important is get on the phone with the people that are hiring you before you speak
MF (32:11):
And, and, and, and get in their head, get in their heart, ask questions, understand what those hearts and souls in that room are worried about. I, I know lots of speakers that say, oh, I do the same keynote every time I’m not changing it. I’m not doing a pre-call cuz it isn’t gonna change. And I’m thinking, number one, like I could personally not do that because I need to know what the people in the room are worried about. What are they excited about? What’s what’s on their hearts and minds. What did they hear before I went up? What are they gonna hear after I gotta get in their head and heart? So pre-calls are really powerful because AJ I’ve probably given, I don’t know, 700 to a thousand keynotes. And, and I mean like paid over the last, like when it, when I did it as a, now in my world and nobody’s ever canceled a pre-call like nobody, because they cannot wait to get, and they have seven, eight busy people on these calls. It’s, it’s a, it’s like, you are the seventh person on the line. And they have like all these people and, and they want you to know their world and it matters. So I would say that’s a really important step that I think people sometimes underestimate that really matters really matters.
AJV (33:29):
Ah, you know, and so much of every single thing that you’re saying comes back to two things that you’ve got kind of said throughout this conversation, which I think are really important for people to grasp onto is one, the more you speak, the more you speak, right? So if you really want to be a speaker or build your speaking business, make sure you’re speaking, that could be for free. Most of us started that way. Eventually you’ll get paid for it. Doesn’t matter if it’s five people in a room or 500 speaking is speaking. Right. And then the next thing it’s, it’s relationships trust, right? Yeah. Build relationships. The people who are inviting you in do a really good job. So they refer you to other people get testimonials that increases trust, you know, get to know these audiences. So they know that you really understand them, but it’s build relationships so that you can build trust.
MF (34:18):
Yep, yep. Right.
AJV (34:20):
MF (34:20):
That is absolutely right. And I think for a non celebrity speaker, I mean, I’ve spoke at an event recently with magic Johnson and I was getting micd up with the AV guy and, and I, I said something about his magic doing in Q and a and he goes, oh, they wouldn’t give us access to him before the event. We, we, we, we have no access to him. They are micing him. We have, and you know what, he’s magic Johnson,
MF (34:44):
Molly Fletcher. Can’t do that. I’m like, Hey, I’ll be down there 30 minutes early. Right. What do you want? You know what I mean? So I think, you know, it, it is, it is such a rewarding space to, to be in. But I, but like you said, AJ, I mean, be patient be gentle on yourself. Right. Honor, the people that you’re getting in front of and, and make it, you know, feel like it’s your first and it’s the most important one for you over deliver. All those things are so important. And, and to your point, I mean, I spoke for free a lot and you did too. And you know, the keynote that I gave early in my journey is very different from the one I give now. And, you know, with the more you speak, the more you grow, the more you see what lands and what doesn’t, what people re resonate with and what doesn’t, what people come up to you after and go, boy, that story about whatever was really powerful that you start to see, what’s, what’s really clicking. And then you can blow, you know, add on to the, so if it serves you and them in, in so many ways, it’s, it’s so important.
AJV (35:50):
Ah, I love that. I have love this conversation. I know that we’re almost at a time, so I wanna just do two, two last quick for the person who is listening to this, this show and this interview, and they’re going, man, it’s like, I’m not into the speaking business yet, but I have this message on my heart. I feel called to like share, this is what I wanna do with my life. Where do I start? Right. if you were to go back and, you know, tell your, you know, however long ago it was of like, this is what I would’ve done differently to expedite my journey. This is what I would tell that person today. What, what would she say?
MF (36:30):
You know, get out there more and speak more truthfully, like you said to three exterminators, if you have to, to your dog, in your office, to your husband, to your partner, to your, just keep refining, refining, refining, and playing with it. Okay. And, you know, and, and, and figure out your unique style. You know, I mean, there are so many wonderful speakers in the world and everybody has their own style and, and they land in their own way. And so be true to who you are, you know, don’t try to, to be anybody that you’re not. But to me, those are important things for people to keep front and center, but I would just say like everything in life, right. I, I, I, you know, I didn’t get, I didn’t, you know, when I was playing tennis, I had to hit a lot of floor, right.
MF (37:20):
A lot of bag. So just, just keep doing it, keep getting the wraps in the more you get the wraps and the better you get. And then I would also say what I didn’t do enough of to, to, to boil your question out more deeply is watch yourself, watch your videos of yourself and look at your, look, watch your own videos of you speaking and, and critique the heck outta yourself. You right. Really beat yourself up. The other thing I wish I would’ve done earlier too, is, you know, I have a few people who, what, what happens after a keynote is, is even if you were horrible, people go, oh, that’s so great. Oh, thanks so much. That was awesome. I mean, and so you think you’re really good?
MF (38:00):
Sure. You have some people in the back, like I have on my team or my husband who go, Hey, you totally missed the point in that story. Or you walked too much or you didn’t, or this or that, or you had lipstick on your teeth or anything, but have those people in the room early so that you can really work out some of those kinks that are gonna give you great feedback. Because at the end of every game of like, you can tell if it really, really landed or if it didn’t, but nobody’s gonna walk by you when they’re leaving the room and not say anything. Most people say, oh, that was awesome. And you don’t, maybe they mean it. Maybe they don’t. So you gotta have some people that are telling you the truth.
AJV (38:35):
Yeah. And I love what you said too. It’s like, because how many of us have heard a good speaker, but then never remembered them. And it’s like, it’s one thing to be good. But you said it’s like, you actually, you need to figure out what makes you different. What, what makes you unique? I’ll share this from my girl crush, my celebrity girl, crush, JLo JLo. I love what she says. She says that everyone is good. It’s no longer good enough to be good. You have to be different. So what are you doing to be different? And that’s the beautiful part about all of this is you are already different. Whoever you are. It’s like you are already different in the world. Has your life experiences, your unique brand, you know, your unique DNA. They do not have your brand message. They do not own it.
AJV (39:22):
They do not possess it. And then we try to look around and blend in and it’s like, it’s not good enough to be good. You’ve gotta be memorable. You’ve gotta be different. Yeah. So figure out what is it that makes you really different. I love that. I love that. Okay. So then, and I promise, I’ll let you go. So you recently had a awesome new Ted talk that came out called the secrets of a champion mindset. So I know for so many people out there, something on their bucket list or one of their goals is to do a Ted talk, right? Yeah. So give us just your 62nd. Like if I were, if I were gonna teach you or coach you or help you get booked for a Ted talk, like, what would you tell somebody, like, what do they need to do to get out there and figure out how to go out and deliver a Ted talk?
MF (40:07):
Well, can I tell ’em the truth, AJ?
AJV (40:09):
Yes, absolutely.
MF (40:11):
I called you, I called AJ and I said, AJ, I wanna do a Ted talk. And she’s said, okay, well, and you help me thankfully. And Rory with kind of what that uniqueness is and all those things. And, and, and, and then you were so kind, and I know, you know, you’re incredibly busy, but you were so kind to sort of connect me with some people that had delivered some Ted talks. And, and then I connected with some of those folks. And one of ’em said, you know what? You, you’re in Atlanta, you’re in Buckhead. Let me connect you with the people that, that manage that Ted talk. And so I, I did and they bid, and I delivered a Ted talk a couple months ago secrets of a, of a champion mindset, which is, you know, clipping away. And I think helping a lot of people, which has been really fun.
MF (40:58):
So my advice to people is lean into, to the relationships that you have. I identify, you know, a stage. I mean, the good news is now there are so many TEDxs, there are so many Ted talks there’s there, there are some, I would say too to people that are better than others, there are some events that are more well managed than others. So I, I would encourage people to get really clear on that and make sure that you’re positioning yourself consistent with the brand that you wanna put out into the world. And so it was, as you, as you talk about it, as Roy talked about, it was about relationships. And then it was about leaning in and establishing those, helping them and, and they were kind enough to help me,
AJV (41:37):
Oh my
MF (41:38):
Gosh. Find a good fit.
AJV (41:39):
I totally forgot that. I even did that.
MF (41:41):
Yeah, I know. And that’s why I was like, can I tell the truth because your phone might blow up.
AJV (41:46):
I think like do that. I love that. It’s like, don’t try to do it on your own.
MF (41:51):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
AJV (41:52):
Like, like you said, it’s lean into relationships. It’s you know, seven degrees of Kevin bacon. Right. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone, but put your dreams out there, put those goals out there. And it’s amazing. Once you’re willing to put something out there, then someone goes, I could probably connect you with someone who could probably connect you with someone. Sure. So it’s just never be afraid to put it out there and ask
MF (42:16):
Well, yeah. And, and, and also don’t be afraid to go right to the source, right. Go right. To me, there’s so many Ted talks now, Ted acts, whatever, go, go to some different markets and, and, you know, put a compelling theme out there. I mean, I think a, a book that I recommend to people who are considering a Ted talk is the red thread, who is a woman that I, I, I met through a woman, that’s a BVG friend. And, and, and that was a really it’s, it’s all, you know, cuz Ted talks are different and, and my Ted talk is different at some level, a little bit than what I deliver from a main stage. And, and that was really, that was a helpful book to identify what is that one thing that, that is gonna really, that gonna be really that thread through the whole thing. What’s that one thing people will lift up and extract from it and then maybe, you know, process deploy, think about it in their own lives. So that’s an important thing too, to recognize that the, the Ted talks that go viral, that Ted talks that are really, really good study those look at those. What, what in your mind made them good and, you know, lift that up and authentically apply it to yourself.
AJV (43:20):
Ah, that’s so good. I love that. And if you guys wanna go check out Molly’s new Ted talk, it’s secret of a champion mindset. We’ll put the link in the show notes. You can also just go check it out on YouTube. I’m sure it’s out there. You can also go to Molly fletcher.com, right. And Molly, if people wanna connect with you and stay in touch, where’s the best place for them to go.
MF (43:44):
I would say go to Molly, fletcher.com. That’s the best place. And, and, and from there they can source all of our social handles, all that kind of stuff. And
AJV (43:51):
Molly, you also have an awesome podcast which I think is helpful. You had amazing. Yes, you are such a great interviewer. I actually, I I’ll share this with everyone. I, I, hands down, I’ve been doing a ton of podcast interviews here lately promoting our national research study by far hands down. Molly has been the best interviewer that I have done on a show in a really long time. So major crew to you. So everyone go check that out. Thanks so much for listening, Molly. Thank you so much for giving us some of your time today. We love you. Everyone else. We’ll talk to you later. Catch the next episode of the influential personal brand. So
Speaker 3 (44:31):
Much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch, anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call we hope to talk to you soon.

AJV (45:14):
So welcome to the recap episode of my interview with Molly Fletcher on how to build, grow, and scale your speaking business. All right, y’all, I’m gonna keep this super high level, but really, really important because to me it doesn’t matter if you are thinking about being a speaker, if you are currently on that journey or if you are already an established speaker and you’re just trying to figure out how to do more of it or do less of it with higher fees this conversation is for you. So these are three big highlights. Three big takeaways from I got that I got from my interview with Molly Fletcher. So here’s the first one. And I said this probably five times in the interview, but I’m gonna say it again for the sake of all of you who are listening to this recap episode and you are not gonna listen to the full episode.
AJV (46:04):
The more you speak, the more you get to speak. And I don’t think we can say that enough. It’s if you wanna be a speaker, if you are a speaker and you do more speaking, if you’re currently doing a lot of speaking and you just wanna raise your fees, whatever it is, the formula is the same. The more you speak, the more you get to speak, or the more you speak, the better you get, right? The more you speak the higher your fees can be because you get better at it and more people see you. And then it becomes a conversation of supply and demand. I, I loved what Molly said is that, Hey, in the beginning it was, you know, one, you know, one event she was doing for free for some students. And then it kind of grew from there, but now they get over 300, 500 requests a year and she’s picking and choosing because she’s only gonna do 80.
AJV (46:51):
And I say only eighty’s a ton, right? Because in a speaking engagement, you’re probably gone for two days. That’s 160 days. That’s 50% of your year. That’s a ton. That’s a lot of days. But at the same time, it’s, they’re picking and choosing because they have such a large supply of requests. Why? Because the more you speak, the more you get asked to speak, and the more you get asked the pickier that you can do, right? Just because you get invited that that’s, that many times doesn’t mean you have to do it. But I love that because it’s such a great remem reminder for all of us and a great thing to remember from even me of going, it doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen if it’s what you really wanna do. And that means you need to be willing to do it for free in the beginning.
AJV (47:38):
Very few of us actually start with fees from the very first time we do it. Why? Because we actually need the practice right before we say, Hey, I’m good enough for you to pay me to do we need to know what we’re gonna say? What impact is it gonna have? How am I going to differentiate myself? What is my message? And you need to get good at it. Right? And I, I love that. And it kind of leads into the second thing. It, it’s a great thing to put in perspective of right? The more you speak, the more you get to speak. And the more that you will speak because you better, more people see you all the things. But the second thing I think is a really great aha for me. And I never heard anyone say it this way is you have to remember that what what’s really happening here as an individual on the behalf of a company or an organization is inviting you a stranger to come and get on stage in front of their top client or their top employee employees.
AJV (48:33):
And they’re gonna pay you and hope what comes out of your mouth is good. That’s kinda a big risk. Especially when you’re paying a lot of money because you’re going, man. It’s like the words that come out of your mouth could really detract from our business could really set us off. So how do you, as a speaker, as an aspiring speaker, create more confidence and trust so that you don’t feel like a stranger to the people who are looking at you or talking to you or considering you, or even for the ones who have booked you. And I thought Molly gave some really good tips. There it’s one. You need to have tons of video footage. And guess what? Y’all, you can only have tons of video footage. If you’re actually out there speaking a ton, the more you speak, the more you get to speak.
AJV (49:21):
So one, I have tons of video footage and not just the highlights, not just the sizzle reel, not just pictures of standing ovations and people standing in line to meet you, but people need confidence and long what she said, long form content, 10 to 20 minutes of going, Hey, I just, I was able to watch you for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. And I have confidence now that you do know what you’re doing and you will deliver a good message and you do it in a good way. That helps you become less of a stranger, right? It’s confidence inspiring and helps build some credibility and trust even before they’ve ever met you. So make sure you have tons of videos, create a YouTube channel, have long form videos, have short form. You need both. It’s not one or the other it’s both, but have lots and lots of video footage.
AJV (50:05):
Right. Other things she said is do pre-calls right. Actually get to know these people, don’t just show up and go help. It goes well. No, like do your due diligence figure out why are they having you? What’s the theme of their conference? How can you compliment the message that they’re saying internally to their team or to their clients what would make it a home run for them? What are the biggest things that they’re running into? Why did they decide to book you? How does this fit in with the other things they’re discussing at this meeting or throughout the year, those are all things that will help you line up to make sure that you compliment whatever they’re doing. And it fits very seamless and no one’s gonna say, Hey, it was great, but it felt really disconnected to everything else.
AJV (50:46):
That’s our job as speakers is to actually come in and do that due diligence and do that research to make it feel like I made this program just for you. And you don’t have to completely change everything you do every time. But have the opportunity and elements with each part of your speech. That is like, this is where I could tweak it and tailor it just enough so that it really resonates with each unique audience. So help yourself become less of a stranger. I think other ways you can do that, make sure you have a website, even if it’s a one page landing page with a bio and a link to a video, but someone needs to be able to go AJ vaden.com and go somewhere. And for all of you who are just getting started and like even mine right now, my website is in progress.
AJV (51:30):
I, I just have it redirected to my LinkedIn, right? Cuz on my LinkedIn, I can have media clips. I have recommendations and testimonials like just redirect it. There’s always a short term solution to the long term end result goal that you’re after. So even me right now where my website’s in construction, I just, you direct my LinkedIn profile because you can get media clips, you can get testimonials, all the things that I need are there. So become less of a stranger. And then the third thing which I loved, and it’s such a great reminder for all of us in this business. If you were trying to build a speaking career, you are also in sales, right? Right. You are in marketing, you are in sales, you are in customer service. That’s what are doing. And she talked about the power of referrals.
AJV (52:12):
She goes, I have built most of my speaking business. Most of my, most of my speaking contacts are referrals. They were people who were in the room who saw me speak, which goes back to the more you speak, the more you speak, but they were people in the room who said, Hey, have you ever spoken into this event? Or I think you could be great at this or what about this? So it’s making sure that you’re mindful that every audience you go to, it’s an opportunity to get invited to a new audience. So what are you doing? What is your message from stage about how like, this is actually what you do as a profession, right? Talking about other events that you’ve spoken at the are simple, easy ways for you to seamlessly add that in so that people in the audience go, oh, this is what you do.
AJV (52:58):
I wonder if I’m a part of any other groups or associations that would like a speaker like you. And that’s our job to figure out how do we very seamlessly weave that in so that it, it reminds entices the audience to refer you to other organizations. So very simple things that you can be doing to build, grow and scale your speaking business. I love this interview. I love her. She’s got such a heart for her message, which just oozes out of her. And there’s no, there’s no doubt in my mind, the reason that Molly gets booked so much so often is because she’s got a heart for what she does. She’s got a passion for the message. And you can feel that in her interview. And that’s a huge part of what we gotta do. This cannot be a job. This gets, this has to be something that you love to do.
AJV (53:48):
And it’s what you get to do full time. Right? And when that happens and it’s all about the excitement and the passion, everyone else catches on, right? Enthusiasm is contagious. So how can you, refall in love back into what you do that makes it so contagious. Other people are like, I need some of the at energy, some of that enthusiasm, some of that passion on my stage to reinvigorate my audience, right? People are looking for the emotional parts of us as speakers, as much as they’re looking for the content. So just remember at the end of the day, this cannot be a job. It gets to be a passion that you get to do full time that it’s not just a job. So thank you for listening. Go check out the full episode, go check out. Molly Fletcher, Molly fletcher.com. She’s amazing. This interview was incredible.