Jason Yormark: Hello, and welcome to another episode of anti-agency stories of doing business differently. I am excited for our episode. Today I’ve got Chris Williams from group coach nation. Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris Williams: Jason. Oh my gosh. Super stoked about this. Just talking a little bit Pre-Show. Like we have so much good stuff to cover here.
Jason Yormark: Awesome. All right. Well let’s just jump right in. Well, let’s start first by you know, tell folks a little bit about yourself and what you do. And then we’ll pivot off of that.
Chris Williams: I’m super simple. I teach experts how to build high ticket masterminds but leading up to that is so much agency crap that like, I want this to be a therapy session for me. I got a lot to unload about how horrible it was and how we fix stuff, like the stuff you teach people every day to do is so freaking brilliant.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. So, do you have an agency, did you run your own agency? Do you have agency background I’m assuming?
Chris Williams: I still have the agency and yes, Agency background. So, I had a financial agency that I sold in 2011, a high net wealth, multi like family planning business. So, we were doing, you know, investments and all that kind of stuff. Sold that 2011 to build a marketing agency. And ran the marketing agency still have it. And dude that first several years of running that marketing agency crushed my life, my family, and my soul. Until I learned the principles that you talk about every day in your book.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. So, I’m familiar with mastermind groups. I was actually in one for quite some time. So, what prompted you to kind of pivot and to kind of focus on that?
Chris Williams: So, I was working 14 hour days doing the agency thing. Doing a lot of stuff, I shouldn’t have been doing, like not running a business the right way, quite frankly. And then I started figuring that stuff out and it took years and I wish I had just gotten there faster but started figuring things out and also went from 14 hour days, ultimately down to four hour days. And now maybe, maybe an hour, hour, and a half a week that I check in on that business, if I’m not like traveling somewhere. Because systems and processes and teams and just stepping away from all of that free me up. So, what happened is I went from that to having a lot of free time sitting at Starbucks a lot during the day, paddle boarding, traveling, whatever. And people started asking like, okay, Chris, what’s going on? Like, are you unemployed? Do you lose your job? Are you selling drugs? Like, how are you doing this stuff? So, I started realizing, you know, people want to know how I did this. Much like you people want to know how you got successful and why you have time to podcast now. And I started realizing I could sell the information. So, I started selling it by the hour, go meet with them, get on a zoom call, whatever. And then I started working 12-to-14-hour days again, because I was selling my time by the hour. Making a ton of money but didn’t work. So, then I thought, well, I’m going to make some, e-courses, do the book, do all that kind of stuff. Man. Five years into that process, you’re way more successful than I am. I just could not make that work. So, I was in a mastermind in Boise, Idaho about 40 people. And they asked me the same questions, I told them the same story. And they were like, dude, how’s the mastermind. I was like, love it been here 30 minutes, Been great. No, no, no, How’s your mastermind. I was like, I don’t have a mastermind. I’m trying to sell information Like you guys just copy what you’re doing. Oh dude, you got to start with the top of the value Ladder, help people who are really serious change their life, learn what you know how to do, which is run an agency in my world back then. And after the race as you go. So, seven weeks later, I had a mastermind first one sold out. Just because I flipped the switch of the way around. I started selling the top rung of the value ladder and everybody listening and watching right now. Like you’ve got something between your ears that somebody else wants. And I don’t mean the zombies. I mean, people want your information. Like you can do a mastermind or write a book or just follow Jason’s lead, like learn how to get out there and start influencing people with your awesome knowledge. And follow people Who’ve done it well before you and go after the highest ticket stuff you can like get paid what you deserve to get out there and share your information.
Jason Yormark: Well, there’s two parts here that I think are super disruptive and really interesting that I want to kind of zero in on and the first, so the mastermind thing totally makes sense. And I want to get to that eventually. But the first thing that I think is super interesting that I think I have certainly been able to experience and that you kind of touched on is how, if you’re in the agency game and you’re running your agency and I saw this in mastermind groups that I’ve been a part of is that as an owner, how you remove yourself from the business enough to be able to free up your time, to do some of those sorts of other things. And for people that might be a book, it might be a podcast, whatever that is, you know, to kind of live that life of freedom. You know, one of the big things, one of our core values of the agency is freedom. The whole reason I started business, because I wanted control of my life. I wanted to work when I wanted to work, where I wanted to work. I don’t want to sit in a bunch of crappy meetings that slowed everything down, bad managers, long commutes. I mean, just stuff that drags you down. I wanted a control of my life and I wanted to give that to other people. And I was able to do that, and I was able to then take it to the next level, which is remove myself from the day to day operations of the business, you know? So, you know, just from you, like, how were you able to do that? Like what are some of the things that kind of come top of mind that allowed you to transition from being in the thick of the business, going through the grind and being able to remove you, like, what are some of the steps or things that allowed you to kind of get to that place?
Chris Williams: Where it started for me was some artificial pressure, I had to put on myself. Because it’s not like, for those of you who are watching this on video, if you’re just listening, I’m a tall, skinny guy. It’s not like me, Chris Williams willing to go be an NFL linebacker. I would die Like physically get squished in the first five minutes of a practice. I can’t do that. I can’t accomplish that. I can’t manifest myself into that. But when it comes to like getting your life back in order and running a business appropriately, you can like, it’s a set of tools and processes and determination to get it done. So, you all have a friend somewhere out there who had some major illness or a [06:29 inaudible] and they had to cut back their work hours and only could work half days. And all of a sudden, they did it and they probably started making more money. I just made that happen artificially. So, what I did Jason is every day I got my iPhone. This is back like iPhone three, if you think about it. But these things are still on my phone Now. I have all these alarms set up every 20 minutes, starting at 10:00 PM working my way backwards. So, I was working 14 hour days. So, let’s say I was going to come home at nine o’clock that night and miss out on everything with my family. Every day, five days a week, I moved a timer back 20 minutes. So, if I came home at nine o’clock on Monday, it was 8.40 on Tuesday, 8.20 on Wednesday, 8.00 on Thursday, 7.40 on Friday, the next week it was 7.20, then seven. You get the idea. So, for months I kept moving the time constraint, tighter and tighter, which forced me immediately to realize, okay, in a month and a half, this is going to really hurt. I have to find someone today. Yeah. To delegate to that can help me write a few systems. And I have to know and time study myself well enough today to be able to clearly know I should be delegating these things, cause they’re easy to train and I hate doing them. Like here you go. I had to start that immediately. So that external pressure to make sure I was accountable. I got five kids plus Jill that’s six, that’s six people in my kitchen when I walked in. I paid a dollar a minute for every minute. I was late on the phone or on the computer after the timer went off to anybody who was in the kitchen. So, I’d walk in every night and I had their [08:06 inaudible] then I’d walk in every night and they’d all be waiting. And I was paying a $400 an hour rate per minute to be late. And it worked like in four months, dude, I had cut my workflow down to four hours a day and I had quadrupled my income and it wasn’t because I was amazingly smart. It was because I forced a reality that I wanted that I had never quite frankly had the balls to force.
Jason Yormark: No, that’s amazing. Yeah, I can’t say that I went down the same path. I’m a little bit different place. I’m one of those entrepreneurs that kind of figured out that later in life, after my kids were older. But that’s really interesting cause I mean, I think that’s one of the things everybody’s different in terms of their path. Like some people are going to have the five kids in the kitchen and they have, you know, some that’s a very different, you know life than somebody that, you know, maybe is later in their life that doesn’t have the kids and maybe they have a little bit more time to work with. So, it’s not the same for everybody, but that’s a really interesting way to kind of get there. I would imagine too part of it. And I know if this was the case for me is it’s not just only about, you know, managing yourself, but in order to kind of take that leap, you’ve got to surround yourself with amazing people, you know, that can take on some of those responsibilities. I’m just kind of curious in terms of your experiences, were you able to do that and what are some thoughts or suggestions in terms of how you were able to make that happen, to surround yourself with people that you could trust so much to kind of pull yourself away from things and work on other things.
Chris Williams: You know, early on, I was pretty scared of hiring people cause it’s money, right? And you’re like, look, I’m doing all this work on my own to hire somebody else. I got to pay them. Plus, not take that money home for a while until they get at. And then I get outta their client to support that need. So, I went really inexpensive and I started trying to find vas, virtual administrators, assistance, whatever, from all over the globe. And man, I went through probably 8 or 10 vasa in the, over the course of like two months and all of you, all of you awesome vas who used to work with me in that time, I am so sorry because you probably had the dumbest boss ever in me and I didn’t know what I was doing. But thank you for your gracious and kindness. So, I learned a lot by some amazing people who would, number one, say, look, I didn’t get the project done, the workflow done because you didn’t explain it well enough. They were honest enough with their boss to just call a spade a spade. And I was honest enough with me to say, you know, you’re right. We all want to blame it on the language barrier or on their work ethic or I just can’t trust them because I can’t see them. Like they’re not in my same office, whatever. People are awesome. Most of them out there, you and me, we’re trying to be awesome people. And so I learned some really simple steps of like how to just jump on my computer, record my screen, talk through the process that I knew how to do, save it to the Google drive and then let somebody else watch it and then write an SOP based on the video, present the SOP back to me, once I approved that I would give them a little test run and they would go do it. And if I like that, [11:24 inaudible] we’d do that. Otherwise, they’re off the races. It was so easy to start learning how to delegate. But because I put those time constraints on, I can’t overstress this because I put some sort of time constraint on artificially on my world, it forced me to like stop in the moment and say, okay, you’re right. I was wrong. I don’t have a week to make myself feel better. I’m going to rerecord this video and get it right for you. Hang on. Gimme 15 minutes.
Jason Yormark: Yeah, no, I love that. Yeah, I mean finding great people, whether they’re vas or employees is always a huge challenge, especially in the climate that we’re in now. I think more and more people are expecting and wanting to work remotely. And I think you know, great talent is hard to find, and you know, I’ve had the luxury of getting some incredible training at the Microsoft of the world that really, you know, throw you kind of into this massive training and just the experience of interviewing so many people. And so, I know a lot of people that start businesses, you know, they have a little bit of anxiety about the idea of like trusting other people and bringing people in. But if you really want to create that freedom for yourself, you know, you’re going to have to surround yourself with other people and you’re going to have to kind of go down that path at some point. If you really want to ultimately, which sounds like, you know, kind of go down this mastermind path, which is super interesting to me, cause like, you know, I’ve done a book and I’m doing a podcast. So, I feel like I’m doing like these ancillary things that probably align to something like that. I’ve never for myself thought of like running something like that. So, I’m kind of curious about for somebody that’s listening, that’s maybe kind of going down the path, what does that look like for them? Like why can they do that? What does that look like? And what what’s the path to kind of creating that type of environment for somebody that, you know has, like you said, between the years, the knowledge that others want and need.
Chris Williams: Well again, because I sucked completely sucked at doing courses and launching all the low-ticket stuff. And because I was, I want to say brave enough to be vulnerable and ask a bunch of experts, why is this not working for me. Doing a high-ticket mastermind like or starting high ticket is so relative but charging more for my information to a smaller number of people and actually working with them in a small 10, 15, 20 person group a mastermind helped me really accomplish so many things. So, my first mastermind was actually teaching people how to run their agencies effectively. For a couple years we ran that mastermind. I like different groups. And 56% of those people over time asked, hey, well you just teach us how to build a mastermind. We like this too. So, we started doing that. So now all we do is teach experts how to build a mastermind. We don’t teach people to run agencies anymore. Because that’s kind of where the market took us. So, number one, as entrepreneurs, like listen to your market, listen to the people you’re actually selling to. Like, what do they want, give them what they want? It’s fun. Number two, like the logistics of running a mastermind it’s so little time and so simple that it’s become like a really cool thing in our world, in our business model. And you notice a lot of these super huge experts that have these really high-end masterminds that are like legit, not, I’m not talking a thousand people in a mastermind that’s really [14:53 inaudible] e-course, the Facebook group [14:55 inaudible] we coach and call, that’s not a mastermind. But like real masterminds, small groups, expert, and high-end people in there. They’re not running that mastermind because it takes a lot of their time or because it’s low profit margin. The profit margins are extremely high, it doesn’t take much time. And the influence you get is like having a bestselling New York times book. It’s a really cool way to like just jet fuel your approach to selling your knowledge and your wisdom.
Jason Yormark: What are some examples of like when I think of mastermind, I obviously think of it in the context of my world agencies and there’s quite frankly, even over the past couple years, I’ve seen a lot of agency masterminds kind of start to, you know, populate, you know? So, I think you know, there’s lots of options when it comes to that sort of thing for what we do, but I want to make sure for those that are listening, that maybe aren’t necessarily agency centric, you know, what are some examples of what a mastermind looks like in terms of topics or themes? Like a lot of people thinking about this might think that, oh, well that this is just for like agencies, but I’m guessing it’s probably extends beyond that. I’d be curious what some examples of that would look like.
Chris Williams: Oh yeah. So, I mean, we have thousands of examples come through group coach nation. There’s so many interesting ones. Like right now we have a really high-end boutique relationship and dating coach in one of our masterminds building her own mastermind in New York city, super cool. We have somebody else who’s a stage speaker and all they do is help you find the relations. They don’t book your stage gigs. They just know the relationships and they help you build relationships in the speaking world to get on bigger and bigger stages. Somebody else who has a ghost-writing book company for experts from all walks of life. They have a mastermind that they walk you through the writing process and then people who want them to actually write the book for them, that’s a done for you service after the fact. I mean, we have people who have amazing like brick-and-mortar consulting businesses where they’re helping doctors’ offices, chiropractors, shoe stores. We have one guy doing shoe stores. We have somebody else talking Airbnb’s. Like building masterminds around Airbnb owners, helping them scale and become, you know, super hosts. What is it, What a lot of people realize when they start building a mastermind the first time like, oh my gosh, this is the thing is they’ve been doing something very successfully? And now they all of a sudden realize, wait, it’s not the doing of the thing that’s most valuable. Now it’s teaching a whole bunch of other doers out there, other entrepreneurs, other experts, other whatever, how to know how to do what I do. So, you’ve built an awesome business. Like just like you, you’ve built a freaking amazing agency and been very successful and you have a free life. You’re teaching people now how to do that. And that’s so unique because what you’re teaching them is actually going to change their life, not just show them how to build a website. You’re going to change their life. And all of us have that in us. We just got to step away from it usually and be like, what do people really ask me about here? And that’s something really important.
Jason Yormark: For those listening to, some might not fully understand or conceptualize, you know, what a master mind consist of, so just at a relatively high level, let’s say I’m somebody, that’s a thought leader and this is a great interest to me. And what does it look like logistically? Like, I have a vision of it just because I’ve experienced one and you know, it basically was a mix of most cause especially in a virtual remote world, most of it slack based, you know, you’re in a slack community and you’re able to communicate and then it was, you know, scheduled calls and then maybe a mix of maybe once or twice a year, an actual in person event where you come together and share best practices. So those are the elements that I, when I think mastermind that’s what it consists of, is that pretty consistent with what you have seen and have taught or are there other elements as well, just to kind of give people an understanding of like, these are the elements that typically, you know, fuel a mastermind experience.
Chris Williams: Okay. So let me just peel back a little bit of that for a second. I think if we just, let’s just compare masterminds to apple pies for a second. Because obviously there’s so many, you know, similarities. So, you just described an apple pie as crust, some filling, some apples, a set of ingredients in a 10-round plate, stuck in the oven and cooked for a certain amount of time. And you might want to add some ice cream. That’s the nuts and bolts of some options, a slack channel, a zoom call in person, whatever. For all of us thinking through how to start our first mastermind build and scale, one we already have. Take your mind away from the tools and the locations for a second and just put it into the apple pie. When you’re at an old person’s house and you have apple pie that they made, and they’ve been making for 65 years. You don’t actually think crust and by the way, what kind of tin plate did you use? You think, Holy fill in the blank. Oh my gosh. I’ve never had anything like that before. That’s a mastermind. A mastermind is a really well curated group of people wanting to achieve the same goal or result led by an expert who’s good at putting the right people in the room and guiding them through a process. But it’s the people, it’s the filling that make it amazing. The masterminds I’m a member of as a student and the masterminds I lead, it’s never me as the leader or the leader I hire in a mastermind I’m a student of, It’s always the people in the room and a well-run mastermind is a collection of people, small collection going through a process or going through a set of relationships or going through time together to achieve a certain result with an expert. Who knows how to let the group do the major work?
Jason Yormark: So, it almost sounds like in addition to obviously there’s a layer of the person that runs it, the experience and knowledge and ability to facilitate. But it sounds to me like the real value is that you’re creating a community and an environment where people can come together to help each other. That’s almost as important. You are being a facilitator of that. You are creating an environment for these people, The value that they perceive in investing in this group is as much about what they get from the person that started it or oversees it. It’s as much about, I get to be surrounded by all of these other people that are going through similar experiences, that we can basically learn from each other and rely on each other. And for me, when I went through it almost it’s cathartic. It’s like, especially when you’re by yourself, you feel like you’re on an island and to be able to have other folks that you can tap into when you need that to help you through whatever it is that you’re going through. So, I love that. I definitely have experienced that. And that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense in terms of that. I think one of the questions that I can imagine somebody listening to this would think is, and it’s very, I guess it’s tactical, but I can imagine them thinking it, cause anytime you kind of like, when you think about starting a book, like, oh my God, how am I going to write this thing? And where am I going to find the time for this? And who’s going to buy it and how they going to find it. And when I think about, you know, somebody taking that leap into maybe considering starting a mastermind group, assuming they’re ready and they have the wherewithal to do that, how do they find people to join? You know, where does that start? Like, how am I going to get, cause it’s like chicken and egg, right? It’s like, well I create this group, but it’s not a group. Like why would one person come in and be a part of a group where there’s no, like how do you kind of create that momentum to kind of build off of?
Chris Williams: Yeah. I’m so glad you asked this, and I know we’re coming up on our time, but do I have a few minutes to unpack this one.
Jason Yormark: Yeah, for sure. Good stuff.
Chris Williams: Okay. So, people think you have to have the masses coming through the value ladder to ultimately lead up to the highest tier product that all these big experts have, which is a mastermind. That’s actually not true. And I didn’t realize that until I was in Russell Brunson’s mastermind. I remember him saying before I joined, like the relationships in the room are most important. I am nothing in this room. It’s so true. He’s a genius obviously. But it’s the people he puts in the room. I also thought that it was the people in the room who probably purchased the free plus book shipping offer then went to a conference, then got the click funnels account, then got a t-shirt then up and up on what they want. Not true. You start at the top. It’s like we have, we’ve all experienced the value ladder from the street view, we’re all walking around New York city. We see these amazing penthouses up there. Like wouldn’t that be cool to go up there? And we see the value ladder leading up to that over the course of life, maybe we’ll get to be a billionaire We’ll get to have one. But if you want to have people in the penthouse to visit you, to rent a room, whatever your mastermind just simply invite them in the front door and taking up the elevator, organic outreach on masterminds is unbelievably easy. Because if you’re going to sell 10 seats in a really well-crafted mastermind, I don’t need to talk to a thousand people and run through a funnel. I can find the 10 people on LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever this afternoon by finding 50 people who I know are perfect for this and then starting meaningful conversations. And literally in a few weeks you can have a full mastermind. There’s some nuance to scripting and positioning and all that kind of stuff. Yes. But you don’t need to do all of the numbers game to have masterminds. And what’s more brilliant than that. And this is what I learned from that mastermind group I was in is that all the things you learn from the 10 people who buy your first mastermind, let’s say the buying process, the things that have in discovery call all of that, that all becomes the language that builds out a sales funnel that can bring a thousand more people in, because it’s spot on. It was confirmed by people with credit cards out.
Jason Yormark: I love it. Super interesting. This has been great. Cause my brain’s kind of like, maybe I should be doing this. Like I have a lot of the pieces in place. So, it’s really interesting. So, you know, again, I’ve been a big fan of them as a member of mastermind group. So, I know the value that they can be just to learn from. So, it’s really interesting to kind of flip my brain a little bit and think about being on the other side of it. So, I’m sure those that are listening will probably be thinking the same thing. So, I love it. It’s super interesting. I’m sure I’m probably going to want to talk to you even after this episode to learn more about that. But before we kind of wrap things up, is there anything that I didn’t ask you or, or anything that you think that might round out the conversation that you want to throw in before? We wrap things up.
Chris Williams: I just would tell people don’t over complicate this whole thing. Don’t think of this as a funnel with an ad set and you got to have copy and pictures and go out and get new photos and you got to have curriculum and all stuff, like take all that off your mind. All you’re doing is deciding right now I have an expertise. I think this might be what it is. And then do this, go to www.groupcoachnation.com. That’s our website, go to www.groupcoachnation.com website and look for like, I think it’s in the beginner section. There’s this whole video. You don’t have to give us your email address or anything. There’s this whole video. It’s one of our recorded mastermind sessions. It just walks you through. Here’s the fundamentals of a mastermind. Here’s how it works. Here’s how to like to think through this whole thing. Start there, like, just start there. It’ll help you get your brain around; this is right or not for you.
Jason Yormark: I love it. I love it. I know you just briefly mentioned it, but where can people find you and find your awesome stuff to learn a little bit more about more about what you do?
Chris Williams: www.groupcoachnation.com, the social links, everything else stems out from there. Just go to www/groupcoachnation.com, dive in and get yourself figured out we got you.
Jason Yormark: Awesome. Well Chris, thank you so much for covering out some time today. Super interesting stuff. Really appreciate you being on the show.
Chris Williams: Man. So glad to be here and all of you Jason fans out there. This is awesome.
Jason Yormark: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Thanks again, Chris so much. And for those of you listening, thank you for listening, please like share, subscribe. Thank you for listing and we’ll catch you on the next episode of anti-agency stories of doing business differently.