0:00:09.7 Mike Vacanti: Hello Jordan.
0:00:12.7 Jordan Syatt: What’s going on, Michael?
0:00:14.8 Mike Vacanti: I’m on life monkey tilt, as you know.
0:00:19.7 Mike Vacanti: I’m about to throw my podcasting microphone through this TV, maybe break a window, we’ll see.
0:00:26.1 Jordan Syatt: Having some…
0:00:26.2 Mike Vacanti: We’ll see where this rage leads me.
0:00:26.3 Jordan Syatt: Some real technical difficulties, and if they continue again, I have a feeling this podcast will never, ever be recorded another time.
0:00:36.3 Mike Vacanti: You know, there’s a lesson in here. There’s a real lesson in here for all you coaches and content creators. I’m not exactly sure what it is, because I’m trying to learn it myself, but there’s definitely a lesson in here.
0:00:46.2 Jordan Syatt: To create some context, we’ve been trying to record this podcast now for about half an hour, and we’ve been having some real technical difficulties with it, and I’m foreseeing this pod… If this pod… If you actually hear this podcast, this actually gets published, then…
0:01:02.0 Mike Vacanti: It’s a miracle.
0:01:02.9 Jordan Syatt: I’ll be shocked. I’ll be super surprised if this podcast ends being published and not with Mike’s computer through the window.
0:01:13.7 Mike Vacanti: Right now, we’re good, though. We’re smooth sailing through this first minute, I’m feeling pretty good about it. Let’s power on.
0:01:22.5 Jordan Syatt: Alright. What do you wanna start with, Michael?
0:01:25.9 Mike Vacanti: What do you wanna start with, Jordan?
0:01:29.7 Jordan Syatt: Well… Just gonna throw it right back at me like that.
0:01:33.6 Jordan Syatt: Overall, I…
0:01:33.6 Mike Vacanti: I know what I wanna start with.
0:01:35.0 Jordan Syatt: Okay.
0:01:36.9 Mike Vacanti: We didn’t… We didn’t… So we had a disappearing December act, which was partly intentional and mostly unintentional, and then we came back strong in the start of 2021 with the podcast, and then we missed last week because Jordan and I were in Miami working on, one, the book, we have a very firm April 1st publisher’s deadline for final copy, so we’re going hard on the book right now, and two, as you know, the mentorship launch and other work, just improving and continuing to work on the mentorship.
0:02:14.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:02:14.5 Mike Vacanti: But it was a great… It was a great week.
0:02:14.6 Jordan Syatt: It was a super productive week, it was… Number one, we got a lot done on the book, we now have a new writing schedule for the book, which we’re both excited and anxious about at the same time. We have an unbelievable amount of work to do on the book, and after the book is published, and after some time settles, we have a ridiculous story to tell you about the book, just some unbelievably ridiculous… And I can see Mike looking at me now, he’s like, “Don’t say it, don’t say it.” Just some outrageous things that we’ve had to go through with the whole process of it, that will make for a great story once everything is over, so we’re excited about it, though. The book is turning out to be something we’re very proud of. We really, really like it. We think it’s gonna help a lot of people. And then the mentorship, this is gonna be our third year doing it, and I’m consistently amazed by how well the coaches are doing in there, coaches starting from literal scratch, starting from absolutely zero, who don’t have a website, who don’t have much on social media, if anything, who have not really done much coaching before, then throughout the course of a year, building up some tremendous knowledge, creating incredible content, helping people.
0:03:31.5 Jordan Syatt: I think that’s one of my favorite parts about doing this type of stuff is, coaching people is great. I love fitness coaching because I love helping people, but one of the reasons I love doing the mentorship with you is because we help coaches become better coaches and also build a bigger audience, so then they can help more people. So just if you think about it like that, we, by extension, help more people, it’s just not directly through fitness coaching, we help these coaches become better and more confident. A lot of them are nervous at the beginning to put themselves out there on social media, to put themselves out there on podcasts, or YouTube, or website articles, so to see a lot of them coming into their own and helping a tremendous number of people is amazing.
0:04:09.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, it feels really good. And you’re exactly right, it’s that ripple effect of… It’s leverage, it’s a force multiplier. You and I individually could only work with so many people, but by helping others, we can reach further and reach more people. There was… I don’t wanna overstate our productivity and dominance this week, even though it was an incredible week. I think it was day four, when we were procrastinating writing and went down to the pool at probably like 11 or 12 o’clock, and we’re sitting there and I think… Did someone walk by with a mojito or a strawberry daiquiri or something?
0:04:47.1 Jordan Syatt: Oh, no, no, no, I decided I was gonna get a mojito. I was like, “I’m gonna have one mojito.”
0:04:52.5 Mike Vacanti: Oh, just… You just decide… Okay.
0:04:53.6 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:04:54.1 Mike Vacanti: I thought you saw something that… Alright.
0:04:55.8 Jordan Syatt: No, no, no, I was… In my mind, I was like, “I’m gonna have a mojito,” but in my mind, I was also like, “I can have a mojito and still work.” I was like, I’m like Hemingway, right? I could still write with a little alcohol in me, and then after I got one, you got one, right?
0:05:09.4 Mike Vacanti: I’m not a Hemingway.
0:05:11.8 Jordan Syatt: Did you get a mojito or did you get…
0:05:13.6 Mike Vacanti: I got a passionfruit-flavored mojito.
0:05:15.7 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, you got the mojito, and then I saw someone walk by with a strawberry daiquiri, and I said, “That looks incredible,” and so then, I got one of those, and then you tried mine and you were like, “I’ll get one too,” and then I got a third, and that’s when the day was over.
0:05:36.2 Mike Vacanti: I actually think that was a good mid-week reset, just a little… Nice little buzz, walk on the beach, swim in the ocean.
0:05:43.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Yeah, you can’t work…
0:05:46.9 Mike Vacanti: Came back strong the next day.
0:05:48.0 Jordan Syatt: I think that day break in the middle of the week actually made us more productive than if we kept trying to be outrageously productive that day. It’s like, because we took that one day break, we had three really productive days on either side of it.
0:06:02.6 Mike Vacanti: I agree, I agree.
0:06:05.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Oh, we should also make sure everyone knows, if you’re… There’s a link in the show notes, okay? And this link is gonna take… You’re gonna get a free manual. How many tips are in this manual, Mike?
0:06:15.4 Mike Vacanti: 30.
0:06:16.6 Jordan Syatt: 30 tips in this manual to help you build your online coaching business. Even if you don’t want this, if you sign up for this manual, you’re gonna be put on our email list. We have a huge, huge discount coming for the mentorship within the next week or two weeks, and if you want to be notified as soon as that discount goes live, you need to sign up for the email list. So get that manual, look through it, we think you’re gonna learn a lot from the manual, but either way, make sure you sign up for the email list, because it’s literally hundreds of dollars off the mentorship price, so make sure you get on there because we’re gonna do it this launch, we do this… Last year, we only did it once in the whole year. We might do it later on this year, but literally, we only did it one time, so if you want the opportunity to sign up for a huge discount, sign up for the email list in the show notes.
0:07:07.4 Mike Vacanti: Yep. People have asked when we’re doing the launch, that’s the way to hear about it, is to jump on that email list, so if you haven’t already, do it now. What else? How does it feel to be back in New York? You’ve got your rollerblades.
0:07:19.6 Jordan Syatt: Man, the rollerblades were the best. It’s so funny, I have so many people DMing me, being like, “You look so happy on those rollerblades,” and it’s true… Man, you can’t be unhappy rollerblading. You just can’t, it’s so fun. Just constantly going around the apartment, I was rollerblading all over the city today, just like… It’s amazing. I don’t know why this isn’t the norm.
0:07:44.8 Jordan Syatt: It makes locomotion so much more fun.
0:07:52.9 Mike Vacanti: Locomotion?
0:07:54.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, you know what I mean? Just locomotion, you’re moving your body. Is that the right word? I don’t know, I sort of made that up.
0:08:00.7 Mike Vacanti: No, I think that makes sense. Yeah, rollerblading is very fun and you do look tremendously happy on those rollerblades. I actually… I like breaking these episodes up and to just shoot the shit and then go into questions, but one of my questions for you actually relates to this.
0:08:17.6 Jordan Syatt: Okay.
0:08:18.0 Mike Vacanti: And in this episode, I have a couple questions for you, we have a couple listener questions, and we’ll get into all that, but one of the questions I wanted to ask you, and it has to do with watching you rollerblade around and goof around and have a good time.
0:08:30.6 Jordan Syatt: Were you impressed? ‘Cause Mike played hockey for his whole life. I have to ask, were you impressed? You didn’t think I’d be able to rollerblade backwards, did you?
0:08:37.7 Mike Vacanti: Well, you kind of talked yourself up a little bit…
0:08:39.0 Jordan Syatt: Damn it.
0:08:39.6 Mike Vacanti: Down in Miami, so you were…
0:08:42.7 Jordan Syatt: I oversold myself.
0:08:44.4 Mike Vacanti: No, you were what I expected, but it’s also hard to get a feel for… When you’re holding the camera. Yeah, when you were skating backwards, you looked solid. You’re also in a small space, so you can’t really stride, right? You can’t do a crossover in the hallway of your apartment, you’re just kinda, those little sea, whatever you would call that, sea stride. What I was gonna ask, though, was, so you presumably rollerbladed around your apartment, and had an absolute blast, and goofed around, and delivered something to your fiance, and you were just having fun for three hours.
0:09:19.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:09:20.9 Mike Vacanti: In 2017, I would argue that you would have done something like that approximately zero times during the year.
0:09:30.1 Jordan Syatt: On social media, or in general?
0:09:33.1 Mike Vacanti: In life.
0:09:33.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right.
0:09:34.3 Mike Vacanti: Or minimal. Not zero, but what do you think it is that… Because I think it can be overwhelming, especially for new coaches, people who are new to building a business, thinking like, “This is what I have to do for the rest of my life? That level of workload in the first one, two, three years, forever?” Even if it’s enjoyable work, it can be overwhelming, what do you think it is that has allowed you, and me, the opportunity to not work as many hours if we don’t want to. You still worked very hard, but to take your foot off the gas, but still be able to maintain and even grow your business?
0:10:20.3 Jordan Syatt: Man, that’s a really good question. I think there’s a lot that goes into it. So to sort of sum up the question in, I would say, in as few words as possible is, how do you work less while still growing your business? How are you able to not work… Not not work? How do you work less than you used to and still grow your business? ‘Cause I used to work nonstop, I used to pull all-nighters every week.
0:10:46.2 Mike Vacanti: Over time, I would say, though, because it’s not like, all right, so you’re on week two of growing your business, this advice doesn’t really apply.
0:10:55.0 Jordan Syatt: Correct.
0:10:56.4 Mike Vacanti: It’s more over… Year over year.
0:10:57.9 Jordan Syatt: It’s interesting, I think that this… I think that this applies to literally any skill, not just building a business, to any skill in life. And I’ve spoken about it before, I’ve called it goal stacking. And you and I talk about it, we’ve spoken about this in the mentorship all the time, we talk about picking one thing and focusing on one thing, maybe two. So when you and I first started in the industry in the online world, we focused on our websites, like that was our main focus. Articles, write articles every week, put out an amazing article, that was it. We did other stuff as well, we might have done a YouTube video here and there, posted on Facebook or Twitter, but the focus was articles. And then, after I focused on articles for literally for three years, then I went to my email list, and I really dived deep into the art of copywriting, and understanding email sequences, and understanding how that worked, and I did that for a year and a half, two years, nonstop. And then, when I started with Gary, I went hard on Instagram for two years straight, nonstop. It was just Instagram, Instagram, Instagram.
0:12:02.5 Jordan Syatt: And then from there, then I went into my YouTube channel, I went hard on YouTube for about a year, year and a half. And then now, it’s more my podcast, but I’m also going back between my podcast and YouTube now. The point that I’m trying to make here is, you focus really hard on one thing and you become incredible at that one thing. It might not lead to anything extraordinary just from that one thing alone. It could, it could lead to a very successful business if all you focus on is your website, I know there are people who crush their website, crush their email list and that’s all they need. They don’t need Instagram, they don’t need YouTube, they don’t need Facebook, they just crush their website, crush their email list and boom. But over time, over a period of three, five, seven, 10 years, you’ll have then built up a number of things that you are very, very, very, very good at that… In the same way, it’s easier to maintain muscle than it is to build muscle, once you get to a certain point, you can maintain things and slowly grow it, because you don’t need any more rapid growth.
0:13:01.8 Jordan Syatt: It’s not like going from… It’s not like making an extra $1000 a month, as crazy as that might sound, it’s not like making that extra $1000 a month is going to radically change or improve your life. Going from $500 a month to $1500 a month, yes, that could radically improve your life. Going from $10,000 a month to $11,000 a month, probably not gonna radically change your life, and I think it depends on the individual in terms of what is worth it to you, and you’ll get to a point and you should be like, “okay.” I remember this, I remember Pat Flynn said this to me in 2015. He said, “There comes a point in which making more money causes more problems.” He’s like, “When you get to that point in which making more money ’cause you have to spend more time working, you have to spend more time away from your family, you have to spend more time focusing on whatever, it’s like, up to a certain point, making more money will be great, building your business will be great, and after that point, it will cause more problems than it will help,” and I think that you’ll eventually get to that point in which you can say, “You know what? I can take my foot off the gas. I can still grow my business, but it’s not gonna be nearly as fast or as time-intensive as it was before because I just need to maintain what I’ve done.”
0:14:12.0 Mike Vacanti: Great answer.
0:14:13.8 Jordan Syatt: I don’t know if that makes sense. What would you… ‘Cause I know you…
0:14:17.3 Mike Vacanti: Makes complete sense. The analogy to building muscle versus maintaining muscle makes a lot of sense, and I didn’t even think of it in terms of the skill development and skill stacking that occurs year over year. Two factors that I would attribute it to, in addition to what you just said, are one, SEO, having website, podcast and/or YouTube or all of the above, that have articles, videos, episodes that get search, organic, brand-new audience traffic day after day, that’s a game-changer, because something you worked hard on six years ago is bringing you new audience to this day. And then number two, on the coaching side of things, I think a lot of coaches don’t consider the fact that the clients who you deliver an amazing service to will… Some of them will, A, stay with you for a very long time, or B, come back to you at various points in their life when they’re in need of coaching, and… So whereas for your first few years, you might be working very, very hard to build a brand, build a name for yourself, and just have people interested in your coaching, once you’ve done that for many years and given an amazing service, you’re gonna have people reaching back out to you who you’ve previously worked with, so it doesn’t take more effort to reach those clients because they’re people who already know you and want to work with you.
0:15:53.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, exactly, that’s exactly right. And just, the more time you spend building it… I think about it like this: Right now, for example, I’m training jiu-jitsu six times a week, that is completely and utterly unsustainable, in my opinion, for five, seven, 10 years, I would destroy my body, but right now, I’m so bad at jiu-jitsu that I can spend more time doing it than someone who’s way better at it than I am. They don’t need to do it six times a week, seven times a week, in order to get better. They can do it three, four times a week, maintain, slightly improve and they can also focus on other things, but I can’t right now. I could, but my growth would be so much slower. Because I focus on it every day, then I’ll achieve a greater rate of success, a greater level of success more quickly, and then I can take my foot off the gas a little bit. So I think that… And this is what I mean when I say it can apply to literally anything in life, it can apply to writing, it can apply to sports, it can apply to business, it can apply… Literally anything.
0:16:55.1 Jordan Syatt: If you go all in on something for a brief period of time, and by brief, it’s usually, I’d say, at least a year to three years, then after that, you can take the foot off the gas and still continue to grow ’cause you’ve built up the requisite skills. I think it takes a relatively brief period of time to get very good at something, I think it takes a long period of time to become a top-tier expert in that thing, but to get better than most people, it doesn’t take that long. You know what I mean?
0:17:25.5 Mike Vacanti: I’m 100% with you. To get to that 90th percentile or even higher in one to three years of hard work, but then, is it worth, in the jiu-jitsu example, the wear and tear on your body to go six days a week for 15 years?
0:17:40.2 Jordan Syatt: Absolutely not.
0:17:41.1 Mike Vacanti: Because six days a week for 15 years… But that’s not worth it for you, but that might be worth it for someone who, 100% of their income is gonna be driven by jiu-jitsu…
0:17:50.0 Jordan Syatt: Correct.
0:17:50.6 Mike Vacanti: Who is trying to win every single tournament at the highest, highest level, who wants to be the very best in the world. Sure, not even six days a week, maybe three sessions a day, six days a week, like doing everything that it takes to get there.
0:18:05.3 Jordan Syatt: Correct.
0:18:05.4 Mike Vacanti: But for someone whose goal is different than putting in a lot of effort in the front-loading, the first couple years, and then taking your foot off the gas once you’re to a level that you’re happy with that you wanted to reach.
0:18:18.0 Jordan Syatt: Exactly. I started, I got my first internship when I was 14, I’m 29 now, I’ve been in the industry for 15 years. It’s like, I’ve been doing it literally every day for 15 years, so for me, it made sense ’cause this is what I wanna do, so I’m at the top top top, because I’ve done that for 15 years in one way, shape or form, but I don’t think it would take someone 15 years to become a great coach. I think, to become a great coach, it could take you three years of a lot of study, a lot of time on the floor, a lot of time coaching, and I think within three to five years, you could also make a significant name for yourself online by putting in a tremendous amount of work and effort. Maybe you wouldn’t have the most, the most, the most followers, maybe you wouldn’t have the biggest audience or the most engaged audience, but you would have a business that would succeed for sure in that brief amount of time.
0:19:06.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. This is actually a good transition for the other question I was gonna throw at you or just kind of thought, it’s not a well-formulated question, but what do you think of… You mentioned putting in time on the gym floor, what do you think of coaches who either, one, try personal training and don’t love it, or two, try to build their online business and fail in doing so, and as a result, decide that they want to help other… Basically become a guru as a result of… Because it’s not uncommon, thankfully, there are a lot of people who become great coaches and then from what they learned, go into helping others do it. And I’ll actually shout out my former mentor, Roman, who from 2009 for many, many years, built his online business from scratch, and then went into helping other people build their business. He is someone who did do a good job of sticking with it for a long time, really delivering a good service and then helping others learn the process and I learned a lot early on when I was interning with him, I learned a lot about the insides of his business because he actually did it versus like, “Okay, I’m not doing this, so I’m gonna go teach others how to do this.”
0:20:38.1 Jordan Syatt: That’s the difference between Roman and these other people. Roman built a huge and massively successful fitness business, whereas so many of these other people, they’ll, I don’t know, try for a couple of months and it’s like haphazardly try for a couple of months, maybe a year. They don’t… Their fitness business doesn’t pick up, and then all of a sudden you see them come out with a course to teach coaches how to build a fitness business. It’s like what the… Where did that come from?
0:21:10.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.
0:21:10.5 Jordan Syatt: Like literally four months ago, I saw you put out a pitch, saying that you only were accepting two online coaching clients, so act now, and now I see you saying you’re teaching coaches, like what is going on? Yeah, I’m [chuckle] not a big fan of it. Not a big fan of that. I think it’s much easier to try to convince people that you know how to build a business, especially if you’re in the fitness world already and you’re surrounded by a bunch of coaches. This is actually an interesting topic. I know a lot of coaches when they first start out coaching and getting online, and the majority of the people who like and follow their content are other coaches, and they’re like, “Well, I don’t want these… ” They’re fine ’cause they give them engagement, but they’re not buying their services. And this is something that happened to me early on, I’m pretty sure it probably happened to you early on, I know a lot of people in the mentorship mentioned this early on. Especially for example, in the mentorship, when you get a bunch of coaches going in the mentorship, and then they all follow each other and they interact with each other, and they’re all liking each other’s content, they’re like, “This is great, but I don’t have the people who need me, the people who are gonna hire me following me.”
0:22:15.1 Jordan Syatt: And this is a very normal thing that happens is when you surround yourself with other colleagues, so those things may be the first people who follow you and engage with your content, and I think a lot of people in that situation say, “Oh well, I have so many coaches following me, so I might as well try and sell to coaches then.” But what they don’t realize is that over time, if they kept posting, then the people who needed them would have found them.
0:22:39.7 Jordan Syatt: It’s a time thing. It’s a patience thing. It’s a consistency thing. Like as we all know, the same thing with fitness, it’s like the person who gives up because they don’t get a six-pack in the first month, it’s like if you kept going, you would have gotten there. It’s the same thing with coaches online, it’s like if you kept posting, if you kept… If you didn’t let your ego get in the way, if you’re like, “Well, okay, well, I only got 15 likes and 14 of those were other coaches and the other one was my mom,” it’s like, okay, cool, so do this for another year, and eventually the people who need you will find you. It will absolutely work. There’s no way around it. But it’s just, I think, easier for them to be like, “Okay, well, I wanna make money now. So how can I make money now? Okay, I’m gonna get these coaches to pay me for something that I have no idea what I’m talking about.”
0:23:21.8 Mike Vacanti: That makes a lot of sense. Alright, we’re moving into the questions from a couple of emails that came in. “Can you share some of the software programs you have seen successfully used for the trainers and their clients? I’m thinking exercise library with YouTube videos, the obvious text and email, FaceTime for workouts, that kind of thing. I want to have some basic systems in place before I start reaching out to potential clients.” And I like this because it gives us a few things that we can hit on specifically within this question as well as just discuss what we use and have used to communicate with clients and why, and design programs, track information, etcetera.
0:24:15.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Do you wanna start? Do you wanna take the lead on this one?
0:24:18.8 Mike Vacanti: Sure. So I think we can hit individually each of the things that are being asked here, so I’m thinking an exercise library with YouTube videos.
0:24:30.1 Jordan Syatt: Oh wow, yeah, that’s a great one.
0:24:31.2 Mike Vacanti: It’s a great place to start. So it’s a good opportunity if you don’t have a YouTube channel to start a YouTube channel, film yourself doing X or whatever you’re going to be programming, set a day aside, set two days aside, make a long list of all of the exercise that you think that you might or that you do program and make technique videos of you performing those movements, compile them all into a Word document, an Excel file, a Google doc, whatever it is, and link them up to those YouTube videos, and you have an exercise database that will be incredibly valuable for your future clients.
0:25:13.8 Jordan Syatt: I love that. And I’ll say this, don’t do the videos that are just you doing the exercise. Don’t just do a five to seven-second video of just showing the exercise. This is gonna take way longer, but especially if you’re just starting out and you’re not comfortable on camera, you should take every exercise and do a 60-second to three-minute instructional video, because not only is it gonna be better for your clients, not only is it… And it doesn’t matter if you have zero clients right now, eventually you’re gonna have clients who are gonna watch these videos. They’re gonna develop a better relationship with you, they’re gonna have a better understanding of the cues that you want them to pay attention to, and it’s gonna help you be more comfortable in front of the camera. That’s how I started getting in front of the camera, I was just giving exercise video tutorials. I literally was looking at my YouTube last night, one of my Batwing Row video tutorial has over 100,000 views. My single-leg RDL video has well over 150,0000 views. I made those back in 2012, 2013. They drive a significant number of people to my YouTube channel and they stay.
0:26:17.6 Jordan Syatt: Even though I was terrible on camera then, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as it is now, having those videos is gonna help improve your ability to speak on camera, be more comfortable on camera, so definitely, definitely take the extra time to make the videos longer, more in-depth. I know a lot of people are like, “Oh, but people don’t want the quick content. People don’t want long content. They want quick, easy to consume content.” Well, if that’s the case, then why are you 26 minutes into a podcast right now? It’s like people will watch what they’re interested in, so there’s nothing wrong with making a two or three-minute exercise video tutorial.
0:26:52.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, if you want to combine the service to your client with potential to SEO for these exercises, then making them public, making them longer, making them in-depth, making them just better, more helpful videos is a good idea. Now, that’s not a two-day project. That’s more of a, maybe a few videos per week project over the course of a year. You’ll end up with a full exercise database. I’ve… So my exercise database is probably 10 to 15 videos like that, and 130 videos, I’m guessing, that our 15 seconds of just me demoing the movement. And for certain movements, for the more complicated movements, for movements that have a higher risk of injury, making sure that you’re fully explaining the technique and the proper cues is gonna be extremely valuable for your clients. And honestly, setting the time aside to make them all like that would be incredible. I remember when I was first making my exercise database, I wanted every video and I wanted it as soon as possible, so I went with the latter option, but either way is great, and if you’re going to… If you’re gonna go in-depth, definitely make it public on your YouTube, because like Jordan said, that can drive traffic in the future.
0:28:21.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
0:28:23.6 Mike Vacanti: Text versus email. You wanna start on this one?
0:28:28.4 Jordan Syatt: You know how passionate I am about this one. [chuckle] I’ll give the more middle-of-the-road discussion first. If you have very few clients, we’ll call it five clients or less, and/or you are just a grinder and you’re hungry and you wanna do… And you’re okay with texting at 3:00 in the morning and just being on call 24/7, then go for it, text your clients. If you are not either a ridiculous grinder and/or if you have more than five clients, do not text them. It’s a terrible idea. I’m telling you from personal experience, with myself and with other coaches, it is a terrible, terrible idea.
0:29:20.2 Jordan Syatt: If you give someone the opportunity to text you, even if it’s with good intent, they’re gonna text you, and eventually, it’s gonna get really annoying. And imagine if you have 10, 15, 20 people texting you all the time. And Mike has said this a lot, and I really like this, this mentality of it, when someone texts you, they have the idea that you should have an immediate response, that’s how text works, it’s really quick back and forth, and then put on top of that, they’re paying you, well, yeah, now they definitely want an immediate response. And if they text you and you don’t respond, then they see that you’re posting on your Instagram or your story, they’re like, “That motherfucker’s definitely seen that. Why haven’t they replied yet?” It’s like, keep it to email. Please, for the love of God. Keep it to email.
0:30:02.9 Jordan Syatt: Email, they generally, just by nature of being email, they don’t expect an immediate response, and number two is you can set the expectation of you’ll reply within 24 hours or you’ll reply within 48 hours, whatever it is. Not to mention, if you’re texting and emailing and DMing and you have your conversations in all these different places, it’s hard to keep track of everything. If you keep everything in one email thread with each client, well, then you can always go back, you can always refer to what they said, you can find their weight, you can find the calories they ate, you can find different things from different times, you can search in the inbox for certain conversations that you had. Please, for the love of God, do not text… I’ll never forget when I… ‘Cause I used to do this, I used to.
0:30:47.2 Jordan Syatt: I used to get texts and everything, and I was like, “This is what I gotta do, I gotta over-deliver, blah, blah, blah.” And I vividly remember the moment that one of my clients in the UK texted me at 3:00 in the morning my time, it was 8:00 in the morning their time, and they weren’t being mean, they’re just like, “Oh, I text him like my weight,” ’cause I used to have them text me their weight and their calories the day before, and he texted me, and I lost my shit because I had finally just fallen asleep, I had definitely been up for at least a day or so, and then I hear the ding and I lost it, and I was like, “I can’t have this anymore.” It’s like, please avoid that at all costs. That’s not your client’s fault, that’s your fault. Get them an email, not text.
0:31:27.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, everything you said, spot-on. Just to reiterate the, it might seem like a good idea early on when you’re first starting and have a few clients, we have a guy in the mentorship who recently… I mean he’s peaked at his number of clients and…
0:31:47.0 Jordan Syatt: He’s crushing it. He’s absolutely…
0:31:48.2 Mike Vacanti: I’m not gonna…
0:31:49.7 Jordan Syatt: I sort of wanna say his name.
0:31:51.2 Mike Vacanti: I’m not gonna blow up his name, because I am gonna blow up the number of clients which is on the very high side, in the 80 to 90 range, and he’s…
0:32:00.7 Jordan Syatt: This is all within the last year. He’s just dominating. Unbelievable.
0:32:05.1 Mike Vacanti: But on pure text, and for good reason, was completely overwhelmed, and has since shifted away from text toward email. But he’s a grinder of grinders, and it’s still unsustainable for all of the reasons that Jordan just mentioned, especially because the expectation with text message is shorter, high frequency, back and forth, and that is completely unsustainable once you have even 12, 15, 20 clients.
0:32:41.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, you’ll be trying to make content like, ding, ding, ding, and he’s trying to have dinner, whatever, you’re going to sleep, it doesn’t matter, it will be constant, it’ll be too much. And then one client will just text you one quick question and you’re gonna get pissed and you’re not gonna reply, and they’ll like, “Well, it was just a quick question,” but they don’t understand that you got 50 quick questions that day. In addition, everything… Just keep it to your email, please, trust us.
0:33:06.9 Mike Vacanti: Email… Like texting, because of the way it’s used, it’s impossible to set that to a certain period of the day when you know that you go into your email, for example, and reply to clients two times in the day when you know you go check your inbox and reply to clients. Almost everyone has text notifications, and if they don’t, when you open your phone, like your texts are there, you’re going to be texting with people and if clients are mixed in there, it isn’t going to end well and it isn’t necessary for the service that you’re providing. Which is the final point I wanna make is that email actually gives your clients a little more autonomy because it forces them to have a degree of independence and to think on their feet in certain situations. They know that you’re not gonna reply in five minutes, so they’re going to have to think through whatever it is, weighing food, putting together a meal at a restaurant that they think is reasonably healthy, these little micro-decisions, and then you can talk about it after, you can… Or even before, but it forces them to learn, which is gonna make it stick, which is gonna allow them to be able to be consistent with it over time.
0:34:21.3 Jordan Syatt: I remember I used to think that was nonsense earlier in my career. I used to think like, “I should be replying immediately. I should always give them a response as quickly as possible.” In my mind, I was like, “Well, that’s what a good coach does.” And I didn’t realize that I was handicapping my clients. It’s like if I’m replying immediately, clients would email me and be like, “Hey, I’m feeling like I’m about to binge,” and my immediate response is like, “Alright, well, let’s do this, let’s make sure you’re okay,” when I didn’t realize that helping them work through that, allowing them to go through that experience on their own and then discussing it the following day, an email was a way better learning experience than me coming to the rescue in that moment every time, and then it would make them dependent on me instead of independently able to work and overcome it themselves. A coach’s job isn’t to make your clients dependent on you, it’s to help them become independent and successful on their own.
0:35:14.7 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Yep. FaceTime for workouts. So the way that Jordan and I have coached online, have set up our businesses, help other people set up their businesses, is not virtual coaching, which is essentially in-person coaching except you’re live with the client on FaceTime, for a number of reasons including that, for most clients, it’s gonna put you at a price, put them at a price point that isn’t sustainable. If you think about being with someone for four hours a week, every single week, 16 hours a month, and then you’re gonna have to bill your coaching hourly, that significantly reduces the number of people who can do coaching with you. In the $200 to $350 a month price point range, you’re not gonna be on a call for an hour a day, four days a week, taking your client through their workout. You’re giving them the program, you’re having them send in technique videos, you’re sending them feedback on their technique videos, you’re sending them the exercise database obviously, you’re going back and forth with questions related to the workouts, but you’re not in-person coaching them online.
0:36:37.1 Jordan Syatt: Correct. Yeah. And for whatever it’s worth, this is a drawback of online coaching. It’s a drawback in terms of, yes, it would be more ideal if you could be there in person with your client coaching them on their technique, but that’s not possible, especially right now with where we are in the world, but in general, you can’t be there with every single client. Not to mention, I know a lot of in-person coaches used to hate on online coaching being like, “This is stupid, and it’s not gonna work, how can you help your client if you’re not there with them?” It’s like, “Well, listen, number one, not everyone can afford in-person coaching. It’s straight-up, so what, they’re just not gonna get any help at all? And number two is, if they don’t do your program, then they’re gonna do someone else’s program. They’re gonna find a program to do, and either you’re gonna do everything you can to help them be safe and efficient and effective with their technique and their programming, or they’re gonna go do someone else’s program that’s gonna have them do 200 box jumps when they’re 300 pounds, and then they’re gonna blow their Achilles and hurt themselves and be out for six months.
0:37:40.1 Jordan Syatt: It’s like you can do incredible things online and help them without being there with them. And I think one of the best parts that you were saying, make the exercise database so they can look at the videos and learn how to do it properly. Over-emphasize, “Hey, start with just your body weight, start with very lightweight so that… ” ‘Cause you know they’re probably not gonna do it properly the first time. Who are we… If you have someone in person, they’re not gonna do it properly the first time. You teach someone in-person a single-leg RDL, no way in hell are they gonna get it right the first time. It’s gonna take a few sets, and that’s why you make sure that they use lightweight, so when you maybe you’re emailing with your client like, “Hey, start off with the five-pound dumbbell, it’s just to make sure that you’re doing it properly and make sure you’re not gonna hurt yourself,” ’cause you anticipate them not doing it properly. This is the things that you just have… These are the things that… This is why I say coaching in person is essential before you start online coaching, ’cause you wouldn’t know that stuff if you didn’t coach people in person. But even if you’re just starting your online coaching, take every precaution necessary to keep them safe, but don’t not coach people online because you’re not there with them, that’s ridiculous.
0:38:43.1 Jordan Syatt: And for whatever it’s worth, if you decide you wanna coach people on FaceTime or a few clients or whatever, that’s totally fine, just understand what you’re giving up as a result of it, which is you’re giving up a lot of time, you’re probably not gonna be able to… You’re nowhere near gonna take on as many clients. And there will be a significant number of people who will not be able to afford you. I think that’s one of the major things of online coaching that’s so great is when you don’t do these one-on-one coaching sessions like with FaceTime or whatever it is, you open up the opportunity for people who might not be able to afford you otherwise to actually get great, great science-based coaching.
0:39:18.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. And like you said, it is an option. I’ve coached Gary on FaceTime every single day for the last 11 months since COVID hit, but he is also… You have to think about what you would charge for a one-on-one session in person and use that hourly for that client, and how many… Say the person doesn’t work out every day, say they work out four times a week, can they pay that much annually for personal training? Most people cannot.
0:39:43.7 Jordan Syatt: Right. Gary is a unique example. [chuckle]
0:39:48.0 Mike Vacanti: Exactly. And that’s why I used it too, because no one who I coach online is, one, pain, anything even close to that, and two, it’s a different service.
0:40:02.2 Jordan Syatt: Correct. Exactly.
0:40:04.7 Mike Vacanti: Okay. “Hey, Mike, I absolutely love the podcast with you and Jordan, it’s super helpful, and I really appreciate all the info and tips. Question for the podcast, you guys have talked about how much you charge and typical range, but can you talk about what’s included monthly for each client?”
0:40:27.7 Jordan Syatt: So I’ll start by saying I have two options. They can either do training only or training plus nutrition. There was a period of time in which I also did nutrition only, but I stopped doing that because it just didn’t make sense after a while, especially when my training, my nutritional knowledge, my nutritional coaching, it wasn’t for gut health, it wasn’t for improving your skin, it was… My nutrition coaching is for improving your body composition and improving your relationship with food. And when that’s the goal, you don’t need to make that many adjustments throughout the way. It’s very simple, it’s very straightforward. I can imagine that if you’re working with someone with certain allergies or you’re working with someone with IBS, you’re working to help them find foods that can really work with them, that’s a different style of nutrition coaching. So if that’s you, then by all means, you can do nutrition-only coaching. But for me, goals being performance, getting stronger, developing a better relationship with food and body composition, you’ll realize that after the first month, they just don’t need you anymore. And so I found that doing nutrition-only coaching didn’t make sense for me, so I stopped doing that.
0:41:43.6 Jordan Syatt: And so my options were training or training and nutrition. For training, it’s super simple. You get a new workout every month. If you’re only doing training, you get a new workout every month, you send any and all technique videos that you want. I would always say, “If you decide you wanna send me a video of every single rep of every single set of every single exercise, I will watch every single one, and I’ll give you critique on every single one.” There were only a couple of people who actually did that. The vast majority just sent me a couple of sets of the most important movements. When they first come on as a client, I require them to send me a video of their squat, their bench press, their deadlift, and any other moves they wanted me to look at. So oftentimes it was push-ups, chin-ups, lunges, things like that. And then as we coach together, they would send fewer and fewer videos ’cause they needed it less and less and less. And then we would just talk. I would ask them, “How are you feeling? What’s going on?” I would keep track of their personal records, keep track of what their goals are, so if someone’s like, “I wanna get my sumo deadlift stronger,” that was the main priority.
0:42:43.6 Jordan Syatt: If someone says, “I wanna get my first chin up,” then that was the main priority. Just one-on-one coaching. Training plus nutrition is exactly that, plus the nutrition component, which for me was just sending them their calories, sending them their protein. And then from there, they would send me their weight every day, their pictures every two weeks, and their measurements every four weeks, and I would keep tabs on all of it. And my whole thing was saying, “You don’t need to think about anything. If you need to make a change, I will make it for you. So if I think you need to change your calories, then I’ll change your calories and I’ll send them to you. If I think you need to change your protein, if I think you need to change something, I’ll do that for you. That’s my job. Your job is to execute, and if you have any questions, then you let me know.” That’s sort of what your job as the coach here is just to take away all the guesswork for them. It’s like they should never have to guess what they should be doing in their program, they should never have to guess what their calories or protein are. You should take care of all that. ‘Cause that’s what most people struggle with. They just don’t know what the program should be, what the plan should be. From there, it becomes relatively autonomous, and I want them to…
0:43:46.0 Jordan Syatt: If they have a day where they’re going to the gym and they feel exhausted, we’ll have a conversation about it. I’ll be like, “Listen, if you feel exhausted, lower the weight by 10%-15%, no problem.” And then I sort of help them through that process until eventually they can do it on their own. And by the end of six months, eight months, 10 months a year, many people would just stay on with me, not because they needed my help, but because they liked not having to think about, “Well, what’s next?”
0:44:10.3 Mike Vacanti: That’s a great answer, and a much more in-depth answer than I was going to give. [chuckle] We’re very aligned on what we offer clients. A lot of coaches and people looking to get into coaching think that clients are buying some special thing, whether it’s a certain method that the coach offers, or whether it’s a certain concept or specialization that the coach has, when in reality, it’s two things: It’s one, access to you, the coach, and two, and this encompasses everything that you just described, two is help reaching the goal that they’re trying to reach, and whether that’s fat loss, muscle gain, feel more confident, improve relationship with food, get stronger, hit PRs, whatever their goal is, that’s what you’re “selling”, is your service is access to you plus helping them reach their goal.
0:45:17.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And for whatever it’s worth, there will be some people who are expecting something extravagant. I always know who those people are, because the people who come into my program, I’ll send them their first program, they’ll be like, “This is it?” And those are almost always the people who found me on some form of social media and requested to work with me immediately. They had a very impulsive decision, they were like, “Oh, this person has this many followers,” “Oh, I really like this video, I’m gonna sign up for coaching,” and they don’t know anything about me. They don’t know anything about me, they just saw one video, “I saw one post, I really like it, cool.” Then that person would be like, “Wait, this is all I’m getting?” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s all you’re getting. You should go look at my other content,” and like, “Okay, got it, makes sense.” Whereas the people… The best clients are the ones who follow you for a long time before really requesting to work with you, which for whatever it’s worth, that can be sort of mind-fuck because it will take a long time of you posting before some of these people will ever decide to work with you. I had someone literally the other day say, “I’ve literally followed you since 2017, and I’m joining the Inner Circle today.” It’s like that’s four years of following me before they decided to spend $24.99. It’s like…
0:46:29.8 Jordan Syatt: But that’s what happens, and I guarantee that person will go in the Inner Circle, there’s no way they’re gonna be disappointed because they know what I’m about, they know I’m not gonna be selling like crazy supplements or ridiculous programs. It’s simple, it’s straightforward. It’s like, that is how you… And sort of playing to what we were talking about earlier, that’s how you can sort of take the foot off the gas a little bit because you’ll just keep posting, doing your thing, and eventually the people who really trust you and are loyal to you will eventually sign up. But it’s not like… You don’t want someone to sign up just because they found you in one post, that person is probably not gonna be your best client.
0:47:01.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s… It’s something I don’t know if you and I have even discussed that much, that initial response from, thankfully, it’s not very often, but…
0:47:12.2 Jordan Syatt: A small percentage of clients, yeah.
0:47:14.0 Mike Vacanti: I remember distinctly a client seen their program and then immediately asking if they could also do some other Instagram fitness person’s workout because their workout was super cool and… I don’t remember the exact verbiage, but it was like… [chuckle] Thankfully, that’s like a one-in-200 kind of thing.
0:47:38.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I will say I did get fairly frequently, especially around when I was doing a lot of powerlifting, I got a lot of CrossFitters coming to me because CrossFit was on the rise, it was exploding, and CrossFit, a huge part of their program was powerlifting. They wanted to be really strong powerlifters. So I got a lot of CrossFit people who would come to me specifically for powerlifting, but they were CrossFit people who were training five, six, seven times a week and they’d say, “Hey, well, can I also do WODs, and can I do these programs, and can I still do my CrossFit programming? And I’d be like, “No. No, you can’t.” And I had some people get mad and leave and request a refund, and I gave them a refund. I was like, “I don’t want you to do my program plus another program that is already too much volume and intensity, and then get mad at me that you’re not making progress because you’re not even doing my program.”
0:48:25.7 Mike Vacanti: And that’s not Jordan’s ego either, that’s just genuinely that… You should not be doing that much work.
0:48:34.6 Jordan Syatt: They’re begging for an injury. It’s like there’s no reason to write them an intense program on top of them following an already overly intense program.
0:48:44.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah. [chuckle]
0:48:46.5 Jordan Syatt: And not to mention they’re in the CrossFit community. They’re in a gym with other CrossFit people. And you know they’re gonna be like, “Oh, this didn’t work. I pulled… I hurt my back,” and telling other people. I’m like, “No, I don’t want that. It’s like if you’re gonna do my program, you do my program.”
0:49:00.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. And the thing that you glazed over so casually that is especially hard when someone is just getting started is, and you refunded them.
0:49:09.2 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, that’s a tough one to… It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially at the beginning.
0:49:14.2 Mike Vacanti: The 150, 200, I don’t care if it’s… I’m charging 350 a month right now. Whatever it is, refunding that amount of money pales in comparison to the downside of the negative reputation that comes from that person saying they got ripped off by Mike because he wouldn’t adjust my program and he wouldn’t give me a refund, he was terrible. That is tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
0:49:44.3 Jordan Syatt: Oh my God, yeah. We’ve seen it on social media, people coming out about this coach here or there, and a lot of people being like, “I had the same experience, they wouldn’t refund me either, they wouldn’t read from either.” It’s like, you avoid all of that if you just refund the couple of people who are gonna ask for it. It’s not fun. I vividly remember I had one guy who went three months of training with me, and I went… This is earlier in my career, I was checking in with him, I was like, “Hey man, how are you? Talk to me, what’s going on? Every week, checking in, and he would reply the first week after I sent him a new program and would never check in for the remaining three weeks after every single program. I would ask him for technique videos, he’d never send them. I’d ask him how it’s going, he would never tell me. And in the only check-ins that he did do, he’d say, “I’m loving it, this is great, this is so good.” At the end of three months, he was like, “Hey man… ” Part of me feels like he was drunk while he was sending these emails, ’cause it was late at night and they were not spelled correctly, and they usually were.
0:50:43.7 Jordan Syatt: He was like, “Man, I didn’t get the results that I wanted. This is a waste of money, I want a refund.” And I was so mad, I had to go on a walk. It was like two in the morning, it was late at night, I went on a walk, let the steam cool off. And I refunded all three months and I was like, “Here’s your money.” I said, I was like, “I just refunded you in full. Please never contact me again.” I was just like this… And that was $900. It was $900, I did his programming, I put a ton of time and effort into it, but like you’re saying, what if he goes off and creates a thread somewhere online, whatever it is, it’s like, that could have saved me thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars.
0:51:22.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Nobody wants “Jordan Syatt ripped me off” Reddit post on page one on Google. [chuckle]
0:51:29.5 Jordan Syatt: Exactly. Oh my God. And I’ve seen other coaches have that, it’s not good.
0:51:34.3 Mike Vacanti: Even in… Because doing the right thing is the correct way to live, but honestly, in a situation like the one you just described, it could be argued, and I think it’s probably correct that doing the right thing is not refunding him. I don’t…
0:51:48.9 Jordan Syatt: I agree.
0:51:49.5 Mike Vacanti: He didn’t deserve that refund. However, that’s just smart, long-term business acumen. That’s patience, that’s long game, that’s the right thing in a business sense.
0:52:03.5 Jordan Syatt: Correct. I think the right, the actual virtuous, the right way to have approached that would be to tell him to fuck off, realistically. It’s like, “Absolutely not. You didn’t hold up your end of the bargain, you didn’t check in with me here, here, and here. I’m not refunding… ” That would have been like the, I think morally, ethically, the right thing to do.
0:52:18.2 Mike Vacanti: “There are screenshots of the four times you told me everything was going really well… ” [chuckle]
0:52:21.8 Jordan Syatt: Exactly. Yeah. But from… I think sometimes it doesn’t make sense to do what’s right when you’re trying to build your business. Right?
0:52:31.9 Mike Vacanti: Yep, yep. Goodwill and reputation are incredibly important.
0:52:36.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. And I think a lot of people in this situation would say, “Yeah, the customer is always right.” No, the customer is not always right. The customer is always right if you care about what that customer has to say, and in that instance, I absolutely did, ’cause I didn’t want that customer to go off and do something ridiculous to hurt my business. So yeah, he was still wrong, he was wrong in every way, shape and form, but I was okay biting that bullet just with the foresight of knowing what could potentially happen.
0:53:05.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Great. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about that concept publicly. I’m glad we did. I’m glad that came up. This was a great episode. Thank you very much, everyone listening. We’ll be back next week.
0:53:16.7 Jordan Syatt: Sign up for the email list. Go to the show notes, get the manual. We will be announcing when the discount for the mentorship goes live. Again, it’s literally hundreds of dollars off when you sign up. This is… We did it only once last year so, once, maybe two to three times at most this year, so make sure you get on that list so we know, you know when we tell you and it goes live. And that’s it. Have a wonderful day.
0:53:43.5 Mike Vacanti: Have a great day. See you soon.