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In this interview with Jonathan Goodman the creator of the Personal Trainer Development Center we discussed everything from the ethics of being a good coach, to how to spot a fake online coach, from decision fatigue and why he wears only one style of Tshirt to how Jonathan built his multiple companies and businesses through his networks and focusing on what he is good at.

I did this interview with Jonathan as he is one of the rare ethical online coaches that are out there. For more info on his courses see the links below.

The Timestamp of what was discussed is here;

1min 51sec. Discussing the world’s first Online fitness Coaching program, specifically built for trainers and nutrition coaches. Helping and allowing them to delegate their programming and training to them.

4.55. How Covid-19 has forced trainers to recognize the importance of online training. How it has made trainers work out what they need to do to survive. His thoughts on how the pandemic has broken the fitness industry and why this is a good thing.

7.04. Discussing the article he is putting together on how easy it is to fabricate what your ‘coaching’ business is like ‘online’ & how easy it is to ‘fake’ being a successful online trainer. Or any kind of coach.

10.20. As a personal trainer, educating your clients and the general public on how to chose a great trainer.

10.30. How does a personal trainer choose what course to do, when they don’t really know what they need. Key pieces of advice on what to look for.

12.33. Business models for online coaches. Pro’s and Con’s.

14.58. Why gyms are broken and why adding an online training component will revolutionize the fitness business.

16.49. His belief on why algorithms are better at building workout programs than most personal trainers.

19.11. One of the best trainers in the world is Joe Dosdell and he works at the PTDC. Jon lists the famous people Joe has worked with. What he does at the PTDC & how Joe came to came to work with the PTDC.

23.42. The philosophy’s Jon follows when building his business and philosophy in life. Defaulting to trust, too many micro-decisions to make every day. E.g. why he wears only 1 style of t-shirt and how there are too many eggs in the supermarket.

28.09. The first things to outsource in business. How he built his company and why he doesn’t run any of his companies.

29.40. How they teach people the process of figuring out how to delegate, not what to delegate. How to be efficient with your time.

34.36. Example of scaling a business when you think everyone wants to work ONLY with you. Jon talks about ‘the fog’ filter, to help realise if what you think is the actual ‘truth’.

39.11. The TRIAD of online training. The backend of his business and how he has scaled it.

44.00. Why it’s important to develop yourself so you can build a business. Books and courses he recommends.

48 min. Final thoughts and messages for personal trainers.

For all of the details of Jon’s programs and books see the links below;

Get his ‘Free Book’ Offer;

Get your free copy of ‘The Wealthy Fit Pro’s Guide to Online Training’ Paperback Book (Or Audiobook or Ebook) here.

The online trainer academy;

Launched and growing since 2013, the Online Trainer Academy, (OTA) is the world’s first educational course for online training for Fitness and Nutrition Professionals. With no deadlines and lifetime access. Click here to check it out.

Join The founding client challenge

Just starting out training clients online? This will help you land your first few clients. If you’ve been at it for a while with disappointing results, it gives you a quick boost to your diary. Join here.

To ask Kate a Q – email me at

To book a call to see what your business and income potential may be, click me. ( For experienced coaches only)

Or connect with me here:

Transcription of the interview is below.

– Hi everybody, today it gives me enormous pleasure to introduce you to Jonathan Goodman, who is the creator and founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center. And I’m very surprised that some people in my audience in Australia and maybe New Zealand, but Southern Hemisphere, haven’t actually heard of Jonathan because his resources are amazing. He’s been online since 2011, which is when he published his first book, “Ignite the Fire,” the first of 11 books. And he just said in the intro, the first of 11 good books that got published, I won’t tell you about the rest.

– I know there were a couple bad ones in there too. I only count 11 though. I don’t actually know how many there were in total. I stopped counting some of the really, really bad ones. I have like one copy of them and I just embarrassingly, look at them on my shelf sometimes.

– Wait until you hear him speak guys, he’s incredibly articulate, which is what writing as a skill, actually gives us. So the Personal Training Development Center website posts content from other fitness professionals around the world, it’s like a one stop shop for articles and information. I’ve been following Jonathan since about 2011. He’s had business development courses for personal trainers through this site since 2013. And he’s got the Online Trainer Academy, the first-ever online trainer certification. And they’ve got a section for Online Trainer Coaching, right Jon? Where you train the trainers and you’ve got an incredible, experienced lineup of coaches that actually help.

– Yeah, that’s actually relatively new. We just built an online fitness coaching service. As far as I know, it’s the world’s first online fitness coaching service specifically built for trainers and nutrition coaches. Helping them with their own fitness and basically allowing them to delegate their programming and their training to us.

– Ah and I’ll get Jon to expand into the reasons as to why he did this, because he got out of the rat race of the early five or 6:00 a.m. starts because it was unsustainable. But what I’d really like you guys to get out of today is an insight into the way Jon is, as a person and how that’s actually helped him to build his business and his online presence to where it is. Because Jon has mentioned the coaches that I help or that I guess that are following me, are looking at, they think that they might think that they need more clients, but really their marketing’s not hitting right, like we discussed before. Maybe they just don’t actually know properly what the problem is in terms of how to actually get more income. And it’s not to bringing on more clients and starting at more 6:00 a.m.’s. Jon’s originally from Toronto, and spends his winters, usually traveling the world with his wife Alison and son Calvin. And the reason I’ve been following Jon and do recommend his courses and books to trainers, they’re on my website, over the years is because he seems to be one of the rare, honest gems in the online noise that is the coaching world, et cetera, at the moment. Anything else to add to that, Jon?

– I think you did a better job selling me than I sell myself, so no, we’re good.

– It’s always easier for somebody else to do it, isn’t it? So what are the number of coaches that you’ve actually got going through? How would you divide it up? Into courses or website as a resources? At the moment-

– Well I mean we, you know between all the books and courses and everything that we do, I don’t actually know the total number. I should probably know, but I don’t know the total number, but what I can say is we’re closing in on 35,000 trainers that we’ve helped add online training in some capacity, to their business. That’s some of them full-time online training for sure but a lot of them are doing some sort of a hybrid approach. I mean, you know, when gyms are open, some sort of a hybrid approach. And so that’s about 35,000 in 87 countries now that we’ve helped. So we’ve got a pretty wide breadth of experience. We’ve been doing this since 2013. Our original curriculum had over 40 people involved in putting it together. We’ve had independent audits from the senior course developer of Yale University, in addition to massive research projects. And so I feel like we have about as good of an understanding of what to do and how to make it in the online fitness world then just about anybody else out there. And so it’s been fun to watch, I guess global interest in what we do lies with COVID-19. And a lot of trainers that I think kind of ignored it, and ignored change and evolution, even though they knew that they kind of needed it. ‘Cause we all kind of realize, a year or two into the industry, that business model is pretty brutal. Like a lot of things can go wrong. And when you make time directly for money, when you work on your feet, when a little injury can take you out of the game, or when you want to have a family or when you want to travel, like you can’t do that. I think a lot of trainers intuitively knew that they needed something else, whether it was online training or something, and just kind of put it off. One of the really exciting things, if I could say that, it’s weird as it is about these unprecedented times that we’re in, that are terrible for a lot of people. But one of the really exciting things is that it’s broken the fitness industry and I am very hopeful of how the fitness industry is going to rebuild. Because it really wasn’t doing a very good job for anybody involved before. And moving forward, I think it’s going to do a much, much better job for everybody involved.

– Wow, yeah so there has been evolution hasn’t it? It’s been Mother Nature at its best, whether it was by Mother Nature or whatever. Guys you can just hear in Jon’s tone too, sorry to embarrass you, but it’s obviously to get somebody, but to get a university to audit your own course, the standard that you hold yourself to and therefore your company too, and probably really your employees and contractors and everything too. That’s why it’s interesting that everybody’s so interested in you now because it’s because of, I think the standard that you’re holding yourself to, which is good. Which is why there gets to be more people online like you.

– I would hope so, I would hope so. We’re at the stage right now where there’s just a lot of, it’s very difficult as a fitness professional who wants to grow, who wants to evolve to figure out what steps to take, because there’s just, the waters have been muddied, right? Like there’s a lot of options now. There’s a lot of new options. It’s very hard to see behind you know, pull away the curtain and see what’s really there because you can fabricate stuff on the internet really, really easily. I’m actually putting together an article showing how in one week for less than $500 dollars, you can be a successful online trainer and make up everything because really to be a successful online trainer, you need a few good pictures. You need a history of results and then you need like some sort of social proof. And so for $299 dollars I bought a placement in Yahoo Finance, being called one of the best online trainers. My art director on Photoshop in less than five minutes, Photoshopped a photo of me looking way more jacked than I am. And then we went on a stock image website and bought a series of before and after photos.

– I just hope nobody’s listening to this.

– So like, how do you ever know what’s real and what’s not real, right? And in the article I’ll talk about kind of how to see past that and how to understand skin in the game and to understand just how to figure out where to even begin to start your search. And you can do the same thing as a business coach too. Like you can just fabricate everything. And I always just say to people, I’m like, if the first time you’re ever hearing from somebody, is they hit you with an ad to get on a 15 minute phone call, and then they’re trying to hard sell you. It’s like, think about how that feels? Because it probably feels pretty yucky. And is that the way that you want to do business? Because that’s what they’re going to teach you. I don’t know, that’s not the way that I want to do business. I want to make people come to me asking me, how do I buy? Where have you been all my life? I don’t want to be reaching. I don’t want to be just cold, like buy from me, buy from me, buy from, buy from me, buy from me, go, go, go. Now, if you don’t do it now, like put this, collect debt, put this on your credit cards if you can’t afford it. I just don’t, nothing against those people. Like they do what they do. There have been people who have been successful with them, but that’s just not me. I just don’t. I just don’t want to play that game.

– Actually, that yes, it is rife with that at the moment. And this is also, guys this is one of the reasons I follow Jonathan and Like Jonathan, and recommend his stuff. You mentioned something about personal trainers. It’s a really good idea in their business. Well, just like, I’m sure you did in your PT career, as a career, as a coach, we shorten it to PT. I know it means physical therapists over there, but in Australia it’s personal trainer.

– Yeah, it’s funny isn’t it? I see like people in Europe and people in Australia following ads up, Canadians saying, how to be a successful PT. It’s like, you could actually get in a lot of trouble for that over here, because PT is a registered term for physiotherapists. So they can actually get you in a lot of trouble for doing that. But I understand what you mean. We do enough business internationally. I completely, I get ya.

– And in Melbourne it means public transport. So I keep saying, don’t shorten to an acronym. But-

– Ah it’s funny.

– You’ve probably always liked to educate your clients on how to choose a good trainer. That’s got to be part of your market as well. Because I’ve thought that way as well, it’s always up to the client to decide, and they should get educated around that. So in choosing a course to do, how does a personal trainer decide when they don’t really know what it is they need, they might know what they’re lacking. Maybe they’re lacking finances. Maybe they’re, let’s use the example of they’re a few years in, they’re starting to use social media but they’re overwhelmed by the noise. They think they need at least 10,000 followers to make any money.

– Actually, if you don’t have the swipe up link thing on Instagram, there’s no way that you can build a business, right?

– I only learned the other day-

– So you got to have at least 10,000 followers.

– 10,000 yeah. I only learned that the other day too. What is that thing? I don’t even know how to use it. I feel like I’m behind. And I got online in about 2012, when you did. But the time that people got on here is obviously, means nothing. What would be some key pieces of advice to someone who’s actually experienced? And they’ve, let’s presume that they can actually get the results with the clients. Because I think that that’s the most important thing, what we’re worrying about going online.

– Yeah, you’re right, that is one of the most important things that’s often missed, interestingly enough, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation. I think it’s a matter of really understanding where you need to step up. I mean, the reality of it is, any program that you go through, is always going to start with the same basic foundational stuff. It’s going to be figuring out who your target audience is. It’s going to be crafting your message. It’s going to be identifying how you’re going to sell. And then it’s a matter really of just going deeper into those things and then up-leveling those things. And so I believe very strongly that actually hiring a business coach right away is a pretty inefficient and extremely expensive way to do that. Because you actually don’t really know what you want your business model to be yet. The truth is there are a number of different business models for online fitness. And I can tell you each one of them, the pros and cons, I can break down all of them for you. But the fact of the matter is there are pros and cons to each, and some are right for some people and some are not right for other people. And you frankly don’t know that yet. And a coach, anybody who builds any kind of a halfway decent business coaching practice, there’s a very interesting logical fallacy with business coaching, where most business coaches are actually building a really bad business. And so they’re like, because really, I mean, most of them are reasonably young. Most of them have almost no assets for their business. I mean the basic business success is basically like assets and liabilities right? And you want to to maximize assets that work for you, over time and have that build with you. Well, coaching other people, spending your time coaching other people to build their business is actually not a very good use of your time. And rarely are these people really building assets, really building IP that will work for them in any meaningful way moving forward. And so they’re actually building a really, really bad, they’re basically just replacing their personal training with something that they can charge more money for, but building just as brutal for business. And then they’re trying to teach you, which is kind of like this really interesting and logical fallacy there. But even the ones that are doing a really good job, you can’t really build a scalable business practice the same as you can’t build a scalable fitness practice by the way, which we could talk about, if you’re focused on individualizing everything for every single person based off of every person’s individual needs. It is simply too time intensive to do that. It requires too much high level expertise that’s way too hard to hire for at scale. Because if you want to grow your business, then you basically just need more people. And if you’re hiring a lot more people and all of them have to be top level, subject matter experts, it’s going to be really, really hard to find those people. It’s going to be really expensive to train those people. And then you experience a lot of key men or key woman risk where that person will leave. It’s the same scaling your fitness business, by the way. You can’t really scale. The reason why gyms are broken and why online training is going to, adding online component into gyms is going to revolutionize and actually just fix how broken the entire business model is. It’s because gyms were dependent on trainers being skilled previously. And the sad reality of it is most trainers are simply not skilled enough at everything that’s involved in being a good trainer. Like think about to be a really successful trainer you’ve got to be in shape, have charisma, be motivating, be empathetic. You’ve got to be energetic and entrepreneurial, good at marketing, good at sales and good at science and writing programs. Like those are just qualities that don’t exist in a single human being. You know what I’m saying? And so you actually, the reason why most gyms were not high enough quality and why it was a disservice to the clients and why gyms are being hurt so bad by COVID right now is because the entire model that the gyms were predicated on is broken, is flawed, is because these humans don’t exist. And so adding in an online component where you basically say, okay, well, we can’t assume that trainers are going to be good at marketing and subject matter experts and in good shape and motivating and empathetic. But it’s actually not that hard to find people who are good at one or maybe two of those things. And technology and automation is actually better than humans at some of those things as well. I actually believe, and I’m sure that I’m going to be hung for saying this, but I believe that algorithms are actually better at building workout programs than about 98% of personal trainers.

– I’m not going to hang you for saying that.

– Well where a trainer comes in, is a trainer who comes in and can individualize that at the last bit, right? But a trainer should basically never be building workouts from scratch for every client. Like not only is it an inefficient use of your time, you’re probably not good enough yet because really programming is a mastery profession. And I mean, unless you have decades of experience, like you’re probably not as good as an algorithm could build. And it’s inefficient. And if you’ve built, I mean again, to go with a logical argument here. If you’ve built the best program, one time that you could ever build for a client, and then another client who comes in who’s very similar to that client. Which if you actually think about it, most clients are pretty similar. You know, a client wants fat loss, a client wants muscle gain. Like there actually aren’t that many like big differences. So another client comes in who’s pretty similar. If you write an entirely new program for that second client. By definition, that’s the second best program you can write. So why not start with the best program you can write, individualize it for each person. But start with that and then continually improve that best program you can write. And then you can build over time algorithms based off of intakes. This is what we’ve done with our Online Trainer Coaching. We’ve built an algorithm based off of intake forms, based off of a couple of key variables. And then we’ve built a series of 12 week programs for every ramification that gets spit out by that. And then we have a few programming experts who go into all of the programs based off of the intake. And they individualize, based off of just minor things like injuries. I mean, even equipment variability. You can, you can build out with a script, right?

– Yes, what you need at the moment. And I’ve seen some of the people on Jon’s list that work at the Personal Trainer Development Center guys, they’re extremely qualified.

– Oh yeah, I mean, all you need is one. So like a program architect is arguably, I mean, put it this way, if you Google search, “who is the best personal trainer in the world,” his name shows up in the Google search console. And I mean, this is somebody like, I mean, everybody from and Anne Hathaway, Gerard Butler, 50 Cent, Jimmy Fallon to the top runway models, male and female in New York City, the top MMA athletes, NBA All-Stars, NFL All-Stars and then your CEOs. Like all across the board, every certification under the sun, Level 5, Poliquin, all of that. There are not many people like that that exist. And so if this guy, if Joe can write you a template, if you fit into this mold. And an expert can come in and individualize that, just fine tune it a tiny bit at the end. And really like not much, it really doesn’t take much. That program is going to be way better than your every day program by a trainer who probably hacks them out in 15 minutes. I mean, these programs take him 20 hours each.

– Wow. And Jon, may I ask and you can definitely not answer, but-

– Sorry, I should say, 20 hours each, no. It took him 60 hours to make 16. So that’s not 20 hours each, spent last time. I misspoke there.

– That’s okay, ’cause on that list was not that we have to be an accountant as well.

– I know, but I try to make sure in a land of unfounded, embellished claims, I try to make sure that I don’t add to it.

– So it was a slip, so how did you get him working with you?

– Oh well, he’s just one example. Time and good work, right? I mean, this is what makes good programs truly great is you can’t manufacture them overnight. I met Joe in 2010 because I took my flight, he was putting on a seminar actually in programming, at his gym. He owned a 20,000 square foot location in downtown Manhattan in New York. And I was supposed to fly there for that seminar in 2010 and my flight got canceled and I went out the airport and caught an overnight bus to get to New York City at 7:30 in the morning, and showed up at the seminar. And so we got to know each other at that seminar, and that seminar is still to this day, the single best educational experience I’ve ever witnessed. And I’ve put on five conferences myself. And they were better than anything I’ve done. And so I joke with Joe, I’m like how many times did I try to buy the IP to resell from you over the years? Like I probably reached out to him on four different occasions over the last 10 years and tried to buy the IP to resell, he would never sell it. But we just kept in touch every year or two. We just got on the phone and caught up, and 10 years later, we both found ourselves in the place where there was a really good opportunity to work together. Because we’d been building that relationship for 10 years. I mean our editorial director is the same thing. Like Lou, for anybody who knows like fitness editing. He’s been fitness editor or lead editor at muscle and fitness, Men’s Health, T-Nation. Why you would be hard pressed to find somebody more qualified, it’s ’cause I got to know him for five years before we started to work together. I mean, these things don’t happen fast. Nothing worth having happens fast.

– Wow I wish we could actually, obviously we are impressing that, you are impressing that upon the audience that’s listening and online is no different to face to face guys. It’s definitely exaggerated by the relationships that you made. Jon, in building this, has there been any real, I guess philosophies that you follow that help you make decisions faster or easier?

– Well, in building which part? We’ve got a few different businesses now, but you know half of my company.

– Well okay, in just being you and running the whole thing.

– Okay. Yeah, I feel like I’m a pretty open book with it. I believe very strongly that we all need to default to trust. And it’s just an easier, better way to live. I believe that most everybody out there is generally a good person. And occasionally you might be wronged by somebody, but it’s way easier to default to trust. It’s a way better way to live. Because if you always think that you’re going to be wronged by somebody and you always try to go out of your way to avoid it, it’s exhausting. You live a very pessimistic, negative life. Whereas if you default to trust and something bad happens once you’re like, eh probably didn’t mean it. Probably in this communication. You know, we were very good as humans at making up stories in our own head and coming to agreements with other people in our own head that the other person was unaware of. Like if I do a favor for you, Kate, somehow in my head, it’s like, okay, well I did something for you. Now you have to do something for me. But you were never brought into that part of the deal. And I could hold you in contempt for that. And that’s a very common, unconscious thing to do. And so I believe very strongly that choice minimization, I believe very, very strongly. And there’s just too many things I want to do, now that I have a family too, I know you can relate to that Kate. It’s just, I’m pulled in so many different directions, the amount of micro choices that you make in a day? Even what shirt to wear, what eggs, there’s like 12 different types of eggs at the grocery store to choose from, is that not the dumbest thing? Who the hell cares?

– I like for example with the shirt, actually. That was really-

– Oh yeah, I have like, this is the only T-shirt that I own. It’s a V-neck from Unbound Merino. I’m actually sponsored by them now. ‘Cause I talk about them so much that they send me free clothes, but I’ve got eight in black, one in this color, two in gray, two in blue. And it’s like the theory behind it is there are way too many things that probably don’t matter that we have to decide between over the course of a day. And the better job that you do, eliminating decisions from your life that you simply don’t need to make because they don’t have any kind of a meaningful impact on your results. The more energy and creative energy you’re going to have on things that really matter, on decisions that really matter. And so if somebody really cares about fashion, a 100%, man go all in on fashion. But for somebody like me, when I really broke it down and thought about it, I’m like, okay, well my goal in wearing a T-shirt is to be comfortable and feel like I look good. Is a different brand of T-shirt going to impact my desired outcome in any meaningful way? And the answer is no. Okay, cool. So that’s a decision I can remove from my life. And so all of these, like what eggs do you buy at the store? I love using this example just ’cause I think it’s so dumb that there was so many different types of eggs. Do you really need white, brown, free range, not free range, omega-3, not omega-3, six, 12, 24 flat. And every combination of those, like, come on, man. Make it easy for me. Like how many different? Okay. So then you’re just like, we’ll create like a playbook. These are the eggs I buy.

– And then give it to somebody else, actually-

– And then give it to somebody else, but then you have the ability to give it somebody else. So even before you’re ready, if you have that playbook, it becomes much easier to give it to somebody else. For sure.

– That’s true, follow your own instructions. Actually, what do you guys in your courses talk about? Here are some of the first things to outsource. We’ve talked about programs for coaches. And I also want to ask you a little bit more about mindset and self development. Obviously you’re very into that as well, but what was the-

– I don’t necessarily talk about the first things to outsource ’cause I think it’s a very individualized thing.

– Yeah it is, isn’t it?

– What I enjoy doing, what lights me up, what energizes me, and also what I’m really good at, are very different than what you might be really good at. For example, I’m really, really good with coming up with ideas and seeing and breaking down big picture stuff into strategies. And I’m godawful at anything beyond that. And so I’m actually really bad at operating companies and businesses. And so, I mean, I run three, I founded, call it three coaching programs. I don’t have anything to do with any of them because I can’t, I legitimately cannot have anything to do with any of them. Because I’d run them into the ground. I just be terrible at it. And so I built my company at the front, into a publishing company because like what’s a business model where you can go all in on a project, right? Put it out into the world and never think about it again and have it work for you and then go on to the next, and onto the next, and onto the next. And so as I learned more about myself, I do a lot of personality assessments, do a lot of deep work and conversations and stuff like that. I figured out where I need to show up and where I need to get the heck out and let other people work. So we don’t teach people what to delegate first, but we certainly teach how to begin the process of delegating, which is as simple as every time you do anything, write down, take an extra five minutes and write down how to do it in a step one, step two, step three, so that somebody else could do that thing for you. And it actually doesn’t, it takes a long time to try to do it all at once. But if you just answer an email from somebody, you answer like a customer inquiry or a client inquiry, whatever it is. Answer that person, copy and paste that into a document, and we use a wiki. We show people how to create like a wiki in Google docs. But copy and paste that into a document, write the question, rewrite your answer, which would probably be really quick, into a template. Like basically into a canned response. And this process, you know even, we used an example on our podcast, the Online Trainer Show, of one of our co-hosts spent two hours making a Facebook cover image. It’s like, that is a really bad use of your time. But it would be a much better use of your time to sure, do that, and at the same time, write down a list of specs for that same image. Here’s my color palette, here is a checklist of things that need to be included. You know, like headline, picture, call to action, no more than 10% taken up. Here’s the sizing dimensions, boom, right? Because now the next time that that comes up and you want to change your photo, you can delegate it. And so the process is, you don’t just like, we get these questions all the time in our Facebook group, which I know you’re in. There’s like, whatever, 37, 38,000 online trainers. And we get all these questions in that group of like, hey, how are you guys finding your VA? I had a VA and she was terrible and he was terrible. How are you guys finding good ones? It’s like, uh, the problem probably isn’t that your VA was bad. The problem is probably that you did a really bad job telling them how to help you. And you can’t just like hire somebody and be like, go do stuff, you know? It’s actually really, really difficult trying to impart your vision in any capacity to somebody else so that they can then go forth with it. And so if you do that on an ongoing basis, you can hire somebody on for one task, right? Create these Facebook images, help me post my social media, whatever it is. And then maybe they work five hours a week, they start. And then that person moves up to 10 and takes on some more. And then that person moves up to 20 and 30 and eventually becomes full-time, let’s say. And then you start onto the next and onto the next, but like it’s a step-wise progression and it works way better if you have this stuff written out beforehand. And you probably won’t do a very good job writing it out, but at least it’s a starting point. And then part of their job is as they do it to improve upon this documentation.

– Yeah, good idea. Actually I love the way that was broken down and it could just be given out or delegated task by task and you’re right. There’s nothing wrong with the VAs. I haven’t seen that mentioned in your group actually. Interesting though.

– The amount of times that that stuff comes up. In a student’s group too, the amount of times that comes up, “How are you guys hiring coaches?” I got a message today from somebody saying, he was asking me if there were any good software programs that he could license to translate because he doesn’t operate in English. And he said, you know I’ve got 200 clients, but I can’t scale because my coaches that are working with them are forgetting to send them the workouts, forgetting to send them the nutrition plans. And so they’re like canceling and refunding and I can’t scale. Do you know, like I need a software program to do this, that I can translate, do you know of any? I was like, first of all, unfortunately I don’t know any software program in Polish that you can license and translate to that. But even if I had one, I wouldn’t recommend it to you because your system is broken right now. And so if you put in automation into a broken system, you’re going to exponentially make your problems worse. Because now you can’t see where those breaks are. Now you can’t see where those cracks are. And so your problem is that you either don’t have good people or you’re not training your people and monitoring your people well. You don’t have those pieces in place. Your problem is not that you need a piece of software.

– Ah, are there any key things that you would suggest? I don’t know, people research or books or people that they ask in terms of actually defining what my problem is, because this really sounds like it’s a strength of yours, in terms of processes, procedures and looking at the bigger picture and having a look at, oh actually it’s not, this is not how you solve the problem. The problem is over here.

– I think that the best skill and probably the most important skill attribute that we can gain these days is the ability to ask good questions. I think that that, like figuring out what the problem is and end up objectively figuring out what the problem is. Because it opens up a whole new series of solutions. Like Gary Wagner, who’s an Australian guy in Sydney. He’s awesome, is on a level two for our certification. And I hope he’s okay with me sharing this. And I think that he is, but we had a phone call. It was a super interesting phone call that I had with him as part of our, so a level two was like a more intensive coaching program, basically for people who are ready for it. And so he’s well known in his area. He’s got a lot of demand for his services and he’s building an online service and he wants to, and he has a small training studio as well. But he wants to be able to scale the services, but he’s afraid. And his words were something to the tune, paraphrased, of like, “How can I scale my services when everybody’s coming for me? What are the best practices to do that?” And I stopped him and I said, we’re going to put this through what I call the fog filter. Is that what you said is your statement. ‘Cause I’m not even going to answer your question. Because I don’t feel like it’s a good question. I said, I don’t know what the answer is, but is what you said, a fact, an opinion or a guess? Do you factually know that people would not work with your company if they don’t get to speak with you on the phone? Because my guess is that that’s straight up not true. And I say that from experience, because I used to think that about my company. I used to think that I needed to be the one answering them. I used to think that I needed to be the one showing up on phone calls and sending the emails and signing off the emails from me. And you know what? When I stopped doing it, nobody seemed to notice. And that kind of like hurts your ego a bit. I kind of wanted them to notice a bit more, but the truth is you are probably much more self-important in your own head than you are towards other people. One of the greatest, perhaps strengths I think in any self-aware human being is a dissociation from ego. And what I said to him is, you are fabricating a series of constraints based off of a belief that is not a fact. That is limiting your ability to move. I don’t believe that what you said is true. You could prove it to me that it is, but I don’t believe that what you said is true. So let’s play in a different arena here. Let’s pretend that nobody actually really cares about you, but you can sell yourself as the head. Think about what we’re doing with Online Trainer Coaching. Myself, Joe and our project manager who’s Alex, are the three heads of the program. None of us have any communication with any client. It’s not true, Alex has a cohort of 20 clients as a coach, but he won’t for the second one. He just wanted to be on the ground floor of it. None of us have any communication. Joe is the program architect. So it’s his IP, it’s his name and it’s his brand on the thing. It doesn’t mean that he needs to be the one talking to people. And so how are you positioning yourself? And as a result, because of how we’ve built that program and how we’ve leveraged automation. I basically look at online training and saying there’s a triad and you want world-class programming. You want it to be cost efficient by leveraging available technology to be able to eliminate humans where humans don’t need to be. That allows you to maximize humans in offering the support and accountability. Because a lot of trainers are doing a lot of things that they shouldn’t be doing, that technology can do better and it’s taking away from the things that they should be doing. Which is the direction and the support and the accountability. And so what we’ve done with the program is basically said, okay, we’ve done a cost benefit analysis with this triad and we’re maximizing it. And would it actually be optimal if every single client had a new program from scratch? Well if you looked at just one arm of that triangle, the programming arm, possibly you’d have to sell me on it, but maybe. But we would have to charge you thousands and thousands of dollars because of the amount of time that it would take to build those programs. And so when you start to look at cost benefit analysis of all of these, the potential gain in the quality of the program that you’re going to get from making it a 100% personalized, versus the increase in price. It’s a no brainer to have him as the program architect, build these templates and then have two to three people one level below him, who are the programmers who basically work with him to individualize the programmers. And then we have the coaches who work with the clients. Because now we’re pulling out everybody’s 5%, now we’re pulling out everybody’s unique ability. We have this genius mastermind. I swear his brain is like “A Beautiful Mind.” Like it’s just like equations, everywhere, it’s insane of how he put these programs together. And then you have the programmers who are like the science geeks, who are the ones manipulating the programs for each individual. And then you have the coaches who are empathetic coaches. And then you have us behind the scenes marketing and selling the program. All of us are doing what we’re good at and not what we’re not good at. That’s how you build a scalable program because now we can bring in 50 coaches tomorrow. Because we just need coaches who are empathetic and understand coaching. I get new for you, there’s a lot of those people, there’s a lot of people who are not very good at business and not very good at programming, but deeply care and are great humans and great coaches in the fitness industry. They’re pretty easy to find. And we’ve got a program where we can slot them in like that.

– That’s an amazing model. And you just gave us the backend of what your business looks like and how you’ve scaled it and why you’ve scaled that way. And it just sounds so simple and easy. And I might just do it next week.

– Well but I mean, we did same thing with the Online Trainer Academy, right?

– Yeah.

– The Online Trainer Academy is a course that has a coaching component to it. And it’s the exact same way. And this is why I think, this is why going back to like what we’re talking about business coaches. If you actually look at their business, it’s actually a bad business because it’s not scalable. A lot of them have a lot of trouble growing. They can’t take on a lot of customers. That’s a pretty serious problem for a business. Like that’s not a business model that you want to build, right? As the creator of what you’re building, your job is to provide the IP and the structure around what you’re doing. You can’t depend on subject matter experts to coach your program. You might find like for a level two, I teamed up with Jason Maxwell, who’s unbelievable and world class, and gave him a piece of the pie, right? So he’s bought into it. So you might want like one or two very key people at the top of it to run that arm the thing. But the majority of the folks working with you, there’s no way that you could expect them to be anywhere close to as good as you in what you’re doing. And so you’ve got to pull out all of that secret sauce. Build that into your IP, build that into your structure, use tech to be able to deliver that. And then you can bring in the people to do what humans do best, which is connect with other people.

– Amazing, so it sounds like obviously you’ve done a lot of research on yourself. You said you’ve done a lot of personality assessments. You can tell just because you’re a trusting, empathetic human as well that-

– I’m not, I had to teach myself.

– Sorry.

– It’s a joke, I had to legitimately like, getting the textbook understanding of it ’cause I just don’t get it naturally.

– What takes, I don’t get empathy either. I had to do it. What are you releasing-

– Got some good books on it.

– Yep, I’ll be seeing that one. What other books or courses or any self development things that you could recommend to other human beings? They don’t necessarily have to be the beginning or the end phase of their business, but just to be a good human being.

– I really think personality assessments are very, I mean, then all of them are fine. Like that there’s a whole bunch of them. If you look up, like, I won’t even give you any names, just Google, best personality assessments, pick one. I’m not the first one to say this, but know thyself before you try to know others. I mean, getting to know who you are and what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and what lights you up and what doesn’t and what quite frankly, you’re terrible at. I don’t know if there’s anything more important than that. And I don’t know if you can really build anything because at the end of the day, if you’re going to be the founder of something, if you’re going to be the business owner, the creator, whatever you want to, whatever fancy name that 20th century entrepreneurial leaders like to give to that. If you’re going to be that person, you have to build it on a stable structure and you’re going to be the stable structure. Like the buck is going to stop with you. When stuff can’t get figured out, you are the one who’s going to have to make that decision. And you need to know what decisions you can make responsibly and what you can’t.

– So what help to get.

– And so personality assessments are great. I think “Principles” by Ray Dalio, that book is one of the most important books that’s been written in a very, very long time. And that just understanding believability particularly and objective decision making. And when to ask, like if you ask somebody’s opinion, they’re going to give it to you. Even if they have absolutely no prior knowledge or expertise in that thing, how do you weight that? How do you ask, who do you ask? Who do you involve in a decision? Who do you not? How do you recognize when, I mean on our team, we have a principal where if we don’t have relevant expertise in a thing, we go out and find somebody. If it’s important enough for us to do, we go out and find and hire somebody with that expertise to consult with us. But you got to know what you’re good at first. You got to know what you have, and it won’t be a lot at the beginning. And then as you build your team, you could start to kind of meet those, right?

– So I’m conscious of letting you go for a time. Are there any places? I mean, I will obviously put all the links where Jonathan can be contacted, wherever you’re watching this recording. And any other final messages that you’d like to, I guess, impart to personal trainers that are actually trying to grow their business online, especially these days during Corona?

– Yeah, I mean, keep at it. Keep your head up, you guys are ahead of the curve. You guys and gals are ahead of the curve. It seems really hard now, I don’t know about you, but it seems like every week has been about three months for the last while. And it’s just dragging on and on and on and on and on. But at the end of the day, I deeply believe that things will be better than they were. There were a lot of people in the industry that were just kind of gliding by and things weren’t very good. But they weren’t quite bad enough to do something about. And COVID-19 made it bad enough that now the choice is to do something about it or decide that a career in fitness as a personal trainer isn’t right for you. And to be honest, I think both of those are positive. The worst thing to do is to glide by and things aren’t that good. And there’s also this misconception that you have to be a personal trainer if you work in the fitness industry. There were a lot, I mean there was a need for every single profession inside the fitness industry. Maybe you fit better there, like this is a very good time to figure that out. And I’m really, really optimistic about what’s going to come out of this at the end. There’s been a lot of abuse of the most selfless, passionate people in the world, which are personal trainers for the last decade and it’s not okay. And it’s going to be better.

– It is actually, I’m optimistic as well. We’ll have to thank you for your time, Jon, and I’ll make sure all your links to all your books and the resources are near this recording. Guys, if you have any questions, I guess his contact details will be there as well. He always answers his messages.

– Somehow.

– Thank you, so much for being on today. I’ve had so many light bulb moments as well, and just the way you paraphrase things is even giving me goosebumps on a couple of concepts.

– Ooh, thanks for having me then. I’m excited to get to know more Australians and Kiwis.

– We’ll definitely make sure, actually well, you said you’ve been to Melbourne. Maybe you can come back one day when we’re allowed to import people into this state.

– One day I’d love to, yeah. I mean, we’ll sign off with this. I studied at Vic Uni for five months, in university I did a student exchange, so I lived in Melbourne for five months. And I know Footscray very, very well. I know St Kilda very, very well. And I know the Crown Casino poker tables very, very well. And made my way just up to Sydney, ’cause I was poor. I only made enough playing poker to make my way up to Sydney, I didn’t get any more North than that. But also had an amazing 20 days drive in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. And I closed my eyes and still dream about that part of the world, so I will be back. I don’t know when, but I’ll be back.

– Amazing, well thank you again so much for your time and I’m not going to say goodbye and I’ll speak to you soon.

– Awesome, thanks.

To book a call to see what your business and income potential may be, click me. ( For experienced coaches only)

To book a call to see what your business and income potential may be, click me. ( For experienced coaches only)