Lawrence Neal built a podcast around his passion, high-intensity strength training. It was popular, but didn't bring in any income.
When he decided to focus on the entrepreneurs in the niche, he discovered he had the makings of a business. Today, Lawrence makes more in a month than he used to earn in a year.
Tune in as he shares how the pieces fell into place for him, and how SuperFastBusiness played a significant role in his success.
02:33 – When your yearly income becomes your monthly
04:12 – Before and after joining SuperFastBusiness
06:15 – A significant shift in focus
11:56 – When you have a challenging student
19:42 – Working with the current circumstances
20:57 – The student’s approach to the trainings
23:49 – Why the SuperFastBusiness community is so great
28:59 – Some power moves you may want to consider
30:28 – How to play the affiliate game
33:16 – A foray into the revenue share model
40:47 – The summary and wrap-up
James: James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 786. Today I’m chatting with Lawrence Neal, who is a member of SuperFastBusiness, which I’m very grateful for, because Lawrence contributes some really interesting thoughts and discussions to our membership community and also has been on a journey of transformation. And that’s what we’ll be talking about today. So welcome to the call, Lawrence.
Lawrence: Thank you, James. It’s an absolute honor to be on your podcast.
James: Well, I’m glad you’re here, because from time to time, we’d like to hear from members of our community about what they’re up to. And I think this is a really important part of growing a business, is to share stories and bring a spotlight to people who might sort of be there but are not globally recognized in terms of the achievement they’re doing yet, but maybe one day down the future.
I’ve broken a lot of stars of the future on this show and got in early like, I’m thinking way back to Clay Collins before LeadPages was a big deal. I had very early days, relationships with Ezra Firestone, Ryan Levesque, Justin Brooke, Andre Chaperon, I mean, the list goes on. And it’s great seeing people make progress. And there are so many people at that early stage.
And I don’t really deal with startups in SuperFastBusiness, especially not until this year. And this year has been an interesting year where I’ve, I guess, made it more accessible to access my information, my products, having opened up SuperFastResults. But there are so many people who have gone through the first few hurdles. They’re in a market, they have some expertise, they have an offer or two that is actually working.
When your yearly income becomes your monthly
But you said something to me recently; I’m just going to quote this from a discussion you and I had inside SuperFastBusiness membership; but you said to me that you’re now making a certain amount per month through all of your income streams, and you’re about to add even more to that through your other business. And so in total, you’re getting to a brand new threshold per month, which you said, when you started SuperFastBusiness that would have been your annual income.
And for me that does spark a little bit of joy, because I’m just so excited to see someone go from an annual income to that being their monthly income, and I can relate to that, because that happened to me. In any given month now, I make close to or a good chunk of what I used to make a year back when I had a job. People talk about a 10x increase or a 10x result. My friend John Lint has 10XPRO. He wants to get people to get much better results.
You are actually 10x-ing. So I think it’s interesting to find out why. I actually asked you what were the steps, and you listed a couple, and that’s what I want to talk about in today’s episode. But before we do that, Lawrence, give us the short version of what you’re actually doing in business now, and what it looked like when you started at SuperFastBusiness, and how long ago that was. I can have a look here, in terms of your profile, it looks like you joined in the beginning of 2018. So this has been a couple of years’ journey for you.
Before and after joining SuperFastBusiness
Lawrence: It has. So if I start from when I first came across you, or when I first took action with you, beginning of 2018 might make sense. And so it’s always hard, isn’t it? To trace back exactly what were the events that led you to buying something or investing in a coach, but I try my best to try and do that. So I’m from the UK originally and I moved to Galway in Ireland to kind of start a life with my Irish fiancé here in Ireland, and it was also the opportunity where I could leave a pretty lucrative sales career behind and really just double down on my passion, which was my online business.
And I just really didn’t have much direction. You know, I had a pretty popular podcast, which was all about productivity in all sorts of different areas; so lifestyle, business, health and fitness; really trying to just look at productivity from every angle. But it really didn’t have a focus, and it really didn’t have a product, and I was making money through podcast sponsorship, but I wasn’t really making enough nor was I generating enough of a return on investment for my sponsors to really make it a viable business to support us.
And so after going through a bunch of different product ideas and really not finding anything that was that successful, I know I needed accountability. I know I needed support from someone like you. And at the time, early 2018, it was during the time where that sort of cryptocurrency trend was really popular before it burst. And I had about $1,000 or 1000 Euros around that in Ethereum, which is one of the popular cryptos and might still be, but I wasn’t really into it. I was just following the trends. I wasn’t, you know, tracking it closely and trying to generate income through it.
And so, I think I did the wise thing, which I know was to be the wise thing at this point, which was to pull that money out of that, have a conversation with you, and invest in SuperFastBusiness coaching, which was by far the best investment I’ve ever made in my entire life, and you know, have made many, many multiples of that investment since; for your coaching, through your content and community, and all the resources you provide. And I very quickly discovered that a membership was the most appropriate fit for my particular business. And I also focused my business down.
A significant shift in focus
So through my podcast journey, I had really developed a passion for a mode of exercise called high-intensity strength training, which is a niche within fitness. It’s basically a niche of strength training. And I built a pretty popular podcast that talked about the exercise side of it, but also the business. And what I found is a lot of the business owners in high-intensity strength training really enjoyed my podcast and really enjoyed some of the business episodes I did, because I tend to do business episodes, because they were just in line with my interest.
And so I decided to completely focus down on that niche and serve those types of customers and then provide a membership that supported that, and that’s just grown over time. It’s been challenging. There’s been peaks and troughs, but it’s trended in the right direction, thanks to your help. So that’s the short version. I’m trying to make it short. It was probably longer than I anticipated.
James: No, it was perfect. It was absolutely perfect. I mean, you know, we try and avoid the novels. But this really encapsulates, it gives a lot of context to this discussion we’re having. It’s a place a lot of people find themselves where they’re just sort of pushing out stuff, but not really giving it too much finesse in terms of who it’s for.
I know that was one of the sort of slaps in the faces for you at some point was when, I think you actually realized that you were publishing the content that people were interested in but weren’t going to be buying anything, and you had to realign what you’re doing. And I think that was probably difficult at the time for you to define that or to accept it, because you’ve already got a body of work and some sunk cost in what you’ve been producing. Do you want to talk about that defining moment?
Lawrence: Yeah that’s a really good point. So that was actually really hard for me. And in fact, it still sometimes continues to be a little bit challenging for me, because suddenly, a lot of people follow my show who were just really interested in high intensity training. So they’re fitness enthusiasts, but they’re not business owners. And, you know, I enjoy creating content for them. And it’s interesting, I used to get a lot more feedback and emails, and lovely comments from people, which I should probably get less of now. But the difference is I actually earn income now, whereas I didn’t before, really.
“It’s hard to build a business off feedback alone. You need a product and alignment with that.”
And so it’s not enough to really, you can’t build a business off that type of feedback. You actually need to have, you know, a product and alignment with that. And yes, so I, as I said, I’ve shifted my focus from this kind of generic health and fitness podcast to really just focusing on, if you have a business in high-intensity training, yeah, how do you improve that? How do you make that successful? And we still talk about the fitness side of it, but only if it serves that target market. That’s kind of the filter. And it still does pay me a little bit today.
Sometimes I won’t do certain content, because I know it’s not going to really support the sale, or drive people into the membership. And that is my objective at the end of the day. So, yeah, I’m not so concerned about it now. And it’s gotten easier over time. But in that moment, in SFB, when I posted, ‘Look, this is what I’m doing.’ And I was trying to kind of justify it to the community and to you, saying like, “I still think it’s valuable. I’m still going to do it.” And it kind of occurred to me through some back and forth in the forum that actually I really needed to focus the content down.
James: I can relate to this. I’m thinking in Mercedes-Benz days, a lot of the training we had was on selling and marketing and running a dealership. And occasionally, we had to do product training as well. We had to actually learn about the products and the vehicles, and we had to go to drive days and experience them, etc., which was great. But a lot of it was actually the business building stuff. So I can see how your high-intensity trainers are mostly going to be needing to learn how to run their business.
But when there are new developments in equipment or techniques, it would be something worth talking about, and it would maintain their passion and interest level enough for them to continue with the show. But it was really interesting watching that, because it’s a very common scenario. The worst one is where people publish content for their competitors. They just teach every single person out there how they’re doing this or that, but they’re not actually making content for their end customer.
And the thing that I was a little bit lucky with when I started podcasting was, I already had my products and services. The podcast was simply, and you know, I can say this straight up, it was totally a device to drive people into my products and services. And whilst that is still true today, I guess I’m in a much better position now in life where I can lean into my desires a little more when it comes to the content I want to publish, when I go down the fitness path or when I go down the philosophy path, or just catch up with a friend or do a solo episode, I can do that, because I’ve earned it with my audience, having enough episodes under the belt, and people I think will cut me some slack.
We publish two episodes a week. And I think that, you know, if one of the episodes isn’t right in their wheelhouse, so I’ll just skip to the next one, you know, later in the week or next week. And they’ll give me some credit. It’s like if you’ve been going to the same store 100 times, and one time you don’t get the best outcome, you’d probably still go back. Whereas if it’s your first time, you don’t. So this especially affects new podcasters when they’re publishing in the beginning, because you don’t really have any audience, you’re not getting much feedback.
“You either get a standing ovation, or you get a rush to the back of the room.”
Like one of my friends who teaches people how to sell from stage, he said, you either get a standing ovation, or you get a rush to the back of the room. And what he’s talking about is you can create content that pleases people and gives you vanity metrics, and likes, and shares and comments. And there’s plenty of bloggers who would fit that criteria. But no one is buying anything.
You know, they might be starving artists who are critically acclaimed but poor, like actually a lot of actors. They could be mega famous for a fleeting second. But after the money for the film runs out, they got nothing in between, you know, three years between now and their next gig. Like a lot of copywriters, you know, and we fixed that for Kevin Rogers with CopyChief.com as we heard about in a recent episode.
When you have a challenging student
So you lined up your podcasts better to suit the market you serve. You started a membership. Let’s talk about the membership for a minute. You kind of asked some really tough questions in SuperFastBusiness. I’ll say, you know, as someone who’s at least one of your coaches, you are a challenging student at times, because you push; you push; and I think that might come from your fitness background. You’re used to pushing people past their comfort zone and their barrier, and you push with questions that other people won’t ask. You have a genuine curiosity.
And I’m not saying this in any way as a criticism. I’m saying it as a commendation. You utilize the resource you’ve paid for. You ask important questions. And you came across barriers and then you reflected those barriers back into the community, and you challenge me and others around to help you through them. What were some of the milestones as you grew your membership from the beginning to where it is now?
Lawrence: Firstly, I’ll say, I always feel terrible when I ask those questions in the membership because I always feel like I’m upsetting you; well not upsetting you, but I’m aware of being a challenging student. So it’s difficult for me to post those.
James: It’s okay. I think of it the same way, you know, when I go for a surf, not every session is dreamy. Sometimes it’s just a beat down like yesterday. Yesterday were big waves. On paper, it looked good. Nice big waves, sunny, not too many people out, clear water; I could see the bottom. I went to my local beach here. And unfortunately, the waves weren’t a good shape.
They were dead straight instead of slope. So when you take off on a wave, there’s nowhere to go. You can’t go left, you can’t go right. They just go straight, and they just shut down. And you basically go from the top of the wave to shallow sand in an instant. So every time I paddle for a wave, you get that sort of hot rush of, ‘Oh my God, I’m about to go over a cliff here into shallow sand.’
A lot of my friends have snapped their boards in the last few weeks. And it’s very easy to get an injury. So I know those difficult sessions improve my reflexes. They help me hone my decision-making skills. They make me appreciate the good wave days even more, and I’m pushing through. So when you’re a coach, and I’m sort of extrapolating this a bit here, because you’re a coach for your own customers, so I know this is useful for you, and a lot of people listening to this are coaches; you will get students who push the system.
However, those students are the ones that make the product better. They push the product boundaries. They move the edge of what’s possible. They tune the product and the coach. I made changes as a result of your questions. One of your questions was interrogating me about how many new members are joining my own membership, because you’re literally counting the new member ticker on the right hand side widget, so I had it removed because of you, because it’s the wrong focus. And you could formulate the wrong outcome from watching that number, because it doesn’t reflect the true picture, because of course, you can only see the tip of the iceberg.
What you can’t see is how many sales go to the other programs that are not showing there. It doesn’t show you your churn, it doesn’t show you profit, it doesn’t show you the lifetime customer value. So there are a lot of elements you’re missing when you look at that. So I removed that in case someone else is tempted to do the same thing. Of course, you can always have a look at the weekly news where we introduce new members, like some weeks there’s eight members, some weeks there’s two, some weeks there’s 11. But I know from your question around that, it meant to me you were trying to get a benchmark on what’s an acceptable number.
Lawrence: Especially during COVID-19.
James: Right. And like, in October 2020, I had my record month of SuperFastBusiness for years, because of Episode 775, and the associated things going on with that episode that I shared in the training on Conversational Conversions. So only members of SuperFastBusiness or someone who buys that individual product at SuperFastResults will be able to understand how I pretty much doubled the business from the events of that month. So you don’t see the background. Only people with an insider view do.
The other thing that I remember happened was you emulated a similar sales sequence to me but didn’t get the same result, which we determined is simply because, A) you have a very different market, B) you’re at a different stage in business, C) you have a different level and type of pre-marketing. And then there’s D, E, F and G like, you know, what’s going on in the background, email sequence, how patient are you, are you measuring comparable stats, etc? So the big lesson there is you can’t take someone else’s apple and take a bite out of it, and expect to taste the apple, because basically everything is different.
“We’re all running our own race.”
We’re all running our own race. That’s why I have to be cautious with split test results. That’s why I often say in my trainings, you know, this is what I’ve done. I’m specifically saying, you know, you’ll have to take the idea and the concept of this and then play with it in your own environment, see if it actually works for you or not. And so as you’ve grown, what you’ve gone from is, I’m going to replicate this to I’m going to understand the fundamentals as to how this works, and then I’m going to come up with my own versions, and theories, and tests to see what I can create.
Much in the same way as a share trader who’s very successful will not, and this will go against what you see from the advertising and the gurus out there, they will not share with you their secret technology, or their method, or their specific skill, because if they do, then it becomes commoditized, and then they now have to go back and find their brand new thing. What they might teach you is the fundamentals and how to think about it, so you can come up with your own answers.
So that was, I think, a big growth curve for you, and one that will pay you big dividends in the future. And if I were to summarize that in a sentence, you went from taking the court fish to being able to catch your own. And I think that’s a skill that’s got compound interest for you. I think over the next few years, what you’re making in a month now might be what you make in a week. And hopefully, it will be what you make in a day down the track. But you didn’t stop there either. Like you then added on a high-level service, if I’m correct.
Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think you were very polite in the way you just described that James, because I actually ripped you off in the beginning.
James: I’m not going to say that. I’m just saying it’s very understandable, and it’s very common, where people will say, “Oh, this is working for James. He’s transparent about his results. So therefore, I’ll just start there.” I mean, it’s not a bad hypothesis, but the flaw is, you miss out on the gift of individual thought process, and you don’t understand the mechanic.
It’s like, if you look at the person next to you’s exam test, and they write down the answer to a sum 24, and you write down 24, you might be lucky in that it was the right answer, but you have no idea how it was worked out. So you can’t then apply it next week, and the kids move to another class. Now you’re screwed. So you’re basically better to just peel it back a layer, understand the fundamentals, and then go on.
So you went on a process of change there, and you, more so than many of my other students, had to adjust your message for COVID, because your physical businesses, you know, your customers’ businesses were heavily affected, which meant you needed to be very adaptive, and it forced you off the same program as me, because you had a different market who had different needs. And then you now learnt the skills. You’re like Daniel-san in Karate Kid. You had to wax on and wax off a bit. But now you can defend yourself.
Working with the current circumstances
Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. And just going back to your previous question. So yeah, obviously I started the membership serving the high-intensity training studio owner. And then I, more recently, started the higher-level membership, which actually I started just before COVID here. And so it was really a bit unfortunate timing, really, because a lot of the studio owners had to really like, you know, re-evaluate their expenses and just kind of pause everything. So it wasn’t great timing.
But it’s kind of, since things have kind of recovered, and that program has picked up, and that’s, when I say high level, there’s a 30-minute phone call with myself once a week where we jump on the phone, and we talk about challenges, and I basically coach those business owners to the next step in their business. And then we have obviously, some email in between. So it’s more kind of like closer contact with myself. And that’s, I’m really happy to say, they’ve been really successful. And I really enjoy offering that service.
I won’t say it generates more revenue for me. And it’s a nice kind of add on to hit business membership, which is the lower-level membership service as well. And so that’s what that really went again, that’s all thanks to you. And there was a piece of content in SFB, the How to Start a High-Level Coaching Program, where I really learned all of the fundamentals to actually starting and running that. So thank you for that.
The student’s approach to the trainings
James: Let’s talk about that. You just mentioned one of the trainings in there. As you know, I create a new training pretty much every month, and I have been doing for years. I was telling my son this yesterday when we’re walking that I’ve probably created 100 information products over the last hundred months. It’ll be something like that. How do you find those little modules? Like do you just cherry pick what you need at the time? Or do you just do the one that’s on the current month? How do you feel about how that works?
Lawrence: So I’m not sure if I’m your typical user, James. I’m really not very good at being in the forum frequently. I try and take your advice, and I try and be as focused as I possibly can very much doing the 80/20, or I know you like to call it the 64/4 approach, and really kind of laser in on the things I need at that moment and ignore everything else, right?
James: Well, I think that’s very effective. You know that’s really my beef with Facebook groups is, I don’t think more interaction equals better student or better result. If you’re posting 50 likes and comments a day in a Facebook group, it’s probably a good indication that you’re not doing a whole lot in your business. So it could actually be a sign of a great student.
Lawrence: Yeah, so I only post questions if it’s really kind of associated with like a constraint that I’m trying to work on, or I’ll post it to you directly. I’m very open. I’m not very private in the challenges I have in SFB. And I quite enjoy sometimes posting it publicly, because then I’ll get input from you and then input from other people in the community. It’s only if it’s really sensitive, I like to go to you directly.
James: I was going to ask you about that because; if you’re listening to this, I just want to explain; in SuperFastBusiness, there’s two levels, there’s the standard level; in the standard level, you get access to all the courses, the monthly training, the monthly FAQ or AMA; you can also post a public journal where you can get coached by me and everyone else, it’s just that everyone else can see it.
The difference between that and the intensive level is, in the intensive level, you can get a private discussion thread. So if you have confidential information, no one else can see that. If you need very heavily customized work and you’re the very shy type, then that’s it. And for new members coming in at the current rates, they also come to a weekly group call, which is a new thing, because I’ve given my SilverCircle call to those people because I don’t take SilverCircle applicants anymore for the straight up coaching. I only take partners in SilverCircle.
So that’s just a change I wanted to mention and specify. So what you’re doing Lawrence is you’re posting some things privately to me and most things in the forum, because I think you’ve recognized the power and the leverage of gathering that collective experience of the hundreds of other members who have been there before, seen something that works, or can just stimulate your thoughts. And I think you use that feature very well. So that’s good.
Why the SuperFastBusiness community is so great
Lawrence: Yeah, I mean, the caliber in SuperFastBusiness is so high that, you know, I just get so much value from other members’ input. And it’s also really important to say that I have pretty much built up my entire partner network of partners I use for, you know, web design, helping with managing things like Google Analytics and Active Campaign and automations, website hosting, and there’s probably more though. I can’t think off the top of my head.
I built that whole network through the guys in SFB. So I’ve been public with my challenges. It’s enabled me to connect with these people that have just added so much value to my business and help me get to the next level. So that’s a really huge, kind of win, by joining the community, has been able to build up that partner network with partners that I can trust, who you’ve kind of vetted as being the best or at least one of the bests in their specific niche, and that’s really important to me.
James: Well, two things on that. One is, they are motivated because they’re in the community. They’re paying to be there. They’re not allowed to join if they’re just there to look for customers. But members can carry an advertising link in their forum profile in their signature, it’s called. And so if they have a service that’s useful for other members, they’re certainly welcome to post it in there. And that appears whenever they make a post. So it’s easy for people to find out about their service.
So if you’re thinking of joining SuperFastBusiness, and you happen to offer any kind of product or service that predominantly online businesses use, it would pay for your membership straight up if you go and post and add value. There’s no promotional posts allowed, of course, so we have very high-quality filter.
The second thing is, I’m actually coaching or working with or partnering with a lot of the members. So I see their business on a deep level like some of them, I’ve worked with for years, up to 10 years. I’ve seen their growth, I understand their business, I know them well, I’ve met them in person, I’ve shared meals with them, I’ve used them for my own business. So when you talk about trust and that, I mean they really can’t afford to come into my community and blow it because it will basically just switch them off. And you know, I have a strong value approach to what we’re doing there. I want to make sure it’s reflected in anyone.
Anyone dealing with a member and doesn’t get a great experience, they’re more than likely going to tell me. And I’m going to go and speak to them about it directly, but it’s extremely rare. And I think we have great people. And we have some super undercover worldwide experts in things from Shopify right through. So there’s some under the radar types who just pop out every now and then like the guy who runs a multimillion dollar parts business, who has extreme experience with teams and systems and inventory, etc., and retailing.
You know, they just pop out of the woodwork here and there when the question comes. So if you do post publicly, you’re making it easy for them to reach out to you and to offer their expertise. So that’s nice. And then we try and round up the best of those in the weekly news recap, where we point out great discussions that are happening where someone got good advice. And I love the group aspect of that. It’s a phenomenal thing.
Lawrence: Yeah, and I love it. I know you probably get this a lot, but I love it. And I probably took this from you as well, James, when you put out a weekly email and you say, ‘Lawrence wants to know x, y and z, or Mark wants to know this, and Steve’s achieved this’, I think that’s really good, because it’s obviously, everyone’s, you know, most interesting subject is themselves.
So when they get an email that’s tailored for them and has their name on it, it’s not just, you know, the ‘Hi, first name,’ but you know, you’re actually talking about them to the rest of the community. Like that is really powerful stuff. And that’s something I use in my weekly newsletter for my membership. I use the same kind of format where, you know, if an individual posts something that’s created a great discussion, then I’m going to mention it.
James: Would you like to know an insider tip, just you and me, sharing here?
Lawrence: Just you and me, sure.
James: You and me, and a couple of thousand podcast listeners. The way the team come up with a newsletter, it’s actually quite clever, because a few years back, I used to do that. I used to go around the forum and look for interesting discussions. And then my friend Ken, who everyone knows, Ken started preparing the newsletter. And then we moved to a system where the algorithm of the forum itself floats to a dashboard, the top posts, in terms of views and comments.
So what we’ve worked out is, it’s an instantly, crowd-sourced validation tool. If you post something fascinating, or interesting, or tremendously valuable, and other people recognize that value, and they comment more or view it more, then it floats to the top, and it will appear in the newsletter. So the end result of that information is, if you’d like to see your name more, then post the type of posts or threads that are going to engage and interest other members and provide more value for them. And you’ll be appearing in the charts so to speak, and it’s completely computer driven.
So we’re not trying to, you know, deliberately call out names like a Romper Room episode. It’s like, ‘survey says’. The computer shows us which things are the most interesting. And the feedback that I get is, really looking at the open click through rates for that email, it’s bordering on 70 percent of members open that weekly newsletter, which I’ll take any day of the week for an email open rate. That is a pretty good indication that people like what they see, and it’s only going to paying members. So that’s good.
Some power moves you may want to consider
Something else you did, Lawrence, that I thought was interesting, is you started adding in affiliate income, which I often talk about, you know, if you have any kind of product or service, you’ll want to think about what other things your customers are buying and using and start to partner up. And this is before we even talk about rev shares, which I also want to ask you about because you seem to have gone for the power moves.
If we think about the power moves here, recurring subscription membership, podcast for conversions, and awareness, and focus, and getting that traffic into a nice presale position. You’ve started a higher-level service that increases your revenue substantially for not a lot of extra effort, which you can sell to your existing database. We haven’t talked about, but you also started another training service; a virtual service to respond to the market. We kind of talked about responding to the market. Well, that’s kind of what you did.
“Leverage with other people in business beyond where you can get to with your own resources.”
And then you’ve added affiliate income on top of your existing product and service, and then, I know, and I don’t know, you didn’t mention this in your things that you did to improve your income, but I know that you’ve also been paying close attention to the revenue share model, which might lead to partnerships. It doesn’t really matter, the concept is leveraging with other people in business beyond where you can get to with your own resources.
So however you want to talk about them, that’s probably the true definition of an entrepreneur is being able to control assets and resources that weren’t initially within your little capture zone. So that’s a leverage play. So you’ve really stacked a lot of the techniques I talk about. And that’s how you’ve 10xed your business, from a humble start with a challenging journey to where it’s at now.
How to play the affiliate game
So just tell us a little bit about the affiliate play, how that works for you, and then if you want to share about how you’ve been delving into discussions around partnering. That’s totally optional, and that’s a bonus. You said you’re transparent. So I’m going to use a labeling technique here from Cialdini’s playbook. You’re a generous, sharing guy Lawrence, why don’t you share with us all the details?
Lawrence: Yeah, I’m quite happy to. Yeah, so in terms of like affiliates, even before we came across each other, I was partnering with a company called HITuni, which is High-Intensity Training University, which is owned by a friend of mine, Simon Shawcross, who’s another colleague in high-intensity training. And it was just an absolute perfect fit, because basically, he published his courses on how to become a personal trainer in this particular style of training. You know, I’m talking about how to grow a high-intensity training business.
So it’s ideal if an owner wants to upskill or wants to train their team, it was just a very ideal fit; or someone wants to just start a new business and they’re the only trainer, right? So I was sending leads his way and getting paid commission for that and continue to do so. And then that’s continued on, and obviously, I promote that in my public newsletter for my podcast, much like you do for your various offers. I promote it inside HIT business membership.
I actually don’t do a great job, I would say, of actually promoting affiliates. I do an okay job, but I could do much better, and I’m sort of working on that. And then I also have a relationship with a company called Mind Body who provide fitness management software, who were like the leader in the kind of scheduling and client management space in boutique fitness. So again, it’s just a perfect fit for what I do.
James: Software is just like a winner. Like, big tip, anyone interested in affiliate marketing, find the software that every single person in your market has to have or is paying for, because that’s how I started, and it’s how I’m finishing. You know, it’s leading the charge in my revenue shares. I’m a huge fan of software because we all use software, even if we’re listening to this podcast, we’re doing it on some kind of software, it’s here to stay, and it’s a great market to play in.
“Identify what all your customers are already buying.”
The sort of secondary tip there is, identify what all your customers are already buying. That’s a no-brainer to promote, because they’ve already validated it with a purchase. If you can get in front of other people with the same suggestion before they go and buy it, it’s just a matter of time, and you can be the pathway for it.
Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a few more things like that. I’m still growing the affiliate revenue stream over time. And obviously, what I love about it is, you don’t really do anything, right? It’s just a pass through, there’s no work, you don’t have to fulfill anything, you don’t have to manage a product. Like, it feels like free money sometimes. And it just makes a lot of sense, because if someone can go for you and find products and services that are tailored to their specific business, then of course they’re going to follow up with that and explore those offers. Do you want me to touch on the revenue share deal?
A foray into the revenue share model
James: Let’s just close out on that point. Just because it’s a new topic we’re hearing a little bit more about on the SuperFastBusiness thing. I did do a revenue share training. It’s the most recent one we loaded up to SuperFastResults for individual purchase. It’s been a popular product since we uploaded it, because I’ll just save you asking me the question, Lawrence. Yes, it’s selling well. And I’m also planning to do a book that relates to the training that I’ve done on that because it’s the direction of my business.
That’s what SilverCircle is now. It’s revenue share deals. So I just want to know how it’s come across your attention, what you’re doing with it to where it’s landing you, and what sort of opportunities you see that going? Because you’re a six-figure business now, and it’s only a matter of time until you’re seven-figure business. And this is the type of leverage strategy that can get you there very quickly. So I’m pretty excited about what’s happening there, because these are the kind of things that if you can do once, you can probably do twice, or in my case, a dozen times, and they just compound.
Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. So it’s interesting. So when I first started my podcast, I was obviously very passionate about health and fitness. And I became very passionate about high-intensity training and training on certain machines. And I had this dream of one day having my own fitness studio, specific to high-intensity training. And you know, in my mind, I was thinking, ‘Oh, one day, I’ll acquire the capital and have my own studio, maybe it’ll be in my house, maybe it’ll be a business, who knows?’ And then I kind of come across the catamaran effect, which is something that I think you either coined or talk about a lot.
James: Definitely. I feel like I invented it. I’m going to claim it, unless someone can correct me, but it stems from my sailing background, which I’ve been doing since I was seven or eight. And it really struck me that, you know, when I was in the World Titles for 18ft Skiff, which is a monohull, which means it’s a single hull; those things they have wings, they have trapezes. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with a skiff. But catamarans with two hulls, much smaller, are so fast. They’re just simpler.
They didn’t have all the mess, they were faster. We often used to collide with yachts and ferries and all sorts of things on our skiff, and you know, you’d have to retire from the race. Even once I hit a turtle, we hit a sea turtle, I hope it was okay, but it pretty much broke the centerboard. The catamarans, you know, if you damage one hull, you can still float with the other one. Like it’s just such a high-performance machine with a lot of safety built in. And I just always clung to that concept, which is why I give people advice they hardly ever hear from a coach when they come on board.
They go, ‘I’ve got all these things, you know, and I know you’re going to tell me to focus on one,’ and I say, “Absolutely not. I’m going to tell you to focus on two.” And they’re like, “Hang on a second. What?” Like I take a leaf from a Peter Diamandis playbook here. You should be working on multiple projects. I said, “Have you ever heard of Steve Jobs Apple?” “Yes.” “Pixar?” “Yes.” “Have you heard of Tesla?” “Does he do spaceships?” “Yes.” “Cars?” “Yes.” You know, the list goes on.
A lot of the people who we know are famous have had multiple projects. We’re quite capable of running two projects. So I like adding multiple pillars of income like Jay Abraham’s Parthenon Theory. And I literally had tears in my eyes. It was very emotional for me when I was at the Parthenon in Greece, looking at that, thinking how far I’ve come since 1995, when I first got a hold of Jay Abraham stuff.
I’m now at the Parthenon, you know, with my own business. I love the Parthenon Theory. But the catamaran theory is really about having multiple businesses. So you’ve got this online thing. And now your dream of having this big studio and everything else is actually instantly accessible through a mental shift of saying, ‘Yes, I can access someone else’s as a stakeholder rather than have to go and get this all myself.’ Is that really what happened?
Lawrence: Yeah, and so it’s a slight twist on your revenue share model.
James: As there will be. There will be. It’s a starting point. It’s a hinge, like, once you go down the path, there’s many, many routes you can take. And sometimes it works better in different ways. But that’s the beauty of it, being aware of it in the first place.
Lawrence: Yeah. I’d wanted to, obviously, as I said at the start of this, like I wanted to start a studio in some form. And then when I moved to Ireland, I started building relationships with people who had that interest. And it never came to fruition with the first potential business partner. But then I befriended a number of individuals through the podcast, who became a very good friend of mine, and then one day, we were just having lunch together and we just kind of clicked that we needed to do this together.
And what we discovered was probably the best fit is rather than having a revenue share, where I would have no ownership and would just get a percentage of revenue every month, we found it was more ideal for me to have equity, percentage of equity plus some kind of retainer on top of that. The reason for that is, this is a big project, it’s long term, and I’m very heavily involved; you know, I probably will be some kind of general manager or CEO for this studio business and responsible for all of the functions in the business or most of them, until we obviously hire people.
And so if I have equity, I’m far more motivated over the long term. And obviously, there’s a more reward further down the line as well. So that’s what we decided. That part of the agreement is actually still kind of pending. My business partner is going through quite a lot right now. So we’re still waiting to kind of finalize that. But, you know, even that said, we’ve opened the studio, we have all the machines, we have started operating; unfortunately, Ireland’s been locked down recently, so they’re spraying a bit of a spanner in the works. But we’re absolutely fine with that. And we’ve been able to pivot to things like virtual personal training, which you mentioned.
We’ve been very good about the future. I mean, it’s one-on-one, private strength training. So it’s very appealing for people who are enduring this time anyway. So when restrictions do reduce then, we’re quite excited. And that kind of like agreement I just described is what we felt was a win-win for both of us. And the other thing I really want to mention, going back to what you’re saying about the catamaran theory or effect is that, this business is exactly what my students or members are doing in my memberships.
And so by having this business myself and growing this business and testing all of the materials, the blueprints, the best practices, the things I’ve learned from experts in the community, in my own kind of sandpit is just beautiful, because it’s very synergistic with the membership because I can share those learnings back inside the membership and show people what we’re doing to grow the business and vice versa.
I feel very lucky, because even if, you know, I started this membership, and let’s say it never generated profit, or revenue, or whatever, at least I have, you know, all of the blueprints at my disposal that I can now implement in my business. So there’s a huge benefit to be had there too. So they’re very synergistic. They work together. And so, I’m very excited about the future for those projects.
James: Just like a catamaran, they’re joined by a trampoline net, and they’re going the exact same direction at the same time. And that’s really an important distinction. If your two projects work together that’s like, we have this glue called Araldite. I don’t know if it’s global, but it’s a two-part glue; you mix one side with the other and it forms a very strong bond. So that’s like a powerful combination.
Well, I think we’ve covered plenty. Just a little interesting side note, if the last job I had did give me the equity that I asked for and they said was probably going to be a possibility but never did, I’d probably still be in the motor dealership industry. So they’re definitely suited for long-term agreements, equity deals, and I wish you the very best of luck with that.
Lawrence: Thank you.
The summary and wrap-up
James: So I reckon, this has been really insightful. Just a quick recap, you came on SuperFastBusiness, you’ve pushed yourself and me and a few other members to give you the answers, and you got them, and you started your membership. You started your podcast, you added a high-level service, you’ve added a personal virtual training service, you’ve got affiliate sales, and now you go into a partnership into your dream scenario.
So Lawrence, I take my hat off to you as a fellow business entrepreneur. You are definitely winning the game of this, and I know it’s hard in the beginning, and I know it’s tough. And I’ve watched you through that journey over the last couple of years. And I’m so excited for where it’s going to go for you. And I just want to say thanks for coming along and sharing on this show, because you know, we’re not really a fitness show here, even though we talk about health and wellness from time to time to help us as an entrepreneur.
This was really just a generous share from you to inspire others, and thankfully, you are outgoing. And I can tell you for one thing, when this episode comes out, you’ll be getting the attention of our entire database for Episode 786. It’s going to have Lawrence’s name. So I hope you get a big kick out of that as well. And can you just let us know where we can go and check out your site if we’re interested in learning about high-intensity training or we happen to have a gym or any kind of fitness business, and we want to learn how to make it work properly?
Lawrence: Absolutely. So no, thank you. I really appreciate obviously being featured in the show, James. So my website is highintensitybusiness.com. So you can access the podcast through that. If you’re interested in starting or growing a boutique personal training business, then go to highintensitybusiness.com, and you can find the HIT business membership in the products there.
James: Legend. Thank you, mate. And this will be up at Episode 786 on SuperFastBusiness.com. We’ll also break it down into a little handy guide of the main steps Lawrence took to 10x his business. It’s an often touted metric. It’s almost a hypey number, but this is the real thing. This is a true growth story, and I got a front-row seat to it. So aren’t I lucky.
I hope you take a few lessons from this episode. And if you do get a result from it, please let me know, and I hope to see you inside JamesSchramko membership or maybe go and grab one of the products at SuperFastResults, and start on that journey for yourself.
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