The Bledsoe Show

Building Your Own Coaching Business with Mike Salemi

Building Your Own Coaching Business with Mike Salemi

We've got Mike Salemi coming on today. He is in the Strong Coach Mastermind and he drops some really great knowledge about his journey, which is going to be very helpful for you as a coach and building your own coaching business.

We get into Enlifted as well, so the way this works is when people join The Strong Coach Mastermind, they also go into the Enlifted certification and that's something we offer by itself as well and it's really digging into the mental side of things and we get into mental resilience and how to help clients and set really great goals and really become a coach that stands apart by how we show up for our clients. Enjoy!

Table Of Contents

Spartan World Championship Experience

Spartan Race is an experience everyone should live at least once in his life.
Photographer: Marc Rafanell López | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: We're hanging out here at the Spartan World Championships in Tahoe in the lobby. We got kicked out of a couple of different spots and Ben Greenfield and Hunter McIntyre hanging out in the lobby just now. If you don't know who those guys are, they're both, they were obstacle course racing pros at one point and they're both extreme characters and not like me and Mike. Mike and Mike were fucking normal. Those guys are weird as fuck. So there's a lot of characters that Spartan. Would you say?

Mike Salemi: Yeah. 100%.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, have you had fun? Because it's Sunday night. It started on when do you get in?

Mike Salemi: So I got in on Thursday.

Mike Bledsoe: Got in Thursday. It's now Sunday night. What's been your experience of Spartan so far?

Mike Salemi: So I've had a great time. It's interesting. The people who it attracts are like really, really just real people. Good people down to have a good time down to crush it on the course. And then after coming back podcast, go grab some food. Just good people. I've had a great time so far.

Mike Blesoe: Yeah. Yeah, it was fun. You didn't run it though?

Mike Salemi: No I did not.

Mike Blesoe: No you didn't.

Mike Salemi: I say that with a very low voice. Partially ashamed.

Mike Salemi: Well, you said something really interesting and I asked you how you're feeling today. How's your body feeling this morning? You're like, "I feel fine. I feel fine. I take care of my body." Which is like I always say if you move well, you take care of yourself. You'd be amazed at what you can achieve, what you can accomplish and not feel nearly as broken down as if you were just grinding yourself with a sledgehammer.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, it's my approach on the trail. A couple of years ago, I had this huge shift and my approach to pain or my perception of pain and I got to be really fully accepting of it and so it gave me access to better breath when I'm in pain. And so I used to avoid the feeling of pain. I would feel the pain and I would try to put my mind somewhere else. Now I can breathe into it and just be with it. When I'm able to do that, I'm actually, the suffering is diminished tremendously and I find my recovery is fast and easy,

Mike Salemi: which is almost counterintuitive if someone were to hear that, you know what I'm saying?

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, people spend their entire lives avoiding feeling certain things. I don't want to feel sad. I don't want to feel whatever rejected or I don't want to feel my knee hurting or whatever. All these things. I think there's a lot of magic and going deep down into the cave and that's why I can do a Spartan race and walk out and be fine. Yeah, there's magic there. There's magic there for sure. Perceived magic. So you've had fun. It's been good. You started a podcast.

Mike Salemi: Yeah. I guess there's now, there's really no way around it. I have…

Mike Blesoe: No way around it.

The Value Of Creating Space

Autumn road
Photographer: Patrick Tomasso | Source: Unsplash

Mike Blesoe: Yeah. All right. Setting a little bit of context. We're going to talk about building coaching business today, and I want to dig in to what you've done up to this point and the lessons you've learned, but I want to start with what we're talking about beginning of the show, which is space, which space created an opportunity for podcast. Yeah. Talk about this thing of space that you're exploring right now.

Mike Salemi: So I am diving headfirst with… That's kind of my MO, like when I want to learn a skill, when I want to learn a tool, when I want to learn anything, a new modality, I go 100% all-in. And so it became very apparent to me in my business and also in my life that as mindful as I try and be around what I'm doing and I was not allowing myself authentic space in my schedule to just allow whatever it is to come through and to happen.

And so right now I'm really being diligent about scheduling in space. So for example, how that's shown up recently is I was just two weeks teaching in Europe. So I taught a week in Italy and then a week in England. And I've never done this before because normally I'm just trying to maximize and grind and get as many appointments as possible, network as much as possible, getting on as many podcasts as possible and that's awesome.

But what it left me feeling was almost like in the trip before this last one, I did a two week stint in Southern California and noticed I was getting sick at the end of the trip and I rarely ever get sick. I almost pride myself on taking care of myself well enough to, that usually not happening. And that was a wake up call to me and I was like, not again.

If I get sick it's going to happen, not because I'm overworking or this sort of thing. I just don't want that to happen. So I said the next time, which was the next trip was a week from then two weeks in Europe. I was like in the middle of those two trips, I'm going to schedule three days of scheduled vacation. And the space has been so helpful, not only just from a health perspective, but every single time that I've had that type of space.

It's allowed me to step back and look at my business, look at my life, whatever it is from this birds eye perspective and truly analyze what is working well and what is not working well. And what I found out was the certain aspects of my business that I was not very happy with, those became very apparent. And so I'm grateful for that. So now it's about being more diligent with creating space. And for example, this whole month I won't be doing, even in October, I'm sorry too coaching.

I'll be doing two weeks of combo training, taking a week of vacation in Kauai. So now every three months my goal is one full week of vacation and then once a month and taking three days away from home, like coming to Tahoe for three days, whatever it is, but once a month, three complete days fully off. And that's in the calendar now.

Easy decision, hard to get into

Mike Blesoe: So did you have a hard time creating this space? Was this this one of those things where there was a part of you who was like, "Fuck this, we got to grind."

Mike Salemi: Normally it would have been, but getting sick was, I was so mad about that. I just, I had so much anger around that and just like, what the fuck are you doing Mike? It's very important for me to live my message. What I teach, what I share, if I'm not living from that authentic place and sharing that message, I just feel knots inside my gut. And so when that happened, was it hard? Yes, it was hard, but it was so clear the decision that needed to be made and it was just like execute, go, let's do it.

So I want to say it was hard to get to that place, but it was an easy decision to make because it was just so apparent that the direction I need o go… And one of the things that I've noticed too is a lot of it for me is just working through, I know that I will go far in business. My passion is so, runs so deep to help others and support others and to continually work on myself. And I also know that like anyone, we all have fears and self limiting beliefs. And one of the things that I've noticed is with that space that's been allowing me to work on myself in between the craziness and the hecticness so that I can continually move forward and build my business in the way that I want to, which is sustainable.

How Mike Got Into The Coaching Business

Me and my film crew were setting up for a basic interview. Before the interviewee sat down for the camera, the interviewer went over some questions with him. They proceeded to bounce ideas off of each other and had an energetic brainstorm.
Photographer: Nik MacMillan | Source: UnsplashPhotographer: Sergio Pedemonte | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. I was wanting to ask if it was hard for you, because I talk to a lot of coaches and I asked them, can you take a few days off or come to the summit that we did a couple months ago? And they're like, "I can't take three days off." I'm like, "Oh shit." That's a problem. It's a big problem. So let's rewind. How did you get into the training business? Into the coaching business?

Mike Salemi: So I would say I was a coach and a trainer since I was 15. Coaching members on my power lifting team. And then of course when I turned 18 I got my personal training cert from NASM. So I've been officially earning money as a trainer since I was 18. So 14 ish years, 14 plus years.

And that's evolved a lot over the years because for most of, aside from three years, ago I was in a different business. So I was still always training on the side, but I was also in a family business which is in the marble and granite industry. And I was doing mainly marketing for that type of industry, which is interesting because a lot of what I learned in that industry, I probably would not have liked to admit it until now, but it served me really, really well in the areas that I'm very strong in business right now.

When you look at that industry like the marble and granite, specifically fabrication industry, so think like a granite countertops, you're in your kitchen. My family manufacturers and sells the tools to polish, grind, take a raw slab and then put it in someone's kitchen. Right. Doing the edge detail. And that industry, pretty old school. Man, 90 plus percent of the orders that would come in either came by phone or fax. Rare, if ever, was there an email, social, like Instagram, and we're talking up to three years ago I was in the business and it was just old school.

And so a lot of the way business was done was through one-on-one handshake, face to face, eye contact. And that's really that business. And again, I wouldn't have realized it till now. It served me so well because I'm building my social media, I'm trying to, I'm learning, I'm understanding strategies around that. I'm in the Strong Coach, I'm in the mastermind group, so I am understanding strategies and tactics and how to do that. But where I feel I am strongest is when I'm actually in front of someone and can connect and feel their energy and develop the relationship based on that. So, I've been a coach for that long, but it's really been only in the last three years that it's been 100% all in. When I was in that business, it was like part time, nights and weekends and such.

Mike Blesoe: I'm the same way and that I do well in person, put me in a room with people, crush. Just, and it feels good and it's fun and it's energizing. And I transitioned to doing a lot of things online back in 2012 and going into more of the marketing strategies and tactics to extract that. The magic that happens from being in with people, it's a challenge. The challenge, because you're not getting that instant feedback. The feedback loop is different. It's spaced out. It's only through words. You're not actually getting the energy, but you can just, you're not getting all the visual cues or the energetic cues that you would get normally. It's a much more cerebral game in my experience. Yeah.

Mike Salemi: You get that dopamine hit when someone likes your Instagram.

Mike Blesoe: Oh shit.

Mike Salemi: And then, and then you're depressed after, but you meet someone in person, you're left with a lasting impression of that person. You're left with a lot, lot more, a lot more context. And it's just a, for me it's, that's my preferred way of doing business and there's pluses and minuses to that. But that's really been kind of my foundation that I see where I really enjoy right now.

From Family Business To Going Solo

Grouse Vista Trailhead
Photographer: Tim Bogdanov | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. So what was the transition like leaving the family business to going all in on your own? Right. A lot of coaches are waiting for that moment.

Mike Salemi: Yeah. So the transition was, well from the family dynamic, there was a lot of challenges around that. But my family is amazing. Amazing. My dad built the company from nothing. I think we're almost in 26 years in the business. And from a family dynamic portion it was quite challenging. When you're working with family, I mean every single day, my brother's my best friend, he was just a glass partition away from me. We trained together, we worked together.

That was really hard. And the whole family dynamic shifted beyond that. Imagine eating lunch almost every day with your father, your mother dinners, business talks after. And so there was a lot of challenges around that personally. Now the decision kind of like creating space. So when we started you said was it hard to create space? That was a very challenging decision for me to leave. What was familiar, what was safe, what was secure. I earned a really good money.

It funded a lot of the coaches that I worked with and a lot of the great things that I'm doing now, but at the same time I was so unhappy in that business and there's nothing wrong with that business, but it was just not my calling. And so it just got to the point that I originally planned on being there for two years, then it turned into three, then four, then five and six then it got to eight.

And I hit 30 and for me, 30 was a really memorable age for me. I always told myself when I hit 30, I really want to be doing my life's calling and my life's purpose. And essentially it just got to the point that I was like, I'm 30 now. If I'm looking at my life in one year from now, I'm in the exact same position.

Mike Salemi: What is going to happen? And I journaled this out and I literally wrote sick. I'm going to get physically sick. I will manifest a disease and illness because there were too many nights that I was crying at night. It's just like, again, I was sitting in from the computer a lot of the time in a desk and an office. And I'm just like, dude, I was meant to just be out there and share and connect and talk with trainers and just do what I love doing. So it was a very challenging decision, but it was also a very easy decision to make. And so-

Mike Bledsoe: It was obvious.

Mike Salemi: It was obvious. It was obvious in the sense I was like done.

Mike Bledsoe: It becomes obvious and then go, okay, courage to have the conversations. Right?

Failed business partnership

Mike Salemi: Yeah. And so it was just like talking to my family like I'm done. I can't do this anymore. And I love my family. I love what it's provided for me, that business. But it's time for me to go. And so the first year of transitioning, there was a lot of challenges. I would almost say like the first year was like a wash. I had a failed partnership the first year, I kind of jumped into a business partnership relationship way too early. I was so excited to be finally doing this thing when and going all in that I was just like, I actually left Northern California, which is where home is for me, and I went to San Diego. And for me it was like, I feel like-

San Diego and for me it was like, I feel like sometimes when you, I don't want to say run away, but when you run away, like there's a healthy running away as well, like I needed to create physical space from the environment that I was in, the people I was around to allow myself to heal and create space for something new.

Mike Blesoe: Yeah, it's not running away. It all comes down to your intention. I take space all the time. I basically left San Diego five weeks ago and have been bouncing around, but the intention is to explore.

Mike Salemi: Yeah.

Mike Bledsoe: Not like I've got to avoid these people.

Mike Salemi: For me there was definite avoidance as well. There was definitely, yeah. Triggers, right? It was such a hard decision for me to make or to leave that I needed it or I felt I needed it and looking back I wouldn't have changed it.

Mike Bledsoe: So in the first year you had a failed partnership?

Mike Salemi: Yeah.

Mike Blesoe: Tell me more.

Mike Salemi: So no a lot of everything's rosy, everything's all this plans of what we're going to create. We're going to create an online membership site and it's going to do this, it's going to do this. This is who we're going to serve. But no partnership agreement, no nothing written up front.

It was just an assumption of this is how things were going to be. It was going to be 50/50 all this stuff. So like little to no talk on the business side and I take responsibility for that and just trying to hop in because I was just wanting to do something in this industry. And looking back and that just didn't work out. And it was the best thing that happened for the both of us. So really the first year, so I was like in San Diego, pretty much staying with friends, sleeping on floors, just living a very, very minimal, minimal life.

Mike Blesoe: You were a Spartan.

Being a Spartan In Life

Endless
Photographer: Zoltan Tasi | Source: Unsplash

Mike Salemi: I was a Spartan. Just not racing. I was lifting kettlebells and swinging bags and at that time that's where I thought my future was going to be, but it didn't work out. And so that was a challenging time. But I just knew that whatever's meant to happen will happen. And so I actually spent a year. More. Nine months to a year trying to energize that project, didn't in the end work, so I went back home because funds were really low and I was like, "Okay, I'm going to go back home.

That's where family is, that's where my home is and I'm going to see what I can do." And looking back, a lot of it just had to do with lack of clarity, lack of direction, even projections of my own BS into that relationship that I took from just being partially jaded from the last business I was in. Yeah

Mike Blesoe: So what did you do after that? Business partnership ended, did you roll right into something new or? You're laughing, this is good.

Mike Salemi: I did. I did. I did. I did. It was very soon after. That's when I decided that I was going to create something more or less on my own. I did have a partner in that thing, which was my videographer and media guy, but it was a different partnership. He was mainly responsible for producing the content and it was of my kettlebell program that's out now. And so I got back, maybe took a few weeks and realized I wanted to monetize and really share the knowledge that I had amassed in 15 plus years in kettlebells.

And so we started that relationship with a very rough agreement, but there was discussions on what things were going to look like, but at the same time, still not maybe as much structure as I'd like to have now or what looking back. And I went into that and spent 13 months creating that program.

And so I put my whole heart and soul in that program. It was one of those things where I had an idea of what I wanted, but at the same time it was my first online program. So I was also creating as I went. And being the perfectionist type that I am, it was never good enough, ever good enough. So we actually shot… There's over 400 almost I think 400 plus videos in that program. You've seen the program and it's a super deep program. We reshot the videos three times because I never thought they were good enough.

Mike Blesoe: It was like… saw everything that was in there. Actually I didn't see everything. I saw enough to go, "What the fuck, dude? There's so much in here."

Mike Salemi: There's so much in here. Oh God.

Mike Bledsoe: I've made this multiple times putting way too much in a program. I don't know if it's a mistake but if someone buys it and will consume it, you're getting a fucking deal, a steal and most people need to be spoonfed like little baby birds.

Mike Salemi: 10 minutes a day, five minutes a day.

Mike Bledsoe: That's right.

Mike Salemi: It's true though. Like I say that jokingly, but my next program is going to be much smaller but it's like, I don't even want to call it a program or a course because it's really like legitimately the most comprehensive resource online.

Mike Bledsoe: It's a resource.

Mike Salemi: It's really, I mean it could be taken as a course but it walks you through everything. It's a whole thought process from literally there's more information in that and structured in a methodical manner that at least two full blown certifications.

Mike Bledsoe: Oh, there are progressions in there and…

Mike Salemi: Assessments.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah.

Mike Salemi: Working in, balancing, working in and working out, like there's, yeah.

Mike Bledsoe: If you want to be good at kettlebells, There you go.

Mike Salemi: Yeah.

Mike Bledsoe: I plug it real quick. We're just going to move on on business. But if people are listening to this because there's coaches listening to this and they want to get better kettlebells, where do they get that?

Mike Salemi: Yeah, go to programs.mikesalemi.io. You'll see the landing page and everything that's in there. It's a fantastic resource for sure.

Structuring Business Agreements

Handshake
Photographer: Chris Liverani | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: Right. What have you learned about structuring or business agreement, business partnerships? Where are you at now in that?

Mike Salemi: Okay, so two things come up. One, they're very necessary and-

Mike Bledsoe: It's good to have things in black and white.

Mike Salemi: It's very good. Writing anything down as me and you were just joking before on any level is very good. It puts a lot more like concreteness to like spoken word, right? And it just gives boundaries to things as well.

Mike Bledsoe: One thing that I learned in structuring agreements over the years is just, someone said this to me at one point is people remember the past differently. And I heard that inside the context of someone getting mad about someone not holding up a handshake agreement. And a lot of people are like, "Oh, I like to do handshake agreements." I'm like, "Great." And we will shake hands.

Mike Salemi: Big word, and.

Mike Blesoe: And let's put this shit in black and white because people remember things differently. Like memory, it's an interesting thing because it's, well it can move, it can move, it can change. I've watched it.

Mike Salemi: If feel like memory is also tied to a lot of emotion as well

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. So you like to write things down.

Mike Salemi: So they're very necessary. And it's also not my strong suit. So getting help, like knowing where I'm very strong right now, not saying that I want to continue to learn about that side but I need help on that side. And so one of the first things, like I'm in the mastermind group as I mentioned earlier, like I talked to Val about looking at this partnership agreement as well as a future one that might take place and just saying like, "Can you please look at this? Can you give advice? Can you," and she's like, "Absolutely," that's one of the things that she's one of her strengths. Like, wow I have perfect access to someone there.

And it's like that's exactly what I need right now. So those two things. Knowing where I'm strong, where I'm weak and that they are very necessary and then also just reaching out. It might sound minimal, but also just having the courage to know that and then ask for help because I think that's also very, very hard to do because there's a pride component to that as well.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, I never took agreements too seriously and I was like, "leave it up to the lawyers and business partners and all this stuff," and I had a deal go pretty fucking sideways a while back. And I was forced to learn about agreements because if you don't learn about them beforehand and the deal goes really bad on the backend, you're going to have to go back to that original agreement you had and see what, there's an exploration and a discovery phase of, okay, what did we agree to and what happened and who's at fault for, it's a legal thing.

And there was about a six week period where I became an expert in contracts and agreements and I did not want to be an expert in those things, but at the end I go, "I now know this front to back." If someone sends me up 37 page contract, I am going to clear my schedule and I'm going to read every fucking line.

There's no way I would've done that five years ago. Five years ago, I'd be like, "I'm going to hand it to my lawyer. Hey, let me know if there's anything that stands out to you." No way. Yeah, that's one of those things that it's so, so important. And creating agreements is not my strong suit either. So having someone you trust, you can lean on Val as well, so that's always really, really good.

Giving yourself a deadline

Mike Bledsoe: So where are you at now? So you went into another partnership, you created this huge resource for kettlebells.

Mike Salemi: I'd love to take a little step back on that too because I learned a lot from that program in the sense of if I were to do it again and if I could share any advice, it's to get something out, and get data, and then work off of that data. So if I could do it, I mean, again, I learned a lot, I wouldn't change things, but if I could give myself advice at that time when I would have started, I would have said, "Give yourself a deadline. Give yourself three months creation, whatever it is, whatever you do, I know what I'll put out will be my heart and I'll get something great out there.

Give a reasonable deadline, two to three months, whatever it is to produce, shoot, do all this stuff you need to do, get it out, get data and then with the data, then make adjustments." Because especially with an online program or an online resource and ebook, whatever it is, the beauty about online is it can be a living product and I never wanted to accept that or understood that or whatever it was. So I could just reshoot at a later date and also have funds coming in so that I could do that as opposed to scraping by for so long.

So I would have given myself that time period. Executed, data, adjust, tweak, keep moving forward. Because now that's where I'm at right now and the program released almost six, seven months ago. So right now is when I'm just starting to get the data in. I've starting to create these things so you're looking at almost like a two year process and it's like it could have been done in a different way that I could have even made a better product and also had some funds coming in.

And so I would just say get something out there that's reasonable within your timeline and just know just like anything else, just like your kettlebell snatch that of halls from the first time you grabbed a kettlebell to now a year in the works to two years in the works or when you started CrossFit. It's like all of this stuff is an evolution. You just put your very best foot forward and get something that you're reasonably content with that you can put your name on and keep going.

The Power Of Beta Groups

Like I said before I LOVE taking photos during church!
Photographer: Nicole Honeywill / Sincerely Media | Source: Unsplash

Mike Blesoe: This is why I love beta groups. You run a beta group and come up with, for me, it's two weeks of content, two weeks of curriculum, coaching, whatever it is, and then be in very… I launched the Strong Coach is I was on the phone with each participant each week and I was coaching them and each coaching session was an opportunity for me to collect market data and going, what do they need to know next?

What are the things that is on their mind? So okay, this is how I can generate better marketing and what am I going to teach them next? What's the next step for them in the progression? Oh, okay, well now we understand this, so now that we have a grasp on this, I'm talking to them. I go, oh, I can see the next step for them is going to be this one so that I create the curriculum as I go.

Mike Salemi: Would you recommend that to someone starting off to do something like that or is that because you've got quite a bit of experience in that?

Mike Bledsoe: So yeah, and I was about to get… Yeah, I've been in the field long enough. I trust myself to know the information. I know I can get somebody from zero to six-figure coaching business. And even a seven I know that I can do that because I've done that and I've also coached people that have gotten there. So I have that trust in myself. So, someone who's a trainer, they may have gotten people if they want to go online, they may have gotten people somewhere in person, but when you go online it's a whole nother game. And so just trust where you've gone yourself. If you've been able to take yourself somewhere, then you can take someone else there. Or if you've taken someone in person, then you can do it online.

You're going to have to get creative. One of my business partners for Training Camp for the Soul, Anat Peri, when we do our in-person immersions for six days and I said, "Well you got to do an online version." And she goes, "I can't take this online." I was like, "Yes, you can." And we had the conversation for months and then she finally did it and it was good, like shaped it over time and is good. It'll never replace what happens in person, but there's a lot of people who aren't ever going to come and do the in-person immersion. They can do it online.

Now, it wasn't one of those things where it was easy for it to happen, but there's a whole learning process all over again. Coaching people online is, that's a whole nother thing. So most people don't give themselves enough credit for what they know and it's kind of hard to tell at times because some coaches, I'm like, "You just need more fucking experience."

I got a lot of coaches. If you've been coaching under two or three years, the right answer is to charge the right amount for you to get a lot of clients, right? Coach as many people as you can, get those reps, the best coaches I know like yourself, you were coaching when you were 15. You've got the reps in, it's all about reps. How many reps have you got in as a coach? But if you've been coaching five-plus years and you want to go online, you've got enough. You've got enough to where you could do something to help people. You may not be doing a certification but you may be helping people lose weight or something.

So it's always variable from person to person, but I'm a big fan of selling it and then building it along the way. And then come back and refine it like you said, because you could have had cash flow way sooner.

Mike Salemi: Yeah.

Mike Bledsoe: Way sooner.

Desperation vs Inspiration

Mike Salemi: And that made things honestly a lot more stressful. And what I found was too, it's like the creation process. I mean there's one thing you can definitely create things when you're under pressure, but it's just not… When you're in sympathetic dominant mode, when you're in survival mode, it's just not the best creative explorative place. And that would've been really nice to have some more cash flow and to be feel more relaxed and not just be so concerned with every dollar that I was spending and coming in, it's like it would have been nice to go out to dinner. It would have been nice to do some of that stuff. And yeah.

Mike Bledsoe: I call it desperation versus inspiration. If you're worried about money when you're creating something, it's coming from desperation.

Mike Salemi: Right.

Mike Bledsoe: If oh, I got to like hustle this month and make it shit work, that's desperation. And I love coming from inspiration. That's when like the coolest shit happens. That's one of the most fun. Shit man, we got to have fun. It's the most fun, and then the end product is always amazing. It blows my own mind. I'm like, "Ah, inspiration was so cool."

I've heard different people have different perspectives on it. It's like go get a job where you're making enough money to live and then while you're creating something, start small. My own personal experience has been dive head in and let bank accounts run completely dry and just meditate on how the money my bank doesn't impact my personal perception of my value, which that's like a pro move.

Mike Salemi: Well that's actually an interesting thing you said because it's honestly up until this point, something that I'd been working on on myself that not attaching self-worth to program sales.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah.

Mike Salemi: Right? Because my life is in that. So much of every success, every failure I've ever had, that's why I put so much into it. And it's like if people don't buy it right now for whatever the reason, the marketing's not there, I've gone through the psychological just beat down that I'm a failure as a person, I suck as a coach and that can be really, really challenging.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. There's this thing about making ourselves wrong when something's not working, instead of just recognizing that it's not working. It's like, it's not working because maybe there's the button should be red instead of blue. You know? It's nothing about you. Why are you taking this so personally?

Mike Salemi: Yeah.

Meeting The Customer

together now
Photographer: John Schnobrich | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: And I think that when people learn enough about marketing, I know, and I've learned I think that when people learn enough about marketing, I know and I've learned so much about marketing at this point where I go, I can't take it personally. I'm going, okay, the product is good. The people that are exposed to the product are getting results and that's good enough for me. Now, if sales aren't going the way they're going, it's like, man, like where are we not meeting the customer?

I'm not engaging with them in their conversation. I'm going, okay, I'm obviously having a different conversation and than my customer is having. What are the words inside my customer's head? If I can find the words in my customer's head, easy to sell them. Because I'm meeting them where they're at and so beating myself up because I don't know what potential customers are thinking, it's kind of silly. That's where I'm at now. Do you still struggle with that?

Mike Salemi: I would honestly say until creating more and more space. It's been something that I've been working on for a while and in this moment I feel like I've come a long way in that respect and just recognizing my own conditioning and my own, these reoccurring patterns where now I'm just like, no, that's not true. And I think, you know what's really helped that brother has been, and I'll give you credit for this, this is a device you shared with me, was to actually call my current customers and set up a 30 minute call, understand their pain points, talk to them. And so I've already done I think like seven calls in the last two weeks. And my goal was 10 calls every two weeks.

And it's been incredible. And I'm just like hearing these guys' stories, what they're doing with the program, how much they're transformed. I'm like, fuck, this thing is really good. Like wow. Wow. And it's just like, chill the fuck out, Mike. And so it's been super helpful for me. And so that's honestly been so since we had that conversation, I've been running them now for almost threeish weeks and I saw that combined with space to actually get a different perspective and just some air around and take my head from looking from the ground up, picking it up. I've seen that the biggest shifts happen then.

Mike's Experience Doing The Enlifted Program

Mike Bledsoe: You don't have the tell us your Billy's story. I want to hear your … we're taking everybody through the Mastermind right now through the Enlifted course. So it was like if you're doing the Mastermind you get the Enlifted certification as well and we're doing some new stuff around it. What's been your experience of doing the Enlifted program and Billy story and all that shit?

Mike Salemi: So this component of where we're at right now, so we're doing for maybe those who aren't familiar the first portion of this Mastermind group we are doing Enlifted coaching, which is looking at your stories, your language, self limiting beliefs. And working through those as we do some business stuff. And then as we transition out we're going to head more into pure business.

But without the conversations we're having now, and I know this because this is like personal growth and self development and that is something that brings me so much nourishment and understanding where I'm … so I can call myself my own bullshit. So I love that. That's actually one big thing that attracted me to working with you and being in this program. So the Billy story's essentially this, at least in my experience of it, the story that we tell ourselves that is the voice in the back of your head.

For me it's that I'm never good enough, that everything I put out is not going to be good enough. People aren't going to like me. That all of my self limiting beliefs that every program I write is just again, it's never going to be completed. And I attached so much self worth to the validation of others.

And so I have this typed up story and my Billy, my version of Billy is a guy named Mel. And so I say, I refer to him as Mel is this, Mel sees Mike as this, when Mel takes over, Mike feels worthless and all this whole story. And the funny thing is is, and hopefully I can share this because like every single week, one of the things that we do is we go in the group and we recite or we share our Billy stories. So we, it's a Google doc, maybe it's two, three paragraphs for each one of us.

And the hilarious thing is, so when we first said it like literally … and every single time, every single week when we've said it, like I felt some type of feeling in my body, some type of emotion because it's truly the thing that I never want to share with anybody. Like what's actually going on in the head of Mike. Maybe what's outwardly seen on people on social media and stuff is certainly like I don't go on a podcast and say like, I'm never good enough.

And so people don't want to hear that. Right? But that's truly the words that have gone on in my head. And so saying that to the group is very scary. So reading that Billy letter, that Mel story to the group is very scary. So, but it's also very liberating. And so each week we've said it with an actual like a different voice.

So like a cry baby voice and really getting dramatic. And I know you're laughing because like I've been actually getting really into it. A cry baby voice saying it with a smile, which is so hard to like a weird, weird smile.

Mike Bledsoe: I love our meetings because I just laugh for a whole hour.

Mike Salemi: And you know, we smiled, we said it like a cry baby. We said it very dramatic. And what I found is, and I think I told you this when we first linked up today, I was just like, I'm so sick of my Billy story, I'm so sick. But I mean that honestly in a good way because what it's allowed me to do is I've said this thing so many different ways and every single time I've said it, I've had this visceral reaction last week when we said it with a smile. It got in some sense it's easier to say.

But then also I start sweating profusely when I was saying, I was like, why am I sweating? But now like on a day to day basis, I'm seeing the language and the conditioning and the patterns that I have and where I'm playing the victim role and I'm sick of it. I'm like, why does that have to still be your story? Let it go, let it go. And so there's been a few conversations I've had where I haven't gone down the same route of that whole same thing, like projecting onto others or just blaming other things, not taking responsibility for myself.

If only this, if I was this, then things would be different. If this other person would listen to me or allow me permission to do something, then I could do, I could earn all this money. It's like, well … as we learned in the program, like change the you to I. Flip those script, flip that script, change those words, and just see how powerful that can be.

And so yeah, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of it, but I mean that in honestly a positive way.

Being sick of it

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. You're so sick of it. You don't want to, you're like, I can't do this anymore.

Mike Salemi: I don't want to do it. Yeah. I don't want to be that person anymore. In the beginning it's nice sometimes when you say that because you get sometimes sympathy from others and stuff like that, but then you're just like, man, I don't want that anymore. That's not what I want. I'd rather just take responsibility, changed my story, change this pattern that's been repeating year after year. So that's what I love about it. So that's the Billy story.

Mike Bledsoe: This is what I love is a guy that's as accomplished as you are in sport. You are accomplished in business and that you would still get a tremendous amount of value out of something like that.

Yeah. Hell yeah. That's always exciting. I get nervous to be honest. A lot of times as certain people go through, because you're also fairly stoic. I was like, Mike's not making any reactions to anything we're saying is he liking this? And then I talk to you, you're like, this is so good. I'm like, Oh my God, thank God.

Mike's Experience Coming To The Strong Coach Summit

Mike Bledsoe: Oh man. What's been your experience coming to the Strong Coach Summit and since.

Mike Salemi: So Strong Coach Summit was, there was a few things that came up and some of the things we talked in our podcast that we did with each other before-

Mike Bledsoe: Because we podcasted-

Mike Salemi: The next day?

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, the very next day.

Mike Salemi: The next day. So that-

Mike Bledsoe: I'm just curious like it's been what, two months?

Mike Salemi: Yeah. What I think … what I'd love to share now is one of the things that I mentioned on the podcast with you was about the community aspect. That was a surprise for me. But from the business side of things, what's really been, I would say one of the biggest takeaways now, and this is something like, and it goes back to journaling and writing stuff down and how powerful that can be.

You asked a question, well there was two things that come up. One, we wrote down our goals for 90 days, for one year. I think we also wrote down five years and 10 years, and I have that in my wallet and every single time I go to pick up my credit card, which is in this flip type wallet, I always see that paper and I don't even have to open it because I know exactly what it says.

So I keep looking at that and that's just like that is my reminder. And it's, I believe 90 days is November 16th if I recall correctly. I think that was the exact date or close to it. But I know exactly what that is and I'm like, I'm holding myself accountable to that. And so writing it down has been tremendously powerful for me. It's been a reminder to do that and look at that stuff, but then also you had said something in one of the masterminds that I don't know why, but it really stuck with me. You had said at the end of the call, you said, what have you accomplished in the last two weeks? What's your plan for the next two weeks and then where do you need support? Honestly, that exercise has been very, very helpful for me.

And looking at objectively because I'm very task oriented. I like to execute stuff. I like to feel accomplished, like I'm doing something productive towards now this 90 day goal that is very clear and very written down. And so what I've been doing is I've been taking that 90 day goal and then taking what have I done truly the last two weeks? What will I do and then where do I need support?

Will I reach out for support? But then assessing how does that fit into the 90 day? Because one of the challenges that I've had is prioritizing. Everything, for the most part, it's just me. Like now I've got my media guy of course. I'm a part of the Strong Coach and the Mastermind, but for the most part, like I'm the content creator. I'm a huge part of what makes obviously … now the programs are selling and stuff like that, which is great.

So I can kind of step back. But it's like everything seemed to be important. Everything. From Instagram posts to managing finances. It's just, it's overwhelming for a one person show pretty much. And so what this has allowed me to do is to truly, truly prioritize and then also reflect that to you.

Reflect that to the group. And what I love about the group is they're pretty much all my ideal customers, more or less like they're all coaches who may be own gyms or what not. They're all trainers or who've been through that route. They're all open to a more integrated, let's just say a holistic approach, their own language training and looking at their stories and or crying on the calls in the best of ways. And it's like these are the exact people that I would love feedback from and the people have been so dope.

And so cool. Like actually I think I posed a question was like, I'm trying to restructure how I run workshops, which has been a very big learning process for me because I have some live stuff that's very successful and stuff that is not so successful. So trying to figure out that, and right after two people messaged me like, what's your structure like? Run it by me. I'd love to hear it. They run gyms. I was like, Oh fuck. This is great. I get direct feedback from the people that would potentially host me. And in fact, two other people wrote me saying they want to host. So I'm like …

Mike Bledsoe: Boom.

Mike Salemi: Wow. I'm getting feedback and it's from an authentic place, a place that truly wants to help and see me succeed. So-

Mike Bledsoe: Not someone that wants to make you feel good. And that's what's cool about the Mastermind is everyone's going through this work together. Everyone wants you to be real. Everyone wants you to be successful. Right? I don't give a shit about you feeling good. I hope they're not just trying to make people feel good, but a lot of people do give advice or testimonials and like with there's that thing.

Mike Salemi: Yeah. Yeah. So writing stuff down 90 days getting very, very clear on how to write goals has been very cool. And then now having the process and the feedback to help me get clarity in terms of, okay, what is the best use of my energy? Because like I said, just like you like we'll go a hundred percent all in, but it's like you could also go 100% into an area that is not serving the business.

Mike Bledsoe: Oh, I've got a hundred percent in the wrong direction. Most of my twenties and half of my thirties yeah, it was rough.

Mike Salemi: It can be a lot of wasted energy. You could make mistakes that maybe you didn't have to make because that is the most precious thing, right? Is our time, our energy. It's like how are we spending it? Who are we spending it with? What projects are we entertaining? Because I mean I love creating. So I could create like the best program ever but that nobody wants and it's like would that be the best use of a month of two months of three months of work? Or like we said, could we ask our customers what do they want? What do they need? Create something modified along the way and now we have something that's, yes, enjoyable to create, but it's truly serving a need and a want out there.

And that's what is really getting me excited right now. It's like, wow, I can't wait to create the next program. I'm like, it's oh man. I'm like, I'm super pumped.

Closing Thoughts For Coaches

Mike Bledsoe: I'm loving watching it. You're so animated. Oh yeah. Hell yeah. Is there anything you want to leave the coaches with. Coaches and trainers are listening to this, anything that you want them to know that we didn't say yet?

Mike Salemi: Just some of my big takeaways from this conversation. One thing is that, and I'm sure hopefully people already know this, but have your stories, but don't believe your stories. Write stuff down. Get something out and get some data behind it. Ask when you need help and just also know that what you're seeing on social media is usually not obviously like a lot of times what is going on in that person's head. We're all human and so just know at the highest of the high level, and I know you know some very high level people I've been around and know some very high level people, some very successful people financially in sport from Olympians, gold medalist in the Olympic games to UFC fighters to you name it.

And these Billy stories are real for all of us and the ones that are open enough and honest enough and have enough self awareness, will admit that. And those are the people that I actually like being around because they're humble enough and have enough awareness to admit that. And just knowing and being around that inspires me to share more of from an authentic place and just know that we all go through it. We're all working through it, but there's tools out there, there's people out there to help you through it.

Mike Blesoe: Oh yeah. Thanks for joining me today.

Mike Salemi: Dude.

Mike Blesoe: Thanks for dropping all this wisdom.

Mike Salemi: Thank you.

Mike Blesoe: People are going to love this. Go to Mikesalemi.io Check out the kettlebell resource. It's the only kettlebell course you're ever going to have to buy.

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