Mike: [00:00:05] Hello and welcome to episode four of the How To Become A Personal Trainer podcast. In this episode, what did we discuss, Jordan?
Jordan: [00:00:10] First of all, is it already upset for episode four? Wow. This was probably my favorite episode yet, to be honest with you.
Mike: [00:00:16] Same.
Jordan: [00:00:16] I’m really excited. And just so you know, the first thing, before you listen to this, in this episode — not gonna tell you where — in this episode we announce the winner of the individual who won the free month in the Fitness Business Mentorship. So, not going to tell you who just yet or where, but that person is in there. So, make sure you listen so you can claim that free month and we’re going to do the same thing again.
Basically, if you enjoy the episode and only if you enjoyed the episode and you share it on your Instagram in your Instagram story and tag both Mike and myself, then you will be entered to win a free month in the Fitness Business Mentorship, and we will announce that in the next episode.
But, so what did we talk about other than that?
Mike: [00:00:56] We talked about the movie 300, which is about 12 years old, but we both recently watched and has some lessons that we have started to implement in our lives as a result.
Jordan: [00:01:07] That was– and it’s not just about– we’re not talking about the fighting or how jacked they are. We’re actually, it was a tremendous movie and we’re really excited for you hear that, hear that part, because got into some really, more or less a deep, meaningful discussion, which ended up playing a big role later throughout in the podcast as we talked more about your coaching business and doing the right thing and not focusing on the things that are more impulsive and maybe pleasure based, which a lot of people might try and– try and sell you on to get into their coaching systems like, “Hey, we’re going to teach you six figures in 60 days.” Like, much more about how to structure your coaching business in a way that is in line with your values as a coach.
Mike: [00:01:43] Yes. We also talked about online coaching business systems. We talked about program design. We talked a little bit about what can go into your new client assessment that will make your life easier and your clients results better down the road.
Jordan: [00:02:01] The single most important question that you can have in your client intake form by far, for sure.
Mike: [00:02:07] And we told some good stories about mistakes we’ve made and uh, things that I think that you are really going to enjoy.
Jordan: [00:02:15] Yeah. And especially if you’re struggling with creating your own coaching systems, I– for the first time ever, I told the story of how I screwed up massively and what I had to do in order to recreate my online coaching systems so you can hopefully avoid the same mistakes.
Mike: [00:02:30] Enjoy the episode.
Jordan: [00:02:40] What’s up, Michael?
Mike: [00:02:42] How are you?
Jordan: [00:02:43] Dude, I’m great. I’m really excited about this.
Mike: [00:02:45] How’s that coffee?
Jordan: [00:02:47] It’s better that you made it for me, so thank you.
Mike: [00:02:49] That’s true. When people make things for you in life, that’s just, that’s a thing.
Jordan: [00:02:53] Well, especially when, you know, I asked for coffee and you’re like, I don’t want coffee, but you made it for me anyway. It was very nice. I appreciate it.
Mike: [00:02:59] Of course. I know you would do the same thing and have many times.
Jordan: [00:03:02] And this is only McDonald’s coffee, but it’s actually really good.
Mike: [00:03:05] McDonald’s makes really good coffee.
Jordan: [00:03:06] I was surprised the first time. I didn’t think I was going to be this good, but it’s very nice.
Mike: [00:03:09] Yeah, it’s tasty.
I’m in an excellent mood because the Minnesota Vikings just won their wildcard playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.
Jordan: [00:03:18] I was nervous going into this. I was on the way here ’cause it was like two minutes left and it was tied up and I was like, “Oh man, if they lose, this might not be a good podcast.”
Mike: [00:03:29] What I did was I put myself– knowing that we had this on the calendar for right after the game because, and by the way, that’s a great discussion in itself about having, like, time constraints with content where you know that you have to do something, but I put myself in the mindset of where seven point underdogs, we’re absolutely going to– we’re being the Vikings. I’ve been a Vikings fan since I was a baby. Like, my grandpa used to take me to games literally when I was less than one years old.
Jordan: [00:03:54] That’s amazing.
Mike: [00:03:54] But, I was like, “we’re 100% going to lose this game and that’s okay. And there’s always next year and whatever happens happens,” just so I would be in a good mood for our podcast. And the Vikings somehow won in overtime, so I’m absolutely thrilled.
Jordan: [00:04:09] Just over the moon. That just set you up for success ’cause you’re like, “you know what? We’re going to lose.” So now if they win, it just comes out even better and that’s awesome.
Mike: [00:04:18] It’s managing expectations.
Jordan: [00:04:20] I love that. I love that. Yeah. You were like, “dude, I just– I was almost puking during the game.”
Mike: [00:04:25] I was so nervous.
Jordan: [00:04:26] “Cause I’m not a sports fan, like, I don’t care as much about that stuff. I like individual sports, fighting, stuff like that.
I’ve never been a team person, but like, you were like– and Gary obviously, you like– being with him for three years, he’s just such a huge Jets fan.
Mike: [00:04:40] It made you understand it better.
Jordan: [00:04:42] Yeah. And gave me perspective. ‘Cause he’s so over the top for the Jets that like, I don’t think you’re at that level for the Vikings.
Mike: [00:04:49] Correct.
Jordan: [00:04:50] But, like, if I had only seen your level, I’d be like, “wow, that’s really high.” But Gary is like way higher, so for you it’s like, okay, this is actually pretty normal.
Mike: [00:04:59] Especially coming from someone like him who isn’t like, he isn’t someone who spends 40 hours a week watching all different sports and all different teams. He’s all in on his mission in life, but then also has this subset.
Jordan: [00:05:16] Which is actually a pretty cool thing because he works insanely hard. He’s up at five or six in the morning, goes to bed at midnight or one, whatever it is, and he works all day, every day. But he still is able to figure out ways to have time for stuff that’s not work-related. And like where a lot of people think that, “Oh, if you’re grinding, you don’t have any time for anything.” Whereas it’s like, no, it’s like when you’re doing it right, you can work really hard when you’re really all in, when you’re not just half and half out. It’s like when you’re all in on something, then you’re really putting in that amount of work for three or four hours, whatever it is, then you can spend time doing actually what you want to do and not lose your entire life because of it.
Mike: [00:05:51] Yeah, that’s absolutely right. Speaking of Gary, I was in Florida, uh, over New Year’s training Gary, and one morning I got a text from you that was like, “dude, have you seen the movie 300?”
Jordan: [00:06:08] Was that when you were in Florida?
Mike: [00:06:10] I believe so. Yeah, yeah, I was in Florida– when we spoke on the phone about it, I was in Florida.
And uh, and I hadn’t– no, it was when I was in Minnesota because on the plane ride from Minnesota to Florida, I downloaded the movie– bought it on Amazon prime and watched it on the flight. And– because I had not seen it since it came out in theaters and I didn’t understand a lot of the themes at the time. I mean, you can give background on the movie, but it blew us both away.
Jordan: [00:06:40] I think it came out in 2006, I believe. And I was a freshman in high– or sophomore in high school, I think. What year did you graduate high school?
Mike: [00:06:48] 2005.
Jordan: [00:06:50] Okay.
Mike: [00:06:51] About there. 2006 or 2007, it came out.
Jordan: [00:06:53] Yeah, it came out. And I remember the first time I watched it I was a really young kid and I just loved it because I was really getting into fitness at that point in time and I was like, “wow, those dudes are shredded,” and it was a lot of fighting and like war stuff and I thought it was really cool. And that’s all my memory recalled of that film. And then a couple weeks ago, I don’t even remember why I decided to watch it again, but my girlfriend was working, like– ’cause it was during the holidays and so, and she works in cosmetics, so it was like really late at night. So, I was like, ah, whatever, I’m gonna watch it. And it was a pretty short movie and it blew me away about the imagery and the messaging and the more philosophical meaning behind it. And then I called you and I was like, “dude, you got to watch this.”
And then you downloaded it and flip and watch it on your flight from Minnesota to Florida. And that’s what we wanted to talk about at the beginning of this– sort of just discuss that because we didn’t even really go into too much detail talking to each other about it. I think it’d be a cool discussion to have, mainly just because that movie was so good with how they drew imagery in their characters and throughout the discussions and just through the whole– throughout the whole process of the filming of the movie and the way they portrayed it, that it’s literally changed my life in the last two weeks.
Mike: [00:08:16] It’s insane.
Jordan: [00:08:17] So what did you think about the movie, like from your perspective?
Mike: [00:08:22] I remembered it– the only thing I remembered about the movie were cool effects and a bunch of fighters with abs, and the 300 workout was a big thing in magazines at the time. And so, I remember doing– I don’t remember what it was, but I know for a fact I attempted the 300 workout
Jordan: [00:08:40] It was like CrossFit style stuff, right?
Mike: [00:08:42] I want to say it was 300 reps in a workout of various movements, like a full body workout.
Jordan: [00:08:48] Got it.
Mike: [00:08:49] Um, and that’s all I remembered. And what you had said to me was basically, there are themes in this movie that you and I have discussed over the last two, three, four years together and gotten better on and improved as individuals, and have been making headway, but through watching this movie, because of the imagery, because of the way that the directors created these characters, and through the scripting and through everything about the movie, it made those lessons infinitely more profound than multiple years of reading about them or watching videos about them or even discussing them together.
Jordan: [00:09:39] Yeah, so and I would say for anyone listening, if you wash it a long time ago or I’ve never watched it, watch it again because I want to bring up some points now. Things that like really hit home with me. Just watch it again because I really think. I mean, I can tell you personally, it legitimately changed my life, but just so you can understand where we’re coming from and discussing it, definitely watch it again when you have a free 75 to 90 minutes.
For me, I think one of the best parts about it was– so you have Leonidas, who is like the King of Spartans and just this very noble warrior, this very noble King who is raising his son to be a noble man, to be a strong man, to help protect his, country and his people. And he’s leading these 300 elite warriors into battle against just millions.
Just seemingly as though like there’s no possible way, and he’s okay with dying to do the right thing. On the other hand, then, there was another character in it who I believe was actually originally from Sparta, but he had a lot of, uh, disabilities essentially, where he couldn’t– I think the biggest thing was that he couldn’t hold his shield up high enough to protect the other Spartans.
And that was one of the main messages in the movie, was that every Spartan warrior doesn’t just fight for and protect himself. Their main job is to protect the Spartan on either side of them. Which is really in and of itself a great message, just like getting chills thinking about that. The job of a warrior isn’t only to fight and protect himself, but to protect the warriors on either side of him with their shield. And because of his lack of strength and because he had some issues, he couldn’t actually lift his shield up to protect either one.
Mike: [00:11:16] And there’s a scene where Leonidas gives him a legitimate shot. He tells him to hold the shield as high as you can.
Jordan: [00:11:23] And actually, even going to that scene, he was like, “show me your how good you are with your spear,” and his spear was very strong, very precise, deliberate, and he’s like, “wow, that’s really impressive. Now show me what you can do with your shield,” which shows on one hand that he could attack very well, but he couldn’t defend well enough because you couldn’t get a shield up. Which was like, you don’t only need attack, you also have to be able to defend. You also have to keep people safe, not only just go on the, on the rampage, right?
And because he couldn’t also protect his fellow warriors Leonidas was like, “listen, I can’t have you during the fight because it puts other people in danger, but you’re more than welcome to help afterwards to help people recover.” And he got really upset. He was like, “no, absolutely not.” And he left and then he went to King Xerxes who they’re fighting in the battle.
And Xerxes was basically like asking him to tell him the only way to defeat the Spartans, “show me where the hidden passage way is that I can defeat them. And if you do this for me, I’ll give you everything and anything you desire in life. All of your hidden pleasures, all of your desires, all the money, all the women, all this stuff. All that I need you to do is tell me that and bow to me, these two things.”
And within that saying he says, not only– he says, “Leonidas requires that you stand, I only require that you kneel.” And so, between that and saying, I’ll give you all these pleasures in these desires, all these things you want, just tell me this. He does it. And then as the Spartans are about to be killed, Leonidas looks at him in the face and he says, “I hope you live forever.”
Leonidas is about to die, which is just unbelievable imagery and messaging here, just on such a deep level. I just want to let you take it here, like, so you can talk now.
Mike: [00:13:08] I completely agree. I mean, we talked about this a little bit and we’re on the same page. What really strikes me about that scene is many of us– I think fear of death and recognizing our mortality is a big thing for most humans at one point in their life or another, if not for a significant portion of their life.
But to see this individual okay with dying because he knows he is doing the right thing; to have that much belief in his values that he is living out and embodying to the point where he is not only willing to, but okay with dying for them and to set that against him wishing that this other– like when you think you can live forever, that sounds like an amazing thing, “I get to live forever, like, I don’t want to die. I can live forever.” He wishes that upon– I don’t remember the–
Jordan: [00:14:11] I forget his name, as well.
Mike: [00:14:12] But um…
Jordan: [00:14:13] The guy who betrayed them and who sold them out
Mike: [00:14:15] Yep, and who got him there because a life, an entire life– 100 years, 500 years, an eternity of living in this state of seeking and gratifying impulsive pleasures is so meaningless that after a certain amount of time he will be miserable. Like, he would rather be dead.
Jordan: [00:14:41] And you can even see in his face, he already was. As soon as the Leonidas said that you can– I wish you live forever–
Mike: [00:14:48] You can see in his face that he doesn’t want to live forever.
Jordan: [00:14:50] He regrets it immediately. Even though he knows because of this, he will have all of his desires, all of the money, all of the women, everything that he wants.
He doesn’t like it. And he feels awful about it. And I think the point that you brought up actually, when we spoke about it briefly, that blew my mind and I loved, was that in the movie they portray it as two separate individuals — as Leonidas and this other guy. But the way you presented it, that made me think, like, made my head spin was like, this is really– it could be their way of saying, each of us has both of those individuals inside us.
We have the individual inside of us who wants to do the right thing and who knows what’s right, who knows what’s morally correct and ethical and all the right things. And we also have the individual inside us who wants the more impulsive pleasures, who wants the things that are– the money or the desire from other people or whatever it is. And is often willing to sacrifice what is right in order to do what is impulsively pleasurable in that moment.
And it’s not that they’re two separate individuals, it’s that you have to constantly fight and battle to bring out the best in yourself in every situation. And that might be the meaning of life, right?
Mike: [00:16:04] It very well, may. Every situation, every day. It actually reminds me of something that you say related to fitness, which is to make the decision that will make you proud. And that’s almost always the harder decision but think of your future self.
Something that I have used with clients and that I’ve used with my own personal nutrition is I think about how is this going to make me feel 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours from now, and I base that, not exclusively, but in part I use that to make that decision.
So, we both just really recommend going back and watching that movie. Especially because of how much more we gained the second time around.
Jordan: [00:16:51] Yeah. And it’s been one of those things where, in the same way that with fitness, I say, make the decision that will make you proud.
That phrase has carried over into all aspects of my life. But I’ll tell you this, the imagery of that, we’ll call it a creature, the creature inside each of us that is more willing and easily to persuade for the impulsive pleasures. They did such a good job of making it look so grotesque and so sad and so pitiful. There’s a word in Hebrew for it, they call it “misken.” It’s just like this very, almost more or less like disgusting creature that’s inside each of us. We all have it. It’s not something that only some people have.
I think that some people allow that creature to hold so much power over them. When in reality, we all have the ability to choose what is right and we all know what it feels like to do what is right. We are always– when you get that feeling of being proud of yourself, when you do the thing that you’ve been procrastinating on, when you do the thing that you know that you didn’t want to do for fear of hurting someone else, when you do the thing that you know is right, even when it’s the most difficult.
That’s the feeling to chase in any and every situation, and it’s always, basically always the harder one. It’s always the one where you have a delayed gratification, where you don’t get immediate– and we can see this in business, right? Where it’s like people are doing the quick fix for the more money immediately. Like, okay, you know what? Well, you know, “I joined this ‘mastermind,’ whatever it is, and it’s like they’re telling me that I should be promoting my business this way,” and trying to say that I should say these words or these phrases or whatever, in order to get more people to sign up so I can make more money even though it doesn’t feel good in your gut.
Mike: [00:18:31] That’s the best. Like, trusting that initial gut instinct is almost always right.
Jordan: [00:18:37] Yeah. So, I think definitely, definitely watch that movie and pay attention to the imagery and see how it makes you feel and let us know what you see from it, if you see anything else.
Is there anything from movie you wanted to discuss? Anything else besides that?
Mike: [00:18:52] One thing that just came to my mind: when you compare the set of values between Leonidas and the creature, or even Leonidas and Xerxes, really. Not only does pursuing impulsive pleasure make your life worse– like, you become less happy, you become a worse version of yourself, but it also– collectively as a society, we can’t continue to live good lives if the whole of us go down that path Like, if the majority of people are pursuing impulsive pleasures, like, society will collapse. Because things like work ethic, things like honesty, these are values that are embodied by Leonidas that are necessary for happy, healthy people, even here in– you know, that was obviously set many centuries ago, but even in the year 2020 and beyond.
Jordan: [00:19:59] Yeah. You know, as you were talking about that, something that I thought about was– and I think this is really good imagery on their part was how the 300 men, the 300 soldiers, going up against millions of others.
The 300 men were more than happy– or more than okay with dying fighting for what they knew was right. Whereas the millions of others, none of them were happy. And they were– when they’re actually fighting one on one, the 300 were always winning. They would always win no matter what they were– they did what they were trained to do, what they were meant to do, what they knew was right in their heart and their soul.
Whereas the other ones, they were– they weren’t fighters. Like, they were there because they were, they were promised something. They were promised these impulsive pleasures, they were promised these riches, they were promised the best life. So, “go here, do what we have to do in order to make this happen so you can live your best life.”
It’s like, well, hold on. Just because someone’s telling you that this is going to lead to your best life doesn’t actually mean that.
And you usually know that in your gut.
Mike: [00:21:06] And even just because you think that having more money, more accolades, more fame, more uh, an easier life. Just because you think that those things will make your life better doesn’t mean that you’re correct.
Jordan: [00:21:23] Yeah.
Mike: [00:21:23] In fact, those specific values probably will make your life worse.
Jordan: [00:21:28] Yeah. And I love the imagery of 300 versus millions. Just like, for many reasons, not least of which being, there might be many around you who are encouraging you to do the wrong things, and you would have to be that one, that like the 300 relative to the millions, that one relative to so many others doing the right thing and be okay standing out from what everyone else is doing.
You should be okay listening to what you know is right. You should be okay with knowing that you’re making the right decision, not because someone else is trying to coerce you into it, but because it’s what more– it’s morally and ethically right for you. And you know that there’s going to be good for yourself and your family and your friends and your followers on social media.
Not because there are many other people in your group or in your life, whatever. It could be a spouse; it could be a family member who is encouraging you to do something that doesn’t feel right for you. And there’s a lot to be gained from understanding that many around you might not get your mission, might not understand your purpose, and that doing what you know is right in your heart will always lead to a better outcome.
Mike: [00:22:37] And that voice exists within all of us.
Jordan: [00:22:40] 100%.
Mike: [00:22:41] And that’s what many would call a conscience or intuition or many other words for it. But you’re exactly right because everyone listening here has faced the external pressures from people in their lives to do something different than what they believe to be right.
And having the courage and conviction to listen to that voice, even when it might ruffle feathers amongst the people around you is going to have a massive benefit for you.
Jordan: [00:23:12] It actually, it makes me think about us when we first met. Because when you and I first met, I remember vividly– and to this day, like, very rarely do I come across someone who I know will understand how hard I work, why I do what I do.
We have so many values that we share, that I had never met anybody like that up until that point in my life. And even when I first met you, I immediately thought, “well, this guy doesn’t get it. Like, he’s not like– he doesn’t understand what I’m doing,” and I immediately had a defense up, mainly just because I had never met anyone else in my life who was similar to me in that sense, in so many different ways.
And I think that that’s– when you do meet the people who are on the same wave length, you know it and it clicks and you, like, most people will not be on the same wavelength. Most people will not. Which is one of the most amazing parts about social media and podcasts and– ’cause you will get, you find, you create that environment with the people who are on the same wavelength, which hopefully this podcast does for you.
It will put you in an environment of people who have the same values and same morals and want to help you do the right thing. We’ve seen it in just the reviews of the podcast already. People being like, “there’s been no other podcast or resource that has been giving advice or discussion around the same type of values that we discussed, the same type–” which most business-type podcasts are more about how to make more money more quickly, not how to be a better individual, be a better coach for the people who need it.
Mike: [00:24:43] Yeah, that’s absolutely right.
What were the initial– because we’ve talked about this a little bit– was one of the first things that made you think, “Oh, we’re, we’re aligned in the way we do things,” the replying to new email subscribers individually?
Jordan: [00:25:01] From aweber, right? Yeah. You want to tell that story?
Mike: [00:25:04] I don’t even remember how or when we both realized that we were doing it.
Jordan: [00:25:09] I don’t actually remember how we did that either, but–
Mike: [00:25:12] When– every time someone would sign up for my email list on my website– this was probably starting in 2013.
It was starting in 2013. I didn’t have an automated, you know, an email service like an aweber or like a MailChimp like I do now, but when they would sign up, I would get a notification and then I would write them an email and I would attach my lead magnet, which I had no idea that’s what it was called, but the Beginner’s Fitness Guide, the free PDF that I would send to collect emails, and I would email the individual.
It wasn’t even copy pasted. Like, I would write them an email and attach the thing and say, “if you have any questions, let me know.” And– oh, I think this is how it happened, because in 2013, in 2014, and even before that for you, we both had conversations in our inbox with new email subscribers where we would go back and forth for 10 or 12 or 15 emails just talking to a new subscriber, like paragraphs about helping them out with their fitness questions.
And I remember when, for some reason we were working, I think it was at my apartment, and–
Jordan: [00:26:25] Yeah, right at the counter.
Mike: [00:26:26] Yeah. And we were looking back to emails from 2012-2013 and it was like, “wait, you did this?” I was like, “I did this!” And then I pulled up my computer and we were literally both looking at when we had–
Jordan: [00:26:39] And it was so similar. The email is so similar.
Mike: [00:26:42] The email and then the conversations and the reaction and the response from the other side was, “Oh my gosh, I can’t, like, you’re not charging me.”
Jordan: [00:26:50] “I can’t believe you’re emailing me.”
Mike: [00:26:51] Like, “is this, this is really you. That’s amazing.”
Jordan: [00:26:53] I think in a world where so much of what’s sold for business is automation– and that’s what we’re going to talk later about is how to set up your online coaching systems a little bit, but so much of it’s sold for coaches who want to build an online presence is, “automate this, automate that, make this like so it’s so easy. Make this so like it’s all just cookie cutter. Make this so you never have to spend much time on it. Make this so you can work on the beach.”
Mike: [00:27:20] “So you can make six figures on passive income and you can sit on the beach,” but, not to take us off track, you don’t want to sit on the beach 24/7/365 because that is literally– within three weeks of that, within a month of that, you would be bored. Like, we need–
Jordan: [00:27:39] Within a week for sure.
Mike: [00:27:40] Yeah. You need meaning in your life. So, gratifying those impulsive pleasures–
Jordan: [00:27:45] No, it’s exactly it. It’s– in a world in which so much of what is sold is “automation, never work, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.” You and I both found out at the same time that we were both doing the exact opposite; that we were going out of our way to email each individual– not with a copy and paste and–
Mike: [00:28:08] And not with a sales pitch on the back end.
Jordan: [00:28:10] No sales pitch, not expecting them to buy our coaching program.
Mainly just because we were so appreciative that they were signing up for our email list. And also, to be fair, I didn’t know that there was such a thing as an auto-response. I didn’t know that that existed, but it didn’t matter. Like, when every time someone signed up: personal email, discussion, “how can I help you?”
Not a coaching pitch, not a sales call, not a free, like, what do they call it now? I see this on Instagram all the time, they’re like, “we’re gonna have a free discovery call”, or “we’re going to have a discovery call where we find out like what you’re doing and how I can help you with my coaching program.”
It’s like, no, let me just help you.
Mike: [00:28:50] With no expectations.
Jordan: [00:28:51] And it’s so funny because so many of the reviews on the podcast already– which, by the way, if you’ve done that huge thank you. They’ve been tremendously helpful and we really appreciate it.
Mike: [00:28:59] They’re helpful and they’re meaningful. I like hearing that feedback.
Jordan: [00:29:03] 100%. So many of them already have been based around– what we’ve already spoken about is how it’s hard and how it’s difficult and how it’s not going to be easy and how you have to put in a lot of work–
Mike: [00:29:15] Building a coaching business.
Jordan: [00:29:16] And so much of the responses have been, “thank you for being real with us and thank you for being honest and thank you for doing what no one else has done.” Which I think leads to another really good point, which goes back to the 300 discussion, which is: people appreciate it when you tell the truth and when you do the right thing.
It would be– I think it would probably be relatively, somewhat easier to, from a– actually, it’d be easier to sell, for example, our mentorship; it’d be easier to sell our mentorship if we were promising six figures in 60 days and like automated systems and all that stuff, people would be way more likely to buy that.
Same thing with fitness, people are more likely to buy– you sell them rapid fat loss, like abs in 30 days, whatever it is, but people appreciate it when you tell them the truth. And that’s where I think that it goes to show that no matter– whether you’re doing fitness, whatever it is you’re doing, doing what you know is right, because people are going to appreciate it even. Even if it’s harder.
Mike: [00:30:13] And even if it takes much longer for you to build what you’re trying to achieve, it’s going to feel better doing it the right way and it’s going to lead to a stronger, bigger base.
And what I mean by that is when someone gets an auto-response email– and there’s nothing wrong with auto-response–
Jordan: [00:30:36] At all.
Mike: [00:30:36] We both have auto-responders. But when someone gets something that crushes their expectation, they’re probably going to tell someone.
Jordan: [00:30:46] Absolutely.
Mike: [00:30:47] When their friend or their aunt or whoever is asking for fitness help and they said, “I just joined so-and-so’s Inner Circle, email list,” whatever it is, they’re going to tell that person about it, and that word of mouth that happens organically will build a really strong group of people with similar values who will support you and will buy from you, even if that’s not your initial intention.
Jordan: [00:31:15] That actually brings up a whole separate point. For example, I think one of the more common questions that I get about businesses, about ads, Facebook ads, how to run ads, and for me– and I know we talk about and this in the Mentorship a fair amount, and we had a whole course on it, but basically like–
Mike: [00:31:28] Do you want to real quick, just, I don’t know if we’ve explained what the Mentorship is.
Jordan: [00:31:33] Let me– yeah, let me say this part and then we’ll talk about the Mentorship because I think this is really important is going to help people.
A lot of the questions that I get about building a business is “well, how should I run ads?” And I’m always like, ads are great, and they work very, very well, but a business based on referrals is way– I would say it’s, I don’t want to say better, but I say it builds a stronger foundation than a business built on good advertising. Because a business built on good advertising relies on having the income to fund more advertising to fund new “leads,” or as someone else might call them, “people,” “human beings,” I hate it when– “oh, you want to get more leads?” “You mean human beings? Who have, like, a family and, like, are trying to help raise a family and do the right thing?”
Leads. I hate that.
But whereas if you have a business that’s built on referrals, it means it’s built on doing the right thing. It’s mean it’s built on probably a smaller number of people who are more loyal to you and trust you because you’ve done the right thing with them and I– both of us, Mike and I have built our business off of that. Now we’ve both used advertising, but, not until our online businesses based off of referrals got to a point in which we could then fund the advertising.
Not to mention neither of our businesses come remotely close to relying on advertising at all. It is– a very small percentage of our business uses advertising where the vast majority uses word of mouth.
Mike: [00:33:09] And the majority of advertising historically that we’ve done– so, especially early on, the little bit of advertising was getting free, valuable educational content to a slightly bigger audience. It wasn’t advertising to convert to a sale. It was actually dollars that don’t directly come back to you, but come into helping you build a bigger referral network.
Jordan: [00:33:39] Yeah. I think some of my first ever ads were literally just– ’cause from 2011 to 2015, my main content was website articles. My ads were just getting my articles in front of more eyes.
Literally just, I remember I had one article, which still does very well for me, which is basically just all about– it’s like my article on fat loss, my article about essentially exactly how to figure out how many calories you need, how to structure your calories, whether you’re going to do a jab deficit or Hail Mary deficit, whatever it is.
And I knew it was such a well written article and so informative that people really needed it. And I would just literally put that in a Facebook post and I would put money into it. I’d put like $100 into it a month, and that was when like– $100 is always a lot of money, but when you have way less income, it’s even more, and that was at a time when $100 for me was like, that was serious money. Like I was– I did not have a lot of extra income. It was like if I didn’t have that $100, I’d probably be like on the fence of being able to pay rent.
So, I would do that, but every single time I did that, the amount of people who would reach out, who would find me for the first time through finding that article was insane. Just, and it– so many people when they try and do ads, they’re like, “okay, well how do I use this ad to convert to an online coaching client?”
When in reality, you’d probably get way more clients from an ad that is focused on helping them rather than an ad trying to trick them or convince them, which is– you could almost use them interchangeably, right? It’s like, “well, how do you structure this ad to get them to sign up for my coaching program?”
It’s like “trick” and “convince” become very close in that sense, right? It’s like, I would much rather have them, of their own accord decide, “you know what? I would like to hire them as a coach because of the great content they have,” rather than trying to “convince” them into being an online coaching client from this ad.
Mike: [00:35:26] And for reasons that we’ve already outlined, I believe that to be true. But I also think it’s true because the type of people who will sign up for your coaching based on an advertisement and a need that they have, not knowing anything about you, compared to somebody who’s followed your content for a little while, or even just came across your content, but gobbled it all up within a week and has spent literally 15 hours in a week reading your stuff, and then signs up for coaching.
That person is more a fan of yours and is going to, on average, and in general be a better client.
Jordan: [00:36:05] Absolutely.
Mike: [00:36:06] Whereas the person who you convert from cold traffic or whatever we want to call it is going to come in with a different outlook of who you are, a different– they’re coming from a different place, and I’ve just coached enough individuals to know that the former is a much more enjoyable and a much more successful coaching relationship.
Jordan: [00:36:36] I just want to clarify: I laughed and Mike said, “convert from cold traffic,” because every “business mastermind” person always uses these terms, and there’s nothing wrong with these terms, but one of the reasons that Mike and I started his podcast is because our businesses have, thank goodness, done well, not because we’re good marketers or advertisers or business, but because we’re good coaches.
And I think that’s what we want to help people with. That’s what we to help you with. We want to help you be a better coach because when– and actually someone brought this up on my Instagram the other day, someone said, “do you feel pressure to have a great physique based on the influence that you have and the job that you’re in?”
And I said, “not at all. Zero pressure,” because I built my business not based on my physique, but based on my ability to communicate with and help other people on my coaching expertise. And I think a lot of coaches get anxiety about building a business because they don’t know how to build a business. But when you focus on what you do know, which is coaching, a business will come as a result of it.
When you are a great coach, you will build a great coaching business oftentimes from that referral base. But when you are an “eh” coach and you’re trying to build a great coaching business, often using business tactics and methods, that’s when oftentimes you’re going to feel a lot of anxiety because number one, you know you’re not that rude of a coach and you’re going to feel like you’re a fraud for trying to sell people things that maybe you don’t even fully understand; and because you know, you’re doing things that you’re– instead of focusing on what is right, you’re focusing on different ways to try and make more money. And I think it’s important: making money isn’t bad, making money can be a wonderful thing, and the more money you make, the more opportunities you have to help more people, to employ more people. Nothing against making money. It’s the difference in how you make your money and what feels right for you.
If your sole focus is to make more money at the expense of being a great coach, that might not be the best thing. But if what you’re trying to do is be a better coach, so you can help more people and then make more money and then even help more people, now you’re going down a really good path.
Mike: [00:38:48] Yeah. Money’s a tool.
Jordan: [00:38:49] Exactly.
Mike: [00:38:50] It exposes your values.
Jordan: [00:38:52] Yeah. That’s exactly right.
Mike: [00:38:53] And you can use it– you can use it for others, you can use it for yourself, and I wouldn’t even judge someone’s use. But to say that it’s inherently bad is simply incorrect.
Jordan: [00:39:04] I agree. I agree. Yeah.
Mike: [00:39:06] And to clarify, another reason that we started the podcast is because the conversations about movies like 300 that I have with Jordan on a regular basis, we both thought that there’d be value in people listening to them. And hopefully. You are enjoying and taking something from that part of these episodes as well.
Jordan: [00:39:27] Yeah. And I’ll, I’ll be very forthright– and I said this on Instagram, I think right around the new year, right before maybe– I think it was Christmas Eve actually. ‘Cause I’m Jewish, I don’t celebrate. Christmas. I was just walking around and it was a beautiful night in New York, and I said on my Instagram story, I want to talk more about myself and share a little bit more about myself, which I’ve been trying to do slowly.
It’s scary. It’s a scary thing to share more about yourself. Especially in this climate and not like weather climate, I mean more like political climate. It’s scary to share more of your morals and ethics because there are so many people– no matter where you stand, there will be people who directly oppose you on the most opposite scale possible.
But I’ve gotten to a point where what I believe to be morally and ethically right in my values, I’ve gotten to a point where it’s like, you know what, I’m okay with my business taking a hit for showing people more about myself and what I believe as opposed to staying silent and hiding what I believe, because it feels better to be truthful and honest and open than it does to stay silent for fear of my business getting hurt. And like, that’s something that I just recently came to that realization, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to have these open conversations with Mike because it’s doing the right thing for me to talk about what I believe to be right rather than to stay silent for fear of somebody leaving.
Mike: [00:40:53] I think that’s amazing. You know that I’m completely on the same page with you and it’s also something that I’ve struggled with personally, which is– I actually have always had an easier time sharing about myself on social media, on YouTube, primarily because when I make the content, I’m by myself and I’m not really thinking that anyone’s going to see it. And then when I look back at it, I’m like, “man, I said that and I put it on the internet. Like, that’s insane.” Like, I wouldn’t say that to them. My parents, I wouldn’t have those conversations.
It’s harder for me to have those in person with certain individuals than it is for me to just one-on-one talk into a camera.
I forgot where I was going with that. Completely lost my train of thought.
Jordan: [00:41:42] Talking about how doing what is right in terms of like–
Mike: [00:41:47] Oh yes, but there are still–
So even though I– that comes easier to me and I feel like it has historically been a strength of mine to tell the truth and be honest and to not tell lies. There’s still subjects that I intentionally avoid out of fear of offending others that I’m excited to potentially start talking about more with you in general.
Jordan: [00:42:18] Yeah. I am as well. I am as well. And I think it’s time, like, it’s time to not be scared of saying what you believe, right?
Mike: [00:42:26] Yeah. Absolutely.
Jordan: [00:42:28] So yeah, hopefully everyone listening enjoys that– those conversations–
Mike: [00:42:31] Enjoys, that as well as– because that paired with the, not only business discussion, but coaching-focused discussion is going to be really fun for me.
And I think– and from the feedback that we’ve heard, really enjoyable for you guys as well.
Jordan: [00:42:49] Yeah. And so– oh, to just actually answer, “what is the Mentorship, like what is this program?”
The Mentorship is– so we did one year of it, all right? So, we did one year and we did the first year, it was a test to see how it would go. ‘Cause anytime you start something new, whether it’s a new training program and a new nutrition program, a new whatever, you know that you’re going to do some things well and some things that you can learn from.
So, we started the first year and it was a huge success. We’re actually unbelievably happy with how it went. There were a large number, a large percentage of people in there. How many people did we have the first year? What was it, a hundred?
Mike: [00:43:21] A hundred people.
Jordan: [00:43:22] A hundred people signed up. And it was extraordinary to see how many people grew– not just grew their business, but became more confident as a coach in terms of seeing their content production, seeing how many more people were engaging with their content, were following them more excited for their content, and to see how that resulted into a more impactful and meaningful business that helped more people.
So, the Mentorship, what we do is essentially sort of the same thing that we do on this podcast, but in a different format, which is to try and help you become a better coach number one.
We have 12 courses that we made throughout the course of the last year. Each one is, I’d say at least an hour and a half, right? An hour and a half, if not two, two and a half, three hours maybe, on program design and nutrition and psychology and content and social media.
Uh, everything. Basically everything– creating online coaching systems, which is what we’ll talk about later today. Basically, everything that we could do in order to help you improve as a coach and help you build a business that is not only good for your clients and good for them, but also good for you and your family.
The improvement that we realized we needed to make was that even though we had these courses, we were lacking what was necessary from a monthly, almost call it a to-do list or like a monthly program. We’d have the courses with all the information, but not enough, “here’s precisely what to do this month.”
Mike: [00:44:46] Yes. How to make it more straightforward for coaches to take the information and put it into practice.
Jordan: [00:44:53] So what we decided to do going forward, and we’re officially– we’re going to start on February 1st I believe, right? That’s when we start. So, we’re going to launch a little bit before that.
Basically every month you’re going to have a new “program,” and each program will give you essentially what your targets are that month, what we want you to focus on in terms of whether it’s content, maybe it’s in terms of website, maybe it’s on social media, maybe email, maybe it’s podcast, maybe it’s about how to become a better coach.
One of my favorite assignments we did in the mentorship the last year was program design– was just getting everybody to design a program based on sort of a fake person that’s very realistic, though. Karen was her name. And it was basically figuring out how to design a workout that she needed and a nutrition protocol that she needed.
And this was so helpful for people to create their own systems that actually worked. And we’ll talk about that in a second, but– so that’s what we’ll do: every month you get a new– not only access to all the courses that we have and our Instagram guide and our nutrition guide, but every month you have a new program: “here is what you do.”
Because in the same way that your clients every month, they get excited and look forward to a new program so that they know the new exercises they’re doing, how many sets and reps, they’re excited for the new program, we want you to get excited every month for your new “program,” so that you know exactly what to do that month, how many days a week, how many times to do it in order to, over the course of a year, two years, three years, five years, build the business that is most impactful.
Mike: [00:46:25] Yeah, and the livestreams are one of the things that I enjoy most about the Mentorship. Just being able to answer questions live with everyone and go back and forth and dig into more detail on certain subjects.
Jordan: [00:46:39] Yeah. So that’s it. If you want to check it out, you can go to: fitnessbusinessmentorship.com.
Again, we’re gonna launch near the end of this year, so in about two weeks, by the time this comes out, and we’re going to start February 1st. Is there anything you want to add to that, Mike?
Mike: [00:46:57] No, I think you actually covered it very well. You know, we’ve talked on the side and I guess I’ll just say very briefly here that you, I think, convinced me to take– like we had talked about the Mentorship for a long time before we actually did it.
And over a year of planning and going back and forth about it. And my biggest hesitation was the following: I have always firmly believed that I can help anyone get healthier, lose body fat, get stronger, feel better, improve their physique, like to the core I’ve known that. And I wasn’t always positive that I could do that with business and with helping somebody become a better coach.
And I, in my mind, I thought that there were certain people that maybe couldn’t succeed to the same extent, we’ll call it, on social media or whatever that limitation was in my mind, it existed. And the coolest thing about the first year in the Mentorship for me was how many people disproved that. And you kind of– you know, I was maybe 70% there when we started the Mentorship as far as believing it, but seeing the results of the growth in audience and coaching businesses that so many people grew, like, it showed me that the same principles that exist in training and nutrition that lead to progress also exist in business. And even though I have been executing on them myself with my own business for the last seven years, I didn’t even realize the principles were there. Like, I was acting it out without really knowing it.
And so, this year has helped me recognize those and become better at teaching them.
Jordan: [00:48:49] That’s actually a good point ’cause I think one of the main concerns that you voiced to me was you’re like, “dude, I don’t know business.”
Like, we joke about he didn’t know what the term “lead magnet” meant.
Mike: [00:49:01] We put on a seminar and there were 20 people in the audience, and Jordan said– this was in 2017 you and I were sitting up there together and you said– you put your hand up and said, “how many people in here know what a lead magnet is?” And every person in that room put their hand up. And I looked at you and I said, “Bro, what’s a lead magnet?”
Jordan: [00:49:22] This is on a stage in front of like 20 people who traveled across the country to watch. Actually, we had one person from Spain, right?
Mike: [00:49:27] Yeah. Macro Wizard. Alberto, he’s a great dude.
Jordan: [00:49:31] He’s a really good guy. That was so funny.
Mike didn’t know this term.
Mike: [00:49:36] And everyone started laughing and it was, you know, self-deprecating and a little bit endearing, but you then were like, “dude, you have a lead magnet. It’s the beginner’s fitness guide.” And I actually– did you catch that I use the term “lead magnet” tonight.
Jordan: [00:49:51] Yeah, I did. I did.
Mike: [00:49:52] It stuck with me.
Jordan: [00:49:54] But it goes to show that– all right, so Mike was concerned about not being able to coach business because you didn’t know these terms or these words, but it’s like, that’s what I love about what we do.
We help people build a better business through being a good coach. Whereas most “business masterminds” focus on building your business and they don’t even care if you’re a good coach. They don’t talk about client psychology and motivation. They don’t talk about program design. They don’t talk about how to individualize nutrition.
They don’t talk about any of that. They’re just like, “here’s how to get more leads. Here’s how to structure your Facebook ads so that you can target the people who make the most money so you can charge high ticket coaching.” It’s like, you don’t even know if you’re doing a job coaching.
And so that’s what I love about what we do because building the foundation of a successful business is predicated on being a great coach.
Mike: [00:50:52] Being a great coach, and helping people get the best results possible because that is the core of longevity. If you want to do a cash grab with a brand and make as much money as you can in six months or a year and completely burn your audience and burnout as a result of that, cool.
Maybe you don’t have to be an amazing coach and you can just implement certain tactics, but if you want to be around for a long time and be able to help people and help more and more people and grow over time the foundation of it has to be rooted in good coaching.
Jordan: [00:51:29] 100%. So, with that being said, should we talk about coaching systems?
Mike: [00:51:35] Let’s do it.
Jordan: [00:51:36] Okay.
Mike: [00:51:38] So this was– we were brainstorming an idea for this episode and kind of what exactly we wanted to talk about and this was one that you mentioned that we both have talked about before and so I’ll let you start.
Jordan: [00:51:52] So, for me, a lot of people, they say, “well, I don’t know what systems I should have.”
And I always ask, “what do you mean by systems? Like, what is ‘coaching systems?'” And they don’t know. They don’t know. Like, “uhhhh,” like, they don’t know what that means. They don’t know what the word is, “Well, I just don’t have any system set up.”
So, for me, I think the number one thing that you have to do is figure out what exactly it is that you’re doing, right?
Because so much anxiety about starting a business, coaching business, comes from the ambiguity of not knowing what your program is. For me, the number one thing you have to do is you have to make a list of what your clients can expect from you and what you will expect from your clients. There is no right or wrong here — and this is really important to remember — because it’s YOUR business. You set it up however you want.
I think that one of the best things that I did– and this was at the suggestion of JC Deen when I first started, was creating that list of expectations that your clients will have for you and expectations you can have for your clients.
Now, this can take any number of forms. So, for example, one expectation that your clients might have from you is: your clients can expect that you’ll respond to their email within 24 hours every day. That might be one possible expectation. It could be 48 hours; it could be 12 hours. When I first started coaching, it was 3 hours, and then very quickly I realized that probably wasn’t a good idea for my sleep patterns, but I literally did that at first.
And then from there you can say your clients can expect one new program every single month. Your clients can expect to– if you don’t want to do the email every day, you could like, your clients can expect a weekly check in email from you every Sunday, whatever it is. What they can expect from you. And now you can start to design your coaching “systems” through expectations.
That’s really what they are. What can you expect from your clients now? You can expect that your clients must check in with you every day before 10:00 AM their time, whatever it is. Or your client– you can expect that your clients give you a check-in email every Monday by 5:00 PM, whatever it is. Or you can expect that your clients will be fully and truthfully honest with you about what they eat every day; how many calories, how much protein, their macros, or if you’re not doing that, whatever method you follow.
By creating this bullet-pointed list now you have something to go off of. From here I’d say one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making is, “well, should it be a 12-week program? Should it be an 8-week program? Should it be a 4-week program.” I’d say, let’s flip that because when you say that your program is only going to be 4 weeks or 8 weeks or 12 weeks, it creates a deadline.
It creates a day at which it all stops. A day by which it ends. And that’s how I started, I started by having a 12-week coaching program. But what I realized was people would go very strict for those 12 weeks because like, “okay, it’s a 12-week program, so I’m going to crush it for these 12 weeks, and then when I’m done, then I can do whatever I want.”
And it created this warped mindset that I didn’t want for my client’s success. Because when they see that there’s this deadline, this finish date, then they’ll do what they’re not going to do forever. They’ll go way too strict, they’ll do things that aren’t necessary, and oftentimes also once it’s over, they’re like, “okay, so we’re done.”
So instead of having a 12-week program, I would say, “you sign on for a minimum X month commitment.” If you’re just starting out people might not be as ready to do that. So, like, we have a minimum 1-month commitment. I worked up to having a minimum 6-month commitment, right?
So, you could do anywhere between that, say a minimum 3-month commitment, for example, and after that we go month to month until you decide to cancel. And if you get to a point where you’re like– if after the 3 months you hate me, you never want to talk to me again, cool, then you cancel. If after the 3 months you love me and you want to call me a family member, we keep going, whatever it is.
Either way it’s a minimum commitment, not a 12-week program or an 8-week program, because that inherently has a deadline in it, a finish date in it. So, if there’s one thing that you– two things is: create the expectations for both of yourself and your clients and don’t structure it as a certain time limit program, structure as a minimum time commitment and then after that they can go month to month.
Mike: [00:56:18] Yeah. I think you– those are two unbelievably valuable pieces of information that people are going to take from this and be able to put into practice right away because alleviating the unknown around that allows people that take action with moving their business forward.
Jordan: [00:56:38] Yeah. And it’s not– I think when people hear “systems,” they think some type of fancy equipment, fancy software. It’s like, no, you don’t need one of those online coaching softwares– and we could talk about that if you want, that might be a good discussion to have. You want to talk about it?
Mike: [00:56:56] I have one thought before, but we definitely can.
The one place my mind goes to with online coaching systems is around program design because it is something that I morally and ethically struggled with for a while because I wanted to prove to myself in this world of cookie cutter crap, in this world of, you know, multiple multimillion Instagram follower, people who run one-on-one private coaching businesses have been outed as having their assistants running them for them. Like, all these scandals going back in the last 5 to 10 years have bubbled up; people selling custom made programs where they literally have one program that everyone gets
Jordan: [00:57:48] It’s unbelievable.
Mike: [00:57:50] It pushed me to the exact opposite end of the spectrum. And so, when I started coaching, I made an agreement with myself that I was going to design every single training program that I ever made from scratch. And I did for a number of years, literally started with a blank document and designed every single pro– because I was so tied to not wronging someone. And I was so tied to wanting to deliver maximum value and giving the best possible experience and I’m so happy– I probably didn’t need to do that for as long as I did, but I’m really happy I did because it made me so much better at program design, it made me understand the nuance of things like total training volume, of things like pairing certain exercises within a session, how to design different programs based on the frequency or the number of days per week that work for a specific client.
And the more you do anything coupled with trying to get better at it and learning, you’re going to get better at the thing. So, I’m really happy I did that.
I got to the point where I had 60 or 70 really good training programs that hit a very diverse population. Two days a week, three days a week, four days a week, five days a week, even a couple of six days a week strength training programs. For athletes, for gen pop, for someone with knee pain, for someone who just broke their finger but still wants to lift, and I would save them under the, the title of “3x a week, intermediate, broken finger,” obviously that’s a nuance most people aren’t getting, but I’ve coached at least five people who broke a finger, and now because I spent so much time designing individual programs, and, I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands I did, but I got to the point where I had x number of very, very good programs that I now use as the base of designing a program.
So instead of taking hours to design a single program, it’ll take me maybe as little as, as 8 to 10 minutes or in certain situations as long as 30 to 60 minutes to design a program. But that’s still much, much less time than it took before and the end result is a better program.
Jordan: [01:00:40] Yeah.
Mike: [01:00:42] So on the topic of systemizing, designing a lot of programs is going to lead to you having different templates that will serve in the future as the base of your program design.
Jordan: [01:00:59] There are two things I want to hit on from that, ’cause it’s such a great point.
I think when a lot of people hear “templates,” they immediately go, “okay, so I should make templates.” And it’s sort of a backward way of thinking and the way you did it is how I did it and how I recommend everybody do it, is that you don’t make templates that you’ve never used. You make programs first for individuals, you make sure that they work, you actually try them out and you do individualized programs for each individual one by one. Over time– and by time, I mean years of hundreds and hundreds of programs, you will now start to see recurring patterns and tendencies. You will see what works for the 80% of people, that there doesn’t need to be much variation. Then you save those templates based off of your experience as a coach, not creating templates based off of what you think you will need.
Mike: [01:01:57] That is 100% correct. Because the time that you would spend a hundred hours making templates for fictitious individuals, 1) might not be that effective, and 2) you could be using that time making content or becoming a better coach or doing other things that will be more valuable.
Jordan: [01:02:14] And I can hear people– ’cause I’ve heard people say this where it’s like, “but it’s just going to take so long to start programming for people one on one.”
It’s like, “yeah, it takes a very long time.” To this day when I do my Inner Circle programs, it takes me about an hour and a half to do the programs every month, just for my Inner Circle. It’s a very meticulous process that– because with that, a lot of people say, “oh, that’s a cookie cutter program.” It’s like, “yeah, so in some sense it may be even harder because I have over a thousand people that I have to make sure this is doable for everybody.”
Mike: [01:02:47] Mmhm, and every progression, every regression, build in, think ahead.
Jordan: [01:02:52] That’s exactly right. And I only have that skill from doing the design– designing programs for literally hundreds and thousands of individuals before I could make that or have that knowledge to do it.
Mike: [01:03:04] Designing it for those individuals and then coaching them and then watching their form videos and then interacting, talking to them, hearing how this worked or this didn’t work, and then making adjustments based on that experience.
Jordan: [01:03:16] The other thing I wanted to talk about– and you almost just went over it so nonchalantly, it’s so important: you said, you have a three times a week, a four times a week, five times a week, sometimes a six times a week. You have to remember: it’s your coaching program. Which means that, so for me, for example, I have a two times a week program, a three times a week program, and a four times a week program. That is it.
I do not coach people with five times a week or six times a week, not because they don’t work, but because I don’t know how to program that effectively, because I’ve never done that and I never spent much time doing it. So why in the hell would I be okay with giving someone a program that I have never studied or have known how to do very effectively?
I’m very good at two times a week, very good with three times a week, and exceptional with four times a week. That’s where my specialty lies. And when a client comes in and says, “I want to train five times a week, six times a week,” I’m like, “if that’s what you would prefer, totally fine. I recommend you find another coach, but I guarantee you, if you give this a shot for one month and you follow my program four times a week, you will love it, you will see the results, and you’ll want to keep going.”
I’ve maybe over the course of the last eight years have had two or three people say, “okay, I’ll find another coach.” The vast majority have said, “okay, I’ll give it a shot, and they loved it.”
Mike: [01:04:33] And that’s a giant fear of most coaches is, “in many situations, if I don’t meet my clients’ demands or expectations that they will go another route,” and I’ve been there myself. And it’s simply not true because you are the expert and your client or potential client is going to trust you almost more when you disagree with them, because it just shows your conviction in what you know.
Jordan: [01:05:04] Yeah. And it’s not the fact that you’re disagreeing, it’s how you’re disagreeing, right?
You don’t want to come at them aggressively. You don’t want to say like, “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” You should be very kind, obviously, but there is something to be said for standing your ground and doing what you know is right. People will always respect that.
It also comes across in how you approach them with it. If you are a very stuck up, arrogant person who’s like, “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” then yeah, you can expect them to come back and be very rude. But I think one thing that I struggled with is when someone would say, “I’d prefer to do six times a week.” My initial gut response was, they’re coming at it maliciously. But I think one of the greatest quotes, and I’ll butcher it, is “never attribute malice to what is more rightly ignorance,” is what I think the actual quote is. Something to that effect.
Most people are not trying to be malicious with what they’re saying. Usually they’re just ignorant in the sense that they don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re not trying to be bad or mean or whatever, they’re just trying to– they don’t know what they’re talking about.
And when I was able to say, “okay, that person isn’t trying to say that, well, I’m wrong, or I don’t know what I’m talking about. What they’re really saying is they want to train six days a week because they think that’s just going to be better based on the little knowledge they have,” then I could structure my response to be like, “hey, listen, I know that’s what you want. If that’s definitely what you want, I encourage you to find another coach. I can refer out if you’d like, but try this for one month. If you like it, which I really think you will, then we can continue.” And that was the 99.999% of time that actually happened.
There was something else that you just said that I wanted to go off on. Uh, I totally forget.
Mike: [01:06:41] It’ll come back. To continue on templates:
Templates doesn’t mean that you have 10 programs or 20 programs or 50 programs or however many you have, and you just write your client’s name on one and send it to them. That’s not what a template is. A template is a program that is fully designed and then from that program, you modify it based on the individual client, based on exercise likes or dislikes, based on injury, based on volume is a big one, changing the number of sets and reps, working in mobility, or core or whatever additional work within that workout program.
Jordan: [01:07:30] What they have available to them. Are they working out in a home gym? Are they working out at a main gym? That’s a huge one.
Mike: [01:07:35] Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve actually– I have it broken down, so, dumbbell only, I have a template.
Jordan: [01:07:43] That’s huge.
Mike: [01:07:44] Yeah. Um, maybe not even necessary, but–
Jordan: [01:07:48] Helpful if you get to that point. I don’t have that.
I think– this actually brings up another point where it’s like one of– it’s very interesting to find what are the most common questions that we get about coaching systems.
I’ve always been surprised by this one. This one never ceases to amaze me, which is, “well, how do you keep track of your clients?” It’s like, “what system do you have them in? Like, what lists?” And it’s always been so funny to me because I keep all of my clients in a list separated– in an email draft. On Gmail.
Literally. I just have a list of people and I used to keep it in Excel, but I am really bad with Excel. So, I decided to not do it in Excel anymore because it took more time and it was less trustworthy or less reliable because I would accidentally delete someone cause I didn’t know what I was doing.
So, what I do is I just keep all of my clients- and I don’t really do one on one anymore, but I used to. I would keep them in a draft, in an email– and actually I kept them in two drafts because one time I accidentally deleted a draft with all of my clients on it and I lost them all and I had to go back and what I had to do was I had to go back for the entire month, look at all the programs I sent out, and then get them all back in and in the right place. But it took me an extra two hours in order to get everybody back. So, then I kept two email drafts in case I accidentally deleted one, and fortunately never happened again, and I separated them by week into four different groups.
So I would know not only what clients I had, but I had what week they would need their new program and next to each individual I had how many days a week they’re training and I had what they had available to them in their gym in terms of if they had any specific things they couldn’t do, maybe they had a shoulder injury, maybe they had a knee injury, maybe they had, uh– maybe they were traveling that next going week, whatever it was. Maybe they trained at, uh, they were, they needed more of a hotel, gym style workout. I just had this underneath each individual in bullet points. It was like– so no matter what, every time, every month when I went to design their program, I knew exactly what they needed and I could– if I had a template, then I could go in and change the template based on the individual.
If they’re training at a home gym when all they had access to as a barbell and kettlebells, then I knew I would have to make exercises that were only barbell and kettlebell-based. If they preferred more cable-based workouts then I would do that, whatever it is. But literally just in a draft on Gmail, you don’t need anything crazy.
Mike: [01:10:09] It doesn’t have to be fancy. That could literally be paper and pencil if someone didn’t like technology. It can be a Word document. It can be anywhere where you can track that information because that’s what you’re doing, you’re storing information and having the ability to add to it. So, I do use Excel and it’s very similar– actually identical to what you just described. Meaning I have four groups and every four weeks someone will potentially and usually get a new training program.
And so, each client’s name broken out into four groups, and then I actually have a separate Excel tab for each client and that’s where the information that you store right under them, I’ll store in that tab.
I have a picture of the client, their progress pictures or their first initial photo, and then the same thing that you just listed, the information from the assessment and what training style, what their goals are, and through the course of coaching, any important information I learn, I’m keeping track of in their tab.
It really– there’s no right or wrong way to do it. And I think that’s the biggest takeaway. It is what works best for you to track that information.
Jordan: [01:11:30] Yeah, and I think worth noting, when I first started setting up everything, I did it all on Excel. Because actually– so my first online coach that I hired was Martin Berkhan, when I was 18. I emptied my bank account to work with him because I wanted to learn about what he was doing ’cause everyone on his website was shredded a bit. Now it’s cool, ’cause I see my pictures from when I was 18 on his website.
But I’ll say that was actually, that was a different direction that I planned to go, but if you want to learn how to be a better coach, sometimes the best thing to do is hire a coach that you trust and respect. But Martin, his entire program was on Excel, so I was like, “oh, so I guess it’s supposed to be on Excel.”
So, I made everything on Excel, but I suck at it. And I remember I had everything on there, all my programs, everything was on it. And I remember one day, it was going into my senior year of college, I moved into my new apartment and I just remember being so overwhelmed with having to be in Excel all the time, I was like, “screw it. I’m changing everything over to Word.” And I spent about seven hours just on the floor of my apartment before I had any furniture in there, before– I was on the floor of my empty apartment with my– I got a bed from IKEA and like, I didn’t even put it together yet. I just sat in the corner with my bed from IKEA sitting right in the middle of the floor, just changing everything over.
And I think it’s important to say this because, and I’ve actually never told that story before.
Mike: [01:12:50] I’ve never heard it.
Jordan: [01:12:50] Because the reality is: odds are your first system is going to suck. And maybe it won’t, but it might. And just like your clients are gonna make mistakes when they first start counting calories, they’re gonna make mistakes when they go to the gym, they’re gonna use terrible technique; when you’re making systems, it might not be right the first time, it might not be very good, and it will definitely change as you progress, and your business grows and you help more people. But it’s okay, that’s part of the process.
Mike: [01:13:18] Yeah. You’re going to learn a massive amount by doing and adjust as you go.
This is a good segue into why not, Jordan, just sign up for a company that already has systems for me? It’s not a massive fee, maybe it’s $10 per client, and they already have systems built. And I have two or three or six online coaching clients, their sales pitch says that they’re going to save me tons of time with the systems they already have, and it’ll be a better client experience.
Why not just do that?
Jordan: [01:13:54] It’s a really good question. It’s one of the more common ones that we get. We got that one a lot in the Mentorship, but once we said it, people were like, “oh.” And there actually was an issue, I think, with one of the online coaching programs that people really struggled with. I’ll preface by saying this, I have at least one really good friend in the industry who owns one of these systems.
And I disagree with him. And like, he’s asked me to promote it for him and he’s asked me to– and I love this guy. I think he’s amazing. And I think overall, it’s a great business, but I will never promote it because I very much think it’s in your best interest to have your own systems. It’s not to say that these things are inherently bad, but the phrase that I like to say and sort of build off of is, “don’t build your house on someone else’s lawn.”
What I mean by that is this: when you have a program that will give you all these designs and all of these workout programs and all, like, everything that you need, that your clients will need and supposedly make it all easier for you. I always like to go straight from the first aspect of, which is: what happens if that business goes out of business?
Because that’s what it is. It is a business. What happens if that business goes out of business? Which is a very– it’s a reality. It could happen. And let’s say you start off when you have two to six clients, then you get 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 clients, which would be a blessing, but now their business goes out of business and now maybe you don’t even have a way to contact them because you’ve only contacted them through this website and through their systems, which might have been very easy to use. But God forbid they got a business and they just shut down, which is a real possibility, now you don’t know how to get in contact with your clients.
Not to mention– let’s say that doesn’t even happen. When your clients are signing up for this program to use, they’re putting in their email addresses. And one thing that they may or may not tell you is they have access to all of your clients, which means that they can then send out marketing emails to your clients and you’re essentially– and I’m not saying they will do this, but you never know, you’re essentially putting your clients in a situation which they are now in a situation in which they can be marketed to by another fitness company, maybe ones that they don’t even want to be marketed to by, and they just feel like, “oh, I don’t want to keep getting these emails.” It might be annoying, whatever it is. That’s a whole other separate issue.
Then, another really important one that I think is: they’ve spent a great deal of time and money into making their programs look the way they want to look, their program designs, whatever functionality they have. You can’t really change that. You are at the, not the disposal, but you are limited by what they have available to you, their systems, their software, whatever it is. Whereas if you make your own programs on Microsoft Word, Excel, you can structure them however you want to structure them. You can put whatever videos you want in there. You can do anything and everything that you want and you don’t have to worry about any limitations that their software has. And you don’t know what their software is going to change. You don’t know if they’re going to change the prices on you, you don’t– that’s the whole reason you don’t want to build your house on someone else’s lawn because you are subject to whatever it is they say at any point in time.
So, it will take more time to build your own systems and it might be frustrating, but I guarantee you it is safer long-run to build your own systems that only you have to rely on rather than you also now having to rely on someone else’s business to succeed.
Mike: [01:17:16] Yes. Unbelievably well said. I think you hit all of the points very well.
The one that stands out the most to me is building your house on someone else’s lawn, even though it is a very small chance that the worst-case scenario happens.
There’s a very good book called the Black Swan, I believe that’s the title, written by Nassim Taleb, where he describes, basically, a risk that is very, very unlikely to occur, but the loss when that risk happens is massive. And so even if it’s one in a hundred or one in a thousand– take me and my business, for example, right now: I basically have one revenue stream. Like, the one year in the Mentorships over, one-on-one online coaching is, outside of coaching Gary, who’s my in-person client, I have one revenue stream.
If that was on one of these sites that went under or some scandal happened or something bad happened where I didn’t have control, I would go from making money to literally not making– and, you know, thank God I have Gary, but my business would be at zero and I’d be effectively restarting my coaching business. Even if that’s 1 in 500 or 1 in 1,000, that is a risk that I want to hedge against. Meaning I want to do whatever I can to mitigate that risk.
And especially in an environment where the upside of that coaching software isn’t– you and I would say that it’s non-existent, but some could argue that there’s marginal upside, even if it makes program design 5% easier for you or makes it 10% more time effective, that little edge isn’t worth the potential of a huge loss.
Jordan: [01:19:15] Not at all.
Mike: [01:19:16] And so that’s one of the main reasons why we don’t recommend those programs.
Jordan: [01:19:25] I know one of the things that people ask you is like, “well, a lot of these programs allow us to directly message with our clients and have these direct message systems.” And there’s, I think brings up a good question of well, how should you communicate with your clients?
This has to be under the expectations of what they can expect from you and what you can expect from them. I can tell you from personal experience you do not want to have them communicating with you via text, via messenger, via the message system that they have on this website, via email, you want one form of communication. Because if they’re contacting you all over via text, via calling, via Facebook, via Instagram, via Snapchat, and they’re asking you questions everywhere– a couple of things. Number one is: you’re going to lose your mind. And it might work with 2 clients or 5 clients or 10 clients. But once you start getting in 15, 20, 25, 30 clients, you will lose your mind.
And speaking from personal experience, because I used to give every client my personal phone number, and when I started getting clients who were overseas or clients who were on the West coast when I was living on the East coast, I’d be getting text messages, two in the morning, three in the morning, four in the morning, and go, ding, ding, ding.
And I vividly remember the text that I got that I said, “I can’t do this anymore.” And, to my own fault, I responded very aggressively to a client who is– I was like, “it’s three in the morning, like, please stop.”
And it was my fault because I did not communicate that from the very beginning. That was 100% my fault. But from that point, I made it very clear to all my clients email is the only way– and if they would DM me, I’d be very kind and say, “hey, here’s the answer to what you’re asking going forward. Please only email me because I might miss this.” Not to mention, this is the other reason: when you keep everything in one place, now you have a log to remember certain things, to pay attention to certain things. Your clients will forget that they say things. And we talk a lot about this in the Mentorship, especially when it comes to clients psychology and like how to use these to help them become a better client, how you can be a better coach, use motivational interviewing with them, but you want to keep a log of everything they say because everything matters.
And if they’re asking you a question, you want to keep a log that they asked it. So, for me, you want to have– I prefer email. I know you do too, Mike, where it’s like, I prefer email. It’s a much more– it gives an opportunity to, number one, have them really spill out their feelings and their emotions with everything they’re feeling and everything they’re struggling with and doing well with. Versus when you have a messenger-type app, number one, the psychology of it goes, they expect more of an immediate response.
Right? It’s like when you’re messaging with someone, you just subconsciously expect, “okay, you should be responding immediately.” Email there’s more of a, “okay, you know, email, there’s several days,” type of a thing, like, that’s just how email works.
Mike: [01:22:06] inherent expectation of the platform.
Jordan: [01:22:09] Not to mention when you’re doing more of a messaging thing, it goes to more of an immediate conversation style, where it’s like, “hey, what do you think about this?” “Well, I think this.” “Okay, cool. What about this?” Versus email, they could have an entire conversation with themselves and you can reply bit by bit saying, “well, what do you think about this part and why did you say this bit? And dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.” And you get a much more complete picture of their thought and where their mind is at versus where messenger is much more immediate conversation-based.
So, if you’re setting up your systems, you don’t have to take this advice, but I would definitely recommend, number one: clarifying where they communicate with you and how often, and number two is keeping it in one place. For me personally, ideally email, because now everything is written out and I’ll say, just add on to that really quickly:
There’s nothing wrong with doing coaching calls. I did it early on in my career, it definitely builds a better relationship with your client. But I will say one of the negative aspects of a coaching call is it doesn’t allow you to have written, essentially, dialogues of your conversations. I think there’s a lot of value to that.
A lot happens through the written process on your client’s end in which they will learn more about themselves and that you can then refer back to. You can’t really refer back to a call unless you record it, but even then, it’s very difficult for an hour-long call.
Mike: [01:23:24] Give the example. What’s the question that you ask–
Jordan: [01:23:27] Yeah. So, this is a good one. So in my client intake form I will– and this is essentially when people, once I’ve accepted them into my coaching program, one of the things, I’ll have them fill out a Google Doc that I have, basically, which just asks them a bunch of questions: their age, their weight, their gender, their goals, all this stuff.
My favorite question that I have that I ask is, “would you prefer slower, more maintainable progress or rapid, less sustainable progress? And tell me why.” This is a really important part. I deliberately asked him to, in an open response, tell me why they would either prefer slower, more maintainable or faster, less sustainable.
Because within the first, sometimes first 48 hours, not kidding, sometimes within the first week, other times in the first month, someone will say, “it’s not going fast enough.” Because I would say 95% of people will say they want slower, more maintainable progress because they’ve tried the faster stuff and it hasn’t worked for them, and they want to do something to change this time.
Then when it’s within 48 hours, 72 hours a week, a month, when they say it’s not going fast enough, I can always go back, copy and paste exactly what they wrote into an email and say, “Hmm. Who wrote this?” Or “does this sound familiar?” And they’ll always respond and be like, “wow, good call.” And they can see what I did there.
But it was my way of basically guaranteeing, it’s like, “Hey, just three days ago you told me, or a month ago you told me that you wanted slower progress. So why in the hell are you complaining now?” And it’s my way of giving tough love, but also using their own words to show them, like, when they’re being logical, they know that this is actually what they want, not when they’re being emotional.
And so, this is why having a written dialogue of your conversations back and forth can be so helpful because you can say, “Hey, look how far you’ve come. Not only based on your pictures, but eight months ago on this Friday night you were– you emailed me saying you were scared about going out to dinner. Now on this Friday night, you were telling me what plan you have going out and how excited you are and how you have no anxiety.”
That in and of itself is massive progress. You can always say, “go back and look at the emails you wrote me six months ago,” and they’ll be like, “Oh my God, that sounds like a different human being.” That is a really great way to show people how much progress they’ve made and it comes from having an email-based coaching system.
Mike: [01:25:48] Yup, exactly. I think that I would say that there isn’t a black and white, right or wrong platform or communication system. However, 1) pick one, is important. And 2) you and I both use email for the previously mentioned reasons and that is what we recommend. If you want to try something else, I’m all for testing, and I do agree that when I’ve been able to work in some kind of in-person interaction, be it if they happen to be in the same city or a short call at the beginning of coaching, there is more personal connection. But, for the reasons listed, email works best.
Jordan: [01:26:42] 100%. Is there anything else you want to cover? Should we go into who won the free month in the Mentorship?
Mike: [01:26:47] I was just going to say, let’s announce the winner–
Jordan: [01:26:50] So, we’ll say this: what we did was, if this is your first episode listening or you missed it in the previous one, what we did is we said, if you share this episode– you like screenshot it and you put it on your Instagram and tagged both Mike and I, we’ll pick one person to win a free month in the Mentorship. And we got a bunch of people doing it. Huge thank you to everyone who did.
And so, Mike, do you wanna announce the winner of that? It was just completely random. We literally just went through and it was just like, “close your eyes, all right, this person.”
So, this person won the Mentorship.
Mike: [01:27:21] The winner of the month of February, the first month in the 2020 Mentorship is Dave Topp.
Jordan: [01:27:28] Dave, T. O. P. P., right?
Mike: [01:27:30] T. O. P. P. Congrats, Dave.
Jordan: [01:27:32] Thank you for sharing, Dave, and thank you to everyone who did it.
Dave, we’re super excited. We actually both looked at your Instagram a little bit, we’re excited to watch it progress over the year in the Mentorship, and we’re excited that you get your first month free. Is there anything else you wanted to cover?
Mike: [01:27:47] No, that’s all. This was a little bit longer than a normal episode–
Jordan: [01:27:50] How long was this one?
Mike: [01:27:51] I think in the hour 20 plus range? And I thought it was really, like, I really enjoyed this conversation. I felt like it was really beneficial. I’m excited to hear what you guys have to say.
Jordan: [01:28:05] Yeah. If you enjoyed it, please, a five-star rating would be incredible. And any written ratings help a lot in terms of helping us understand what you’re enjoying, what you’d like to hear more of. If you didn’t like the episode, feel free to give it a one-star, which obviously would suck for us, but we want you to be honest about it.
Mike: [01:28:20] And if there’s anything, you know, drop an email or a DM, and if you have any thoughts that– criticisms that you wanted to share privately, we’re definitely open to that too.
Jordan: [01:28:31] So, is that it? Is that all we have to say?
Mike: [01:28:33] I think that’s all we have to say.
Jordan: [01:28:35] All right. So, with that being said, thank you for listening. Keep an eye out because we will be launching the Online Fitness Business Mentorship near the end of this month, in about two weeks or so. But otherwise, hope you have a wonderful day and we’ll talk to you soon.
Mike: [01:28:49] Thank you guys for listening. Bye.