Ep 342: How to Scale a Coaching Company and License Your IP with Todd Herman

RV (00:02):
You know, as humbly as I can say, sometimes when I think about this podcast, I go, it’s insane the quality of the guests that you hear and get access to for free and the quality of guests that I get access to for free. And today is definitely an example of that you are about to meet. If you don’t already know one of the smartest people in business, in personal development. That’s how I would describe Todd Herman. We’ve known each other for years at a distance. We’ve, we kind of gotten closer over the last few years and just every time I turn around somebody’s talking about how brilliant this guy is and how sharp and how awesome he is. So he’s a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of a book called The Alter Ego Effect the Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life, which came out years ago, but has been, you know, one of these perennial bestsellers.
RV (00:55):
He’s an international speaker, he’s a peak performance coach. He has been the recipient of Inc’s 500 fastest growing Companies award. He speaks for groups like ypo, like some of the most prolific groups around of course he’s been featured in CBS and Business Insider. A lot of the like, you know, major media kind of empires. But one of the things that Todd has done that is super unique, which is what I am particularly interested in, not cuz we’re trying to do this, but because we kind of did this once and very few people do it, is scaling a training, coaching, consulting business and selling it. He has done this three different times in three different ways with sort of three different group, like three different kind of models, which is what we’re gonna talk about because I think that this is the future. I think that pe personal brands eventually wake up to the idea to go, yeah, I wanna be well known. I wanna have influence, I wanna have reach, but dang it, if I’m gonna work as hard as normal entrepreneurs, I also wanna have something that has enterprise value and asset value. So anyways, I kind of just begged Todd to say, dude, will you come on the show and just like, share your wisdom. And it took me a long time to coordinate schedules, but he’s here. It’s great to have you bro.
TH (02:14):
Dude, I’m excited. Yeah, just to dig into this stuff cause I know your audience and the topic around, you know, building a coaching business that could be somewhat sellable for someone is such a foreign concept for many people. Not that everyone has to sell something, but I’ve been in this space for 26 years. I’m going into my 26 year, I started in 1997 before coaching was a thing. So happy to open up the kimono so, so to speak and just drop as much as I can to help out.
RV (02:47):
Yeah. Well, I’d love to hear it. And I do wanna get into, I wanna talk a little bit about alter ego, cuz I know that ties in, I mean, that ties into it. Yeah. But just to give us the history of scaling and selling a company and, and I want to hear just kinda like, okay, you have these sort of three different generations or iterations that you’ve done. Yeah. And you know, I think like I was mentored by Zig Ziegler and I knew him personally and I was, I was friends with him when he fell and he hit his head and he started to lose his short term memory. And it was interesting to see how that affected the business. Right. Yeah. And he couldn’t speak anymore. And of course Dave Ramsey is here in Nashville and he’s been thinking about y for years about succession planning and scaling the business beyond him and creating the personalities. And I think this is, as personal brands wake up to the idea of going, man, how do I build something that outlasts me that runs without me? I’m not the just the dancing bear on stage all the time. Yeah. And you, you’ve, you’ve done that, man. So tell us, tell us three quick stories about what they were.
TH (03:51):
Yeah, so the, the very first one was the peak athlete, which is what I started in 97. And I was you know, very young at the time. I was 21 when I started doing mental game coaching, people performance stuff for athletes. And I as I was growing that business, I did it on the back of really only one channel. So there’s different types of channels we can all use to market with, right? And so the only thing I knew how to do, I was not a marketer by any stretch imagination, but I grew up in the world of four h I grew up on a big ranch in farming. Yeah. Canada, and, you know, in the world of four H, it’s like agricultural boy scouts for people who don’t know. And you always had to do a speech every single year in your club.
TH (04:35):
And if you won that one, then you’d go to the next level and next level, next level. So I started when I was 10 and I just fell in love with speaking. I was very natural at it. And that was what I used to grow the peak athlete was I offered free speeches in a context of 90 days and I ended up doing 68 free speeches in my province of Alberta where I was living at the time. And people go 68 species, 90 a day. How did that happen? And I mean, that’s a completely different story, but that’s what kind of got me my waiting list of clients. Okay. Got it. That it, and so, but I was trading nothing but time for dollar. I was super busy. I would charged $75 for a package of three sessions. That’s what my price point was when I did my quick in taxes in 97, 98, 99, I was making $8 and 56 cents an hour.
RV (05:24):
TH (05:26):
Gas money was my biggest cost was traveling around all these young kids after school to, to see them. But I’m a big,
RV (05:34):
You were selling to kids, you were doing speeches and then at the end of the speech you were basically saying, Hey, if you like this, join my, my $75 package coaching program.
TH (05:45):
Yep. Yep. How I gave up my free speech was I said, I’ll do my talk for free. Normally it’s $2,200, but if you get all one parent from each of the kids in the room, I’ll do it for free because they’re the wallet holder. Right. That was the, that was the worst part about that business was this person’s getting the service, but this other person’s paying for it. Right. But as a parent, we’ll do anything for our kids. Right. So that was the, that was what I did. So the offers were either work with a kid one on one or come in and work with a team. So I was just learning as I was going. There was no internet back then for me to be Googling how to run a coaching business because that wasn’t even an industry at the time.
TH (06:26):
And so this is awesome. I love this so much, but I was super, but I was, you know, even though I wasn’t making much money, I was busy and I was working a lot and I loved what I was doing, so I was getting a lot of reps, which is probably the thing that’s most overlooked in I think our world today. People are trying to race towards expertise status before they ever even have any sort of practitionership or, you know, send you on the muscle or on the bone. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve passed well over 19,000 hours of 1 0 1 coaching with elite athletes. So, long story short was, was doing quite well, but I didn’t, I just knew I didn’t know enough. So I sought out a mentor named Harvey Dorfman, and he’s known as the Yoda Baseball greatest mental game coach to ever live.
TH (07:14):
Cold called him, asked if I could come and spend some time with him in North Carolina during the baseball off season. And he called me back and he said, you’re not gonna live with me kid, are you? And I said, no, I have got an aunt and uncle who lived near you in North Carolina, which was a lie. That wasn’t true at all. . I ended up staying at a Motel six for $28 a night on my Scotia Bank visa card, which I maxed out when I was down there with a $1,000 limit. But I got to spent 33 days with Harvey and during that time, Roger Clemens came in to see him, Andy Petit, Craig Beo, like the biggest names in baseball. And I got to see the best guy work with the best athletes. And I was like, oh my goodness. All the stuff I thought you would talk about with a pro athlete, cause I wasn’t working with pros yet, was completely wrong.
TH (07:56):
And then he started funneling me clients and he also talked to me about like, hey, like developing intellectual property, had never heard of that before. So, you know how this then ties into all these other ones is if you wanna grow and scale and ultimately sell a business, what people don’t understand about this world is one of the first questions any company is gonna ask you is how many trademarks do you own? Okay. My company now, like the one that I, the one existing I own 44 trademarks. Wow. Each one of those trademarks has a dollar value on it. So everyone thinks it’s all about, well how much revenue are you doing in your company? No. A buying company wants to know how well is your stuff protected in the inte cuz this, this is what we’re selling is intellectual property, whether it’s your coaching process, whether it’s the method that you have, whether it’s the brand framework that you use. And so I fell down that rabbit hole of learning about intellectual property. I went to Steve Jobs, his mentor David Sip is his name. He wrote the book visual meetings, visual teams, visual leaders. Steve Jobs only mentor mentioned him once. And that was at a speech that I happened to be at at University of Washington. So I went and learned how to draw models and create models and frameworks and whatnot. So ultimately the peak athlete ended up selling two decades later almost to Ral Madrid. In,
RV (09:25):
So did you have other like coaches or was it just the methodology in the IP that you sold?
TH (09:31):
I, i, rare there was I never scaled through other coaches. I scaled through intellectual property and licensing. So the peak athlete, I built out a amazing training system for developing the inner inner game of athletes. And then I licensed it to the German soccer federation, the Danish Olympic team, the South African spring box sports teams around the world. And
RV (09:58):
I actually just went to a South African spring box rugby game in Sydney, Australia, like a month ago. .
TH (10:06):
That’s how lucky are you? That would’ve been a great game because it
RV (10:08):
Was, it was awesome. So you you, you licensed this methodology to these teams. Yeah. So you just cold called these teams and then said, Hey, I’ve got a process for training your athletes and it’ll cost you this much per year or whatever.
TH (10:26):
Well, I mean, this goes back to the benefit of speaking a lot. So I would, because I was speaking so much, all the leads were basically coming in at the end of those talks. And then I had built up such a good name that at the highest level of really any industry, most decisions are made by, you know, Hey Rory, do you know anyone that is XY good at X, Y, and Z? Yeah. And if you can keep your name top of mind, which is, which is branding or personal branding it’s a com It’s a very unfair advantage that you have. So I never had to do as much cold calling. I did do direct outreach, but that really wasn’t my game. My game was getting on stages and around the world talking about what I talked about and which was building the triune athlete, the mentally, emotionally, and physically tough athlete. And and then giving people processes. And then, you know, I would mention in my stories in case studies that, you know, the German soccer federation since 2004 has been, you know, licensing our training and, and their development of their athletes and, and on and on and on.
RV (11:36):
So yeah. So you weren’t cold calling them, you were working through relationships, but they were, they were a client of yours, so they were paying to access your system.
TH (11:46):
RV (11:47):
Yeah. And then you would deliver it to them.
TH (11:49):
Like, I would do a train the trainer series. I would do a trainer, the trainer series with all their people one showing them how to train on it and then second showing them how to coach on it. And that was the secret was because there was a lot of stuff out there that’s training in nature. The problem is if your stuff is only at the level of training someone or educating, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s becoming an embedded part of the ethos or the philosophy of an organization. But when people are now taking the training and implementing it through coaching, that’s a very different you know, essentially metastas metastasized tumor that goes on inside of that company. So, you know, German Soccer Federation renewed that license for well over a decade with me. So I did the work once and then every year I would do an update with them. Typically a two hour call with their head of training and a few other people. And and that was basically it.
RV (12:56):
Interesting. So they’re just, so you’re trained the trainers and then you’re licensing the IP for them to go and administer it. How do you define the difference between training and coaching?
TH (13:10):
Well training is typically one to many people at the front of a room where you’re introducing whether it’s new concepts, new methods, you’re, you’re teaching something, you’re training someone on how to, especially with our world of like intellectual property and think like, I’m not showing you how to swing a baseball bat necessarily. Cuz you can train someone on that and you can, that’s where training and coaching kind of gets a little bit mixed up at the same time. But in our world, there are two very different disciplines. Training is giving them the processes, the systems coaching is ensuring that it’s being put into action. And coaching is really about three things. There’s really, coaching is only three things. Encouragement, accountability, and progress. Those are the three legs of the stool that support a coach. If you’re someone who doesn’t know how to encourage or can’t hold people accountable or can’t model back to people the progress that they’re making, those you would grade yourself very low on being a good coach.
RV (14:12):
And so then who did you sell this to? Because you’re already, you’re already printing money, right? If you’re licensing it, it’s just like, yeah, these people are using it and that person is using it. So like, who did you sell it? How did you identify the buyer? How do you value that kind of a thing. Mm-Hmm. . And then what happened to your existing customers?
TH (14:32):
Yeah. So first, who did you sell to? It was as two ways you came in. Relationships with coaches would be the most common way for me to come in. So could be the the, the GM or coach of, say the German national soccer team. Okay. And I develop a relationship with him because I have a relationship already with the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Like people don’t realize in sport just how much people from other industries now share and talk. And I got to live through that cycle in the eighties and nineties, not necessarily so, but two thousands, very collaborative culture. And so in through the coach or in through training directors you’ll be be looking for, let’s say the director of training for the Danish Olympic team. Okay. They’re the people who are tasked with how can we improve and develop our athletes. And they’re out there constantly doing research, trying to find out what’s new in physiology, behavioral sciences, neurosciences and, and whatnot. And that’s, those would be the two main people that I’d be coming in through was there in professional sports. Like the nhl I did a direct mail campaign and it was, I sent out the direct mail campaign to the GMs of the teams and to the head coaches. So every team would get two letters. One to the GM and one to the head coach of the team.
RV (16:01):
Yeah. So when I meant sell, so that’s awesome. That’s, that’s helpful is just like, you know, there’s somebody in charge of buying the thing and you figure out who they are and you work through referrals and presentations and direct mail. Yeah. I meant when you sold the company, did you, you actually sold that company?
TH (16:17):
Yeah. So what happened was Real Madrid has now become the the diamond on top of the sports mountain. There are sports teams from around the world who go to Real Madrid University. They have a university now and make a pilgrimage to go and learn about how Ral Madrid develops their athletes because they’ve been so far ahead of everybody else. Like North American Sport has been an archaic mountain for a long time with the way that they’ve approached sport. And Ral Madrid has been way on the forefront of diagnostic type stuff. You know, getting people to wear bio feedbacks type devices. And so I was a part of a team that came in to develop Al Madrid’s Peak Performance system. And so like working with like Christian Ronaldo and, and those guys, but that’s who ultimately wanted to buy it and own, own the IP that I had.
RV (17:17):
Okay. So they just,
TH (17:17):
So the deal, the deal that I struck with them was they can buy it and then and, and they didn’t care about any of the revenue. They just wanted to own it. And, and so all those other basically contracts that I had it was a two year out. They could, the German soccer federation could continue to use it for two more years. I got to con I got to keep it for my own personal use though as well.
RV (17:44):
So when you sold it, you basically maintained like your own global license to use it and train it however you want it?
TH (17:50):
No, not global license. I could use it for one on one clientele. Cause I had built up such a big name in sport. Like, you know, when Kobe Bryant is one of your clients and you helped him build out the black mamba, you know, and, and your, my entire world was built around referability. So the only way that you could get to me to work with me one on one was you had to be referred by a present client or past client. And so I could use it for 1 0 1 stuff. That was, that was the only thing I really cared about. Yeah. I
RV (18:16):
Got that. So, and did they approach, so did they approach you about it, I guess? Or did you approach them like they
TH (18:22):
Say No, cause I was already work. Yeah, I was already working with them. The relationship is so strong. They see its impact, you know, and like when you think about the frustrations that all of us can have around wanting to achieve any sort of goal or mark of excellence in some sort of discipline, whether it’s marketing or whatever. And we’ve all been handed bits and pieces to things when someone comes along and they actually have a well defined complete and codified system of dealing with a whole athlete, which then also permeates at the team level. It’s so refreshing. And when you think about from now that program director side of things, or the head coach or the gm, they’re like, this allows me to not have to go out and acquire 10 other people to do this. I got one stop, like it was a full meal deal type thing.
TH (19:13):
And that was always my goal was to like continuously develop it. I was the first, like back when I started sports psychology was the term that was used. And we were the first company to hire three neuroscientists to come onto our team. We were the first ones to dive into the actual science because when people actually know anything about psychology or psychiatry, out of all the scientific disciplines, it’s the least sciency. It’s the most theoretical. And we were the first ones to start really diving into the science of it. And so that’s just because I come from a farm and ranch, you know, my dad has phrases like, well that dog won’t hunt, which is basically a, you know, a barometer. And I found a ton of it in, and I still find a ton of it in the self-help, personal development, you know, all that kind of world space. People are still spouting off stuff that was written 70 years ago that is categorically, categorically proven to either be false or very ineffective. There are way smarter ways to go about achieving some level of mastery or success than what, so
RV (20:20):
Did you have a lot of employees when you sold this? Or was it really just like, it was the ip It was basically a IP and some trademarks and that was,
TH (20:26):
I kept it super lean all the way. So at my, at my max for the peak athlete, we had seven team members.
RV (20:34):
Yeah. Seven. Yeah. Uhhuh. Okay. So then, so then tell us about the next ones. This is fascinating. So the next one, so that’s really like an IP business. You’re basically selling your methodology to someone who just says, we love it, we believe in it, we want it, we wanna own it.
TH (20:51):
Done. Yeah. So, so this ties into again, your personal brand world. So here I am speaking on stages. A lot of times the people in your audience are not target markets for you, but they like the topic that you have. So here I am talking to athletes and sports teams and invariably, once you start rising through the ranks of sport, a lot of times the only people who can afford to keep their athlete in more elite levels is people that have got some money in their pocket. And one of the things that started happening was, I’d get people coming to me afterwards and say, listen, I loved what you just said about you know, the Traian athlete or developing mental toughness or inner game stuff or emotional resiliency and, you know, but I was thinking the entire time, these are all the same issues I’ve got on my team in my business or my team or department in the government.
TH (21:47):
And so people would say like, could you do the same thing for my company? And for the first couple of times I’d say, no, you know, I don’t really know. And that was maybe, maybe the immaturity of my entrepreneurship. A great entrepreneur would’ve, would’ve went. Yeah, absolutely. And so I said this to one of my mentors. You talked about Zig Zigler. Jim Roan was one of my mentors. He was actually my first. Oh cool. I met him when I was 21. And I actually know some funny stories about Jim and Zig behind the scenes too. But Zieg always got very frustrated with the fact that Jim was terrible at returning phone calls . And so I had said this to a mentor and he was like, here’s your answer from now on. Absolutely. And then again, they just educated me about your, your intellectual property probably isn’t gonna change that much.
TH (22:36):
So what I then started was a company called No Limits Coaching and Consulting, which was geared towards performance and leadership training and coaching for the corporate and government world. Okay. And I used, again, just speaking to kind of build that up, it was almost like a little side hustle thing I think for me to say yes to. Ultimately though, that one ended up becoming bigger than the sports one, cuz corporate can spend way more money. And it’s actually what forced me to do licensing because I wasn’t able to devote as much time anymore to, to the peak athlete as much. So it’s a great example of how constraints are actually great powers of invention for you because with that, I ended up, because the peak athlete when I ended up selling it was the world’s largest mental game coaching and peak performance company in revenue and in number of people that we served.
TH (23:31):
Cuz we did well over 2 million athletes in total coming through our training programs back then. So No Limits. My first client was actually the Canadian government. They were, cuz that was Rick came up to me at the end of one of my small little talks of 30 kids and asked me. And so I just simply took the ip. And this is a good example of taking it into just a new market. The product never changed that much, you know, change out some lipstick and some eyeshadow on it, right. 20% of it just to make sure it’s customized to that audience. But human performance is human performance. It doesn’t matter if it’s really on the field over here or on the court and or whether it’s in the boardroom or sitting at your desk. Performances. Performance is performance. And that’s, that’s how I started to grow that business. And,
RV (24:22):
But you had sold the, you had sort, you had sort of sold this ip, so like the certain visuals and labels and all those things, you just have frameworks to like, you have to change that, but the principles are the same and the you can’t, you can’t just, like nobody owns principles.
TH (24:38):
Yeah. No one owns principles, but the moment you put something into a shape, you can trademark it. So circles, triangles and squares are your best friend in in our world. So if, if you have steps, if you have processes, you can’t trademark those, but you can trademark things like, so I’ve got one, people can go to it and it’s, it’s a good learning lesson. So my, my entrepreneurial performance training company 90 day year. So if you go to 90 year.com and there’s one called the Five Stages of Business, that hierarchy model, it’s like almost like Maslow’s Hierarchy needs my five stages of business that is a trademark piece of IP that cannot be replicated, reproduced without the express written consent of me and my company.
RV (25:27):
Mm-Hmm. .
TH (25:28):
And so I’m a very big protector of ip. I’m actually well known for it in, in kind of our world. Like you, you don’t, you don’t touch my stuff.
RV (25:38):
So let’s talk about that. Okay. So, okay, so these are the three companies. So you have the sports company, then you have the leadership company. Yeah. Who’d you sell the leadership company to
TH (25:47):
RV (25:48):
TH (25:49):
Yeah, so I did a speech in San Antonio, Texas. It was a leadership event. And just so happened that this guy Ken was, who was the executive VP at Chevron, came up to me and they were dealing with a major issue with developing a workforce. That was a big divide between the seniors and the juniors because in the 1980s there was no investment in the oil and gas space. So they had something called the big crew change, which was all these people who were senior were gonna be leaving with all of the intellectual property of how to run a, you know, oil and gas or energy company. And they had no one to backfill with. And they’d been trying to fix it for a decade, but no one was coming together. And he came to me and said, I think you’re the guy who can do this.
TH (26:36):
And I was like, I’ve never been in your space. I mean, I grew up on a farm and ranch and I know the gas world about as much as anyone driving by a, a pumping rig. And I said no at first. And then he convinced me with maybe a little bit more money. And I also realized I was, the opportunity was gonna be incredible cuz I was gonna be sitting down with the CEOs and presidents in sometimes even leaders of countries around the world getting this big project done. And ultimately they ended up buying that leadership and performance training system that I had.
RV (27:10):
So was it very similar? They’re basically buying a set of frameworks and, and visuals and methods and phrases and charts and tables
TH (27:20):
And, and a train the trainer system that could be easily deployed towards remote, you know, areas around the world. Exactly.
RV (27:27):
Yeah. So, so, so the train the trainer thing is interesting. So basically you have to, it’s almost like you have two things to build. You have to build the thing and then you have to build the thing that trains people to teach the thing. Exactly.
TH (27:40):
Yeah. So you’ve got, and the easiest way to think about it is, here’s how you would do it is if you train it, then record yourself going through why you trained it the way that you trained it. And then I would take that and then I would take that transcript and then I would just go make my edits into it. And when you start to like, learn more about facilitation skills, how to be a great facilitator, the first thing that I learned in my, my own growth as a, you know, person in this space in my own career was how unimportant sometimes the content was.
TH (28:19):
Hmm. We all try to overwhelm people with lots of content and what’s more important is getting people traction and momentum. Because most people’s experience of almost all courses and training programs is they never did implement anything. But if you’re the one who even got them from 0.1 to 0.2 or you know, A to B, let alone z cuz we’re all thinking about, I’m gonna get you to Z but that’s, you imparting your own desires and motivations onto the one learner. And all some people want is just a, a micro improvement even. So anyways, that’s just, you know, when you learn good facilitation skills, you learn that, you know, not to overwhelm people with content, content is, is very important.
RV (29:05):
So your buyer came up, your buyer in that scenario came out very similarly. They were someone that saw you in a speech, they became a fan, you develop relationship. They, they become a customer basically as a customer. They go, man, we like it. We believe in it, we want it, we don’t want else to have this. Here’s a check and we’ll take that from you.
TH (29:25):
That’s right.
RV (29:27):
Yeah. I love that. I freaking love that. Yeah. So then, so then the third one is an entrepreneurial coaching company.
TH (29:35):
Well that’s my, that’s my current one. That’s the third one was another one that happened in about a six month time span after I had sold the leadership company. I still had a bunch of intellectual property that was left over and I was kind of just looking for my next thing to do while I was still,
RV (29:54):
They didn’t want, like they didn’t, they didn’t wanna, that
TH (29:57):
Didn’t need didn’t serve their needs. Yeah. Didn’t serve their, you know, the market of who they had. So then I went and sold that last little bit to which, which now getting to your point of trying to find a buyer, this was me going out and finding a buyer. And I, what, what I did was I pinged about, I think it was probably 18 different friends in the industry and said, Hey, I have this piece of like training material. It would most likely be best for this industry, this type of, you know, client, customer, do any of you know anyone who would be interested in, in purchasing it? And a friend reached out right away from the self-defense market and, and said this stuff would be outstanding in for a friend of mine. And then they made the connection and, and that was how it sold. And, and Rory, this is actually a real, this is something I talk about a lot to all of our mentoring clients as well. The hardest part about this business model, everyone says it’s so easy and, and they’re wrong. It’s not, coaching is not as easy as everyone says it is.
RV (31:05):

TH (31:05):
No, coaching is very, everyone says it’s so easy because it doesn’t take any inventory. You don’t have to buy something and it’s gotta be on a ship that comes over and sits in a warehouse somewhere. So it’s taking up cash flow or you know, something like that. But, you know, building any business where you’re building the product and the marketing at the same time is very, very challenging. And so one of the things that I had done early on was I learned about licensing. And so that’s what I did was I went out and bought up and I licensed other people’s training from them to make me go faster so I could go out and impact more people. So you know, my worst decisions in my career have always been based on ego. You know, I needed to do it to satisfy my own ego needs and my best decisions were all ones where I I didn’t try to do it on my own. I went and I, you know, whether it’s license something or I outright just buy it from someone their own ip. Cuz you can buy information for a lot of people don’t know how to value things. And
RV (32:08):
Well I wanted to ask you about that. Like how do you, how do you go about valuing this? Right? So I mean, let’s say somebody’s listening right now and they’re like, man, I’ve been in the mortgage industry for 30 years. I got the training manual, da da da. Like I got the whole thing. And I mean, I, the way that I think about a business is, you know, and I think the, the, yeah. My, my undergrad was accounting, right? And so I process it from a very financial, it’s like, it’s a, it’s a present value of a future stream of estimated cash flows. Mm-Hmm. . So it’s going, the business throws off a dollar this year, so I’m gonna, I’m gonna pay you $5 for your, for your business. It gives me a dollar and hopefully I can get my $5 back faster. But worst case scenario, I get it back in five years and then every year after, right? Like it’s the net, the official term net present value of future, future cash flows. IP is sort of different than that. It feels to me more like the way you would do a strategic valuation, which is you have this piece of your machine that I think I can take and I can plug it into my machine and it’ll make my machine more valuable in the way that my machine is valued. Is that kind of the
TH (33:16):
That’s exactly right. Yeah. And so sometimes people are looking at speed, okay, does this thing, is this thing gonna make us go faster or is this thing gonna make us, or is this thing gonna make, give us a a competitive advantage over other people that was real madrid’s play with with my stuff because they were building up this university and now they didn’t have to go build curriculum, hire other people to put it together, try and get people to collaborate together who have very strong opinions on things, know it has to be this way and this way and and that way. That’s always the challenge about bringing, you know, anyone who’s a subject matter expert on something together is you bring seven together in a room and you got a lot of times seven different opinions on how it should be done or could be done.
TH (34:00):
So you’re avoiding political hassle then as well. And you get to monetize it tomorrow. That was, that was what Ri Madrid could go into. A Chevron wasn’t caring about monetization, they were caring about actually the big massive problem that they had, which was this big crew change. And so, so that was speed, then speed to mitigating the problem that they had. So the way that I think about IP and trademarks, this is just a rough number, but it’s born fruit for me three times for every trademark that you own, it’s a worth about a quarter of a million dollars to your business. Your business is value if you, the moment you add a trademark to your company. Now there’s some conditions to this, which I’ll explain, but it’s gonna add $2,000 in valuation to your business. And now if you are in the coaching space of let’s say goddess energy, let’s just say, you know, and there’s no knock against that.
TH (35:01):
There are some people who are do quite well in that space, but that’s not a big market. That’s a market that you actually have to create with your marketing. Cuz no one wakes up and says, I want to be a goddess today. But there’s other people who wake up and they go, man, I am sick and tired of trying to fight so hard for clients, I need a stronger personal brand. Now they might not say it exactly language that way, but personal branding is quite a large market. Alright? So, you know, if you know Brand Builders Inc goes out and takes a look at their IP and readjusts it and makes it more trademarkable and registers it, and you have 10 of those pieces you just added, even if you have no clients, that’s two and a half million dollars worth of valuation
RV (35:54):
And, and to do this process. So each one you’re saying is maybe roughly valued at 250,000. Yeah. How much does it cost? Cuz you, if you create it, you gotta hire a lawyer, you gotta fill out some paperwork, you gotta file, do some filing, you gotta wait for some approval, you have to like answer questions, go back and forth, and then one day the,
TH (36:17):
It’s not that, it’s, it’s, it sounds super hard to a lot of people. I thought it was exactly like that to Rory the first time I did it. And then I
RV (36:24):
Was actually describing that like, it’s pretty easy. Like, it’s like these are a few very simple tacticals. It’s a, I mean, is there more to it? Well,
TH (36:32):
The, the answer the answer for me and you, I mean, I send everyone to the same lawyer that’s been doing it for me for a long, long time, and he’s been, he’s, he’s literally specializes just in our space, Peter you know, based outta New York and, you know, yeah, I think I I I even forget how much it costs me anymore, but I think it’s probably somewhere around 2,500 bucks, you know, from start to finish with the different people who are involved. Very little time on my end to get it done. But, you know, someone else can go and do all the filings themselves and it’ll cost them a few hundred bucks.
RV (37:05):
TH (37:06):
. Yeah. Mm-Hmm. . But to your point about now coming, bringing it back to the purpose of your podcast, personal branding, this also is a forcing function to get the quality of your names on your frameworks, right? Because you start to do, you know, trademark searches and you’re like, oh, the name that I’ve been using for a long time is already a registered trademark and it happens to be in the same space as me. So that’s not unique. Then let’s, what’s, what’s a new name possibly that I have to come up with?
RV (37:39):
And what if you find out that, like what if you find out what if you find out that somebody created something after you, so like, let’s say that you have created this thing, it’s been in use and now somebody else has it. If they got the trademark first, does that prevent you from basically getting it? No.
TH (37:59):
No, because there’s I, I forget the actual technical term. It’s just on the,
RV (38:05):
It’s like a first, it’s like a first in use.
TH (38:06):
Yeah, exactly. It’s the word is in, there’s something in use. Yeah. But yeah, it’s, if it’s, if you’ve been, if you can prove that it’s been in use for a long, and it is happened with me a couple of times and we were able to prove on two different occasions that we had at in use first. I actually just won a lawsuit against Instagram because they were not giving me an Instagram handle and profile. That’s a trademark name of ours. And Instagram lost and they had to hand it over to me.
RV (38:33):
Take that Zuck. Yeah,
TH (38:36):
You don’t, you don’t win many of those battles . But again, that’s the power of having something that’s registered and you know, all Yeah.
RV (38:44):
So they have to, they have to grant you the handle because you have the registered trademark of that. Absolutely.
TH (38:49):
Because the, the laws of the US trumped whatever their privacy policy in terms of use policy was on their site.
RV (38:57):
Uhhuh . So what about how do you police this? Okay, so, so let’s say you’ve got some trademarks. Yeah. So this, this is interesting to me because there are, there are a couple things. So one is I have this quote from my first book, take The Stairs, which is came out in 2012. This quote, success has never owned, its rented and the rent is due every day. And that quote has been, I’m talking like JJ Watt has used it and rappers and NBA stars, and it’s like, yeah, that quote is mine and my book, but it’s a quote, right? Yeah. So it’s like you can’t really trademark a quote. So no, there’s that. And then I have this other flagship story of mine, which is a buffalo, a story about buffalo charging into the storm. And now it’s like, now it’s, people are retelling the story and it’s going viral on social and now they’re creating mugs and posters around like this story. So it’s, I struggle a little bit with going, well, part of the goal, both from an impact perspective and a branding perspective, is you want people to share your stuff. Like that’s part of the goal, right? Is I want them to hit the share button. But on the same side, it’s like, how do you protect, you know? So talk to me about policing your trademarks and like how do you, how do you sort, what’s your philosophy there? Yeah.
TH (40:19):
I’ll never forget when Creative Comments came out, and then I had a few friends who jumped on it that were in it that had ip and I pinged both of them. And I said, you’re opening up a can of worms here. And like, cuz you can’t unsqueeze the toothpaste once you let your IP or your frameworks be open for anyone to use. Now again, good example is actually business model generation, what I think is one of the best books written in the last 30 years, our most important business books written in the last 30 years by good friend of mine a Smith Alexander Osterwalder. And, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a canvas, it’s a map of business models. Okay, well they, they opened theirs up for creative comments. So if you went and did a Google search for business model canvas or business model generation canvas, you’re gonna get back 36 million results of that image and that canvas being on different blogs and consultants websites around the world, well, a few years back, they wanted to try to stuff all that stuff back inside because they were now their business model changed and they were now running a lot of workshops.
TH (41:27):
Well, problem is, is there were a lot of other consultants out there running workshops off of their canvas. And that’s probably, if you were to factor it out, well over a hundred million in certifications and licensing that’s lost to that business because they could have certified those people in going out and using that canvas. And now they’re certified partners of the business model generation world. So when I say when you get back, going back to your world or idea of policing it, a I tell the story over and over and over again, it’s a part of my brand story. I tell the story of, you don’t touch our stuff. It took, I’ve got 19,000 plus hours on the field of play doing one-on-one coaching. That’s not counting the group and the speeches and the trainings I’ve done around the world, which now doubles that number.
TH (42:18):
Right? you don’t take my stuff and it’s not cease and desist that we send, we sue and we, the minimum amount you earn in America for IP infringement is quarter of a million dollars. Okay? Now we take that money and we donate. I don’t do it. So I can earn money. We take that money and we take off whatever the cost was and then we go and we donate it to one of our favorite charities. She’s the first, which helps young girls in third world countries put them through school. But all it took was a couple of those and people getting stung very hard by our team that we have an army of thousands of people, Rory, who ping us every week saying, Hey, I just saw someone in it looks like they’re using your, your thing. And, and a lot of times it’s not that, like, it’s not an infringement, but we have a lot of people, we found people who were giving away some of our course material as opt-ins and downloads and lead magnets for free. Well, that guy in particular, he’s one of the people who, this was about four years ago, five years ago now, quarter million dollars he lost.
RV (43:29):
Interesting. So then you just, because, because it’s, because it, it is actually protected by a trademark. You’ve got the right to do that. And so you absolutely, you just file a suit and they’re either, I guess, and so they either have to settle with you or they have to stop using it or, or
TH (43:46):
No. Like, no, it’s, it’s, no, they, Rory, it’s, it’s so obtuse and you know, whatever other term can come up right now. But to think that someone isn’t doing it maliciously, they’re doing it malicious, they know what they’re doing, we go to the end, we finish it with them. Interesting. There is no appol, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know what I was doing. And no, there’s none of that. There’s none of that. That’s why like for me, like attribution, it costs you nothing to say, I heard this amazing quote in the book, take the Stairs, or I saw Rory Vaden speak on stage and he says something that was an absolute truth. Rent is due every single day, you know, whatever the full quote is right? No one’s gonna remember that you like, it doesn’t cost you anything to sanitation. I mean, I’ve had people come to me and say like, did you have to name drop the 35 people? And I’m like, well that was their quote . That
RV (44:48):
Was their citing the citing the So you’re
TH (44:50):
Citing yourself. Yeah. And I am, I’m standing on the shoulders of so many amazing people that help me get to where I am. I’m not gonna dishonor, you know Harvey Dorfman as someone who was so critical to my success when it was his idea that I was just sharing up there
RV (45:05):
TH (45:05):
even though he is passed away.
RV (45:07):
Yeah. So yeah, this idea, eye
TH (45:10):
Opening, I get it. Like it pains you, it pains you. And this is my problem with people who don’t understand this space. People think that just because it’s words or it’s a picture that anyone else can go and do it. No. If you walked into a sports store and you took a pair of soccer cleats off the shelf and tried to walk up with it, it’s, it’s not shocking that you would get dinged for that. Well, you can’t walk into my intellectual property storehouse and take my thing off the shelf and go pass it off as your own. It’s just not gonna happen.
RV (45:43):
Uhhuh. yeah. Yeah. Well this is eye opening, man. I mean, I, my my Ted talk which is probably the most organically viral thing that we’ve ever had is few, few million views. Yeah. It’s all based around a diagram that I created called the Focus Funnel. And my guess is focus funnel is probably trademarked by someone, but that visual is, if you Google it, it’s everywhere. And you, you know, it’s like all over the place. It’s cuz millions of people have seen that, seen that talk, but we don’t have a trademark on it. Mm-Hmm. . And I’ve always, I’ve always kind of been like, well the, the whole goal is to have people share it and have it impact people and all that stuff. But, you know, this is a totally challenging interview for me, like an eye opening because to go, man, if it’s worth 250,000, I mean we have hundreds of these visuals inside of our curriculum mm-hmm. . I bet, I bet. We, I I bet we legitimately have, I mean we probably legitimately have 35 or 40 very distinct visuals cuz we have, we have 14 courses and each course easily has three to four. Yeah. And, and so it’s like we, but
TH (46:57):
Well, I was gonna say, I was gonna say like, so the number that I’ve typically found in a business that’s more mature like yours and that’s, there’s no secret as to why I say I’ve got 44 registered trademarks in our name right now is because the average really well designed program has about 40
RV (47:17):
Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s, yeah. That’s, that’s probably, yeah, I mean that, that’s probably about right. So it’s not hundreds, but it’s dozens. Yeah. And you say a 40 and I go yeah, yeah, 40. That’s, that’s that sounds about right. But if you go, what’s that, what’s the math on that? 40, 40 times 250,000, 10 million. Yeah. That’s a big number. Mm-Hmm. 10 million bucks
TH (47:42):
And, and bigger companies like private equity companies, that’s what they’re gonna look at. They’re gonna, that’s gonna, cuz everyone wants to sell their customer list or their revenue or whatever and you know, people don’t realize that you’re being plugged into a larger ecosystem and yeah, it’s, it’s funny cuz we’re talking about this topic, it’s not something I typically ever get interviewed on. Yeah.
RV (48:02):
That’s why I wanted to ask you about this
TH (48:04):
. Yeah. I mean, but this is why, I mean, I love coaches. I go to bat for a lot of coaches. I mean, I’ve got my you know, I’ve had a lot of friends come to me who are, you know, being pushed around by some people around IP and Yeah. I’ve just, I’ve had a playbook for such a long time and you know, there are some big, there are some big names that I’ve gotten the sharp end of our stick because of IP infringement, some extremely big names in the leadership personal development space that every single person on your podcast would, would know.
RV (48:40):
Yeah. Well that is, yeah, that, I’ll say that, that has shaken me more than a couple times where I’m going, this person is basically telling a real, like almost verbatim from something that I posted three months ago, three months ago. And I’m like it’s hard to go. Yeah. You know, is it the same? But it’s like, it’s so close that you’re like, I think anybody would raise an eyebrow at, at this. And it’s anyways, that’s the,
TH (49:11):
Here’s, that’s, here’s here’s the reality. The public doesn’t care.
RV (49:15):
Yeah. The public doesn’t care.
TH (49:17):
Yeah. The public doesn’t care. And so, because I’ve had friends in me like man, because they think I’m spending so much time doing, so I’m like, I don’t spend any time doing this. This is, that’s the purpose of having a systems and processes in your business. And there’s a team of like, when it, when when there’s an inquiry that comes in from a former client or a client and they say, Hey, I think this person, my executive assistant passes that straight along to the legal side and then they just take care of it, I might become aware of it.
RV (49:44):
TH (49:44):
. But but yeah, like it’s, it’s funny cuz it is the frustrating part. I wish people did care more about the source of where the material came from, but now in the, you know, what 400 terabytes of contents uploaded every, you know, hour into the internet, you know, it’s, it’s hard to keep up with that. But yeah.
RV (50:05):
Interesting. Well buddy, this has been amazing. I know that you, and you’re doing a lot of work with entrepreneurs and things now, and we didn’t, I mean we went way over time, but like where, where should people go if they wanna plug into what you got going on?
TH (50:19):
So Todd herman.me is my kind of home base on the internet and that has links going out to all the different other, you know, whether it’s my book, the Alter Ego fact and and whatnot there, or entrepreneurial stuff. But I know you got a big coaching audience too, and I’m scaling up a, a coaching platform to help coaches grow and serve their their people. Because what people don’t under the hardest part about this business isn’t necessarily the marketing side, it’s actually the delivery side. Because our model is all about if you’re a coach, you are, you’re actually getting paid to help someone transform in whatever way. Whether it’s building a new skill, you know, reaching a new outcome, finishing a project or even, you know, deeper emotional transformations that might be happening. And the thing that actually grows this business is actually client success. It is not marketing like everyone thinks it is, it is client success cuz that activates referrals, retention, and testimonials. And so we’re building out a platform and we, we’ve built it out. We’ve got some, we’ve got thousands of people onto the platform. Tony Robbins company came onto it as well. And yeah, so that’s what I’m excited about right now. And that’s up coach.com.
RV (51:31):
That’s cool. So up coach and it’s, it’s basically like a, a tool for helping coaches manage all their clients and like track like the progress and
TH (51:39):
All that. And their clients can log in, you can put courses in there, you can track their habits, you can add tasks to them or manage projects. Like there’s, you can put all your worksheets right inside of it so that you’ve got visibility into them, actually whatever they’re writing instead of it being a Google doc or a PDF download as well.
RV (51:56):
Really cool. Yeah, really cool. All right, well we’ll drop you, we’ll drop you back link, we’ll drop you an SEO backlink them as well. You will have the full authority of brand builders group.com backlinking. So Todd, man, this is great. I’ve, I just, I I I’ve always just, I learned so much from talking with you and it’s always just such a sharp perspective and just really helpful man. So I appreciate you going off script here and like sharing with us. Like this is definitely an interview like no other that we’ve ever had on the show. And that’s
TH (52:29):
Well good. We zagged we zagged today. So that’s cool with
RV (52:33):
Me. Yeah, I love it, man. So everyone make sure that you go follow Todd, send him some comments, send him some love. And brother, we just, we’re, we’re grateful for you and we and we wish you the best.
TH (52:46):
Cheers man. This has been great.