Bedros Keuilian is a high performance coach, speaker, and business consultant who shares building a multi-million dollar franchise. He’s the founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, a two-time Inc. 5000 listed business and one of the nation’s fastest growing franchises. He is also an investor in over a dozen companies ranging from software, digital media agencies, and educational and consulting services. He’s known as the hidden genius that entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, and thought leaders turn to when they want to quickly scale their businesses and build impact-focused brands. An immigrant from a communist country turned hugely successful entrepreneur, Bedros uses the stage, TV and social media platforms to share his personal immigrant edge and American dream story to help inspire audiences worldwide to reach their fullest potential.
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Your Multimillion Dollar Franchise-Start From The Bottom-Then Live The American Dream with Bedros Keuilian
I have the privilege of bringing you another super successful entrepreneur. He’s a titan in the fitness industry, a professional speaker, a high-performance coach and CEO of two-time Inc. 5000 listed businesses. Bedros, welcome to the show. Give us a little bit about your background. How did you get into what you do now?
We have to go back to my immigrant story. I’m an immigrant to the United States and we escaped the communist Soviet Union in 1980. I was six years old when we came to the United States. We were broke. We were poor. My dad only had $185 and it was a family of five of us. I was the child. My brother was fourteen years older than me. My sister was sixteen years older. As you can imagine, we didn’t speak English. We didn’t even know the culture. The next day, my parents were already delivering newspapers, pumping gas, working at a pizzeria washing dishes because they had to make the money so that we could have a roof over our head. For that first month in the United States, a friend of a friend of my dad has agreed to let us stay in his one-bedroom apartment. The five of us stayed in a one-bedroom of his apartment. He said, “After one month, you have to go because this is my apartment. I need to stay here. I’m doing my friend a favor.”
Growing up, I’ve eaten out of garbage cans. I’m not just talking about once or twice. It was standard practice for my dad to come after his third job in the evening, take me to the back of the grocery stores. These stores throw away foods that are expired or foods that have gone bad but they’re not completely rotten. My mom and dad would have me fish out that food out of the dumpsters. They would pick off the mold and we would eat it. This is how we had to get by. To give you an idea, in the first couple of years in the United States, I lived in fourteen different apartments. We got evicted and kicked out regularly. One apartment was worse than the next. One was so bad that I had lice. We were so broke that we couldn’t afford lice treatment from the drugstore. My mom had my dad siphon gasoline from a nearby car that was parked and she washed my hair with gasoline to kill the lice. I say this to draw the picture for you and your audience that people who think that they have it tough now, that they’re in a place of adversity and challenges. What we need to do is open our eyes and go, “I’m grateful that I can turn on the switch and light goes on. I can turn the faucet and water comes out. I can open the door of the refrigerator and there’s food inside. I don’t have scabs on my head because I have so many lice eating away at me.”
Fast forward 37 years in this great country, in the United States. Throughout that time, I was a fat kid. I ate a lot of junk food, a lot of government-assisted food. In high school is where I decided that I was going to get in shape so that I can go to prom. I had my eyes set on this girl named Laquaia. I knew that if I could lose 30 or 40 pounds and get in shape that by the time prom came around, I could ask her out. I was convinced that she was going to say yes. I did lose the weight in the summer before senior year and I read every muscle magazine I could get my hands on. I ate as clean as I could. I worked out like a machine but unfortunately, I still didn’t have the confidence to ask Laquaia to the prom so I never went. However, that was the biggest change-maker of my life because not only did I physically change. I started to gain confidence, self-worth and self-esteem. I started looking at my friends in the eyes instead of looking over their shoulders. I didn’t even have enough confidence to look at you in your eye when we’re talking, that’s how stunted my self-esteem was.
When I leave high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to work with cars, be a mechanic, a smog technician for a car. I was convinced that I was going to be a personal trainer and that I was going to help people in my community lose weight. Not only can they be healthy, that they can experience this life-changing, confidence-building thing that I did. Now being somebody pretty big, well-known and an authority in the fitness industry over the last many years has brought me. I own different coaching programs for fitness business owners, multiple live events and seminars. Our biggest animal is the Fit Body Boot Camp international franchise.
That has helped you too because of what you did for yourself. You can see the changes, the confidence and the transformation. You want to spread the knowledge, the insight and that transformation with people. From there, how did you transition as a personal trainer into a real business?
Multi-Million Dollar Franchise: If somebody wants to buy it, it is a desirable business to be bought.
I was a personal trainer. I was reading those muscle magazines and in the back of those magazines, there are the direct response ads and the little fractional ads that say, “Call this 800 number. Pay us $250. You get certified as a personal trainer because the average personal trainer makes $100 an hour.” In the mid ‘90s, the average personal trainer did make $100 an hour, but it was the average trainer who was a personal trainer to the celebrities and the stars. I got certified and all I had was one client. It was my neighbor’s mom and she was paying me $11 an hour. I would show up with dumbbells and exercise bands to her house three days a week and I realized, “I’m a certified trainer. I have what people want and need, but no one’s buying it from me. No one’s kicking down my door to get it.” I ended up working as a fry cook and as a bouncer at a bar on the weekends to make ends meet. It was the most embarrassing thing because I remember thinking, “There is no doctor who has a side job trying to make ends meet. There’s no nurse, there’s no chiropractor, there’s no architect, lawyer that has a side job.” Yet as a personal trainer, I have two side jobs and I knew other personal trainers who had two side jobs, three side jobs to make ends meet.
By this point, I had three clients about a year after being certified as a trainer, I had three one-on-one personal training clients. I was working at a Big Box gym similar to the ones you guys have, Good Life Fitness and out here it was called LA Fitness. I’m working there and my client one day stops halfway through his workout, his name is Jim Franco. He always called me kid. He goes, “Kid, you have a problem.” I go, “Jim, what’s my problem? We’re having a great workout. Did I screw something up with your workout?” He says, “No, you have a problem. You’re an order taker, you’re not a closer.” I said, “Can you explain more?” He said, “You’re like a waitress at a restaurant where I came to and I said, ‘I want to buy six months of personal training, three times a week,’ and you simply took my order. Every day that I see you when I come in here and I’m warming up to work out with you, I see you letting people walk that you could be selling thousands of dollars of personal training.” That was like being punched in the nuts. At that moment, I was depressed. I was in a funk. Truly I was offended because he likened to me to a waitress. He says I’m an order-taker. This guy was my first mentor. He’s in his 80s now. He was in his 60s then. It was the best lesson he gave me.
The next day, he showed up with a Tom Hopkins sales tape. He goes, “This guy, Tom Hopkins, is going to help you sell,” and I go, “Yes but it says selling for real estate agents.” He goes, “Anytime he says real estate agent, you mentally pretend that he’s saying personal trainer.” I go, “Okay.” All I knew was this client of mine is a millionaire. He drives up to the gym in four, five different cars every week. He works out 2:00 PM when everyone else is working. He knows something that I don’t. Tom Hopkins’ tape leads me to Brian Tracy. Brian Tracy tapes lead me to Dan Kennedy. Dan Kennedy leads me to Zig Ziglar. I’m listening to Tony Robbins’ cassette tapes. By this point, I’m buying burnt DVDs from eBay and engulfed in sales, direct response, influence, persuasion and marketing. Over the next few years, I had five of my own personal training gyms that I was running in San Diego.
There’s no relationship between being good at what you do and getting paid, but there’s a huge relationship between being able to close and getting paid. During those few years, what do you think are some of the things that you did or you’ve learned? Share two or three top lessons that you think propelled you to that success.
One of the biggest lessons for me is that there are people’s ability to buy and then there’s their desire to buy. I’ll say as Jim did, you can replace everything I’m saying about a personal trainer and say accountant, real estate agent or lawyer. As a service professional, we often think that because they have the ability to buy, they’re going to buy our services or they have the need. In my case, the person is 50 pounds overweight. They have high blood pressure. They have diabetes, yet they would give me an objection like, “I need to think about it. I need to go talk to my spouse,” and I realized your ability to buy does not make you a client. Your desire, your willingness to buy makes you a client. My job is to sell you the vision, the experience to overcome those objections before you ever give them to me. That when it’s time for me to ask for the sale the only answer you can give me is, “Yes, I’ll take the three or the four times a week,” and either one you buy, I win and you win. I win your money and you win your life and your health back. That was the ability to sell based on people’s desire to buy by making them want to buy instead of going, “She drove up in a BMW, of course she has money,” and therefore I expected them to buy. I never stirred their emotions, their desire to buy. That was thing number one.
Thing number two was and this goes for so many different industries. I know many people reading might say, “My industry is different.” In the mid ‘90s, personal training was sold like this. You would come up and you would say, “I’m interested in personal training.” I would put you through one free workout and I would say, “Do you want to buy five sessions, ten sessions or a twenty-session block?” Whether you bought five, ten, twenty, it didn’t matter. When those sessions were done, I would have to take off my personal trainer hat, put on my sales hat and go, “Do you want to buy five more? Ten more? Twenty more?” It’s always this uncomfortable situation. There are many weird businesses out there that should have their clients on a recurring income, recurring revenue.
I remember Jim Franco, my mentor, telling me, “How come I’m paying $40 a month to this gym and they take it out of my credit card, yet you keep selling me blocks of sessions when my blocks run out?” I said, “I don’t know, that’s how we do it in the industry.” He goes, “Forget what the industry does. What’s best for you and the client?” I go, “What’s best for me is to sell you once and then train you. I don’t want to be a salesperson. I want to be a trainer. What’s best for the client is to stay with me for the long haul so that I can only not help you lose weight but teach you a lifestyle so you can maintain your weight loss.” He goes, “Why aren’t you selling me a $600, $700, $800 a month program?” I go, “I don’t know, it sounds like it’s a lot of money.” He goes, “For me, it’s not.”
I was transferring my feelings then because I was a broke trainer and because of my industry, that wasn’t an industry standard for me. I assumed that nobody would pay $500, $600, $700, $800, $1,200 a month, which is ironic because now there are 1,800 of my clients. My coaching clients pay me $2,500 a month on a recurring basis. My coaching business came from the many years ago lesson that I learned from Jim Franco about my personal training business. When I opened up my personal training studios, all of my clients were on recurring income. The big third lesson he taught me was to always build my businesses with legs. Build your business with the assumption that if somebody wants to buy it, it is a desirable business to be bought. I said, “Jim, I want my five personal training studios and I’m going to have them forever.” He says, “You don’t know that,” and he was right because then a big brand of personal training studios was coming through San Diego and that’s where I lived at the time. The only reason they bought my gyms was that I had over 600 clients on recurring revenue for a twelve-month commitment. They were buying my receivables. I had built a business with legs because Jim forced that upon me. It was because of that I had my first multiple six-figure buyouts in my late twenties, which to me it seemed like $1 million at the time.
I have five salons and spas. I was the first guy who introduced the membership concept recurring into the industry. I also sold it for multiple six figures. I started a coaching business in the salon and spa industry. You sold the business. You accumulate a lot of knowledge and experience in the industry. How did you transition that to a retail business to being a thought leader, a coach in the fitness industry?
The timing was right. It was 2002 that I sold. The internet bubble had burst in 2000. I had this money in hand. The internet was starting to pick up again. I remember thinking, “I could either open up more gyms or I can start helping the industry.” The reason I even thought of helping the industry is when I had my five personal training studios, they were pretty small, probably the size of your salons, about 3,000 square feet was my biggest one. Personal trainers would call me from all over the country and they would say, “I heard you have five personal training studios. I’m trying to open up one. Can you give me some tips?” I go, “Are you located in San Diego?” If their answer was no and they weren’t located in San Diego, meaning they weren’t competitive with me, I would help them. I would follow up with them. I’d go, “These are the lead boxes I’m putting in. Don’t put your lead boxes in health food stores, it doesn’t work. Instead, put them in places like taco restaurants, burger joints, pizza parlors because that’s where people feel guilty about eating all that stuff.”
Multi-Million Dollar Franchise: One-on-one coaching is dead; it’s a waste of your time because it’s not anymore a scalable thing.
Everything I would learn I would teach these five or six guys who are from different parts of the country. They would follow up with me and they go, “It worked. I made the money. I’m opening up my gym. I’m signing up new clients,” and I did all this for free because why not? I enjoyed it. When I sold my gyms in 2002, I already had a fiancée who’s now my wife. We were going to get married in 2003. I said, “Maybe I want to coach and consult personal trainers.” I went all in. I parlayed that money and I didn’t even know how to build a list. In late 2002, I had my fiancée who’s my wife now. I said, “I want you to Google personal trainer Los Angeles, personal trainer Seattle, personal trainer Vancouver, personal trainer all over big cities. Find their website, scrape their email address and put it on the spreadsheet,” and I didn’t know what an opt-in was. I didn’t know there was a platform.
At the time I was using Constant Contact to send out mass emails. I’ve got 1,400 email addresses scraped off of a website, which I’m not proud of. Back then there was no CAN-SPAM law or anything anyway. I started emailing them individually and saying, “I’m creating this digital course called the PT Business Course. I’m the guy that started five personal training gyms and sold them for multiple six figures. This might be a good program for you if you’re struggling to open up your personal training studio,” and people were paying me $99 and buying it off my website. That parlayed into sales tools and I created Close Clients and then System 9 marketing tools. Facebook stuff came in and they’re asking if I do coaching. I go, “I guess. I’ve done coaching before for free if you want to pay me.” I charged $5,000 for a year of coaching. I didn’t even know how to price myself. I enjoyed the experience so much that it started to compound on top of itself.
In 2007 I decided, “I want to get in front of a big audience of personal trainers and teach them the business of fitness. I’m tired of still hearing from trainers who have side jobs.” I literally put on my own live event. I only got 118 people to come to it for $110 or $120 a seat. We have over 1,000 people come. We have some of the best presenters from the fitness industry and from the marketing industry like Frank Kern, Lewis Howes and Dan Kennedy. You name the person and they spoke at a Fitness Business Summit. That’s what I used to fill up my coaching and consulting business. That’s the event that I used to move people into Fit Body Boot Camp, our international franchise. I’m blessed and lucky that I get to serve the industry that I love so much.
There are so many people who do coaching but I know you are the behind the scenes genius that helps entrepreneurs and thought leaders how to scale and structure their coaching programs. Walk me through that. What do you do differently? How do you structure yours? What advice do you give to them?
I did this for Jason Capital. I did this for Craig Ballantyne. Lewis Howes, I taught him how to structure a coaching mastermind program. I worked with Chris and Lori Harder. The way I look at it is one-on-one coaching is dead and it’s a waste of your time. The reason is that it’s not a scalable thing. You can’t expect to get on the phone with coaching clients if you have more than 40 or 50 of them. I’ve got 1,800 coaching clients amongst my four different mastermind groups. I have to have them in a room. What I did is I created the mastermind environment where we meet up three times a year. Each time we meet, we meet for two days. Day one of the mastermind meeting is the teaching day. I teach what’s working in my business. Our top clients in that group teach what’s working in their business. I’ll bring in an industry thought leader, a marketer, a salesperson, someone who’s a Facebook traffic buyer and they’ll teach. We do a lot of teaching on day one.
On day two, we have the individualized hot seats. At that point, we go through with every single person. We’re all sitting in a room. What’s your biggest opportunity that you have in your business? What is the biggest bottleneck you have in your business? What answers do you need from this hot seat group to take advantage of the opportunity and to clear the bottleneck? The reason I have the hot seats on day two is that usually, they’ve gotten most of their questions answered on day one from the teaching day. If I do my job right as a coach, I’ve given them newer, better, more sophisticated problems for day two. This is what I want.
I want my clients. I want to be able to stir up the most sophisticated problems. I call it third world problems, first world problems. A third world problem is, “Bedros, I have a personal training studio, it’s struggling. I signed a lease for three years and I’m already two months behind,” that’s a third world problem. You don’t get clients. You’re behind on your lease. Your wife is about to leave you. A first world problem is now you’re on location three and you’re realizing that location one and two are kicking butt, but location three is struggling. You have a leadership problem there. You don’t know how to fire the person because you’ve never been put in a position to fire a person. That’s a first world problem. You want that problem. That’s a moneymaking problem. My job as a coach is to answer most of their third world problems on the first day so that on day two, we can go to their first world problems.
We also put them in a private Facebook group. I do a weekly Facebook Live and I follow it up with Q&A. Everything I do is in a scalable fashion. If I have the ability, I can scale my masterminds to 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 people. People ask me, “How do you do the hot seats on day two?” This is what I taught Lewis and Jason Capital because once you get over about 25 clients, you can’t do the hot seats anymore by yourself. Usually, by the time you’ve got to 20, 30 mastermind clients, you’ve probably been doing this for six months to a year. This means you probably have a client or two who are already starting to think like you, operate like you, they’re almost like a mini Dan Lok. The first sign of this for me was one of my clients, his name is Cable. He came up to me and he goes, “When some of these new guys ask questions, in my head I answer the question and then when you answer it, it’s the same answer 99% of the time.”
I realize that that’s a byproduct of environmental exposure. If I’m around you a lot, I start thinking like Dan Lok. This is a good thing. I go, “I’m having a problem trying to figure out how to create a second hot seat day. Do I run six masterminds a year instead of three?” I go, “What if we have one teaching day but then on the second day, I run a hot seat day with 25 people, you run a hot seat day. Do you feel comfortable?” “Yes.” I go, “I’ll pay you $2,000 a month for the months that we do that.” Three times a year I paid my coaches $2,000. Now I have all these coaches who run a hot seat. My next mastermind for my 7 Figure Formula Group, because I have four groups, is in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood. We pretty much buy up their entire meeting centers and we have ten rooms running with ten coaches, 25 people per room. I’ve got my hot seat room and the other nine have theirs. On day one, it’s a giant seminar where we teach and help solve problems. On day two, a big hot seat and we take them out to dinner that night. Everybody flies off to their own part of the world to dominate.
Multi-Million Dollar Franchise: Once clients trust you, they’ll go anywhere with you.
The selling system that I teach them is a live event, which is why I had Lewis Howes start his Summit of Greatness program live event and phone closing. I have phone closers who work for me here at the headquarters. The prospects go to an application page. They fill out the application. They click the button that says, “Yes, I agree that I can afford $2,500 a month if this is the right mastermind for me,” then they get on the phone with my closers. I have three days to fill up my masterminds for anyone in your group who runs a coaching program. One of them is the big live event Fitness Business Summit three-day seminar where then I have an offer from the stage. The other one is an ongoing process, which is the phone closing that happens. Every day they’re talking to people and moving them into the mastermind. The third one is three times a year when I have the mastermind, I open up six seats. We have six extra seats where you can pay $2,500 to come and sit in on a mastermind. I have a sit-in day. You sit in, you’re with the mastermind group. You break bread with us. You learn with us. At lunchtime on day two, those six people have lunch with me. I make them the offer and pass out the application. Typically, it’s about a 60% to 65% close rate.
I can see a lot of mastermind groups, even I have a mastermind group but I keep it relatively small. I didn’t think of this model. Now you can scale it to over 100, 200 people. In my mind I’m like, “I have 30 something people. That’s already taken a lot of my time besides running all my other companies.” This way I can see the teaching. You have different rooms. The hotel would love you because you bring them so much business. Do you do always the three events a year at different locations, the mastermind groups?
I found that when you have them at destination locations, there is this other fanciness about it. We do Las Vegas, San Diego and Miami. We found that they like that. I’ve also run some here in Chino Hills. We’re just outside of Orange County, California. It’s nothing fancy but once they trust you, once you’re an authority, they’ll go anywhere. When someone is starting out a mastermind, I always tell them to have them in destination spots. Santa Monica, Las Vegas, San Diego so that people have yet another reason to go, “I can stay a couple of days and enjoy a holiday out of it.” Give them a reason to want to buy.
All of the four groups that you have, do you charge the same $2,500 or they have different tiers, different price points?
Different price points. One of them is the $50,000 a year period paid in full. The other two are $2,500 a month. I have one for our Fit Body Boot Camp franchise owners. If you have a franchise, doesn’t matter if it’s a sandwich franchise, yogurt franchise or fitness franchise. At least about 15% to 20% of your clients want higher-level access to coaching and mentoring. We charge them $1,000 a month more on top of their franchise royalty fees.
They want a little bit more personal access, you just pay a little bit more. Out of the 1,800 mastermind members you have, how many days altogether, besides running a business but running the mastermind groups, do you devote to the business?
Four masterminds, each one meets three times a year, that’s twelve. There’s usually travel on either side of that. I travel the day before and I usually travel the day after the mastermind. I never come home that night because I’m tired. The three-day event to fill those, and that’s it. It’s a total of maybe 20, 25 days. The weekly Facebook Lives in their respective Facebook groups, but those are about fifteen minutes that I do off my iPhone. I don’t even take questions on the spot. I know exactly what I’m going to teach that week if it’s leadership, if it’s sales, if it’s funnels, if it’s referral generation. I go, “If you guys have any questions about this or anything else about your business, leave the questions down below in the comment box. I’ll come back 24 hours from now and answer all your questions so that your peers can have those questions answered as well.” I do it in my convenience. When you structure it this way, it becomes infinitely scalable as long as you have coaches in the pipeline.
You’re about the other people supporting you.
You have to be able to breed coaches who you’re going to trust, who is going to be noncompetitive.
Do you find that you get the best coaches? This has been my experience from my own students.
Absolutely. There’s a gentleman named Michael Perella, he’s another coaching client of mine. He owns a kickboxing franchise called iLoveKickboxing. I helped him start that. He came from the martial arts world. I went to New York because he’s based out of New York and I speak at his event every year. I noticed that a lot of these martial arts school owners are older white dudes and they got pretty smoking hot younger wives and girlfriends. I noticed this a couple years in a row, so one year I said, “Michael, what is going on? These guys look like toads and they’re old, but their wives are hot. Explain this.” He goes, “These guys were in their twenties, in their 30s when those students were nine, ten, eleven, twelve, in their teens. They went from white belt to black belt over an eight, ten, twelve-year period. Now the instructor’s in his late 40s. These girls are in their late twenties and they look up to the instructor. It’s almost like hero worship.” It’s the only way he described it. I go, “I can see how that happens.” These guys help them build their confidence, their self-esteem, saw them grow up into women.
Multi-Million Dollar Franchise: When clients are part of your mission, they would never leave.
The same thing in a non-creepy way happens in the mastermind group, where a struggling business owner comes to you and says, “My marriage is on the rocks. My business is on the rocks. I’m in debt, $50,000, $100,000. I’m ready to stop and go work at a Big Box gym, work for someone else. This is a last-ditch attempt,” and then you help them turn their mindset, their business, the impact and significance that they have. You reignite that. They are forever loyal and in debt to you. I stop charging them. They no longer pay $2,500 a month. I pay them $2,000 each time for the three masterminds for them to run the hot seats. I fly them out and pay for their hotel. The second night I have a giant dinner with all the mastermind members. In Vegas, we buy out the STRIPSTEAK restaurant and we load it up with 250 clients and all the coaches. On day one, I take the coaches out. I show them a good time. I show my appreciation. As long as their gyms and boot camps are growing, as long as they’re having a fun time coaching and they feel part of my mission, my personal mission is to impact 100,000 or 100 million lives worldwide through all the different personal trainers that I help. They’re part of my mission, they would never leave.
When they facilitate and what they teach also reinforces what they learn from you. Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach. They feel like not only are they growing, they’re learning, they’re facilitating. At the same time, they’re also giving back and they feel good about that. That’s what you’ve helped them do. Now they can help other people as well.
I always tell my wife, “Running masterminds, coaching clients is the most selfish thing I can do because I end up somehow coming up with a strategy that I gave them.” I go, “I stopped running that strategy and it worked.” I always end up getting some value after a mastermind weekend for my own businesses.
You’re running a mastermind group. You’re working with a lot of people, entrepreneurs, smart people, sometimes the type-A personalities. How do you sometimes handle that? What are some of the issues that you faced that you’ve overcome?
I faced issues of people coming in and they go, “I can be a coach too,” and they start poaching. You have to part ways with those people. It happens. You think about all the what ifs. What if someone starts poaching clients? It’s going to happen. Grow any business big enough and something like that will happen. I look at that as a first world problem. When I didn’t have any coaching clients and I was broke, that was a third world problem. Another thing is when you have type-A clients who believe that their way is the best way, you’re butting heads with them. I sometimes have to let them not drown, but take on a little water and then save them. I’m sure you’ve seen this too where you go, “Do it this way.”
I thought I was the only one that does that.
You’re going to appreciate this because I’m sure this happens to you. They think they were drowning and they saved themselves. You just let them drown a little and you pulled them up right when they need it. I never let them go fully underwater, but they have to taste the salt water and they have to feel the difficulty of breathing a little bit so that they can go, “I tried that and it didn’t work.” Sometimes they get too smart for their own good. I’ve been this way. I’m in Joe Polish’s Genius Mastermind group. The first couple of years, I took every marching orders he gave me. You’re number three, I became, “I know more than him.” Dean Graziosi told me to do something, he goes, “This is how we do it.” I go, “I’m going to do it a little differently,” and I went to do it a little differently. I lost $300,000 in a four-month period in ad campaigns. I went back to doing it the way Dean said, and that was a great drowning lesson for me. I drowned just enough to go, “I better do what he says,” because sometimes you forget that there are guys who have been down that road before and you need to model their success.
What about for someone let’s say reading this, they are not in the fitness industry and say, “Bedros, I need some help.” What would you recommend them? What programs that you have you would recommend them to start?
I’ve got one coaching program for anyone not in the fitness industry and that is the Empire Mastermind that Craig Ballantyne and I run. The Empire Mastermind is for all businesses. We’ve got Super Bowl NFL champion, Steve Weatherford, in that group. We’ve got Vince Del Monte, a fitness guy in that group. There’s a supplement guy in that group, a guy that owns a $10 million clothing brand line in that group, a guy that owns the hot tubs for old folks’ homes. If someone’s got a company that’s doing $1 million to $5 million, we’ll help them scale that to $10 million, $15 million, $20 million and that are to build an empire out of that. I don’t have any courses or any educational things for non-fitness people. The first thing that I’m making and it’s because Lewis Howes said, “You taught me how to run masterminds. I keep sending people over to you. You keep charging them an arm and a leg,” because Lori and Chris Harder are coming and they’re taking up my time. I want to help them but that is my time they got to pay for. What I did is I’m creating a course called the Mastermind Mastery course and it teaches anyone who’s a thought leader or is a business expert in any space to run, structure, sell their own masterminds. That will be the first product I have outside of the fitness industry.
Multi-Million Dollar Franchise: Running a mastermind is not about you; it’s always about the group.
I work with online coaches, consultants so that’s a great program that they could benefit from. You’re one of the few people that I’ve talked to that could run the mastermind group that way and hear from you the two, three golden nuggets I could see this. I want to emphasize something. It’s not just, “I’m running a mastermind group or I’m running a coaching group.” It’s not the money aspect, it’s you can impact so many more people. It’s no longer just about you, it is about the group. They join my group because of me but stay with me because of the group. Our mastermind members have been with me for a few years. After a while it’s not just because of me, it’s because of the community. I call that the business family that they have. Would you agree with that?
Think about the family that you’ve created where it’s almost a brain trust. Where someone new says, “I have this question,” and you go, “Have you considered doing this?” Then you might go, “Hey, Bob. Hey, Sally. Hey, Joe. You guys have encountered that. How did you fix that problem?” You can literally tap into other people’s brains that have been down that road and they’re in your group. That brain trust brings everybody up higher faster.
Including you. I also want to quickly ask you something about personal branding because I can see what you did with the fitness industry and what you did with your own personal brand, and how you have two brands going on. One is the fitness industry. One is your business empire building brand. What’s your take on personal branding and maybe share a couple secrets with us?
My take on personal branding is to be as authentic and transparent as possible and to push the free line. Give your best stuff away for free. This isn’t anything groundbreaking. Eben Pagan was saying this in 2007, 2008. The only difference is we used to just give a little bit, now give a lot. I tell people who are trying to get into the coaching consulting space and they go, “Should I create some info products first?” I go, “No.” Now when I’m helping people become gurus and I’ve helped a guy, Mark Costes, in the dental space, Peter Osborne in the chiropractic space and Jason Silverman in the gymnastics space become business coaches, none of them have info products. It’s because if you give all that information that you’re going to put on your information products away for free on social media, through email, through YouTube, people forget now YouTube, Instagram and Facebook as well as your email list, those are like networks on television. It’s like ABC, NBC, CBS.
I say, “How much money would you pay to be guaranteed an hour a week on ABC or NBC?” They go, “I’d pay so much money,” I go, “How come?” “Exposure, access.” I go, “What if I said there are three networks that have the exact avatar that you’re looking for and you can get access to them for free? You can buy even more access to them if you want?” They go, “There is?” “Yes, social media.” Start looking at social media as networks and you are the full-time show. You put all your best content out there that was going to be an info product first and be authentic and transparent. There are probably other guys who do what you do. I know there are at least nine guys in the fitness industry who do what I do but I charge the most but I’m also polarizing and I’m also entertaining because I teach boring stuff, marketing. The only time a personal trainer comes looking for me is when your ideas, your certifications, your equipment, your mentality of what a personal training studio should be didn’t work. That’s the only time they come looking for me, with their tail tucked between their legs. They Google fitness marketing coach and they reluctantly give me money.
No one’s looking to get fitness marketing certified. They want different certifications, same in your industry. The way I look at it is when you find me, I’m going to entertain you, educate you and make sure you fall in love with me so that you take the stuff I give you and apply it. Branding is just that. Make people fall in love with you by being authentic and transparent. Give your best stuff. Give people a peek into your life and then they go, “I like what he stands for and I’d rather give him my money even if he charges more because I connect with him.”
I got off a coaching call and it’s the same thing I said to my mentee that you’ve got to view yourself not just as an educator or the guru in this. You’re your own media powerhouse. You’re cranking out content. You’re your own reality show. You’ve got to do whatever it takes to get people’s attention because when people look at your stuff, they go to YouTube. They investigate and check you out anyway on YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, all these things. Jason Kaplan, our mutual friend, we talked about this. Jason and I always say, “YouTube is huge.” I never expected that. I started my YouTube channel about a few years ago. Putting and uploading conference footage that I had, recycle the content. I never expected it would grow to this point. Now we have almost 65,000 subscribers. It’s growing by 500, 600 a day. I started uploading about a couple months ago because I’m a martial artist, martial arts content. Every single YouTube expert told me, “Don’t do it.” They say, “The valid proposition is confusing. It’s a different type of audience. They won’t like it. They subscribed for business stuff not martial arts stuff.” All this BS. I didn’t listen to them. I uploaded that and I launched a program a couple months ago. 30% of the clients come from the martial art videos. Is that interesting?
Good for you for using your instincts and trusting your gut.
Totally in alignment with what we’re talking about. Give people a glimpse of your life and who you are and what you stand for, not just one-dimensional, “He’s a business guy or he’s a coach or he’s a speaker.” Show them your life. Show them what you’re about and they resonate with that.
You nailed it, that’s it. I want to know more about you. The picture I see on Skype is you in this fancy red suit with a bright white shirt. My dad was a tailor and I have a lot of custom suits. Instantly there’s another point of connection. When we meet and we have beers, I’m going to ask you about this suit. I want to know is it custom made? How many more do you have? What colors? You’re a brilliant marketer but this is another point of connection. The more points of connection we have, the more affinity we have and more trust and likeability.
Share with us one of your biggest failures and what have you learned from that?
One of my biggest failures was I started a software company called High Tech Trainer. Over a fifteen-month period, I borrowed $126,000. I go, “This next $10,000 I know it’s going to make us profitable. I know we’re going to start getting it.” It was an online personal training software. My biggest failure was it was online personal training software. Let me emphasize the word online because, like an idiot, I kept going to live events and sponsoring in a booth. I would go places where personal trainers were and I go, “It’s online personal training software.” They go, “What does it do?” “It helps you create online workouts for clients who are outside of your region so you can charge more clients’ money who are far away from you.”
I would go to industry events and expos and stuff and I’d buy a booth. I realized after $126,000, although some of that money was in program development programming it, what am I doing? I’m in one aisle inside this giant convention center and I have a 10×10 booth. Unless a person walks by me in my aisle, I can’t access them. This is an online platform. I finally decided to do online marketing. Sometimes common sense is not too common. It wasn’t too common for me. After $126,000 later, I decided to go all in and start doing online marketing, grow that email list. Start making YouTube videos about how personal trainers can use online technology to create workouts for clients who are outside of their reach and the business took off.
Even sometimes we have blind spots ourselves too. I want to emphasize that Bedros and I have the same thing. People look at the successes that we have. I can pretty much any time go into the room and say, “Maybe I’m successful. I probably have failed than most people in this room.” Is it the same thing as you?
Same here. I’ve got a bigger list of failures than wins.
I don’t remember too many of those bad things, otherwise I’ll probably get depressed. I remember the good things, “I did this and I did that.” Share with us any final thoughts and your contact information if our audience wants to find out more about your upcoming program or even your mastermind group.
Man Up: How to Cut the Bullshit and Kick Ass in Business (and in Life)
I wrote a book. People always ask me, “Man Up, what does that mean?” I said, “It pretty much means stop being scared, take control of your situation and rise to your potential.” If I’m speaking to other coaches, entrepreneurs, thought leaders here, I want to let them know that you and I both know there’s way more potential in your business, in your market than you’re tapping into. They might be blaming it on circumstances, on the market, on the economy, on their bad employees. They might be blaming it on the competition. The reality is it all starts with them. Man Up is about you becoming an effective leader, a great communicator, having a vision for your business. Building a strong team of high-performers and not just a group of employees and then dominating that path. More entrepreneurs need to start embracing leadership. I know it’s not as sexy as marketing, retargeting and upsells and all that stuff. Leadership is what got me from a $5-million company to now a company that’s almost valued at $100 million.
What’s the website to go to get the book?
We’ve got an interest list we’re building and we’ve got a lot of great content on there. The website is ManUp.com.
Definitely check out Bedros’ YouTube channel because he’s got a lot of great videos. He’s got 200 somewhat videos on there. I’ve watched quite a lot of them. Exactly walk the talk, a lot of great information. A lot of those videos, they could be courses on its own.
Thank you. I’m a big fan, Dan. I appreciate the opportunity to get on this interview with you.
I appreciate that and thank you so much for inspiring us with great ideas. This is a great conversation. To my audience, read the next show.
About Bedros Keuilian
Bedros Keuilian is founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp listed on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 500 fastest growing franchises in the world and 3x listed on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing privately owned companies.
He’s known as the hidden genius that entrepreneurs, New York Times best-selling authors, and thought leaders turn to when they want to create highly profitable and industry dominating brands and businesses.
An immigrant from a communist country turned hugely successful entrepreneur, Bedros uses the stage, TV, and social media to share his Immigrant Edge and American Dream story to help inspire audiences worldwide to reach their fullest potential in business and in life!
Bedros Keuilian has been featured and quoted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Home Business Magazine, The Native Society, YoungUpstarts.com, Franchising USA, RadioMD, Active, the Huffington Post, About.com, ChiefExecutive.net, Dr. Oz, The Good Life, CBS Small Business, and several international business publications worldwide.
Alex Moscow ran a multi-million dollar coaching and seminar organization for four years, and has personally led over 1,900 enrollment conversations. As a result, Alex understands and teaches enrollment with the authority afforded only to those who have invested the time to refine and master their craft. He has been branded as having the highest client success ratio out of anyone helping coaches, experts and speakers. Alex helped world-renown coaches and speakers to grow their businesses, and has personally sold over $ 5.2 million in coaching packages one-on-one. His clients often report that after working with Alex, not only are they effortlessly enrolling premium clients and making more money, they understand high ticket selling and they have also become better people themselves. He’s accomplished all of this with a lifelong stutter.
Listen to the podcast here:
High Ticket Selling: How Masters Sell High Ticket Packages On Stage And At Live Events with Alex Moscow
I have the privilege of bringing you another Titan in our in our industry. He’s a successful entrepreneur, a seminar leader, a professional speaker and coach to many consultants and coaches. He’s one of the leaders in the thought leadership space. I’m very excited because we are in the same space and it’s the first time I’m connecting with him. I’m very much looking forward to this conversation. Alex, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Dan. I’m excited to be here.
Tell us a little bit about how you got into what you do today?
I was introduced to personal development and spirituality in the coaching space because I had a challenge with my speech. I had a stutter for my whole life. The clinical speech therapy didn’t work for me. I’ve been into personal development honestly pretty much for my whole life. That’s what has got me the confidence to do what I do now. As I was nineteen years old, I was brought to my first seminar. What was interesting and fascinating to me was that I was able to attract amazing coaches and amazing mentors into my life. As somebody who has a challenge speaking and communicating, I always thought that that was fascinating because most others who I saw have speech impediments or stutters, they turned inside and they weren’t social. I was fascinated by why was I able to attract all these amazing mentors into my life? I was brought into the coaching space so when I was nineteen, I started an online marketing company. Those were decently successful.
Then I was introduced to my first high-end coach. His name’s Ted McGrath. He helped me land a six-figure client when I was 21 years old. I was doing marketing services. It was more done-for-you based. I’ve known since I was little that I always wanted to help people. I always had that inside me of wanting to give back. Even though I stutter, in my friend group, I was that guy that all my friends went to for advice. Just my story growing up, a large part of my life was like, “Why would people listen to me if I can’t even say my own name? Why would people listen to me when there are so many other people out there who could do it better or who didn’t stutter, whatever the story was?” At 21 years old, my mentor, Ted, the universe aligned to where he fired his staff and I fired all my clients in my marketing company and I went to go and partnered up with him. I built his business from when there was about $5,000 in the bank account all the way up to multiple seven figures. The first seven figures we had was he and I. I love the coaching and the speaking space.
The idea of creating a life by design and doing it, with helping people with what you’re passionate about in doing. I’ve been in this space for about nine years in. I’m 28 years old now and I’m so grateful to have been brought into this space. Right now, I do two things. I have one brand called Effortless Enrollment, which is helping coaches and experts to effortlessly enroll high-end dream clients into the programs and events. Then I have another brand called Small Events Big Profits, which is how to run highly impactful events and retreats with six to sixteen people and walk away with six-figures in three days. I’m super passionate about this industry because as you can tell in this interview, I still stutter from time to time. I teach some of the most uncomfortable conversations in the world, I believe, which is high-end sales. Also how to speak from the stage, how to make mastermind offers from the stage for $25,000, $50,000, $100,000. I’m 28 years old and I literally feel like I’m living my dream life right now, doing exactly what I’m meant to do, doing exactly what I love to do. I get to create life on my terms. That’s how I got started and I’m happy to be here.
I could relate to that because before I got into the whole speaking industry, I came here and I couldn’t speak a word of English. I still speak with an accent. When I had the dream that I’ll be a speaker someday who inspires so many other people, everyone was putting it down, “You speak with an accent,” and even my mom said, “Who’s going to listen to you? Who’s going to come to your event?” It’s the same thing. For both of us, we have turned that obstacle, adversity, challenge, may be a flaw, but we turned it into our strength. Let’s make that strong. Let’s use that as a gift and let’s use that to build a business around it. It’s quite a quite amazing story because most people will shy away from that, “I’ll just be an introvert. I don’t want to embarrass myself.” You did it differently, “I’m going to be onstage. I’m going to enroll people. I’m going to do coaching.” When you worked with Ted, what are some of the things that you’ve learned from him or you’ve learned building the business together?
One of the biggest things that I’ve learned was in this industry, it was all focused around value. Value and pricing was an interesting concept. There are some of the best coaches that I’ve ever met who are great at creating results for their clients, who are amazing at helping clients create breakthroughs, but they were broke. Their business wasn’t reflective of that. One of the biggest lessons that I learned in working with Ted, not just building his coaching empire, but all of his clients were coaches too, so helping all them as well. What I learned was that people’s relationship to money is weird. Everyone has their own relationship to money. I believe our relationship to money is one of the most spiritual and sacred relationships that we have. It also determines what we’re able to receive from the standpoint of our ability to receive abundance into our lives. There are a lot of people who teach high-ticket ideas and some people say no, you take your price and you add an extra zero to it. That may work for some people. My experience though is if someone doesn’t believe it, if they don’t fully believe that the value of their services is worth what they’re charging, then their sales will reflect that. One of the biggest lessons that I’ve found is if the person, if the coach or if the expert doesn’t believe it, their client is going to feel that.
Would you also agree that sometimes, it’s not so much the tactics of teaching people to enroll in Effortless Enrollment? You can give them all that script, you can give them the right questions, the right things to say, but if they don’t believe the value they provide or they have a little bit of negative association with charging a lot or slip of a guilt, they’re not going to close those sales.
Yes, 1,000%. It’s so funny because I’m sure that you also get this question a lot. People come to me like, “Alex, give me the script. If I knew what to say, if I had the seven-figure sales script, I’d be able to close more deals and charge higher prices.” The analogy that I give is like, “Not really,” because you think about Hollywood and the entertainment industry. If there’s an audition in Hollywood for a new blockbuster film, there may be 1,000 actors or actresses that come out for the part. What do they all have in common? They’re all reading off of that same script. What separates the actor or actress who goes on in, gets the part and wins that Oscar compared to the starving actor or actress who’s been waiting tables in Hollywood for the past fifteen years? Is it the script that separates them? I say no way, it’s all the same script. It’s their ability to find truth in that script and to embody their truth. I believe in the big thing that I teach is truth outsells tactics. It’s not in the script and it’s not in the word, it’s what’s the energy behind it? What’s the truth of this person’s situation? What’s the truth of how you can help them? I believe that when you speak truth into someone’s lives, people buy.
High Ticket Selling: Our relationship with money determines our ability to actually receive abundance into our lives.
Going back to when you worked with Ted, I want to get into some specific strategies. You worked with him at the time relatively small to multiple seven figures. What are some of the things marketing-wise or what’s the business model? How did you do that?
With Ted’s business, we ran a joint venture model where we got relationships. We got them to mail to a webinar and then we sold $1,000 product and then we bonus them with tickets to a live event. With him, we were good at making high-end offers from stage. Our goal was to get qualified people into our seminars, into our live events.
Is that the Message to Millions event?
That was the one. I know it was called Coaching Leadership Academy before, it was called some other weird name even before that. Message to Millions is awesome, Ted’s systems and processes are so much more data now. I stopped working with him in his business about two and a half, three years ago but he’s still one of my best friends and mentors as well.
From there, you said at the event and then you make the offer from stage. Those would be high-ticket offers in terms of coaching and a mastermind group.
We sold a $30,000 mastermind. We sold an $18,000, $30,000 and then a $100,000 mastermind.
Talk about the business model a bit because a lot of service providers, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, they’re like, “I’m trying to get to that $100,000 or I’m at $100,000 and I’m trying to get double that.” We’re talking multiple seven figures. You’re working with clients and over the years with different coaches. How does pricing affect their model? When they increase the price or the way they offered the program, how does that drastically affect the bottom line?
It’s literally everything. What I call it is pricing is your first domino effect. It’s the domino effect and pricing is your first domino. It determines everything in your business. Whether you’re a coach, an expert, service-based professional, your pricing determines what type of marketing and advertising you can do. Your pricing determines what type of staff that you can hire if you need to hire staff, if your price is too low. Most importantly, your pricing determines what quality of client that you’re going to attract in. Many people will associate lower pricing with a lower level of service. It also determines how your brand is positioned in the marketplace.
This is what I see a lot of coaches do is that they look around and they’re like, “I’m a health coach, I’m going to Google, I’m going to research what are all the other health coaches are charging.” They’ll go say, “They’re charging $150 an hour so I’ll start $100 an hour and I’ll work my way up.” I believe someday that it will never happen. If you’re selling Toyota and even if you get good at selling Toyotas, and then you’re like, “I have the confidence to charge more, now I’m Rolls Royce.” No, you’re not, you’re selling Toyota. That first domino, pricing is everything. I believe that if you have a service, if you provide something that can change someone’s life, that solves a major life or business challenge, charge a premium price for it. Premium pricing brings out the absolute best out of your client. I also believe it brings the best out of you as the service provider or the coach as well.
What about if they’re stuck with the per hour model? They’re stuck with, “I’m trying to sell $1,000 program and Alex’s talking about $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 program.” What am I going to gift in? What am I going to deliver? How would that look like?
When you’re basing in value on what your services are worth, you have to go after who is it you can help most. Not just the average Joe down the street, but who is your services worth to most? I look at it as like if you’re a relationship coach for guys, it’s the difference between going after the nineteen-year-old college guy versus the 50-year-old seven figure entrepreneur whose wife had left him and took his kids away. The value of what’s associated with that service is different from each of those different clients. You look at value rather than charging for your time because our clients don’t want more of our time, our clients want more value.
To that seven-figure entrepreneur, when you think about what’s his world like? His was probably building his business for his family and his model of the world was probably like, “Honey, I’m doing this for you. I’m working long hours and it’s all for you, it’s all for the kids. I’m doing this for you, so I can provide a better life for you.” Then his wife leaves him and takes his kids and so he’s probably at a loss. In my experience, I have been talking with some of these whose avatar is they would probably burn their whole business to the ground to feel love again, to feel connected to themselves again. When you’re thinking about what are you charging and what’s it worth? If you’re not working with clients who excite you, if you’re not charging what you want right now, don’t base the value of the current clients you’re working with, based upon who is it that you can help most. Start with who’s the most probable to make the biggest impact on.
At the same time, one of the things I’m an advocate of is you want to sell to players with money. Not only they have a problem, the major life or business issue, but also they are willing and capable of investing at the level. No matter how much they love your service, if they can’t afford it, you got a problem. Picking that market is also very critical. Don’t you also find sometimes that coaches and consultants have this concept where they’re projecting their own struggles to the client? They’re thinking, “I’m not going to spend $10,000 on a program so I cannot sell $10,000 to other people.” It’s a lot of internal BS, it’s a limiting belief. How big is that in terms of a factor, in terms of when they’re making high-ticket offers?
I believe in something that I call the mentorship mirror. I’m such a strong advocate of becoming the client who you want to attract because it’s coming from a place of truth. When you’re sitting with someone and you’re making a high-end offer, it’s $10,000, $20,000, or even if it’s $5,000 that could be a high-end offer too. Whatever the number is if you haven’t been in that person’s spot, there comes a point in sales where you have to be at level with them. It’s like saying, “I’ve sat there before. I’ve sat in your seat and I’ve been scared.” I have that feeling in my stomach when they show me the price and all my stuff comes up of, “Can I afford it? Where it’s going to come from?” All that stuff comes up for me too. I believe that it’s when you’ve been in that place that you’re able to speak congruently to what your prospect is going through. If you want your clients to make powerful decisions on the spot and invest in themselves, you as a coach also better do the same.
High Ticket Selling: Our clients don’t want more of our time; our clients would want more value.
Let’s say you want to sell a mastermind group for $25,000. Have you invested in a mastermind group for $25,000? If you haven’t, then you’re being a hypocrite. You don’t know what that feels like. You don’t know the transformation that it could provide. You’re not speaking from the truth of the core of, “I’ve experienced this. I know how you feel and I know it’s scary. I know that I’ve done that before.” It’s coming from a different place. That’s why it’s so easy for you and I to have this conversation because we share the same values, we share the same principles. It’s very much what these people are experiencing. I’m curious, assuming they’ve got a good offer, assuming they’ve got the skill, assuming they don’t have a lot of these mental barriers. They don’t have a lot of hang-ups about these things. Now they want to go out there and they want to sell the higher ticket offer. What’s the best way to do this? What do you teach your students?
I am a huge advocate of doing live events from a couple of standpoints. Number one, what it does for your brand and how it positions you in the marketplace when you do your event. I like it for that reason. Another reason is in helping my clients, watching their transformation of how they take ownership of their leadership when they do a live event. I’ve talked to thousands of different coaches. I hear it all the time, “I’ll do an event someday.” They’re stuck in the someday syndrome of, “I’ll do it when I have more clients, I’ll do it when I tried to have a higher price.” All these different excuses of why they’re not doing it. They need to make a decision and to accept the day and then to do it.
There is no other conversion mechanism than a live event for your high-end mastermind offers or your high-end coaching offers. If somebody spends three days with you in person, that mastermind offer or that high-end coaching offer is going to land better than if it’s from a webinar to a phone call, which also works. There won’t be anything that will convert higher than at a live event. Whether that’s a workshop or a retreat, whatever that is, it’s doing a live event and then making your mastermind offer at that event or your high-end coaching offer. I always suggest making two offers at your event. It’s either a mastermind and a higher-end one-on-one coaching offer or it’s two levels of a mastermind like the $25,000 then a $45,000 or a $50,000 or something like that.
I’ve been in events for fifteen years so I want to ask some in-depth questions. Let’s talk about the offer first. There are many different types of events like two-day events, three-day events, multi-speaker events, boot camp type. What’s the event that’s ideal to sell high-ticket, the length of it and the format of it?
I believe a three-day event is best. What I find is a lot of people are saying, “What am I going to talk about for three days?” My experience, I’ve done over 170 events at this point. At every event, there’s massive content left over. Very rarely does anybody get through everything that they want to at the event. I like three days because it allows for the intimacy of the attendees there to grow. They get to connect with more people there. You also get to spend more time with them there as well. How I teach how to position these offers is it’s pretty much like if you’re selling a mastermind, has these three days been impactful for you? Have you met amazing people? I’ve given you everything that I can in these three days. Imagine what your life would look like to be a part of a group like this for the next year. What would your sales look like if you’re transitioning to make it a high-end offer? If you don’t have a peer group around you that’s going to support you in that, the sustainability of your success will be small. What would your success look like if you’re around a group of other leading coaches, consultants, experts who are doing that same thing?
You’re stretching your comfort zone around pricing structure and around sales. What would that community alone do for you? When you go back to where you came from, do you have a support group like this? When you told them that you’re coming to learn high-ticket to sell a $10,000 program, they all look at you like you were crazy. It would be something like that. I suggest a three-day event because it provides that amount of time for the audience to bond and get to know each other. For you as the facilitator of the event, it also gives you enough time to spend with them to know if they’re going to be a good fit or not. Get quick on making the offer. Some of my top clients, they’ll hire me to do consulting on their high-end offers for their event and it’s a six-figure investment. Many people will send me the last twenty minutes of when they make their offer. I say, “No, it doesn’t work like that.” They’ll say, “I’ll send you the whole presentation.” They send me the full hour talk on the phone. It doesn’t work that way either. The offer starts when you get on stage. The whole event needs to be constructed in a way that sets up the offer so it’s the next logical step.
Give us some examples of how do you structure the content like day one, day two, day three, when you make the pitch or what kind of content. Sometimes you want to teach but at the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm them that they’ll get confused. You don’t take action or they feel like they have loaded enough, “I can do this on my own.” There’s that fine line. Strategically, how should we structure the content?
On a three-day event, each day has a theme. The theme of the first day is about vision and connection. I work with a lot of people who are building businesses online. My intention is to get them out from behind their laptops or computers and connect with real humans. I built different exercises on the first day that to most people are uncomfortable to get them out of their shell and to get real with what’s going on. It’s a lot of stuff around the vision of what do they want and where they want to create their life for the next twelve months or the next five years. What are the challenges or roadblocks in the way that’s stopping them? I have that structure in day one. There are obviously different contents in there but the main theme of that is vision and connection.
You get them excited about the possibility, the future, what it looks like and how good it is to have a life like that. They also bond with each other and connect on that first day, get them warm and fuzzy, in other words.
When you open the first day, you tell the story of how the event came to be, tell the story of why did you create that event, how was the event birthed, what was the inspiration behind it. That’s the first day. The second day is more around strategy. At my events, I teach business model. I’ll show the contrast in between, the difference between running a model that’s lower-end, maybe if you’re running a funnel that’s a trip wire like a $7 product or $100 product. What that looks like to build a million-dollar business versus if you have a high-end coaching model. Break that down into what’s going on behind that. It’s like in presentation and when your ads were targeting me, Dan, I know that this concept is probably familiar for you. It’s showing this is the old way of doing things. Here’s what you may have experienced and this is what’s wrong with it. Here’s this new solution of my strategy, of what I do. If this sounds good, then keep listening. It’s that model and so I run those different things on the second day and then making the offer. This is some of the most valuable content that I teach as far as the events go.
Most people rush through the offer. For me, my offer lasts probably three to four hours. My offer is, to break down the high-level structure, the most powerful content that I have which is future-paced results and advanced content. I lay out a model for them if they make one sale per week, how to make a half million dollars in six months. I map out that model if you make one sale per week. I break it down so it’s simple. It’s content so they can see themselves in it. I break down that model. There have been many of my clients who have asked me about what’s next. If it’s true, and every event never fails if people are asking me what’s the next step to take, I then share it. I was like, “Before I share with you about my Inspired Action mastermind or the Essential Accelerator program, I want you to hear about the experience of some of my clients who were in it right now.” I transition to testimonial panel. For the client testimonial panel, if you have your clients live in person, that works great. Whenever I make offers, whether it’s one-on-one, whether it’s on stage, whether it’s a mastermind offer from the stage, I like to make it multi-dimensional.
What I mean by that is I’ll give them live people there. I’ll also show videos and then I’ll also have a regular slide with someone’s picture on it. They get different perspectives on it. I would also say a super ninja hack for testimonials is whatever your client is going to share or whatever is on the video, you’d still want to frame what you want the audience to hear. There are testimonials where I’ll frame it if I want them to hear like this is a person who is making the transition through coaching. This is someone who had a successful business but wasn’t passionate about it. My client, Sebastian, wanted to do men’s coaching. He got into a successful marketing company, he wasn’t passionate about it and in his first nine days, he did $21,500 in sales. I can position that if I want someone to hear making the transition or if I want them to hear $21,500 in nine days. Those are two different aspects of that I can highlight if I’m speaking to a group of entrepreneurs who maybe aren’t coaches yet but want to be. I’ll highlight more that he had a full-time business that was doing multiple six-figures already. He thought that he didn’t have time for it, but then when he learned my simple framework, he was able to do $21,500 in nine days.
High Ticket Selling: Very rarely does anybody get through everything that they want to at an event.
In some ways also is client avatar, but also anticipating the objections that they might have and then reframe that with the testimonials.
Definitely on client panels, you want to train your clients what you want them to say, but not word for word, I don’t like that because it doesn’t come out authentic. The more authentic the testimonials for them, the more authentic it fully comes across. You want to give them one or two bullet points for highlights. Like with my other client, Theora, I’ll say, “Just share authentically what your experience has been. Make sure that you touch on you got your first $50,000 client in your first 30 days. I want you to share what was that physical experience like for you.” Like my client, Theora, she’s an expressive woman so I know when she gets into it, she comes off well and she lights up. I’m looking for what are those points that are going to light her up and so she can share authentically. I also let my clients know of your story could inspire someone listening to this, which is 100% true. Your story could inspire someone listening to this who’s on the fence about if they want to do this or not. Share what was your real experience with it.
This is might be a technical question. During day two, you make the offer. Is it after lunch or before the day ends? Some speakers do different things. I’m curious about what you do. Do you do where it’s application only for the high-end? Do they come back in the morning that day three, like a special morning session or they go to evening dinner VIP thing, people who have invested? What do you do?
I make my offer after lunch on the second day. My style is a more confronting type of style for my offer. It’s application only but if I make the offer, I make whoever wants it to stand up. They stand up in front of the whole room. I mention the price now, it’s $40,000 or $60,000. I tell the story of me and my first event. I believe if you want to be successful in life, you have to be able to confront life. I share that like I’m standing here before you confronting my age, confronting my stutter, confronting all this stuff. If you want to build this type of business, I’m either calling you forward or I’m calling you out. That’s my style of doing it. There’s that style as awesome, more like a Lisa Sasevich type, like sales without being salesy type but were very nonchalant inspiring type as well. I believe in setting up a client relationship so it’s on a solid foundation to win. In my programs there’s no guarantee, there’s no refund. It’s either you want this or you don’t because I need my clients to be fully in. There’s no guarantee in life. The only thing you can guarantee on is that you’re going to show up and do the work. That’s how my whole coaching is set up. All of my offers, whether it’s one-on-one or direct from the stage, reflect that.
Afterwards, people stand up and then they would invest right there, but it’s still an application.
It’s for a conversation. My events are smaller too, they’re anywhere from 15 to 25 people. I’ve done much larger events for my style. I’d rather have an intimate group. What I would do there is I’ll get them to stand up and then they’ll have a special invitation that I have for them and I give that to them and then they fill out the application. I’m also not a big fan of huge applications. Someone’s there for three days so having a few questions, whether it’s three questions or five questions, that’s enough in there. One of the questions that I like to ask in the application is, “What is the reason that I’m committed to succeeding in life and if I’m admitted into this program?” I like that question a lot. I also like the question, “Why is it the right time now?” I like that question a lot too, to get them to journal around what’s at stake. To answer your question, what I do at my events is I’ll meet with them one-on-one there. If it’s a smaller event then I’ll do it myself or if it’s a larger event, my team will do it too. If it’s a larger event, for those who sign up or for those who want to have a conversation about my $160,000 coaching program, I’ll take them to dinner on the second night or I’ll meet with them for breakfast or lunch on day three and then I’ll have my team meet with everybody from my $40,000 mastermind.
We finished day two, you make the offer. Day three, the people may still be on the fence. What do you cover on day three?
The theme of day three is going to be action and commitment. I walked through I was like, “Whether you work with us or with someone else, you need to have these support structures in place for you.” I’ll tell stories around information is not transformation. I’ll get content around the seminar syndrome which I believe a lot of this industry suffers from. You’re going from event to event but not investing in a deeper level of support that’s going to get that results. I have all these different syndromes because they’re all my story. I have invested in so many online coaching products or online product launch formula type of products that I went through the first module and never finished. I’ve been to so many events where I’m making breakthroughs but then I go back to my regular life and nothing happened.
High Ticket Selling: The more authentic the testimony is for the clients, the more authentic it fully comes across.
I tell those types of stories and I share them very openly like, “If we’re the people to help you, then cool let’s do it. If not, find someone, please invest in mentoring. It’s what’s required.” I tell stories like that and then before lunch on day three, I will repitch. It’s not a huge repitch, it’s going back through and then I’ll close the repitch with a regret story. I’ll share a story of my own life where there is a challenging decision that I knew I needed to make. As I sat there contemplating this over, I knew if I didn’t bet on myself, I knew if I didn’t give it a chance that I’ll look back on this and regret it. If you’re looking at this offer and if you want to do this, but there’s something holding you back, have a conversation with us. The repitch will be something like that.
You talked about good mastermind with the two layers maybe $20,000 and $45,000. For our audience, if they would have structured this, what would be the difference? Do you offer the $45,000 first and then you do a downside with $20,000 or you do both at the same time?
What I like to do is I like to make the lower offer first. For myself I’ll say, “This is my Inspired Action mastermind, it’s $40,000 and it comes off all these things.” Then I’ll say, “I have one more idea that I want to share with you. Is that cool to everyone?” They’re like, “Yes.” I’ll say, “My Essential Accelerator mastermind there, I’ll give the story of how that program was inspired. I was on a Europe tour where I was in Paris, I was in Amsterdam, I was in Ibiza. I was in a beautiful villa and I was running my mastermind call from Ibiza and I’m a huge house music fan. I got to serve my clients, show up in my mission and crushed all my clients call, then I got to go watch my favorite DJs in the world play at the best clubs.” The moment for me was surreal. I tell that story and I tell the story of so many coaches who come to me, they want to make more money, they want to make a bigger impact and they say they want a better lifestyle too but they don’t do it. My experience is even when they make more money, very few go out and do it. My whole Essential Accelerator program is around how to build a lifestyle friendly business. I coached retreats in exotic locations like Fiji. I tell that story and then I go into that offer.
The first one is $40,000?
It’s $40,000 and then the next level was $60,000 but I raised it to $75,000. Now it would be at $40,000 and then $75,000. That goes either way, whether if you’re just starting out if you’re going to do, even if you committed $10,000 and then $20,000 because it’s important to share too and to break it down. I remember when I first started listening to these numbers, I was like, “This is crazy, these numbers.” The $10,000 mastermind, you can do $10,000 full or that’s only $1,000 a month. If you break it down to a payment plan, a $25,000 mastermind is literally $2,000 a month roughly. It depends on if you accept a payment plan for that long, there are all the different variables that go into it. I want to share that even if you’re just starting now, to think that your clients won’t spend $1,000 a month. If that’s your story, I believe you’re not working with the right type of client.
To grow the business and to have the lifestyle they want, even if you look at $40,000, break it down to twelve months is not a lot of money. They could work at it. In some way, we’re talking about marketing strategy, when you have the A and B, you also have the contrast and say, “I cannot afford the $75,000 but I can do the $40,000 in a payment plan.” There’s that contrast versus the one thing, it’s yes and no. Now it’s, “Do I want A or do I want B?” I’m sure you cover this very much in depth in your programs and Small Events Big Profits where you walk them through the whole thing on the details, how do you structure the day, how do you make the pitch, script, and all of that stuff. Let’s say now they see the two offers, it’s good. They did the mastermind. I want to touch on delivery because for some audience, the $40,000 and $75,000 is so out of their comfort zone. It’s like, “What do I give them? We get the value part, but do I give them ten masterminds a year? Is it 500 hours of videos? What do I give them? I don’t know for that kind of money. What should I do?”
There are so many different ways that people can structure it. One of the biggest mistakes that coaches make when they’re switching to a high-end model is they become a prisoner of the system that they create. What I mean by that is the structure of their delivery for their masterminds is too much. Even if they make a bunch of money, they’re stuck with the phone attached to their ear with so much delivery. In masterminds, clients don’t need more time, they need more value. For a basic model, what I like to do is three in-person live masterminds for the year. I like to do two or three mastermind calls every month to keep them on track, to meet in between. I teach a model where I teach a six-week course with a three-day event. It’s what a lot of people teach for their high-end group programs.
I give them access to that as well. Each one of those masterminds can be structured like for a specific outcome. If one’s on high-ticket sales, then another one’s on how to do events, that another one can be on Facebook marketing. I shared that but I also say that the mastermind is designed to be customized to what they need. If someone’s starting like on my group calls, I share with them. If you’re doing your event, we can focus on that. Then if another person wanted their Facebook ads done, then we can work on that too on the same week. Our clients are paying for the level of access and if they’re investing $40,000 or they invest in a high dollar amount, I want to give them access to give them what they need. That’s the thing with value is the only person that determines your value is yourself. You’re the only person who can determine what would be the pricing structure is.
Get them the outcome that they want. Let’s say for the program you’re talking about, there are three mastermind meetings in two days?
Three days for mine. A big difference between my $40,000 and my $75,000 mastermind is that my $75,000 mastermind get an additional day. That mastermind is for four days.
Do they mastermind together or do you keep them separate?
They mastermind together and then on that last day, everyone who’s in the $75,000 mastermind, we get together in a small group. I hosted a mastermind. I took the Essential Accelerator clients and I do cold coaching with them. We went to my favorite restaurants and they all came over to my house. We had an awesome strategy day to make sure that they were super clear on what their action plan was from the event. I had one of the best movement specialists in the whole world. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book, Stealing Fire, but he’s huge on flow states. He came in and taught a special course for them, then I took them out to go do cryotherapy and stuff like that.
High Ticket Selling: The only person that deserves your value is yourself.
You make this phenomenal experience for them three times a year and in between, they also get two or three calls a month to keep them on track and accountable. Then maybe as a bonus or something like that, you mentioned something like a seven-week or eight-week program where you walk them through to get a specific result. Listening to you, Alex, it’s not so much about, “Did they get how many hours of stuff or how many days?” It’s not about that. That’s the vehicle. This is the delivery, but it’s about how do we serve the clients the best. You think of it like he’s not only teaching them stuff, but he’s taking them out there to do some new things out of the box, things that they may not usually do on their own. It’s all part of the experience. It’s not information that’s part of it, but there’s so much more. There’s community, there’s the motivation, there’s this strategy, their cool experiences. That’s what they’re paying for and it’s not very one dimensional.
Something that is important to share, the way that I do things and I’ve built a successful business is I do things a little differently. Everything that I do, especially my events, it’s such an expression of myself, a part of who I am. For my masterminds a couple of years ago, I was in a mode that was work hard, play hard. I did my mastermind in Vegas. I did it in a presidential suite in Vegas. I was also born and raised in Vegas so it was cool to bring my clients to my hometown and then we jam on the strategy the whole day. At night, I took them out to my favorite restaurants and my favorite clubs. For my last mastermind, I’m in the season of health and wellness and peak performance. I did it in a beautiful place in San Diego overlooking the ocean. I had massage therapists there the whole time, the acupuncturist, the tonic herbalists who are making tonics. It’s one of the things that is most important for me to share. For me, I’ve had the success that I have because I’ve built a business that’s congruent to who I am. I share all the crazy cool things that I’ve done for myself like all the bodywork. Also, in the season of life of going after what I wanted. I know as a high-achiever, oftentimes we get caught up in doing things a certain way to go after goals, but if we’re not enjoying it, if we’re not spending time with the people we want, if we’re not spending time with people we love, we’re not doing the things that we want to do. Then what’s it all for anyway?
I couldn’t agree more and it’s about the integration. It’s about you’re not just making money, but if you do the right thing with the right people, money shows up. It’s not that complicated. Very quickly, what’s your number one strategy to fill an event?
I’ll give two because it’s important. Number one is if it’s your first event, just invite people, to reach out. Reaching out is very powerful. It’s the key place to start because it’s also a confronting strategy because people can say no. People have an interesting relationship with rejection. My experiences, and I lived this story for a long time, was that if people said no to come into my event and they said no to my program, they’re saying no to me or something’s wrong with me. That was the story I made up. People are like, “That’s rejection.” I was like, “No, rejection is if you come home and if your spouse is sleeping with your best friend, you find them in bed together, that’s rejection.” If someone is saying no to your program or to your event, that’s not rejection. Maybe the dates don’t work, whatever it is. Even now, still to this day where I’m launching a huge campaign online, I speak on stages. To get people to events, I’ll still ask them like, “I think you’d be a great fit for this.” You’re doing a disservice to the people you can help if you don’t make an offer to them.
That’s number one. Number two is I believe that with the programs we sell, that a ticket to your event should be included. For me, I teach a model that’s called a premium core offer. It’s selling an impactful group course over six weeks and you’d price anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. When someone buys that, they’d get a ticket to your event. I believe that if someone invested in your mastermind, that should come with a ticket to your event. If they work with you one-on-one, now they should still have a ticket to your event. With whatever you sell at whatever level because it’s valuable for even your one-on-one clients. Would your one-on-one client get value from being in a room full of your other one-on-one clients? If your answer is no, I don’t think you work for the right clients. There’s so much value in the group. I’m huge on creating a powerful group because that’s how you scale.
Let’s say we price event at $1,000 hypothetically. Even though when we’re “giving away” the tickets to certain people or they bundle into one of our offers, there’s still a value attached. Usually, this event is $1,000 but because you spend $2,000, $3,000 with me, you get that for free, something like that.
My main course is called Effortless Enrollment. For me, enrollment is not just sales. Enrollment is in every aspect of life and every aspect of the business. Even if your client is spending $10,000 or $20,000 with you and they get a ticket to your event, they still need to be enrolled as to why? Why is this beneficial for them? Whether someone’s at $1,000 level or $20,000 or even $50,000, they still need to be told why it’s valuable for them. They still need to be enrolled.
Any other final thoughts? Also share with the audience, if they want to learn more about your programs and the various programs that you have. What’s the best way to do that?
High Ticket Selling: It’s actually a disservice to the people you can help if you don’t actually make an offer to them.
The last thing I’ll share is that Tony Robbins teaches success leaves clues and to model success. I agree with that. To be successful, if you’re a coach or consultant or an expert, you have to know how to make the model work for you. The biggest thing that I’ll share is to hire someone. Hire a mentor, work with Dan, work with me. Find someone who has the results that you want. Find somebody who is producing the results for their clients that they want. Find someone whose morals and values are in alignment with your own. Do not do this alone. You’re going to be investing either way. You’re going to invest time and heartache and blood, sweat and tears to figure it out on your own and you’re going to invest the money that way too and probably lose a lot of it, or you’re going to invest it financially learn from someone who can save you all those. That’s the main thing that I’ll leave with. If you want more information about me, if you want to connect with me, go to my website, AlexJMoscow.com and on there you’ll get access to my Six Essentials for Enrolling High-End Dream Clients at $5,000 to $75,000 and beyond with confidence and ease. It’s my 60-minute training on high-end sales, how to sell with feeling authentic and with the clients’ best interest at heart. If you want more information on there, you can contact me there and then if you want access to that training that’s also on my side as well.
If they want to learn more about Small Events Big Profits and that’s a live event, I assume.
That is a live event too. On my site, there’s a section for that as well on there.
Would you say so they get your free training? They get some value and then if they want to take any those programs, also the mastermind group that you have. Especially one other very important piece of advice. If you are thinking of starting your own high-end mastermind group and things like that, the best way is not just to learn from someone like Alex where you are learning the strategies, but you’ll get tremendous value being a member, learning how he runs things. If you’re smart, you’ll probably learn even more from that because you can see that’s what it’s like and what’s the behind the scenes.
You can’t see it from learning but if you’re a member, that’s what’s behind the scene between a $40,000 or a $75,000 mastermind group. When you do want to do something on your own, now you can see if you experience it. It’s almost a double value. You go, you learn but at the same time, here’s how he does it. The same thing with even Small Events Big Profits, you go there, you wear a hat as a student, you need to learn, but you also wear a different hat, “How exactly is Alex running the event? How is he closing me? How is he doing this?” If you’re smart, you’ll find a lot of value if you use that approach?
It’s listening to the content. What you shared is exactly how I train too. You need to look for the context of how we’re doing things. Even if we listened to this podcast, I’m dropping in the different results of the client that I had. One, because it’s valuable to you listening. It’s also valuable so that maybe if you’re starting out that you can see yourself in the shoes of the people who I’m sharing with you about. Listening to the context, if you’re in this space, it’s one of the most powerful and most valuable skillsets for myself that I’ve learned to develop as well.
Alex, thank you so much for inspiring us. It’s so awesome and they’re such phenomenal answers. Thank you for your thoughts and sharing your ideas. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Thanks so much, Dan. I had a blast. It’s been awesome.
About Alex Moscow
Alex ran a multi-million dollar coaching and seminar organization for 4 years, and he has personally led over 1,900 enrollment conversations. As a result, Alex understands and teaches enrollment with the authority afforded only to those who have invested the time to refine and master their craft. He has been branded as having the highest client success ratio out of anyone helping coaches, experts and speakers.
Alex helped world renown coaches and speakers to grow their businesses, and he has personally sold over $ 5.2 million in coaching packages one-on-one. When Alex started his own coaching practice, he grossed nearly 200k in five months working 10 hours per week. At one of his most recent events he generated $280,000 in sales with only 9 attendees.
His clients often report that after working with Alex, not only are they effortlessly enrolling premium clients and making more money, they have also better people themselves.
And he’s accomplished all of this with a lifelong stutter.
Dr. E. Isaac Mostovicz has worked in the diamond industry for 35 years. After training as a diamond polisher, he ran one of the two factories of S. Muller & Sons Diamonds NV, one of the most successful polishing operations in the world, then becoming its CEO in 1990. Prior to this appointment, he established Allied Diamonds, which catered to jewelers both in the United States and Japan. This work experience allowed Isaac to become an expert in every facet of the diamond pipeline from mining, sorting, and polishing through to servicing the diamond’s retail customer. Among his many milestones, Isaac has been a key player in introducing several iconic diamond cuts to the market, including the Hearts and Arrow and EightStar cuts. Under his guidance, S. Muller & Sons was the only company to successfully market the De Beers Millennium Limited Edition Diamond.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Art And Science Of Selling Luxury Goods with Dr. Isaac Mostovicz
I am very excited. I have the privilege of introducing to you another titan. A former CEO, an expert on luxury marketing, also someone who knows a lot about the diamond industry. It’s someone I’ve wanted to connect for a long time. I’m so glad to finally have him. Dr. Isaac, welcome to the show. Dr. Isaac, share with us a little bit about your background. How did you get into what you do now?
Getting into what I do now was easy. I was invited to join one of the leading companies in Antwerp, Belgium. It was a diamond polishing plant, where I became a partner. I managed one of the nicest factories in the world. We were doing pioneering work because polishing diamonds changed tremendously in the 1980s. I was privileged to be the pioneer of this polishing evolution. As I was working and I started to look at the retail business, I came with one question. It was my question in the business. I was still in the factory. I was still polishing and still learning my way. I asked one simple question. I understand how I have to sell my diamonds. If I buy it for 100, I have to sell it for 200 to make some profits. When somebody goes and buys a diamond for his wife, how does he value that diamond? How does he know the price is right? How does he know what kind of price to pay for it? He’s not going to sell it. He is at the mercy of the jeweler to find out what is going on. I don’t buy the fact that the consumer is dumb. The consumers know exactly what they want. Maybe they don’t know how to express themselves, which is fine but they know what they want. I started to look around. These kinds of questions started to bother me. What happens at the retail level? It started when I opened my office in Japan. The business was starting to grow up at around 1985.
Somehow, somewhere we decided to address the retail market. I went to Japan visiting my retail customers, looking at how they treat their clients. Japan is a reserved society. People keep everything to themselves. They are very private. I couldn’t see much and I was wondering, “How do they buy? What kind of interaction goes on between the retailer and the customer?” I found one customer. I don’t know if he is a customer, a mentor, a friend or what. He was the only one whom I could see that he is treating his customers in a special way, in a different way. He was selling a diamond with respect. When we moved to America in about 1997, I opened another office in America. That office catered for the retail business. I was very upset with the way people were treating their customers. It’s one thing I learned from my clients because I discussed with them how to market, what to say to the customer, how to treat the customer. A guy told me, “Did you ever stand behind the counter?” Which was strange because me in my position, I’m a CEO of a large manufacturing plant, a very important one and standing behind the counter selling diamonds? I decided he was right. If I want to understand what happens over there, I stood behind the counter until the last few years. Every year, I spend about two to three weeks standing behind the counter and working with the customers to understand what happens over there.
You wanted to understand it at a ground level through interaction with the customers.
I wanted to understand what the interaction was. I started to ask questions and I found out that not only did the industry not have the answers, but the industry didn’t even think these questions are valid.
When you were working behind the counter, did the customers know you were the CEO?
Yes, I was introduced as the supplier of the store coming from Belgium. I told them, “I would like to discuss with you, I would like to talk to you to understand how you make choices. Why is it important for you?” One of the questions that I used to ask, “I would like to have a diamond.” Why is it? Because he wants to propose marriage to his dear one. I asked him, “Why did you decide to propose?” My customers were furious because they thought that I was going to question his choice. I said, “I’m not going to question your choice, I want to understand how your choice was made?” This set the ground for my academic research because I couldn’t find answers in the industry.
To be honest, the academia doesn’t offer too much knowledge about luxury either. Definitely not about diamonds, but it doesn’t offer much about luxury unless you know where to look for the answers. For example, I figured out the psychology behind luxury. I found out that we have two opposing theories that are interlinked, but they are opposing each other. You can’t hold a stick in both ends. Either you choose one theory or you choose the other theory. Both of those theories are valid. I contacted one guy named Tom Pushinski. I said “I’m not a psychologist, but I figured out that what you do is very relevant to what I’m researching. I’m researching luxury and what you do has a lot of implications to what I’m researching.” His answer was, “I don’t mind. If you enjoyed it, it’s fine but be careful. The other party who offered an alternative theory, if they think that you are using their theory for luxury, they will get furious because you are making their theory cheap.”
They want to keep the theory to themselves and they don’t want it out in the public?
No, luxury marketing sounds cheap for academia. You have to find out research that was supposedly irrelevant and say, “Its 100% relevant. You have to apply it.” This opens the eyes. What happened was I started to finally understand what luxury is about and how to treat the customer.
Before going into the two theories, I want to circle back to that. How is selling luxury different from selling other typical items?
Here you fell into a trap, which is fine, which is an honest mistake. People think about luxury as luxury products. Luxury is not about products but about our perceptions. If I try to define what luxury does, because you can’t define what luxury is, it’s a perception. What luxury does is overspending needlessly. Luxury is something that you don’t need.
It’s not a necessity.
You spend money on it and you overspend money on something that you don’t need. It sounds negative but it’s wrong because that’s what we are doing 90% of the time, 100% of the time. That’s what we are doing in our life. It doesn’t matter if we spend money, if we spend time, if we spend energy. People are going over the Himalayas spending months and years to prepare themselves. I’m not talking about the money or the energy they are spending, this is luxury. What happens if you don’t go over the Himalayas? You don’t need it.
It doesn’t feel good. It’s not an easy thing.
You want to express yourself. You express yourself in the most beautiful way. You put everything that you have into it. The same thing with luxury. You don’t need a luxury car for example. You don’t need a Ferrari, you can drive a small Toyota. It will get you to the same place, maybe even quicker because of traffic jam. People say, “I want my Ferrari,” and you ask, “Why?” They want to overspend on that Ferrari because they want to express something. They want to express that this is important for them. It is our job to understand what it is that’s behind it. Their owning the Ferrari is an expression of something very deep inside us. It’s something that we can’t even explain in words easily.
What are those emotions we are trying to express?
If we can get as close as possible to understanding what luxury is about, it is about enhancing self-esteem. It is not showing off, it’s not about behaving crazily. Somebody wants to feel like, “I am somebody. I am great.” They go and spend on luxury. Spending on luxury can be manifested in many ways. For example, if somebody is upset. Let’s say the boss yelled at the employee and she felt so frustrated. She felt like she is nobody. She decided to bail out. She is taking the day off. She might indulge in chocolate. She’s going to do something to enhance her self-esteem because it was so low. It was like a knockout. She was on the floor and she wants to raise herself up. She has indulged in luxury. It depends. You can eat chocolate every day. A Ferrari to buy every day is a little bit more complicated, even if you have the means.
People have all kinds of variety and people know exactly what, how and when to indulge themselves in luxury. There is something very interesting. This professor passed away and I still remember him 40 or 50 years ago and we went on a trip. His name was Amotz Zahavi. He was an Israeli biologist and he was very famous for what he did on his trips. He had what he called the “handicapped event.” What happened is if for example I want to show a commitment, I will destroy assets to show I’m committed to something. For example, if you have a peacock and a peacock wants to show off to all of the other females that he is the strongest, the most fertile peacock around. What the peacock does is it opens his tail and he says, “I’m so strong. I’m so fertile that I can allow myself to waste hormones on growing such a tail, which is a liability because it’s very heavy and it prevents me from walking freely.” This is a biological explanation but we do it all the time.
Luxury Goods: Luxury is not about products but about our perception.
For example, we spend quality time with our children. What it means is, “I’m a very busy person. I don’t have time to do anything beyond my work, but I’ll take one to two hours of my time and I’ll destroy it. I don’t want to hear anything else because my children are so important to me, I’m going to spend time with them. What are we going to spend with them? Quality time. Are we going to throw them up? No, I’m going to play soccer with them. I’m going to play ball. I’m going to go to the swimming pool.” Who knows what? It’s the time we spend with them, we took the time which is very valuable to us. It’s the most valuable asset to be destroyed. If somebody for example spent on something which is extremely expensive like a car, a private jet, a yacht, a fancy hotel and so on and so forth. He will take a suite with five bedrooms but he can only sleep in one bed. However, he’s not stupid. He has a certain declaration to say, “I’m so strong that I can afford to waste this money uselessly.” He gains nothing from the fact that there are five bedrooms in my hotel suite. Maybe I’m going to sleep in one bed. If I’m busy I’m not going to sleep in that bed either. It’s a message that we set for ourselves.
Talk to us about the two theories. I want to make our audience get this.
The two theories are the Theta and Lambda. These are two worldviews. It’s how people see their world. We have those people for example who are looking for affiliation. They want to be the good members of their surroundings, of their own society. He is the top guy in his society. He is at the top of a social person. This is the Theta person. All his activities are to get respect from his peers and it’s not something negative. To the contrary, it’s something that motivates him. The other people are what we call the Lambda type. The Lambda type of individuals are looking for challenges. They say, “Here’s a challenge. I want to show that I can go beyond it.” The interesting way is when I treat my diamond customers, it’s not what they say but how they say it. For example, they will talk about expensiveness, they want an expensive diamond. I ask, “What do you mean by an expensive diamond?” The Lambda type will tell you, “Expensive diamonds means it’s beyond my budget. It means I’m going to stretch a little bit above my budget.” For the Theta people, expensive means a lot of money. We are talking about two different types of people. I’m talking about luxury and I do it in management as well.
I remember giving a lecture at my university. I was a visiting lecturer for a few years. I gave a lecture about luxury. In the evening, my colleagues invited me to dinner. I met the people that I knew from academia but were not in marketing. They were in management. A gentleman asked me, “What was your lecture about?” I said, “I talked about luxury.” He said, “What did you tell them about luxury?” I said, “Describe to me what luxury is for you.” He started to describe a yacht that he doesn’t have. You can imagine how long he can go describing a yacht that he doesn’t have. He mumbled a few sentences. I said, “I know how you run a center on corporate social responsibility. I know when you have to prepare a plan, you hate it. One sure thing about your plan is the next step, tomorrow after you presented the plan and got approval, is not to follow the plan. You should do something else.” He smiles and then I told him, “You are not looking for the best solution because you know there are many solutions to your problem.” He told me, “You made a research of me.” I told him, “No.” “You are using black magic.” I told him, “Luxury is about interpretation. I know how you interpret yourself.” It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it with luxury or you’re doing it with management because management is also about the interpretation. It’s not about logic, it’s about emotion. Once he told me how he behaves in one field, I know how he behaves in another field.
As you shared the two worldviews, I’m thinking about myself. What if I’m a little bit of both?
You can’t hold a stick on both ends. I didn’t pay too much attention to how you express your ideas, so I can’t tell you right now.
I’m leaning towards the first one, being a good member of society and respected.
Let me share something with you from the academic debates. You have these two groups and there are psychological theories and dynamic theories. We have three but the third one according to my sorting, we stay with two theories. An article appeared in the academic journal and those who are looking for affiliation say, “Yes, there is something in common with us. There is something that links us.” They talk about the commonality in those two theories because they are linked somehow. The other party says, “No, we are completely different.” They say the same thing but one sees the difference between the two theories, one sees how those theories are linked somehow together. You have an inclination to say, “Maybe I feel a closeness to the other worldview, the Lambda.” Let me ask you a question, in clothing for example. Can you think about a piece of clothing that you would consider a luxury?
I would say most of my suits are luxury.
What makes your suits luxury? If I look at your suit, can you pick out one or two attributes that make your suit a luxury?
I would say the cutting, the fitting of it and the material. A lot of brands don’t fit me, only certain brands fit me. I would like it to be different sometimes, not very common and not too boring like everybody else. I like something with a touch of uniqueness.
You can see the difference. Some people will relate it to the material. Some people will relate it to the cut, the workmanship. Nobody would relate it to both. For example, I remember one of my earliest interviews when I started to look into it and I asked a friend of mine, “What is a luxury for you?” He told me Cuban cigars. I asked them, “What is so special about Cuban cigars that make them luxury?” He said, “Cuban cigars are hand-rolled.” This is not important because for him the fact that the human skill, the workmanship on the cigar is not part of the luxury view. He mentioned it, I say, “This is not what makes Cuban cigars a luxury. The other piece is what makes the cigar luxury, but not this.” It’s fun to start talking to people and try to figure out what are they looking for. When I ask them about diamonds, some will talk about the diamond, how it should be bright and how the colors should be this way and the shape should be that way. This is one type of people, and the other type of people is, “This is diamond for me.” It’s how they talk about it, “This makes me happy. This makes me this.” This is a completely different person. When we have to treat those people, we have to treat them differently.
It sounds like the one is describing more the thing, what it does, the features, the other is more emotions; how it makes me feel.
Both of them describe emotions. We have to be careful, and this is something that might help people anywhere when we do marketing and when we negotiate. For example when somebody says, “I want to have a red car. I want to have this size of a diamond.” They are not talking about themselves. They are talking about the product and we have to link it to why it is important to them. We have to ask them, “Why is it important for you?” Then we can start to understand what is on their mind because they are not aware. It’s not that we are going to teach them anything, we are going to discover for ourselves what they feel subconsciously. We are going to check their subconscious mind a little bit. It’s very important in any product, in any sale, in any interaction when someone says, “I want this.” Why do you want it? Why is it important for you? My children, when I learned it because I was doing these kinds of interviews for a few years when I made my research. They automatically when somebody says something, daddy is going to ask, “Why is it important for you?” We have to always keep on asking and asking why it is important for you until we reach the right level, until we understand the real link between what they want and how they express themselves with a certain product.
Luxury Goods: Luxury is about how you interpret yourself.
For someone reading this because I want to make sure that we talk about the theories. It’s very interesting because it makes me look at my behavior and my motive and what motivates me in different ways. Thank you for sharing that. Let’s say for marketers and entrepreneurs, now we understand that people buy because they want to enhance their self-esteem. Luxury is not just about a certain brand, it’s about overspending needlessly. That we are exuding extra, additional energy, money resources that we don’t necessarily need to do, but we do it to feel something different. I like the analogy of we get knocked down and we’d bring ourselves back up again. When we buy that Starbucks coffee, it makes us feel a little bit better about ourselves. How can we apply this in terms of strategies or tactics in our day-to-day business whatever we are selling?
I’ll give you one answer. It means that I have to teach you the structure, the way and so on. One thing is don’t buy people at face value. If somebody comes to you and you own a bakery and asks for bread, don’t ask him which bread he wants because he doesn’t know. Ask him why he needs the bread? The point to a product, the point to the solution is you have to understand the reason for that solution. Why is it important for you? When you start to understand why it is important for them, you start to see their worldview and you can give them good advice. First, you give them an excellent advice, an advice that’s relevant to their deep needs, to the needs that they can’t even express.
They may not even be aware of these needs.
I wouldn’t say not even aware, they just can’t express it. It is in us, you provoke it and you know that it’s in there but they say, “I don’t know how to explain it.” If you start to shake that value a little bit, they feel very grateful for you when you offer them something. There’s another thing. If I sell you bread, I sold you a product but then I’m in competition with the rest of the world. If I didn’t sell you bread, if I satisfied your deepest need, how much are you going to pay for it?
That’s why luxury is so expensive. That’s where the luxury is making profit margins. Ask me, why do we have to do all of this on expensive products? That’s how Starbucks managed to raise prices from $0.50, they sell the coffee for $3.5. It’s seven times the price. Just because they started to hit more on the deeper need of the customer. When Schultz started Starbucks and they asked him, “How did you manage to find only the workers that will smile? How did you teach them to smile?” He told them, “I don’t teach them. I interview them.” When a candidate comes, if she smiles, fine. She’s in. If she doesn’t smile, I’m not hiring her.” When you go to Starbucks Coffee, maybe you’re on lunch break and there’s a whole line over there pushing and time is running out. All the sudden you stand in front of the counter and somebody smiles at you, that’s a lot.
For this, you’re ready to pay. You don’t pay for the coffee, you pay for the smile, you pay for happiness. For the fact that someone relates to you as a human being, not as an ATM machine. It is not about your money, it’s about who you are because you don’t smile at an ATM machine. You smile at a person, so you are a person. Maybe now they don’t smile any more but here is where you can start to make profit margins. It doesn’t matter what kind of product you are selling because you are not selling a product, you are treating the customer.
For anyone reading this, the first thing is we need to ask why they are buying, not just what they are buying. Number two is you want to satisfy their deepest needs. Those emotional needs that they don’t even know how to express. Number three, once we know those needs, we need to think of added value. What are other things we can do beyond the thing, the widget or whatever that we are selling that can sell the experience in a way?
If I’m going to ask those questions, it’s very simple. Do what I did with you for example. We picked up a product, that’s what happens with a customer. They go and look for a certain product. Ask them for the attributes, “What kind of attributes are you looking for in this product?” For example, you want to buy bread, “What are you looking for in the bread?” It doesn’t matter what they say, “I like it fresh or whatever.” Start to ask the question, “Why is it important for you?” When you reach a certain level, if you exercise it, it doesn’t matter. Don’t learn for me, learn for yourself. Start to experience it. When you experience it, you ask, “If this is what you’re looking for, how does this express in that bread? Are you now satisfied?” Satisfaction is by finding exactly what the customer is looking for.
Diamonds are due 20-30% higher, for example, charge more. What are they going to do? Are they going to the competition? Is the competition offering them something that relates to their needs? Their true needs? Their deep needs? They offer them a product so you don’t have competition. People listen to you when you said you have 100,000 who are listening to this podcast. Imagine those 100,000 people are from the same industry and they are all buying my ideas. The one who is going to hit the true needs of the customer better is going to win. The one who is trying to do it because this is some skills that you improve over time. It’s like wine. It only improves over time. You become more professional, you are more attentive and more caring for the customer. That’s fine. You don’t have to give a discount. You can charge honest margins because you’re not charging for the product, you’re charging for what the customer wants. You’re trying to satisfy his deep needs.
I do it as an exercise and I do it with peanuts. I offer people one peanut each. Later on, I sell each peanut for $10. In selling peanuts for $10, nobody is that stupid, there is a reason behind it. They are happy to pay because I showed them where there are needs. Let’s say you buy the peanuts for $10 instead of $0.01. What are they going to do with it? They are not even going to eat it. They try to preserve it somehow. I propose to them to sink it in gold or silver so the peanut won’t deteriorate, and they put it on the table. They destroyed the entire value of the peanut. It’s not a peanut anymore. They wasted $10 on a peanut that they can’t even eat, but they learned a lesson and they enjoyed it. They learned that they were willing to pay $10 for something and it’s true. It’s not that I did a miracle or black magic. It’s something that they can explain, they can see, they can understand and they can relate to it. They say, “That’s right. I am happy.” They are happy to have the experience and to keep this memento on their table because they enjoyed what they did.
It’s interesting because when you’re talking about price, I’ve done a lot of researches. Also through my own experience, I’m interested to hear your perspective that when people pay a high price, there is a certain part of their brain that triggers a certain chemical that makes them enjoy that item more. The item has not changed but the fact that they have paid more that the brain automatically knows more.
Luxury Goods: It doesn’t matter what kind of product you are selling because you are not selling product; instead, you are treating the customer.
It’s dopamine that goes in. There’s another aspect to it. When people ask you for a discount, not that they always ask for a discount and not that they want to pay cheaper. I was with a client of mine a few years ago, and he calls me to the side and tells me, “There is somebody here who wants to buy a diamond and he wants to have a discount for the diamond.” I don’t care if he gives a discount, but it was my diamond. That means if he gives a discount and he comes back to me, he’s playing with my money.
You don’t want a reputation out there. Everybody is like, “This diamond is on discount.”
I went to the guy and I started to talk to him. I realized that the guy is the Lambda type. He is looking for challenges.
He doesn’t need the discount, he wanted to see if he could get it.
He wants a challenge. He tells me, “I like the diamond. I want a discount on it.” I told him “You are looking for a challenge? I’ll show you a challenge.” I took a mirror and put it in front of his face. He didn’t know what I was talking about. I told him, “Challenge yourself.” He was there with his wife and I asked him, “How deeper can you put your hand into your pocket and buy a nicer diamond?” He is there with his wife. He has a budget of let’s say $10,000. If he comes with $30,000, you would say, “This guy is crazy,” because he knows exactly how much he has in his bank. If he says, “$10,000 and not a penny more,” he wants to prove it. He won’t like it. That means he has to go a little bit higher. I managed to push him to $14,000.
You flipped the challenge. Instead of low-balling, discounting you, let’s flip the challenge of, “Do it this way instead.”
I didn’t buy his declaration. I bought what was behind his declaration. People don’t have to explain and spoon-feed you with what they are feeling and whether it’s their subconscious. If they say something, you have to understand it. If you understood it, now we can say, “If this is a game, let’s play it my way.” If you don’t understand it, you’ll give a discount. When you give a discount, there is a chance that the wife would say, “I don’t want it anymore.”
They won’t like it.
Because she wants him to spend.
To show and demonstrate to her that you’re willing to stretch a little bit even though you need to go and work harder to make that money back or whatever it is. It’s that demonstration and expression of love.
I want to see the husband go to his wife with a beautiful diamond and say, “I’ve got a great deal on this diamond.” It doesn’t work. What happens is people panic. People don’t realize what happens over there. Relax and start to think about it and start to ask questions. We figure out that we made tons of wrong assumption. It was Kenny, who is a psychologist who said, “When you don’t understand something, ask the patient. Ask your client.”
I’m curious to see your point of view. You have been involved in the luxury space for some many years or decades. How have you seen it changed from before to now, all these years? What has evolved? What has changed? Or maybe nothing has changed?
A few things as an example, I’ll look at two areas. I’ll look at diamonds and Louis Vuitton because he was the first and the most successful in these certain terms. It was ‘83 or ‘84, the diamond industry was not in a good position. The BS started to balance the market and people were complaining. I remember a guy, he raised up and he said, “You don’t understand. We are not dealing with diamonds, this is our life.” The fact that you put yourself into it, it’s not a business, it’s beyond this business. It’s something that you invest all your emotion in. That you enjoy it, that you love it and that you were ready to suffer for it. It was there in the ‘80s and somehow it disappeared. It became a business now. Meaning it’s cold, trying to make a killing, trying to make a price. The more you try, the less successful you are.
Louis Vuitton was the same. Louis Vuitton in the early ‘80s was one boutique in Paris. If you went to this boutique, you could talk to the workers, to the owner. Those who were there in this boutique could tell you stories about the creation. They could transmit their feelings. That means you didn’t buy a purse and you didn’t buy a product, you bought an experience. You bought life, you bought stories. It was all emotion. Then Louis Vuitton started to grow. They started to open branches all over the world. I was in Hong Kong, it was a Tuesday or a Wednesday, in the middle of the week. You had a line queued outside the shop. For example, if they had five sales ladies, only five customers can be in the store at the same time, and the rest are queuing up in the street in the middle of the day. They’re successful you might say, but when you go there and you talk to their sales ladies, they tell you that there is no emotion, the emotion disappeared.
Luxury Goods: People don’t have to explain and spoon-feed you what they are feeling. They say something and you have to understand it.
I bought a Louis Vuitton wallet years ago in Hong Kong. You describe to them, “What color do you want? Do you want leather or do you want other materials? This is what it looks like, would you like to touch it?”
It’s not, “Do you want this or do you want that?” It’s this product or that product, “What do you want? Then why did you buy this one to start with? Don’t you have a wallet in your pocket? Don’t you have where to put your money in? Why are you looking for this wallet? That’s fine. I’m going to help you but let me first understand why all the sudden you went into the store asking for a wallet?” Asking these kinds of questions that no salesman would dare ask because he is afraid that you will walk out, “You’re right, I don’t need it.” “You don’t need it, you want it, but why?”
Not that customer service is bad, the customer service is good. They don’t do what you are talking about going deep.
Go deep and raise prices by 5%, 10%, 20%, 100%. If I sell you a wallet and I give you a price and you say, “The price is right for a Louis Vuitton wallet. I’m happy to spend this money and I’ll buy this wallet. I’m very happy.” Deep inside you wanted this wallet, but if I start to expose that it’s about you, it’s about your expression, about your feeling, about your values, about your life, about your history, about your future, about your price. The wallet is an expression of all these. “You know how much that expression is worth? Then I’ll give you one wallet that will help you express yourself in such a beautiful way, such a big way, you can talk about your past and about your future. About your feelings, about your dreams, about your hopes, about your challenges that you are going to face, what motivates you, what your purpose in life is, and all those things and it’s just a wallet.” “How much is this wallet?” “I’ll charge you $100, I’ll charge you $500.”
It doesn’t matter. I’m thinking back and if she would have done that, I might have even walked away buying more things. I was shopping and walking around. I wasn’t even looking for a wallet. I was like “That’s nice.” I’m now thinking back. If she would have asked those questions, I might have bought shoes, bags and a bunch stuff.
She would come and say, “It’s not the wallet, it’s Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton suits you. It’s part of your life.” Do you know they have now not just one wallet? They have a wallet and a bag and maybe a suitcase. There may be shoes. You’ll come out with a lot of stuff because you want to express yourself and Louis Vuitton helps you with that. It’s not even the wallet, it’s the LV that is written on the wallet.
Dr. Isaac, any final thoughts? How can our audience find out more about you or maybe go to your website?
My website is now going through a transformation, but the material will stay there. There is a blog. I started in 2005 writing articles and there is a lot of good material on my website, www.JanusThinking.com. What I do extra for our audience is not an advice in the terms of, “Do this or don’t do that.” I want them to start working. I’ll give them a video. If they go to your site, download the podcast and they will have a link to the video. They can go to the video and hopefully they see the video. Ask yourself questions and I’ll be happy to start a discussion with you. I’m not going to sell you anything anywhere. If somebody wants to ask me for consultancy or whatever, maybe they want to buy a diamond, give me a call. This is not what the video is. The video is about asking questions, about reflection, about thinking, “What am I going to do with my life? How am I going to improve? What are the hindrances that I have?”
Thank you so much for inspiring us with your story. I learned a lot. I’ll be more self-aware and reflective of who I am, who I serve and who I sell to. Dr. Isaac, thank you very much.
You’re welcome. Thank you.
About Dr. Isaac Mostovicz
Dr. Isaac Mostovicz provides personal coaching, team training and marketing programme development. Following an early career in the diamond industry as CEO of S. Muller and Sons, he retains a strong professional interest in the diamond industry and in the wider world of luxury marketing where he continues to conduct research. Academically, his post-doctoral work is focused upon understanding human logic –- specifically the nature of human interpretation and its impact on decision-making. The work has application in the fields of ethics, leadership, social responsibility and marketing. His research has unearthed two opposite psychological types — Lambda (challenge-seeking) and Theta (unity-seeking). The tension between these two preferences affects choices we make in everything from diamond buying to corporate governance. His consulting work is focused on overcoming ‘high stress’ or apparently ‘intractable’ situations where existing strategy processes may be failing. Dr. Mostovicz applies ‘Janusian Thinking’ principles to help participants understand the hidden paradoxes undermining decision-making — and find ways to transcend them.
Craig Ballantyne has helped over 10,000 high performers and thought leaders with The Perfect Day Formula book and kit. He shows entrepreneurs and executives how to achieve extraordinary results in every area of life and have a bigger impact on the world, all while having more quality time for their families. Craig is the owner of the Denver-based personal development organization, Early To Rise (ETR). His daily wisdom reaches over 150,000 readers and teaches people how to build their wealth, improve their health, and become the best version of themselves. Today he is dedicated to ETR’s 10 Million Mission of helping ten million men and women transform their lives before 2020. Craig is also the co-author of The Cardio Myth, and creator of the groundbreaking fat-loss workout systems, Turbulence Training and Home Workout Revolution.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Prosperity Formula – Your Perfect Day Everyday with Craig Ballantyne
I could tell you we’re going to have some extra fun here and I have the privilege of bringing you another industry titan, an entrepreneur, a fitness expert, author, writer but also a coach to entrepreneurs around the world. Craig, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much, Dan.
Craig, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into what you do today.
You mentioned fitness entrepreneur and that’s probably a surprise to a lot of people. They probably don’t get too many of those on your show. That’s where I started back in 1999 with my first email newsletter. I can tell you funny stories about how I was sending that by Hotmail to 3,000 people because I had no idea what I was doing. It took me over an hour and fifteen minutes to send it out manually. I eventually got a lucky break and I started writing for Men’s Health magazine. That gave me credibility and allowed me to sell my own information products, which were like P90x that most people would be familiar with on TV. I’ve sold mine on the internet and we still sell them today. That’s where I spent most of my early career, but that’s not what I focus on these days. In 2006, I hired my first business coach and I had exponential results in my fitness business and we had one interesting conversation. My coach, Tom, said, “What do you want your business to look like in five years from now?” I said, “Tom, I would love to have a business like Early To Rise.” Early To Rise is a great website. It’s been around for years and years.
The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day And Control Your Life
We were talking about how you interviewed the founder, Michael Masterson, whose real name is Mark Ford. I said that in 2006 and then I’d put together a plan to become a better speaker, trainer, coach, author, all of these things. Then in 2011, I was able to buy the business from Mark and so it was five years, three months and seventeen days after my first coach said to me, “Craig, what do you want your business to look like in five years from now?” It’s one of those moments often when I tell that I get goosebumps on my forearms because it’s something like out of the movie, The Law of Attraction, The Secret. You think that all that is woo-woo stuff but I call it the Law of Action-Attraction, which is where you have a big goal, vision, it’s very specific and then you know exactly what you need to do to get there and you go out and you take those action steps, and you follow what I call the straight line to success. You can achieve exactly what you want when you go about doing that as I’m sure you’ve probably had similar experiences in your life. Owning Early To Rise has allowed me to write my book, The Perfect Day Formula, which has been the next step in my evolution.
I love the Law of Action-Attraction because a lot of people, when they watch The Secret, they think the Law of Attraction is sitting there and visualizing and hoping and hope something will fall on their lap. We have two extreme camps. You have entrepreneurs who believe in the spiritual law’s success, a cause and effect and Law of Action-Attraction. You have the other camp who’s like, “No, we don’t believe in that stuff. That’s too woo-woo, foo-foo, tree-hugging. We don’t need that stuff,” like a Type-A personality. Over the years, I totally agree with you that it’s very true. I don’t know if you have had this experience because in my life, I go through this journey. For the first ten years of my life, I was much more Type-A, much more driven, workaholic, whatever it takes. I found that I was stressed out and I overworked and burned out. I didn’t follow any of The Perfect Day Formula, which was working. Later on, once I operated some of these spiritual laws and I’ll add gratitude, I found that I work less but produce more results. What’s your take on that?
I find the same thing too. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of an author named Stuart Wilde?
Yes, The Trick to Money is Having Some.
The Trick to Money Is Having Some
That’s the book I was going to mention, The Trick to Money is Having Some, and it sounds so paradoxical and counter-intuitive or even obvious. One of my friends, Barry Dunlop, gave me that book back in 2007 when I first joined the Mastermind group with Yanik Silver. It is very analogous to what you describe. You go out there and you hustle and grind and do all this stuff, it takes a while for the snowball of success to start rolling. Once it does, you can back off and be more strategic, more structured, more systematic with the scaling of your business and you do the right things and that attracts the opportunity. It brings you the greater results. If you’re in the weeds all day long and you’re doing a million small things, you’re not going to have those big breakthroughs. In fact, Tim Ferriss, when he was getting popular, I remember him writing and saying, “You can go and write a hundred blog posts or you can write one amazing blog post that will bring you more results than a hundred mediocre blog posts.” That’s along the lines of what you’re describing that you can go and work all the time but when you step back and become an empire builder with that structure and scale, you have more results.
Both you and I are not saying, “You don’t hustle.” In the first period of time when you’re learning new knowledge and sharpening your tools and skills, you have to hustle for that period of time. After a while, what got you there won’t get you through to the next level. To go to the next level, you have to learn how to work smarter and that’s when a lot of these things come because as an entrepreneur, this is a long journey. This is not, “Let’s try for a couple of years,” type of thing.
This is a lifelong journey like you said. When you have that lifelong vision, which I’m sure you have, then you’re like, “I’m in it for the long game and I am going to work a little bit harder at the start here and then I’m going to figure out how this is all going to work.”
Maybe talk to us a little bit about Early To Rise. For the audience, if they haven’t subscribed to it, you should subscribe to the newsletter not just for learning but from the marketing point of view. You learn a ton. People might think Early To Rise is a newsletter. What exactly is the business model?
The business model today is making sure that we’re helping people become wealthier and build small businesses. We want to help entrepreneurs who have built businesses from about $500,000 a year to $20 million a year in revenue. We want to go and help those people become more productive. We want to help them identify greater opportunities and so we’re delivering information in several ways. We start with The Perfect Day Formula book, which is we do a free plus shipping model on that. We have The Perfect Formula Kit, which is an advanced set of tools to help people create their vision, create their goals and create their rules for their life that I help people put in place for more success. Then we get people into workshops and coaching programs on those aspects and then we also have monthly newsletters that we send out as well. We have a whole bunch of products that we’re helping people use to earn more money and have greater results in life. We also have something called Early To Rise University, which has a whole bunch of courses in there on copywriting and sales skills and being a better CEO and a better manager and hiring better employees and all of those great things.
For our audience, in case you don’t know, I study a lot of Mike Ford/Michael Masterson. That’s his pen name. I have all his books and I studied his copywriting course and that’s how I got into copywriting in my early twenties. Mark’s work has impacted my life tremendously. Early To Rise, I have a folder that I save on that email. I’m a big fan. I’m curious from your point of view because you’ve been doing marketing now for so many years. How do you see marketing has changed over the years in terms of maybe marketing method or marketing channel? What’s your point of view?
It’s a great question and so I read this phrase and it hits the nail on the head. Social selling is so important. Back in the day, you could do the copywriting mastery where you could be a person in a dark room, writing the sales letters and be very anonymous. Now it is much harder to do that. If you are one of the world’s best copywriters, you can still do that. Today, there’s so much more required in terms of the trust level. People are very skeptical and they need to see you. They need to know that there’s somebody behind the program. I do love the idea of that phrase I mentioned before, social selling, where you’re using social media and the keyword is you’re using social media to do the selling and you’re not letting social media be used on you. It’s not sucking away your time but you’re focusing on the positive aspects of social media and connecting with people and showing them that you’re a real person, showing them that you have real success, showing them real success stories.
It’s almost like if a sales letter, which we used to think of like a headline in a story lead and in some social proof and then an offer. It’s now broken up in a whole bunch of different ways, so we see social proof across all of our social media aspects and we get attention and substitute the headline for some of our posts on social media. This social selling is an entire system that we can use to sell anything from $27 fitness video programs, which is what I used to sell all the way up to $25,000 coaching programs. I sold one of those to one of my clients. He’s been on the ETR email list for years and years and years and this guy has $850 million real-world business. He’s invested in a coaching program with me because he’s seen this social proof but not just through a sales letter, but for all of these other aspects of social selling so it’s very powerful and a lot of people look down on social media. I look at it as a very positive thing when you control how you use it.
I never heard someone explaining it like that. It’s like a sales letter but broken into pieces. All these authority content on influence pieces, some may be on YouTube, someone on Facebook, someone on Instagram and you all have to work it together right?
It’s very similar to how Jeff Walker used to break down the product launch. You know your sales letter is now being put in a series of videos and emails. Two of the guys who influenced me the most in terms of my social selling, Grant Cardone, I’m sure you’re familiar with him. He’s doing a fantastic job with social media. He’s live streaming from his seminar and he’s showing you his personal life with his kids. He’s also showing you social proof. He’s doing a great job and then my friend, Bedros Keuilian, is also doing a great job here. He runs a company called Fit Body Boot Camp, which is America’s fastest growing fitness franchise. He gives you tons of behind the scenes footage of his headquarters and he makes amazing emotional videos about other fit body boot camp owners and their locations and their family stories and how they’re helping the community and it’s spread out so you see all of this.
A guy named Mike Koenigs gave this. You might be familiar with him. He’s very much in the internet marketing world. He said, “Be everywhere all the time,” and that’s what social media allows you to do, is be everywhere all the time. I’m selling a lot of my workshops and my high-end coaching programs. The funny thing is I can sell a $5,000 program sitting in the back of an Uber because of an Instagram post I made and somebody likes it and then I send them a private message saying, “When do you want to do your workshop?” They ask me the dates and the next thing there’s $5,000-sale. This is the world we live in now, which is amazing when you put it all together.
People don’t care about what they buy but they care who they buy from. People want to know who they’re buying from, who is behind the brand and all these little things. It’s no longer just the old days of writing a letter and you sent it out and all you get X amount of response, X percentage and that’s it. It’s not like that. Everybody checks you out. The next thing they look at the name, they Google you, they look at your Facebook, they look at your LinkedIn. It’s the way that we are nowadays. We’re talking about personal branding. What about for people who say they are less comfortable with that and say, “I’m not Craig. I’m not Grant Cardone. I’m just shy. I’m a little bit of an introvert.” What would I say to someone like that?
Dan, I’m such an introvert that years ago when I used to go to seminars, I would make sure that the hotel put me on a low floor so that I could take the stairs instead of the elevator. I’ve evolved over time but I still am introverted. I had some coaching clients who are like, “I don’t want to be like recognized in airports.” I’m like, “Right now you have a $2,000 a week business. You’re not going to be recognized in airports. I don’t get recognized in airports. Nobody’s going to recognize you in airports. If you’re worried about that, forget it.” People can find you everywhere. They can find all the stuff they want about you online even if you’re not putting a whole bunch of personal branding out there. The thing is if you want to make selling easier, if you want to be successful faster, it happens that being yourself online, showing people your real person is one of the easiest ways to get there. With the Instagram celebrities these days, it shows you how quickly you can go from zero to a big following and have success.
Bedros sent me this phrase years ago, the KLT factor which is, “Know, like and trust.” That was before the days of heavy social media. Now he’s changed it to a phrase that I truly believe and agree with where it’s, “Know, love and trust.” They can like a lot of people on the internet but that doesn’t mean they’re going to buy from you. They have to know you and love you and trust you. They need to see all sides of you. They need to hear your voice in a podcast. They need to see you do a YouTube video. They need to know that you’re making regular Instagram updates. You can still be private online while building your personal brand. You don’t have to show pictures of your family you don’t have to show private stuff, but you do need to show a little bit of personality in addition to the fact that you’re adding value to them. I would look at it as more of an adventure, a positive thing because in this day and age, it’s very difficult for anybody to have some type of social media following or LinkedIn profile. I know there are a few people that are hard to track down these days but very few and far between. If you want to be successful and you want to be successful fast, embrace the opportunity to build that trust factor with people as quickly as possible.
What about if they have made a decision and they decide, “I’m comfortable with this, I’m going to do this, but there are so many platforms I could choose from. Is it YouTube? Is it iTunes? Is it a podcast? Is it an article? Is it a blog? Is it Instagram?” From your experience, what should they focus on?
It’s a great idea for people to be introspective here and to think about several factors in choosing the one bullet for their gun that they’re going to start with. I say that in meaning that there are a lot of platforms out there and eventually you should get to most of them but let’s figure out one that you know you will commit to. What suits your personality? Are you the type of person who could never sit down in front of a computer and write an article? Then you shouldn’t be blogging and you’re probably going to be the type person who is going to love being on YouTube. Or you going to love doing podcasting and you get to be so dialed into it or maybe you love doing Instagram and maybe it’s conducive because you have an Instagram-worthy lifestyle where you travel a lot.
You look at what you want to do, what you’re good at, what you’re willing to commit to and what you can leverage the most. Those four factors are going to help you decide which of these platforms to go after first and then you can expand yourself into those other ones. I’m not saying you have to hire somebody who spent a lot of money on this. You can get people to do this for very cheap and through freelancers or whatever. You can take one piece of content and put it on almost all of these platforms, leveraged and automatic and done without you touching it. You can go to somebody on Upwork or even a high school kid in your town and say, “I’m going to film one YouTube video each week and you’re going to take that YouTube video. You’re going to edit it, put it on YouTube, you’re going to put it on Facebook. You’re going to take a minute clip of that and put it on Instagram. You’re going to take him the best minute and put it back on YouTube as a highlight clip.” Our friend, Jason Capital, does this. He taught me eight different ways to take a one to five-minute YouTube video and turn it into eight different pieces of content on all those platforms. You’ll be on all of them but you’ll pick one to focus on first.
Jason is a good example of someone who uses these platforms and social media very well to create a personal brand for himself. If you watched Jason’s early video compared to where he is now, it’s amazing. You can see he’s a walking and breathing example of how powerful social media could be.
Many of my fitness videos have been watched about two million times because they have the right search terms, but I am the most boring monotonous person. You would not be surprised that I would hide in stairwells rather than elevators if you watch some of those videos. The thing is I had to go and be bad in order to get good.
Also, through the journey of making content videos, we document our own journey. You can also see our growth while the world sees our growth. Through that, I learned a lot about myself.
Yes, because you have to push yourself in order to get better. If your videos look the same now as they did two years ago, it means you’re not having that personal growth and success is relatively associated with your personal growth. It’s a good barometer of how far you’ve come.
I’m also curious about your relationship with Mark and him being your mentor. What is he like in person?
He’s fantastic in person. I didn’t know him when he was a hard-charging young man. That would have been very interesting. This is a guy who was so wealthy. He retired at 39 for the first time. Then he retired again when he was about 50 and now he’s semi-retired again. He has made millions in real estate, investing, publishing, all of this stuff, but from what I understand he was a very aggressive marketer back in the day. Now he’s definitely mellowed over the years. The thing is he sends this email every year in December about what he accomplished in the last twelve months. I like to think that I’m a productive guy, but he will write this email about how he wrote three screenplays and 40 poems. He learned Portuguese and last year was Spanish and the year before that it was French or Latin or something. He painted three paintings and he traveled to these many countries and he won these many tournaments in jujitsu because he can kick my butt. It’s amazing, he truly is. He’s almost like if you took Hemingway and combined him with Rockefeller. He’s this renaissance man. He’s a great writer. He loves to enjoy life. That’s how I would describe him.
When you took over Early To Rise, what was that transition like? Was it a very smooth transition or did you make some changes immediately? What did you do?
It was a rocky transition for me because I was going from writing short fitness-based content you know lots of lists and tips and tricks. Taking over Early To Rise, Mark had built this legacy of sending out an essay of wisdom every day. He was pretty hard on me at first about the content that I was putting out. He would send me these emails and encourage me and then he would say, “You need to focus on one big idea in your writing because it’ll make the essay more powerful, plus it will allow you to write ten times more essays as opposed to writing a list of ten things you should do to become a better salesperson. Now you go and write ten essays about one thing to become a better salesperson.” It took me about six to twelve months to get up to speed. It was hard. I wanted to write them back and say, “Leave me alone.” I was like a petulant child and I wanted to reject that. He still does that to this day on various things. I send him an email every week about updating him on the company because he’s still involved slightly as an investor and I’m saying, “We’re doing this,” and he’ll challenge me like, “This doesn’t make sense.” These two things are connected and we’ll get on phone calls and we’ll talk about it quite and it’s very helpful.
It is relatively sporadic. He isn’t doing that all the time but it’s very helpful. I love having conversations with him and he feels the need like I do to take the advice and expertise and wisdom we’ve built up over the years and take it to the world and show people, “Here’s how simple success can be,” because that’s how I felt about fitness back in the day. I was like, “All these people exercising two hours a day or 90 minutes a day or even 60 minutes a day, you don’t have to be in the gym that long.” I went and I was a big mouth in the fitness industry for so long. Mark feels the same way. He’s like, “Just follow these rules for buying real estate and you’re going to be fine. Just follow these rules for investing and you’re going to do great. Just follow these rules for boosting your income and you’re going to do great.” We’re both driven by that and that’s what powers Mark even to this day.
How old is Mark now?
He’s around 60. He grew up in the Long Island area in the ‘60s and ‘70s and started to build his wealth in the early ‘80s. He could still kick our butts.
Talk to us about The Perfect Day Formula. Let’s take a step back. First of all, explain to us the concept. How did you come up with a concept of The Perfect Day formula?
I came up with the concept during what I call the lowest point of my life. In 2006, it was a pivotal year for me because that was the year I hired my first business coach and the year I had great business success. Because of the success, I suffered from what I called the paradox of freedom, which is having the ability to work whenever I want and party whenever I want, do all these things whenever I wanted to. Because of that, I had severe anxiety attacks. In fact, they were so bad that I went to the emergency room twice thinking I was having a heart attack. There I was, 30 years old, I was very embarrassed. It was a very low point in my life. I realized then that I needed to switch my lifestyle. The thing is it wasn’t that bad. It was on weekends, I would completely go out very late. I’d be out until the time that I would normally get up, binge drinking and it impacted me negatively.
I realize I need to get the structure. I need to get boundaries. I need to have a better wake up time. I need to focus my schedule. I need to stop checking email first thing in the morning and over time, I built up all of these systems and then I started coaching other people and using these systems. Then a few years ago, I started writing a book and I didn’t know how to write a book properly so it took me longer than I would have liked but eventually, I published the book in 2015. We created a set of additional worksheets and tools and success tools that will help people in perfect day formula kit and that is something that I’ve been spending almost all my time on these days. It’s helping high performers dial in their day, get more structure, have a little bit more self-discipline, make the right decisions automatically so that they can go out there and get more done in a day, have more success, make more money and still get home on time to have quality time with her family at night. It’s this holistic approach to the perfect day.
I can totally endorse Craig’s book, The Perfect Formula, because it’s a very practical book. It’s not one of those books where it’s just theory after theory and has 355 productivity tips and stuff like that. It’s not that kind of book. It’s a short book but every chapter, you can take away one of two action steps that you can do today. Describe to us what does a perfect day looks like.
People are probably sitting there thinking, “My perfect day is sitting in a hammock and drinking Margaritas.” That’s my other book, The Margarita Day Formula, which is different. It’s a little bit shorter. I remember when I had a perfect day back in August of 2013 when I was writing the book. I felt like at the end of the day, I accomplished so much and moved towards my legacy. I spent time with good people. I had been on track of my health and fitness and I’d done all of these things and that’s what I want people to experience in their perfect days where they do make big progress in their businesses, whether they sell something or they write a book or a section of their book or whatever it is. They feel like at 5:00 or whenever their quitting time is, they go, “Yes, today was a day of accomplishment, not just being busy with activity but moving ahead towards my big goals and dreams of my quarterly plan and all of that towards my vision.”
At the same time, going back to what Early To Rise is all about, which is a life well-lived, being able to experience and enjoy the finer things in life. That means quality time with your family, quality nutrition, quality sleep, all of this stuff. Mark has written extensively about sleeping like a billionaire on a high-quality mattress with good sheets and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. That’s what life is all about and so it’s combining the aspects of work life and home life and also making sure that you’re not being sucked into Facebook, the social media, the digital stuff and detoxing yourself from that. I like to say that there should be a separation of work and home life where when you get home to your children or your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or even your health and your hobbies, that you should be able to step away from what you spent your day on and focus your presence and your energy and emotion on what matters to you.
What we’re talking about here is we are creating our perfect day. It’s not just we let that go by or we let other people dictate our agenda. We are saying we are in-charge. We want our perfect day to go like this through planning and through habits. That’s what you were talking about.
I like to say there are two types of people. There are reactive people who struggle. They wake up late, they get caught in traffic and they’re always trying to find time for stuff in life. Those people, unfortunately, will struggle. On the other hand, there are proactive people who do the planning, people who make time. Notice the proactive people make time, the reactive people try and find the time, they try to fit it in. The reactive people struggle whereas proactive people are successful. When you’re in the right camp, which is being proactive, you plan ahead for not only your day but also for your week your month and your year. You know exactly what you want to accomplish and you know what you need to do to get there. That’s how you have success, that straight line success knowing where you want to get to. That’s what The Perfect Day Formula is all about.
There’s a saying in your book that I love, “Structure equals freedom.” A lot of people might think, “As an entrepreneur, I want to be free. I want to live life on my own terms and do whatever I want. I don’t want to be restricted. I don’t want to be restrained. I don’t want to have all these rules and stuff like that. I don’t like them.” What’s your take on that?
That is what I thought back in 2006. I was going from being a full-time personal trainer to being a full-time online entrepreneur and so I was resisting and rebelling against getting up early. I was saying, “I’ve got money now, I can go and party and celebrate, chilling out,” because that’s what all my internet marketing mentors were doing. It’s all about that. That got me into so much trouble and it’s very analogous to rock stars and movie stars or even Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson had the ultimate freedom. He made $300 million in career earnings and he had nobody around him giving boundaries or saying no. He was surrounded by yes men and he went broke. He spent $300 million because no one was saying, “No Mike, you can’t buy the tiger,” so he’s spending all the money. He got in trouble. Johnny Depp got into trouble. Prince got into trouble. All of these guys get in trouble. That’s what happened to me.
There’s a great quote from an author, Paolo Coelho, who wrote the book The Alchemist, “Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive, but mutually dependent because without discipline, we would sink into chaos.” That’s what happened to me. I sunk into chaos because I had no discipline but then when I started putting the structure into place, I ended up having more true freedom in my life. Back to those people who are saying, “I don’t want rules and structure in my life,” it’s because all the rules and structure in your life right now are imposed upon you by others, government business regulations all that type of stuff. We’re all rebellious. We all say, “No, I don’t want to do what you say,” but when we tell ourselves what to do and we set up our own rules and regulations, it’s like building an iPhone. An iPhone has a powerful operating system that operates on a set of rules. That’s why you can do all of these amazing things and take those amazing photos and communicate with people halfway around the world. If you do that for yourself, all of a sudden you become a high performer, you get more done. You write faster, you sell better, you become more successful and yet you still have more free time. That’s what the whole structure equals freedom aspect means in terms of having success in our lives.
Our audience might be thinking, “I got it. I want some of this. How can I have the perfect day?” Walk us through a little bit of the process. For the audience, definitely get the book and get the kit. Walk us through some of the principles within the book. What are two or three things that they could do today to have that perfect day?
The Perfect Day Formula is then built off a phrase from a Stoic philosophy. A great philosopher named Epictetus lives thousands of years ago and he said, “Control what you can, cope with what you can’t and concentrate on what counts.” When I heard that, it reduced a lot of stress in my life because I realized I can’t control other people, I can’t control the success of others, I can’t control traffic, I can’t control the weather, I can’t control any of this stuff but I can control my thoughts, my words and my deeds, how I respond to stress. I can control what I do first thing in the morning. Here’s what I want to tell our audience. Control your mornings as much as you can. Control the time you get up, control what you do first thing, what you focus on, what you put in your mind. You can go and watch the news and that’s the worst thing or you can go and maybe watch a powerful motivational video or you can watch a mind movie that you’ve made about your success and your vision, or you can listen to a song that prompts you or you can get right to work.
You control that time, then you control what you eat and how you control that energy over the course of the day by the foods you see and you control what time you start work, and you control all these things in the morning before the world starts taking away your time through distractions and all these other things as it will for most people. That’s the first thing they need to do. The second thing they need to do is plan ahead for all of those distractions and obstacles that are going to come into our way as the day goes on. Whether it’s an employee bringing us a problem or whether it’s our kids getting sick or whether it’s traffic in the afternoon, we know these things are going to come. They might not come every day but we know that they have a high probability of showing up in our lives.
Let’s have some solutions in our mind. If the kids do get sick, who can we call to pick them up? Can we call an aunt and uncle or a grandparent or our spouse? Can we make sure they get home and get treated without us getting off track? You know that this employee and your operations department always have problems in the first week in a month when they’re trying to make a budget or something. We know they’re going to come. How can we calm them down, get the information that we need to and solve their problem? Thinking ahead like that helps you control the chaos that is going to come into your life. We’re doing all this for reporting those rules and regulations into place so that we can leave work on time, so that we can go home and have that sense of accomplishment so that we can feel like we move towards our legacy every day and then go home and have an amazing dinner with our family or maybe if you’re just dating somebody, you can have time with them and you don’t have the phone out and you’re just sitting there having amazing meal on a glass of wine and with a great view and taking it all in and saying, “This is what it’s all about,” because that is what it’s all about, living life to enjoy the life well-lived by having great control over your day.
The Perfect Day Formula: If you don’t live your goals, you don’t know it.
I also know sometimes a lot of entrepreneurs when they don’t have the perfect day, a very productive day, when they go home, sometimes they bring work to home as well. There’s a lot of guilt. There’s a lot of these negative emotions and it becomes a very negative cycle. This goes on and on. We’re saying you can take control. You’ll have a great day, a perfect day. When you go home, there’s no guilt. Just relax. Have a good time. Spend time with the family and you can be present. Then the next day when we go back to work, it’s the same thing, maximize productivity.
There are three things that I will tell people to do every day, at the end of the day in order to have that life that you described. First of all, tell people to do something called a brain dump. In that Perfect Day Kit that we have, we have those little scripting pads where you can do a brain dump on that piece of paper but you can also use a scrap piece of paper. A brain dump is about getting all the thoughts out of your mind like, “I didn’t finish that project so I got to finish it more by this time. I have to call Joe. I have to pick this up from the marketing department. I have to do this. I have to email this person,” and you get all those thoughts. Those are all the things you have to do. Now you go and organize that scattershot of ideas into, “Here’s my to-do list of priorities for the next morning. These are the three most important things I need to do. If I get around to going by the marketing department, that’s a bonus, but I need to finish that project. I need to have this sales call and then I need to write this chapter in my book. Those are my priorities.” That way you know exactly what you need to do the next morning because if you’re doing your to-do list in the morning, you’re already too late, you’re already behind the eight-ball and you’re going to be getting a bit of anxiety from that.
Those two things and then the third thing is a personal thing and it’s making sure that when you walk in the door at night or if you work at home when you leave your home office and walk into the living room where your kids are, your kitchen, where your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse is, that you’re in the right mindset. It could be as simple as watching a YouTube video or listening to your favorite song, but it’s a switch. It’s like, “At 5:00 PM, I’m going to listen to this song.” Dan, I’m sure you’re going to listen to the theme song from Frozen. I’m sure that’s going to get you in the right mindset, whatever it is. You get to listen to your favorite song, “The day is over. Now I’m going to go be the perfect parent, the perfect partner whatever it is, I’m going to leave this world behind it. I’m going to go and be present.” That is so important to be present with the people. Maybe you go back and you do a little bit of work later on. It depends on whatever situation your life might demand that you take a break. Feed your kids, give them a bath, tell them a story and then you might have to go and do a bit of work. That’s what Sheryl Sandberg does as the COO of Facebook. She’s a busy person. That’s how she lives her life, but it is very planned and organized so that she has the quality time with her children.
I also want to talk about setting goals because in your book you have a chapter on setting goals and I love that and because I can see a lot of entrepreneurs, they are very ambitious, sometimes overambitious. They set too many goals and get too distracted and then when they don’t hit those goals, guilt kicks. They are so frustrated, “I’m not getting all the stuff done.” Talk to us about your philosophy on goal setting.
This all goes back to Mark Ford. This is another Mark Ford lesson that he taught me when I was a young man, who as you know and as you said, a lot of entrepreneurs get so ambitious. There were times when I was writing three or four pages of goals. I was exactly like you said. I was taking that shotgun approach to life, not hitting the bulls-eye, these little victories. At the end of the year, I would say, “I didn’t accomplish the big things but I accomplished all these nineteen little things,” then I was frustrated. Mark sat me down and he said, “Craig, all you need are these four major goals, one goal for each of the four major areas in life which are health, wealth, social self and personal enrichment.” Wealth and health are obvious ones. The social self is getting out there whether it’s meeting people or whether it is joining an organization or it is taking up support, whatever it is, just making sure that you’re taking care of that aspect of your life.
The personal enrichment is not about money but it’s about making sure that you are giving back whether it’s being involved in a charity or whether it is getting involved in some organization where you teach others, mentoring, all that stuff but just making sure that you have all for those areas of your life taking care of. When you aim for one major goal, you hit that bullseye and then everything else around it benefits from a ripple effect. My major goal was if I want to go from $75,000 a year to a $100,000 a year, that is my major goal and then I had all these other financial goals of giving $1,000 to charity. If I hit that $100,000-goal, then I’m going to be able to hit all those smaller goals because of it. Just focus on the four major ones so that you don’t dilute your effort and therefore, try and fit in a million things over the course of the day and get stressed out because you’re not achieving anything.
I know for those who are listening that you may think that you’ve heard of these ideas before. If you don’t live it, then you don’t know it. All these ideas are about incorporating them into your life. There are a lot of different tools that you can use right now to help you to become more productive and live the perfect day. Craig, what are some the tools that you have in the kit?
The most important thing to start with is my favorite part of the kit, which is creating the vision for your life, knowing where you want to get to. Dan, I like to use this analogy of that dream destination. You’ve got young children, most of the time you are going to end up at some point in your life at Disney World. It’s a dream destination for most families. How do you get to that dream destination? You know that you have to fly to Orlando and you know that once you get to Orlando, you get a rental car and you punch in the coordinates of the hotel, and you go to the hotel and then you go to Disney World. It’s that simple. That’s the straight line to success that we have for a dream destination.
Let’s use that same analogy about the dream destinations for our life, our vision. Let’s figure out exactly where we want to be in three to five years from now, just like I did back in 2006. I said I want to have a business like Early To Rise and I identified all of the steps that I needed to take in order to achieve a business like Early To Rise and become a better speaker, a coach and trainer. I needed to be able to help other people make money. I need to become a better writer. I did all those things and I attracted that into my life. I had a straight line of success. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I understood the detours in life and I had to say no to those detours. Just like someone who wants to go to Disney World, they need to know, “Don’t take this detour off this highway to some other theme park. We’re going to Disney World.” That’s the most important tool. In the kit, I asked twenty questions that help people get all of that vision and specificity out of their head so they have complete clarity on, “I want to get to in life.” Then that allows you to figure out the steps to get there and then you start going through the other planning tools in the kit to figure out exactly what you need to do in the next 90 days and 30 days and in your perfect day in order to achieve those big goals and dreams.
We’re not talking about spending hours and hours of planning. We’re talking about investing a little bit of time before early on and to plan out your day. It’s not like, “I don’t have time for that. I’ve got so much work to do.”
It’s just a short amount of time because it’s the right questions. It’s the questions that people haven’t heard asked in the way that I asked them so to get the information out very quickly and clarifies exactly what they want to achieve. A lot of this stuff, people have seen here, there and everywhere but the Perfect Day Formula Kit is this holistic approach. They’ve never seen it all together at once and never seen it in this order. I’ve put nine or ten years into figuring out the exact perfect way to ask these questions in order to get the right information so that someone can create that perfect life and Perfect Day.
I could also see someone who is like, “If I write on a piece of paper or my own journal, now I can write it directly into this. I know what to focus on. I know all the stuff and if I’m doing 80% of it, great. Now, I can also do the other 20% that I might not realize I need to do.”
It’s making sure that you have every single one of these tools in place to accelerate your results. I like to use this analogy to people, even if they’re high performers who get this kit or even read the book. Most people feel like an Indy race car and their wheels are stuck in the mud off the side of the track. With The Perfect Day Formula, I come along and I lift up that car and I put it on the pavement. Now they’re able to go 160 miles an hour, 200 miles an hour because they’re on the right surface and they have everything in place and I get rid of all the obstacles for this.
Craig, I always ask my guests this question so it’s a deep question. If you could time travel back to one of your earlier days and have a ten-minute conversation with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and headaches, what would you tell yourself?
First of all, I would tell myself to grow up. Grow up a lot sooner than I did. I was a young man in a big city. I’m in Toronto. I know that you live in a big city out west. There are a lot of temptations in the big city and I wasn’t that bad of a kid but it was the late twenties with a little bit of money and that ends up being waste in money and waste in time. I would have got serious a little bit earlier and it’s dialing in that last 10% of my schedule and my habits so I wouldn’t get into trouble with the anxiety and I would have had success faster. The biggest mistake that I made was not hiring a coach soon enough. I waited until 2006. Financially, I could have hired a coach in 2003 because I was already having some success online. My name is Craig Ballantyne, I am half Scottish and half German. I grew up on a farm with not a lot of money so those three things combined end up leaving me a little bit cheap and so I was too cheap and too stubborn to go and hire a coach. I wish I would have done it sooner because as soon as a hired coach, I got instant results.
The return on investment was pretty much hundred to one within three months of me hiring a coach. Then I had exponential results over the years. If I would have hired a coach in 2003, that means I would have impacted more lives. I would have made more money. I would have written my book earlier. I would have had so much more success. I wish I would have done that. I invest over $100,000 a year in coaching and traveling to events and all this stuff because it pays off on that ten to one hundred or one every year because that’s another thing. Then the final thing is that I used to be a little bit more seriously minded and I wish I have been more generosity minded, more generous, more giving, more grateful when I was a younger person instead of hard-driving, ambitious, Type-A and not taking a little bit of time to reflect on what’s going on here. I did eventually get into that 2009 and every year I improved myself and I’m always looking for personal growth opportunities.
As I mentioned whether I’m doing videos, my improvement there is quite dramatic. Speaking on stage, even writing with Mark Ford’s help, you have to go and get feedback from a good coach. You mentioned before about we all had this information why aren’t we doing anything with it. In most cases, it’s a lack of accountability because I always tell people that I can give you all the best advice in the world, but if there’s nobody holding you accountable to use it, then it’s almost like as if you don’t have the information in the first place. In the last year, I had a big revelation. My improvements have only come because I’ve had coaches who were willing to have difficult conversations with me because a lot of coaches, they let things slide. They want to be friends with their clients and they don’t want to bring up a point say, “You made a big mistake in that session today. You didn’t ask for the sale or you were rude when that person asked the question. You can’t do that anymore. Here’s what happened and I want you to tell me what you’re going to do to change this.” Those were the conversations I had with my coach and they made all the difference.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your career. I’ve had a mentor since the early twenties and different mentors in my life and coaches. Craig, we’re on the same page for sure and it doesn’t matter where you are. I don’t care if you’re making $100,000 or if you’re making $100 million, it doesn’t matter. We all need someone else to hold us accountable and take us to the next level, have a different perspective and push us. Most of us who are top achievers, we are the leaders and the boss in our world. We tell people what to do. There are not a lot of people who will tell us what to do and sometimes that’s a challenge.
It goes back to the Mike Tyson thing. He was surrounded by yes men and no one had the guts to say, “No, you can’t do that. You can’t spend money on that.” What I found is that sometimes the most successful people need the coaching the most especially for a person like me coming from very modest means. Once I have a little bit of success, I realize this is way more money than I ever thought I would have or way more success, way more impact. Then you start to get a little complacent. I’ve seen this in a lot of my clients. Sometimes I have to shake them mentally to get them to realize, “You’re just getting started here. You need to have to go and have a greater impact on the world. You don’t care about making more money. You have information that can help so many more people.” Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt and it’s kicking the butt and then once you get those people back on track, they get fast results.
Craig, how can our audience find out more about The Perfect Day Formula or where can they get your book and the kit as well?
I’d love for them to go and watch the video I made at PerfectDayFormula.com about the kit. Just get started with making sure they’re going to have fast results in every area of their life. The kit is essentially like having me sitting around their kitchen table and coaching them one-on-one through my clients and my hiring workshops and one-on-one coaching program. I look forward to having people use that, get more done and then send in their success stories. I can’t wait to hear about those just like you and I are sharing stories about Mark Ford and how he influenced us. I want to be having that same type of impact that Mark had for us also.
Then if they want to subscribe to Early To Rise?
EarlyToRise.com is the greatest place to go there.
Any final thoughts before we go?
I like to say that at the end of your life, what matters are people and experiences. We talk a lot about success. We talk a lot about productivity. We talked a lot about making more money. It’s all very important. It is very important and have a great impact on people’s lives but at the end of the day, you are going to appreciate when you’re 60, 70, 80, 90 the people that you spent your time with and the experiences that you had. Make sure that you’re living life well and even if you’re a type-A person, make sure that you’re taking time to appreciate the people that you have around with you, have gratitude in your life. That way you’re going to be more of a high performer overall when you’re making sure that you have the right perspective.
Thank you so much for inspiring us today with the amazing story and your thoughts and ideas. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
About Craig Ballantyne
For over 15 years I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to help busy and highly successful people like you get more done, make more money, and live fuller and happier lives. After all those years I decided to put my life’s work into a new book called The Perfect Day Formula, and I actually want to give you a copy of this for free. But before you request your free copy of my new book I want to explain what this book is all about… and more importantly what it is NOT about. This book is not about time management or productivity, even though you’ll become super productive and highly effective in your career or business. This is not a “Make money quick book”, but make no mistake about it, after reading and applying the simple tactics in this book you’ll make more money with less effort and without the stress and frustration of working all the time.
In my new book The Perfect Day Formula you’ll discover my proven systems to help you get a raise or grow your business, to get rich or get out of debt, to lose weight, improve your health or build better habits, and even to find the love of your life or the house of your dreams. It all stems from my 5 Pillars of Success that will help you create a foolproof success structure designed to help you reach your goals. Today my advice reaches over 350,000 fans in dozens of countries around the world each day, helping them achieve their big goals and dreams faster than ever. You may even have read my advice in Men’s Health, or Women’s Health magazine, or seen it on TV across America, Australia, Canada and even Russia. So listen, if you’re currently struggling to finish your to-do list and get work done on time, I think I can help you fix the bottlenecks in your business and your life so that you can quickly and easily reach higher levels of success. I bet you just haven’t been given the proven strategies you need to own your day and control your life.
Michael Gebben spent seven years building a video company that was the envy of everyone in his field, until one day he woke up to the realization that he’d built a cage of his own making and given up so much of his life in the name of something that didn’t really mean a whole lot. So he hit reset and, over the last three years, rebuilt his life and his career around what matters and even launched a new inspirational YouTube channel. He has profoundly changed his metrics and evaluated the truth about success. Michael’s current company, Jumpstarters, helps creative entrepreneurs to get over the same hurdles that he was able to conquer, allowing him to work with individuals such as Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins and Richard Branson. Michael is a big believer in massive impact action rather than getting stuck in the minutia and never moving forward.
Listen to the podcast here:
Dan Demystifies The Truth About Success-Beware The Lies They Tell You with Michael Gebben
I have the privilege of bringing you a very creative entrepreneur, also a fellow YouTuber and an overall fun, creative guy. We’ll have a lot of fun having this interview. Michael, welcome to the show.
Dan, I appreciate you having me on.
We talked a little bit about your story. Take us back a little bit. Tell us a little about your background and how you got into what you do.
It’s fascinating, the more I’ve started to do these podcasts and everything, the more I’m trying to fine-tune the story, finding out that I’m a fairly long-winded person so I’m trying not to go for 45 minutes and then the episode is over. From living in a little small town here in the Midwest, I was telling you my dad worked at a cemetery and that’s what got me into my company that took off, which was my video production side of things because I started doing funeral slideshows for somebody that passed away. They gave us photos and we threw those on a DVD and made a slide show back in 2005 and 2006. I still live here in the Midwest in a town of about 26,000 people and have been able to work with some incredible titans such as Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. I’ve been to Richard Branson’s Necker Island four times and it’s been pretty crazy. I ended up getting a house here because they moved out when I was nineteen.
I had an apartment studio place but not a house and I owned that and we sold it in 2015. Then I moved into an apartment with my wife and we now got a house but we definitely stayed here in the Midwest and I’ve been able to travel all over the place. People think they need to move to LA or New York or this or that to achieve “success.” It’s all dependent on what you want. For me, it’s been quite a journey. I got two things so people are clear on that as well. I’ve got my video production company and then whatever version that you want to call it, people call it consulting, coaching, mentoring, whatever, but helping businesses on the mindset side of things because what I found for me my biggest breakthroughs were when I bought my video production company. It wasn’t when I bought another fancy camera or better editing software or any other technologies. It was all mental and being able to deal with some of the highest performers there are.
Truth About Success: Self-worth is something a lot of people struggle with but not a lot of people talk about.
You’ll be on Necker Island with the number one doubles players in tennis, the Bryan brothers and getting to interview them and ask them how much of it is mental versus talent. He’s like, “90% or 95% mental game.” For me, being able to focus on that side of things and even recognized that people weren’t hiring me first for my video production skill set. They were hiring Michael Gebben. Not maybe in the very beginning when I had zero reputation, but when I started to be able to work with some of these incredible names, I started to see there are amazing people in New York City. They could fly me in New York. Why would they need to fly me in and pay for flights and hotel and all these extra costs? I know my work is good, but I also know it’s not necessarily the best and there’s plenty of talent in New York and so not recognizing that my self-worth, which is a big thing. I talked to a lot of people, self-worth is something a lot of people struggle with but not a lot of people talk about it.
For me, I was recognizing my self-worth was wrapped up in the people that I worked for, in the work that I was doing and I was always pointing the spotlight at something or someone else. In video production, it’s the video. If you like the video, I can do that for you and I’ll talk to you about it. I’ll come to it or I’ve got people now that can do a lot of that for me where I can more delegate that out and I’ve got incredible people who are more talented than me. When I started my video production company, it was the nineteen-year-old kid going, “He’s going to give me more than $500. I’m some young punk,” and this imposter syndrome.
By 2011 or 2012 when I got to work with Tony and I got to work with Tim, that started to shift but I also shifted wanting to help people have the same breakthroughs that I was having. The funny thing is I was a super confident video guy and but I was not a confident consultant or coach. The thing that we’re doing now is that I find that a lot of people are shoving their one-size-fits-all formula or framework onto people regardless of how someone is wired. What happens is if you fit into that person’s box, you probably can have some great success. If you don’t, you’re going to lose. When I started in video, I didn’t have anything more than my mom gave me a DVD to look at somebody’s wedding. That’s what I modeled.
I could go on YouTube and watch 300 thousand different wedding videos, but when I got into coaching and training and consulting, I had every Tom, Dick and Harry on planet Earth who is a coach and consultant and trainer and course creator and whatever else influencing me and let’s say that dragged me down some major shiny object rabbit trails that didn’t help me. In the last year, I’ve had these breakthroughs. In the last few years, that has allowed me to not only help myself do what I call my way decision.
In 2010, overwhelmed at work and stressed out, I was doing all right financially and in my production company but was mentally a mess, personally and professionally. I was nine months behind delivering people’s wedding videos and I decided to do what I call now that’s my way decisions. I was going to edit, shoot, speak, dress, do everything my way. I didn’t give a crap what anybody else thought as I was about to give up. I thought, “What do I have to lose?” Lo and behold within those twelve months after that is when I worked with Tim. I was able to work with Tony, all these different people that I was able to work with because I became this specialist who knew what I was great at. I say this scenario of all you can eat buffet versus a sushi chef. You don’t go into a sushi restaurant asking to make a supreme pizza. They will not do it for you.
Many times in business, especially creatives, if they’re capable, if they’ve got a camera and they get the software, if they got whatever the client says X, Y, Z they want, in their mind they go, “Here we go again, another one of these pains in the ass,” and out of their mouth says, “I can do that for you.” Then they bitch and moan and take a long time and don’t do a great job and that was me. Some of the work ended up being the sweet spot while other work wasn’t. When I found my sweet spot and stopped paying attention to what all the gurus in my industry were telling me to do, I differentiated myself and stood out. The same thing happened in the last few years. I was following every guru for coaching and consulting. They’re all telling me to create courses and all these things and I was finding no major success. Then I was doing a few things that I get great results with people but no one was telling me to do that. I thought, “I guess that’s not it.” Finally I said, “Screw it again, I’m going to do it my way.” It’s been that same shift and we’ve been getting incredible results with people who are so stuck trying to fit into other people’s boxes. Helping with the behavior and personality side of things and find out how people are wired so that they’re not a head of lettuce trying to hammer nails.
I love it because there’s a saying that the definition of a coach is someone who’s unemployed. I work with a lot of coaches and consultants, that’s one of the markets that I serve. I can see a lot of people buy a course, they take a seminar, they got to a three-day thing and then, “Now, I’m a coach, I’m a consultant.”
They’re not great at it at all. They’ve learned the weekend warrior type of thing and it’s then they’ve got those same guys telling them that they’re going to make $90,000 in the next 45 days and follow this step by step. Some people, depending on what the prior five or ten years of their life looked like and the effort they put in can have overnight “success” but not the plumber. The plumber guy is not going to turn into high-paid Facebook ads consultant in 30 days. That’s where there’s some disconnect out there.
I totally agree with you, now there are so many programs out there and systems and courses making all these promises. When I work with coaches and consultants, it’s to help them understand them individually, knowing what works for one person might not work for another. Also even as we’ve seen the coaches and consultants in the industry, there are so many different types of coaches and consultants. You have people in the business and money category. You have people in the relationship category, people in the personal growth category and people in a spiritual category. You can only get very good living doing that, but again it’s a different niche. It’s very interesting because the audience might be thinking, “Michael, how do you get in touch with Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins and Richard Branson? How do you get these gigs? What do you do? Do you know someone? Do you have some marketing secret? What do you do?”
Truth About Success: The only time there’s an opportunity for something good to happen is when you try.
The funny thing is that what you see out there even now is literally courses on how to be an influencer, how to act a certain way to get a certain result and follow these things again. The reality is I’m not being a certain way to get a certain result. In fact, when I was doing that, I didn’t get very good results because I was trying to act and be something I wasn’t. The whole my way thing, when I said, “Screw it,” then I became who Michael Gebben at the core was. Every year since about 2010, that has shone brighter and brighter and I became more and more and more confident. In 2010, Tim Ferriss was the first one. How did I get in touch? What connections did I have? What special tactic did I use? The reality was that in my video company, I use this over and over again not as much at all because of the reputation but we still use that.
I had a buddy who did what I’m about to say. He went from something for free, which is this is the tactic to a $25,000 job. A lot of people poo-poo all the time on free work. I had mainly been doing weddings and essentially did a free video for a company in St. Louis Missouri that had an agency that had a big Halloween party with 900 people. I filmed it for free. That alone led to about $80,000 to $100,000 worth of work with that company. I sent that video to Tim Ferriss’ assistant. There was a comment in the blog from Tim that said, “Email Charlie at the 4-Hour Body and he may be able to get you taken care of, which was taking care of these two kids that needed a refund. They weren’t 21.” I thought, “Screw it. What do I have to lose? The worst thing that’s going to happen is I get to know. I get to know when I don’t ask, so I don’t try. The only time there is an opportunity for something good happens if I try it.” I sent this email that said, “The books changed my life. I love what you guys are doing. I’m going to be in New York anyway,” which was a lie. I only bought a ticket but didn’t know how I was going to go and sent the email and said, “I’d love to do this. This is a work I do and I could do one of these for you guys for free.”
Within one hour, Charlie reached out to me and said, “Tim loves it.” I believe a number of the situations I’ve had in the very beginning with Tim was pure timing. There was a timing element. Is it reproducible? I’ve had friends who’ve paid $80,000 to do a book package with Tim. They still can barely get a hold of him. Depending on what’s going on in some of these celebrities or high-profile people’s lives, if they’re going to do book launches and things, your probability of getting ahold of them and getting something to do for them is very high. If not, it’s very difficult at times. I’ve also found everything that I’ve done is in giving first mentality with no expectations and people have asked before, “Don’t you have any expectations?” I’m like, “I’d love it for something to happen,” but if I went around every time I did something for somebody and then went and pointed a finger and said, “What are you going to do for me?”
I believe looking back at everything that I’ve done and accomplished with this model, I don’t think I would have accomplished it because I’ve started to learn even there’s some weird invisible force field out there with energy and everything else that I’m only getting into and starting to accept to be open-minded about. There is stuff that happens that is unexplainable and invisible and I believe in intention and alignment, these things are all behind all of that. I believe that I put in an intent out there when I do something that people can feel on a weird subconscious level that people recognize that I’m not out there to take. I’m out there to first give and if something happens, fantastic, but I’m first going to give. I did it for Tim. I did it for Tony. I was going to say I did it for Richard Branson. I’ve done it for these people and they turned into things and some didn’t. Tim as a collective whole directly never resulted in any financial compensation directly with Tim. I can say hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars in connections and income have come as a byproduct of making that decision in 2010 to do that video for free for Tim.
I teach a concept called stupid giving versus strategic giving. A lot of people sometimes even coaches and consultants, entrepreneurs, they give and give to the wrong people, first of all. You have the wrong thing that people don’t want, trying to push this stuff and have it with an agenda versus a strategic giving. In this case, you are giving to an influencer. You’re adding value before you ask anything in return. Sometimes it turns into something, sometimes it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter because I see that as almost you deposit money into your future bank account.
Dan, I would say that it’s interesting. One of the things that we’re doing currently with the coach and consulting is with the self-awareness side of things. I’ve had an intuitive accidental strategic giving. For me, in the beginning, I don’t think I was fully aware until the last few years what was going on. It was this intuitive thing that I would do. I started to recognize that when I did things for free for people who reached out to me and were like, “I’ve got this thing and I’m going to hook you up. I’ve got all these people,” and they’re telling me how amazing my business is going to be after I do this free project for them that that never worked out. Every one of the people I reached out to, it was strategic but it was also very selfish. I just wanted to meet the people. I thought I have a gift and a talent that can provide value to them. If that skill set can provide a value that can get me VIP access or whatever else, then great.
People ask me all the time, “Who should I reach out to?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” That’s the funny thing about this. All of this is so custom. What we do with people is so custom and personalized, which is what you’re saying sounds very similar. It’s not is the one size fits all and canned, “We’ll reach out to X, Y, Z and your business will change overnight.” Who do you want to connect with and how can you provide them value? I didn’t reach out to random people that people had told me to reach out to. I reached out to people who honestly indirectly or directly, however you want to look at it through their books, through their videos had provided massive value to me. I thought if I can give value back, awesome. On top of that, if I get to meet him or something, that would be cool. Then it morphed over time where it became much more strategic. Some random Joe Blow randomly reaching out to do a free project. The one I’m telling you about with my buddy, it was very strategic. He knew ultimately they had money and yet I’m seeing that what’s happening is in certain industries is that they’re so saturated and there are so many scam artists out there that people sound and look amazing on the surface, and what’s happening is people are getting screwed over.
By the time someone good comes along, they don’t even know what to trust because they don’t know if you can still sound that person who screwed them over. What’s happening is we’re strategically doing almost teaser projects at times for people that are low cost and low investment costs, but also time effort on our side. It’s allowing us to plant that seed, experience what we’re like to work with and get a win. Then there’s a lot more that can be done from there and then that makes it a win-win for both. They know the value, “This stuff, even in the online marketing space, this is valued at $97,000 and I’m going to give it to you for $100. Are you kidding me? It’s still valued at $25,000. We’re going to do this as a test project for you, not discounted from $25,000 to $500 or $1,000.” There are subtleties there that make a huge difference because I see people left and right complain about doing free work or things of that nature.
It’s a bold strategic thinking. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t know how to think strategically that they do. At an early age, even then when I was 20 or 21 years old, as a copywriter, I was trying to get clients writing copy. I thought to myself, “Who could I get if I get that one guy could help me get everybody else?” I spent all my effort trying to get that one guy. Eventually, I approached Jay Conrad Levinson who passed away a few years ago, who wrote a book Guerrilla Marketing. It sold 20 million books worldwide. I approached Jay and I said, “Jay, I looked at your copy and I looked at your page,” and at the time he was selling a membership, Guerilla Marketing Association. I wrote it without him asking. I sent him the draft. I said, “Use this.” He loved it so much and gave me a testimonial and from there, that got me into all the working with all these business owners overnight. I learned that early on.
That’s what people forget. We’re all in this permission marketing mindset. Sometimes it’s 99% I believe especially in the online world, you don’t need permission from anybody to do something for someone. For me to film something when it was that world, I had to get a little bit of permission to run around with the cameras at times. Designers, writers, there are so many professions out there, you can do it. Don’t even ask them if you can do it. Just do it.
Truth About Success: People are getting screwed over that by the time someone good comes along, they don’t even know what to trust.
Think about all these influencers and successful people. Most people approach them and you have to understand where they’re coming from. Either they approach them for money or they approach them because they want something from them or they want a job or whatever and not a lot of people approached them with adding value. You add the value and say, “Here you go.” That would get anybody’s attention. Michael said if the timing is right, meaning they’re launching something, they are launching a new book, something, if the timing is right, you will be able to get in touch.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t do this. The funny thing is all the guests that I have on this show, most of them, that’s why I love doing the interview because after that, the interview is always beginning of a lifetime relationship. I get to talk to all kinds of people yourself or entrepreneurs. After the interview, almost without exception, they ask, “What can I do for you, Dan?” I ask them, “What can I do for you? Is there anything you need help with?” It’s so fascinating. It’s not about, “Do something for me.” It’s, “How can I add value?” The last interview that I did, immediately, “My friend needs some help.” He has some contacts, I talked to that and he said, “What else can I do for you?” We’ll talk. Exactly what you said, Michael. I couldn’t agree with them more. Let’s talk about YouTube because this ties back to giving value. To me YouTube, all these social medias, it’s nothing more than a platform. Why did you get into YouTube? What inspired you to set up a YouTube channel?
When it came down to it, it’s one of these things where people ask, “How do I become a speaker and how do I become X? How do I become Y, Z, coach, consultant, trainer, writer?” The thing is you do it. You start to do it. I have this concept that I talk about all the time, MIA, massive imperfect action. For me, nothing’s perfect ever because you could think it is and show somebody and they’ll prove you wrong really quick but they could show somebody else and think it’s the most amazing thing on Earth. Literally, I had that awakening to me. I was wanting to help, inspire, do all these things. A friend of mine, his name is Alex Ikonn. He has a company called Luxy Hair where they’re doing seven figures a year killing it. They’ve got three-plus million subscribers now.
Do they have a YouTube channel? I’m a subscriber.
Yes, they do. I’ve become good friends with him and he was like, “You need to get on YouTube.” On my birthday September 4th, 2013, I put my first video up and put one video up a week. It was that each time I do one of these podcasts, each time I would do a YouTube video, each time I talk, I got better. I got more confident. I got clearer and I find that the clarity and confidence doesn’t come from listening to podcasts, it doesn’t come from reading books, it doesn’t come from any of those things. Those things can help give you an awakening and give you ideas but not until you execute. What I’m doing now in the coaching and consulting world or speaking, it was zero on my radar. I would have a heart attack in high school to talk in front of my class of ten kids. People say follow your passion. I know that I’ve even said that in my past and it’s total bullshit because the reality is this was not my passion. It was not on my radar, it was not something I would have been, “That’s what I needed to pursue.” It was something that accidentally happened with people seen my work and then they said, “How can you train me?” I was like, “I don’t know. You can spend a few thousand dollars and spend a day with me.” The irony is that that was my spike.
In video, my sweet spot was the same day edit. I shot at a wedding that day and showed the video that night and the company still does that in a lot of events and workshops and conferences. Then when it came to what I know my company, Jumpstarters, it came from the fact that these people who I spent one day with, went on to build six-figure-plus companies from that one-day interaction, yet I went so far off the beaten path with people telling me to create a course and do this and do that. Step by step your information on how you help them. I don’t know how I did that. I know that I went through stuff but it was so personal that I’m thinking, “How would I package that up and sell it to thousands?” Not to say that could never happen, but I only did that with twelve, fifteen people and 98% of them had amazing success.
Once I decided I wanted to do this, I started looking for people to help me. They all dragged me down the ditch. It wasn’t anywhere near doing any of that. You don’t want to talk to people you don’t want to call people, you can’t leverage your time doing that. Although those things could be very true, that person sometimes giving that advice is because they’ve already had 5,000 one-on-one coaching clients. They’re so sick and tired of coaching people one-on-one that they’ll tell everybody that one-on-one is the worst thing on planet Earth. Yet I needed to go through that process to then either get to that point and know I don’t want to do that anymore or to also gain that clarity, gain that confidence in my ability to even help people because I thought they were flukes. I thought they were accidental, but I did that in video production. I kept hustling and doing it. Even when people wouldn’t pay me, I’d do it. When I went to this other route, I thought, “I got smart people now, I’m paying attention to them.” Those smart people, now I learn on certain levels aren’t potentially as smart as they may be positioned to be.
They’re very good at looking smart.
Not all. I’ve made some incredible friends and they’re incredible people out there but I do find that there are a lot more people who paint a great picture online, but what you see isn’t what you get.
Unfortunately, a lot of startup entrepreneurs and beginning entrepreneurs, they can’t tell the difference. For someone with experience, we talk to somebody you can see the way that they think or talk if this person has depth 100%. I always to talk to guys who can talk about that, but if you ask a few penetrating questions, you know this guy has depth. I love talking with people who have a lot of depth, a lot of experience. Usually, those guys are not afraid to talk about the failures and mistakes because chances are if they are incredibly successful, they have a lot more failures. People don’t ask but if we ask, usually they’re very open.
I don’t know if you found this but I found that some of the most successful entrepreneurs, business owners are also not simultaneously the loudest. There’s always an asterisk. There’s always that fine print. What I found is the louder and prouder and more flamboyant they potentially are on all social media platforms of how amazing they are, they’re self-proclaiming how amazing they are and all that they do that when you get to that word depth that you’re talking about, it’s not there. It’s all marketing on the frontend. When you go deeper, there’s nothing there. There’s no substance. I’ve seen that play out in people either with Facebook ads or different people that I’ve hired with companies.
The louder they were online publicly, then when I got in there, I’m like, “You’re not even delivering the results that you’re claiming,” or yes, you did that but this person had an email list of 450,000. That little tweak made a huge difference for them. Then when it comes to helping a smaller one that won’t have the same impact but simultaneously you don’t even know how to help them so it’s like you’ve forgotten where you came from. Some of my friends who make the most amount of money, you don’t even know you probably experience that same thing.
Truth About Success: Clarity and confidence don’t come from listening to podcasts and reading books; it comes when you actually execute things.
It also depends on the business model. If the business model has to sell some products or software that they don’t necessarily need to be the spokesperson or the personal brand for the company, those guys are very secretive. What we do, we have to be more in the spotlight because we got to promote our personal brand. That’s a different thing, but you’re absolutely correct. It’s interesting your comment about following your passion is bullshit because I totally agree with that. A long time ago, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine who’s an international sales trainer. He’s very successful and he goes to all these big companies and trains the sales guys. We were having this conversation and I was asking him and talking about following your passion. He said, “What I love to do is stay home with my kids, watch a basketball game and eat my pizza. The problem is, I don’t think I can get you to pay me to do that. That’s my passion. Before I can do that, I need the role in training and then speak to these corporations and make money so I could have the free time to do that.” It’s a lot of that.
I love that and hopefully, he talks publicly about that because that’s where things get hidden sometimes, we put up these personas. Not that he doesn’t love what he does but there is that reality sometimes where there’s this fine line of writing. I love hanging out with my wife and going out to the movies, that’s a passion. Doing this stuff and fired somebody up, getting them excited, getting them to take action and be able to live a life where they get to do, they love it and they enjoy it but it doesn’t mean it’s everything. That’s where we get confused sometimes. It’s acting, this thing stares us exactly in the face and yet we’re going everywhere else but that. It’s like, “We’ll follow that and that will make you all this money.” There are a lot of things where people are not going to turn it into an income. Stop trying to be fed this, “Follow the passion,” thing.
I spent ten years meditating trying to find a purpose.
It’s not going to happen. This is the thing. That’s why I joked earlier about what has happened in someone’s prior five or ten years. We had a guy once who for ten years was dabbling in a production company and never making much money. He was going down all the wrong path because everybody’s telling him, “Do this. Nothing was aligning with him.” We spent the day together. Within five months, he got a $50,00 contract. The guy had never made $5,000 in ten years. He had jobs he didn’t enjoy, all these things but he had a foundation. He built the frame of the house and he did a lot of the hard work ahead of time to know, “I want to do this. I want to do this and I want to do this,” but yet he knew it inside. I asked him, “What would you do if you didn’t need money?” In the world of potential business ultimately, not like, “I’d stay home,” or whatever. He said, “Poker runs.” The interesting thing is poker runs are these boat races, but nobody told him he can make money with boat races. They were telling him to film commercials, film weddings, film this, film that. None of it was in alignment with him.
How much effort, how much imperfect action are you going to take toward something you don’t want to do at all? If I get 30 weddings, I want to blow my brains out. If that’s what I’ve got to do because some mentor or coach or something online told me I got to do it, I might go through the motions. It’s like a rocking chair. It’s not moving forward, it’s just moving back and forth and it’s not making progress. For him, it’s having that ability to have permission that he could go after that. He took MIA. He goes, “Those three letters changed my life.” He reached out to 200 Poker Runs in the United States and Canada and it was a numbers game. They didn’t all reach back then that was what allowed him to get a $50,000 contract, then a $10,000, then the $8,000. Now he sends me pictures of boobs and boats. He made quick progress because he already put in an effort.
He didn’t dream about it in his house every day and looked at pictures and visions and everything else. He had taken action. That’s what’s so important and that’s the difference between “overnight success.” This happened in 90 days for someone. They had a great foundation that allowed the right person to come into their life with the right information and the right mental shift to have that quick turnaround, versus taking the plumber guy who’s been a plumber for 30 years and now he’s going to be a Facebook Ad Consultant in 45 days in pulling in $10,000 a month client. You show me that person and that’s awesome, but that is such an anomaly human being. They had nothing on marketing, nothing online courses, no personal development, nothing. They have just been banging nails and doing that for their whole life and then they take a course online and in 45 days, they’re getting ten $10,000 clients and making $100,000 a month. That is not happening.
I always use sports metaphor and martial arts metaphor because I’m a martial artist. It only happens in the business world. It’s funny how this works. No one in the sports world says, “I want to be a champion. I’ll just go to a two-day training, a two-day boot camp and I’ll be a champion.” No.
Do they say Michael Phelps trained 365, seven days a week every year?
That’s with someone who has talent and skill. That’s something I learned from my mentor, that people don’t practice or they’ll take an online course 30 days in and then they expect this miracle and then this success. That’s not how it works. Business is no different. I always believe business is the most competitive sports out there on the planet because every single day, every single hour, someone’s trying to kick your ass. Someone’s trying to take market share. Someone’s trying to take your customers. Someone’s trying to copy your ad. Whatever that’s working, someone is trying to kick ass.
Truth About Success: Some mentor or coach moves you like a rocking chair: you’re not moving forward but just moving back and forth.
Once you’re out there, once people see you’re getting great results, it’s game over for you if you’re not innovating, if you’re not moving forward, if you’re not shifting your game. Otherwise, you’ll get run over. I remember in my production company back in the day, I go to the meeting back in 2006 and these guys were light years ahead of me and they’ve been doing it for twenty years. Then three years later, I’m speaking at their event. They’re like, “How are you getting more than $2,000 and we’d have to give our whole studios away? I’ve been doing this for twenty years.” Time doesn’t matter if you’re doing the wrong thing or you’re doing the same thing for twenty years. It’s no wonder it doesn’t work anymore especially now.
If we think about entrepreneurship, by definition it’s about innovating. It’s about thinking outside the box. It’s also the needs in the marketplace that people may not be aware of. It’s not about cookie-cutter three-step to that, five-step to that, this blueprint, that roadmap. It’s not about that. It is about getting out of the box. It is about creating different solutions. Michael, with the YouTube channel, you’ve been doing this for some time now. How has that affected your business?
It’s fascinating because there have been a few things that have been huge for me and for Jumpstarters. One was YouTube but also interestingly enough, Facebook ads have been huge. Simultaneously, being in front of other people’s audiences like this. What I found even now versus when I started, it’s much more important now to collaborate than it’s ever been especially if you start YouTube or whatnot now, it’s getting so saturated. You’ve got to be so crazy out-of-the-box sometimes to now be normal. I walk with my grandpa in the morning at the mall when I’m in town and stuff. Interestingly enough, you didn’t watch TV shows with people cursing. They didn’t do any of that stuff, that would have been sacrilegious. I know ten-year-olds who curse and it’s okay. My brother is ten years younger than me and says some curse words, it’s so funny. If I said anything, I was like 22 or 23 still around my parents, I wasn’t too good. My brother is saying these things when he’s fifteen and it’s no big deal. Everything is shifting.
To be sticking out now, it isn’t do something a little bit different and now you’re like, “Oh my gosh.” When I started a production company back in the day, I got a DVD from my mom and cleans houses. Now you can go and there are 300,000 videos online. Everybody’s going into courses and books and automation and non-customization and personalized and specific. It’s like, “Let’s take it and scale it to the moon.” I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. For me, I’d rather have more high-end clients or less per se clients that I can go deeper with and get a transformation or a result. I’m not saying it’s bad again for anybody who does this but for me, I see it as much more self-serving even if the stuff can be transformational to sell 50,000 copies of whatever. More than likely, 98% will never go through and get a result.
Taking perfect action.
The owner of it can say, “That’s their problem, not mine.” That’s true and I’m not saying don’t sell it but for me, less and less people are going through it, going through the eBooks, going through these things. If you’re not already known, how can you stick out? It’s either beyond audiences of other people and become friends with these types of people or go deep and get real massive results for people. Through that, things will spread and then people yourself will go, “I need to talk to Michael Gebben or I need to talk to this guy,” because you went deep because it’s harder to do some broad strokes thing now and stick out. For me, it’s to go deep, get massive results with people so those people talk and share those results on places where people are listening.
If I go to my Facebook page and go on Facebook Live twenty times a day, it doesn’t mean I’m getting in front of any new people, putting up YouTube videos even now, putting them up consistently. That used to be a thing. Our friends I’m talking about, Alex and Mimi Ikonn from Luxy Hair, all they had to do was put up consistent content. That was it. Nothing else. It could be good and it could be not so good but if you were consistent and you started 2009 or 2010, people still can blow up now but it’s not the same. Recognizing these patterns in the market and being able to shift and bob and weave and evolve in and do things a little different than what everybody else is doing. If you’re a carbon copy of everyone else, good luck.
That’s what I’ve even found out about you. You talked about being a personal brand in these things is that everybody’s being taught to throw logos on their site and to do this and to do that, and that gives you credibility and X, Y, Z. The thing is that everyone is doing it. Who do I trust? How do I know this person is legit? I talked to five other guys who looked and sounded and smelled like you. How do I know? Having this ability to be able to offer and do things to get someone a result, the results-driven marketing and business in all industries right now, it’s short of widgets. You’re selling something for super cheap like those spinner things that came out or whatever. They’re super cheap things that when it comes to a service, that should be giving someone a result. How can you give it to them so that they can see that this is real and not a bunch of smoke and mirrors?
I’m more about the higher-ticket model, charging more money, serving fewer clients and giving them good results. I totally agree with that. That’s why I don’t have courses and all that. I don’t even believe that. We’re all on the same page for sure. It’s interesting because with YouTube, maybe I’ll share a quick backstory that when I started three years ago, I’ll take some speaking footage that I have. I have these files, I’ll put them on YouTube and see what happens. Nothing happened, first of all. It took me the first hundred subscribers. I was getting my friends to subscribe. I had two Google accounts and I subscribed to myself trying to get a couple of people. It was bad. The first 100 was hard.
The first 1,000, it took me six months or something. It was hard. The first 1,000 to 10,000 is hard. I had one video that went viral that within 30 days, it got over and now probably 150,000 views within 30 days. It’s a martial arts video. It went viral and now people are asking, “Dan, you’ve got a video that went viral. How did you do that?” I’m like, “Did you see how many videos I’ve made? I’ve made 500 videos and more until I had one that went viral.” We’re close to 30,000 subscribers right now. In the last 30 days, I had over 5,000 new subscribers. Before, I was getting maybe 1,000 new subscribers per month. Suddenly, that was a big jump. I tested new things and maybe also now we’ll have enough videos on YouTube, the algorithm or whatever, something is working. I don’t know what but something is working because of that.
Truth About Success: Entrepreneurship is about getting out of the box and creating different solutions.
The keyword there is the consistency. That’s what so many people give up so soon on. It’s that consistency. They put up five videos and it’s like, “It’s not working. Such and such said put up videos and tag them in this way, titles and then I win.” If only.
The same thing with the podcast when I started a few years ago. My friend, James Martell, helped me put this together and advised me on how to do this. Day one, he asked me, “How many shows do you want to do?” I said, “I don’t think about that.” He said, “Good, because if you’re going to go into this, you want to do this long haul. You don’t want to be five episodes and say, ‘Forget about it.’ No. If you’re going to commit, you commit.” I have been doing it for a few years and he’s exactly right. The first probably ten or twenty episodes, there’s not a lot of traction. Now, all the traction comes and I’ve had more traction from the last ten episodes than a lot of the episodes before. I can see the momentum building. If I would have said, “Forget it, I’ve done twenty episodes. This thing doesn’t work right now,” then you would have given up and I’m sure.
I’m sure the same thing with your podcast here as well.
Same, 100%. People don’t take enough MIA, massive perfect action, or they give up too soon or they’re doing it for the wrong reason. This I love because I always tell people I have this platform almost as an excuse to interview and talk to have these great conversations with all these entrepreneurs. I would pay to do this.
The people who helped me also get on a bunch of the shows. What’s interesting after I started doing this, I was totally blind to the fact that the actual cake, let’s say it’s a cake here, you get the icing and other stuff in the middle. The cake itself is this, me getting to interact and meet new people. The icing on the cake is the fact that whatever happens when you air this thing, that’s wonderful. I’m finding that the meat and potatoes is me being able to meet and connect with the host more than it is, whatever happens after the episode goes live. A lot of times that’s back to how we see life, how we see things. When you see it through the wrong lens and filter, you take something that can be working well but because you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or you thought it was supposed to be this or that and it’s not.
I had my video production company that I had lost a passive income business because it wasn’t exactly how the gurus were telling me it was supposed to be online. I sabotaged the whole thing and it lost it. That’s one of the things that I help people do the failures of mistakes that I had gone through, that I’m seeing a lot struggle with. One of those things is sometimes you have something that is great right in front of you but because whoever has painted a picture that that’s not the right thing. It’s not this amount of money. It’s not online. Mine was offline and I had a video production company where I had people in place doing everything for me making money, and yet I was naïve. I was still I’m pretty young. I’m 30 and I was 24, 25 and I wasn’t mentored by anybody so I was accidentally falling into all this. The thing is people are doing things for the wrong reasons, which then lead them down paths that are wrong for them.
It goes back to self-worth, that they don’t believe their vision, they didn’t believe in their own ability sometimes so suddenly someone said, “You should do it this way.” “Fine, I’ll do it that way.” Although you said you have something that’s working perfectly fine but maybe it’s not good. I could have some something better. All these things.
Everybody’s looking for fast though. They’re looking for quick fixes and because they’re doing things for the wrong reasons and the gurus know how to sell fast and do this and do this. Then they get the money and then it doesn’t work fast for maybe their situation. They give up because they don’t want to put in that effort. Neither I or neither you or probably 98% of the people who you’ve had on your show would be where we are if we hadn’t put in the effort and put in the time and put in the 500 videos to get to the one video that blows up.
I’m now more mature. I’m 36. I’ve been in business since high school now. I look at that as a plus. I like the fact that this is a bitch because new people come in. You’re going to make 500 videos. That’s going to eliminate 99% of people.
The reality is it’s a billion times harder because the barrier to entry is so low from a financial investment typically for most businesses that every Dick and Harry on planet Earth can get into it. I believe they’re dropping as fast as it is or getting into it. I’ve been selling since I was a little kid. I had a paper out when I was ten. I had a canning machine business in high school. I’ve always been selling. When I hear somebody who’s been your normal Joe, nothing against them and not that they can’t do it, not that they can’t make transitions, but it’s not as easy as people are making it sound. They get into it and they’re losing because they’re better off being the second to some main person, the seller, the entrepreneur than they are being the entrepreneur themselves.
Truth About Success: When you see things through the wrong lens and filter, you’ll end up using them for the wrong reasons.
I ask all my guests this deep question. If you could travel back to one of your startup days and have a five-minute conversation with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with intention of saving yourself mistakes and headaches, what would you tell yourself?
I’m doing right now this ability to have self-awareness and clarity about how Michael Gebben is wired, recognizing my strengths and weaknesses, recognizing what areas to focus in and what areas to stay away from. For me, I’m a people person. My one buddy says to me, “Michael is making money when his mouth is moving.” I spent my beginning years in video production, technical, shooting, editing, “Let me buy another camera. Let me learn how to edit better, shoot better.” I thought it was all about all those things and when I finally recognized it wasn’t and I started focusing on business, it’s still not even personal development or mindset. I just started focusing on the business side of things. Things got better but in the last three years, I still went down. I didn’t recognize it before and people weren’t helping me recognize it so I went down in the coaching consulting area and went down the same area, which was letting others influence me into thinking I should do X, Y and Z when it was against my wiring.
I was doing technical things that I would procrastinate on endlessly and not do because it wasn’t me. We could sit here and talk. I know we’ll have to end soon but we can sit here and talk for the next two or three hours and have a ball, but people weren’t telling me to do that. They were telling me to not pick up the phone and talk to people, to not meet people, to not interact with people. For me, if I don’t have that component, I’m losing. In life, I would tell the twelve years ago me to focus on people. Do not do technical things. Leave that up to other people who love that because one person’s blessing is another’s curse. For me, I have a blessing and a curse. It’s mostly blessing but it is the gift of gab, this ability to talk. When I would talk to people in my company, they would see the passion and they would feel that. Now, I recognize the power of that. I stay in that role. If I stay in that role, I’m winning big. If I get out of that role, I’m losing it big.
I call that your brilliance. We all have that. If you operate most of the time in your brilliance, things will be fine. Share with us any final thoughts and your contact information if our audience wants to learn more, if they want to subscribe to our YouTube channel or learn more about your work.
I’ve got all of my access on a simple page. I’m big on giving before taking and there are all sorts of ways to be able to connect. TakeMIA.com, which stands for take massive imperfect action. TakeMIA.com will have the ability for people to connect with all the different social platforms or whatnot, by my YouTube and everything there as well. There’s an ability to take an assessment. It’s the first step. This is one of the biggest things that I wish I would have had somebody to do a call with a long time ago because I had taken different personality assessments but they always spit out a document. Essentially maybe you make some sense out of it, maybe not. For me, I had a call with a personality consultant that was able to go over one of these assessments back in 2014 and it was life-changing. That’s one of the components that we use to go deep and help people identify those sweet spots form. There is the ability to take that assessment there on that page and other ways to get in touch.
That’s the best way to contact me but any closing words would be there are a lot of people colluding us on this show giving advice and saying things and trying to inspire and trying to give tips and tricks. The biggest thing that’s helped me personally and the people that I’ve been able to see some big personal breakthroughs with is to recognize that a lot of times with a lot of people, if they’re not self-aware enough, the advice is coming from a place that we don’t see others as they are. We see them as we are. If you start to look when people say things, even yourself, you go, “I can’t believe why is that person doing that.” It’s because you would do that. You don’t like that. What I’ve found sometimes when people are given advice, it’s typically what they would do, not what they would do if they were you. It would be if they were you and they were still them. Not if they were you in your brain, in your mentality, in your situation. That’s been the big shift for me even my life recognizing when I’m giving advice and opinions, am I giving both sides of the coin? Am I giving what I may do but also try to come from the place that is who they are? What I might do is not what they should do because how they’re wired, they’re going to lose big trying to do what I do in that situation.
It makes a lot of sense. I’ll wrap up with a quote from Bruce Lee, “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is essentially your own.” Thank you so much, Michael. It’s been a blast. We should do this again. It’s a lot of fun. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
About Michael Gebben
I’m a small town boy who finished high school but didn’t continue to college. It was a personal decision I made but don’t get me wrong. Education is very, very important. I just believe that learning shouldn’t end in school and in my case, I had big dreams and felt in my heart that I had to give it a try. I was driven to achieve those dreams in any way possible even when some people told me that I would need to have a college degree to become successful.
Regardless of the obstacles and criticisms that came my way, I continued to pursue my dreams. My journey started from a small beginning. I didn’t fly anywhere till I was 22 but as I kept going, I discovered a whole new chapter of my life. I got to travel the world & go to places and hang out with some of the most successful people on the planet.
I’m blessed to enjoy a lifestyle now where I get to spend a few quality hours with a man full of wisdom and insightful thoughts- my grandpa. One of the biggest things he’s taught me is the biggest regret in LIFE you’ll have when you get older is the things you did not do or did not try.