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Coaching As A Business With Eben Pagan
I am joined by somebody who I truly believe is one of the fathers of modern-day marketing and internet marketing. I have with me the one only, Eben Pagan. Eben, thank you for joining me.
It’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.
I want to share my personal story about how I came across you. I ended up being a dating coach through luck rather than judgment. I was traveling around going to small little groups and trying to help people with their dating lives. I ended up getting voted the number three pickup artist it was called back in the day. I was gifted with the opportunity to be featured on one of your brands’ podcasts, which was the David DeAngelo program you created, Double Your Dating. That interview that you did with me was not only great in terms of giving me customers but at the end of it, I’ll never forget, you gave me some advice. You are the very first marketer that I had ever met and whoever gave me any advice. I didn’t ask for it, it was just the very end. You were like, “Let me give you some advice here.”
You told me the importance of standing, aside from the crowd not doing what everyone else was doing. Instead, go mass-market. Remove the jargon, speak in a way that people understand, keep things simple so that you can help as many people as possible. I took that to heart. I used to be called AFC Adam. I got rid of that brand. I rebranded as Ask the Dating Coach. We made it real mass acceptable to a mass market. To this day, my company makes shy of $2 million a year for my dating brand and 100%, I would never have thought to go down that path if it wasn’t for you. This is an incredible honor to have you here. I really appreciate it.
Thanks for saying that, Adam. I’m glad that worked for you.
It was mind-blowing. What I love about you is you were doing things that nobody else at the time was doing. The way that you went about your marketing was so giving. That’s what stuck out for me. You are often are paying out to affiliates more than you were receiving because you believed in your product and you knew that you were gaining a lifetime customer. Going forward to this, I’ve never seen anybody else do those moves. You see people try and copy other coaches and try and duplicate their business models and yet yours are still to this day, decades later, original. In my honest opinion, it’s the best. It changed the world.
Obviously, now you’ve moved on and you’re known as a coach in your own rights specifically with businesses and markets and stuff like that. I’m curious about what is coaching to you?
Most people tend to think of coaching from sports. That’s where it grew up from. That’s where its roots were. Coaching is about helping people take action and get results in their life. For me, I define coaching as supporting another person through a transition or a transformation in their life. What’s happening right now is more and more of us are waking up and realizing that we want to do things in our life. We want to get in better shape or we want to get into a relationship or we want to start a business and make money, or we want to start a spiritual practice, a hobby or whatever it is. We’re realizing, “I’m too busy. I don’t know where to go,” or fundamentally, “I need someone to help me do this.” They’re reaching out to coaches and coaches are there to help people to take those actions and to stick with it over time.
A transformation in life is something that takes a while. To go through what I would call a transition, going from being single to getting into a relationship or going from one job to getting a different job or maybe losing ten pounds. This is something that usually takes a person several months, which creates the basis for a great coaching relationship or a great coaching package. Now, all of us either know coaches or we’ve gotten coaching or we know someone that’s gotten coaching. Coaching is becoming very legitimate. There are something like 100,000-plus coaches now that are working in the industry business. Personal coaching is something like $17 billion a year and growing. Those are a few different facets of what coaching is. I’m glad to go deeper on any of them if you want to talk.
There are a few points I’d like to touch on that. One thing I want to add is I used to be a professional fencer. I travel the world do sword fighting and people don’t realize that the steps you need to go pro are often hiring not one coach but multiple coaches. I had a stamina coach, a nutrition coach and then I had a fencing coach. I also had a mindset coach and then I even had somebody that was helping me focus on the way that I traveled to make sure that I slept correctly and did everything I needed to. I know there are a lot of people out there are only fitness coaches or business coaches but actually there are all these subsets of coaches that are super important. Remarkably those are the people that can make a lot of money because they’re such specialists and the right person that needs you needs you.
As we evolve and as we move from the center of gravity being about time, work and physical possessions, moving more to the center of gravity of value being about relationships, knowledge and personal evolution. We move from doing physical things for outer rewards to doing more emotional and mental things for inner rewards. The inner world, there’s a whole other universe that is waiting to be explored for each of us, but it’s on the inside. It’s not on the outside. I predict that soon there are going to be millions and millions of coaches in every possible coaching niche in over the next several years. It’s going to be fascinating to watch this.
Out of interest, why do you think coaching is growing so fast?
It’s growing fast because we’re realizing that we need to learn better and faster and we’re realizing that we learn better in collaborative relationships. We learn better when we have someone there that’s doing it with us. The high-quality attention that you get when you have one person there who’s totally focused on listening to you, who’s working with you, who’s understanding you, it’s very powerful.
I can see that. I was explaining that they’re all these subsets of people. When they’re an expert at something, they absolutely can make money coaching. Do you still think there’s money in coaching or do you think it’s being tapped out already?
There’s a lot of money in coaching. There’s not a lot of research, but the International Coach Federation, which Thomas Leonard started, they did a survey that I read about several years ago that this was what really grabbed my attention. I saw it in a USA Today article years ago. It said that the average coach was charging $214 per session and making $47,900 per year.” If you do the math on this, this is working less than an hour a day but making what is for most people a full-time income. I saw a little bit of research. It’s gone up from there, but the number of coaches is growing very rapidly and the whole information industry. Look at what’s happening with all these different things like Audible and now you see MasterClass and you see all these different things. We humans are waking up and realizing this idea that knowledge is power. This is the real deal, knowledge is power and the model that we’re moving into in the future right now is that our skills are the assets that we have.
They’re our primary assets. Your skillset, which is the unique combination of skills that you have that work together, that’s what creates your unique ability to create value. It’s what you build your personal brand on. It’s how you can build your audience if you’re working online. It’s the core of everything. What I believe is that if you add coaching as the next skill that you learn, it’s the single skill that will go back and multiply the value of all of the skills and experience that you have. Also, multiply the value of all the skills that you will learn in the future the most.
It’s worth mentioning because you talk about how we’re in the age of information. It’s funny, me and my friends jokingly refer to this age as the age of misinformation, where there are so many wannabes out there who uploading random videos where they have not done their research. They haven’t bothered developing, as you call it, that skillset. They’re crowding the world of information. We’ve found that a lot of people that are looking to hire a coach are moving away from randomly consuming the information online and trying to do it themselves. They’re starting to realize that the real value is having somebody guide you through that transformation process, tailoring the advice to you rather than popping it out online. There is something truly powerful to be said about having that personal touch rather than spending all the time wading through all the information out there trying to find the golden nugget.
There’s another side to this too, which is that the way I think about being human, this human experience here is that each of us live in our own version of reality. It’s almost like each of us live on our own version of the matrix and every once in a while we jack into someone else’s matrix and we jump in there and we check it out for a few minutes. It’s rare that we have that feeling of being understood all the way to the point where, “There’s someone in here with me. There’s someone that has joined my reality and now we’re really talking.” If you go into a subculture, whether it’s computer geeks, artists, people that are into sports or whatever it is, you find people and they’re all living in this little subgenre of existence, of reality, of culture. They feel like they belong to something.Our skills and our knowledge are our assets in the future; they should be what we're investing in. Click To Tweet
When you come down to your version of reality to yours, it’s rare that you have someone that comes in there with you, joins you, sees you, understands you, and you feel like you’re being related to. Coaching at its highest evolution is really that. It’s when you feel like someone has taken all of their precious attention and they’re attending to you, they’re listening, they’re curious and they want to know why, they want to know how, they want to understand what you want to do and why you want to do it. What blocked you in the past and where you’re going? They become your cheerleader and they help sell you on doing the things that you want to do for the reasons that you want to do them.
They hold you accountable. Sometimes I say that a coach is a professional friend. It takes the best of the social skills of a friend and it puts them together with the professionalism of someone that’s going to help you get results of a coach. When you get that and then you start doing it, when you learn the skills of a coach and you start applying them with people, you see the results, you see people are so happy and excited to have someone in their corner to have someone in their reality with them that they can share their dreams, that’s clapping for them and rooting for them. It’s not only a great business, it’s not only a great entrepreneurial venture or way to make money, have opportunity in the future and grow and all that, but there’s a spiritual benefit that you get from it as well.
How did you first hear about coaching?
It first came on my radar screen many years ago. I knew Thomas Leonard back in the day. My good friend, Dean Jackson, who’s the one that got me into internet marketing originally, he was friends with Thomas and I had heard about him. I went to one of his seminars in San Diego and he had me on stage to speak at one of his programs and this was this big room filled with people, all these coaches. I said, “This is a thing.” He had me impromptu come up and talk about marketing and so forth. This was right around the time of Double Your Dating, when I was getting started. I read his book, which is called the Portable Coach, which has a new name now. I started looking at this and he had some good insights. He believed that coaching was about facilitation. It was about helping the other person do the thing. It’s not you doing it for them.
The distinction that I make between coaching and consulting is that a consultant goes in and does the work. If a company hires you or a person hires you to do consulting, they want you to come and do the work usually. It’s having an outsourced employee, whereas when you have a coach, the coach isn’t the one that does the work. The coach helps the client do the work, they help the other person do the work so that they can learn the skill and they can get the self-esteem. When I started reading books about coaching, I read Co-Active Coaching and read some of these other things. I said, “This is a beautiful methodology.” It impressed on me and I’ve used it ever since.
The impact of what you learn has gone on and helped me and hopefully people reading this, it’s going to go on and help them as well, which is super powerful. The last time we spoke, you really did change my life. I’m curious, could you give an example of coaching the thing that you do?
Do you want to do a little jam session?
I’m down if you’re down.
What do you want next in your life?
The next thing that I want in my life is for the team that I’ve built, I’ve got about seven employees and we’re very pro-company culture. The problem is getting them to operate at the highest level. I get a lot of push back. They don’t believe in themselves. There’s a world of no in their worlds where you’re like, “We should really do this cool idea.” They’re like, “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” I’d love to get them past that, but because they’re not clients of mine, I feel bad sitting down with them and trying to coach them through that. In many ways I don’t serve them I suppose, but also I don’t want to cross the line from employer to coach. That would be the biggest thing.
What’s one big problem or block that’s happening because you haven’t gotten them to their highest level of performance?
Standard day-to-day tasks will often slip and not happen. It’s almost like chasing the ball syndrome. They’ll all chase the ball and then we’re like, “The ball’s going in a good direction. Now we’re going to start juggling this second ball.” That first ball has to stay in place and then they start focusing on the second ball and suddenly before you know it, the day-to-day stuff has stopped. We have to go back to the first one.
What do you see happening if you can all of a sudden get them performing at their highest level? What’s the one thing that will change and really work?
It sounds crazy. I motivate it by trying to get them pay rises and they’re all at good level now. We pay for full medical. It’s a great company to work for. There are some of the employees that I want to take them to that higher level, whether they’re earning even more for their families and for them and to give them that higher growth. Some of these people, I’d like to scale the company up to maybe 20, 30 employees and help them to become heads of the company, but because they don’t take that ownership, I don’t feel comfortable giving them that role. I don’t think they understand what it means to hold themselves accountable for it. For me, the big thing is serving my employees.
Get your team earning more, promote them, and get them going to the next level as well. What do you think the next step is if you had to take one step that would get the tasks to be slipping less, to get them to juggle all the balls you need to then help get the team to the next level?
I believe the answer is in standard operating procedures. There’s a great book, Work The System, and I believe that’s the solution, but whenever I get them to sit down and work on the SOP is together, they’ll create something. It’s never as detailed as it needs to be. They always end up getting thrown behind a desk and forgotten about. It’s almost a struggle every day to be like, “Did you make that from the SOP?” They’re like, “No, I’ve got it from memory. I know how to do it.” I’m like, “It’s funny because you missed out on the tags on this one and that’s important.” It’s things like that.
What do you think you could do to help them create an SOP that would be great? How could you get them to create one that would be great?
I could probably do an SOP workshop. We do workshops for things quite a lot and it can be once a week we’ll do a workshop on headlines or on some copywriting, filming or what have you. We haven’t done an SOP workshop so we could probably do an SOP workshop where everyone sits down for a period of time and works on one SOP and then hands it to another employee I suppose and does each other’s job.
Could you do it with them?Coaching is a synergy skill. It takes the value of the other things that you know, multiplies them, and makes them more valuable. Click To Tweet
I could do that.
It’s great when the leader does it and goes first. When’s your next available team workshop that you could do this?
We tend to do them on Fridays.
Can I make a request? Would you do a workshop on SOPs with your team?
Yeah, I’ll do that.
Could you maybe write it down, put it in your calendar?
Yeah, I’m going to do it.
Thank you for that. You’ve got seven people. They’re not operating at their highest level and you see tasks slipping, you’re trying to juggle balls, but they’re falling. You want to see your team earning more, you want to promote them, help them go to the next level. The one thing that would be the highest leverage thing is to create SOPs and have them work the system. The step to do that is this SOP workshop with your team.
I’m texting my project manager in the background and I’m like, “We have to do a workshop on SOPs in the next workshop.” He’s like, “That’s a great idea.”
I like you’re multitasking here and getting right to work. Thanks, that was a fun little session there. Obviously, we condensed what could have been much longer. Was that useful to you?
Yeah, that’s really good.
What’s cool about coaching if you’re reading this is that we didn’t do anything fancy. I didn’t fly in on a dragon. I didn’t have to do any magic act. I didn’t have to say anything to him. I just asked him, “What’s the thing that he wants to do next? Tell me a little bit about it. What’s the problem? What’s the result that you want to create?” The cool thing is I said, “What do you think you need to do next? What step do you need to do next?” He had one and then we even drilled down like, “When and where could you do that?” I made a request. I’m layering and I’m improvising here with lot of different techniques that we use. There’s one little thing here I want to point out in this, I want to little double underline or something. You remember when I said, “Can I make a request? Can I ask you to do something?” He said, “Yes.” I got his permission there. Then I said, “Will you do it? Will you do this thing on that date?” He said, “Yes.” When you’re coaching, if you can remember to do this, if you can have the presence of mind to actually make the request of the person that they do the thing that they want to do for their own reasons, it’s almost you’re being their conscience. It brings a much higher level of consciousness to everything. That was fun.
I got a response from my project manager. He goes, “That’s such a great idea. We need to do this.” That’s so funny.
Would you like to have more results like this in your life?
Yeah, of course. Who wouldn’t?
Based on what you told me, the next step is for you to sign up with me for a 90-day package and we can meet once a week, we’ll do one hour and you can see if we can do this much in five minutes. Imagine what we could do in an hour a week. Do you see how natural it is to flow into this next thing here? What would it be worth if you could be getting results like this every week and again, it was five minutes? Imagine if we were doing it in an hour. You see how naturally then this leads into being able to sell packages of coaching for high fees.
Here’s the thing, obviously you’re an expert. I’m an expert. Who should become a coach? Is it for everybody? Is it for a very specific type of person?
I’ll give you two answers there. Number one, every human being should learn the skill of coaching. Whether you learn it with me, whether you go read some books and you do it on your own, even if it is not the right day, at some point, go and learn this skillset because it helps you go better at relationships. You’ve become better socially. You become better in your family. You become a better parent. You become a better collaborator, you become better entrepreneur, better communicator. It is one of those things that every human being should learn. This should be taught in schools growing up.
The other answer is if you’re at a point in your life and your career where it’s time for you to reinvent yourself, where it’s time for you to go to the next level where you’ve been doing what you’re doing and you’re like, “I can see that I have value, I want to start getting paid more what I’m worth. I want to take all of my unique skills, experience and personality type and I want to put it together into one thing that can really be my thing.” That can be a career path, that can be a business. Then that’s when you should do it. That’s when you should go and learn coaching and that’s when you should take a great coaching course, which our virtual coach is. That’s what I’ll leave as the answer.To 'tearn' is to teach and learn, to learn by teaching. Click To Tweet
How long does it take somebody through your course or through the training that you do? In your experience, how long does it take somebody to become a coach?
With us, it takes 90 days. We’ve got a great condensed process. You register with us and you have to go through an application. Once you’re accepted, we go through three different courses where you learn about our coaching model and you get a bunch of coaching tools from us. You get ten coaching tools that you can use for your packages. You learn about how to do what we call client invitations where you’re basically doing online marketing by offering really valuable free stuff. You do a client conversation, which is you learn how to have a conversation with someone that turns them into a client. You do ten days of live training with me. Seven of them are virtual from my studio and then three of them are in person. We’ve got a three-day summit at the end that you attend. You also learn from my wife and from my partners and I bring in several friends who are six and seven-figure earners.
I have several millionaire coaches that are friends and most of them I’ve taught in one way or another over the years. They come, they help and they collaborate and you get some great role models. It’s a sophisticated system. There are about 100 hours of training involved in it. You get marketing training, you get productivity training and you get all the best tools that I’ve learned over twenty years of studying coaching, being coached by some free coaches and so forth. It takes about three months to become a coach. You get certified by us and you can start getting clients.
You went to these three days at the workshop. Is that where you’re based? Where is that held?
This summit is in February and it’s going to be in Los Angeles right by the airport.
That’s easy to get us all, that’s great. There are going to be people reading this. I’m sure I’ve got inspired now like, “I want to do this.” Why do you believe that coaching is a good opportunity at this point in life?
In the future that’s coming, which is going to be changing faster and faster, we need skills that help us to adapt and to help us to create some stability because there’s going to be so much change. It feels wobbly. Most of us can look at the horizon now and see that there’s disruption coming in some way to whatever we’re doing. We have to learn adaptive skills. I’ve been studying mental models a lot and I’ve been studying, learning and creativity over the last several years. I have a six-year-old daughter and I’ve also been reinventing my own career. I’ve reinvented myself several times and I’ve been teaching a lot about reinvention. It’s about learning skills that are investments in the future. We want to learn skills that will give us a payback, which coaching will, it’s probably the best business to start if you’re starting from nothing and you want to start something that’s fast, that has high-income potential and that also will grow you, and hand opens doors in the future.
We also want to learn skills that are these synergy skills or multiplier skills that multiply the value of the other skills that we have. I was doing an interview and I gave an example here. Imagine buying an investment. You’re going to take some money that you took a long time to earn and you go buy an investment, you wouldn’t buy an investment that would be going down in value. That would be ridiculous. You wouldn’t buy an investment that you knew was going to go down in value and also reduce the value of all your other investments. That would be totally insane. That would be crazy. On the other end of the spectrum, you want to buy an investment that goes up in value. What if you could buy an investment that not only goes up in value but makes the value of your other investments go up as well?
If our skills and our knowledge, if these are our assets in the future, then that’s what we’re investing in. It’s the unique combination of the skills that you have with your unique type of genius. That’s what gives you your advantage. That’s what gives you your platform. That’s what makes you special and valuable and able to create value in the future. I believe that coaching is this multiplier skill. It’s an x-factor skill that when you plug coaching into your other skillset, whatever those skills are, you are now going meta and you’re now coaching other people to be successful. You’re learning at a higher level. You also will have a unique coaching niche that will be yours.
In the future when you go and learn other skills, they plug-in. When you’re a coach, you’re thinking about helping other people achieve, self-actualize and be successful. You start learning differently when you’re a coach because everything you learn, you’re expecting to explain and teach to others. It increases your learning capacity as well. It’s this multiplier skill. It’s a synergy skill. It takes the value of the other things that you know, and it multiplies them and it makes them more valuable. For me, that’s the most important reason.
At this point, I’m thinking there are people like, “I’m curious about this thing. What is the Virtual Coach?” How does somebody find more or apply if they wanted to do something like this with you?
You can go to VirtualCoach.com, watch our videos and you will see, and I created an awesome video that explains the whole thing and goes much deeper. It tells you about me. If you don’t know anything about me, it will talk to you about my life and shows you about some of the ways that I’ve learned coaching. It teaches you some of these techniques more in-depth, explains the whole Virtual Coach program, all the bonuses that you get. Come along for this one. I only teach a course live usually about once a year. This is the only time that I’m teaching this one in 2019. It’s actually me teaching live. My wife, who’s an amazing coach, my partner James, who’s an awesome coach, he’s done 5,000 coaching sessions in his career. We teach you coaching, online marketing, productivity, how to get clients, we teach you the whole thing. It’s the best thing going in the world.
I’m about to round it out, but there’s one thing that we do right at the very end with all the guests. We ask them for one simple psychological hack, something related to what you’re talking about that they can pull up from, maybe tweak the way they’re currently thinking about things or that might make a big difference in their life. If I could put you on the spot for a second and ask you one psychological hack that maybe you use that’s made a big difference in your life or help you to see something differently, what could that be that we could leave people with?
It’s important as a human being to practice the art and skill of word invention, of creating words. Usually the way that is the most intuitive to do this is to take other words and take them apart and take the pieces and put them back together. Create a portmanteau. Sometimes I call them word children. You take two pieces, two words, you take them apart and you put them together. My daughter was talking about making up an animal. What would you get if you combined a lion and an elephant? We took them apart and we came up with how you create a liophant. This business, but we have to be doing it with all through our lives. I’ve got a word that I created for one of my favorite concepts. The word teaching and the word learning, actually the word teach and the word learn and it puts them together. It takes the first half of teach and the second half of learn and it goes like tearn. I like this word because it points to the idea of learning by teaching. To tearn is to teach, learn is to go into a situation and to teach something with the explicit purpose of learning, not with the explicit purpose of teaching. It’s a selfish act. It’s not a super selfish act, but you’re going there in order to learn something, not just to teach.
For example, take a topic that’s one of your favorite topics, something that you really like to learn about and go online and create a video or do a Facebook Live, do a webinar or make something, make some content where you are teaching about your favorite topic. You’re not teaching about your favorite topic primarily for the benefit of the people that are reading or watching, you’re teaching about it because you’re going to watch your own learning process as you are designing the material to teach. Watch what you go through. Have some metacognition and observe yourself as you’re creating the content and as you’re creating the course. Observe yourself as you’re teaching.
Very particularly, notice what happens in your mind, in your consciousness after you’re finished teaching. You had to assemble all of these different pieces and put them together and make this little learning puzzle. What you’ll notice is you will learn something that isn’t the content of what you were teaching. You’ll learn on a higher level, you’ll have higher-order learning. When you teach in order to learn, you don’t learn the material you’re teaching better, which you do. You actually learn on a higher level, on an emergent level, on a higher order. To tearn is to teach and learn, to learn by teaching. When you’ve got a word for it, it helps you to mark it out and use it in conversation and do it better. Get out into that world and tearn more.
If you’ll take this on and every day go online, make a video, do a broadcast or make a podcast or something and teach something for 10 or 20 minutes, do it every day for a month, but don’t do it to teach, do it in order to learn. At the end of 30 days, you will have built it. It will have automaticity. It will be automatic to do it. You’ll not only teach and then learn something, then notice what you learned and then notice that you’re learning on the higher level. Now it will be part of your vocabulary. After that’s finished, then you can come back to “normal teaching.” You can start teaching people things for their benefit, which is really what we should be doing when we’re teaching. You’ll also be learning on a higher level and you’ll be more integrated and then you’ll be a real powerhouse because whenever you learn something, you’ll be learning it, expecting to teach it and then you’ll go and teach it. You’ll be distributing that knowledge to the world more and you’ll be learning on a higher level. There is a little hack, tearn.
Many people don’t know this, but I’m a 200 EYT vinyasa flow yoga instructor and I have only ever taught yoga during my yoga teacher training, which I did because I didn’t understand yoga. I wanted to do some official class to learn how to do it and the only official classes to become a teacher. In order to become a teacher, you have to teach. It’s funny as you’re telling that story I’m remembering all of the yoga teacher training I did where I was literally tearning, I was teaching to learn. I love that. That’s such a good hack and anybody reading this should go into it. It’s a no-brainer for me. Check out the Virtual Coach. It’s something you should be doing. It’s VirtualCoach.com. Eben Pagan, it has been a pleasure to talk to you again and to have you on the Psychology Hacker Podcast. Thank you so much for your time.
Thanks, Adam. It’s great being in here.
- Eben Pagan
- Double Your Dating
- Ask the Dating Coach
- Portable Coach
- Co-Active Coaching
- Work The System
About Eben Pagan
Eben Pagan. Husband, father, investor, art collector, coach. Started his online business in 2001 from his bedroom, with just a computer, selling a book of dating advice. Built the company to 80 full-time employees, and $30 million in sales, 100% virtually, no office.
In 2007, offered his first course on how to grow a business to the $10 million per year level, called Altitude. His students, clients, and people he’s mentored have done billions of dollars in sales. Been interviewed by Tony Robbins, Larry King on how to find opportunity and build a successful company. Here to talk about coaching, and why it’s the key skill to learn for the future.