Creating Your 10x Promise as a Coach and Teacher with John Meese

Creating Your 10x Promise as a Coach and Teacher with John Meese

Brian Casel: Hey, Brian Casel here. I'm the founder of Clarityflow. Today, I've got a great conversation with John Meese. He is a coach and course creator and author of multiple books. Um, you can find all of this stuff at johnmeese. com. And we really cover a whole, uh, wide range of, you know, what it's like to run a business like his.

Um, You know, John has a lot of experience in, in just the, in, you know, industry of selling courses and, uh, writing newsletters and funnels, you know, from, uh, his days working and, and really running Platform University with Michael Hyatt for many years, which reached so many, so many people, and then going out on his own to build and, and sell his own, uh, books and courses. And, you know, it was a really interesting conversation and also getting into some software stuff along the way.

Um, we kind of, um, compared and contrasted some of like the, you know, what it's like to run these different types of businesses, um, who his ideal customers are, um, and who, who they are not, um, and how to like build trust with an audience and how to, um, you know, what, what he talks about offering a, uh, a 10 X level of value. Um, and really, uh, kind of, like, not being afraid to, to offer that sort of promise. I think he called it a 10X promise. You'll hear more in the conversation.

Well, without further ado, here is a conversation with John Meese. Enjoy.

John Meese, great to connect with you again,

John Meese: Good to connect with you live after exclusively talking on Clarityflow before now.

Brian Casel: Yeah, I mean we were just, this is actually the first time we're talking in person, not in person, like, you know, across the internet, but, but yeah.

John Meese: Synchronous. I synchronous. This is a synchronous

Brian Casel: Synchronous. Yeah. You know, it's amazing that there've been several people who I have developed. I. Like pretty long relationships with only async and like having like deep conversations using video and everything.

Um, and uh, and, and a couple of those situations like haven't even met them until like about a year in. So,

John Meese: Well,

Brian Casel: Pretty amazing. Yeah.

John Meese: Yeah, my, uh, I, I used to own a software company, which I've since sold and my, we did have some live calls, but my business partner and I. Uh, we did meet in person for like four years, I think it was, it was like the first time we met in person. It was like, it was, it was like, wow, you're a lot shorter than I remembered, or that I thought,

Brian Casel: It's always that. It's

John Meese: it's always height.

That's the thing that everyone gets wrong. Um, but yeah, so we ran that company together for like four years before we met in person.

We still did live calls, but yes, it's, it is a wonderful, magical internet world we live in.

Brian Casel: It's amazing. I mean, my current team and my previous businesses. Yeah, same deal. You know, we, um, never met in, in person. Uh, there was, you know, what was interesting, my previous business was, we'll get into the whole story and, and

John Meese: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian Casel: here, but, um, my previous business was audience ops and it was a, we were like a blog content as a service, kind of like a productized service team of like 25 people.

Probably 20 of them were us based in different places. And then five were in the Philippines.

John Meese: Okay.

Brian Casel: The only people I've met in person were the five in the Philippines. Like we, I, I traveled to the Philippines three times. My, my wife, uh, has family in the Philippines, and so I got to meet them. But like all the Americans, even some who lived like within an hour of where I live, just went like six years on that business without meeting in person.


John Meese: Yeah.

Brian Casel: Anyway, um. So I want to hear all about your, uh, your business and, and story building up your coaching and, and teaching, um, consulting. I, I don't know if you call it consulting, I guess it's more like coaching and authorship. We're gonna get into all of


Um, the way that I, I like to start these interviews is instead of like, just tell me what you do. Like, maybe you can describe it from the perspective of one of your clients or a recent client or two. Um, how do they find you online? Discover you, build trust in you, subscribe to your stuff, and then, you know, get into your programs. Like what, what does it look like from their perspective?

John Meese: Yeah. Okay. So lemme think about a real life example here. Um, well, the examples I'm thinking about are unusual. So lemme think of like a, like a more usual example, but, um, so there's a woman named Jenna who recently became a client where um, she heard me on a podcast surprise. That's something that I do sometimes. I actually used to have my own podcast. I've had two over the last decade. Neither of which I publish new episodes on now, but I do still love talking to interesting people and about things that I care about. And so I still make it a habit of getting on other podcasts as a guest.

Um, there's times when I've been really strategic about it. This was a conversa time where you reached out to me, and that's kind of how it is lately is it's more of that.

Brian Casel: Same here.

John Meese: Yeah. But, um, what I've done like book launches though, like I've done book like podcast tours or did like 50 interviews. Uh, and so that's a whole other thing. But, um,

Brian Casel: I wanna hear all about that. We'll, We'll, get into that.

John Meese: We can talk about that.

Yeah. So Jenna, um, she heard me on, I think it was on Rory Vaden podcast. Um, and she just heard my interview and she really liked it. And so she sent me, she, at the end of Rory Vaden's podcast that mentioned a free resource. She downloaded it, but she replied to my welcome email and she was like, I heard you, just heard you on this podcast. I really appreciated it. Thanks about what you shared.

Um, and then I have an email newsletter that, since we're all friends here, I'll pull back the curtain a little bit. It's all automated and so when someone subscribes. Um, it, it's a what, uh, my friend Brenda Dun would call this, I think a shadow newsletter. Um, and so, uh, it's, I think of it differently, but that's not the, that's not the point here. The point is that they get automatic emails every day for about a week. That's value add of like teaching something of core, part of my philosophy, what I teach. Um, and in there it's also mentioning my products. It's not really like a hard pitch though. It's more like introducing someone to my world with the different products that I have, different ways I can help you, different key concepts. And then after that I have some emails that are more like traditional sales emails and some that just ask a question.

And so this is one like Jenna replied to one where I just asked a question of like, Hey, would you be interested in, uh, you know, working together? Well, no, rather, I think I said, would you be interested in working with me to build a group coaching program with a plug and play client creation machine? And she replied and she was like, yes, tell me more. Um, and I said, tell me a little bit about you. And then I said, I think you're a good fit for my program called Group Coach Bootcamp. Um, and then she paid $500 to attend that. And it's an all day workshop where I kind of help someone construct a group coaching program from scratch or, well, they have to have some expertise. So it's not truly from scratch that term, you know, has-

Brian Casel: I saw the, the headline on, on one of your programs, like, like, is it like, sell your expertise or, or co sell

John Meese: My newsletter is called Sell Your Smarts. And so that's like, yeah. Yeah. And that's becoming my core brand beyond just me as John Meese.

I've been running an online education business in some capacity for about a decade, and so I've had different like name, like it's always John Meese of Thrive School or Sell Your Smarts. Like there's always some sort of brand attached to that, even though it's still me at the helm. Um, 'cause interests change.

Brian Casel: There are so many little, um, like rabbit holes. We can, we can dive in here. Um, I. I guess just, you know, starting with the email newsletter,

John Meese: Yeah,

Brian Casel: um, i, uh, yeah, I mean, Brennan's, Brennan's stuff is, is amazing. I'm, I'm, I'm in a mastermind group with him.

John Meese: Oh, cool.

Brian Casel: Going back many years now. It's kind of crazy. Um, and, um, he, I. Uh, or just in that idea of an evergreen news, like you say that it's fully automated, but you still wrote the content.

John Meese: Oh, to totally. And just to be clear,

Brian Casel: You create it, you just sort of like lined it up in the, in, like, so if a new person signs up today, they're getting all the stuff that you've built into this sequence over, over the years, right.

John Meese: Yeah. And the, yeah, I'm write, I run a a newsletter actually every week and so the people who've been on my email list the longest are getting like the newest newsletter. But when I was doing it before, like the traditional newsletter way where you just write an email and you send it, you know, it just really wasn't a great user experience. 'Cause it's somebody who just subscribed is like hearing about some advanced sales strategy that I'm teaching or some new, you know, way to design a program. And they're like, what?

I mean it was actually I know this because I've done this before. I used to years ago, run a giant business called Platform University for a guy named Michael Hyatt. And so I was the dean of Platform University, had an email list of over a hundred thousand subscribers. My e name was in the, from of every email. And we had built out an automated newsletter, uh, with a little help from Brennan. We ended up bringing him in as a consultant in part during part of that, but I did most of it and I did all the writing. And we had still to this day, and since then, that business has been sold. It's passed through hands a couple times. if you go subscribe to their newsletter today, you will get an email from me that I wrote many years ago, and then you'll get an email every week for a year and a half before the automation runs out. Um, and I -

Brian Casel: I mean, I love that concept in general. Obviously it's it's good to like optimize the, the subscribers and, and the funnel and all that. But like I, I used to do a similar thing with my newsletter. Um, I. I've sort of abandoned all, all the audience building stuff for, I just got so involved in software now, but the, but a few years back I was doing that and the, the one thing that really drove me to use that tactic was like, if I ever came out with a new article, which I spend many hours coming up with the idea and writing it and publishing it.

I it got to me that like I would send it out to my newsletter and then like only those people would ever really see it, and then it would sort of get buried in my archives and all that. So then, then I started like picking out like my best of like the greatest hits from the last several years, my, my best articles, and lining them up in this evergreen, uh, sequence.

John Meese: That's, I mean, it's basically exactly what happened. 'cause when I, you know, I helped Michael Hyatt sell that business, and then I was running my own vlog and all that kinda stuff. I was like, well, it's just me, so I won't do the whole automated thing. I'll just write a newsletter. But then I had somebody email me and she later became a client, but her name's Rebecca and she emailed me and she was just like, Okay, look, I think I like this article you wrote, but like, what the heck is a flagship product? What the heck is a gateway product and what's a membership product? And this like, there was this terminology that I was just using that like for me was just had become so just like a core part of what I teach that I didn't even realize how confusing it was to her. And so it was actually helpful for, to, I was like, thank you. I'm gonna go back and fix

that. And so,

Brian Casel: I wanna get into like your, your line of like the landscape of everything, but you bring up a really good point. One, one thing I always like to think about whenever, like writing a new article or, or newsletter or something. I would, I would, I would try to be speaking to like myself from a few years ago because there, there is all this terminology that, like, if you're in it every day, it might seem like, oh, that's so obvious.

Everybody knows that. Or, you know, I'm not, I'm not like reinventing the wheel here, but like every single day there are new people coming into the space, coming online. Even just like young folks like kind of growing up and growing into the industry or whatever it might be, um, who are just discovering any concept it might be like for the first time. So, um, yeah, it's, it's a really interesting thing.

John Meese: Well, I think what you just said is true in general, Brian, but I think specifically for my audience. Because I'm helping people.. So what I do is I help smart professionals turn their wisdom into wealth by building a thriving online education business. And so what that means is they, they typically have already built some level of professional accomplishment, either as a one-on-one coach, or as a therapist or an attorney, or a CFO. There's, they've got some other professional background, and so they're not like, you know, fresh outta college trying to decide what to do with their life. They typically have years of experience under their belt. And then they're kind of stepping into this world of like digital marketing and online education products. And it's completely overwhelming into someone who's not used to being a beginner. 'cause they've been a professional, they've been an expert now for a while that that's really challenging.

And so that's something I, so I think a general, yes, be very careful about not letting the cursor knowledge, confu language, but specifically with the people I'm helping, it's like doubly important because these are incredibly smart people who feel dumb when they read blog posts about podcasts or webinars or deadline funnels and all these things that like just if you're not, if you haven't been swimming in it for years, it just doesn't make sense. And So yeah, I spent a lot of time trying to make those concepts clear.

Brian Casel: So like what is like basically the lineup of everything that you currently offer? I mean, what I see just kind of navigating around, um, obviously your, your blog is public for anyone to read, and then you have your newsletter that you can sign up for. I see a couple of books that I want to hear about. There's the accelerator, the flagship, like how does it all sort of fit together and what.. So if a new person, or typically like, like you know, on average new person who comes to your website maybe enters your newsletter, what's typically like the first actual product or thing that they are presented with or, or engaging with?

John Meese: Yeah, well, well, the thir, the first product, product is probably, I don't know if that's the right word, but the first thing that people usually go through, no matter what way they come in, is I send people now through um, a crash course, and this is a free, it's, it's sort of like the pre newsletter content. So, and if you, you wanna check this out, you could just go to And it is an opt-in, but it's like, it's a free crash course that where I introduce people to the products. What I do, I practice what I preach because it's a little, I'm not, I'm my sister who's, uh, young, much younger than me. She's 17. She introduces, her friends were like, what do your brother do for a living? She was like, well, I guess he's, he's a meta creator, like is a creator who like teaches people how to be creators. And I was like, okay. I guess

Brian Casel: the internet. I don't

John Meese: Yeah. Yeah. So, um, so I do have to practice what I preach because I do a lot of teaching business models of which products you should have. And so I'm happy to explain the products I have, but also I think it's helpful maybe to put them in that category of, the first thing that I'm typically introducing people to is a gateway product.

A gateway product, the way I think about it is, uh, typically it's, it's a painless purchase that solves a real problem for your customer, for your target customer. And so it's meant to be, you know, not a huge amount of money. It's not designed to create cash. It's designed to create customers. And so the first example of that are my books, and those are the first things that I promote. So I've got two books that I've written. One is called Survive and Thrive, How To Build A Profitable Business In Any Economy,

Brian Casel: I love this. You came prepared for the podcast. I love it.

John Meese: Yeah, i, you know, I exactly. And the other is, called All

Brian Casel: Is, this is what the pros do when you see them on, on the book tours. You know, they, they've got it like on the bookshelf behind them and

John Meese: Yeah, I have that since is actually the only two copy because we just moved back from Puerto Rico. There's the only two copies of my two books that I have anywhere, so I just keep on my desk now so I can pull 'em up. But then.. So my other book is called Always Be Teaching, and this is actually the only physical copy in existence because I haven't finished the production of the paperback, but the eBooks been really popular. Um, and that's 50, 50 illustrated insights on how to grow your business by creating content online. And that's been,

Brian Casel: mean, I, I noticed that you are offering these, like obviously through your website and through your newsletter, but also on Amazon, are, are these like books that people sort of discover independently of you and your newsletter?

John Meese: Yeah,

Brian Casel: -then, and then come into your newsletter that way? Or is it more the other way around like,

John Meese: Well, okay. So I want it to be a lot more people are finding the books and then finding me. Most of it what right now is still people who find me then find my books. But the reason why I still use Amazon is it, I mean, 'cause the revenue share on Amazon is not great and like there's lot of things you can't control, but they still have, they still are the name of the game when it comes to discoverability for books. Um, and so that's why I do still primarily do a lot of my distribution and sales through Amazon. Um, so I do get some people who come in. In fact, one of my favorite reviews on my first book, Survive and Thrive, is actually by another guy named John Meese, who said he just googled his name one day and was like, what is this? I wrote a book and he read it and he's like, this is actually a pretty good book. And so Um, so obviously there's at least one example of someone who found me off from a Google search on and then bought my book.

But no, there's plenty of other people and I do run some Amazon ads. That's not a major part of my business, but I think, I think that's actually a good example though of how I think about gateway product. Is every dollar of revenue that I generate from a gateway product, like a book or a course, or even my bootcamp, which I'll talk about, goes directly back into customer acquisition. So the way I approach it is that was the way I teach as well, is to use a gateway product to build your customer list. And so, um, that's one of the ways to avoid, you know, the, the goal is that you create a flywheel where it's your funding, your own growth. And it's one of the ways to avoid The, just the trap of paid advertising is typically that I, I know one study that I cited in my books is that they analyzed like billions of dollars of Facebook and Instagram ad revenue, and found out that the average ad campaign on either Facebook or Instagram after six months of optimizing had a negative 50% ROI. In other words, people were spending $2 to make $1, which I call a bad deal. So I try to, I don't start out the gate with advertising, but that's a, what I use a gateway product for is to fund a customer acquisition

Brian Casel: Got it. So, so just to clarify for folks here, you're selling a, a, a book or a course

John Meese: Mm-Hmm.

Brian Casel: and using that revenue to, to put directly into ads that then send more people to that book or

John Meese: Yeah. Well, it, it might be ads, in this case it is with the book, but it, the goal is customer acquisition. And so sometimes that means paying to, like, to sponsor a newsletter, um, or, you know, there's other things you could do. And so I do wanna like just clarify that. But yes, the short answer to your question is yes.

Um, so obviously that begs the question. Well, how do you pay for groceries? How do you pay the bills? 'cause you still gotta do that too. And that's why the other, those of the other two products come in. Um, so I do think it's great for a, you know, for someone who's teaching online to have multiple gateway products. So I have two books I'm working on a third. Um, I have, uh, sold different courses from time to time. I'm working on a new one right now that I'll be releasing soon. But again, this is gonna be a course that's like, it's like a hundred dollars and it'll be a Sell Your Smarts masterclass and it's you know, essentially it's a massive value add for what is objectively a, a small amount of money when you consider the value you receive, and the goal is to earn someone's trust to become a customer, and then also to create some, uh, ad spend essentially.

Brian Casel: Yeah. And so, so then these other products that are intended to be like, more like, I guess profitable and, uh, like how do you, what, what do you consider, if anything, like your flagship product versus like a line of different products that people

John Meese: Yeah, so I only have, I have one flagship product and that is my Six Figure Flagship Accelerator. And so, um, now again, it's kind of a meta flagship because it's a flagship about how to launch a flagship and earn six figures per year from that. Um, but a flagship product could be a lot of things. I mean, my favorite type of flagship product, which is one of the reasons why you and I get along so well, is a group coaching program. And so most of my clients, I'm teaching 'em how to take their expertise. And turn that into some sort of group coaching program that they can turn around and then sell.

And so, um, in my, in my flagship program, I take 10 clients per quarter and they pay $10,000 each to come through a group coaching program that I teach, where I teach them advanced sales strategies to both attract the target customer, nurture that relationship, and then sell them into their own flagship program.

And so, while my program itself as, as a, is a premium program and it's very limited, you know, it can only take on 10 clients at a time at the same time. you know, go back to that name real quick. Six Figure Flagship Accelerator. The goal is designed to actually help them earn a hundred thousand dollars a year, or at least 10 thou. 10,000 a month is usually what we end up focusing on, um, as that, like the result and the outcome of that. And so even then, I'm trying to 10 x value that if somebody's paying me $10,000, I'm trying to help them earn a hundred thousand dollars.

So that's my flagship product and that's really how I fund my lifestyle. And then the other things I do like membership products is, is what I would do to fund like core operations and typically other businesses that I've worked in as a consultant before that's also what we would set up is, um, and this whole model of a gateway, a membership, and a flagship, those are the three core products that I recommend, and that's what I practice as well.

Brian Casel: So the, the gateway is sort of like the, like the, the low cost kind of fund your, uh, all, all marketing spend. Then you have a membership product, which is sort of like a, like an ongoing recurring revenue pay for the operations. And then the flagship product, which is intended to be like, kind of like the, the profitable, the profit center of the business.

John Meese: Yeah. And so generally, I mean, this is maybe oversimplification if there's, uh, any-

Brian Casel: And then well, do you do any sort of like one-on-one, or, or like, like upper level beyond that or, or sort of ends there?

John Meese: Generally, no So I, um, I don't take on any one-on-one clients, um, anymore. Uh, you know, and that's one of the core principles that I teach at the beginning is like, to be successful in turning your wisdom into wealth and building an online education business, you have to stop selling your time. And that's one of the first core principles that I teach. And so to do that, it's like, okay, I'm actually rolling out a new 1 on 1 offer right now, but it's using Clarityflow and it's an on-demand coaching product that's actually a subscription. It's actually a membership product. But it's essentially like people just paying a monthly fee. And I know, I know of a, a couple other, uh, friends of mine who've done that on Clarityflow and have had success with that. And so like, that's why I'm doing it.

And so, yes, I mean actually after not having one-on-one clients for a long time, I'm reopening that, but it's totally different. 'Cause now it's asynchronous. Now it's, they're paying a monthly fee to be able to like send questions and get feedback and coaching for me and I can respond on my own schedule. Um, so I've done, last time I did one-on-one,

Brian Casel: like template stuff

John Meese: Yes, actually,

Brian Casel: built into your library. Right? It, it kind of goes back to that idea of like the Evergreen newsletter, but now in a video coaching form,

John Meese: Well, that, and that's exactly how I'm building it out, is I'm using the Clarityflow Library to kind of map out, like, um, essentially I'm going to sell on-demand coaching as just a coaching product, but I'm planning to already create resources and drip them out week by week of like new trainings and templates and tools for my coaching clients. And so I'm treating it like a membership, but clients are experiencing it like a one-on-one product. And so it's not like a community, this is, that itself, itself is not a community product. I have a a Seven Figure School Mastermind, which is, which is a high ticket mastermind on the backend of my Accelerator program, which is recurring revenue as well. Um, and so now all of a sudden I've got essentially two memberships, but one is very clearly the goal, which is like you wanna get to the Seven Figure School Mastermind, but that's also expensive and exclusive. And then the on-demand coachings available to anybody as an alternative that's much more affordable. Um, and so, yeah. Uh,

Brian Casel: Super impressive, just kind of putting, putting all these pieces together. I mean, I know it sounds like a lot for, to someone who, who's like listening in and maybe not familiar with all your stuff. Um,

John Meese: Sure.

Brian Casel: You know, uh, it's, it's really impressive. Um,

John Meese: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Brian Casel: Let's see. One thing I wanna unpack before I get, I want, I wanna go into your backstory and, and how you got here. But before I get into all that, I, I just kind of unpacking some of the product stuff. On the flagship program. Like you, you know, you talked about how it's specifically aimed at, you know, a six figure income or 10,000 a month.

John Meese: Mm-Hmm?

Brian Casel: You know, I think a lot of people looking at that would question like, you know, it, is this gonna live up to its promise, right? Like, it am I, am I really going to get that, that ROI, right? How do you actually handle that personally, and, and how, how do you deliver on the promise? How do you, I mean, it. is, is like, what's the success rate and how do you deal with when it, when it's not? And um, yeah. How do you kind of approach that?

John Meese: Well, so the first thing I'll say is like, philosophically what that is is that's, that's what I would call my 10 x promise. So my flagship program has a 10 x promise, which is to help you, you know, to, to help you. Um. earn at least $10,000 per month, um, from your own flagship problem. Sorry, from your own flagship product using an advanced, uh, attract, nurture, and sell system. Um, so that's like, that's my 10 x promise.

So the first thing is I'll just tell you like that, that's what I would call that is my 10 x promise. That's one of the first things that I work on with each of my clients is when you're launching a program, it's tempting to pick a safe promise of like, I'm gonna teach you how to do stuff. You know, and like no one says that, no one's sales page just says, I'm gonna teach you how to do stuff. But they basically do, if you just swap out some of the words.

And one of the things that I find most successful when I have someone who's, who's launching a flagship program where they're charging typically between two to $10,000 per client for a program that's between five to 10 people in it, the first time they do it, um, is that it's tempting to pick a really safe promise, but actually one of the best things you can do for yourself and your client is to make a 10 x promise that requires some sort of identity shift. This is something life changing.

If you were a fitness coach, it would be like having a program to get, you know, uh, to get a, to get a rock hard six pack abs. It's like, that is a bold promise, but what it does is it raises the stakes for everyone. It means that you're only gonna attract people who are really, really committed to action. Not just financial investment, but actually taking action on what you advise. And it also helps determine the rest of your program because if you have a promise, then you have to sort of reverse engineer .How do you, the exact question you just asked Brian, which is how do you deliver on that?

Um, so that's first of all just like where that is in my business and what I teach as far as the 10 X promise versus a gateway product has what I would call a 10% promise. Where it's something that causes an incremental change or improvement in your life. Like lose five pounds in five days. It's not gonna change your life, but it's an interesting way for someone to get started on taking action to learn from you.

Brian Casel: I noticed that you had, you, you had a, uh, an application process for that as well. Like, does that play into like, are you actually set up for success for, for this kind

John Meese: Oh, yeah, that's definitely, yeah. No, I'm very selective in who I take into my flagship program, but I, I say that, but honestly, the primary things I'm looking for are that someone has expertise in their field. Like if, like if someone, I don't work anymore, I did before, and then I learned from that with what I would call passion pivots, which is like someone who like, like I'm not saying there's anything wrong with completely pivoting your career path, but I've found that it was really, really difficult for me to help someone build an online education business around a field that they didn't have a lot of expertise in.

Um, so somebody who has been, um, you know, a software developer for their, for 20 years and wants to build a business around like church ministry and prayer, it's like I'm not, again, I've got no moral or theological issue with, with that shift, but my playbook really works for people who have.. The best of case scenario is at least a decade, but you know, definitely five plus years of experience in their industry that then we can, and I'm primarily teaching them a very simple, you know, a simplified digital marketing, uh, system that takes, you know, you this offline expertise and helps you sell that online.

Brian Casel: Like you, you've been an accountant for 20 years and now you wanna really go deeper and maybe help other accountants and, and really, uh,

John Meese: Sure. That that'd be a great example. Yes. Yes, I do. Also, I will say like a lot of the people in my current cohort in my program are actually like people who have like email lists and courses and that kinda stuff. And so that's, and that they're actually getting incredible results, um, which is awesome. But like that program's really built around like professionals who are like kind of, sort of coming online, not, you know, for the first time, for the most part.

But coming back to your question about like, how do I make sure that happens? The first thing is. I actually have a guarantee in my program now. This is relatively new. I mean, I taught this program for about a year and a half before I introduced this, but now it has a 10 k or more guarantee, which is that you will, if you, if you show up and do the work, right? It's not magic, but if you show up and do the work, you will earn at least $10,000 from your flagship product during the program itself, which is a 10 week accelerator. Or I'll keep coaching you until you do.

Now, the first question people ask is like, why is it not on money back guarantee, and I do money back guarantees in my other programs. But I toyed with that. But what I found is that for someone to have a total transformation results with the flagship program, they have to be all in. And if there's a money back guarantee, it'll allows someone to keep one foot out the door and then they just, they don't do some of the hard work, honestly. Um,

Brian Casel: I also like that because like logistically, someone could be completely motivated and, and really could mean to take action. But life does come up, like unexpected things come up and, um, you know, so maybe like they can't get it done in the, in the first 10 weeks, but give 'em another 10 weeks and they can make it happen,

John Meese: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that's how I approach it. And then, um, yeah, we can, again, I'm happy to answer any follow up questions on that, but that's

Brian Casel: I mean, I, I love it.

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I want to get, also get into, maybe I wanna get into your story next,

John Meese: Sure.

Brian Casel: Maybe we can like loop back to what your day-to-Day looks like, running all these different programs and like how you manage your time and energy and schedule and, and all that kind of stuff.

Um, but yeah, I mean, like, how did, I mean you mentioned the software product background. Uh, you mentioned working with Michael Hyatt. I get, let's, let's like kind of go back. What, what do you think are, um, . The main steps or milestones in your career before you landed on what you're doing today?

John Meese: Yeah. So I well, I mean the first steps of my career where I worked for Chick-fil-A for a long time, and I was a training director for Chick-fil-A. And so like the next level up is operator and become full-time Chick-fil-A and kind of commit to like, you just sign like a, it's not even non-compete. It's like the only way I will ever earn money is by running my own Chick-fil-A franchise. And I knew that wasn't gonna work for me. Like, I just like, I was like, I love the company, I love working there. But I did always have this like, theme of like, training in what I was doing.

Um, during this time was gonna college. I got degree in economics. I worked for an economics research lab, got my name published in a couple cool papers, uh, was on my, on the PhD track and then because again, I've always loved teaching, but I got really fed up with academia and then I, I left that did a couple of the jobs while I was figuring things out.

And this whole time I was blogging and I was just sort of blogging about what I was learning. I mean, I was like a, you know, new to this whole world. Um, I read the book Platform by Michael Hyatt, came out in, I believe it was 2012. Um, and I bel and that was the number one bestseller. And it was kinda like . Like, in many ways it was like one of the first books, if not the first book, about this whole world that we all live in right now of like blogs and social media. Like there's a whole chapter on how to create a Facebook page.

Um, and uh, so that book I read like on a flight from Nashville to Anchorage, Alaska. And I read the whole book cover to cover and was like, when I landed, I was like, I'm a different person. This is what I'm doing. And so I took my anonymous blog, 'cause up until then I'd have clever names. Like I had a blog called the Open-Minded Economist. And then I had one called Orthodoxy and Liberty, which is the intersection of, uh, theology and political thought. 'Cause you know, like if, because as if one wasn't controversial enough, um. Or complicated enough for like a young 20 something to be like, don't worry, I will explain both politics and theology.

Um, but regardless, then I was like, I came out with later,, then So, you know, there's that whole domain journey as well. Um, but that, so there's a lot going on there. I launched an online course when my wife and I were, you know, we're at this point a little over a year into marriage. Um, she's pregnant with our first son, we're broke, we're both working, and she wants to take time off, and the baby's coming. And I'm like, that's a great idea. How are we gonna pay for this? And I'd read about all this stuff. And so I created an online course. I built an email list of 247 email subscribers, and I did a full on launch sequence as if I had this massive audience. I did exactly what the people who had 10,000 subscribers were doing, but to my 247 subscribers and I made $10,000 in 10 days, and that was my first course launch. And then I knew..

What year was this? It was like,

It was 2015, 2014, 2015. Um, I think, yeah, it was like right at the cusp of this. Well, actually I should know that. So my son was born in September of 2015. It was before that. Um, it's my, my oldest son. So when I, and I'd done some coaching before that, but that's the first time I had launched like a digital product. And then I turned around and repeated that launch and did $10,000 again and $10,000 again. I, and I, and this is while I was making like $25,000 a year at my day job. So that was big money.

Um. So we had more kids. We have four boys now do it. So, fast forward a little bit. Um, but I, I continued to grow my business and I was doing affiliate marketing and courses and coaching, and then Michael Hyatt reached out to me. I. Um, if anybody doesn't know him. So he wrote that book I mentioned earlier, but also had a, you know, massive, one of the most read blogs on the internet at the time. Um, you know, massive business. And he had this membership site called Platform University, which is where I was learning a lot of these things about like how to do stuff online. And he invited me out to lunch and said, Hey, you want to, we we're really looking for somebody to take over and run platform Univers University so I can go do other things.

Um, and you're-

Brian Casel: Did he, how, how did, did you know him before that? Like how did you guys

John Meese: I did, yeah. So we went to church together, So, um. He didn't admit this until, thankfully, he didn't admit this publicly until like my final like farewell, like livestream, which was like, you know, four years later after we sold the company. Then he mentioned on livestream. Thankfully this was the first time that he's known me since I wasn't diapers. Thankfully he never said that before then but, but he did say that on a livestream in front of thousands of people.

Um, but I took over Platform University and I went from a guy who had this little blog who was making some decent money with like courses and that kinda stuff to John Meese, the dean of Platform University with a stylist and a video crew. Now runs a membership site that does, you know, a does millions of dollars a year in revenue with a six figure ad budget, a full-time team, and an email list of a hundred thousand subscribers. Good luck.

So that was, I mean, I didn't own it, but I did. I mean, I met with my supervisor, who is Michael's daughter, Megan. She's the CEO of that company now, full focus. I met with her twice a year. And I run this, and I ran this multimillion dollar membership with my own team and that kinda stuff. And so it was, I mean, that was definitely like a, in, that's a huge, pivotal moment in my career. There's no way to skip that because I

Brian Casel: Maybe just to pause on this, on this chapter of your career, right? I think it's interesting, um, 'cause you clearly had an inside look at what.. Really one of like the most, well-known, uh, you know, course, uh, membership platform coaching programs out there. Right.

Um, what does, I mean, obviously the, the scale is different. The, the numbers are different, much higher budgets, much higher audience size and all that, but what's actually, what are the main differences between what's happening in that sort of, you know, course coaching, membership operation versus something like your business today or your client's businesses today? Like what really, what's the difference aside from the, the scale of the numbers?

John Meese: Well, I'm, I mean, I'm so glad you asked that so that you're, now you're getting into like my like true nerd status, which is, I'm like a research geek. And so I love to teach, but I love to also like research and understand patterns. And I was asking the same question 'cause my job was to teach thousands of people how to build online education businesses. And I was working at one of the top online education businesses on the payroll on in the planet. And so of course I was paying attention.

And actually even after I left, then I went and I was just exclusively a. Fractional CMO for online education companies behind the scenes, most of whom were doing millions of dollars a year in revenue. So I got like all this behind the scenes stuff, and what I found was that the difference wasn't, I mean, it was scale of course, but scale can actually hide a lot of inefficiencies because when you're emailing millions of subscribers or hundreds thousand subscribers and you do a bad launch, it's, you still make money and you're like, it worked.

Um, and so, especially when I When we sold Platform University to Pete Vargas, and then Greg Card Cardone literally later bought into that business. Um, when we did that, then I was behind the scenes in these other businesses and I kept looking for these patterns and I found that the, the biggest problem most of 'em had was either, well, it was, it was product confusion, that over time they would create more products. 'Cause you do, you, one product sells, you create another one. One product sells. And I remember the meeting where Michael Hyatt had a leadership team meeting and he pulled up the slide deck and he is like, all right. Someone asked me our customer journey, here's what I got. We have 37 products. Here's the best I can explain our customer journey, and it was a mess. And so we actually killed and combined most of those products into other things, and revenue grew.

So then I would go into other products and or other companies and find out they were doing really well from a couple core products. But that's actually where the model that I teach now comes out of, of having gateway membership and flagship is because I would go into a company that was making amazing money off of some flagship program that's a premium program with a 10 x promise. And they were making, uh, really good money off of gateway products like books and courses, and they didn't have a membership product. And so I'd come in and help them add a membership product and they'd add six figures in recurring revenue immediately. or I'd come into a company that was all built on gateway and membership, and I'd say, well, you don't have this flagship piece. And we'd add that. And again, they would add multiple six figures in revenue immediately. And so now when I'm teaching even someone who's just getting started online, it's just like, you have to keep these three products in mind. You don't need all three products at once. I mean, so like your question was about these,-

Brian Casel: Build up to it, but still, it, it, you're like, like really like stay focused on these specific products that-

John Meese: Yes,

Brian Casel: -serve a specific purpose, not only for, for you as the business owner, I think, but also for the customer, right? Like, oh, I just wanna like, kind of dabble and see what this idea or this person is all about. I'll, I'll get the book, you know, I, I really want to connect with more people who are really on this journey. Let's do the membership. Like I'm ready to really commit, like, let's do the, the flagship, right? Like make,

John Meese: Yeah. And, and all the, all the seven figure schools, like the big online education companies that I worked with behind the scenes, the biggest problems they had was product portfolio was like, it was like too many products or the wrong products, or the customers didn't understand the products. Um,

Brian Casel: It's kind of that, that like classic Apple thing with Steve Jobs when it came, when it came back to Apple, you know, like the, the quadrant of like the four, like two personal, two professional products and that's it. Let's kill off everything else, right? Yeah.

John Meese: It's the same idea. Yeah. Or similar at least. Um, uh, but yeah, I mean, but I mean like, that's also where I fell in love with flagship products because I will say this, we, we just kind of just touched on the idea of like, yeah, you don't have to have all three products at first. I actually recommend you build a flagship product first. Like you don't have to have all three A ones. But that's something that I think is, I dunno if it's controversial, but it's at least counterintuitive. Because most people assume you start with the gateway product. But I, when I was running Platform University, we were teaching people how to launch these products. I had just, our failure rate was astronomical in terms of people who would sell $50 courses or $7 eBooks, and they would slave away at this and sell a thousand of them and walk away. They sold $1,007 eBooks and after a year and a half they've made $7,000 and they give up.

And so I, I mean, I refer to that tragedy as the death of a thousand eBooks. And so. Now I really focus on helping people sell the flagship product first because it's, it's, it's the simplest, most effective way to reach, to really fund your lifestyle.

But that's something that came out of honestly working at these companies where, I mean, I'll, I won't do all the math for you, but I'll tell you this Michael Hyatt's coaching program, which he doesn't, he's, he's, it's essentially shut it down now. They're really, they're really focusing on the planner, um, where he is phasing that out. Um, I think he did some, some private stuff, but like his, when at its peak when we had a full-time team attached to it business Accelerator, his fracture program, um, cost, uh, $15,000 a year. It was 25,000. If you also met with one-on-one coach, um, he had 10 cohorts going at a time, and each cohort had 50 people in it. So 50 times 10 times $25,000 equals a lot of money.

Brian Casel: Yeah.

John Meese: And so that was just like massive and

Brian Casel: And he, he had coaches working in those or, or was like he personally involved in

John Meese: Well, he had a coaching team, but for the first probably five or six of those cohorts, it was him and they would meet in person once a quarter for like an intensive. Um, and then in between they would do like once a month, kind of like AQ and A type call. But most of it was just once a quarter. Like, Hey, it's intensive this week, everybody's here.

Um, he then started certifying coaches and so that's how he scaled kind of. Probably, I guess probably beyond five. I think that's when he started introducing certified coaches, um,

Brian Casel: So like coaches become certified and, and become, and it's almost like obviously learning the material and, and becoming a good coach, but also like kind of transferring the credibility and trust, like,

John Meese: Yes,

Brian Casel: People get to know Michael, they need to, I trust that, that these coaches that work in the organization are all, have the same, uh, certification and background

John Meese: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. So, so, no, that's, that's like crazy pants. 'Cause there's also a huge team behind that. And so that's like, I would say that's at a level that, that most creators don't want because you're really building a corporation. I mean, we had, you know, we had between 50 and a hundred full-time employees during that whole season of, I mean, there's multiple products. The Business Accelerator was just one part of the business. Um, the Full Focus Planner actually became much more of a big deal. Um,

Brian Casel: I like that the sim, like what you talk about is like the sim the similarity is in the product line, right? Like the, you know, the, the three products that, that we were talking about, right? So like the way that the, the products work and the, and the marketing, uh. You know, the funnels work and content and newsletters, that's all basically the same between the, the massive content businesses out there and, you know, the independents..

Um, and then just the differences probably in, not only in scale, but maybe operations, right? Like either you're totally solo and then I think there's a middle ground where it's like you're solo and you have a couple of assistants and administrators helping you out, and then you become like a coaching company with other coaches who get certified. And if, if you want to go that route.

John Meese: Yeah, I think I, I agree with that. I think one of the difference I sort of to touched on this, but I just wanna make sure I emphasize it. I think one of the other differences, and this is where people get confused, is just the amount of time they've had to build the machine that they have, like the system of a giant successful and education company. You know, the Dave Ramsey's and Dave Ramsey just crossed a thousand full-time employees by the way. And so he's also based near here, so, you know, and uh, so the Dave Ramseys and the Michael Hyatts and the Pat Flynns and all this, just the amount of time they've had. And so a lot of people look at them and they go, okay, I wanna be like them. And so I'm gonna get on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, launch a coaching program, a course, a book. Maybe I'll come out with a planner. And they just, they just, they come outta the gate trying to do what a corporation does. And it's just, I think like Gary V also has about a thousand full-time employees. And it's like people will look at him and be like, I wanna be like Gary V. And like, well, okay, you need to find your own version of that because unless you have a thousand employees, you can't.

Brian Casel: I was just gonna say, and you know, the solo version of this is still an incredible business.

John Meese: Oh Yeah.

Brian Casel: Incredible. Like, so much better than, than just being a either a freelancer or employed at a job, obviously, right? Like so. Um, and, and like, I like to think about that in the software world too, where it's like, I. I'm not trying to be the next like Facebook here, but you know, a small niche product that, that a lot of people really get a lot of value from. Like, that's a fantastic business be in.

John Meese: Yeah. What, Brian, I think one thing I just because you mentioned software that reminded me, I don't know that we need to go into, do deep,

Brian Casel: Well, I, I am curious about like, where, where did you enter software? Tell me about that.


John Meese: So, so, so my current company is, it's actually my, well it's my first, but it's also my third. I, you know, like, anyways, it's the company that I've had the longest, my, my like coaching and training company. But I've actually started and sold two other companies. One was a coworking space company. So that was when I got this hair brain idea that I wanted to go totally into the offline world and open a brick and mortar business on January 15th, 2020, 58 days before lockdown. So So that's a whole other, uh, story, probably best shared over a hard beverage. But we did event, we did actually still grow that company after a lot of challenge and then sell that.

So I started and sold a co, a coworking space company, um, but then software that really came out of um, the course that I was creating was helping people with, um, a really complicated WordPress theme. That, that was really what my first course was about, was about how to use this really complicated WordPress theme that doesn't even exist anymore. It's actually, it was actually created by Michael Hyatt, it's called the Get Noticed theme.

I created this course on how to use his theme because it was, people were so confused and I don't know, I just spent a lot of time in the dashboard so I understood how it worked. Um, and it wasn't very intuitive, but I created this whole massive course on how to use it. And then people started asking me more questions 'cause they wanna be like Michael Hyatt. And I was teaching them how to like . Just design their website basically. But I'm not a developer. And there was this other guy, Thomas, who was creating custom trial themes or custom skins, you know, if you're not familiar with the terminology, um. To, I know you probably are Brian, but I'm just thinking about whoever's listening yet, Um, but he was creating these custom trial themes for the Get Noticed theme. So basically like, make it look like Michael Hyatt's website, but like your flavor. Um, and he was doing these for, and he kept, he just mentioned to me when we were talking one time, he's like, man, like there's, this is so complicated. It would probably just be easier if I just created a new theme. And I was like, well, let's just do that. And so we partnered as business partners, you know, him being the developer, me being the marketing guy. And we created a company called, originally it was called Notable Themes later, just Notable. Um, and we created really, you know, personalized professional WordPress themes for people who are building online education companies, personal brand businesses.

Um, That did pretty well. You know, we,

Brian Casel: What year was that?

John Meese: Um, it's a good question. We probably first created that. We first started that maybe 2016. Yeah, it was somewhere in there. 'Cause then, so when I went to work, when I took the Platform University gig, I. I had to actually exit Notable that was part of the condition. 'Cause they were like, Hey, we sell the Get Noticed theme still. You can't also have a WordPress theme company. I was like, all right, fair.

So I exited Notable and then like six months later Michael was like, Hey, by the way, we're sun setting the Get Noticed theme. We're not gonna sell anymore. I was like, gosh darn it. Um, but that's fine. Uh, 'cause then as soon as we sold Platform University, I went back to my business partner and was like, Hey, how's it going? He's like, well, Revenue's been the same though since you left. So we have MRR, but nothing crazy. Why don't you come back on? So I came on back on, helped them grow the business a little bit and then ultimately decided to sell it.

And so, um, really last year, 2022 is when I sold both the software company and the coworking space company. 'cause I wanted to go all in on online education and just focus on that. Yeah.

Brian Casel: Super interesting. I, I think, uh, I think our paths have taken like, almost like op opposite tracks over the years. You know? Um, I was in, I was big into WordPress, uh, for several years there I had, I had my first digital product business, like, not including like freelance work was WordPress themes. Um, this was 2009, I wanna say.

John Meese: Yeah.

Brian Casel: Um.

John Meese: Do you know, do you remember what you were charging for a theme?

Brian Casel: $59.

John Meese: Yeah. and then so that's, that's pretty typical.

Brian Casel: I, And I just, I mean, the feeling of like, I was selling like web design services for like thousands of dollars to clients, but the first time I sold a thing for $59 on the internet, I was like, ecstatic. I was like, I can't believe a stranger, just PayPal'ed me, $59.

John Meese: It is pretty cool. Yeah, we,

Brian Casel: Then I did a Restaurant Engine, which was like a hosted restaurant thing on, on WordPress.

John Meese: Oh, you know what? I actually remember Restaurant Engine, so I'm pretty sure I read your blog or something at some point. So even though we just reconnected,-

Brian Casel: in the day. Yeah.

John Meese: -said Restaurant Engine, I'm like, wait a minute, I've read about this back in the day. Yeah. Um.

Brian Casel: And, and, and, you know, WordPress itself has, has been on like this rocket ship forever now, but like, it, it, it's gone through these different phases where especially I think in like '08, '09'0 10, like the themes companies were just getting like really big. And then, um, and I was sort of on the tail end of that.

And then, um. And then like late, like later and now, like things just kind of got like astronomical, but, but competition as well. So.

John Meese: Well, and one of the things I think we did really well, there's plenty of things we didn't do well, but there's, one of the things I think we did really well with Notable was we ended up sunset. We had like a bunch of themes at first. Then we really focused on one called Notable Press, which we really, it was just a superpowered premium WordPress theme on top of WordPress. But we wouldn't even mention WordPress except for in FAQs. You know, we would just sell this . Thousand dollar a year website builder.

Brian Casel: Yeah. I remember we're going on on a total sidetrack here, of course. But the, that was the thing with Restaurant Engine, you know, 'cause at the time I was selling WordPress themes, which was like, for WordPress users who just want a theme for their WordPress. They know all about hosting and what a theme is.

But I was like, there are all these restaurant owners and other industries that have no idea and don't care that it's WordPress. So let's just give them a website and, and hook up the hosting and everything. And we don't, and we can customize the,

John Meese: That, that's essentially what we did with Notable Press, so that's awesome.

Brian Casel: Nice. Nice. Okay. So like getting back to, I guess closer to today. So I'm, I am curious about the move, I guess last year in 2022, you said you, you exited the, the, the WordPress themes and like the software side to go all in on what you're doing today with the, the courses and, and membership and, and newsletter. Tell, like tell me about the, that decision to go in that direction in your career as an entrepreneur. Was it, um, . What is more attractive to you about this path today than, than continuing to pursue something like software or something else.

John Meese: Yeah. Well, I found out something really surprising when I was running three companies at once, which is it's three times as much work. And perhaps I should have seen that coming. Um, but I came pretty dangerously close to burnout when I was running a and all the companies were profitable at this point of a software company, coaching company.. And, uh, and I wasn't doing a lot of coaching. It was more like, I guess courses and a little bit of consulting. But, um, I was doing, I shouldn't say that. I was, I mean, I was doing a few high ticket consulting clients and then some courses and that kinda stuff. So, and then the cowork between the coworking space, the software company and the coaching company, you know, it's just too much.

And so I had to look at that and be like, this just, I mean, I can't, I can't do this. I can't. And I tried to actually bring them all into one parent company. Like I actually went down that path first of like, okay, maybe these are actually all, maybe they fit the same universe. Uh, they don't. Uh, I discovered I as I, uh, especially because in, I had different business partners in different, the only one that didn't have any business partners is my court coaching company. The other one I had business partners in each position and that kind of just with complicated things.

Um, so I then started, I had to do some soul searching about like, you know, essentially what do I want to do when I grow up at this point? Um. So my book, Survive and Thrive came out of that phase where the, that's actually probab, I guess I can't say the last, 'cause I don't know what the future holds, but right now it, it, the, the book itself is an entrepreneurship 1 0 1 book that's not specific to online education, which doesn't really make sense in my current business model. I mean, one of the, you know, people have sent me messages about how life changing it was, who run like pest control companies or, you know, other completely other things.

It's also, everything I wrote in there applies to online education businesses, but at the time I was running a coworking space company and we'd gotten a grant to become an entrepreneur center for Tennessee. And like there was all kinds of other stuff of helping small business owners in there and then 2020 hit.

So that book was part of me exploring what I wanna do with I when I grow up, but also trying to capture what I'd learned building three companies. . Bootstrapping three companies from scratch.

So I interviewed, that's also one of my podcasts, came out during that time 'cause I interviewed some of the best and brightest minds in business. People like Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, Pat Flynn, rabbi Daniel Lapin, Mike Michalowicz, um, et cetera, et cetera. And I was just looking for the common models of like in response to all this global change, like how do you thrive as an entrepreneur? And that, and that's really what became that book. But it was also a bit of me exploring like what But really asking them for the sake of the book, but also for me of like, yeah, but how do I actually do this? How do I pick who my target customer is? How do I pick a lane?

Um, 'cause I knew entrepreneurship at this point. I was spoiled that I wasn't going back to like a job. But, uh, I had a lot of hangups honestly, around being a guy. I'm sure you've heard it, like, you know, a guy who creates courses about how to create courses. Like, I didn't want to, I didn't wanna be that guy. There's just so much, once you've been in the online education space for a while, there's so much just Kind of like trash talk about meta creators basically. Like they're like, oh, well that guy did, you know, he has a podcast about how to do podcasts, or he has a course and how to do a course, or he has a coaching program about how to do coaching programs.

Brian Casel: I, I think there's like two sides to that coin. You know, like, obviously we all hear it, but it's, but at the, at the end of the day, like you, you clearly see it as, as probably many other people do, there are a lot of people who get a ton of value from learning what these possibilities are.

I mean, you know, I, I, I often like to think about all of my friends and family who are not in this online world with me, who, like many of them have no idea what I do for, for a living. All they know, all they know is that I'm on the, the computer a lot. Um, but, um, you know, a lot of the, like, like my brother is a farmer. He has a farm.

John Meese: Wow. That's

Brian Casel: With like 50 cows. They do milk, yogurt, cheese, like, it, it is incredible. He and this guy knows every, like, it's insane how much expertise he has in the organic farming world. Right. And, you know, he's, he's like dabbled on, on YouTube and stuff, but like. I look at that, I'm like, there is such a larger business here than just selling the milk. You know, like there, you know, there is so much expertise between teaching or selling tools or software to folks like you, you know?

Um, but Yeah. like there are so many people like that who, who need to sort of like learn to connect these dots online if, if they wanted to go that route, you know?

John Meese: Well, and that's actually what got me over my own ego, I guess, and my own fear of being like a meta creator essentially. Um, was really just like talking to people who were really smart, who were not teaching online and just like didn't make sense to me. And I realized, and I had this is I actually had to get in touch with the tragedy a bit. Of like the tragedy today, the tragedy that I'm trying to prevent. It, there's plenty of tragedies, but the one that I'm focused on, um, is

Brian Casel: Can't do everything.

John Meese: Yeah. I can't do everything, is that there are incredibly smart professionals right now who've spent decades behind closed doors, honing their expertise, helping transform people's lives one-on-one, and tomorrow one of 'em is gonna have a heart attack and die having never written down or shared anything that he taught behind closed doors. And all that wisdom is lost and the rest of us were less left grasping in the dark, trying to recreate the wheel and that gets me upset.

And so when I, that's why, that's also why when I kind of recommitted to helping people build online education businesses, I really shed my focus of like helping, you know, like, like I'm a digital marketer, but I never say that, you know, like I really shed a lot of the digital marketing language and started just trying to rebrand and refocus everything I do around, um, helping people turn, Sell their Smarts to turn their wisdom into wealth. You know, really just concepts that people could latch onto even if they've never heard of click funnels. Um, and so that's something that, uh. That. And then I got really fired up about it, and then I didn't really care anymore what people thought. I just went and did it And that's been really great. Been great transition.

Brian Casel: That you, that was really well said. Um, I mean, you know, we'll start to wrap it up here, but I, I am curious about how, okay, so like you've, you've chosen this path, like that's, that's your, that's your mission. Like you're, you're motivated by it. I could, I hear and see like, you have this behind what you do. How do you make it work logistically? Um, I mean, you know, for, for example, for

John Meese: sure.

Brian Casel: A couple years back, like I sold a course called, called Productize, and I was, and I had a bit of a community there and stuff, and I was doing a lot more content and newsletters, but I personally lost the energy to keep churning out content and video courses and stuff like that. I'm, I'm much more comfortable in like the quiet, deep work software kind of kind of stuff.

Um, how do you manage your energy in this type of business, which requires a lot of talking to people, group coaching sessions, man managing launches, you know, doing content on a regular basis. How do you, um, how do you make it all work?

John Meese: Well, first of all, I'm really glad you mentioned productize because I'm just having like a total flashback moment. It's hard to remember anything pre 2020. I dunno if you've had that experience, but there's like this like, but you just kind of reopened a memory for me, which is that you're, the reason why I shifted from selling one-on-one coaching to a retainer model is that you had this product, and I think you had a blog or something around this whole idea of productizing your service, right.

Yeah. So I'm just now connecting in the dots in my head that, that happened and that was you. So that was probably what the, what planted the seed for now, and what, what I teach about stop selling time is probably planted by that your whole productize your service thing, so thank you.

Brian Casel: That, that's incredible. I mean, it, it really wasn't, it, it was somewhat known, but it was not on the, on a level of the of the, uh, you know, the Pat Flynns and the Michael Hyatts of

John Meese: Oh, no, but it, but it doesn't have to be. It doesn't, it doesn't matter. It had an impact on me, and so thank you. And so that's also why I love all online education businesses is because Um, so there's a guy, Alex Sanfilippo, who owns Podmatch, which is a, like, you know, it, it hosts, it pairs like guests and hosts in the podcasting world. Um, and I like met him recently and then in our converstion, he was like, 10 years ago you wrote a blog post. that changed my life. He was like, what?

Brian Casel: Yeah. Isn't

John Meese: Like, literally, this company exists because you changed how I think about entrepreneurship and yeah. So yes, those kind of things. So thank you Brian. Um, but then I wanna answer your question, but I also just wanna say thank you.

Um. So I do a few things. I mean, the first thing I do is I, while I have the quote laptop lifestyle, you know, could, um, I work Monday through Friday, nine to five . And so I have boundaries,

Brian Casel: I'm pretty boring that way too. Like everyone like likes these like weird schedules. I'm like, I don't know. I kind of like Monday to Friday. That kind of,

John Meese: Yeah. Monday through Friday, nine to five tends to work. Um, I mean, don't get me wrong, when I'm like working on like a book project or something like that, and early Saturday morning when everybody is offline and is not bugging you is awesome. Uh, and so I do get some focus work in there sometimes, but

Brian Casel: National holidays are like my favorite 'cause that's when I'm working,

John Meese: I love working on national holidays. I get so much done. Um, I'm so glad we connect on that. The, I also don't take meetings before noon, so because I am still a writer and so I do have deep work that I need to do all the time. Sometimes it's responding to coaching clients. Sometimes it's, we're working on a newsletter or some, you know, some sort of deep work project. I don't take meetings before noon, which means I have a good three hours, you know, a a half day of deep work every day. Um. And then most of my meetings then are batched in the afternoon. So I take like two or three meetings, you know, each day and not every day. Um, but, uh, can you still hear me okay? Sorry, my, like, I like alert that my mic was maybe disconnected. Um,

Brian Casel: No, it's all

John Meese: Okay. Um, the, let me kind of backtrack for a second. Lost my train of thought. Sorry.

Brian Casel: So, so you have like about two or three, uh, calls a day if that, and then you've got like some deep work in the morning and Yeah. Makes a lot of sense.

John Meese: I mean, that's, that's, yeah. And so honestly, right now, um, we live a mile. I have an office outside of the home. I also don't work from home. So like I, I'm a laptop lifestyle. I work Monday through Friday, nine to five, never at home. Uh, partly because I have four children who I love and hate telling them daddy's working. Um, and so I made that choice a long time ago.

There was a whole period, actually about, of a couple years where we actually didn't have internet at home. That's, we've graduated beyond that, our kids are really into the internet. And so um, But, uh, But, but I bike to work, actually. I bike 1.6 miles to my office. Um, and then I have, I can focus here and then when I'm home, I'm home. When I'm at work, I'm at work.

Brian Casel: I missed that, that separation. I used to have an office and then we moved to this house, and now I'm here like all the time, and now I'm, and I, I, I break out to Starbucks maybe three times a week. That's about it,

John Meese: I totally get that. No, and it's not always possible. We just moved to, we were just in Puerto Rico for nine months and we, the house we bought had a home office. And it wasn't really a great office space nearby. And so I worked from home for a while, but I was reminded of like all the downsides of it. Like, of just like not having clear, even just like a commute,

Brian Casel: And like, how about your, how about your team? Like is, so it's you producing a lot of content? Like how, how are you doing it? Like operationally?

John Meese: Totally. So I don't have any employees, but I do have several contractors that I work with. Um, I recently hired an OBM, so an online business manager. And so he's working for me right now, 10 hours a week. And he helps kind of project manage. And so we meet, kind of set the big picture vision for whatever we're working on, and then he helps manage that with other contractors. That's still new to me, but that's amazing in terms of how much it's taken me outta the weeds because I started to accumulate contractors. I have an illustrator, I hire an illustrator who normally does the New Yorker to do my newsletter every week, , and so,

Brian Casel: I, I love this model. There, there are so many things like threads that we can pull on and, and have like an entire podcast podcast episode about, but I've been

John Meese: could talk again,

Brian Casel: years in, in all of my different businesses where, um, you know, yeah, I have some, some like full-time team members now who are just on all the time. But, uh, yeah, the idea of, of working with high caliber contractors for a day or two a week, or, or on an, like an as needed basis is huge,

John Meese: Oh yeah.

Brian Casel: And that's what like, like the economy at, at least on the internet is, is working these days, right? Like, it is, like, whether it's marketing, illustration, even developers or something like, like most of the best people like you can't afford on a full-time salary 'cause they're just too good, too, too much of a track record. But they, and, and also a lot of 'em don't even want a full-time salary. They wanna be working with a couple of really good clients. So if you can just be one of those great clients for them, it, it's, it's such a great model.

John Meese: well, it's, yes, and we could totally talk about that another time, but just to kind of one factoid on it I have to share is that Um, because I know just like you, that, like in our like online world, it's like the norm is like having this kind of flexible team with contractors and specialists. What I didn't know until recently was that 50% of college graduates are going 1099 instead of W2 in the US, which means it's like half of college graduates are going into some sort of freelance business. And then, and so it's, we're not at the point where like half the workforce is a freelancer, but when you think about graduates are setting the tone for the next couple decades of the industry, then I think that's only gonna continue. Um.

Yeah. So, um, yeah, so I have a couple other contractors, contractors I work with for different things. Um, I have one now certified coach. I don't have a certification program. I just started calling her that because after a year she's been my co-host on like all of my coaching calls. And like she's helped me like do some, she does some one-on-one when people are really stuck and I'm like, Annette, can you go help them. So and so I just recently started introducing her as like my certified coach, but, but like I don't have a certification program, it's just she's been with me through all

Brian Casel: It's interesting and, and again, that's another thread that we can probably do a whole episode on, but like that transition from, you know, 'cause usually that's almost like the fundamental problem with a business like this is that it's too, too much of you. It's like your name and, and everything. But that, that is how you transfer that like trust equity or, and, and grow. And grow beyond just . You as the name to an actual like company and brand and certified coaches and all that.

John Meese: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So, um, yeah, I mean, it's a summary version. Um,

Brian Casel: Well, I mean, we covered so much ground here. We are gonna have to do, uh, a probably a couple follow up episodes at

John Meese: Let's do it

Brian Casel: Um, so yeah, I mean, is that the best place for folks to, uh, to connect with you?

John Meese: That's plenty fine. You can go there. But I would say this new crash course that I put together is my best and newest content. So, um, you can get it there, but if you go to, that'll take you straight there to, to get that crash course.

It's a hundred percent free. You already have heard me talk about it. It does introduce some of my other products. Just kind of give you a little bit of a tour of not only what I teach, like the core concepts and how to apply them, but also some different ways that you can get my help to achieve those things. Uh, we didn't even talk about group coach bootcamp. That's probably another episode.

Brian Casel: Yeah. Okay. Well, I mean, we'll get all this stuff linked up in the show notes. Um, John, great to, uh, great to connect with you.

John Meese: Thank you Brian. I appreciate it. Keep up the good work.

Brian Casel: So that wraps up today's episode of Claritycast. I hope you were able to get a few nuggets of clarity to help you grow your coaching business. You can watch the videos of these conversations on our YouTube channel, like, and subscribe to us there. And I'd really appreciate if you'd give the Claritycast podcast a five star review in iTunes, that really helps us reach more folks like you.

Today's episode was brought to you by our product, Clarityflow. Try it for free at, or you can book a free demo and consultation call to see how you can grow your coaching business on Clarityflow. Thanks for tuning in. I'll see you next time.


Creating Your 10x Promise as a Coach and Teacher with John Meese

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