023: Build a Competition-Proof Coaching Business

023: Build a Competition-Proof Coaching Business

 

Strong for Performance Podcast

 

023: Build a Competition-Proof Coaching Business

by Jason “JG” Goldberg

Do you struggle to compete with other professionals in your same industry? Block time for my interview with Jason Goldberg to find out how to set yourself apart so YOU are the one your ideal clients choose to work with. Jason explains three simple pillars that can help you demonstrate your uniqueness and acquire clients more easily. He shares examples of his clients (coaches and consultants) who’ve achieved dramatic results from implementing a few simple strategies. Get out your pen and get ready to learn from a real master.  

You’ll discover:

  • How to create huge impact without competing on price, popularity or parlor tricks
  • Why many of the marketing programs that coaches invest in don’t work
  • How staying in your comfort zone can actually SERVE you and your clients better.
  • Why “turning pro” is about mindset more than your credentials or content
  • How one client got 10,000 views, 1,000+ likes and 700 comments on a single LinkedIn post by telling her story in a compelling way

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Read the Transcription

Welcome to another episode of the Strong for Performance podcast. I’m your host, Meredith Bell. Today I am looking forward to having a really fun and special person with me, JG Goldberg. Welcome, JG.

What’s going on? I was going to say this, you have this special person coming. I’m like, “Oh, is he after me, or is this…?” Thank you for saying that, that’s me. That’s amazing.

Well you are special and you are fun, and that’s one of the things I value so much about you. JG, interestingly, was a tech geek in the IT world who transitioned to becoming an entrepreneur. He is someone I’ve known for several years now. I’ve been coached by him very powerfully and I also was a part of one of his courses called Playful Prosperity, and you can guess by the title that we had a lot of fun there also. He is the author of the bestselling book Prison Break, and he’s developed other courses geared to help coaches, speakers, consultants, others who develop courses to become more effective, attracting your ideal clients in a way that is fun and less painful. I’m very happy to have you here today, JG, to tell us more about how to make that happen.

Because so often people who start their own business are excited and motivated and yet they run across these challenges of, “How do I get my clients?” Before we jump into some of the questions I have for you today, tell us a little bit about your journey into the world of becoming an entrepreneur.

Yeah. Well, I mean, I came out of the womb and I had a list of clients ready to work with me and it’s been easy ever since. I don’t understand why people say they struggle getting clients. People just throw money at me all day, every day and I never have to worry about it. Then the alcohol wears off and I come back to reality. Yeah, my journey, I started, as you said, I was in tech for several years. I was in tech for 15 years and was good at it. I love the challenge of technology. I’m a total geek at heart. I think I always will be. I just love to see the way things work and reverse engineer them and all that stuff. I got into technology from a very early age and was able to capitalize on that. It’s obviously, 15 years ago, just as much as it is today, is a huge industry, and I got into IT consulting.

For the last seven years of my IT career, I was in IT consulting, became the director of engineering and operations for a tech firm based in Florida. It’s where I grew up, I was born and raised in Florida. That was great, and doing all the things, making well over six figures in my twenties. Youngest director in the history of the company, having the car, and the house, and all the things that I thought I wanted that would make me happy. I wasn’t in a place of despair with my job. I don’t have that story where I was like, “I was living paycheck to paycheck.” I don’t have any of that, but you don’t have to have that to feel like something massively needs to change in your life, right? You don’t have to be dire straits, one week away from being homeless for you to realize something’s not aligning.

As much as I loved the challenge of being in IT, and as much as I loved the money and being in IT, there was something that was missing. When I started looking into that more, I noticed that from a very, very young age, I always had entrepreneurial tendencies. The very first business that I can truly remember is when I was about 10 years old. I was huge on the baseball cards and basketball cards and things like that. I would make my mom buy… make my mom. I would try to convince my mom to buy me packs of baseball cards or basketball cards and then I would also have her buy me the Beckett Manual. I don’t even know if it’s still around anymore, the Becket Manual was a monthly magazine that came out that gave you the price, the monetary value, for every baseball card, basketball card, football card for 20, 30 years. Have you heard about this?

No. No.

It was a physical book that came out every month with updated pricing. My mom would buy me these packs of baseball cards, I would go through, and one by one I would see what they were worth. The ones that were worth the most I would put into a little plastic sleeve to protect them. I bought a $5 briefcase from a garage sale and every weekend I would go around and I would sell the most wanted, the most sought after cards to kids in the neighborhood. Their parents loved it because the parents were like, “Cool, I can just buy him the card he wants instead of buying him 20 packs of cards that are going to cost me way more.” They loved it, right? As Gary V would call it, I was doing arbitrage at that point.

There was something about having that direct connection with people. One-to-one, I didn’t have the language for it as a 10 or 11-year old, but serving people, and feeling like you’re contributing and bringing happiness, bringing joy to people’s lives. That was something that I did from a very young age, whether it was in that business or it was being a class clown. I loved the effect that it had on people when I would show up in a place of joy and playfulness.

Going back to the tech thing did the tech thing for all these years, realized something was missing, created the connection there, “Oh, I want to be working for myself. I want to create something that’s mine, and that serves instead of creating something that’s for somebody else that also hopefully serves.” I left my corporate job in 2011, started an executive transportation company, which was super fun and failed miserably after I lost tens of thousands of dollars, but learned so much in that process. I started another company after that while I was doing my MBA, in partnership with NASA and the Space Shuttle program, which was amazing. It’s such an honor that I got to work with them. From there, the common thread through all of that was, I love personal growth.

I had gotten into personal growth around 2011, because at the height of my professional career I was also 332 pounds and extremely anxious and extremely depressed, and had so much stress. As happy and joyful as I was on the outside, I was struggling a lot inside. A lot of it was because of the physical weight I was carrying around, but it was also just my thinking was just ruining my life. My thoughts would run so fast and they would show me catastrophic images of the future and I just could never feel relaxed and I could never feel grounded. I was always chaotic in my mind.

Personal growth, and self-help diving into that, and then being coached myself and being a part of that world transformed me, or facilitated that transformation for me, in such a way that at some point, even in the traditional companies I had started, I started asking myself, “How can I get paid to keep learning all this stuff that feels like it’s transformative for me, but also to help other people do the same?” In the same way that probably almost every single person listening to this did not wake up one day in high school and say, “I’m going to be a coach, I’m going to be a consultant.” You do other things and then life shows you your path based on the choices you’ve already made. That’s what happened to me and I tripped, stumbled, and fell into coaching, speaking, training and all that about almost six years ago now.

You work really with folks that are in that field now helping them, and you know what it’s like because you have been there yourself. I think you started with one-on-one folks that you coached, right? And then now you’ve expanded to group programs, online programs, or a hybrid of the two. One of the things I’m curious about, because I know there are lots of other programs out there, and you’ve expressed concerns about some of those, that promise big things to these service professionals, but then fall short. What are you seeing as the shortfalls in programs like that? What are they promising but not delivering?

Yeah, I mean, I have no clue if this is true. I like to think that the vast majority of people who are creating group coaching programs, or courses, or whatever are well-intentioned, and they do want to help people. The challenge is, and this is why I think a lot of people that I talk to that say they hate marketing, it’s because marketing has gotten a bad name because marketing has now become, “How do I convince people to buy my thing by making lofty promises that do not take into account the work that this person will put in, the experience they have, the background they have, all these other variables that are in place.” Instead, they default to messages like, “Make six figures in six weeks,” or, “Sign your first client in five days.”

It’s like, that’s all great and all lofty and it works to get people in the door. Unfortunately, it lacks so much integrity that it then actually hurts the rest of the industry because then when people, they want to invest in something that actually could help them, they’re so jaded by it, or worse. Worse than being jaded Meredith, one of the worst things in the world, is that people taking a program that doesn’t actually help them and then thinking, “Oh, it means there’s something wrong with me. I’m not cut out for this.” I freaking hate that. It sucks to think that because something is not the right fit for you, that you then judge yourself, that you’re not cut out for it.

Anything that we set out to do as a company, it’s very, very important to us. Integrity is my number one core value. Well, enthusiasm is my number one core state of being, but as far as values are concerned, it is integrity. We try to operate with the highest level of integrity that we can. Does that mean sometimes we just don’t talk about money at all? About people making more money? Sure. That’s fine with me. We had somebody in our program, actually a couple of weeks ago, that said one of the reasons they joined our program is because none of our marketing staff talked about them making six figures, and instead talked about them really creating a business that was in full alignment with their soul, with their experience, and how they wanted to serve the world.

Again, I think all of those programs, the majority of them are well-intentioned. I think what’s missing in a lot of them is that either, A, they make lofty promises or, B, they don’t take into account the fact that there is a human running the business. There is no way to run a business. There is no step-by-step cookie-cutter thing to do. If there were, anybody would start a business and everybody would be successful. You have to take into account the fact that you as a human, your humanity, your beliefs, your philosophies, your personality, your view of the world plays a much bigger part in the success of your business than the modalities you’ve been trained in or in your expertise, at least in my opinion.

Well, I know one of the things you’ve been focusing on with your latest program is setting yourself up so that you have no competition. You don’t think in terms of being a commodity among all these other people. One of the roadblocks I think that you’ve addressed so well is this, “Oh, so do I,” syndrome that coaches fall into. Talk about that and how it is counterproductive when you’re trying to establish yourself as not having competition.

Yeah, and a slight shift on that. I don’t believe that there’s no competition. What we do is we talk about people building competition-proof businesses, right? You have a waterproof watch, it doesn’t mean water is absent. It means that even in the presence of water, the watch is going to operate perfectly fine.

Perfect. Okay. Good distinction.

 Yeah, I appreciate you bringing that up because that was something that I had to start sharing with people because they were thinking the same thing. I love that you brought that up. A competition-proof business means that when you do lead with who you are, there is nobody that can really do exactly what you’re doing and the way you’re doing it, because you bring a whole set of circumstances, a whole set of stories, a whole set of beliefs that are different than anybody else. As you were talking about the, “Oh, so do I,” I business, we’re trying to break people from the, “Oh, so do I,” syndrome, which is, you meet somebody and say, “What do you do?” They say, “I’m a coach.” You say, “Oh, you coach? Oh, so do I. You have an online course? Oh, so do I. You speak on stages? Oh, so do I,” and it just becomes this cookie-cutter thing where everybody’s doing the same thing.

If we can’t distinguish ourselves… I guess I should take a step back. People are constantly trying to figure out, “How do I distinguish myself in the market? There are so many coaches, there are so many people doing this or that. How do I distinguish myself? They’re trying to somehow stand out. Yet there’s a base level set of modalities, understandings, whether you’re a life coach or a business coach or a health coach or whatever you do. There aren’t that many different ways to help people with transformation. Coaches and consultants and people like that, that have really big egos, they hate when I say that, because they go, “No, my proprietary system is revolutionary.” Well, it probably is to you, but it’s based on fundamental principles that had been around way before any of us.

I would never say that I’ve invented anything new. What I’ve been able to do is take what’s worked for me, but whatever spin on it that I can, added my expertise and my experience. But what’s even more important than that is that the way I deliver it leverages and capitalizes on the ways that I know I best connect with people, and that I know that I can open them up to the potential for transformation.

If you think about having a competition-proof business, if people have a set of beliefs about me if they see how I show up in the world. If they see the things that are quirky about me, if they see the things that I activate in people, if they’re into joy and playfulness and somebody with high energy and somebody that talks fast. If I’m standing there and I say, “I have a three-step modality that’s going to help you do X, Y, Z,” and there’s somebody standing right next to me and they have the same three-step modality that’s going to take them from A to Z, but they have an entirely different personality an entirely different spirit, and you resonate with the kind of energy and spirit that I have. If you look at the two of these, that person, even though they’re my competition, I’m immune to them.

Because there’s no way the person standing in front of me, that resonates with my energy and the way that I present things would go to work with somebody else. They would only want to work with me. That’s why, instead of it is, what I think a lot of people think is that your business success is 90% contingent upon what you know and 10% contingent upon how you show up. I flipped those around. It’s 90% how you show up and 10% of what you know.

I think that’s very important for people to think about because there are so many coaches out there and it can be discouraging to think, “How do I stand out?” Let’s drill down with that because I know you have three pillars that you talk about. The first one that you have is one of my favorites because of who the quote reminds me of, the Turning Pro. Steven Pressfield wrote a book with that title. He’s written several nonfiction books around this whole idea of doing what you need to do if you’re going to be a pro. Why do you feel that? Why is that your first pillar?

Yeah, it’s really important, there’s… In that first pillar, we teach things about business structure and making sure that you understand the context for what you’re doing and not just the content. Because I remember when I started I would have all these different things that I was doing, “I’m going to do this group program, and I’m going to do one-on-ones, and I’m going to do intensives, and I’m going to do this course, and I’m going to do all these things,” but I had no idea how they actually fit together. Essentially every one of these things was like running a different business. Anytime I had a new thing, it was like I was starting a new business where I needed to find people to do that, and I needed… It was so chaotic to try to manage all that, and of course, it wasn’t effective. I wasn’t actually getting people into any of the things, and I was dabbling. Instead of focusing on mastery, I was a dabbler. I was being a hacker trying to put things together.

Turning pro is really about understanding that the context of what you’re offering is so much more important than the content of what you’re offering. Really zooming out. If you take your phone and you open up the map and you double-tap and it zooms out, I want to zoom out on the business and I want to see, “Okay, how do these things fit together?” Because when I know how they fit together, then I know what’s going to be a high yielding activity for me to focus on, daily, and low yielding activity for me to focus on, daily. If I have an hour to work on my business per day only, I want to know the highest yielding thing that I can do. I can’t know what that is if I’m not exactly sure of the landscape and the context of my business.

There’s a functional practical strategic part to that, but the bigger part to it is the mindset part, right? Turning pro is absolutely a mindset. What I see so much, and I’m… Are you an Enneagram person at all? Have you done the Enneagram?

No.

Okay. I’m just getting into it, so I’m not an expert by any means, but I did the Enneagram test and I was an Enneagram 2. I fight against these profiles so much because I’m like, “Oh, they’re just like, they just put you in a box and they’re so stupid.” I said, “Okay, I’m going to try it.” I tried it. I’m like, “Wow, this one actually nailed me.” I’m a two, and what twos are is that they’re helpers, right? They really, really want to help people. They really want to… they want to serve, but the shadow side of that is that they can become people pleasers.

They just do things just to help people, and they maybe are afraid to charge, or they think it’s not okay to monetize what you’re doing. They want to be Mother Teresa or the Father Terrence of the coaching industry. Instead of understanding that you accepting money for what you do is not only a professional thing for you to do as an exchange of value, just like you going to the grocery store and buying produce or something. But if you really truly want to make a difference in the world sustainably, longterm, unless you are independently wealthy or are able to live like a monk, you’re going to have, to have some way to bring money in.

Turning pro is really getting into that mindset of, if you’re a professional don’t let things like, “Oh, but I love people, and I’m passionate about serving,” and all these things. You don’t let that get in the way of the fact that, in order for you to do that long term, you want to treat this as an actual profession and not like a hobby. It’s really important to do that right away, right in the beginning.

That mindset piece is just at the core, isn’t it, of so many things. How we think about ourselves, how we think about the work we do, the people we serve, just that whole… There were some things you have inside that particular pillar. One of the things I remember you were talking about was the idea of the comfort zone. You have your genius zone, your comfort zone, the service zone. You make a point that’s at odds with what we hear every day, which is, “Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch.” You have advocated staying in your comfort zone. I want to hear you talk a little bit more about why do you say that?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. People that beat their chest every morning and jump into ice baths of water don’t like when I say, “Stay in your comfort zone.” I love that you brought that up and I’ll explain it. What you were mentioning there is we have this, a three-part system that we believe, or a three-part framework that we believe. It helps you to figure out your particular system for your business. Because again, remember it’s not a cookie cutter. They’re not one way. You figure out your own system. But we have this framework and it’s basically the intersection of your genius zone, your service zone, and your comfort zone. We can talk about them if you want. But the comfort zone, in particular, there’s so much uncertainty, and there’s so much ambiguity, and there’s so much perceived, maybe, scarcity or volatility or whatever it is, when you start any business. I don’t care if it’s an ice cream shop or it’s a coaching and consulting a business, there are all kinds of things that are going on.

Why do I want to add another layer of complexity and ambiguity and uncertainty and volatility in the way that I connect with people to potentially build my business? When I say don’t get out of your comfort zone at some point, yes, you’re going to be doing things you’ve never done before. In fact, the majority of your business is things you’ve never done before. When I say stay in your comfort zone, I mean that specifically in the context of how you connect with people.

The best analogy or the best metaphor that I can think of for this is, if you are a professional baseball pitcher, right? Let’s say you’re a pitcher in the major leagues, and your goal is to make it to the world series this year and to win the world series. That’s all you care about, that is your number one focus. You are a right-handed pitcher and they bring in a brand new pitching coach to help you to become world-class and win the world series. Do you think that pitching coach is going to say, “Let’s work on your left hand.” Why would I do that? I’m right-handed, let’s make my right arm as strong as humanly possible. Let’s put all of my attention and my sincerity on making my right arm the most masterful right arm that has ever thrown a baseball 100 miles an hour to the home plate.

For me, it’s the same thing. Instead of getting out of my comfort zone and saying, “I don’t feel comfortable going to networking events. I don’t feel comfortable cold calling. I don’t feel comfortable doing these things.” Well, get out of your comfort zone. Pick up the phone and do it. Why? Am I going to be in the energy to really serve people if I’m so caught up in my anxiety around doing something that feels that uncomfortable that I can’t really connect with them? No. There are very prevalent, very simple ways that we connect as human beings with each other when we’re not being coaches or consultants looking for clients, right? When I’m in line at Starbucks to get a coffee, I don’t think to myself, “Okay, how should I open this conversation, and what would be the most powerful question for me to ask? What if they give me an objection? How…”

It’s just a human being and so I’m just connecting human-to-human, right? Everybody has that. For some people it’s, every time they go to their Crossfit gym, they end up having deep and meaningful conversations with five of the people they work out with. For me, I love social media and I realized that I loved the spoken word and I love technology, and being able to send voice messages to people. I said, “I’m going to start reaching out to people that I care about or people that I see on social media that have had some big win or some big celebration in their life and just send them a quick message and say, ‘Hey, just saw that little Johnny went to first grade. I can’t believe he’s already six. This is insane. What are you up to now that he’s going off to school?'” Just talk like a human.

The more we can do that, the more we can focus on connection instead of conversion, right? The more we can focus on conversation instead of trying to turn somebody into a client, the faster our business will grow. It may sound counterintuitive, but that is actually a very pro thing to do.

I love that, and I agree 100% because I think too often we think, “Okay, now I have to put on this hat.” We have to suddenly transform into something we’re not, and that does create a lot of anxiety and stress. To me, what you’re suggesting is, identify what your strong suit is now when you connect naturally with other people, and how can you use that, or apply that same approach or method or just way of being with these other potential clients that you may be interacting with. It’s interesting you’re talking about social media too because I know that for you has been a major way that you have connected with people and built your tribe, which is another element I wanted to talk to you about. Because you really have this pillar of three T’s, and one of them is the turning pro. This other one though of the tribe. Talk a little bit about how should someone think about, “What is a tribe and how do I create one?”

Yeah, absolutely. I love that question. Social media is something I love and it’s something that I love to do, and it’s something that… I mean, even though we do a lot of stuff on social media, we don’t say or advocate that the only way for you to build a successful coaching or consulting business is to do it through social media. What we advocate is, in this day and age, we’re in the connection economy, right? We got through the industrial economy, we actually already got through the information economy. We’re in the connection economy.

What I wanted to figure out for myself, and what I want everybody who works with me or doesn’t work with me, I want everybody, to find out for themselves is, where can you be creating connection? Where can you be creating intimacy? That can happen online or offline. This is by no means, “If you’re not on social media posting seven times a day and doing webinars, you’re not going to be successful.” That’s stupid. We’ve had people who’ve gone through our program that I’m not sure to have ever posted a single thing on social media, even though we teach them how to do that, and they hit their first 20k a month because they focused on intimacy. They focused on, “How do I get out in the world and create intimacy with people?” That’s really what a tribe is, right? When you’re creating a tribe, you’re creating a level of resonance, and relevance, and relationships with people out in the world, right?

We have the three Rs that we talk about when we talk about creating content online, it’s the content should be relevant to the people that you want to serve. It should resonate with them, meaning that you’ve shared it in a way where it actually touches them, where they take whatever universal principles you’re sharing and make it very personal to themselves, and that it should help to facilitate creating relationships with people. That can be on or offline. Tribe building really is a series of… Tribe building can be one-to-one. You meet somebody at a networking event and you create some intimacy by having good questions and having a great conversation, or it can be created more en masse doing it online. There’s no one that’s better than the other.

The key here is though, “How can I leverage, again, my abilities to connect, to create intimacy with my audience?” Because when we’re doing coaching and consulting, we’re not selling number two pencils. We’re not selling water bottles or whatever. We’re not selling commodities. We’re selling an intimate relationship. In the same way if I cooked an Asian inspired dish, I would use Asian inspired ingredients. If I’m trying to sell an intimacy-based service, I should start with intimacy base in my connection. It’s just asking yourself, “How do I create the experience that they’re going to have in coaching, which is safety, intimacy, connection before they ever pay me?” That’s how your tribe is built.

Now, one thing about a tribe that I want to say as well, and it’s something that I’m a huge, huge proponent of, is that a lot of people ask, “How do I build my tribe?” Right? “How do I build a tribe?” That was a question I asked so much in the beginning, and I did all this research, and I tried to see, “How do you figure out… What’s the hack, and how do you hack the algorithm to build a tribe?” And all these other things that I was trying to do copying other people. Then I realized, you actually don’t build a tribe. Your tribe already exists. You just have to raise your hand and let them know you’re there and they’ll congregate around you, right? Everybody’s looking for somebody to be a leader in their lives. The metaphor I use for this is… Did you ever watch the TV show Lost, Meredith? Were you a Lost?

No, I didn’t.

Yeah. That’s how it is with everybody. Everybody I ask that question to, I get one of two responses. I either get, “No, I never watched it,” or, “Oh my God, that’s the greatest show ever.” There are very few people that are like, “Yeah I watched a couple seasons and didn’t get into it.” It’s one or the other, right? Either they hate it or have never heard of it, or never watched it, or they absolutely love it. If I walk into a networking event and I’m trying to figure out, “Oh man, how do I talk to people? What do I say to them? How do I create connection?”

If I stood up on a chair in a networking event, and you should all try this, and if you do it, make sure somebody videos it and tag me on Instagram because I want to see it. But, if I were to go to a networking event and stand up on a chair and raise my hand and say, “Anybody else in here love the TV show Lost? Is anybody else a huge lost fan?” Guarantee there would be a pocket of people, a group of people, that would be like, “Oh my God, Lost is the greatest show ever.” We’re a tribe. It’s done. They’ll come over to me. We have a common language, we have a common philosophy, we have a common lens on the world, and we have skipped all the surface level crap and dove directly into intimacy and rapport.

When you’re trying to build a tribe, all you need to get clear on, in my opinion, in my experience, is what matters to you? What do you stand for? What do you put a stake in the ground for? What is it that you can’t tolerate to see happening in the world? What’s your vision for humanity or for your industry or for whatever. Sharing that stuff openly. When you raise your hand and say, “This is what I believe, and this is my mission on the planet.” Other people will say, “Oh, thank goodness somebody is finally saying it. I’ve been looking for somebody else that thinks the same thing as me,” and the tribe is created. That’s how I’ve been building my tribe, is focusing on just self-expression and sharing what I care about. Finding my weirdos, is what I call them, my weirdos, and then nurturing my weirdos. I built my entire business on finding my weirdos and nurturing my weirdos.

Well, and it’s so true because your videos are just so real and authentic. They grab you because you’re not trying to pretend, this is your guru speaking. The life wisdom, it’s, “Gosh, I really had this terrible experience, and here’s what I took away from it,” or, “Here’s what I’ve been feeling, and here’s what I did to get out of it.” It’s showing your humanness, which I think is really important. The other thing you didn’t mention, but I believe absolutely is true, is not only are you attracting your unique weird people, you’re repelling those that do not resonate with you, so you’re not wasting your time or theirs trying to convince them that they would be a good fit with you. To me, what you’re saying is, the more you allow your unique elements to shine, the more you’re going to draw to you the people that resonate with that. But if you try to be vanilla, you’re not really going to pull anybody in or repel anybody because you don’t stand out.

Yeah. It’s so true. I love that you said that, it’s such a powerful insight. I love that you… Especially since you use the word convincing. I never want to convince anybody of anything. I think it’s a Dale Carnegie quote, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Yeah.

I never want to be in the convincing game at all. I want to be in the connection game, and so I love that you said that. One thing I know that I hear a lot, and so I know that you have people who are also not just life or health coaches. Maybe they feel like they’re not as much in the soft skill arena, but more in the hard skill arena. Maybe they are business consultants or things like that, and they would say, “Okay, there’s no way I’m sharing about my personal humanity and philosophy. This is a B2B thing, there’s no place for that.” That may have been the case in the past, but even for you, if you’re in that space, it’s happening. We’ve seen so many examples.

We had a woman in one of our programs who are strictly B2B, she just focuses on LinkedIn, that’s her thing. Typically when she posts content on LinkedIn, she would get two or three comments max, five to six likes max, and that was it. That was what she was posting, and that was fine. We helped her get really clear on her story, and her story was a very intimate one. This is about her going from being a college educated person in another country to coming here and having to take part-time jobs in a call center because her degree didn’t transfer over. Just the despair that she faced in that and her triumph, her story of resilience to work through that. She posted that and within a week it had 10,000 views, it had 50 shares, it had 700 comments, and it had something like a 1000 likes and reactions and all this stuff, on a business platform. People reaching out to her left and right, saying, “Your story is my story.” Essentially, using different words, “Your story is my story.”

For anybody who thinks, from a B2B perspective, this doesn’t work. I have an amazing epiphany that I want to share with you, is that businesses do not buy from you, humans inside of businesses buy from you. If you’re connecting human to human, even when you’re connecting B2B, it’s also huge. I just got hired to go speak at an $80 billion hospital system and the reason they found me was because another one of my clients shared my book in his newsletter and the COO of this company read it and resonated with my story, and so she reached out to have me come in. It wasn’t my accolades and it wasn’t my expertise, at least not initially, that’s the 10% at the end. But that first 90% was, “This is the kind of human that I want my people to be exposed to.”

That’s great. Those are wonderful stories. Going back to the person who posted on LinkedIn. Was that a video, or an article, or what form did the information take?

It was just written. It was a written text-based post. Yeah. Some people will take that, because we have a process we take people through in our Competition-Proof Business Academy. Framework we’ve created for you to get your origin story out into the world in a way that really shares your mission and gets people on board with the mission. Some people will share that in video form, but most people share it in written form. That’s what she shared, was just a written version of that, and she was so scared to… Oh, my God. The courage she had just to hit submit on that, even if nobody liked it or commented or anything, she transformed just because she was willing to share that story publicly. But it was a nice little added benefit, that it did pick up so much traction.

That’s fabulous. I love that. In fact, I wanted to ask you about some other examples of people who have followed your principles, but I want to just touch real quickly on that third T, the teachings. You mentioned especially this phrase, ‘the hangout factor’. I wanted you to just talk to that a little bit, because I think that’s important for people to wrap their head around, “What is that, and how can I apply that to attract and keep clients?”

Yeah. We call that the HOF, the hangout factor, not to be confused with David Hasselhoff. A different HOF. But the HOF, the hangout factor, that’s one of the biggest differentiators for you in your business. Because, as human beings, like it or not, for better or for worse, we are empathy machines. As an empathy machine, what that actually means in the real world is that, every time we meet somebody, we are assessing them in a split second to say, “Are you like me or are you not like me?” If you’re like me, I’m going to stick around, and just see what you’re up to and see if you resonate. If you’re not like me, I’m gone. There is nothing you can say. That’s what they always say, “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person, and you can’t say the right thing to the wrong person.”

That empathy machine inside of us knows within a split second. You know this, you’ll meet somebody at a networking event and you’ll be like, “I don’t know what it is about that person. I want to have a beer with them. I would love to go hang out at a baseball game or have a glass of wine.” You don’t have no idea why. There’s nothing about what they said necessarily that somebody else couldn’t have said or maybe didn’t say, but you don’t connect in the same way. Or the people you sit across from that have a great smile and they seem really energetic, but you’re like, “There’s something about that guy. Yeah, I don’t think I can be around that person for more than 10 minutes at a time.”

The hangout factor is not something you manufacture. It’s something that you uncover. It’s something that you become aware of. Everybody already has a hang out factor. That’s why you have people around you that want to hang out with you outside of business, right? Your friends don’t hang out with you because they’ve been contractually obligated to do so. They do it because there’s something about the way you show up that adds value and joy to their life. What I want to do is, I want to make sure that I’m injecting that into how I’m showing up in the world wherever possible, whether it’s on stage or it’s at a networking event, or it’s in my content online, or videos, or whatever it is. I want to make sure it’s a part of that.

Again, another example of this, and it’s actually something… I’m thinking about my next book being around this because I love… I really geek out on, as you can probably tell, the philosophy of real connection and intimacy in marketing. I hate that marketing has gotten such a bad term, and marketing and sales are not the same thing either. Marketing to me is awareness, and it’s real service to people in the world so they have the chance to improve their lives, or they have the chance to have access to working with you to improve their lives, either way.

What happened was, we had this one woman. Again this happens to be a LinkedIn person, we don’t have a ton of people that are focusing primarily on LinkedIn. But she’s an innovation consultant, innovation strategist, mainly for startups and for pre-revenue or seed round level companies. She would share this stuff on LinkedIn and man, she had great content. I would read her content like, “That is so smart, that’s really valuable.” I’m reading it saying, “We need to do some of that in our business. That’s really smart,” right? Yet she was getting no traction.

In reading the stuff, I went back to her because she was in our group program and I was being able to see her and coach her in our group calls, I was like, “Man, you have so much personality and none of that is in what you’re sharing. I don’t get you at all in that.” She was, “What do you mean?” I said, “Anybody in the world could have posted what you posted, and I would’ve gotten the same thing out of it.” But that also means that if anybody else could have posted it, we’re back in the, “Oh, so do I,” realm realm again. The “Oh, so do I,” arena. I asked her, I said, “What’s something that you just really enjoy? Just enjoy” I didn’t give her any context. “What’s something you really enjoy?” She thought about it for a minute and she said, “I really like Whole Foods pizza.” I’m like, “Okay, Whole Foods pizza, what’s up with Whole Foods?” She says, “I don’t know, it just feels healthy, it’s a good price, and I can just go into the store and pick it up and take it home. It’s delicious. I just love Whole Foods pizza.” I said, “Cool, we want to integrate that into your content. We want people to know that you like Whole Foods pizza.” She goes, why? “How does that have anything to do with my business?”

I said, “Well, think about it this way. People are scrolling through LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or whatever, and they see content pop up from all these different people. If they don’t know you, if they don’t feel like they know you at all at a human level, then it could be a robot that’s just auto-populating and auto posting stuff all day. It’s just a bunch of robots posting, posting, posting. But here’s one thing to remember. Robots don’t eat pizza.” As soon as you start sharing things about your life, things that you care about, things you like, people immediately say, “Oh, this is not just some random piece of content that anybody could have posted. There’s actually a human on the other side of the screen.”

They see you in their minds typing this thing out. They see you thinking about how it is you want to share your message. They see you working with people one-on-one in their mind or in groups or however you work using the principles you’re sharing your content, but anchoring that in with real things about who you are as a human makes them understand, “Oh that’s a real person, and I want to work with a real person.”

What happened?

Yeah, so she started putting that stuff in and she blew it up. It was so fun. I’m like, “The stuff she’s put in is…” I got to go check her out. Actually she graduated our program about six months ago. I need to go look at her content now. But she started posting things in there where she was talking about funny arguments she used to have with her sisters about things when they were kids, and all these little things. Then a lot of times she was able to relate that back into what it is she was sharing that was a business lesson. Now, it may not always be that way. It may be something where she’s sharing a piece of content and she says, “Last night while I was enjoying my favorite in the world, pepperoni pizza from Whole Foods, I had this framework pop in my head that I think can help anybody who’s looking to get funding for their project.”

That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be connected to the message, but even that brief, brief mention makes people think, “Oh, I’ve had pizza before and had some random epiphany pop in my head.” That increases your hangout factor, and so that’s why people want to spend more time with you.

That’s great. Well, I love those two examples, and I just notice we’re really out of time. I’m so sorry.

It’s so quick.

Fabulous. I know, we can talk for hours. I’ll have to have you back for another edition. But for now I know that with all the energy you’ve shown and the great tips and ideas you’ve shared, people will want to know more. Tell them how they can learn more about you and get more information.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, if anybody wants to dive deeper into the things I’ve talked about here, I wrote a really fun E-book, It’s called How to Build a Competition-Proof Coaching Business, and I’m sure Meredith will give you the link in the show notes. It’s pretty simple, go to becompetitionproof.com, B-E, become. Becompetitionproof.com and you can download the guide for free. It’s 36 pages. It’s pretty in depth. It’s not a sales pitch. 

No, it’s excellent. I really enjoyed it.

Well thank you. I’m really happy that it was helpful and I’ve heard from so many people who have said, “Wow, just from reading this, I’ve already implemented what’s in there, and it’s made a difference for me.” I know this is the same for you Meredith, and that’s why we’re connected. You just care about serving, and about making an impact for people. My goal in writing that thing is that, if we never ever talk again, I never see you, we never work together, that you get massive value out of that guide and you apply it in your life. I would love if you download that, I would love it even more if you actually apply this stuff in your world and keep me posted and let me know how that works for you.

Well, one last thing. I know you have a group on Facebook and I want to invite people to join that because you’re constantly posting your own videos, your own lessons. It’s like free inspiration on a regular basis. Let them know what the name of that group is.

Yeah. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Yeah, so it’s called Behind the Scenes of a Competition-Proof Business. My commitment to that group is that myself and my team, because I want you to get everybody that’s in my world that has different insights. People in my team are geniuses at things that I suck at. I want everybody to come in. Three times a week we go in there and do Facebook Lives, and train, and teach you things on mindset and methodologies to help build yourself up as a professional coach and also to grow your business, and also have a lot of fun at the same time. The Facebook Lives are always fun. They’re always high energy. It’s a completely free group, and we’d love to have you join. We have almost 2000 people now in the group and we’d love to have you on that.

That’s excellent. Well, thank you so much JG. I value you so much as a human being, as a coach, as someone that’s really making a true positive impact in the world on so many people. I appreciate your being with me today.

It’s my pleasure, Meredith. Keep doing the amazing work you’re doing in the world, supporting all the coaches and consultants you’re supporting, and happy to serve in any way that I can.

Thank you.